Friday, March 8, 2013

Philosophy on radio (UPDATED)


I’ll be appearing later today on Catholic Answers Live, at 4:00 pm (Pacific time).  Today’s show is billed as an “Open Forum for Atheists,” so have at it.  Links to some previous radio interviews can be found here.

UPDATE: The podcast of the show is now available here.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good show Dr. Feser. You kinda silenced the hot shot from Chicago.

Linus

FM said...

To bad I missed it...!

Will you or C.A. put the show online?

weareallneillennon said...

@ FM

The Friday shows of Catholic Answers Live are usually put on the website by Wednesday of the following week.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but an ironclad proof of God's nonexistence:

God is one.
If God is one, the number 1 must precede him or subsume him, or else it (and all other numbers) cannot serve as a source of demarcation.
If God is preceded or subsumed by something, then he is definitionally not God.
God cannot exist.
God does not exist.


QED



weareallneillennon said...

Oneness is a transcendental. I'll let the smarter boys and girls take it from there.

Anonymous said...

By "god is one," do you mean god is literally equivalent to the number 1, such that god + god = 2? Or does one in this case refer to " singular/distinct?"

BLS said...

"God is one."

One what?

weareallneillennon said...

@anonymous

If I'm right, and I'm hoping others on here will check my working for me, then your statement that 'one' must precede God rests on an illicit conversion of an A (universal affirmative) proposition; you cannot move validly from the premise 'God is one' to the conclusion 'one is God' which is what I think you have done. This invalidates the rest of your argument.

If anything, God 'subsumes' oneness. The fact that there are also 2s 3s 4s...ie individuation/demarcation, does nothing to impugn the oneness of God. God is not preceded by 'one', God is still, by definition, God

Anonymous said...

@(prior)anonymous - Where in the Bible does it say, "God is one"...I see references to one God, but not that God is the number 1. How can the number 1 be the source of all good things? God cannot be reduced to a number. That's just nonsensical. But, I believe this number is intended to describe his undivided omnipresence and the fact that we resort to using a number to describe Him only points to our limited human ability to fully understand and describe Him. N'est pas? He is beyond any means of reduction. And, if God doesn't exist, then we don't exist either - which is nonsense.

BLS said...

Guys, I think his point is that Platonically (dunno if that's a real word), the form of "one" or "a single thing" must exist before God can exist. I'm sure Scott would have something to say about this, since he is both a theist and a platonist.

Of course, I think the Aristotelians here would deny that "oneness" or "singular beingness" exist on their own, they only exist if they are instantiated. And of course, Thomists would deny that God is "one" in this sense, because that implies he is one being (among other beings), rather than Pure Act.

Danielius said...

Good old problem of universals.

@BLS: I should re-read my Plotinus, but if my memory still serves the One is the Form of Forms, all other Forms emanate from the One. Thus, a (Neo)Platonist equally firmly rejects the notion that the One is one being among many.

Scott said...

@BLS:

"Guys, I think his point is that Platonically (dunno if that's a real word) [it is], the form of 'one' or 'a single thing' must exist before God can exist. I'm sure Scott would have something to say about this, since he is both a theist and a platonist."

Well, since you've mentioned me, I can hardly fail to respond, though Danielius has actually gotten there first.

I'd be inclined to "go Plotinus" here and suggest that our Anonymous friend is equivocating on the meaning of "one": in his/her first premise s/he means not the numerical "one" but the "one" that corresponds the the "first" in "first cause"—in Vedantic language, a "one without a second."

Scott said...

"the the" = "to the". And since I'm posting a correction,, I may as well take the opportunity to clarify (what I've already implied) that the same point can be made from Aristotle alone.

Ismael said...

Anonymous said...
Off topic, but an ironclad proof of God's nonexistence:

God is one.
If God is one, the number 1 must precede him or subsume him, or else it (and all other numbers) cannot serve as a source of demarcation.
If God is preceded or subsumed by something, then he is definitionally not God.
God cannot exist.
God does not exist.


Is this the level of stupidity reached by the internet infidels?!

You make here 2 mistakes.

1: You state God = 1, which makes no sense (and people above have already criticized that)

2: You state that if 'God is one' than numbers must precede it... but that is also a fallacy in your reasoning, since it does not follow. God might be the number one itself, for example (if we take God = 1 as true that is…. That would lead to some funny form of panentheism I bet :D )

--

BLS says:
Guys, I think his point is that Platonically (dunno if that's a real word), the form of "one" or "a single thing" must exist before God can exist. I'm sure Scott would have something to say about this, since he is both a theist and a platonist.

Of course, I think the Aristotelians here would deny that "oneness" or "singular beingness" exist on their own, they only exist if they are instantiated. And of course, Thomists would deny that God is "one" in this sense, because that implies he is one being (among other beings), rather than Pure Act.


