Sunday, September 2, 2018

Five Proofs on The Ben Shapiro Show


Recently I was interviewed by Ben Shapiro for an episode of The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special.  The subject is my recent book Five Proofs of the Existence of God.  You can watch the interview either at YouTube or at the show’s website at The Daily Wire.

Earlier interviews can be found at my main website.

155 comments:

  1. This interview hit a sweet spot for me. It was high level enough to be understood easily but quality enough to get a good understanding of classical Theism and morality as opposed to the Sam Harris viewpoint (I listen to his podcast). I think a Joe Rogan interview would be a great listen, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shapiro has a Rogan interview already. Pretty interesting.

      Delete
    2. Joe Rogan? Are you serious?

      Delete
    3. Sadly, although I agree with you, the arguments appeared to be too high-brow for most of the atheists listening - judging by the comments.

      Delete
  2. Way to go Ed! Keep rocking those Dad jeans.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Prof. Feser, do you think Ben Shapiro is ready for Christian apologetics?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No! Don't do it! He'd have to give up the hat.

      Delete
    2. Would he?
      I was referring to the correct order of apologetics according to prof. Feser, I mean, Ben at this moment needs to be shown that Christianity is the correct development of Judaism/old testament.

      Delete
  4. I would say get on the Joe Rogan Podcast, but I wonder if Rogan is interested in 2 hours of philosophy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah... Joe needs it, but I'm not sure if he'd keep up.

      Delete
    2. I doubt it, Rogan's interest in religious matters seems to stop at a kind of vague, secular "spirituality".

      Delete
    3. Rogan would definitely be interested if I had to bet.

      Delete
    4. Why would any professional philosopher even consider going on such a lowbrow show?

      Delete
    5. Because preaching to the Thomas Aquinases and Bertrand Russell’s of the world only goes so far. For the most part, many philosophically astute people have looked into the arguments for God’s existence to the extent that they believe they can make an informed decision. However, many people who listen to the Joe Rogan podcast haven’t the slightest clue about what philosophy is. Having these people listen to an intelligent and educated ex-atheist giving concise philosophical arguments for God’s existence may be enough to get them thinking along the path Dr. Feser Himself took in the early 2000’s. No doubt, many will reject his arguments and shout “SCIENCE!” in response, but there are many who will find an interview to be cause for further investigation. It is a very different audience and would be time well spent.

      Delete
    6. Agreed, a Joe Rogan interview could go far in getting professor Feser's ideas circulated among a larger audience. I also think a public conversation between Feser and Peterson would have wide appeal.

      Delete
    7. Going on the Joe Rogan Podcast would bring huge exposure to his work and the classical theism position.

      More specifically, Ed has the responce to challenge people. As Scott says, this just isn't making it to the popular level and with Joe picking and prodding at the arguments, viewers will get common questions answered.

      Plus, regadless of whether you agree with Ed or not he is fantastic at getting across difficult philosophy to be understood by beginners. Also, when the inevitable scientism comes up, I think Ed's way of refuting it is precise, to the point and powerful. All three would be effective in a podcast setting.

      Delete
    8. The one I'd like to see Ed sit down with is Roger Scruton. While he still can.

      Delete
    9. Yes, or Mark Steyn.

      Delete
    10. Well if we're going that route I vote for Alvin Plantinga.

      Delete
  5. Prof. Feser,

    Firstly, great interview, and greater book. I'm only on chapter 3 and it's already had an immeasurable impact on the way I think about philosophical topics. Having previously had little exposure to philosophy in general, to say nothing of natural theology (which I was unaware even existed) or scholasticism, it's been a breath of fresh air. It's giving me something of a toolset to approach questions that have been bugging me for years - and often directly provides answers. As such, it's also playing a major role in my return to the Christian faith. For all that, you have my thanks.

    Second, I'm familiar with your story of how you returned to theism from atheism, but I do inevitably find myself wondering about how you ultimately arrived at Catholicism. Can you recommend any materials around specifically Catholic apologetics, or instances where you've written about or discussed this subject?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless the good professor responds..... Once you get to a general belief in Christianity, I find this book (below) a helpful, contemporary Catholic apologetics to the Protestant vs. Catholic debate. Trent Horn is fair, charitable, and consistent in his approach.


      https://www.amazon.ca/Case-Catholicism-Contemporary-Protestant-Objections/dp/1621641449/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534021169&sr=8-1&keywords=Trent+horn

      If you want an extensive all encompassing work, check out the multi-volume "The De Controversiis" by St. Robert Bellarmine, who was a doctor of the Church who was writing in response to the Protestant "Reformation". This work, as laid out in the description was the go to Catholic apologetic for hundreds of years.
      https://mediatrixpress.com/?page_id=21

      I hope that opens things up for you! May God guide you on your journey across the Tiber!

      Delete
  6. I enjoyed the interview with Ben. I’ll admit I recognized my ignorance to the first half of the interview. I found thoughts on abortion/fetus intellect VERY insightful. I was surprised about the lack of exploration to afterlife/immortality. The only part of the conversation where I felt my faith gave me more knowledge. Good intro for me as I’ve never heard of Edward Feser but now I have a very good first impression on his character and intellect. I’m hungry for more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get anything by Feser, however this is a good intro work into Thomism (Feser's philosophical school and the preferred philosophy of the Catholic Church). Enjoy!

      https://www.amazon.com/Aquinas-Beginners-Guide-Edward-Feser/dp/1851686908

      Delete
  7. I would like to ask a question regarding agential explanation:

    You have a pen lying on the table. If someone were to ask you "Why is that pen on the table?" , you could respond by saying that the pen is there because you put it there, because of gravity and the pen's mass interacting etc.

    But you could also say that the pen is on the table because anything that could potentially bring the pen away from the table in any way has failed to act on the pen in some way.

    Would the above be an instance of contrastive explanation (why x rather than y) or not?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would say that contrastive explanations like the one you posit are partial explanations; however, they don’t give the full story. To merely say that nothing is preventing the pen from being on the table (due to unactialized potentials) does not sufficiently explain why the pen is there. It does explain why it is there with respect to other possible options (such as being on the floor, etc.). However, this partial explanation pre-supposed a sufficient explanation (or a brute factual non-explanation) for the pen’s existence in the first place. For example, imagine that the entire universe was just this single pen. Now obviously no potentials could be actualized to change the pen with respect to something else, because the only potentials in existence are the ones given by the internal structure of the pen. It does not explain why the pen exists in the first place. Aquinas’ treatment of the angels in the Summa might be a helpful explication if this rationale. Since the angels are “pure act” in a sense, they are incapable of change in the way material objects are. But their essence is really distinct from their existence and so they still require a sufficient explanation outside of themselves to exist. Is that answer helpful?

      Delete
    2. @Scott,


      So an explanation that says that nothing is preventing the pen from being on the table is in fact a contrastive explanation, and only a partial one at that?

      Even if it is just a partial one, notice how this would work if we introduced the alternative of the pen floating in the air for no reason. Since in this case there would be no explanation and thus no agent that has failed to act, it would seem that the pen's being on the table would actually also be a brute fact, at least partially, since there would be no reason why it is on the table with respect to it's potentially being in the air for no reason.

      Thus, the pen's being on the table is at least partially brute, just as much as it is partially explicable as well.

      Delete
    3. There is no such thing as something being partially brute (just like you cannot be partially pregnant). By saying that it gives a partial explanation, I mean it explains why the things actualizing the pen being on the table (the real explanation) have not been frustrated. But for a true explanation, you still require recourse to something actual that gives the pen it’s actuality in all respects. This would require either recourse to God or a complete denial of PSR which, as argued by Dr. Feser, is tantamount to denying any explanation altogether.

      Delete
    4. @Scott,


      Well, if explaining why the pen's resting on the table in terms of why it isn't frustrated is a partial explanation, then it seems that there must be at least some element of the pen's resting on the table that is brute.

      Namely, the fact that there is no explanation why the pen is on the table if one compares it to the possible frustration of the pen's location by it being in the air for no reason, or anywhere else. It would thus seem that at least in some respect, there is no reason why the pen is on the table - that is, if saying that the pen's location is partially brute is a bad way to phrase things.

      Because the pen's resting could be frustrated in a number of ways by active causal agents, one explanation of why it is on the table is that any causal agents that could frustrate that have failed to act and influence the pen. But the pen's resting could also be frustrated by it being moved for no reason in the air, and since there is no causal agent behind such a brute motion, there is also no explanation as to why it is not being frustrated in such a brute manner.

      So this is what I mean when I say that there is an aspect of bruteness and inexplicability in why the pen is on the table.

      Delete
    5. I think you are presupposing brute facts by saying that a pen’s agency not being frustrated by another agent is brute. It’s not that it is a brute fact, it is merely a lack of agency. When I say that describing a lack of frustrating agents is a partial explanation, I should have said that it is a partial logical (mental) explanation. It’s not as if the billions of non-existent baked potatoes that aren’t frustrating the pen’s ability to be on the table are brute factually not on the table. The billions of baked potatoes simply don’t exist. However, one can still logically say that there are no potatoes frustrating the pen’s ability to sit on the table. But this is logical and not objective, since there are no objective relevant potatoes in existence. To truly explain the pen, you need to describe the genuine causes of the pen’s existence and properties.

      Delete
    6. @Scott,


      Interesting that you should mention non-existing objects in relation to brute facts influencing objects in the real world.

      Because I've just noticed that, if brute facts are possible, then things could happen for no reason. But this doesn't just extend to things that suddenly pop into existence (though it necessarily extends to those if God doesn't exist), but also to other potencies being actualised.

