Saturday, April 23, 2016

Spiering on Neo-Scholastic Essays


In the March 2016 issue of The Review of Metaphysics, philosopher Jamie Spiering reviews my book Neo-Scholastic Essays.  From the review:

Feser has found that Aristotelian-Thomistic teaching is a strong, coherent system that can provide clarity and answers in vexing contemporary debates… Feser writes admirably, with a clear, direct style that is polemical but not uncharitable or contentious… These would make excellent texts to offer to students... The clarity may also be appreciated by professional readers as a refreshing change from the sometimes fusty level of detail in recent work on natural theology -- instead, Feser allows us to refocus on perennial issues…

Feser has a gift for seeing the heart of a problem, as well as a gift for clear expression and high-quality, fair polemic -- these factors, together, offer the best reasons to read anything written by him, and this work is no exception.

I thank Prof. Spiering for the very kind words.  Naturally, she also has some criticisms.  Spiering worries that aspects of the book may be too “neo-scholastic” in a pejorative sense.  For one thing, she judges that there are not enough citations from Aristotle, noting that “there are very few direct references to ‘the Philosopher’ of the scholastics, and I saw only one in which Bekker numbers were included.”  For another thing, she says that:

[Feser] tends to characterize Thomistic arguments metaphysically, and to some extent he avoids discussing how observations of nature provided the foundation for terms such as matter, form, motion, nature, and end.  This is a troubling trend, since without paying attention to the observations on which the Aristotelian system is founded, we cannot engage those who continue to observe nature.

Many readers of this blog are bound to find these remarks puzzling, given how often I defend distinctively Aristotelian theses and arguments, and given how often I emphasize that between modern natural science on the one hand and metaphysics on the other, there is a neglected but crucial middle ground field of study known as the philosophy of nature.  (Indeed, there is a whole essay in Neo-Scholastic Essays on the theme that natural theology must be grounded in the philosophy of nature.) 

To understand why Prof. Spiering raises the criticisms she does requires, I think, some knowledge of Thomistic “inside baseball.”  So let me say a little about that.  (The excursus to follow may seem a little long for a response to a book review, but I think readers will find the points I am about to make useful for understanding other disputes between Thomists.)

Longtime readers will recall a couple of posts from a few years back (here and here) summarizing the various schools of thought within twentieth-century Thomism.  Four of these schools are particularly relevant to the present discussion.  Neo-Scholastic Thomism emphasizes the way in which Thomism can be worked out systematically and applied to a critique of the fundamental assumptions of the various schools of modern philosophy.  Its systematicity is reflected in the style of the manuals of philosophy and theology with which it is famously associated.  Laval or River Forest Thomism emphasizes Thomism’s foundation in Aristotelianism, and in particular in Aristotle’s philosophy of nature rather than in the more abstract domain of general metaphysics.  It is particularly interested in questions about how the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition ought to interpret the results of modern natural science.  Existential Thomism, by contrast, emphasizes the centrality to Aquinas’s thought of general metaphysical themes that go beyond what Aristotle himself held, namely the distinction between essence and existence, the notion of God as subsistent being itself, and so forth.  Accordingly, it tends not to emphasize either questions about how to interpret natural science, or what in Thomism is specifically Aristotelian.  Analytical Thomism emphasizes the ways in which themes and arguments in the Thomistic tradition can be brought into conversation with contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. 

Now, none of these approaches is necessarily in conflict with the others, and I have myself been deeply influenced by all four of them.  Unfortunately, however, some representatives of these schools are a little too prone to accuse the others of deviation from genuine Thomism.  For instance, Laval Thomists sometimes accuse Existential Thomists and Neo-Scholastic Thomists of overemphasizing the metaphysics of essence and existence and neglecting the distinctively Aristotelian and philosophy of nature oriented aspects of Aquinas’s thought.  Existential Thomists accuse Neo-Scholastic Thomists of being too influenced by the modern rationalist tradition of Leibniz and Wolff.  Both schools accuse Neo-Scholastic Thomists of being insufficiently attentive to the history of philosophy and to the actual texts of Aquinas and/or Aristotle.  “Neo-Scholastic” became a general term of abuse in part because of factors like these, and also in part because of the polemical use made of the term by Nouvelle theologie writers (to bring yet another school of thought into this often confusing mix).  My own view is that most of these sorts of criticisms are unjust and exaggerate the significance of what are really only differences of emphasis.  (I have defended Neo-Scholasticism against such charges in a recent article.)

Then there is the fact that “analytical Thomists” are sometimes accused of distorting Thomist ideas and arguments by reading them in light of alien philosophical assumptions that are taken for granted by contemporary analytic philosophers but ought to be questioned by a Thomist.  Sometimes there is justice to such charges.  For example, I would certainly agree that it is a deep mistake to read a Fregean notion of existence into Aquinas’s doctrine of being, and that Anthony Kenny’s famous criticisms of Aquinas’s doctrine reflect such a misreading.  However, here too, such charges are often unjust.  Many so-called “analytical Thomists” have no interest in trying to marry Thomism to incompatible contemporary dogmas.  They are simply traditional Thomists who happen to have been trained in and/or to have an interest in the analytic tradition, and aim to present Thomistic ideas and arguments in a way that will be as accessible as possible to contemporary academic analytic philosophers.

Thomists who are not very familiar with the contemporary analytic tradition -- which is the dominant approach in Anglo-American academic philosophy departments -- need to keep in mind that contemporary philosophers do not always use technical terms the way Thomists traditionally do, but that sometimes (by no means always, but sometimes) these differences in usage reflect what are really only semantic rather than substantive differences, and that it is therefore unwise to make too big a deal out of them. 

For example, in Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy, the term “science” is traditionally used in a much broader sense than contemporary philosophers and natural scientists use it.  When I use the term, though, I often tend to use it in the narrower modern sense, as long as nothing of substance rides on that usage.  The reason I do this is that it is the sense that the vast majority of my readers will be familiar with, and they would be confused and misled if I were to use it in the older sense.  Nor would it always be advisable in the context of a blog post or a mainstream article to include some explanation of why one is using the term in a way most contemporary readers are unfamiliar with.  Since, again, in most cases nothing of substance rides on it anyway, I think it advisable in many cases to accommodate contemporary usage of the term.  Most of my fellow Thomists are well aware of this and have no problem with it, but occasionally some persnickety Thomist reader will show up in the combox to complain that what I said about science was in “error” when in fact there is no error at all when the sense I had in mind is properly understood.  To be sure, there certainly are some cases where it is important to fight for returning to the older usage of some term, but there are also cases where it is not so important (at least in certain contexts and for certain particular purposes), and a wise man will know the difference.

Another example is the term “metaphysics.”  Contemporary analytic philosophers tend to use this term in a very broad way, and include within the boundaries of metaphysics issues that Thomists would not count as metaphysical.  For example, the question of whether the objects of sensory experience are composites of form and matter would for Thomists be regarded as an issue for philosophy of nature or natural philosophy rather than metaphysics.  Metaphysics, as Thomists understand it, is concerned instead with issues that are not limited to what is true merely of material, changeable reality.  In the very general sense in which contemporary analytic philosophers use the term, however, the question of whether to adopt a form/matter analysis of physical objects is a question of “metaphysics.”  Moreveor, many analytic philosophers are not familiar with the term “philosophy of nature.”  Hence, in my own case, while I will in some contexts emphasize the difference between metaphysics and philosophy of nature, in other contexts I will instead use the term “metaphysics” in the broader contemporary sense.  The reason is that in some contexts (not all, but some), nothing of substance rides on the usage, and accommodating the contemporary usage is in those contexts often the best way to make Aristotelian and Thomist ideas accessible to contemporary readers unfamiliar with them.  In such contexts, using the term in the older way would be confusing to many readers, and explanations of why one is adopting what to them will seem an eccentric usage would be tedious. 

One final consideration before returning to Prof. Spiering’s remarks.  Academics who specialize in the study of the history of philosophy -- most definitely including those who have a special interest in ancient and medieval thought -- are often wary of what they regard as a too-superficial appropriation of the ideas of thinkers of the past, and accordingly emphasize the need for careful scholarship, generous quotations from original texts, recourse to the original languages, etc.   Sometimes this is salutary and can help us to avoid reading contemporary prejudices back into earlier thinkers.  But sometimes, if one is not careful, it can degenerate into mere pedantry and a perpetual deferral of questions of contemporary application.  (“We need fifty more years of scholarship on the minutiae of what was said by each side of such-and-such a medieval debate before we can hope even to begin thinking about someday approaching the question of which side was right!”)  To borrow an apt analogy introduced by Karl Popper in a different context, scholarship in the history of philosophy is sometimes like endlessly cleaning one’s spectacles and never actually using them for what they are for. 

Another danger, though -- one of which Aristotelians and Thomists must be especially wary -- is that when contemporary application is made, scholarship can turn into mere proof-texting and argument from authority.  (“Aristotle actually wrote such-and-such; therefore…”)  I had occasion in a recent post to discuss one recent controversy among Thomists in which such an approach arguably plays too large a role.

So, to return at last to Prof. Spiering’s criticisms: I certainly would not accuse her of all of the foibles I describe above.  But it seems to me that some of them may to some extent have played a role in her remarks.   I gather that her background is in the Laval Thomist tradition and that she specializes in the history of medieval philosophy -- certainly all absolutely terrific stuff, in my view.  My suspicion, though, is that on reading a book by a self-described “Neo-Scholastic,” whose training is in analytic philosophy, who sometimes uses terms like “metaphysics” the way contemporary analytic philosophers do, and who emphasizes questions of contemporary application rather than historical scholarship, Prof. Spiering too hastily drew some conclusions that are not in fact correct, viz. that I would not ground Thomistic arguments in the philosophy of nature, and that my approach is not sufficiently Aristotelian.  Certainly Prof. Spiering gives no specific examples of how I got Aristotle wrong or of Aristotelian insights that I overlooked, nor any specific examples of how my arguments in natural theology or in other areas of philosophy are insufficiently attentive to the grounding of concepts like act, potency, form, matter, finality, etc. in the philosophy of nature.

(For what it is worth, the reasons why, in some of my writings, I do not proceed by giving extensive quotations from Aristotle or Aquinas are (a) to make it clear that I am focusing on what is actually true and defensible today, and not doing mere textual exegesis or history of philosophy, and (b) to make it clear that I am not arguing from authority.  So, whereas some people accuse me of being too slavish a follower of Aristotle and Aquinas, others occasionally accuse me of being insufficiently Aristotelian or Thomistic.  I take it that the fact that I’ve had both charges flung at me is a sign that I’m doing something right!)

Finally, in another point of criticism, Prof. Spiering regrets that I don’t engage Einstein’s theories in more detail in my essay “Motion in Aristotle, Newton, and Einstein.”  The reason I did not do so, however, is that the essay is concerned specifically with whether motion as Aristotelians understand it -- the actualization of potential -- has been shown by modern science to be illusory, or, if real, as not in need of explanation.  Where Einstein is concerned, the chief issue relevant to this question is whether the Minkowskian four-dimensional block universe casts doubt on the reality of the actualization of potential.  Accordingly, that is what I focus on.   Naturally, relativity raises a great many other philosophical questions, including questions of special interest to Aristotelians.  But those were questions beyond the narrow scope of the paper.  (As it happens, I have a lot more to say about relativity in the book on Aristotelian philosophy of nature I am currently working on.)

All the same, I thank Prof. Spiering for her review, and for her thoughtful and sincere criticisms as well as her kind words. 

128 comments:

Graham Draper said...

Really looking forward to both the Natural theology and the philosophy of nature books that are in the pipeline!

Tomislav Ostojich said...

Let me assure you, as someone who has training in mathematical physics: the Minkowskian interpretation of Special Relativity cannot entail that the "coming into being" feature of time is an illusion.

The passage of time must be either an objective feature of reality or an illusion generated by our brain. But if the passage of time is an illusion, then it follows that I could take a drug which would allow me to experience the events of next year, the events of 10 years into the past, and the events of today in that order, and fortune-tellers and seers would have a corresponding anti-doping agency to ban use of these performance-enhancing substances. This is ridiculous, so the passage must be an objective feature of reality.

Greg said...

@ Tomislav

But if the passage of time is an illusion, then it follows that I could take a drug which would allow me to experience the events of next year...