Rightly so, but the 'Anon' argument would fail from a (neo-)Platonic point of view as well, I think.
Since the universals might be dependant upon God, i.e. the universal of ‘oneness’ exists because God exists and God also has a form of oneness.

Naturally theists do NOT make this argument (ever), since even in the neo-platonic patristic age, they would have not regarded universals in that fashion. One would have to accept Plato’s hard realism, and I think theism in general does not accept the existence of a ‘third realm’.

Of course it is also SILLY to discuss the platonic view of universal with an atheist, I suppose, since such view would require the existence of these universals (like the 'perfect triangle' or 'the perfect tree') in a 'third realm'.

Most atheists (if not all), I'm sure, would deny this third realm (which would clash severely with naturalism, which often the basis of atheism)... so to construct an argument basing oneself on something you regard as non existing in the first place is simply stupid.

It’s like proving your friend drowned when you do not believe water exists :D


Scott said...

@Ismael:

"Is this the level of stupidity reached by the internet infidels?!"

Probably, yes, but I'd bet this particular post was a joke, prank, parody, or other sort of deliberate troll.

The fact that we can't tell for sure is telling, though.

Martin said...

Dr Feser, you commit the fallacy of special pleading. If everything has a cause, then what caused your god?

Danielius said...

Martin, I admit it, you had me there for a second!

Ismael said...

@Martin

Dr Feser, you commit the fallacy of special pleading. If everything has a cause, then what caused your god?



Hehe, you also almost got me :D


Which is funny since Feser has tackled this straw man argument so many times in this blog! :P


For people who are just reading this blog for the first time:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.it/2009/03/straw-men-and-terracotta-armies.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.it/2011/07/so-you-think-you-understand.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.it/2010/12/dreaded-causa-sui.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.it/2010/12/causal-loops-infinite-regresses-and.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.it/2011/04/god-above-god.html

Anonymous said...

How do we differentiate between an instrumental cause and a principle cause? Are there really instrumental causes in nature?

Anonymous said...

Are "act" and "potency" abstractions?

Anonymous said...

One more question, what does it mean to have "independent causal power?"

Martin said...

Anon,

You are kinda looking at the argument backwards.

Just think of it like boxcars. You know boxcars can't move themselves, so if one is moving, it's because it's being pulled by another boxcar.

But now the same thing applies to that second boxcar, so a third boxcar must be pulling it.

No matter how long the string of boxcars is, or whether they go around in a circle or not, since they are moving there must be an engine somewhere in the train. A part of the train that can pull without having to be pulled by any other cars.

Now apply that same reasoning to the change you see around you in the world. The water can't make itself into ice. It's only becoming ice because something else is causing it to be so: cold air. But air can't make itself cold, so something else must be causing the air to be cold: the freezer.

And so on. Like with the train, something out there must be causing change without itself needing to be changed by anything further. An unchanging changer.

That's the gist.

Make sense?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply Martin.

I understand that if you have any number of/setup of boxcars displaying acceleration, you can't avoid the existence of an accelerator, either as part of the setup or outside it. And I get that if an explanation of change itself involves change, then you have to explain the explanation, etc. And I agree with the ice example, but I think it could be better stated: The water's potential to freeze depends on the net loss of actual internal energy. No actual net loss, no freezing. You need something actual to result in a net loss (or gain) of internal energy. But I guess my question is "Do per se series (or loops, networks, etc) really exist "all the way down" in nature? How do we know that a seemingly per se series in the actual world doesn't involve some per accidens series, and thus does not need to terminate in a principle cause?

grodrigues said...

Anonymous:

"How do we know that a seemingly per se series in the actual world doesn't involve some per accidens series, and thus does not need to terminate in a principle cause?"

It is actually the contrary; every accidental causal chain must "resolve itself" in per se causal chains. Recall the stock example of an accidental causal chain: A begets B that begets C etc. The chain is accidental because the begetting of C by B does not need that A be sticking around exerting its causal power. On the other hand, the begetting of C does need B, and necessarily so, for it is through the (procreative) causal power of B that C is begotten, so this accidental chain is composed of little per se sub-chains, admittedly trivial and not particularly interesting as painted in the scenario. Every causal chain must share in this one aspect because of what to be a cause and an effect ultimately means.

Anonymous said...

It just seems like we need a supporting argument, that anything with even a single potential cannot be a principle cause, regardless of whether or not that single potency is ever actualized or not.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply grodrigues, let me ponder. If I need to post again on this issue I'll probably use a nickname to reduce the anony-storm.

Jules said...

Gosh, that last guy on the show was annoying.