      For example, the pen could fly into the air for no reason, and that would involve a brute fact that isn't about the existence of things, but the brute fact would have the peculiar nature of being...quasi omnipotent, so to speak. For the pen would fly into the air and defy the force of gravity without any counterforce that does the defying - it would be a state of pure actualisation of a certain potency. Furthermore, the pen could be in the air in such a way that you could either pull it back down, or, more interestingly, in such a way that nothing in reality could bring it back down, and for no reason too.

      What matters here is that brute facts are by definition nothing more than states of agentless actuality, of a pure unintelligible "thatness" of something.

      In other words, brute facts are eerily similar to God's omnipotence as exercised on the world without having to create anything.
      God, if He exists, would have the power to actualise any potency that can be actualised, and this includes making a pen float in the air without any physical counterforce, and He could also make it be that the pen floats in the air such that nothing could bring it back down again. In other words, if God doesn't exist, than His omnipotence would float free in the air without a grounding, and thus, atheism necessarily entails the real possibility of not only the sudden coming to be of new objects, but also of any and all potencies that were properly ascribed to God in the past, for no reason.


      Why is this important? Remember Della Rocca's argument for the PSR on the basis of our use of explicability arguments in daily life? Well, if atheism is true, then it necessarily follows that an Archimedian scale could fail to balance for no reason, and that a dissolvable tablet could fail to dissolve for no reason to. These would be potencies actualised for no reason. What this entails is that, if we reject explicability arguments for existence (for any reason), we also have to reject explicability arguments in daily life as well, since we now have a groundless power of omnipotence lying around which allows things to happen for no reason.

      What do you think of this above insight? Is it a good objection to atheism, or is my reasoning somehow faulty?

      Delete
    7. You’re basically reiterating Dr. Feser’s “no miracles” argument from Scholastic Metaphysics (of course the argument is not original with him). So yes what you are saying makes sense. It’s funny that atheists typically ask for miracles (e.g. an amputated limb being regrown from nothing) to prove God’s existence, but ironically as a matter of fact, miracles like this (apart from the context of revelation) are the only thing that could save a PSR denier’s position. I like to think of it this way, imagine you turn on an old colored Cathode Ray Tube television (the good kind with wooden knobs that weighed 100 lbs and you could play Duck Hunt on). Now that CRT TV works by getting a signal from a broadcasting tower or DVD player or whatever. That signal causes the electrons to start firing on different pixels, and bam, you have a movie. Now of all of the pixel combinations, the vast majority is just unintelligible fuzzy static. If PSR was false and we still had the world we lived in, it would be like turning on a TV receiving nothing but a static signal and getting the six hour mini-series of Pride and Prejudice (God help us!) with no hiccups. Of course that is only a small example of a very limited set of possibilities compared to the intelligibility and vastness of the entire universe. I have not seen an argument yet to say that PSR is reducible to PNC, but it is the most verified a posterior fact of reality possible. Combined with the fact that all argumentation depends on PSR, it is a marvel that so many people are suspicious of it.

      Delete
    8. @Scott,

      Another interesting fact is that, if a brute fact were to actually occur, such as if a glass cup were to inexplicably float in the air, it wouldn't allow us to expect what would happen next. Perhaps if the cup floated like that for days we would be convinced that it would continue to stay that way, but that would be an incorrect conclusion because there is no probability to a brute fact and thus no intelligibility to its continuation.

      Ironically, we make such errors in judgement everyday when we expect that things will continue to exist, despite the fact that, if their existence were brute and inexplicable, there literally is no sense to be made of the question whether or not it is likely that it will continue to exist. So the practical consequences of denying PSR are unlivable.

      And I also dont think it matters fot this what theory of time one accepts. In both cases is our common sense expectation that things will likely continue to exist completely unfounded, and the atheist will not profit from trying to say that brute facts are likely to continue or unlikely. For if they are likely, then that means their likeliness should decrease over time since the more a likely but not necessary thing continues, the less likely will the continuation be especially since the universe has existed for billions of years, and we intuitively should have exhausted any intrinsic likeliness after all that time. And to say brute facts are unlikely would make things much worse.

      Delete
  8. Get this man on Rogan.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Michael Shermer is already attacking it. https://mobile.twitter.com/michaelshermer/status/1036329692997906432

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah with no arguments whatsoever... typical Shermer.

      Delete
    2. Yeah. Strange that someone would build a career on being a "rational skeptic" but have so little interest in actually being challenged. Of course, I find the whole idea of dedicating one's life to the sort of skepticism Shermer favors to be odd.

      Delete
  10. Mr. Feser,

    Thank you very much for your work. Your books and essays especially the Argument from Motion has helped me understand that rational justification of theism considering how powerful this argument and other classical theistic proofs are. One question I have for the people here is why should I be a Christian over Muslim?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent question! Well if you more or less accept classical theism and classical psychology (immortality and immateriality of soul, etc.) and ethics, then you are going to have to stop doing philosophy (for the most part) and start making historical investigations. To my knowledge, Muslims believe in the eventual resurrection of the dead, correct? They also believe that Jesus is a real historical figure (one of the greatest prophets). However, to my knowledge, Muslims believe that Jesus of Nazareth:

      1) Is not God

      2) Never claimed to be God

      3) Was never crucified (substitution hypothesis)

      I think a good way to investigate these three major points of contention is to take them in reverse order.

      1) Is it likely that God would have substituted Jesus for someone else to be crucified? If so, why is it that no one believed this until it was revealed to Mohammed over 600 years later? What is the point of giving people a holy prophet only so they can all begin to either erroneously worship him as God or reject him as a sorcerer or a nobody for the next 600 years? I think a Muslim needs to have a plausible answer to that question (which I am open to hearing).

      2) Do all of the accounts of Jesus giving Himself divine attributes in the Gospels not hold scrutiny? There are dozens on examples in all four Gospels. Furthermore, the earliest writings about Jesus (the letters of St. Paul) affirm His Divinity. Why make up this elaborate story about Him claiming to be God when He never claimed to be God? Also, why was He sentenced to death (a point that Muslims do not deny)? Was it just because He was a political rebel? That could be, but it does not seem to coincide with the behavior of a holy prophet of God. These are questions that should be considered.

      3) If it turns out that in fact Jesus did in fact claim to be God and was in fact crucified for that claim, what does this mean? Was He really raised from the dead or did the apostles lie or be deceived about it? If He was in fact raised from the dead, this seems to be a Divine action vindicating Him. In that case, He must be who He said He was, God.

      At that point you could get into more specific questions about whether He institutes a Church, etc. You can also see if Mohammed’s claims of revelation bear the same credibility as Christ and His apostles’ claims.

      So that is where I would start. What would you say your biggest historical objection to the veracity of Christianity is?

      Delete
    2. Hey Scott,

      Thanks for the reply.

      Yes, muslims do believe in Jesus as a historical figure and they do believe in the eventual resurrection of the dead.

      1) I should clarify that not all muslims believe in the substitution theory. They also believe in other theories such as the swoon theory for example.

      2) I wonder dont most of the claims about divinity all show up in John? And the earliest creeds and hymns are people believing in Jesus as God not Jesus himself claiming to be God. I wonder what your thoughts are specifically on this point?

      3) That is contingent on the resurrection which I am aware giants like Gary Habermas and Mike Licona have defended so I will pick up their works at some point.

      I would consider my biggest objection to Christianity to be not historical but rather philosophical namely:

      1) It appears that divine simplicity does violate the trinity

      2) Is there any argument for God being a triune being?

      My second greatest issue is that the hypostatic union seems to be impossible given how the nature of man contradicts God's nature.

      Wht are your thoughts?

      Delete
    3. The Muslim substitution theory is refuted in the Gospel - when Thomas (the Twin!) wants to see and touch the wounds, he has a similar trick in mind. It would indeed have been the perfect way to start the Messianic "revolution" (according to traditional Jewish thought)... If the Messiah can come back from the dead, the war against Rome will be easy to win.

      Delete
    4. Mohamed,

      Thank you for your response.

      1. Well in the case of taking an alternate theory like the swoon theory, you will have to explain it as being more likely than a miracle. Someone surviving a flogging, crucifixion, spear thrust to the side, and entombment in tightly wrapped linens for over 36 hours with no water is highly implausible. It also does not explain how Christ ascended into Heaven or made the disciples believed He had overcome death. Any hypothesis must explain all of these facts. I find that they are all wanting at the end of the day (apart from the resurrection hypothesis).

      2. Christ uses the most direct language in the Gospel of John, but one must remember that the Gospel of John was written at a later date partially to combat the Gnostic heretics. That is why John really cuts to the chase with the Incarnation language and Bread of Life Discourse. John wanted to emphasize these sayings of Jesus that could remove all doubt of His incarnation and Divinity. The other gospels are more subtle, but the message would have been easily understood (and was understood as such) by a Jewish audience. For example, he claims to be “like a Son of Man”. This refers to the Divine Kingly figure in the Book of Daniel. He also claims to have the power to forgive sins (something Jews, Christians, and Muslims all agree that only God can do on His own authority). Here is a link to an explanation of a few examples in Mark: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/the-divinity-of-jesus-according-to-mark. But there are literally dozens of examples from the Synoptic Gospels. Libraries have been written on these. If you would like more, please ask and I will round some more up for you. In any case, if Jesus never said this, why is this already an internationally held belief by the time of the conversion of Paul and held to be the standard of orthodoxy while later Gnostic thinkers are regarded by everyone as heretics?

      Continued...