Why does this follow? If time is an illusion, why should it have to be an illusion that can be dispelled? Perhaps no such drug is naturally possible.

Tomislav Ostojich said...

@Greg What's the difference between reality and an "illusion that can't be dispelled"?

laubadetriste said...

@ Tomislav Ostojich: "What's the difference between reality and an 'illusion that can't be dispelled'?"

"Reality is that which, when you don't believe in it, doesn't go away."--Peter Viereck

Despite ↑that awesome quote, I think that, being strict about it, it is evident that reality per se must be other than an "illusion that can't be dispelled", because if there genuinely is an *illusion*, then there is also that for whom it is an illusion, and also that of which it is an illusion, which makes in reality at least two things more than the illusion itself.

Also I would be inclined to make the G. E. Moore-ish point that, since your question is intelligible, that implies that there is in fact a difference. We can in fact imagine (say) a Matrix-like world in which no one ever woke up, and yet the illusory lives they led were only a part of a larger machine human-harvest, etc.

Greg said...

@ Tomislav

What's the difference between reality and an "illusion that can't be dispelled"?

To add to what laubadetriste has said, consider this: Beings capable of interacting with and learning about the world might have varying potentialities for cognitive access. So for one sort of being, there might be an illusion that cannot be dispelled. For another sort of being, it might not be an illusion at all, or it might be an illusion that can be dispelled.

laubadetriste is right with his Moorean point. There are familiar examples of illusions, like the apparent "bending" of a stick in a glass of water. We recognize them as illusions because we've seen their dissolution and the reality that underlies them. But their being illusions and their being dissolved are conceptually distinct, even though the occasional occurrence of the latter is what explains our possessing the concept of an illusion. Someone who has the concept of an illusion should be willing to admit the possibility of an indissoluble illusion, or else he should just give up the concept of illusion.

Tomislav Ostojich said...

@laudabetriste, Greg

Fair point. You are correct that the power to dispell an illusion should not be a sufficient criterion to disprove an illusion. One might add that the schizophrenic was unable to dispell his hallucinations before the advent of Chlorpromazine in the 1950s, but that didn't give his illusions anymore of a correspondence to reality.

However, consider this: if "coming into being" is just an illusion, then there must have been some way that Shakespeare could have in principle "cheated" and grabbed a copy of Romeo and Juliet from the future, such as by celestially "fast-forwarding" into the future block and observing a copy of his play. But this would allow for the creation of information out of nothing, which is ontologically unacceptable. So if we can hold that information cannot come from nothing, then "coming into being," and therefore the passage of time, must be objective in some very important sense.

laubadetriste said...

@Tomislav Ostojich: "...'coming into being,' and therefore the passage of time, must be objective in some very important sense."

Agreed. We were talking about that on that other post.

"Let me assure you, as someone who has training in mathematical physics: the Minkowskian interpretation of Special Relativity cannot entail that the 'coming into being' feature of time is an illusion."

There is an ambiguity there that tripped us up. And that is (to take your case) just what you mean by "entail." For of course that interpretation might entail something, or might entail (by hypothesis being true) that something is true. The difference is not a quibble, as I think our previous discussion showed, for in one case we are talking about the universe, and in the other we are talking about the interpretation of a theory about the universe.

On that other post, I asked for anyone who might know the recent science to say something about any changes there may have been. Neither pck nor TOF nor anyone else said anything about that. Perhaps you know?

Of course, until the next *next* new book comes out, there's also possibly Dr. Feser's "Motion in Aristotle, Newton, and Einstein"--but I confess I just haven't read that one yet.

Jose Jaramillo said...

@laubadetriste

Speaking of books, as a person who wishes to learn philosophy, what books would you recommend to a person with little to no experience in the subject?

Curio said...

This is why I love Laval Thomists. They will criticize you for not engaging enough with Aristotle, St. Thomas and Albert Einstein all in the same breath. Long live Laval

Sobieski said...

Speaking of philosophy of nature and metaphysics, it would be interesting to get your take on the dispute among existential and natural philosophy Thomists regarding the grounding of metaphysics, Ed. Maybe you have covered that somewhere. John Knasas' book "The Preface to Metaphysics" has a good overview of the matter. He, of course, argues for an existential position.

Anonymous said...

Scholastic metaphysics is taken to task:

http://theskepticzone.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-incongruities-of-act-and-potency.html

laubadetriste said...

@Jose Jaramillo: "Speaking of books, as a person who wishes to learn philosophy, what books would you recommend to a person with little to no experience in the subject?"

Hey there! I'm nonplussed that you would ask me, since there are actual philosophy teachers here (e.g., besides Dr. Feser's, check out also Brandon's superb blog: he's a philosophy teacher, too).

But since I run my mouth, let me quote myself quoting myself... :) :

Generally, Bryan Magee's *The Great Philosophers* is a superlative overview of philosophy, because it is the record of a gifted amateur (in the etymological sense), talking with some of the best of contemporary philosophers, about most of the great philosophers. Hence it is passionate, and nontechnical without being unsophisticated, and addresses not just what the great philosophers were on about, but *why* they were on about it. (Leaving the *why* out being the soporific secret of most textbooks I have read.) The videos upon which the book was based are also on YouTube. And Magee's autobiography, *Confessions of a Philosopher*, is marvelous at showing the intimate involvement of philosophy in the life of a man who is aware, even before he becomes a man, and even before he reads any philosophy.

Bertrand Russell's *The Problems of Philosophy* is a perennial favorite, because of its beauty, clarity, and brevity. It is available for free online. How suggestive that a man so intimidatingly brilliant that even Virginia Woolf said she would like to ride around in his head for a few days could write something so simple!

(I should add that it is often pointed out that Russell didn't get certain groups of philosophers--the German Idealists, the Mediaevals, etc.)

Dr. Feser's work is the reason why we're all here. Really, do go back on the blog and read as much as you can about what he says. Google "feser" and "roundup". Or if you prefer something from a naturalist perspective, John Searle's *The Rediscovery of the Mind* is every bit as good as Dr. Feser said it is--perhaps even it is better! And it is short.

laubadetriste said...

And I would be remiss if I did not encourage you to go back to the real thing and read a lot of Plato, perhaps starting with the *Gorgias*, or the works on the last days of Socrates. As Lewis said:

"There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about “isms” and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire."

And if you should want bibliographies (and who doesn't?), then the ones in Roger Scruton's *Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey* are superlative (as is the book that contains them), and the ones at the London Philosophy Study Guide.

(Pity the bibliographic essay seems to have died out along with the analytical table of contents. Man, I spent happy hours in the ones by Peter Gay and Crane Brinton and...)

laubadetriste said...

@Anonymous April 23, 2016 at 10:35 PM: "Scholastic metaphysics is taken to task:"

"Classical theism is based on a system of metaphysics that Thomas Aquinas adapted from Aristotle..."

Thus ↑that post begins. God knows how it ends!

Vincent Torley said...

Just for the record: Physicist Sean Carroll wrote recently that he finds the eternalist block-universe view to be "perfectly acceptable," but he's open to other views of time. (http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2015/04/03/the-reality-of-time/) I don't think physics has settled the matter yet, one way or the other.

The argument (put forward originally by Popper) that change really occurs at least within the observer’s consciousness itself, whenever we perceive things happening in time, doesn't establish the objective reality of time. All it establishes is the objective reality of change. Time requires regular change; otherwise there's no way to measure the flow of time.


Oldavid said...

A wonderful old bod I once knew (Diocesan priest and professor of (Scholastic) philosophy at a prestigious university) defined time for me as "the succession of events" or, as we might prefer now days: relative rate of successions of events.

You bods are turning yourselves inside out trying to re-invent a wheel with more corners and convolutions than a prism full of worms.

I can only assume that it's because you're trying to adapt straight-forward observations and logic to an absurd ideological prejudice.

Daniel Hegedus said...

My comment is not directly related to the blog entry, but the entry reminded me of something I'd wanted to ask about regarding the philosophy of nature and metaphysics.

Writers like Garrigou-Lagrange and texts like the 24 Thomistic theses make it clear that the distinction between actuality and potentiality is cardinal to the system.

The overuse of this principle is severely criticised by Jonathan Barnes, arguable the best contemporary authority on Aristotle. (His work is both scholarly and philosophical, but probably more heavily titled towards the former.)

How would one defend the distinction in the face of the following criticism? (I apologise for the extended quotation.)

Capacities are accidents, derivative entities, Book Theta [of the Metaphysics] urges that actuality is prior to capacity, and prior in various ways. [Here follows the key text of the Metaphysics in the priority of actuality over potentiality, Bk. Theta Ch. 8, 1049b18-25.]

This is now actually a fine oak tree. It was once, when it was only an acorn, potentially an oak tree; so that in its history, potentiality preceded actuality. But that acorn was produced by an actual oak tree; so that before any potential oak tree there was an actual oak tree. And if, in general, actuality is prior to potentiality in time, then in some sense substances must be prior in time to stuffs.

But this conclusion is surely absurd (and I should in justice add that Aristotle nowhere draws it). And Aristotle’s position rests on a false principle — a principle which nonetheless enjoyed an astonishingly long life. It rests on the principle of “generation (or causation) by synonyms”: if x makes y F, then x itself must be, or have been, F; if x heats y or makes y an oak tree, then x must itself have been hot or an oak tree. (Why? — well, how could x transmit heat to y if x had no heat to transmit, i.e., if x was not itself hot?) Far from being a logical or conceptual truth, the principle is open to easy empirical refutation. In any case, Aristotle does not manage to point to any general priority of actuality over potentiality: if he is right, then before every potential F there was an actual F — and equally, before every actual F there was a potential F.

Here, and elsewhere, Aristotle asks capacities and actualities to produce more power than they can provide. (They are asked to do tough philosophical work in the Physics, for example, where they are adduced in order to define change or motion, and in On the Soul, where they help to define the soul itself.)

This is from The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle, edited by Barnes (Cambridge UP, 1995), pp. 95-96.

If Barnes’ characterisation of Aristotle’s argument is accurate, then the Thomists need to rework the principle quite a bit in order to make it work, or define its application more accurately than Aristotle himself did. Is the scholastic principle in fact a refined version of Aristotle's? or are Thomists vulnerable to the argument that Barnes levels against Aristotle? I am very curious to read your response, if this seems like an argument worth responding to.

Brandon said...

if x makes y F, then x itself must be, or have been, F

It is at least controversial that Aristotle held any such a principle as a general matter; and it is certainly not accepted in such a form by most Aristotelians after him. Aquinas (whom I suspect you have in mind from your heat example), for instance, just holds that if x makes y F, x itself must be actual. And this is not really surprising -- equivocal causation plays an immensely important role in any Aristotelian system.

Kevin said...

OT, my apologies: Mr. Feser, you said a year ago that your book on capital punishment would be coming out soon. Are there any current estimates of when it might come out?

Curio said...

@ Anonymous

Taken to task?

http://theskepticzone.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-incongruities-of-act-and-potency.html

This poor fellow doesn't seem to know much about metaphysics or philosophy of science. This is evidenced by his naively appealing to "laws of physics", neglecting to consider what modern physics is in the first place and assuming that no contemporary Thomists have any idea about "law of conservation of energy". Odd, given that (as Feser wrote in the above post) the Laval School has devoted itself heavily to the study of modern mathematical physics and it's relationship to natural philosophy.

Is TOF around somewhere? He'd have a field day with this post.

Brandon said...

Thinking about the Barnes question a bit more. The primary reason for thinking that Aristotle holds something like a "principle of causal synonymy" are occasional obscure remarks like Physics 202a8-12; but it's possible to interpret such passages in other ways -- if one looks at how Aquinas interprets Physics 202a8-12, 'synonymy of causes' does not show up at all in his comments on the passage; he explicitly takes the passage to be an argument that the moving principle in every mover is the form by which it is actual -- and thus he interprets Aristotle's example of the actual man educing actual man from potential man. That is, there's no sign of the notion that if y is made F, x must have been F; the argument is treated as being that if y is made F, it must be because x has a form, by which it is actual. And this in turn Aquinas sees as a part of an argument merely that 'mover' does not imply 'being moved' (because being moved is a matter of being potential, but a thing is always a mover because of the form that makes it actual).

