Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Try a damn link



Mike in/on motion: Michael Flynn is working through the Aristotelian argument from motion at The TOF Spot, with three installments so far (here, here, and here).  (Some bonus coolness: Mike Flynn covers from Analog.)

“New Atheist” writer Victor Stenger has died.  Jeffery Jay Lowder of The Secular Outpost recounts his disagreements with Stenger. 

What was the deal with H. P. Lovecraft?  John J. Miller investigates at The Claremont Review of Books.

At Philosophy in Review, Roger Pouivet (author of After Wittgenstein, St. Thomas) reviews Robert Pasnau’s Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671.  (You can find the current issue here and then scroll down to find a PDF of the review.)
 
Roger Scruton’s The Soul of the World is reviewed at Spiked.

Hilaire Belloc on Islam: A reminder from Bill Vallicella.

Elmar Kramer’s Analysis of Existing: Barry Miller's Approach to God is reviewed at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.  (The review does not seem to me entirely fair to Miller, but is worth reading anyway.)

At Public Discourse, Chris Tollefsen explains how pornography is like incest

A workshop inspired by Alvin Plantinga’s well-known unpublished notes on “Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments” will be held next month at Baylor University

26 comments:

Kiel said...

In the spirit of link sharing, I stumbled upon this book: Engaging Buddhism: Why It Matters to Philosophy. It reminded me of Ed's Scholastic Metaphysics in that the former dialogs with Western, analytic philosophy like the latter does.

Given the book's table of contents, I'd be also very interested to see how a Buddhist philosopher would respond to Ed's arguments for the act potency distinction contra impermanence given I know nothing of how they would respond.

The author of that book is also interviewed here, which is quite an interesting read too.

Anonymous said...

Do these links make you angry, professor?

Matt Sheean said...

I have not read Scruton's book yet (I'm currently taking an embarrassingly long time to work my way through his rather short book on Beauty), but the review brings out what I find less than satisfactory about Scruton's way of talking about religious matters. I was going to write a bit, but then I remembered that in the Intro to the Phenomenology, Hegel says it better,

"Spirit has shown itself to be so impoverished that it seems to yearn for its refreshment merely in the meager feeling of divinity, very much like the wanderer in the desert who longs for a simple drink of water. That it now takes so little to satisfy spirit’s needs is the full measure of the magnitude of its loss."

and

"...who wants to surround the diversity of his existence and thought in a kind of fog, and who then demands an indeterminate enjoyment of this indeterminate divinity, may look wherever he pleases to find it."

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous
Do these links make you angry, professor?

I was just a play on words.

Irish Thomist said...

The above 'Anonymous' comment just made was me.. sorry posted early by mistake.

Daniel said...

On a personal basis the Lovecraft article is interesting to me since it was partly from reading his work around the age of fifteen that caused me to really begin to think metaphysically (for instance how can the 'cosmic indifferentism', our being a speck of dust in a cosmic storm, be compatible with 'Scientific-Materialism', the idea that the true nature of the world and of ourselves is derived from the fallible and constantly revised natural-scientific praxis of us finite human beings?). His own justifications for atheism were along the 'God doesn't exist because the cosmos is too big' and thus unworthy of comment. He would have made an interesting bed-fellow for Quine though as he was both very conservative in an aristocratic sort of way and hankered after a peaceful live of Ivy League academia.

Unfortunately the public revival of interest in Lovecraft's work and the work of certain others he admired - who were all retrospectively baptised 'Weird Fiction writers' - was largely due to S.T. Joshi, a typical under-educated belligerent new atheist writer responsible for a steady flow of 'Promethean books'.

The tragedy of it is that those interested in the field who do not toe the atheist party-line and those writers whose work featured mystical or anti-materialistic themes are treated with near neurotic suspicion and hostility. I spent a couple of years publishing translations of Continental fantastic literature for the consumption of these people and bitterly regret ever having been involved with their game. If I might throw in a random suggestion for those who enjoy this type of fiction I would recommend the Anglo-Welsh writer Arthur Machen - he produced two short novellas which one might happily describe as phenomenologies of the Holy and the Infernal – there is nothing quite like them in the English language, nor as far as I know in any other.

Moving (very slowly) back on to A-T topics has anyone read David Charles Aristotle on Meaning and Essence? I came upon it from his article in Ed’s anthology and it certainly looks promising albeit exceptionally technical.

Jules said...

James Franklin's book looks interesting. I emailed him recently because I've been trying to get hold of a copy of his "The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability before Pascal", which is out of print. Apparently a kindle version is in the works - yay!

RM said...

That review was not very charitable towards Miller at all. Professor, what did you find worth reading about it, I know you have endorsed Miller in the past?

Without a full post can you respond to the criticisms?

E.Seigner said...

Kiel

In the spirit of link sharing, I stumbled upon this book: Engaging Buddhism: Why It Matters to Philosophy. It reminded me of Ed's Scholastic Metaphysics in that the former dialogs with Western, analytic philosophy like the latter does.

Given the book's table of contents, I'd be also very interested to see how a Buddhist philosopher would respond to Ed's arguments for the act potency distinction contra impermanence given I know nothing of how they would respond.


In Eastern philosophies, the closest equivalent to act/potency distinction seems to be the manifest/unmanifest distinction. The devil will be in the details, and there are enough devils between Aristotle and Plato for example. I guess roughly the same applies in case of Western/Eastern dialogue. Things turn up as matters get specific.

Brandon said...

That Philipse would give an unfavorable review of the work is not really surprising if one considers his other publications. But I found it interesting that, despite all the many moving parts of Miller's argument, the bulk of the disagreement was just labeling it unconvincing (he considers one line of argument on existence as a real property and criticizes it by appealing simultaneously to Kant and to an argument inconsistent with Kant, and then gives one undeveloped argument against the Fido+existence approach that is not obviously consistent with his characterization of the Kantian argument).