      Delete
    5. ...continued

      3. I also recommend the work of Dr. William Lane Craig on defending the resurrection accounts. As for philosophical objections, I would tend to focus on history for the time being. Here is why: What you are trying to do is determine whether or not the basic historical claims of the Christian faith are more likely than not. Before talking about the mysteries of the Christian faith, you must determine whether or not they have been divinely revealed. Now any Christian worth his salt will tell you that the mysteries like the Trinity and Incarnation are not blatantly contradictory (to the point of claiming a contradiction and saying that “God is above logic” or something to that effect). Now each of these mysteries can be easily understood in a heretical way that would make them not mysteries at all really, and the problem would go away. For example, you could argue for Sabellianism and say that the three Persons of the Trinity are just three different names for God. It seems to me that, given the historical evidence for the resurrection, that would be preferable to rejecting Christianity altogether. Now of course the wisest course of action would be to suspend judgement on the mysteries of God and study them thoroughly first. I have commented on the mysteries of the Trinity in another post by Dr. Feser: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2018/08/tugwell-on-st-albert-on-negative.html?m=1. Just search my name and you’ll find the thread. The point is that you already believe (as a classical theist) that God’s essence cannot be comprehended. You believe that a simple agent can produce multiple effects, etc. What makes you think that it is impossible for the Divine Substance to be related to itself in a real way? Without comprehending the Divine Essence, you are not really at liberty to say one way or another. This is a revealed mystery that cannot be argued for from metaphysical first principles. But that is merely because nothing in creation imitates the inner life of the Divine Trinity in a way to make it necessary as an explanation of the created order. As for the Incarnation, I am not weel-read enough on that subject to attempt to give a rigorous defense of it, but I will say that nothing in the doctrine claims an easily recognized contradiction. No one is saying that God’s Divine nature became human or anything to that effect. The belief is that the Divine Second Person of the Trinity assumes a human nature. What that means is a mystery for me and the whole church, but others can shed more light on it than I.

      I guess what I would ask you to take away from this is, if your only objection to the Faith is a few philosophical objections to Divinely revealed mysteries that no human can fully comprehend, is it possible that you have judged too quickly? I would meditate on these mysteries and pray that God sheds light on them for you. Please do not hesitate to ask more questions. God bless!

      Delete
  11. Michael Shermer, the great thinker, chimes in on twitter:

    "If this is the best evidence/argument for a soul (made by Edward Feser on @benshapiro 's Sunday Special show) then it only confirms my arguments in Heavens on Earth (and in ancient Jewish writings) that there is "nothing" after death. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqy9KvLnB0&feature=youtu.be …"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never once heard Michael Shermer say anything on the topic of religion that is more substantial than what you might typically find on some second tier patheos blog. Hence, I seriously doubt that Ed will have to deal with anything more formidible than twitter snark.

      Delete
    2. Shermer is back at it:

      "Do you have room for 3 chairs in your studio @benshapiro ? Feser’s steelman of atheism was atrocious. I can give him the platinum arguments."

      Delete
    3. Let's have a Feser vs Shermer debate then. Shermer isn't even a philosopher but he's quite known, so a debate with him would gather attention.

      Delete
    4. Yes! Shermer vs Feser! They're last radio talk was far too friendly for my liking ;)

      Delete
    5. I'd rather see a debate between Feser and Craig.

      Delete
    6. Bill,

      I would as well, but I'd prefer it be a written back-and-forth rather than a live discussion. Dr. Craig is a very skilled oral communicator, and that might give the impression to a layperson that his arguments are superior to Ed's arguments. With a written dialogue, one can have greater confidence that each side's arguments are being presented at their best.

      Delete
    7. That might be a somewhat interesting debate, I guess. Shermer however does not have any interesting arguments as far as I am aware: standard new atheist gobbledigook for most part.

      Even his 'deconversion' story is kind of lame...

      Delete
    8. @Brent:

      Good reply, but after seeing Feser in various formats, I think he would very much hold his own against Craig. If you heard Craig's mini-debate against divine simplicity (I can't remember right now the name of the Catholic he debated), it would be obvious that somebody of Feser's caliber would do very well in oral debate.

      Regardless, oral or written, I'd love to see them go at it.

      Delete
  12. Hey, could someone please help answer an apologetics-question for me?

    The following passage Sam Harris uses to show that we have no choice but to believe the Mosaic Law of the OT is still binding, and I have yet to find an intellectually satisfying answer to this dilemma:

    "17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20"

    Jesus appears to say here very boldly that it's all-or-nothing, and that anyone who sets aside even one of the minutia or "least of these" will be called "the least of these" in heaven. That's very scary to contemplate! I've really read into the passage and can't find any reason to think Jesus was saying something else. It seems quite certain he was referring to the OT law and decreeing only until the end of all time and Christ's return will we be set free from these strictures. Any help is appreciated; thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The context needs to be remembered: Jesus, a Jew, was addressing fellow Jews. There is not an overriding assumption in Early Judaism (the period in which Jesus, Paul, and others would be categorized in) that Gentiles must follow the Law. The Law was given to Israel and Israel alone. See the work of Paula Frederiksen. Harris needs to show how historically Jews thought Gentiles needed to embrace the Law. It was thought, in general, that on the Day of the Lord the gentiles would either repent and embrace the Lord as God or be destroyed. Numerous OT texts point toward this. So, at most Jesus is affirming the ongoing validity of the Law for Jews.

      Second, Jesus is criticizing the Pharisees in the Sermon. 5:20 needs to be read alongside 5:17-19. This is the header, so to speak, of the antitheses that follow vss. 21-48. There, Jesus shows that by violating something simple and everyday they are actually violating one of the commandments.

      Furthermore, in Matthew's scene of final Judgement in 25:31-46, the Gentiles are not granted admittance in to the Age to Come because they followed the Law but because they welcomed someone in Jesus name and had mercy on them. I wouldn't worry about Harris' rather simplistic reading.

      Delete
    2. What did Jesus say on the cross just before he died " it is accomplished" ( finished) if you look at the Greek word thats what it means a complete change of condition or order.So when Christ accomplished his mission on earth Ephesians 3:11 it was accomplished the old law or bondage to the old law was finished. Read the book of Hebrews which explains the passing of the old and beginning of the new law or covenant.

      Delete
    3. There's no more Temple. "You have heard it said... but I say to you..." New wine, new wineskins. All foods are declared clean (they are not what defile a man). The Council of Jerusalem. Paul. Etc. The Law was a pedagogue which is now unnecessary thanks to the open existence of the Church.

      Delete
  13. I agree with people suggesting the Joe Rohan interview. I think it would reach a lot of people who would otherwise be uninterested in classical theism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am completely baffle by the numerous suggestions of doing a Joe Rogan's interview. He may have some talents, say recognizing all the good martial arts moves and movers, but he is not exactly the brightest intellect doing a podcast, or fit for a "highbrow" (to borrow the expression of some other commentator) philosophical discussion.

      And to get another one of my pet peeves off my chest: forget about Dave Rubin. He is more polite, a little more sensible -- but not by much -- a little more ingratiating and likewise, a waste of Prof. Feser's time.

      Delete
    2. Why wouldn't his philosophical incompetence be all the more reason for Feser to debate him?

      Delete
    3. Why wouldn't my 50kg, my set of glasses and absolute incompetence at boxing deter me from challenging the heavy weight boxing champion? Or to put the question in your terms, why is it not all the more reason for the heavy weight champion to mop the floor with my ass? Well, as far as myself, I hope the answer is obvious (I am a coward), as for you, what can I say? For all I know you would enjoy such a sad, pathetic spectacle.

      Delete
    4. If increased publicity leads to increased readership, who cares if Joe Rogan isn't the brightest philosophical mind?

      Delete
    5. Grodrigues,

      The point is not to convert him or destroy him in debate. The point is to get some of his more open-minded listeners to think about these philosophical questions who otherwise will have their intellects formed by a barrage of shouts of “SCIENCE!” from both the atheistic and even many Protestant media sources. It will put the value of Philosophy in the spotlight for people who otherwise would not listen. It is not like me challenging a heavyweight boxing champion to a fight that I will obviously lose. It’s more like me agreeing to do a staged exhibition for a boxer (one where I do not get hurt at all) for the purposes of raising publicity for the title fight.

      Delete
    6. Well Joe Rogan did have people like Sean Carroll in his show (and he was like stumped at every word, since he knows nothing about science).

      No matter Rogan's background, it's still a good way to put yourself out there. Rogan does not claim to be a genius.

      Feser appearing on Rogan might be interesting to reach a wider audience.

      Delete
  14. Thank you, Professor Feser.

    In the past you've mentioned how depressing the alternative way of thinking is. It is. That way of thinking is an unfortunate symptom of clinical depression, too. And together, they are a vicious cycle. I suffer from it greatly. Even when I am “well”, I am afraid the nasty, miserable atheists might be right. So I sneak on to your blog - my family and doctor want me to avoid thinking too hard and spiraling out of sanity again - to reassure myself that they are nasty and miserable, and probably wrong. I hope you're right. I want to go to Heaven, ultimately. But I never read or listen too deeply, for fear of becoming some kind of anti-Maritain: instead of finding purpose, I might lose it. What if I really drill into what you're saying and conclude you're wrong!? No thank you. I prefer to hope in ignorance.

    But tonight, against all hope, I decided to listen. And you know what? I don't just want you to be right anymore, I think you're right and I want to learn more. I might order your book. I really need to understand why an infinite regress is wrong. Thank you, again.

