Sunday, November 9, 2014

DSPT interviews (Updated)


Back from another very pleasant and profitable visit to the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley.  Many thanks to my hosts and to everyone who attended the symposium.  The DSPT has just posted video interviews of some of the participants in the July conference on philosophy and theology.  John Searle, Linda Zagzebski, John O’Callaghan, and I are the interviewees.  You can find them here at YouTube.

Update 11/14: The DSPT will be adding new video clips weekly to its YouTube playlist.  This week an interview with Fred Freddoso has been added.

30 comments:

Sil Rayman said...

Dr Feser, why are you so awesome?

Cantus said...

No surprise that the Dominicans should welcome you, Prof. - after all, you *have* done rather a lot to improve the popular standing of one of their most famous and beloved members. Right on!

Tom Carroll said...

Great job in Berkeley, Ed. Interesting paper, well-presented. A good time was had by all, I would say. Hope you make back up to Nor Cal soon.

JohnD said...

Will there be more pieces to the interviews or presentations posted???

Edward Feser said...

Hello JohnD, my understanding is that there will be more interviews from the July conference posted. Also, the main papers presented at that conference will be published in a conference volume. As to the presentations from this last weekend, I believe those may be posted at some point as well. I'll announce any developments here on the blog.

DNW said...

Adopting the snarkiest manner possible for facetious effect, I was about to ask the following, (having some real question myself):

"Why is Searle showing up at these events?

Defending the very concept and the legitimacy/validity of philosophy as a study and discipline?

An, "Enemy of my enemy" kind of thing?"


But I guess, in the very asking came the answer.

Scott said...

I hope someday some of these papers are collected into a book. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Irish Thomist said...

Sadly I won't be at any talks of Edwards any time soon as that is an expensive flight away.

Although here is a bit of good news if you are in the same position as me. There is also (for the UK/Ireland readers) a Thomist event on the 29th of November in the North of Ireland if anyone here is interested just make contact via the website below.

http://www.aquinassocireland.com/

There should be a few interesting talks.

Irish Thomist said...

@Scott

I hope someday some of these papers are collected into a book. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Was Ed saying this already in reply to JohnD?

Also, the main papers presented at that conference will be published in a conference volume. As to the presentations from this last weekend, I believe those may be posted at some point as well. I'll announce any developments here on the blog.

Scott said...

@Irish Thomist:

Ah, I see I didn't make myself at all clear. I meant to say that I hoped Ed would collect some of his own papers into a book.

Edward Feser said...

Scott,

Your wish is my command. As it happens, such a volume is scheduled for next year. I'll announce the details before long.

Irish Thomist said...

@Ed

I have a lot to read at the moment (and that really is a massive understatement) but another one of your books won't go amiss on the bookshelf.

You were/are writing a book on natural philosophy or some such thing at the moment? I can't quite remember what you mentioned in a previous blog post recently.

Scott said...

@Ed:

Excellent, and congratulations. Thanks for the news.

Greg said...

Anything on ethics under way, Professor Feser?

Anonymous said...


I hope someday some of these papers are collected into a book. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.


I was thinking the same thing in regard to Ed's blog posts. I'm a latecomer to the party have a lot of old posts to get through, but don't like reading large chunks of text from a screen. I might just collect them altogether manually and get a hardcopy printed from lulu.com. Of course, I'd be missing the links, but even so...

Irish Thomist said...

@Anonymous

This would make it easier for you.

http://blog2print.sharedbook.com/blogworld/printmyblog/index.html

http://www.blurb.com/blog-book

http://www.blogbooker.com/

http://blogspot.sharedbook.com/blog2print/googleblogger/index.html

ccmnxc said...

You were/are writing a book on natural philosophy or some such thing at the moment? I can't quite remember what you mentioned in a previous blog post recently.

He is currently writing one on the philosophy of nature, yes. I was also under the impression that a book on ethics was underway, though I cannot refer to anything to substantiate that suspicion. Finally, I know Ed expressed a couple years ago an interest in writing a sort of "continuation" of The Last Superstition addressing Christianity more specifically. I don't know if anything that has started to come to fruition, but perhaps we can keep a look out for it in the next several years.

And Ed, if I've gotten this completely wrong, apologies. Feel free to squelch my rumor-mongering.

Daniel said...

There is one thing above all the world needs from Ed's pen (lap-top?) and that's a blockbuster tome on Natural Theology taking on Theist Personalist misconceptions of God as well as criticisms from the usual Oppy, Gale, Kenny* crowd. We want to see the Five Ways defended with appeals to modern Analytical metaphysics of powers, physical intentionality and actualist theories of modality.

*Didn't Oderberg once say he was considering writing a take down volume on Kenny's The Five Ways?

Jack Ferrara said...