Aquinas does hold that there should be some likness between cause and effect, such that this effect is linked with this cause (but this is true of almost any causal theory that is not purely Humean), but he doesn't think that this means that a thing that makes F must be F. (In his commentary on Metaphysics 1070a, he explicitly gives heat as an example of an obvious case where the idea fails: heat in lower bodies comes from sun, not from heat.) And this is at least one plausible interpretation of Aristotle, who sometimes does seem to countenance that the 'synonymy' can be quite general.

Robert said...

@curio,

To be fair, that seems like the most charitable reflection on anything theists, aristotelians, or Thomists have said that im-skeptical has ever done. But that's not saying much. I wonder why he posted it anonymously...

Tony said...

Scholastic metaphysics is taken to task:

@ anonymous: those who would take scholastic anything to task would do well to actually understand it, first.

In the real world, anything that moves or changes something else is itself moved or changed in the process. To realize this, note that the laws of physics absolutely require it. There is conservation of energy, which implies that energy being imparted to some object must be lost from something else.

The "conservation of energy..." theory speaks to agent causality, but does not speak to material, formal, or final causality. If the falcon, spying a rabbit, swoops down on it, the rabbit is the cause of the falcon changing its wings to swoop, but there is no concommitant 3rd law effect on the rabbit. There is no agent-caused motion IN the rabbit that corresponds to "falcon changing its wings" as an equal and opposite reaction.

grodrigues said...

@Curio:

"This poor fellow doesn't seem to know much about metaphysics or philosophy of science. This is evidenced by his naively appealing to "laws of physics", neglecting to consider what modern physics is in the first place and assuming that no contemporary Thomists have any idea about "law of conservation of energy".

Much better evidence than that can be found, e.g. this gem:

"Thermodynamics also refutes the idea of actualization, in the sense that the universe is destined by physics to end up in a state of "heat death". Heat death can best be described in terms of Thomistic metaphysics as the loss of all actuality. There is no form or function. But thermodynamics is not something that Aristotle or Aquinas knew about, and so they have no explanation for it."

Eduardo said...

Oerter henchman blog being posted here after a year+ after that paper about newtonian physics and scholastic metaphysics was published and had that mental meltdown from oerter.


Yuuuge surprise... Not.

Never trust any escarlate A-theo :-P

im-skeptical said...

Please come and tell me what I got wrong.

Here.

Kyle said...

From the taking to task blog post:
"Aristotle posited the existence of act and potency as a means of explaining phenomena observed in the natural world. It was said that movement (which can be any of a variety of types of change) is explained as the actualization of a potency. "

Is that correct? Were act and potency really things the existence of which Aristotle posited (i.e. in the way that Neptune, or the nucleus, or the Higgs boson were new pieces of physical reality, the existence of which was posited by various people and/or their proposed scientific theories, prior to later on being confirmed). My albeit newbie understanding is that in contrast with those situations, A-T act and potency were merely labels invented to allow a particular useful *description* of an already-understood aspect of reality -- in this case, "change".

So just as we could say:

"Sexual reproduction occurs when two organisms, one from each of two classes in the species, Do It. Let's call the class that produces ova, 'female', and the other 'male'"

we can say:

"(Physical) change occurs when some portion of physical reality moves from one state to another. Let's call the first state, 'potency' and the second state 'act'".

I'm probably being imprecise in my use of the two words in the latter, but my point is that, AFAIU, A-T weren't "posting the existence" of anything. They were just applying some (unobjectionable -- i.e. non-question-begging) labels to stuff. The main work lies in what arguments can then build on those definitions.

"Actualization was thought to be the fulfillment of an end or goal."

But isn't that referring to an additional argument, over and above the basic one about change itself? Again, AFAIU, there's no need for any teleology to get from observing change to a Prime Mover. Isn't that correct? (What teleology *is* needed for is to then get from a Prime Mover to, for example, "No Same Sex Marriage". But as I say, that comes on top of the core Cosmological Arguments).

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlC2FD71xZU&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNUyloniv4cZJZZOBIAzGK5B

An attempt by Paul Giem to critique Michael Augros' book Who Designed the Designer? (3 parts).

Eduardo said...

The abridged version... Of stupidity! No wait I meant, of ignorance. Okay it is both! If you are not down with that, than I got two words for you: suck it :-P

"Thermodynamics also refutes the idea of actualization, in the sense that the universe is destined by physics to end up in a state of "heat death". Heat death can best be described in term"Thermodynamics also refutes the idea of actualization, in the sense that the universe is destined by physics to end up in a state of "heat death". (Let me translate this one, heat death proves there is no change in nature or it proves there is no way potency and act can be correct! Dude all of a sudden doing cocaine sounded like a wonderful idea. The person can only mean the second idea but it is hard to see all heat related phenomena stop occurring as a prove that there is no act or potency. If you wanna way out...)

Heat death can best be described in terms of Thomistic metaphysics as the loss of all actuality.( No it doesn't. Tee hee :-) the skeptic[lol] is sayig that reality will cease to exist after there is no heat going around anymore)

There is no form or function (like that silly gravity force and nuclear force magic that DOES NOT suffer from heat death, actually heat does not influence in the existence of these two forces and the potential related to them, this is just the evidence that refutes the idea that knowing science or f*ing loving it or wanting to hump a scientist leg makes you good at thinking, it doesn't ;-))

But thermodynamics is not something that Aristotle or Aquinas knew about, and so they have no explanation for it." (Oh my! Thermodynamics has a lot to do with classical physics, as in, it is just applied newtonian physcis to a huge amount of particles and use experiments from study of gases and build from there. The only thing that could be considered as something completely outside of medieval knowledge is the idea of heat, or energy transfer... But well, it doesn't prove the idea wrong, you can easily assume act and potency right and theorize or assume as a fact heat.)

Eduardo said...

@Im_skepsis

Nope... Come here, copy and paste your criticism here and be happies! ;-) you know the thing will be eviscerated by people who really know the subject XD!

Why should anyone go to an angry athey's site just to stir the pot for no reason? Or is this to increase the relevancy of your blog or to have allies to bitch about the criticism?

Blame anon... Blame anon.

Eduardo said...

Kyle

Actually the act potency theory is meant to be a response to a criticism of the reality of change. I think that is it, there is more about in the blog, Phayser Layser talks about that in other posts.

Phayser == Feser

im-skeptical said...

Eduardo,

I do not intend to derail this thread. And I did not make the anonymous comment above that mentioned my post in the first place.

I can't have a civil and rational discussion here. Certainly not with the likes of you. Anyone who would like to, come on over.

Anonymous said...

@im-skeptical: "One might argue that God isn't subject to the laws of physics. But what reason do we have to suppose that this kind of causation (pure act) exists at all? "

Consider: what would it take to bring to an end, a kid's line of "Yes, but why....?" questions (a very good line of questioning in my opinion, and one that any serious Physicist should also persist with[1]).

Surely it's going to have to be an answer such that a subsequent "Yes, but why...?" question makes no sense? If it's still possible to ask "Yes but why...?" then we haven't reached the bottom. So what we are looking for is a why-stopper answer. Even materialist Physicists can appreciate the desire to get those; a Theory of Everything is surely just a big-ass why-stopper.

And a particularly important class of why-stoppers are answers possessing *necessity*. The A-T Prime Mover, is an example of precisely such an answer. The theory is that your question "what reason do we have to suppose that this kind of causation (pure act) exists at all?" -- which is a "Yes but why...?" question -- makes no sense. To be clear, I'm not saying you're stupid. I'm just saying that if the Prime Mover *necessarily* exists, then it doesn't make sense to ask why it exists. The proposition "The Prime Mover does not exist" is not -- the theory goes -- even coherent. It's like saying "This triangle has four sides".

Now why *is it* the case that the Prime Mover necessarily exists? Well, you'll need to get into the Thomist arguments, and really understand them to see how he gets to that conclusion, and to have a chance of showing how he was wrong. But in my limited experience, they are far more subtle than at first sight, and from your blog post it's not clear you've understood them.

Of course, someone could respond that maybe there simply is no final why-stopper. Maybe it's just "Whys all the way down". But that raises two questions for me:

1. What is so special about this particular line of questioning that would make otherwise curious explorers such as trained scientists dispense with their usual stubborn refusal to accept "there is no answer", and to suddenly embrace it -- tantamount to magic -- here? Put it another way, shouldn't the clear, skeptically minded thinker want to explain *WHY* it is that there is no why-stopper answer?

2. Given that we already *have* a candidate for why-stopper explanation, why is it rejected seemingly out of hand?[2] Surely anyone who feels the need to just keep on looking for an infinite regress of "Why" should first deal with the one on offer? And again, I think that's better done by considering a version of the candidate that doesn't get involved with the usual meanings of "G" word. That said, it is interesting that people as otherwise dispassionate as professional scientists can get well-nigh phobic about examining a proposal that somewhere in the dark recesses of their minds, someone somewhere has used as an excuse to say you're not allowed to eat meat on a Friday. Fearless following of skeptical reasoning seems to get thrown out of the window but only in this specific area. Curious

--

[1] I use the word "why" in the everyday sense, given this context, of something like "By what mechanism..." as opposed to "To what end or purpose..."

[2] In fact, sometimes it's not even rejected at all. Instead, the response is something like, "Well possibly, but that wouldn't be the God of Abraham" and the respondent then seems to take that (true) assertion to imply that we shouldn't bother talking about the non-God-of-Abraham aspect of the proposal -- namely, that it may provide the necessity needed to stop the Why regress.

Eduardo said...

Skepchick dude

Well I guessed it wasn't you the anon guy, because I think that this anonymous may be the one that doesn't use names, but I remember clicking on your profile and looking at your blog, so I guessed it wasn't you

You can have a civil and rational discussion here... Despite being people like ME here, don't be silly. I am just one person and if you do have something interesting to say I usually just keep my mouth shut. You won't derail it trust me, the people hare are outstandily nice with off-topic subjects and Feser moderates with the lightest of hands, is just that, your link to your own blog seems...

Tony said...

Eddie, boy, I'm glad you aren't pissed at ME.

Of stupidity! No wait I meant, of ignorance. Okay it is both! :-)

laubadetriste said...

@Jose Jaramillo:

Also in the spirit of what Lewis said, Russell mentions in his bibliographical note at the end of *The Problems of Philosophy* these easier-to-read masterpieces of philosophy:

Plato: *Republic*, especially Books VI and VII. For free online here.

Descartes: *Meditations on First Philosophy*. For free online here.

Spinoza: *Ethics*. For free online here.

Leibniz: *Monadology*. For free online here.

Berkeley: *Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous*. For free online here.

Hume: *Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding*. For free online here.

Kant: *Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics*. For free online here.

Hume and Kant wrote ↑those books as popularizations of their longer works, *A Treatise of Human Nature* and *The Critique of Pure Reason*, respectively. Berkeley wrote, "I shall throughout endeavour to express myself in the clearest, plainest, and most familiar manner, abstaining from all flourish and pomp of words, all hard and unusual terms which are pretended by those that use them to cover a sense intricate and abstracted and sublime"--and he did. Durant wrote about the *Ethics*, "Read the book not all at once, but in small portions at many sittings. And having finished it, consider that you have but begun to understand it. Read then some commentary... Finally, read the *Ethics* again; it will be a new book to you. When you have finished it a second time you will remain forever a lover of philosophy." And of course, Whitehead wrote, "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."

laubadetriste said...

In Blanshard's brief essay, "On Philosophical Style", he tells anecdotes about three great readers, Macaulay, Hans Reichenbach, and Russell himself, stumped despite their abilities by Kant, Hegel, and an unnamed logician. "It is true that the philosopher must live in a drier climate than most men would find habitable, and be content with what Bacon called the lumen siccum or dry light as distinct from the lumen humidum or light drenched in the affections. But that is not necessarily fatal to the life of feeling; even a rigorous austerity does not require that one's heart stop beating altogether." And so, here is a list of important other works of philosophy (or works of not-philosophy that yet are very *philosophical*), which have stood the test of time, and are on the shorter side, and are generally thought clear, or even beautiful:

Anselm - Proslogion. Augustine - Confessions. Marcus Aurelius - Meditations. Bacon - Novum Organum. Bergson - Creative Evolution. Boethius - Consolation of Philosophy. Cicero - Nature of the Gods. James - Varieties of Religious Experience. Johnson - Rasselas. Kierkegaard - Fear and Trembling. Locke - Second Treatise of Government. Machiavelli - Prince. Mill - On Liberty. Montaigne - Apology for Raymond Sebond. Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil. Pascal - Pensées. Plutarch - Lycurgus. Santayana - Three Philosophical Poets. Schopenhauer - Wisdom of Life. Unamuno - Tragic Sense of Life.