    And I share this little bit about myself and my struggle with “mental illness” because you should know you're doing more than winning arguments and giving us reasons to execute criminals. You have instructed the ignorant, you have counseled the doubtful, and you have, above all, comforted the afflicted. Thank you, again, thank you. It seems so silly, all this over this interview. But thank you. You are in my prayers tonight. I am,

    Didymus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well fear no more! The existence of God and immortality of the soul isn't all that hard to establish, friend. The following arguments are inferentially valid, relying as they do upon the logical inference rule known as "modus tollens". Because of their deductive formulation, the only question is whether their premises are true (steps numbered 1 and 2). If their premises are true or more plausibly true than false, then the conclusion follows necessarily by the rules of logic.

      1) Moral truths exist.
      2) If God does not exist, moral truths cannot exist.
      3) Therefore, God exists.

      Defense of Premise 2: On atheism, there can only be moral opinions, not moral truths over and above those opinions. In the absence of any objective standard for right and wrong, there is simply nothing more to morality than relativism.

      Defense of Premise 1: But our ethical intuitions are unequivocal in their testimony to the existence of at least some moral truths. I.e., no matter if there were universal disagreement as to the wrongness of infanticide, we would still be wrong.

      Of course, this raises the question as to whether our moral intuitions are reliable. Here is a reasonable principle: the intuitive appearance of the truthfulness/veridicality of an experience must be presumed reliable until evidence is presented that disconfirms its reliability.

      Delete
    2. This principle must be accepted, or else scientific investigation is pointless, being as it is dependent upon the general reliability of our perceptual experiences, for which there can be no external confirmation except upon the mere intuition or appearance that they are generally undeceiving.

      Thus, this principle forces us to accept the reliability of our ethical intuitions as a default position, as there is no evidence against their reliability.

      Now, the atheist might argue that he can fully account for our moral intuitions in the terms of an unguided evolutionary scenario that makes no reference to their reliability, but he cannot make this move, as the reliability of perceptual experience is equally susceptible to this objection.

      1) Our moral intuitions are generally undeceiving.
      2) If God does not exist, our moral intuitions are generally deceiving.
      3) Therefore, God exists.

      On atheism, our cognitive faculties are a byproduct of the evolutionary development of our species. There is nothing in the nature of a tendency of genetic variations towards reproductive success that corresponds to the inculcation of reliable moral intuitions. Had the environmental demands placed on us in the course of our evolutionary development been substantively different, we would have evolved a very different set of moral beliefs without the slightest change to our conviction that they were true.

      The only out for the atheist is to presume that the evolutionary development of man was guided by a supernatural agent in such a manner as to ensure our general epistemic access to the correct set of moral truths and perceptual experiences.

      The same argument can be reframed around the reliability of sensory perception and many logical intuitions (i.e. noncontradiction, the law of the excluded middle), as the unguided evolutionary scenario atheism is committed to has no connection with the objective reliability of those intuitions/experiences. Hence, the following two arguments are also sound:

      1) Our perceptual experiences are generally undeceiving.
      2) If God does not exist, our perceptual experiences are generally deceiving.
      3) Therefore, God exists.

      1) Our logical intuitions are generally undeceiving.
      2) If God does not exist, our logical intuitions are generally deceiving.
      3) Therefore, God exists.

      __________
      Another argument to add to this battery would be from the existence of consciousness. Is the number 7 made of matter?

      Obviously not, so the atheist and his attendant thesis of materialism must either resign to immaterialism or deny the existence of the number 7 except as an illusion or projection of the mind.

      So far so good, but what about consciousness itself? Does it make any intelligible sense to say that your moment-by-moment conscious experience of the world is "made of atoms"?

      Now, perhaps it could be a product of the operations of a material brain, but that's not what I'm asking. I'm asking whether the conscious experience we are all in possession of, the first-person qualitative perspective of the world we cannot escape, is itself "made of atoms".

      I think, obviously not--a very basic category error is made by the person claiming otherwise. Feeling the heat on this issue, sensible atheists have opted instead with saying that consciousness must then be an "illusion" or "projection".

      Delete
    3. But you see the problem with this response, right? The very concepts of an illusion and projection presuppose for their intelligibility the existence of a consciousness/mind to have them, so this is like saying "the mind does not exist because it is an illusion of the mind".

      Hence, the following argument is sound:

      1) Consciousness exists.
      2) If atheistic materialism is true, then copiousness is an illusion, not existing in the commonsense way we suppose it does.
      3) Therefore, atheistic materialism is false.

      This leaves us with an immaterial intellect, which would be presumably indestructible by material processes, thus ensuring immortality in some sense. And the existence of immaterial and immortal souls substantially raises the probability of God's existence.

      Delete
    4. Didymus,

      Michael Augros’ The Immortal in You gives arguments for the soul’s immortality in many ways Feser presents. Feser has given it a good review. I would recommend that.

      Delete
  15. Prof. Feser, you and Shapiro worked well together. Great discussion. I would like to see you and Shapiro with Jordan Peterson. Wow, how cool would that be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, a discussion between Feser and Peterson could be very illuminating.

      Delete
  16. Religion is retarded and anyone who believes it is as well. Shapiro is full of crap as well. Religious people live in a fantasy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's grant for the sake of argument that the religious are guilty of wishful thinking. Are you any less guilty on this account? Do you not believe in the existence of moral truths, that there is dignity and meaning and inherent worth to human life, despite lacking any justifications for these commitments in consequence of your atheism?

      On your view, all that exists is no more than an amalgamation of the elementary particles of physics in motion, and all macro-phenomena are entirely explained in terms of micro-phenomena.

      On atheism, human beings are infinitesimal specks of meat suspended in a hostile and indifferent universe, destined to die within a relatively short time, their every moral conviction about the value of human life a deception of their genes to ensure that the maximal amount of viable reproduction occurs, their cognitive faculties a result of blind processes ensuring the development of beliefs conducive to their survival--irrespective of whether they are true or not. Their very consciousness is itself an illusion--there is no "you" and there is no "I", as all there is is matter and your conscious experience of the world cannot intelligibly be made of matter itself, even if it is produced by the operations of the material brain.

      On your atheism, the reliability of your perceptual experiences, ethical intuitions, self-conception, and general epistemic access to truth is completely undermined.

      Delete
    2. Nice argument there, "Unknown". Shows erudition and deep thinking. (/sarcasm)

      Good answer Jo F!

      Delete
  17. I am new for philosophy, so forgive my literacy. What I get from the Ben Shapiro interview is that the concept of God is embeded in the old (father) Philosophers. Dr. Feser use these as bench mark to make his arguement. What I don't understand is that how a view of few philosophers can be taken as absolute perspective. What makes these views devine ? Second, is the exsistence of God can only be tackled/proofed philosophicaly, is science based proof possible ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The notion that science must undergird a theistic argument for it to be successful is a red herring. Arguments relying purely on logic and metaphysical principles can deduce theologically significant conclusions. If you wish to contest that, you'll have to give some kind of argument that shows where theistic arguments of the kind Feser defends fail.

      Delete
    2. Unknown. This is not a few Philosophers. This is virtually the entire philosophical tradition in the West (Europe, Middle East, and North Africa) from Plato until Descartes, roughly 2000 years. And Descartes represented a gradual shift away from these arguments, not an instantaneous one. Furthermore, the philosophical tradition of the Catholic Church, an institution of over one billion people, has considered these arguments sound since the Letters of St. Paul. So this is hardly fringe stuff. However, you are correct that many people have forgotten these arguments for the reasons discussed in the interview. Dr. Feser has many blog articles and talks about the relationship between philosophy and science, but the basic thrust of his arguments are that any scientific theory, for it to explain anything, must presuppose the metaphysical ideas presented in the arguments for God’s existence.

      Delete
    3. Feser never says that the argument is true *because* a few philosophers advocate it. He never makes an argument from authority. Rather he says that the arguments are true because of the rational demonstrations that these philosophers employ.

      Delete
    4. Unknown, the standard that proofs must be scientific proofs in order to be considered proofs at all is itself a metaphysical claim. And such a claim cannot even be justified by its own standards--what scientific proof, what litmus test, can we perform to prove that all proofs are scientific proofs?
      This view of reality is known as scientism and it's unfortunately a pain in the ass for philosophers to try to convince the typical layman that it's just a self-refuting and unjustified position.

      Science is concerned with the hard, physical facts of reality which can be captured in the mathematical language of physics. It's just not within the very operations of science to make lofty metaphysical claims. And the fact that it can't make metaphysical (or philosophical) claims/proofs doesn't show that such claims/proofs are not real, anymore than someone who is really good at mathematics can show, by the fact that he only focuses solely on mathematics, that other disciplines like literary criticism, the arts, history, don't exist.

      Delete
  18. Great interview.

    Shapiro, the fast talker and thinker, can quickly grasp what Feser is saying, summarize it in a pithy way, then ask interesting follow up questions/observations. Which is why I found this interview refreshing. Feser typically stays very much on script because people typically misunderstand the basics. But not this time. Shapiro had good follow up questions like: "What would you say to a person like Sam Harris who claims that...." or "What is it that this intellectual proof is lacking that we need revelation for...." Both of those follow up questions took Feser into areas of discussion he doesn't often explore in interviews.

    My only complaint are the inserted advertisements. But I guess that is the nature of his platform. :)

    With regard to an interview with Rogan - it would be a difficult interview: but it might have some good payoffs. I could see him drilling down on questions for a full two or three hours, then, perhaps becoming a little more open to concepts like natural law, the immortality of the soul, and the existence of God. It would also give Ed additional exposure to millions.

