Monday, September 28, 2015

Harvard talk


This Friday, October 2, I will be giving a talk at Harvard University, sponsored by the Harvard Catholic Student Association and the John Adams Society.  The topic will be “The Immortality of the Soul.”  The event will be in Sever Hall, Room 113, at 8pm. 

28 comments:

  1. Hello, Doctor Feser.

    Do you know whether your talk is going to appear on Youtube ? :T


    Nice to have a blog to talk about philosophy and social issues, in any case.
    That's a very interesting topic... That's really too bad people IRL are not as interested in it as they probably should be in order to understand each other's thinking, history and culture better !


    Regards,

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  2. Back to the East Coast!! Woooo! Hope the lecture video is posted!

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  3. Shoot, I wish this talk had been a year ago, when I was still living in Cambridge!

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  4. I wonder if the immortality of the soul is related to its immateriality.

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  5. Guadalupe:

    I wonder if the immortality of the soul is related to its immateriality.

    Certainly. It's because the soul is immaterial that it has no inherent tendency toward corruption.

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  6. Scott: It's because the soul is immaterial that it has no inherent tendency toward corruption.

    I suppose that since its operations, e.g abstract thought, do not depend on matter, the soul, the form of the person, would not depend on matter. It would be subsistent, if I understand correctly, because activity follows being.

    I do not understand how an immaterial thing, to use an intentionally vague term, would have no inherent tendency toward corruption. Is it because matter, the principle of accepting change, allows the substance to be inherently corruptible? And since the soul, lacking matter since it is the form of a person, not be inherently corruptible.

    Does this also mean that it would require a special act to destroy the soul? Since it lacks any inherent tendency to destruction? Or am I conflating destruction with corruption?

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  7. Guadalupe:

    I do not understand how an immaterial thing, to use an intentionally vague term, would have no inherent tendency toward corruption.

    The point I glossed over is basically that the soul must be a subsistent form; see >here (particularly articles 2 and 6) and, for explanationn and elaboration, here.

    Does this also mean that it would require a special act to destroy the soul?

    In the sense I think you mean, yes. In principle God could annihilate a soul by ceasing to sustain it in being, but that's it.

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  8. The French Philosophy AmateurSeptember 29, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    Hello everyone,


    I would be very interested in learning more about why exactly philosophy is more appropriate than science, when it comes to answering the question "Does God exist" ? (An answer obviously coming from Pr. Feser, needless to say).

    I think i see where the problem for science is, but i can't manage to articulate it well. I'd need a few of Dr. Feser's
    well-articulated sentences, in order to help clarifying it.

    Do you know the name of some articles and / or talks Pr. Feser has given on that particular matter ?


    Hoping you all have a very good time keeping on learning philosophy of religion the way i personally do,

    A. A. J.

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  9. I would be very interested in learning more about why exactly philosophy is more appropriate than science, when it comes to answering the question "Does God exist" ? (An answer obviously coming from Pr. Feser, needless to say).

    Well there's two potential answers to this question one of which involves cogitation and the other of which just involves listening to the last three videos on this page (particular the section where he discusses Empiricist approaches to Natural Theology):

    http://www.edwardfeser.com/mediaappearances.html

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  10. Hah-haaaah !

    Well cogitation isn't that effective when it's about midnight.
    I also can't help but think that was a bit arrogant (as if i'm never using my brains), but that's probably just my imagination.
    That's no feature a true Christian's supposed to have.


    Well, i'll take these videos.


    Thank you very much and good afternoon :)

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  11. What i mean is that i can see, ofc, that contemporary atheism exclusively rests on some philosophical reasoning, (the problem of evil, mainly), and not on any scientific discovery not reasoning.

    I'd also add that contemporary atheism generally rests and very, extremely, dangerously ill-informed theology.
    The so-called "Problem" of Evil, for instance, isn't an issue for us Classical Theists, who hold traditional views on God's nature.


    But i can't really see very well the reason why philosophy's more appropriate to showing that God must exist, despite the very powerful Cosmological Argument which is philosophical in essence.


    That must be a sort of reminiscence of my atheist-naturalist-materialist-scientism proponent former position.

    That's a shame i came to hold such views at one point in the past.

    When i look at it, it really hasn't anything to say for it.

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  12. The French Philosophy Amateur said...

    "I would be very interested in learning more about why exactly philosophy is more appropriate than science, when it comes to answering the question "Does God exist" ?"