All of them are available for free online, and in good cheap editions from Hackett, Penguin, Dover, or Oxford. If I were you, I would pick one and try it. If you find it dull, put it down and try another.

"A book is a mirror: If an ass peers into it, no apostle looks out."--Lichtenberg, Notebook E

Aquinas also started a shorter summary of his thought, which is available for free online here.

You will notice an absence from this list: Aristotle. He was renowned in antiquity as a "river of gold", for the beauty of his poems and dialogues--which are lost. What we have left may be lecture notes taken by his students. I don't know what to say about that.

laubadetriste said...

Stupid broken HTML links. Whatever, Ima get a drink now...

laubadetriste said...

@Eduardo: "The abridged version... Of stupidity! No wait I meant, of ignorance. Okay it is both! If you are not down with that, than I got two words for you: suck it :-P"

...and ↑that's what a boring insult looks like. We can do better than that, *and* clearly explain where he went wrong.

But first:

@im-skeptical: "Please come and tell me what I got wrong. / Here."

So, just why do you want us to go over there?

@Eduardo: "You can have a civil and rational discussion here... Despite being people like ME here, don't be silly. I am just one person and if you do have something interesting to say I usually just keep my mouth shut. You won't derail it trust me, the people hare are outstandily nice with off-topic subjects and Feser moderates with the lightest of hands, is just that, your link to your own blog seems..."

...seems just a little bit rich, given recent behavior. There you had Greg AND Mr. Green AND Great Scott AND Dr. Feser AND Brandon AND Gottfried AND BenYachov AND Eric MacDonald AND pck AND Glenn AND scbrownlhrm all trying to explain things to you--

--to be fair, Santi got in the way, too--

--and the results were not pretty. So, what gives?

Eduardo said...

@Lauda

U____U huh... Just because you prefer wayyyyy more intellectual insults. I was just listening to my feelings dude!

But I did attempt to show where he went wrong... I wrote in parenthesis and quoted him

Guess was just confusing... My bad.

Jeremy Taylor said...

laubadetriste,

Completely unrelated to the OP or the rest of the discussion in this thread, but I thought it might be a good idea to ask you whether you know where C. S. Lewis writes most on moral philosophy apart from his major works (especially The Abolition and Mere Christianity)? Lewis writes at some point about the basis of pre-modern morality in reason, but I can't find where he writes a lot about this.

By the way, I would add Lewis' Miracles, especially the chapter on the Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism, as well as Newman and Bishop Butler, to your list of those who wrote philosophy or very philosophical not-philosophy works that are relatively easy reading.

Jose Jaramillo said...

Although I find the list something that looks a bit overwhelming, I certainly appreciate the links. If you will excuse me, I have some work to do. Take care and thank you.

Tomislav Ostojich said...

I don't believe that final causes exist in the fundamental physical laws. Final causes only exist in biology and human endeavors. A rock isn't pointy because it's directed at some intrinsic end, but rather it's just pointy because the random processes that manufactured it resulted in a pointy shape.

laubadetriste said...

@Jeremy Taylor: "... where C. S. Lewis writes most on moral philosophy apart from his major works (especially The Abolition and Mere Christianity)? Lewis writes at some point about the basis of pre-modern morality in reason, but I can't find where he writes a lot about this."

Not sure, but that sounds like "Ethics" or "De Futilitate" in *Christian Reflections*--the first one being more historical, the second one being more, I don't know, *existential* (that's not quite right, but anyway...).

There's also some serious moral philosophy in *God in the Dock*, and some serious moral reflection, anyway, in *Reflections on the Psalms* and *A Grief Observed*. There's consideration of pre-modernity in *The Discarded Image* and (indirectly) in *A Preface to Paradise Lost* and *Enlish Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama* (it's on Scribd somewhere, can't find it).

"By the way, I would add Lewis' Miracles, especially the chapter on the Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism, as well as Newman and Bishop Butler, to your list of those who wrote philosophy or very philosophical not-philosophy works that are relatively easy reading."

Thank you for the recommendations! Yes, we really ought to make this a whole-blog kinda thing. I said I was nonplussed to be asked, but if a bunch of regulars throw in, that would be awesome. Then we'd have something to refer future newer folks to.

That means *you*, Greg AND Mr. Green AND Brandon AND Gottfried AND BenYachov AND Eric MacDonald AND pck AND Glenn AND scbrownlhrm AND everyone else I didn't coincidentally just mention for unrelated reasons.

@Jose Jaramillo: "Although I find the list something that looks a bit overwhelming, I certainly appreciate the links. If you will excuse me, I have some work to do. Take care and thank you."

If my list was overwhelming, perhaps I over-did it. :) Like I said, there are actual philosophy teachers around here who have taught actual people before about philosophy.

But think of it this way: these are recommendations *for the rest of your life*. On that scale, that's like a hundred pages a year! Ain't no thang.

@Eduardo: "But I did attempt to show where he went wrong... I wrote in parenthesis and quoted him / Guess was just confusing... My bad."

Not at all. I was objecting only to your insult. Let us have rich and piquant insults!

...alongside our careful explanations and fine distinctions, as well as historical awareness and earnest pursuit of the truth, wherever it may lie. And humor!

Eduardo said...

Tomislav

I think you should search for teleology in this blog and check back. It will be interesting I assure you.

laubadetriste said...

@Tomislav Ostojich: "I don't believe that final causes exist in the fundamental physical laws. Final causes only exist in biology and human endeavors."

Do you believe that fundamental physical laws govern, constrain, or describe "biology and human endeavors"?

Tomislav Ostojich said...

@laubadetriste I believe that the fundamental physical laws constrain biology and human endeavors but they do not describe either.

Gyan said...

"the eternalist block-universe view"

Doesn't it merely change the metaphor of time flow from temporal to spatial?

More generally, physics must take space, time and the things that exist in space and time as granted.

What physics is concerned is to predict the future motions of the things in space and time. It does not lie in the province of physics to cast doubt on the reality of the time flow itself.

Philip Alawonde said...

@Anonymous April 23, 2016 at 10:35 PM: "Scholastic metaphysics is taken to task:"

"Classical theism is based on a system of metaphysics that Thomas Aquinas adapted from Aristotle..."

Thus ↑that post begins. God knows how it ends!


laubadetriste, you stopped at the first paragraph, I tried to go farther than you, but had to stop when I encountered:

'The idea of an unmoved mover is contradicted by the laws of physics.'

Couldn't waste more of my time reading that nonsense!

Tomislav Ostojich said...

Actually, I may have been mistaken about there being no final causes in the fundamental laws of physics. The principle of least action may be an example of a final cause of motion.

DNW said...

@grodrigues or anyone up-to-date on the question.

What is the current assumption in mainstream academic circles - physics or mathematics - on the nature of time?

grodrigues said...

@DNW:

"What is the current assumption in mainstream academic circles - physics or mathematics - on the nature of time?"

I am behind on what the current fashions are, but unless I am mistaken, there isn't one. Any such comprehensive view of time would by given by the holy grail of theoretical physics, a theory of quantum gravity, or the quantization of general relativity. But there is no such theory, physicists are nowhere close to getting there and the task faces formidable obstacles on all fronts: technical (mathematical included), experimental and philosophical. So what you will is a smorgasbord of diverse opinions, tainted by the usual philosophical prejudices.

T. Maudlin's "Philosophy of Physics - Space and Time" may be a good place to see the vistas (volume 1 of his 2-volume series on physics; came out in 2012 if I am not mistaken). He also discusses the passage of time in his "Metaphysics within Physics". They are both on my pile of to-read books, so I cannot vouch for them, but Maudlin is no slouch.

DNW said...



@ grodrigues


Thank you.

DNW said...


I recall an occasion as a kid, early teens by my recollection of the particular county library, when I was wandering aimlessly through the stacks, instead of doing the research for the paper I was supposed to be writing.

All of the sudden I saw a book, the title of which caught me in a way I can barely describe.

It might as well have said "All Secrets of the Universe Revealed" in lettering flashing from the spine.

I grabbed it and started leafing through. Nothing. I flipped pages looking at least for illustrations. Nothing. No diagrams, no gauzy pictures of the universe, nothing about "heaven" or God, nothing even "physics-like" in it.

I couldn't even find anything obvious in the way of reference or description to, or about, "Being" or "Time" just a lot of incomprehensibly dense verbiage of which I understood precisely nothing.

And that was quite a surprise, because even books that were way beyond my grade level had some paragraphs in them that I could at least get the gist of. What little I could understand seemed to have nothing to do with anything at all important, much less being and time. I was so mad, I couldn't get over it.

I don't think I even now understand that book; but for reasons other than were in play the first time.

Perhaps some things are bound to remain opaque until the framework shifts.

Nicht wahr?

Daniel Hegedus said...

@ Brandon

Thank you for the thoughtful answer. In light of your explanation, how would you read Metaphysics 1049b18-25? Is Barnes excessive in his interpretation?

“actuality is prior in time, in this sense. Actual members of a kind are prior to potential members of the same kind, though individual members are potential before they are actual. I mean that the matter and the seed and that which is capable of seeing — items which are potentially but not yet actually a man and corn and seeing thing — are prior in time to this particular man who now exists actually (and to the corn and to the seeing thing); but they are posterior in time to other actually existing things, from which they were produced. For the actual is always produced from the potential by the actual.”

In Aquinas’ take on the subject then, the actual which actualises the potential need not be actual by the same form? E.g. x makes y F, but x need not have been F, it simply has to have any actual form F’ which can make y F? But if this is the case, does the principle tell us anything interesting?

Kyle said...

@DNW:
"All of the sudden..."

Uhu?

"...I saw a book,..."

Yeah??

"...the title of which caught me in a way I can barely describe."

[Nods. Open eyed. Expectant.]

"It might as well have said "All Secrets of the Universe Revealed" in lettering flashing from the spine."

[Mouths "O" "M" "G", while salivating, and shifts forward to edge of seat, nodding vigorously like a dashboard bobble-head]

"[deletia]
Perhaps some things are bound to remain opaque until the framework shifts."


Duuu-uude! Puhhlease tell me that none of those things is the title of said bloody book?

laubadetriste said...

@Kyle:

...and it was *Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1*, by Julia Child.

Craig Payne said...

Dear Sobieski: You wrote, "Speaking of philosophy of nature and metaphysics, it would be interesting to get your take on the dispute among existential and natural philosophy Thomists regarding the grounding of metaphysics"

If you ever find it, read the long essay "Being and Predication" by Ralph McInerny. It is in a book of the same title, but the book is difficult to find. In it, McInerny takes on Gilson and covers some of the territory you are describing.

(Based on memory; I think it's that essay, but at least I know the relevant essay is in that book.)

Kyle said...

@laubadetriste said...
"...and it was *Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1*, by Julia Child."

You're just trying to goad me into another la crème anglaise fiasco. Well it's not going to happen this time. No sticky end for me.
Ah. Right. Dang!

Mr. Green said...

Kyle: My albeit newbie understanding is that in contrast with those situations, A-T act and potency were merely labels invented to allow a particular useful *description* of an already-understood aspect of reality -- in this case, "change".

Yes, I would agree that is largely the case. I think a lot of misunderstanding of A-T is unsurprisingly rooted in a failure to understand the definitions, including failure to recognise the parts that are definitions.



Tomislav Ostojich: Actually, I may have been mistaken about there being no final causes in the fundamental laws of physics. The principle of least action may be an example of a final cause of motion.

Quite so; and even the "random" processes that shape the pointy rock are in some sense directed because they are processes that produce a pointed rock instead of a smooth one. Exactly the same processes would not, if we could reply them precisely, produce all different shapes of rock. But for the same cause to produce the same effects simply means that it is "directed" to those effects. Feser has written a lot about the necessity of final causes to make sense of even the most minimal level of physics.

Mr. Green said...

Y'all must be gluttons for punishment the way you rush off to the Valley of the Dulls to read these installments of "this time I'll get Feser for sure!"

But thanks to GRodrigues for providing a laugh with this quotation: "Heat death can best be described in terms of Thomistic metaphysics as the loss of all actuality."

Good gravy.

"But thermodynamics is not something that Aristotle or Aquinas knew about..."