    With regard to an interview with Jordan Peterson: he has always claimed to be agnostic with regard to the actual "metaphysical" existence of God. If Peterson could prep for the interview and get up to speed on, say, at least the 5 proofs, then he could approach Ed with questions. Ideally, he would also have looked at Locke, Aquinas, and Scholastic Metaphysics, but that might be a little too much to ask for. I think an interesting topic of exploration is his evolutionary/utilitarian concept of revealed truth. Ed could approach such a discussion from the point of view of final causality, which could be a bridge that Peterson could easily cross that would result in a firmer metaphysical foundation for his ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean, "My only complaint IS the inserted advertisements."

      Delete
    2. I think you overestimate the intellect and reasoning ability of Ben Shapiro. Read these:
      http://alexsheremet.com/ben-shapiro-total-fraud/

      https://static.currentaffairs.org/2017/12/the-cool-kids-philosopher

      Delete
    3. I only had time to read the first part of the first link on Shapiro, but the author hardly started out well. He quotes this as a devastating question Shapiro dodged:


      Hey Ben. You voiced your displeasure in the past at how it is unethical to force pro-lifers to fund Planned Parenthood through tax dollars. Do you also think it is unethical to force certain people to fund the subsidies of meat and dairy products if they do not believe those products are ethical? Thanks >

      Yet nowhere in the commentary is the obvious context of the abortion debate in America, takes much of the sting out of the question. In America, the pro-abortion side puts choice at the center of their cause. They literally call their movement pro-choice. Now perhaps what they really care about is only the choice of women to get abortions, but this isn't clear in how they throw around the word. Time and again the separation of moral opinions on the issue from law is argued on the basis of choice. It is implied it is up to everyone to have their own moral opinions, but these shouldn't be used to ban abortion. A common retort is even that if you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. There is something very close to inconsistency here between a movement founded on respecting sensitive moral choices on the issue and forcing taxpayers to fund women's choices to have an abortion. This is totally different to vegans and vegetarians. At this time, the country is strongly divided down the middle on whether meat eating is okay, with one side appealing to choice as the center of its case.

      Delete
    4. That should have been the country isn't strongly divided down the middle on whether meat eating is okay, etc.

      Delete
    5. I recently watched Peterson talking about the nature of the world where he speaks about the continued rise and fall of Israel in the old Testament and it sounded very much like he was coming to an independent conclusion to natural law but from a different angle.
      Perhaps this would be good common ground for Ed and Jordan to explore should they ever have the opportunity.

      Dan Harte

      Delete
  19. Though Aquinas does not think much of Anselem's proof still he says openly that Go has all the perfections of every genus. So the proof is valid even if it is a bit hard to grasp. Only Godel put it in such a form that makes it clear.

    ReplyDelete
  20. A very well done interview. Good questions and pacing by Shapiro, and lucid expositions by Prof. Feser.

    Once again I get the impression that, while Ed says his favorite arg for God is the First Way, what he relies on at bottom is an argument from necessary being and an argument from the PSR. Those places are where he tends to wind up in discussions I've read or heard. Does he mean "favorite" in that the First Way is the most accessible from our daily experience?

    In the end, though, I continue to have problems. A lot of Prof. Feser’s args seem reducible to "unless we posit an ultimate principle of causality/explanation, we are left with an irrational position/system, and by retorsion, attempts to deny a single, ultimate PSR will be self-undermining."

    But it seems to me: 1) it's problematic whether a retorsion argument establishes the contradictory of the opponent’s thesis as true. Much of what I've read on self-refutation args does not go that far. In the case of args for God, from a first premise, “If our system is coherent/rational, then God exists,” one doesn’t establish that our system is rational. 2) Feser’s approach does not overthrow non-dogmatic skepticism of the Sextus Empiricus type. 3) Feser’s logic would seem to make God explanatorily prior to the basic laws of thought. On Feser’s bookshelf analogy, without God, the principle of non-contradiction would be unsupported. I don't know how Feser could argue coherently for that, since he is already using the basic laws of thought to carry on discourse.

    I was glad for the interview's success in packing in a lot of important topics, in any case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >A lot of Prof. Feser’s args seem reducible to "unless we posit an ultimate principle of causality/explanation, we are left with an irrational position/system, and by retorsion, attempts to deny a single, ultimate PSR will be self-undermining."

      Most of the arguments that Feser gives absolutely do NOT rely on the PSR. The argument from motion for example relies on the principle of causality which is "whatever is moved is moved by another" which is defended using the act/potency distinction (see: David Oderberg's Whatever is changed is being changed by something else). The only argument that requires the PSR is the Rationalist Proof.


      > Feser’s logic would seem to make God explanatorily prior to the basic laws of thought.

      That arguments is meant to rebut the brute fact objection in the Rationalist Proof. I agree I do not think the rationalist proof works. The PSR seems to me to violate free will.

      Delete
    2. Feser's logic "if rational, then God" attacks the materialist world view that seeks to explain the world without positing God. The materialist treats the world as rational, law-bound entity but does not carry his rationalism far enough.

      Delete
    3. Mohamed, wouldn't the person and the percieved good satisfy PSR by making the effect intelligible, without thereby implying that a person was determined in their action? If not, what is the problem you see?

      Delete
    4. @ Mohamed Abostate: by "reducible" I don't mean that the PSR figures in a premise in every one of Feser's arguments. I'm speaking loosely, in that it seems to me that Feser in discussions often winds up pressing something like a claim that, if there is not some Ur-Explanans in a system of explanations, then that system undermines itself and renders the explananda inexplicable. This is where he and Keith Parsons wound up in their debate of maybe two years ago, IIRC.

      Delete
    5. Adding: In the Oxford Encylopedia of Philosophy article on the PSR, it says, "In Abelard, as in Leibniz, the principle eventually forces the recognition that the actual world is the best of all possible worlds, since anything else would be inconsistent with the creative power that actualizes possibilities."

      But my understanding is that in Thomism, our world is not said to be the best of all possible worlds, that God could have created a different world.

      Where would Prof. Feser say Abelard and Leibniz went wrong?

      Delete
    6. Sean, The defender of the PSR would have to say that every effect no matter what kind is intelligible and has a cause or rather that every fact including effects have an explanation. The argument from motion is notcommitted to the same, it is only committed that motion has a cause so other effects like composite or contingent beings could have no cause and that would not even dent the argument.

      ficino, I am not sure What Feser thinks about this issue in modal logic but I *feel* that Feser thinks that God could have created a better world.

      Delete
  21. Dan Harte
    Ed,I think it's way past time that you started a podcast and I don't think many people would disagree.
    You're probably sick and tired of hearing this but a discussion or discussions with Jordan Peterson would be massive in my honest opinion and I would hope this will eventually happen

    ReplyDelete
  22. Don't know why but I couldn't post my last message other than as anonymous!

    ReplyDelete
  23. So no one here has issues with Mr. "Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage" Shapiro who also influenced the Quebec Mosque shooter via his anti-Muslims rhetoric? Figures. Why am I not surprised.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What has Shapiro said about Muslims that was not factual? When has he ever generalized that "Arabs like to bomb crap"?

      Delete
    2. Probably because Shapiro has, on multiple occasions, addressed what he meant by that quote. Heck, he even addresses it in the twitter thread that you pulled this one quote out of. The thread is still there too, because he knows that if he removed it, all that would exist is a screenshot of this quote taken out of context and misused to malign him, as you are doing right now.

      As for the shooting, Shapiro has never ever called for violence against non-aggressors ever. He has explicitly said the opposite on numerous occasions. How can it be his fault if, and its a big if, someone somewhere at some time reads more in to Shapiro's words than he intends?

      Delete
    3. Guys, this is likely AKG,an extremely whinny and histrionic SJW. It reads like his nonsense. You are wasting your time.

      Delete
    4. Read the context. So it turns out he was only talking about Palestinians and their allies. Oh okay. That makes it SO much better and totally not bigoted. Rolls eyes.

      The Quebec Mosque shooter was following Ben Shapiro and looking up what he said in the month he committed the shooting. Shapiro whose rhetoric states that most Muslims are radical and are dangerous to the West and Muslims are actively working to replace Europe's native population.

      Face it. Shapiro is as bigoted as they come when it comes to conservatives. Let's not even get started on what he says about black people like the whole "black people are mainly struggling due to cultural reasons" in America.

      Delete
    5. Is AKG a troll? I've been wondering about this for awhile. I can't tell if he's being genuine or not.

      Delete
    6. I just love how you conservatives call anyone who voices grievances against racism, xenophobia, etc a "SJW"(yet the tiniest of struggles conservatives face make you guys cry about your "persecution and how it's the greatest threat to the polity, etc"). You're the type of guys who would have called Malcolm X, MLK SJW'S wouldn't you?

      Tell me something if calling someone out for being racist still makes someone a "SJW" then at what point does someone voice "legitimate" concerns in your views?

      Delete
    7. "Read the context."

      It doesn't seem like you did properly. Shapiro was "referring to the Palestinian terrorist governments of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and their political supporters, who have shifted tens of millions of dollars from building up the lives of their citizens toward terrorism and bloodshed."

      "Shapiro whose rhetoric states that most Muslims are radical and are dangerous"

      He has said that the idea of the tiny radical minority is not true and he has shown numerous reasons to back this up. Polls show numerous Muslim majority countries where a majority of Muslims have a positive or neutral view of Osama Bin laden, believe killing non-combatants can be justified, among much more. If you have an issue with the polls, or don't consider that radical then fine, but it doesn't make him a bigot.

      "at what point does someone voice "legitimate" concerns in your views?"

      How about when racism explicitly appears? MLK was dealing with serious grievances that were explicitly apparent, like signs saying "No Blacks Allowed", violence based on openly racist intent, among much more. Social justice is fine. SJWs act in bad faith and tend to assume bigotry in people from the beginning and are not afraid to ruin reputations and lives based on poor evidence, even purely just on a disagreement.