This is quite a bit off topic, but I'm not sure where else to turn with this question:

I'm reading Dr. Feser's Introduction to Aquinas and I'm really digging it, but I'm a little confused about his explanation of natural law theory:

He says that in the conception of nature in natural law theory, value and fact are intertwined. E.G. Nature is programmed by God to reflect the natural values and goals of humanity; my question is what about when nature leads to things such as psychopathy, couldn't God have designed nature to avoid this sorts of things if s/he wanted humans to be moral?

I'm not asking this to be a troll, and I'm sure I missing the point so that's why I'm asking anyone hear if they can straighten out my question:

Thanks.

Scott said...

@Jack Ferrara:

"Nature is programmed by God to reflect the natural values and goals of humanity."

That's not what "the conception of nature in natural law theory" says. That conception just says that it's "good" for (say) a dog to have four legs because it's the nature of dogs to have four legs and any dog that doesn't is somehow deficient or lacking.

It's true that things have the natures they have because they were given those natures by God, but that's not the point. The point is that for any being that has a "good" (which pretty much means any living thing), that "good" is determined by its nature. When a cheetah kills a gazelle, that's good for the cheetah and bad for the gazelle.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Whoa...Feser in 720p HD!

Jack Ferrara said...

@Scott.

Okay, that does help. Quite a lot actually.

Just as a follow up couple of thoughts:

#1. Does that mean people who have birth defects are morally bad or just that said defects are bad for them?

#2. Excellent points; as you point out something can be good for the Cheetah and bad for the Gazelle; within the natural law theory, why would such an occurrence be allowed to occur if it means some animals suffer (when there are alternatives such as animals potentially developing as herbivores)? Again, I'm probably missing the point so I apologize if I sound stubborn, I'm just trying to make sure I properly understand the concept.

Either way, thanks!

Daniel said...

According to Natural Law theory and the wider metaphysical framework within in which it arises Goodness is defined in terms of how well something instantiates its essence. Though Thomists and most other Classical Theists claim an analysis of Goodness will ultimately lead to the existence of God (the Fourth Way) the issue of God is not directly related to that of ethics. Ed has an interesting post on this topic here:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/does-morality-depend-on-god.html

This means of course that were one an atheist one could still attempt to argue for Natural Law provided one held a realist view of Universals a la David Armstrong's Impure Realism. I know this carries over an issue from another thread but vis via homosexuality I would be interested in what Foot and other naturalistically inclined Natural Law theorists said on that subject since it ought to be exactly the same as what theist Natural Law theorists say.

For what it's worth I disagree with Natural Law ethics here in as far as that if Man possesses only an immanent telos then the very notion of telos for us collapses and Nietzsche is proven right.

Brandon said...

Jack,

(1) Moral good and evil require consent or choice of will.

(2) Natural law theory is not a general theory of nature; in fact, it's not primarily about natures at all, although natures do come into it in the way Scott noted (i.e., what counts as good or bad for something depends in part on what that thing's nature is). Natural law theory is primarily about reason; it's the idea that the principles of reason constitute laws/obligations natural to us. Thus the answer to your question would require looking somewhere else than natural law theory itself.

Anonymous said...

Do any of Ed's blogposts outline Aristotle's theory of forms?

Mook Vanguard said...

Hey Ed,

Do you think it's okay to take birth control preventatively, for example, a woman taking birth control pills not because she wants to have intercourse, but in order to frustrate some unwanted end (like rape)?

Scott said...

@Jack Ferrara:

"Does that mean people who have birth defects are morally bad or just that said defects are bad for them?"

The latter. As Brandon has already implied, Thomism (and not only Thomism) distinguishes between moral evils and natural evils; birth defects are natural evils. (Of course deliberately or recklessly causing them could be a moral evil on someone else's part, but the one who has them isn't morally responsible for them.)

"[W]ithin the natural law theory, why would such an occurrence be allowed to occur if it means some animals suffer[?]"

If you mean Why does God allow such things to happen?, then your question is really about not "natural law" but the (supposed) "problem of evil." I don't want to go further off-topic, so I'll keep this brief: according to both Augustine and Aquinas, if God allows evil (whether "natural" or "moral"), it's because He plans to draw even greater good from it, although we don't usually know what that greater good is in any specific case.

Irish Thomist said...

@Scott

In before this thread gets derailed as someone will point out 'Ah, but that then entails that God allows the end to justify the means!'

Whether or not you would have pointed out that permitting is not the same as causing won't stop someone starting that long debate.

So the answer is, it is off topic in relation to the question. Needless to say its a topic that would need an article rather than a reply in the comments.

Jack Ferrara said...

@ Brandon
@ Scott
@ Daniel
@ Irish Thomist

Thanks you guys so much!!! I really appreciate you helping me out with this bit of tangental information seeking :)

Matusalemda Marin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.