The evidence continues to support my thesis that anyone who begins a sentence by saying, "Aquinas didn't know about...", ends it by being wrong.

DNW said...




Blogger Kyle said...

@DNW:
"All of the sudden..."

Uhu?

"...I saw a book,..."

Yeah??

"...the title of which caught me in a way I can barely describe."

[Nods. Open eyed. Expectant.] ...


LOL


DNW, had said,

"I couldn't even find anything obvious in the way of reference or description to, or about, "Being" or "Time"

Maybe I should have said, " 'Being'... and 'Time' "

Nicht Wahr?

Doubter who Doubts said...

Professor Feser,


An interesting post, as always.


I think I have now understood Aquinas' First Way, and i mostly owe this to you and your works.

Your works on that argument have caused me to see that believing in the existence of the God of classical theism can in fact be a highly rational belief to hold, and even an intellectual one.

Consequently, I have now returned to the Roman Catholic religion i had abandoned : i gotta change that username, now ! :V

Whether you will or will not read this message, this i do not know.

But if you will, i would just like to say this : thank you.

Thank you for writing.

It took me a long time to understand The Dumb Ox, but i guess after all that it unfortunately really is in the nature of a genius... To be misunderstood.

Jeremy Taylor said...

laubadetriste,

Thanks, I think Lewis makes a few allusions on this issue in The Discarded Image. I will check out the other works to see if he adds to them there.

laubadetriste said...

@Doubter who Doubts:

Congratulations!

@Kyle: "You're just trying to goad me into another la crème anglaise fiasco."

Think of me as an occasion to display your rhetorical inventiveness--if you like, as a sort of holiday from sense and propriety. :)

"Is that correct? Were act and potency really things the existence of which Aristotle posited (i.e. in the way that Neptune, or the nucleus, or the Higgs boson were new pieces of physical reality, the existence of which was posited by various people and/or their proposed scientific theories, prior to later on being confirmed). My albeit newbie understanding is that in contrast with those situations, A-T act and potency were merely labels invented to allow a particular useful *description* of an already-understood aspect of reality -- in this case, 'change'."

I think we must say that, no, act and potency are not *merely* labels; that yes, they are things that really are; but no, they were not posited *in the way* in which Neptune, or the nucleus, or the Higgs boson were; and no, change was *not* already-understood.

It was understood *that* change happens, of course, or anyway, seems to. But it was precisely because change was *not* understood that Parmenides could have had his way of truth, and also his way of opinion; and it was precisely because change was *not* understood that there could have been a dispute between folks like Parmenides and Zeno, and folks like Heraclitus. And it was not until Aristotle posited something intermediate between being and non-being--potency--that change *could* be understood, and many paradoxes dispelled.

This was not a discovery in the way that Neptune was a discovery--it was instead a discovery of metaphysics (or philosophy of nature, perhaps, as Dr. Feser was saying up-post). This was more like (say) the discovery of transfinite numbers by way of the diagonal argument. *These things must be so*, one understands, having followed the arguments--but no, one does not discover them one day by looking around.

"We may say that a green leaf changes when it turn brown; but we do not say that a green leaf changes when we substitute for it a brown leaf. It is essential to the idea of change that the thing which changes retains its identity while changing. And yet it must become something else: it was green, and it becomes brown; it was moist, and it becomes dry; it was hot, and it becomes cold. Thus every change is the transition of a thing into something with, in a way, opposite qualities (as Anaximander and Anaximenes had seen). And yet, while changing, the changing thing must remain identical with itself. This is the problem of change. It led Heraclitus to a theory which (partly anticipating Parmenides) distinguishes between reality and appearance."--Popper, *World of Parmenides*

laubadetriste said...

"Parmenides’ claim was that something can’t come from nothing, but that nothing was the only thing something new could come from, since the only thing there is other than what already exists (i.e. being) is non-being or nothing. Hence nothing new can come into existence, and change is impossible. Aristotle’s reply is that while it is true that something can’t come from nothing, it is false to suppose that nothing or non-being is the only possible candidate for a source of change. [...] Parmenides says: If we say that a solid rubber ball can become soft and gooey, then it can’t be the actual gooeyness itself that makes this possible, because it doesn’t yet exist, and it can’t be the non-existent gooeyness either, since what doesn’t exist can’t explain anything; so, again, the ball can never become gooey, and in general no sort of change is possible, regardless of what our senses tell us. Aristotle replies: Even if the gooeyness itself doesn’t yet exist in the ball, the potential for gooeyness does exist in it, and this, together with some external influence that actualizes this potential (e.g. heat), suffices to show how the change can occur."---TLS 2.A.

"I'm probably being imprecise in my use of the two words in the latter, but my point is that, AFAIU, A-T weren't 'posting the existence' of anything. They were just applying some (unobjectionable -- i.e. non-question-begging) labels to stuff."

Well, the "T" there came later. But we must posit the existence of some such things in order to explain real (as opposed to apparent) change. Otherwise we're back to the opposition of being and non-being, and all those paradoxes rear their heads again, and we must write poetry about goddesses and moons... :)

@MR. Green: "I think a lot of misunderstanding of A-T is unsurprisingly rooted in a failure to understand the definitions, including failure to recognise the parts that are definitions."

Agreed. However, I speculate that what folks like im-skeptical *hear* there is, "Let's take some ordinary commonplace and slap some arbitrary and eccentric names on it so we can justify an otherwise superfluous superstructure of talking funny, which will become our engine of war in service of l'infame." They seem to think we are (to steal another example from Blanshard) taking something perfectly adequate, like "They fell in love," and substituting for it something like, "Their libidinal impulses being reciprocal, they integrated their individual erotic drives and brought them within the same frame of reference"--which of course is not only needlessly more complicated, but in a sense is false to the thing described.

"Quite so; and even the "random" processes that shape the pointy rock are in some sense directed because they are processes that produce a pointed rock instead of a smooth one. Exactly the same processes would not, if we could reply them precisely, produce all different shapes of rock. But for the same cause to produce the same effects simply means that it is "directed" to those effects."

Yup.

@DNW: "Maybe I should have said, " 'Being'... and 'Time' " / Nicht Wahr?"

Well, I at least completely missed that, until you changed the conjunction... :)

laubadetriste said...

@Mr. Green: "Y'all must be gluttons for punishment the way you rush off to the Valley of the Dulls to read these installments of 'this time I'll get Feser for sure!'"

Heh. :)

"'But thermodynamics is not something that Aristotle or Aquinas knew about...' / The evidence continues to support my thesis that anyone who begins a sentence by saying, 'Aquinas didn't know about...', ends it by being wrong."

Yup.

BTW, I noticed that im-skeptical has started editing his post to remove--I guess--the *really* obvious inaccuracies. For example, sometime between April 24, 2016 at 10:32 AM, when he commented on it, and now, he changed his first sentence from "Classical theism is based on a system of metaphysics that Thomas Aquinas adapted from Aristotle..." (still visible on the Google cache), to "Thomism is based on a system of metaphysics that Thomas Aquinas adapted from Aristotle." I don't see that he has announced that he has edited his post.

Another reason I'm staying over here where the people--however mad, bad, and dangerous to know--are nevertheless honest, funny, and well-read.

Timocrates said...

It is impossible to deny the reality of act and potency without also denying the reality of change.

Every change has an end; if it did not, it would be unintelligible as a change.

"X is moving." This implies that it can move or be moved and is moving from one thing to another. Local motion is the most basic of all motions and local motion involves movement from place to place. The "to" necessary for local motion is the end of the change/motion; it can be generalized to direction, for instance. Similarly with a change of speed of any object.

To deny this is to force oneself to deny there is any actual movement or change whatsoever; certainly, at minimum, that there is any intelligible change. In any description of a change there must be something changing from something to something at least in one respect of itself; for example, from place to place or from one state or condition to another state or condition. To be sure, we can understand a change without knowing exactly what might be changing about it; hence, "X is changing" - while it does not specify in which category the change is taking place - is intelligible because we are assuming (and further granting there is nothing impossible about) something going from one place, position, state or condition into another. In every change there is always understood something prior and something posterior, even if it happens instantaneously. What is necessary is a real difference; but because this involves the prior and posterior, we have to admit the potential and the actual. Now even if something is said to be just changing place or position, it is necessary that it now be in a different place or position than it had been.

Consider that a thing cannot go to a place that does not, has not and will never exist; hence, we would deny someone's assertion that something is moving to or toward such an end. We would deny that something is changing its color from red to a black whiteness, for example. We would deny, however, that perhaps something is changing its color from red to back or from red to white or from to white then afterward to black, as there is nothing impossible about this. Now when it was red, it was understood to be only potentially white; and when white, only potentially black. And now that it is black, we understand it is only potentially white or red again.

From this we might better understand why every agent has an end; to deny this is effectively to deny change on one hand or otherwise admit absurd changes and, by necessary consequence, the reality of anything absurd or impossibles actually becoming to.

Kyle said...

@Mr Green: I think a lot of misunderstanding of A-T is unsurprisingly rooted in a failure ...to recognise the parts that are definitions.

Any idea if that has a name, because I think it applies more generally than just here. For example, in high school physics we learn that Resistance is Voltage divided by Current. I remember at the time thinking "How do we know that? Can they prove it?" Only later did I realize that we know because we're defining it as such.

Another example, this time one I'm still not sure of. The opening proposition in Wittgenstein's Tractatus is:

The world is everything that is the case.

but is that:

We're already familiar with that which is the case (all of it). But for ease of writing, let's just call all of that "The world"

or

We're already familiar both with that which is the world, and that which is the case (all of it). Well amazingly -- get ready for a revelation -- the wold, and that which is the case (all of it), ... they're the same thing!


Kyle said...

@DNW: Maybe I should have said, " 'Being'... and 'Time' "

Ohhhhhhh. Riiiiiight. Dannnnnng :-(.

Still. I'd like to follow @laubadetriste's example and plead the Conjunction Amendment.

Timocrates said...

Correction above:

"We would not deny, however, that perhaps something is changing its color from red to back..."

Kyle said...

@Mr Green: "Y'all must be gluttons for punishment the way you rush off to the Valley of the Dulls to read these installments of "this time I'll get Feser for sure!"

It's a sickness. We are to be pitied.
In my own case, I'm convinced it's a form of OCD. Just as some sufferers cannot tolerate the presence of even the smallest piece of dust on the least important window, in the dingiest corner of the basement, and so repeatedly try to wipe away what is actually a crack in the glass, all the time fighting off an increasing desire to put a fist through it, so too can I not tolerate even the smallest piece of whack-a-doodle-ness, in the least important blog, in the most unimpressive corner of the Internet, and so repeatedly try to caress, cajole, or kick some sense into what is actually an arrogant mORoN, all the WHile fighTiNG OFF aN INCREASING DESIRE TO ... !!!!!! [breathes] [breathes]. It's OK, I'm alright. [breathes] I'm OK. I'm OK....

Kyle said...

[Staggers back in from a recent sortie]

So, down in im-skeptical-when-it-suits-me's basement:

* Someone dealt a devastating blow to Feser's entire career by unearthing that dark secret known as Aaron Boyden's review of TLS

* Someone else replied that Boyden himself had acknowledged that the review was "philosophically completely worthless".

* To which im-skeptical-about-everything-except-what-I-already-just-know-is-true replied that Boyden's admission did not mean he was saying his review was wrong

I'm telling you Ed, the've got you on the ropes dude, it looks like you're going down this time.

Sigh. See, this is what I'm talkin' about!

Craig Payne said...

I went over to read Boyden's review. Boyden himself apparently said of it (in response to a criticism from Ed that it was gratuitously nasty) that "any nastiness was far from gratuitous."

So let me double down: It was sneering, condescending, ill-informed, and gratuitously nasty, all at the same time. I would call it sophomorically insulting were it not for the insult to sophomores I know. It read like someone trying to combat a stiletto with a bowling ball.

To give Boyden a smidgen of credit, I think that's what he meant by calling it "philosophically completely worthless." I think he was aiming for the scorched-earth policy rather than an actual philosophical engagement.

Anonymous said...

Even if im-skeptical happens to be a dolt on a vast array of issues, I must admit that he harbors a distrust of metaphysics that is not completely unwarranted.