    Depends on one's conception of "God". I've written a blog entry which you might find helpful:

    http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/a-ridiculous-conception-of-god.html

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  13. The Frenchman,

    But i can't really see very well the reason why philosophy's more appropriate to showing that God must exist, despite the very powerful Cosmological Argument which is philosophical in essence.

    That must be a sort of reminiscence of my atheist-naturalist-materialist-scientism proponent former position.

    That's a shame i came to hold such views at one point in the past.


    Apparently you're still in a transition phase. Given the direction you're moving in, this is not something bad; and it seems clear that you're at quite a remove from where you were when the transition began, so it is in fact something good.

    When i look at it, it really hasn't anything to say for it.

    See? You answer your own question, albeit indirectly.

    If 'it(1)' really hasn't anything to say for 'it(2)', then if there is something to be said for 'it(2)', it must be something other than 'it(1)' which is appropriate for that saying.

    As Bedarz Iliaci put it (in the 'September 28, 2015 at 11:18 PM' comment under the prior post):

    "[S]ciences--special or empirical--are about investigating the secondary causes of the phenomena while God is the first cause. Thus, it is the essence of the special sciences to be quiet about God."

    - - - - -

    For a comprehensive and detailed treatment of the basic point, see Dr. Feser's Rosenberg Roundup (and Reading Rosenberg, Part II in particular).

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  14. The Frenchman,

    Also, Cardinal Mercier's A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy has a small section related via implication to the matter of why, when considering certain questions (or certain kinds of questions) philosophy is a more appropriate means of investigation than any of the special or particular sciences (individually or collectively). See page 6, beginning with 3. Stages in Human Knowledge, thru page 9.

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  15. Thank you all very much for all these sources :)


    I'm going to study all of 'em. That's a great thing so many people around here are willing to help that much !

    I really really appreciate that.


    Regards,

    A. J.

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  16. i wish i could attend!

    PS working my way through scholastic metaphysics and loving it although it is quite technical, more so than i thought it'd be.

    Awesome blog, we need more metaphysics to make the faith intelligible for young people especially who are so totally enamored by scientism.

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  17. "Quite" technical. Hohohoh, that's so sweet.

    There's no shame to have, when it comes to admitting metaphysics are more than just "quite" technical, pal :T


    Even professional philosophers such as Gregory B. Sadler, have had a hard time understanding it.
    We're talking about Aristotle's philosophy ; Aristotle wasn't just another philosopher !


    And that was my main point : does Dr. Feser know Dr Gregory Sadler ?

    He apparently is a Thomist, and he's actually quite popular, on Youtube...

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  18. Seeing these two popular Thomist philosophers talk together about Thomism and metaphysics (and so on and so forth), would... Potentially get fascinating :)

    Forgive me for being so talkative.
    (Actually enjoying philosophy so much, that i do not seem to be able to help myself).



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  19. Dr.Feser,

    Can you record this talk, or videotape it, so that other people who follow your work can listen to your talk?

    thank you

    Jerry

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  20. I bet it's gonna appear on Youtube.

    It surely will.

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  21. Is your talk based on your actual experience of the soul?
    Does it even begin to take into account the description of the soul and its relationship to the subtle psycho-physical structures of the human body-mind-complex?
    As described (based on the authors actual experience) in the book The Science of Soul introduced at this reference www.zeropoint.ca/heartIV4.htm

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  22. Professor Feser (or any one really really qualified),


    I think i have a problem with the notion of being "all-powerful".

    My paradox is this : how again is God all-powerful, if He cannot not exist ?


    I think you said something really important on that matter; i simply fail to remember it...


    Cheers,

    A. J.

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  23. Omnipotence doesn't mean that God can do the logically impossible. Since God exists necessarily, there just isn't any such thing as "God's not existing."

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  24. Scott, well said.

    And "being able to not exist" isn't a power, it is a sort of lack, a sort of "being lesser". God doesn't have that attribute, he is fullness of being so he hasn't any sort of "being lesser" in any sense. So also, being unable to cause God to not exist isn't a deficiency of power, since "God not existing" is a null phrase.

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  25. Well said, thank you very much !

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  26. Tony, good point; thanks for the addition. Et Monsieur le Fran├žais, you are most welcome.

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  27. Anyone know if this Harvard talk is up yet or where to find it?

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