      You are currently smearing another person as a bigot who has blood on his hands (imagine someone trying to convince the world of this about you, if you don't see the gravity of such actions) based on shoddy reasoning and evidence. If you don't think such behavior is disgusting, you probably are an SJW.

      Delete
    8. Didn't pretty much every Muslim terrorist read the Quran days or hours before their attack? By this logic, the Quran must be partly responsible for Muslim terrorism.

      Delete
    9. Throwing out buzz words like "bigot" and "racist" are not productive if one wants to conduct a coherent dialogue about pressing issues. It is also somewhat presumptuous because the mere labeling of someone as belonging to group x of despicable human beings, implies that one understands their psychological motives. It is not obvious that Shapiro is a racist. Even if he was putting forward very controversial or even bias statistics you still have to prove that his intent when presenting those statistics was motivated by a morally-depraved racist attitude, and not the alternative--that he is citing statistics that he thinks genuinely reflect the reality of a specific situation. And even then you have to prove that Shapiro is just plain racist, that he views other sects of people as inferior to him, as less worthy than other sects of people by virtue that they belong to their specific cite and not another.

      Delete
    10. Funny. Why did he use the word "Arabs" instead of just saying Hamas, Palestinian authority, etc? We all know what he meant and he's just using a half-assed excuse to argue otherwise. You can't defend that. Let's not forget what else he said:

      "The “Arab Palestinian populace… by and large constitutes the most evil population on the face of the planet.”

      “They are a population rotten to the core… Palestinian Arabs must be fought on their own terms: as a people dedicated to an evil cause.”

      "The Palestinian Arab population breeds terrorism, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. "



      As for the second claim, this article pretty much debunks Shapiro's claim and explains better than I could how he used cherry-picking and cheap tactics like a broad definition of "radical" to achieve his results: https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/nov/05/ben-shapiro/shapiro-says-majority-muslims-are-radicals/

      And to note. Notice how Shapiro when talking about "radical Muslims" said stuff like "You scared yet? We’re just getting started." and "We’re above 800 million Muslims radicalized, more than half the Muslims on Earth," "That’s not a minority. That’s now a majority." This is blatant fear-mongering and designed to rile people up against Muslims and it's impossible to pretend otherwise. If you can't see how language like that would inspire someone like the mosque shooter to take action, then you're lying to yourself.

      The rest of your comments are just incoherent rambling. It's utterly disgusting how you conservatives consider racism and other bigoted world views to be just "disagreements".

      Delete
    11. Who would have guessed AKG would base his attack on comments taken disingenuously out of context:

      https://www.dailywire.com/news/30487/left-idiotically-takes-8-year-old-tweet-out-ben-shapiro

      Delete
    12. AKG,

      It's clear Shapiro is convinced that the world's Muslim population, in some sense or another, a significant portion hold extreme views. He cites the Pew statistic. Now you disagree. But all this shows is that Shapiro is wrong, not motivated by racism. I too was concerned by the Pew forums results.

      You're also looking back in hindsight. Shapiro undoubtedly wants to persuade people that radical Islam is not a fringe position. Undoubtedly he is trying to win people over. Your own paranoia is forcing you to infer design 'to rule people up against Muslims' if by that you mean attack them.

      Delete
    13. In case anyone hasn't watched the video:
      https://youtu.be/g7TAAw3oQvg

      AKG, I'm still not sure what is racist about the video in question. He seems to be citing statistics from the Pew Research Forum concerning radical beliefs held by Muslims in majority Muslim countries. What do you disagree with here? Shapiro is criticizing beliefs such as justified honor killings and suicide bombings. This isn't racist, this is pointing out and admonishing gravely immoral acts and their cultural support.

      Delete
    14. So you are saying that the Palestinians having parades in the streets when Jews are killed, or having kids shows on TV in Gaza telling kids to kill Jews, or supporting political leaders who say things like "“We love death like our enemies love life!", or how 60-70% of them believe suicide bombings on civilian targets can be justified to defend Islam, among much more that can be said, has nothing to do with Shapiro's animosity toward the Palestinians? Nah, that can't explain it, it must be just pure old fashioned bigotry, right?

      "This is blatant fear-mongering and designed to rile people up against Muslims"

      You have already claimed he is a racist bigot who is accountable for a mass shooting based on poor evidence and reasoning. You couldn't possibly accuse Shapiro of riling people up without implicating yourself in the same behaviour.

      " It's utterly disgusting how you conservatives consider racism and other bigoted world views to be just "disagreements"."

      I don't consider it racism because I have yet to see any clear cut evidence of it. If I were to speak in bad-faith, I'd claim you were fear-mongering, trying to rile people up against Shapiro and conservatives. That holds about as much weight as your claim that Shapiro is a racist.

      Delete
    15. RomanJoe,

      "Throwing out buzz words like "bigot" and "racist" are not productive if one wants to conduct a coherent dialogue about pressing issues. It is also somewhat presumptuous because the mere labeling of someone as belonging to group x of despicable human beings, implies that one understands their psychological motives."

      Wouldn't that also refer to buzzwords like "SJW?"

      Billy,

      You don't see clear cut evidence of racism in someone saying:

      "The Arab Palestinian populace… by and large constitutes the most evil population on the face of the planet..."

      Delete
    16. The Arab Palestinian populace raises their children to suicide-bomb other people's children—as an ordinary thing, widely socially accepted, like Tibetans raising their children to herd yaks. So as a population as such goes, yeah, that's a pretty evil one.

      Delete
    17. Is anyone using throwing around the term SJW as the meat of their argument? Except perhaps those who aren't arguing and are, rather justifiably, dismissing AKG as a histrionic sophist not worth arguing with? AKG is not new here and his behaviour habitual silliness is well known.

      Are the Palestinian Arabs race? Surely they're the same race as Shapiro? Besides, isn't there a most evil population on the face of the planet? What better candidate is there than the Palestinians? Even Abbas hails terrorists as martyrs and heros.

      Delete
    18. Okay Billy and people trying to justify Shapiro's hatred. Let's play your game. Watch some of this video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e_dbsVQrk4 or look up citizens of Israel clapping when Palestine is bombed by Israel. According to your logic then, you'll have to admit Palestinians are justified in their animosity towards Israel similar to how Shapiro is "justified" in his towards the Palestinians.

      To everyone else. Of course honor killings and suicide bombings are deeply immoral. Here's the thing, in the article I linked it shows how Shapiro in his usual sleazy manner through such as cherry picking, and an extremely broad definition of "radical" among others, is exaggerating the "radical Muslim" thing to make it as if most Muslims are radicals and using fear-mongering language to rile people up.

      I just love how you guys just decided to bite the bullet and embrace Shapiro's comments and try to "rationalize" them. Thanks for proving me right about you guys.

      Also as a side note no one can accuse me of being of being a "sophist" while thinking Shapiro is an "serious intellectual" as he does EXACTLY what the sophist described by Plato do. Use "clever" wording and rhetoric to "win" debates and then his clown posse acts like he's one of the most "brilliant" people alive .

      Delete
    19. Chad,

      "You don't see clear cut evidence of racism in someone saying..."

      No I don't because Shapiro has explicitly pointed to their behaviour, beliefs, and intentions when criticising them and Ben has condemned making judgements about individuals as well as groups based purely on race as racist on more occasions than I can think to remember. As a side point, even though I disagree with Ben about in this quote, can you name a population that is worse without having to point to the worst of the worst in the world?

      Anon,

      I'm done. I'm not trying to justify anything. You are the one making very serious claims, I'm merely pointing out how you haven't given good reasons to back your claims, and how those kinds of claims shouldn't be made without good reason, and provided alternative explanations for your evidence. We aren't getting anywhere, so end of discussion.

      Delete
    20. Anon:

      "Is anyone using throwing around the term SJW as the meat of their argument?"

      AKG is not using the term "racist" or "bigot" as the meat of his argument. He's giving evidence of comments by Shapiro that at least give the appearance of being bigoted and racist.

      Sophia's Favorite:

      "The Arab Palestinian populace raises their children to suicide-bomb other people's children—as an ordinary thing, widely socially accepted, like Tibetans raising their children to herd yaks."

      According to the most recent version I can find of the very Pew survey everyone here is using to justify Shapiro's comments, more Palestinian Arabs think suicide bombing is never justified than think it is rarely, sometimes, or often justified.

      Link: https://www.haaretz.com/pew-report-fears-of-radical-islam-rising-in-mideast-1.5254118

      Isn't it the definition of bigotry and racism to attribute the views/actions of a small portion to an entire population?

      Billy:

      "No I don't because Shapiro has explicitly pointed to their behaviour, beliefs, and intentions when criticising them..."

      From this comment I assume you did not read AKG's link to a politifact article disputing Shapiro's analysis. I suggest you do so. It does a pretty thorough job of showing that Shapiro used dubious definitions and cherry picked data from that Pew survey to make his claims. You complain of AKG using shoddy evidence and poor reasoning to support his claims, but Politifact pretty ably pointed out that the same could be said of Shapiro.

      "Ben has condemned making judgements about individuals as well as groups based purely on race as racist on more occasions than I can think to remember."

      And I tell my nieces and nephews not to lose their temper or curse. That doesn't mean I've never done those things myself.

      That Shapiro agrees with the rest of the world that racism is a bad thing doesn't mean he isn't sometimes guilty of it, even if inadvertently.

      "As a side point, even though I disagree with Ben about in this quote, can you name a population that is worse without having to point to the worst of the worst in the world?"