Why does the world have to operate in accordance with Thomistic metaphysics or any metaphysical theory? Just as with scientific models, we seem to be thrusting this metaphysical model onto reality and concluding that it must be a feature of reality because, as far as we can see, it's done an excellent job of "capturing" reality (things around us are evidently admixtures of act and potency, from which we demonstrate the existence of Pure Actuality, and so on). But in the end, it's just a model. Reality has no need in itself to exemplify our models, scientific or metaphysical; there is no way of knowing whether there is indeed a one-to-one correspondence between mind and reality. And so - to paraphrase Heidegger - I feel I have to be content to just sit back in humility and let the "world just world in all of its worlding."

laubadetriste said...

@Anonymous April 27, 2016 at 4:56 PM: "Why does the world have to operate in accordance with Thomistic metaphysics or any metaphysical theory? Just as with scientific models, we seem to be thrusting this metaphysical model onto reality and concluding that it must be a feature of reality because, as far as we can see, it's done an excellent job of "capturing" reality (things around us are evidently admixtures of act and potency, from which we demonstrate the existence of Pure Actuality, and so on). But in the end, it's just a model. Reality has no need in itself to exemplify our models, scientific or metaphysical; there is no way of knowing whether there is indeed a one-to-one correspondence between mind and reality."

I am not sure whether you mean what you say, or indeed whether you know what you say.

Of course, the world does not *have to* "operate in accordance with" "any metaphysical theory" in the sense that no one is compelling it to do so, and the candidates for agents capable of doing so--God, angels, aliens, etc.--presumably would not deign to color only within the lines of our theories, our theories being secondary to what we theorize about. However, if by that you meant rather to ask something like, *why does "Thomistic metaphysics or any metaphysical theory" have to fit the world--then ask yourself, what if it were not so?

Starting with the more obvious second case, what if *no* metaphysical theory--no metaphysical theory!--fit the world? This would of course be tantamount to complete skepticism. It would be tantamount to saying that anything goes. It would be denying the PSR.And of course you would be contradicting yourself, including when you talk about scientific models capturing reality (even with your scare quotes).

(Although "contradicting yourself" would become problematic, too...)

To take instead your first case, what if it were really just about "Thomistic metaphysics" that you wondered why it should fit the world? This would be begging the question. Many people have argued for hundreds and even thousands of years (depending upon which part of Thomistic metaphysics we're talking about) just why so. (See the blog archive, on the right.) You might as well be the kid who throws a fit about apples in physics class when the math gets hard.

laubadetriste said...

(Compare: "Just because the theory of plate tectonics 'captures' geophysical reality, why should the Earth's plates have to move? It's just a model!")

Or what if you meant not to question why *any* theory must fit the world; nor why a *Thomist* theory might do so; but merely whether "Thomistic metaphysics or any metaphysical theory" must not fit the world only incompletely? "[I]t's just a model", as you say, and of course every model is selective, and hence partial. "No map is the territory," as I noted on another post. But this would be a trivial objection--you would be objecting to (say) the metaphysics of act and potency, on the grounds that it doesn't tell us (say) who will prefer chocolate ice cream over strawberry.

Or what if you meant not to question why *any* theory must fit the world; nor why a *Thomist* theory might do so; nor whether "Thomistic metaphysics or any metaphysical theory" might fit the world only incompletely; but merely whether "Thomistic metaphysics or any metaphysical theory" really fits some particular aspect or part of the world? Then it would be very misleading instead to go on about "Thomistic metaphysics or any metaphysical theory", and models, and "one-to-one correspondence between mind and reality", etc.--for none of those would be things you actually object to.

"And so - to paraphrase Heidegger - I feel I have to be content to just sit back in humility and let the 'world just world in all of its worlding.'"

That's not humility. That's virtue signalling: "To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else."

...where "more moral," in this case, means something like "unwilling to be all uptight about forcing the world to fit in blinkered, narrow boxes that tell it what to do," etc.

Anonymous said...

Was Boyden shot by his daughter, after he had that affair with Samantha Nixon's daughter?

Anonymous said...

This is what Dr. Feser wrote about Boyden's review:


BTW, brave of you to show your face around here given your gratuitously nasty, intellectually dishonest, and philosophically completely worthless "review" of TLS at your own blog and at Amazon. Same old mixture of sweeping question-begging assertions coupled with the "no space here to give any arguments" shtick, I see. Coupled with the de rigueur accusations of "bigotry." I'm embarrassed to admit that I expected something at least a little more serious and substantive from you. Silly me.

Check out his contributions to this thread and you can see that Boyden is a shockingly nasty and disreputable person for a professional philosopher. The problem is the likes of Papalinton, who must be ranked alongside Don, Santi, and Skept in the ranks of idiotic Gnu trolls, will never be able to judge Boyden's claims for what they are worth - nothing.

Anonymous said...

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/when-frank-jilted-mary.html

Here's the link.

Anonymous said...

Here's another exchange where Boyden doesn't come across especially well:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2010/01/an_offer_you_must_refuse.html

It was only natural, perhaps, for the likes of Skept to take what someone like him wrote as gospel (ironically), but a little digging shows such trust in his authority is not warranted.

DNW said...

"Check out his contributions to this thread and you can see that Boyden is a shockingly nasty and disreputable person for a professional philosopher. "

Got a kick out of his student reviews. We learn from America's youth that he is easier than helpful, and less clear than either. In a sartorial review by one, we are informed that he likes skinny jeans or girl pants or whatever they are called. Unless the student meant that he really did have some problem with his laundry.


But you say, bad. How morally bad could he be? Worse than, Alex, Lynch the Duke Lacrosse Players, Rosenberg?

laubadetriste said...

When I said up-post that, "I don't see that [im-skeptical] has announced that he has edited his post," I missed that he announced it April 25, 2016 at 8:12 AM.

@Craig Payne: "To give Boyden a smidgen of credit, I think that's what he meant by calling it 'philosophically completely worthless.' I think he was aiming for the scorched-earth policy rather than an actual philosophical engagement."

His review gave rise to my favorite comment so far over on im-skeptical's blog, from Papalinton: "Not to put too fine a point on it, it seems whatever the influence and impact of Feser's contribution to contemporary mainstream philosophy remains marginal or peripheral at best."

By coincidence, just earlier today I had the occasion to say, "I suppose I am going to have to start calling this sort of objection the 'Middle School' objection for short--middle school being the last time I remember popularity looming so large in anyone's estimation of truth." Now, Papalinton does not by his profile picture appear to be in middle school--but then, perhaps appearances deceive.

DNW said...

Anonymous said...

" Here's another exchange where Boyden doesn't come across especially well: http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2010/01/an_offer_you_must_refuse.html "

Thanks for the link.

It seems to me that "Matteo" made one of the more interesting observations there. One, which provoked a response that is either an incomprehensibly bizarre sidestep into a grinning equivocation, or simply a nonchalant shrug at any objection to radical circularity.

"Matteo" quotes and then comments:

"[Boyden] I would respond that we are rationally required to accept rational arguments regardless of what kind of beings we are."

[Matteo] I'm unclear as to what this could possibly mean. Are rocks and trees rationally required to accept rational arguments?

So far as I know, the only (physical) beings on this planet who are rationally required to accept rational arguments are the rational animals. Do you know of other rational animals besides human beings?

Posted by Matteo "


Boyden then replies,

"I really don't see how this is ending up being so obscure. A tree or a rock which fails to accept rational arguments isn't being very rational, is it? So yes, rocks and trees are rationally required to accept rational arguments. I would, of course, be pretty surprised to encounter a tree or a rock which had actually accepted a rational argument, but there is no entailment from what's rationally required to what is actually done, for humans or rocks or trees."

Trouble is, Boyden used the term "we" as if it had some categorical reference to mutuality in the first place: and so pretending to read "rationally required" in the second place as if it did not suggest "morally obligated to rationality" in some sense, is simply duplicitous, and quite trollish.

That behavior seems to me to be a sign of a bad (morally speaking) character.

But perhaps someone else could explain why Boyden did this, in a way which would reflect less badly on him.

Anonymous said...

Papalinton used to post here until he was so tired of getting beat up he darn't show his face any more. He has shown himself to be a moronic troll of the worst order. He couldn't tell philosophy from his navel. That he is hanging out at Skept's blog is no credit to either.

laubadetriste said...

@Anonymous April 28, 2016 at 5:05 PM: "Papalinton used to post here until he was so tired of getting beat up he darn't show his face any more. He has shown himself to be a moronic troll of the worst order. He couldn't tell philosophy from his navel. That he is hanging out at Skept's blog is no credit to either."

Huh. I did not know that.

And I may have to change my favorite comment from over on im-skeptical's blog to this one by the man himself: "I find it difficult to understand how someone who is educated in science can fail to see that the old model is inconsistent with modern scientific knowledge. It is a failed model. As far as I know, the only people who buy it are theists." (By "the old model" he seems to mean Aristotelian metaphysics, this gem having followed closely after the comment, "The philosophical gobbledygook should be a dim and distant memory. It's a failed model. A model that has no correspondence with how the universe actually works. Is this all religion has left? How do you know it wont all change tomorrow? How do you know you're real? How do you know that snail in the garden isn't god? Pathetic obfuscation. What is the point of all this tiresome nonsense. A desperate attempt to resurrect a long dead god.")

After you stop laughing that there is someone, presumably allowed to eat with cutlery, who thinks that philosophy involves wondering whether a snail in the garden is God, consider that last sentence: "As far as I know, the only people who buy it are theists." Now, what could that possibly mean?

Perhaps im-skeptical meant to say that only theists buy some elements of Aristotelian metaphysics. But that can't be right, for im-skeptical claims that he made an effort to understand the views he opposes, and being the careful reader that he is, *of course* he is aware of the long and sundry list of figures mentioned on this blog, including non-theists, who buy some elements of Aristotelian metaphysics--such as A. N. Whithead, E. A. Burtt, R. G. Collingwood, Marjorie Grene, Floyd Matson, F. A Hayek, Brian Ellis, Nancy Cartwright, Crawford Elder, George Molnar, Andre Ariew, J. Scott Turner, Scott Sehon, G. F. Schueler, Erwin Schrödinger, John Hawthorne, Daniel Nolan, John Heil, U. T. Place, Monte Ransome Johnson, J. Scott Turner, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, David Chalmers, Brie Gertler, Howard Robinson, John Foster, Alva Noë, and Stephen Mumford.

No, that can't be right. No, im-skeptical must *really* mean that theists are the only people who buy *all* of Aristotelian metaphysics!

laubadetriste said...

But that can't be right, either, for Aristotelian metaphysics includes the Unmoved Mover, and so he would be saying that theists are the only people who are theists--which, while true, is an obtuse thing to say, and unworthy of his famous sagacity.

No, im-skeptical must *really* be saying that, since theists are the only folks who buy Aristotelian metaphysics, therefore Aristotelianism is a minority position!

But that can't be right, either, for theists are the great preponderance of all the people that there are; and historically speaking, Aristotelianism is perhaps the most lengthily and most widely prevalent system of any sort whatsoever; and if being in the minority were blameworthy, then (e.g.) modern physics would be among the most blameworthy of systems, due to its historically recent development and comparatively few devotees; and im-skeptical would not want to impugn modern physics!

So no, that can't be right. But I'm sure that if I just keep digging in the dull earth of his blog I'll find that rich vein of insight that im-skeptical is known for...

Eduardo said...

You know the fun part is that people like Im_skeptical wastes soooo much energy on bunked stuff. YES his blog is about that lol.

Dude I couldn't live doing this for years but then again I am not full-retard, and we know you don't ever go full-retard.

But what really gets to me is the fact that I started to debate religion because I really thought that you could teach secular people, and I sort of am included on that shit-turd of a group (well there some fucked religious people so guess we are all shit-turds), thought that if you could tell people some way to see a certain subject in a different way, the secular people being unlike childish and stupid religious people would rapidly embrace your alternative and be ready to hear some more!!!! I mean how could they not!?! They are the adults of our society, the ones with leveled thinking and the right morals, the liberal ones, they are the people who wish well on everybody else, who do not wish to impose their will on others.

Well that belief is... A lie. Yup secular people are just like everybody else. Who would have known that right??? (Think about my imbecility when you send your child to school to learn under those great visionary left-o's teachers, yes they will end like me: fat, Secular and virgin!!!!!!!!!11!!!eleven)

Anyways, you learn very quickly that people are not too happy to hear anything contrary to their views especially on religion. How many times you have heard people saying stuff they know nothing about; I mean age of information... Of deluded-half-true information. We ALWAYS want to have a position about things, and religion is one of the top subjects. But I really gave up completely when one of the commenters here that were working on the criteria argument for God, made me connect some dots in my head and realise that every argument suffers from the problem of being judged by people's own criterias. So arguments become weak because they do not correspond to criterias that we believe in.