CAPTCHA apparently likes the discussion of Eastern philosophy in the comments box, since the CAPTCHA word was 'moksha'.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the review for "An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics". It is all the more interesting because it comes from a mathematician.

I like this comment from him "(I wonder if there is a field in which philosophy has had a more beneficial effect on practice.)"

Philosophy is so often put down. It is refreshing to see that other fields do benefit from it and recognize that they benefit.

Cheers,
Daniel

Scott said...

@Anonymous Daniel:

"I like this comment from him '(I wonder if there is a field in which philosophy has had a more beneficial effect on practice.)'"

I noticed that too and liked it for the same reason.

I'd really like to read Franklin's book, but in view of the current hardcover price I'm waiting for the paperback.

Glenn said...

The first 22 pages are available here. My heart is palpitating, and the palms of my hands sweating. I cannot not have it, and Amazon has promised it'll be at my door tomorrow.

TheOFloinn said...

Three essays by Franklin:

The Renaissance Myth
http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/renaissance.html

Aristotelian Realism
http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/irv.pdf

What is mathematics about?
http://aeon.co/magazine/world-views/what-is-left-for-mathematics-to-be-about/

Daniel said...

I concur with RM – it would be nice to have an entry directly tackling the Thomist views on the nature of Existence, what Existence is rather than what it is not (yo Frege). The Real Distinction, which basically amounts to the real predicamental status of Existence, is a corner-stone of Thomist metaphysics, and, well, it would be nice to see a lot of the decidedly weak arguments against its predicamental status further exposed. Again I’d make the usual point about the Scotus-Kant irony but I think that’s been done enough.

This seems a fine excuse to order that overview of Millers’ ouvre (as well as W Vallicella's book on the subject).

@TheOFloinn,

Many thanks for those. I was kicking myself for not having taken a print-out of the 'What is Mathematics about?' article when someone posted a link to it in the combox of another thread a time ago.

Greg said...

Philipse: Why endorse Miller's criterion [for whether the lack of a real property implies the presence of a real complementary property]?

If I recall correctly, Miller appeals to the constructional history of propositions like "Fido does not exist" to determine whether they commit one to real properties.

Aaron Wood said...

@ Daniel:

Might I ask what two Machen novellas you are referring to?

dover_beach said...

I'm proud to say that Franklin is a fellow Australian, who regularly writes for the magazine, Quadrant.

Glenn said...

TheOFloinn,

Thanks for the additional links re Franklin.

Daniel said...

@Aaron Wood,

Certainly: the novellas are The White People and A Fragment of Life - I think they can be found in some of the Penguin editions. The White People, the 'Sin' aspect of the analysis, is probably the best one to start with despite being more densely written as the framing device - the dialogue with the hermit - was originally intended to lead onto The Fragment as well (they were both originally segments from a great episodic novel he was unable to finish due to the death of his first wife). From a more austerely metaphysical perspective The White People is curious as it tries to supplement the Privation view of evil with an account of 'Positive Evil' in the sense of Cosmic Sin as the over-reaching of one's essence.

His two main novels, The Hill of Dreams and The Secret Glory, are also worth checking out.

Scott said...

Thanks for the Franklin links.

Glenn said...

Certainly: the novellas are The White People and A Fragment of Life - I think they can be found in some of the Penguin editions.
...
His two main novels, The Hill of Dreams and The Secret Glory, are also worth checking out.


All four are available at Project Gutenberg (here). The White People and A Fragment of Life are not listed separately, but are included, in reverse order, in The House of Souls.

See Friends of Arthur Machen for more information, including 'Copyright Matters' at the bottom of the page.

Prince Randoms said...

That book looks very interesting Kiel. I hope it bucks the trend of westernizing (secularizing essentially) Buddhism and instead opens up dialogue with the genuine Buddhist Philosophy.

O.L. said...

Dr. Feser,

I'm currently studying medieval philosophy in Paris, and am looking for the best possible book on aristotelian logic. I've read Maritain's introduction to formal logic, recommended by Gilson, and am working my way through the short Summa totius Logicae Aristotelis, recommended by Maritain, but I'm also looking for a more modern book covering both formal and material logic.
Lemmon recommends H. W. B. Joseph's Introduction to Logic, and I've come across Joyce's Principles of Logic and Coffey's The Science of Logic : which of these would you take to be the most reliable? Or perhaps you would recommend yet another book on the same topic?

I'd also like to thank you for all your very helpful publications. I read Scholastic Metaphysics over the summer in order to get more familiar with analytic philosophy, and I found it very interesting. It also helped me understand many points about medieval philosophy. My father's currently reading (and enjoying) your book on Aquinas, and I'll be trying throughout the year to make your blog known in the philosophy department.

May we all keep benefiting from your good work !

O.L.

Daniel said...

@ O.L,

If I may be as bold to take up that question I would recommend you start with either Joyce or Coffey, the best absolute starter of which is the Joyce. Coffey is more thorough though is far longer and verges of into issues which might be a little confusing for someone without prior experience of certain points. Since you've read the Maritain it shouldn't be a problem for you though. I would strongly advise against the Joseph, a great-paving slab of a book, since he differs in some respects from classical or even medieval Aristotelian logic and is none-too-clear on pointing out when he does so.

For a modern volume on the subject there is Peter Kreft's Socratic Logic and Scott M. Sullivan's An Introduction to Traditional Logic. I would also recommend Philotheus Boehner's classical text, Medieval Logic: An Outline of Its Development from 1250 to 1400, which goes into just how much more sophisticated the logic of the later schoolmen was to from which they began.

O.L. said...

@ Daniel,

Thank you, I'll look those up.

O.L.