      It's an absurd question on its face. What's the criteria for calling a population of evil? Is it the number of people who support killing civilians in a population, or the number of civilians actually killed by a population? Because I doubt Americans would like how the latter account would turn out.

      The better question would be, why would a reasonable person of good will think he needs to, or is capable of, figuring out which population in the world is "the most evil?"

      What worthwhile political goal could be served by seeking to label some group of people as the most evil people in the world?

      I have to say that the willingness (I dare say, the eagerness) to make that claim, and to justify it, is suspect to me.

      Delete
    21. Chad,

      Shapiro is the same race as. the Palestinians, so I'm not sure how his comments can be racist.

      AKG, as usual, is being very quick to rthro around terms like bigot and raxist. One can disagree with Shapiro's claims and reasoning, but they are as well founded as much political discussion. There is reasonable prima facie case for thinking the Palestinians do have some terrible attitudes. Even Abbas and the PLO fête those stab or blow up Israelis as heroes. They pay pensions to their families, I believe. Shapiro, I submit, has not made a bigoted conclusion from the evidence, even if he has made a wrong one. Bigotry would require a much greater leap. AKG ks, though, very quick to accuse Shapiro of bigotry, and, as him being wrong is not enough, the issue must be he dared to make such a harsh attack on a (non-Western - AKG is quite happy to call Westerns and Americans everything under the sun) national group. So, yes, although AKG does invoke Shapiro's possible mistaken interpretation of evidence, this cannot justify his conclusion of bigotry and racism flung around promiscuously - these labels are the real meat of his argument. Why do you think he fumes so? He wouldn't bother if he had a sound reasoning and more to his overall argument.

      Delete
    22. I think that Shapiro's language is a bit immoderate, but it does effectively counter romantic pro- Palestinian leanings of some today. The Palestinian population most certainly is one of the most terrorist supporting, rabidly anti-Semitic, and even Islamicist populations on earth. It also helps remind the forgetful or ignorant why the Palestinians, even the PLO, aren't serious about peace (if Abbas made a final peace with the hated enemy, he'd be overthrown almost immediately), and why, in being almost all they claim, several times, they always refuse peace.

      Delete
    23. Here's the thing Jeremy or Dennis(probably the latter as your tone indicates Dennis's usual Quisling-like worship of the West). As Chad noted I HAVE given arguments and evidence which shows Shapiro is racist and a bigot. The issue is you're so keen on keeping your head up your own anus. You're ignoring blatant quotes from the fool himself and using all kinds of mental gymnastics to avoid seeing that everything I'm saying about this half-assed sophist(he's not even good enough to be a real sophist) is true. Hell Shapiro has defended ethnic cleansing of Palestinians via mass expulsion and the only reason he's "evolved" on this issue is because it would be "impractical". Explain to me how it is NOT bigoted to say an entire population of people are "rotten to the core" and the "most evil people on the planet" and think they should be expelled from their homes. Also keep in mind Shapiro said there was no evidence of George Zimmerman being racist even though the man called someone a "n**** lover, and had a Confederate Flag profile picture.

      The reason I sound "fumed" is because it is completely baffling how conservatives cannot see when someone is racist even when it is right in front of them and will use every trick in the book to defend them. It's utterly delusional, and mind boggling. The worst part is that you guys then act like people who get mad at racist are the real problem, and focus on attacking them.

      Also to everyone trying to justify how "bad" the Palestinians are. You still haven't addressed the video I sent concerning what some Israelis think, or Israel citizens clapping when Palestine is bombed or this: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/almost-half-of-israeli-jews-want-ethnic-cleansing-palestinians-wake-up-call-survey-finds-a6919271.html. If we play your game and use your logic then you'll to admit that Israeli's hold "terrible attitudes, rabidly "anti-Arab", aren't serious about peace do to wanting ethnic cleansing, etc,

      Delete
    24. See, Chad, this the person you are defending, a ranter and a troll. He is also liar. He is well aware that the ethnic cleansing article is one Shapiro wrote when he was a teenager and has apologized for. He also should know that clapping the bombing Hamas terrorists is not the same as supporting terrorism, nor do a few people represent the entrenched attitudes of the Palestinians. Or maybe he is just as silly as he often sounds, and doesn't realize his reasoning is so shoddy.

      Delete
    25. Okay Jeremy/Dennis, since your reading comprehension skills seem to be underdeveloped let me explain somethings to you. I brought up Shapiro's past ethnic cleansing thing and acknowledged he backtracked BUT I also wrote that THE only reason he changed his mind was due to it being "impractical" and not out of any moral change in his view of Palestinians. This still shows that he's a scumbag and full of hate towards Palestinians. It's a strike against him.

      Also let me get this straight. Palestinians clapping when Israel is attacked(even though according to here: https://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/locals-cheer-bombing-from-sderot-cinema-as-israel-steps-up-attacks-on-hamas-in-gaza-strip/news-story/3138096459fa8189f349c033cef820c3 the bombing resulted in no damage/casualties)_=terrorism supporting people who are "evil". Israeli people clapping when Palestine is bombed=Their clapping because Hamas is bombed(even though said bombs have also hit hospitals, schools, homes of people, and are killing people who are not part of Hamas and killed more people than the rockets launched by Hamas). Yeah the fact that people called watching the bombing of a location full of people who are ALL not part of Hamas and which include innocent civilians, "good fun" is no way problematic at all. Also you haven't addressed the article showing nearly half of Israeli Jews(who are the majority of the people) believing in ethnic cleansing and how it can't be used according to the logic of some people here to justify Palestinian hostility towards Israel in the same way their trying to justify Israeli hostility towards Palestine.

      The only thing that's "shoddy" is your attempts to avoid actually engaging with what I wrote or giving good refutations by acting smug and using sloppy mental gymnastics.

      Delete
    26. AKG,

      You're lying again, it seems:
      https://www.dailywire.com/news/33362/so-heres-giant-list-all-dumb-stuff-ive-ever-done-ben-shapiro

      Get this straight: it might be callous to cheer the bombing of Palestine, given civilians are likely to be killed due to Hamas's use of human shields. But that is not the same as cherrinc the deliberate targeting of civilians. That is what many Palestinians support. The cases are not comparable. What's more, those are a few people, whereas we're talking about a large proportion of Palestinians. There have been Israeli terrorists who have targeted Arabs and Palestinians. Do you know what Israel does with these people? It locks them up. Do you know what the PalrstPalest do to their terrorists? In the West Bank they're hailed as martyrs and heros and their fsmifami given pensions. In Gaza they are the government.

      Delete
  24. It seems to me that the simplest argument for the existence of God is the one Einstein used and which could be summarized like this: the harmony of the universe reveals a superior intelligence. I haven’t read anything by Dr. Feser commenting on this argument. Am I right? Has anyone an idea of what he would say on this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This argument asks why there are physical "laws" or objective tendencies characterizing the universe in the first place, about which we have two options: either they have an explanation, or they exist for no reason whatsoever (whatever that would mean). Their explanation, since it would have to be something beyond the universe, would be easily tied to God's causal activity with some conceptual analysis. I think this argument works, but it's always open to the objection that there's no explanation for their existence, which would put it alongside the contingency argument or "rationalist proof" in its reliance upon PSR (which I think is an easily defended principle, of course.)

      Delete
    2. Dr. Feser has commented on this type of argument before. If by “harmony” you mean consistency in behavior among non-intelligent objects (the pumpkin always acts pumpkin-y), then you have Aquinas’ Fifth Way (my favorite proof). If you by “harmony” you mean what are the chances that all of the conditions of the universe would be such that life is possible, you essentially have the fine-tuning argument which is a spin off of William Paley’s Watchmaker argument. Dr. Feser would reject that argument (he has written extensively on it). The reason is that it concedes too much to the atheist. It essentially robs objects of final forms that require explanation and thus makes it possible in principle for God to not exist. However, rejecting Aquinas’ Fifty Way can only be done by rejecting the Principle of Sufficient Reason. One way to illustrate the difference is this:

      Fine-tuners will argue that the likelihood of the cosmological constant being randomly selected to support life is 1X10^-122. A virtually infinitesimal number. This can only be explained by recourse to God.

      However, Dr. Feser would say that this could be explained by recourse to us living in a computer simulation for example, or perhaps better physics will explain this away, or perhaps a multiverse would explain it. But per the Fifth Way, even the fact that there is a cosmological constant at all requires recourse to an intelligent designer. Essentially, if non-intelligent objects to not get their consistent behavior from themselves, they must get it from an intelligent will. This intelligent will must get its intelligence from someone else who is more intelligent (regressing all the way to God to avoid an infinite regress) or must be God Himself.

      Delete
    3. What do you mean by harmony?

      Delete
    4. We can speak of how fire has a certain regular order to it, and run the fifth way from that. Or we can note that fire doesnt end up consuming everyrhing, but is balanced by other elements. If i recall, and Im not sure I do, Aquinas alludes to both kinds of order. Both he takes as evidence for God's existence.

      Delete
    5. Steven Dutch also mentions this as a good argument for intelligent design

      Delete
  25. Compliments to both you and Ben Shapiro! A great discussion that has lead me ( a non-philospher by education - Human Physiology) to acquire a copy of your book. I will be reading it this week.

    ReplyDelete
  26. "And to get another one of my pet peeves off my chest: forget about Dave Rubin. He is more polite, a little more sensible -- but not by much -- a little more ingratiating and likewise, a waste of Prof. Feser's time."

    Absolutely.

    On the other hand, I was more impressed than I expected to be, by Shapiro's solid grasp of the moves and implications involved in the dynamics of the "defending [an objective] goodness without teleology" question.