You see Skep-dude there, has no choice. He can only believe in arguments that conform to his criterias; if they failed then they are bullshit and must be speaked against, because skept-dude KNOWS his criterias are the ones that always render the closest match to reality, sooooo of course he is always on the right of any issue. He and Left of course.

im-skeptical said...

Lots of interesting commentary. The usual name-calling, ridiculing, well-poisoning, etc. that I expect from this crowd. Many people saying "that's just wrong", "that's laughable", "he doesn't understand it", "he's ignorant", etc. One thing I haven't heard from anybody is "here's why your statement is wrong ...", or any kind of cogent explanation or defense that would give me good reason to think that I might actually be wrong in what I have said.

Someone once said "Anyways, you learn very quickly that people are not too happy to hear anything contrary to their views especially on religion." How true.

Next up: divine simplicity.

DNW said...

im-skeptical said...

... The usual name-calling, ridiculing, well-poisoning, etc. that I expect from this crowd. Many people saying "that's just wrong", "that's laughable", "he doesn't understand it", "he's ignorant", etc. ...


April 29, 2016 at 9:21 AM



Well, I was skeptical that what you asserted was true.

And so, taking your proffered quotes "from this crowd" (and that was a real quote) and doing a search of the thread here, I find that what you purported to be the case, was not the case. Your statement was false.

Not only were there not " ... many people saying ..." exactly what you quoted them as saying, there were not any saying it.

Do a search. Try it for yourself ... maybe you will get a different result.


But assuming you don't, maybe then, when as was the use here, you employ quotation marks in order to signal that you are reproducing what was earlier written, you don't intend to be taken as, or care yourself whether you are, quoting truly.

But then, if that is the case, why bother to deploy the marks in the first place?

If that is the case, how can anyone trust what you say?

Eduardo said...

Well the assertion was meant for everybody ;-). Everybody has problems with religion, because is so part of people's lifes.

Im_SkepTIC... People said why your claim is wrong, I think they did even in your blog no? You don't think those arguments make you think otherwise well awesome way to prove my point that people only judge things through their criterias.

You see you don't ever say, well if you take this and this to be true or criterias for a decision I am correct. But no! Nope... We have the good and old "hey it didn't convince me". Wow, well that is your problem and your non-argument... Way to go.

You know why I made you reply after your prolonges silence ... Because is true and you freaking know it, you know you are in that group and they way I render it makes you look silly. It does! And if you think you are right you should embrace that silliness ;-) suck it Skeppy, suck it on the mental pretzel you are in...

And just say that I, Eduardo, said that ;-) hehehehehe

"Next Step: Divine Simplicity ... Whatever that is XD"

#EvilNonGenius

Taylor Weaver said...

I remember that time recently im-spectacle showed up saying he didn't explicitly say a particular thing, and when I quoted two instances of him saying EXACTLY WHAT HE CLAIMED HE DIDNT, there was simply silence.

Not really someone to trust when it comes to reading things objectively nor honestly. Well, he may think he is being honest, and give himself the benefit of the doubt at all possible times. But, otherwise seems simply delusional. Perhaps a false sense of superiority or something. I don't know, I'm not a psychoanalyst.

Edward Feser said...

As always, it's hard to believe that im-septic believes his own BS. The one good argument for thinking that he does believe it is that he really seems to expect -- incredibly, I know -- that he might be able to get other people to believe his BS.

Check out Jeff Lowder's vain attempt have a serious discussion with him:

http://theskepticzone.blogspot.com/2016/04/defending-ivory-tower.html

Adding to his hit parade of cluelessness, im-septic here (a) demonstrates (as Jeff gently points out) that he doesn't know what an ad hominem fallacy is and (b) shows his usual lack of irony in whining that I am insulting to Coyne in my review of Coyne's book -- a book which is itself loaded with gratuitous insults.

Eduardo said...

People he just agreed that the phrase "people don't like to hear anything against their views especially on religion" is true. Well it obviously applies to him and he just proves everyday that he doesn't like to listen anything against his views on religion. Well of course he does not believe it applies to him because he obviously has no idea how to be self-critical, but what I said was meant to mean exactly that: Secular people don't like to hear their views on religion spoken against.

Accidently it applies to religious people and whatever other possibility, which I think it is why he probably latched on to my phrase because it could be used by his position. But well; Cluelessness is, after all, a virtue... Of rocks.

DNW said...

Following the link, I read the skeptic's accusations directed at Philosophy of Religion.

But, since unlike hunting rifles, or jet engines, or lasers, or the history of the development of logic, I can muster almost no interest in Philosophy of Religion, whatever that is, I cannot say whether when the arguments of Philosophers of Religion are, "shown to be logically invalid", or the premises are shown to be "unsupported by factual knowledge", (sic) the practitioners of "Philosophy of Religion"TM just keep toddling on regardless. You know like, say, some demented communitarian hack who has just had both his "altruism" and the noises he makes about it, thrown back in his face as just another Darwinian strategy which no rational other has any special obligation to morally respect.

In fact, these progressive atheists are likely to give any rational man a good laugh each and every time they try to escape the logical consequences of their own nominalism by offering up categorical arguments.

"We" ... "we", "we" all the way home.

How bloody stupid can these organisms get?

No wonder then, that men in the old days, having less time and stored capital to waste on borderline personality cases, and no allegiance to an endless tolerance of the kind Skeptic himself abjures, would deal with these nonsense spewing annoyances by drowning them face down in bogs.

After all, no real reason not to, unless you are interested in pretending the reason offered against it is important to you.

However, I would not counsel such a course.

My own, and highly personal view though - not that anyone need agree with me - is that things like that shouldn't be generally done.

It is not in keeping with the spirit of our enlightened age and when you think longer about it, wetlands are just too valuable a recreational resource to use in that way.

Anyway the problem would probably in large measure go away on its own if we could bring back a libertarian enough polity where the autogenous life costs of some were not forcibly redistributed to the political population as a whole. Many of them would no doubt quickly find their own way out, not being able to bear the intolerable burden of being who and what they are.

That would still leave atheists of course. And I am fine with that. They just would not be such a flock of self-stimulating, mincing, crybabies as they are now.

im-skeptical said...

Ed,

The philosophical elitist has the arrogance to assume the someone can't employ the term ad hominem in any manner other than the strictly philosophical sense. If I had used the term argumentum ad hominem, Lowder would have had a point. But that's not what I said. I did say your review contained an ad hominem attack. Read the dictionary.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ad%20hominem

Eduardo said...

Let's test you out silly tits...

Ad hominem according to your link is:
appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect

marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

-----------------------

Now Dr Feser is a blue meanie and has said the following attributions to Coyne that could fall as being a attack on the character of Coyne or appealing to people's emotions instead of the content in the book.

#1 Biologist Jerry Coyne has managed to write what might be the worst book yet published in the New Atheist genre.

#2 Reading Coyne trying to do something as simple as defining his terms is like watching him play tennis with himself. And losing.

#3 Given Coyne’s standards of scholarship, I fully expect to see the last half of that sentence used as a blurb for the paperback edition.

The blurb: For considered as an omnibus of concrete examples of elementary logical fallacies, Faith versus Fact is invaluable

Edward Feser said...

im-skeptical,

1. Presumably, you intended the "ad hominem" charge as a rational objection to what I wrote about Coyne. In which case, naturally, any reader would suppose that you were accusing me of committing an ad hominem fallacy. But now you say that you were not accusing me of committing such a fallacy. But then, what exactly is the nature of your objection? If all you mean by characterizing what I said as ad hominem is that I said mean things about Coyne, well, we all knew that already. How does this constitute a rational objection to my criticism of Coyne, if the mean things in question were not fallacious?

2. You still have not explained why it's OK for Coyne to be insulting to his opponents in his book, but not OK for me to insult Coyne back when reviewing the book. (That is a fallacy on your part, by the way, as all us "philosophical elitists" know. It's called special pleading.)

3. And re: this "philosophical elitist" stuff: What is that, the talking point du jour that Loftus told you to repeat robotically? Why is it that when Coyne et al. (rightly) say "Know the science before commenting on it," that's not "scientific elitism," but when I or Parsons say "Know the philosophy before commenting on it," that's suddenly this thing you and Loftus call "philosophical elitism"? (Actually, what it's called is "knowing what the hell you're talking about before opening your mouth" -- you know, that thing that New Atheist types claim to prize.)

Anonymous said...

During the discussion between Jeff and Skept, Papalinton couldn't help sharing his timeless wisdom:

It is difficult to pin Jeff down to an answer. He is a parable-er [my neologism. Phonetic: /pəræ'bələ/] and a liker of play-on semantics. Not only does his H1 v H2 example characterise that proclivity but the implied notion that 'old atheist' "know what their talking about", because other 'old atheists' say so, smacks of a little touch of hubris, methinks.

I think we need a translator.

im-skeptical said...

Ed,

1. My objection is that what you said constitutes an attack on the man, not the contents of the book. I didn't make a big deal about it (you may recall that I didn't mention this in the comments on your post earlier). It was when Lowder spoke of your "opening salvo" that I felt the need to remind him about what was in the first paragraph of your review, which I have called an ad hominem attack. It was Lowder who insisted on making a big deal of it, and lecturing me on something of which I am well aware.

Nevertheless, even if your remarks don't constitute an instance of ad hominem fallacy because of the fact that they are not a rebuttal to a particular argument that Coyne made, one might take a broader view, and look at the entire book itself as a kind of argument, and your review as a rebuttal of the book as a whole. This seems reasonable, given the things you said about it.

2. I never said it's OK for Coyne to do that. No special pleading here.

3. You are obviously unaware that my post came first.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about why anyone cares about what Skep thinks? Literally, he comes across as a low-order Gnu troll. Why are we all caring so much? What next? Will we all start discussing the latest article on Santi's blog or what Don Jindra has to say about New Vs. Old Atheism?

Anonymous said...

One of Skept's commentators, Ryan M, thinks we're psychopaths:

Feser can be very insulting to New Atheists, but unlike his psychopathic commenters on his site, I don't think Feser actually commits the ad hominem fallacy with his insults.

PsychoEddy said...

LOL.

Well I am pretty damn sure I am not neurotypic but I am not a psychopath and neither are you folks. Psychopaths are usually people very cold and usually they don't care about other people. You people are too nice and kind. I on the other an just an ass... Yep I said, I admit and do it on purpose because trolls.

Being an ass is not psychopathy though But saying otherwise is just insanity 8P

-------

Dude we care because that is a picture of a lot of people's mentality... Sad but true.

-----------

Skeppo dodges the the exposute and doubles down at... LOL... Well I guess having an opinion about other people's work is an ad hominem attack.... Well in fact no it is not. The initial claim is that THE BOOK, not Coyne, was pretty pretty bad. That is not freaking EVEN, a personal attack. Actually the whole review has 2 comments that directed at Coyne for real. The rest is just directed at his work.

Seriously, being a psycho is sounding like being sane at this point.

Anonymous said...

It is a bit harsh, but in internet discussion I think you sometimes need to smack down people like Skept or Papalinton. They are the sort of people who either can't understand or don't want to understand not only many of the issues they often sound off on, but also basic aspects of argumentation and reasoning. Yet they like to swan around arrogantly shooting their mouths off. Such people need taking down a peg or two from time to time, or where would the online world be. Even the poster who calls us psychopaths, Ryan M, comes straight out against the idiocy of Skept in that thread. As long as a line is not crossed, a little sternness here is a good thing.

im-skeptical said...

psycho,

Feser's opening salvo does say the book is bad, but the argument is based on the failings of the author by comparison to other New Atheist authors. It consists of a series of insults that have nothing to do with what the book actually says.

Anonymous said...

What argument? That first paragraph is the introduction to the review. Later Feser delves more deeply into what the book says. And of course those insults have directly to do with what the book says - they are about the book. You even say this yourself, unless you think Feser is insulting the paper quality or the pictures on the cover.

Anonymous said...

And before you start down your familiar lane of criticism, Feser critiques how Coyne understand religion and science in the book. This is a criticism of the contents of the book. In fact, as the work is about religion and science, this is in fact a criticism by Feser of a central aspect of the book. It is, as someone on your own blog pointed out, simply like critiquing an anti-evolution book's misunderstanding of the very definition and meaning of evolution.

You seem to wish Feser had gone into more minutiae. This doesn't change the fact that Feser takes aim at the central pillars of Coyne's work, besides which the other contents is but details. He no doubt only had limited space and did not see the need to go into other issues with the work. Any criticism you can make on this score, so far as it is legitimate at all, can only be stylistic.

Eduardo said...

The failings of the author's work, is compared... To other authors works... No ad hominem Bubba.

Anonymous said...

What Skept means is that Feser, he alleges, didn't support his comparisons by referring to the contents of Coyne's book. Aside from being misleading, as the paragraph in question is the introduction of a review in which Feser does delve into the contents of the book, this is not an ad hominem fallacy. It might be, if true, another failing, but Skept doesn't seem to know the difference.

Eduardo said...

To be quite sincere anon, I personally believe that having strong critics around kind of stiff the conversation. Having a critic can be a blessing or it can be a curse. For instance Paps is a critic and we can all agree having him NOT AROUND is a huge blassing XD. Oh boy! I really felt sorry for him when he did that neologism, I sincerely think he should get help because he is sounding insane now, and is not even Boghossian (New-atheist dude) concern-trolling/insulting, I really do felt bad for him, it sounds like the guy thinks he is THAT deep, when he obviously is someone with a big-words dictionary. Seriously... I felt bad for Paps.

Skeppo here is just... Clueless. But at least he attempts to be somewhat serious... Maybe. But at least there is that.

Eduardo said...

Oh damn it forgot to complete the first paragraph, I was so sad for Paps and his insanity that...

So anyways, dguller use to post here, I wonder what happened to him and his favorite debate pal, which I forgot the name. He was a awesome critic. But he was one dude. Among many Paps LOL.

So I think critics just stiff the conversation because people stop calmly discussing something, to start engaging the angry dude in the room.

So you know, being rough in the internet ended up being a must... But I wish I could just not care and just forgive all the A-holes, but I can't stand lying, and lying is number one tactic on the internet, so I just don't know! XD

grodrigues said...

@im-skeptical:

"Feser's opening salvo does say the book is bad, but the argument is based on the failings of the author by comparison to other New Atheist authors."

The "opening salvo" is not supposed to be an *argument* -- there are no premises, logical inferences, etc. Feser is only characterizing, with unfailing rhetorical justice, the utter moronic character of the mentioned books. The justification for the adjectives -- the arguments -- come later. This is something that anyone with the most minimal of reading comprehension skills can grasp -- the difference between a piece of rhetoric and an argument.

Taylor Weaver said...

Jesus. It is clear that im-spectacular hasn't ever written a review of a book (except maybe on his blog or something, where he has direct control over the amount of space), and thus has no clue what the purpose, structure, or limitations are of doing so...

Don Jindra said...

Anonymous,

"What next? Will we all start discussing the latest article on Santi's blog or what Don Jindra has to say about New Vs. Old Atheism?"

I've said virtually nothing about New Vs. Old Atheism. I agree that what little I have said would make a boring discussion.

Tony said...

Oh, heck, I am just lost in pleasure reading Feser's "opening salvo". It hardly much matters if the claims are entirely accurate or not - he's not engaging in shooting at the enemy, he's engaging in laughing at the enemy. It's just pure, fun insult. Anyone who can't appreciate the art in that continuing line of insults is stupid.

Now, I do notice that Feser insults the BOOK, not the person. Of course I know that insulting the book ends up insulting the person, by derivation. That's true. But in this business (of writing insults in a book or article) Coyne has to be able to take it if he dishes it out. If Coyne can't take having his person insulted by reason of having his book insulted, he shouldn't publish a book in the first place, and certainly not one in which he uses insult himself.

(How could some of those insults be INaccurate, anyway? They talk about things that aren't susceptible of precise determination: what kind of proof could be offered that gnu atheist books are NOT "metastasizing"? )

DNW said...

PCK, I think it was, and pardon me if it was someone else, remarked to me sometime ago that I was making an ad hominem argument.

I asked how this was possible since I did not try to impeach or refute the man's argument by asserting that he was a miscreant, I was instead merely describing the miscreant.

He pointed out to me that he had not said I was engaging in an ad hominem fallacy, and that what I said might have been true, but just that it was an argument of some kind directed at the man himself.

And I suppose that might have been true enough, and a fair observation.

Call me mean and cruel, call me heartless too ... call me a psychopath if it makes you feel better, just don't call me ... illogical.

And now, for the flip side, we will listen to Elvis ... Lyrics by Santi

Anonymous said...

im-septical has shredded divine simplicity in his latest offering. A+ stuff!

Excerpts:

"I previously discussed some problems with the Thomistic metaphysical concept of the act and potency. As expected, it resulted in lots of harsh commentary from the good folks at Feser's echo chamber. One thing that didn't happen is any kind of cogent rebuttal to the issues I raised. I am not arrogant enough to think that I am an expert on scholastic metaphysics, or to think that these issues haven't been raised before. But I can say with confidence that they haven't been answered in a way that is intellectually satisfying to a scientifically-minded skeptic."

"Of course, we have all heard that the doctrine of the trinity is incompatible with divine simplicity. How can God manifest himself in these different ways and still be simple? The standard answer to this question is that the three persons of the trinity are not "parts" of God. They are a unity in three persons, distinguished by their relationships with each other. Well, that settles it, then. We just play a little game of word salad, and pretend that we have made a cogent response to the question."

Eduardo said...


Well this is not an echo chamber, an echo chamber is just to massage the ego of the blogger, so critics don't exist, all posts are meant to pu the blogger on a pedestal or to inferiorize others. This place here is definately NOT an echo chamber, this is just an insult/half-truth by the great skeppy.

Errr have he criticized any concept that demonstrated that he knows the subject? As far as I can tell the answer is a big no yet he is arrogant enough to believe he has done a great work. Skeppy has complained that people should bring science into the conversation, alright it makes sense but since he has no idea what he is criticizing it just becomes rapidly clear that it doesn't matter what part of science you bring you would not know how to make it work against something you have no idea what it is. The good and old strong critic that is ignorant and by his ignorance ruins the discussion, there you guys have it.

Now Skeppy says that nobody has given an answer that was satisfying to his scientific-minded skeptic mind. Well has he given a list of things he expects on a answer and why? Of course not! We have no idea what is the answer he wants, but if we are to assume he is not cherry picking what he wants to hear, and we know he is because seceral answers were given yet he never replied to them because it would derail the thread, then we know he doesn,t want to hear: "You got wrong on this passage, that is not how it works" or "Well this is a misconception so that is just wrong". I think he wants to either that anyone that criticizes him demonstrate to know Scholastic methaphysics or whatever other subject, that he has no way to judge if you do or not because he doesn't know the subject, ORRR he wants people to enunciate a scientific theory and show that theory leads to scholastic position. Now I believe he was the this last one, he wants people to bring science into the talk, no matter what or how. Oh you have an argument against that... Well too bad it doesn't matter because WE NEED TO BRING SCIENCE.... You got the idea.

So what will convince Skeppo is using science as a premise, is there any part of science that could lead necessarily to Scholastic metaphysics? Well I have no idea. Maybe there is, but it seems it will fall on something that could be taken as interpretation and inevitably you could offer several replies and the draw-breaker would be other arguments... You know those pesky metaphysical arguments that do not convince the scientism-minded... I meant scientific-minded teehee.

The word salad non-criticism is a very common one. It only works if you use as premise or use as an assumption: 1 - Scientism or any other epistemology that makes any concept in the argument and non-knowledge, so is just word salad (of course you would begging the question but who cares!). 2 - assume a philosophical theory of meaning that eliminates the meaning of your adversary concepts, this one is rich! And is the dumbest thing I can hear a philosopher say. Just imagine you using as an example an unicorn but because I never saw an unicorn, unicorn doesn't refer to anything... Yeah insane people get Ph.D's too.

Now on this blog Feser talked about divine simplicity, I have no idea if Skeppy have read those or not, but I would go with... Nahhhh!

Scientifically-minded heehehhe, riiiight.

grodrigues said...

@Eduardo:

"The word salad non-criticism is a very common one."

Right.

Consider the following three sentences:

1. Every paracompact, Hausdorff, normal, second-countable differentiable manifold admits a triangulation.

2. The category of perverse sheaves is the heart of the perverse t-structure on the bounded derived category of sheaves of an analytic space with constructible cohomology.

3. The triangulation of a complex of sheaves of finite height is isomorphic to its dual.

One sentence is true, one is false and the other is a "word salad", but I am pretty confident that only a mathematician could tell which is which.

Anonymous said...

^I guess #2. Sounds perverse.

Eduardo said...

You pretty confident!?! You pretty certain XD.

I fold my hand bro... Those three sentences were too much for my rather limited vocabulary.

Anyways, I do agree that that which ever is the word-salad... ... Hmmm ..... Which one is the salad!?!

U_U damn your highly especialized mathematical vocabulary

#Iamsojello

Taylor Weaver said...

Since this comment has been rather silent, and had changed topics anyway, does anyone have any thoughts on that 'new' article making it's rounds on social media about free will And neuroscience?

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/what-neuroscience-says-about-free-will/?platform=hootsuite

Also, can someone on the Facebook Thomist group please accept my request? I've been trying to join for well over a year. Besides here, I need somewhere to discuss these sorts of things with well-informed people...

Eduardo said...

Hey, did you read Feser's posts about neuroscience?

Maybe it will help! Feser takes on some of the major objections that "prove" naturalism

U_U ok I admit... I got tired of pop science stuff, can't read them no more just like I can't read anything Dawkins... Must start my scientific databank project.

Anyways my bad I suck, gonna go back into my mancave.

----------

Crap I went on and read this piece

Anyways this objection is common and Feser posts touch on them. I personally think that being conscious of an action and deciding on it are well... obviously different. Second, how the heck one knows when you are conscious about an action? If you hit the method of concluding what brain state is the one you can conclude that the subject is conscious of the stimuli then the conclusion falls, and Feser has arguments that if successful would pretty much make impossible to conclude much from brain detections or stuff like that.

Anyways I can't access the papers, not a subscriber. But just like philosophy every step on the lab has to be well argued, and it can be criticized. That is why papers today suck lol... They are all made to be read by people that already assume the same things that you assumed. Might be different on neuroscience but I doubt, science is incredibly homogenizing in terms of ideas.

Which explain scientists leftist leanings ;-)

Anonymous said...

Taylor, have you tried classicaltheism.boardhost.com/ ?

DNW said...

Well, if you are going to ask if you you have free will, you might as well ask what it would mean, or look like, not to exercise a free will.

Somewhere in between we might be able to discover what is meant by the particular version of free will we are discussing.


Let's suppose for example that we do not mean the conscious freedom to arbitrarily will whatever we will will from some vantage place outside ourselves, but merely mean that the organism has the manifest ability to go on about its business without directive interference from another intending entity.

A man sees a fallen tree. He intends to cut it up for firewood. Demons from Planet Clintonus send a wave to his brain which causes him to take drugs making him sterile and homosexually compliant instead.

Has his will been interfered with? Was it in some sense free before?

Is this overt interference at least not part of what it would mean to lose the freedom of the will?

If this seems trivial, and not to address the idea that a homunculus dwells inside the human head insulated from all of the autonomic and feedback systems, then I am not sure that the idea of free will being disputed ever made much sense in the first place.


pck said...

DNW:
PCK, I think it was, and pardon me if it was someone else, remarked to me sometime ago that I was making an ad hominem argument.

It wasn't me. (And you're forgiven.)

DNW said...

pck said...

DNW:
PCK, I think it was, and pardon me if it was someone else, remarked to me sometime ago that I was making an ad hominem argument.

It wasn't me. (And you're forgiven.)

May 8, 2016 at 10:51 AM



Thank you.

And you, as a quick search revealed, are correct.

The time stamp link doesn't work, so ...:



"All Scientists Should Beg Lawrence Krauss to Shut the Hell Up Already
Chris Kirk said...

DNW, that is technically an ad hominem argument. Not a fallacy, but a limited argument. ...
Chris-Kirk
October 3, 2015 at 11:08 AM "