    Is it "good" because it feels satisfying? Or does it feel satisfying to the organism because a function aiming toward an end proximate or ultimate, is successfully met?

    One thing I would suggest to Feser as he gains more public notoriety, is to be prepared at some point to have to argue in additional detail the anti-objective-intentionality "self-refutation" consequence: [be]for those for whom it is either not intuitively evident, or those who wish to be obtuse in order to see if he can think on his feet.

    That said, Feser's broad [as he stated] description of the logical consequences involved in moral nihilism or the adoption of a brute fact ideology, was very well formulated and delivered.

    As I saw it only one detail, the aspect which any use (and definition or redefinition) of the term "good" plays in this self-refutation process [for brute factists or nihilists], managed to slip somewhat between the cracks.

    Feser made sure to point out that one confronts either a real good, or power relations choice.

    But I am convinced that some brute factists will still try and defend their use of the term "good" as being more meaningful than a grunt of meaningless approval.

    This as Feser knows will necessarily involve them in making a, either closeted if supposedly non-theological teleological claims regarding the meaning of the term "good" and the value of "flourishing", or b, will expose as Feser pointed out, their logical incoherence ... which he mentioned repeatedly.

    Nonetheless I foresee these discussions at some point pivoting on the legitimacy of some definition and use of the term "good"; somewhat perhaps in the same way as the definition of nothingness exploded not so long ago.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Nice interview although I disagree with Ben on somethings I still really like him.

    Although some of these objections are already addressed in Feser's work , others I expect to be in future but some objections which more serious objectors are likely to bring should also be briefly discussed in such talks. like Whether we experience change in the first place( rather than being subject to a some error), the Modal collapse , what is called Hume-Edwards objection or Steven Maitzen's ( somewhat confusing) objections ( in one paper he argues that once notion of "thing" is properly analysed it becomes clear that It doesn't make sense to ask for explanation of things. In another he claims that there can not be a self explanatory end point for explanations even if that being has no essence/existence distinction because we can still ask why this is so.)

    Anyway would really like to see Feser with him in future also.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Awesome! Congrats, man. I am working my way through those sunday special now. Looks like I'll have someone to look forward to after Mike Rowe. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Could you respond to Vallicella’s current posting on divine simplicity and modal collapse?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Dr Feser (or anyone who can address this), I'm struggling to understand why the fully actualized Ground of being must be conscious. If "conscious" is the wrong word (is it the wrong word here?) then here's what I mean: self-awareness, intentions, will, etc.

    The arguments make sense as far as they go. But an atheist could (and some atheists do) accept the idea of an underlying ground of reality upon which everything else is contingent. The missing descriptor aspect is mind or mind-like qualities.

    *How* do the arguments lead to *that*?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you Edward, I had an encounter at work with a former Catholic who took such extreme positions on tolerance that I can't sleep. Great teaching interview!

    ReplyDelete
  32. The interview was amazing! immediately went and bought The Last Superstition book.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "Prior" to creation, did God possess the potential for creating a universe? Did God have any choice at all in creation? If yes, doesn't mean that God could have *potentially* avoided creation? If no, how can creation be a free act of God?

    Related, if God sans creation existed alone-- if God's essence and existence are the same-- then God just *is* the most fundamental reality. And if God cannot change, then reality at its most fundamental level cannot change. Then how could God sans creation change by *deciding* to create?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps it would help to recall that the creation approach does not have God going along for a few centuries, or a few trillions of millenia, and then saying, "hey, now is a good time to create the universe I have been thinking about". Time did not exist before He created, so there was no time before creation. There was no change before creation. When He created, that was the first moment there could have been creation.

      Next: the traditional theory is that God was neither bound to create THIS specific universe, nor to create ANY universe at all, but that He was free to do so: the creation does not satisfy some potentcy in God that needs fulfillment. There is nothing in God that is better off for having created, creation does not add to his happiness, does not perfect him in any way. So "potency" is not applicable here. The use of "potential" then is from the possibility of creation, not from the potency that needs an actuality to make it completed an perfect. And there is nothing offensive to God's supra-eminence to say that for Him it was possible to create or to not create.

      Delete
    2. To add to what Tony said, and as a suggestion, drill this slogan into your head: creation is not change, creation is not change, creation is not change...

      Delete
  34. Ed, you were on sparkling form. Shapiro did well too. I think many would like to hear more you (on the Rubin Report for instance). Cheers -- raising a dram of Laphroaig to your good health. Fond memories of San Diego.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Loved the conversation, hated the ads.

    Can Shapiro not do one interview without staring into the camera to shill for a product every 15 minutes?

    ReplyDelete
  36. It's been 4.25 days since the episode was released and the current viewer/listenership numbers are:

    101k from Youtube
    407k from SoundCloud
    234k from Facebook
    iTunes doesn't give a number.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Terribly lame review by Simon Blackburn of Five Proofs, located here:
    https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/enlightened-thinking-atheism-god/

    ReplyDelete
  38. Mr. Feser (or others that can help), Can you help me understand how the following is not a suitabe objection to the unmoved mover argument?

    In your interview with Shapiro you used as an example water becoming luke-warm. The potential to change temp would be actualized by something actual (a different temp). In the case of temperature it seems clear to me that inside defined system bodies change temperature by acting on each other. In other words, the 74* air in a room is warmed (acted on) by the hot water. And the 200* water is acted on in some way by the cool air and is thereby cooled.

    So in terms of temperature, can't various bodies act on each other in turn? Instead of an infinite regress could not temperature change be explained by cyclical "actuation".

    I'm not sure that such an explanation might not apply to changes in area other than temperature. But let's start there. Why can't temperature change be brought about through cyclical causation without recourse to a "prior" cause outside of the cycle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Firstly, the example Feser used is just a simple example in order to help with understanding some very abstract concepts. Don't get caught up in the details of the example, that's not the point. Feser is just trying to give a simple example of change that everyone knows about, but the argument works when pointing to any change of any kind at all.

      Second, cyclical actualisation wouldn't be possible in this regard because something actual must either be inherently actual (like the unmoved mover) or receive is actuality from another thing that is also actual. A potential cannot actualise anything because it's just potential. If has no actuality, and thus cannot give what it does not have. If A actualises B, then prior to this B is just potential and thus incapable of actualising anything. So B cannot actualise A, and so it cannot be cyclical.

      I assume for brevity and to just not let the interview get too bogged down on complicated abstractions, it needs to be understood that not just the temperature of the water at a given moment must be actualised, but the water itself must also be actualised. Remember, if actuality is not inherent in the water, which is the case since the hydrogen and oxygen can be separated, then the water must also get its actuality from something else. What looks like A and B actualising each other is really still just a regress because the the air and water can actualise the temperature of each other only if they are both actual themselves and at this point they definitely cannot actualise each other for the reason noted above.

      I'd say the confusion is just because Feser only had a few minutes to explain so he just gave the bare bones of very abstract concepts with the simplest example people can easily understand with the short time he had. There is more that can be said.

      Delete
    2. Got to admire Dr. Feser's ability to breakdown the argument into a couple minutes and have it remain intelligible. I tried to do that for a friend, although to be fair it had been about 6 months since I had thought about the argument indepth, and it was a bit of a disaster! haha

      Delete
  39. This might show up twice because I screwed up replying..

    I understand that it's just an example. But I think the biggest obstacle to changing minds on this is explaining how it would work in specific instances. If I could find a book with 100 examples of motion explained according to Aristotle/Aquinas I would buy it. I might be the only one.. But I commit to buy 100 copies and distribute if Feser will write it.

    In the example in question, the actually hot water makes the room a little warmer and is a sufficient of that change. The actually cool air makes the water a little cooler and is a sufficient cause of that change.

    The crux might be what you write here: "must either be inherently actual ... or receive is actuality from another thing." But if so, I don't get it.. Why does the hot water need to get it's actual hotness from something else at the beginning of the change discussed in the example.

    It may be true that the water and air/room need to be held in actual being by something else. But I don't think that affects the change of temperature in question here. If it did, it would certainly be an example of explaining the more known by the less known as far as how to explain water changing temperature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well heat of particles of a fluid or gas is typically just a shorthand way of talking about the average kinetic energy of the molecules in question. Using a simplistic mechanistic Billard Ball model of molecules basically entails that to heat up the water in a cup means to make the billiard balls go faster. If the water heats up without being heated up by surrounding objects (e.g. collision of gas molecules from a nearby fire) it is tantamount to seeing a cue ball on a billard table break a racked set of balls without anyone touching the cue ball. That is certainly spooky and denies PSR. This is why if your tea kettle starts boiling, you either turn off the stove or call Ghostbusters, but you don’t just shrug your shoulders and say “meh, I guess the water is boiling again for know reason”.

      The same logic also applies to causal structures (essentially ordered series) rather than just causal sequences in time.

      For example, you are alive and reading this right now.

      Q1: Why are you alive?
      A1: Your brain and heart are properly functioning

      Q2: Why is your brain and heart functioning?
      A2: Because their respective cells are healthy?

      Q3: Why healthy cells?
      A3: Molecular interactions

      Molecular interactions -> atomic -> sub-atomic.

      Q7: Why do subatomic particles interact?
      A7: Fundmental forces of physics

      Q8: Why are fundamental forces the way they are (they have a finite form, after-all)?

      A8: Either it is a brute fact, it is explained by a more fundamental force, or it is explained by something that is its own sufficient explanation (i.e. God).

      A more fundamental force just pushes the problem down the road. A brute fact allows for the random disintegration of our body at any instant, and it is a miracle that this has never been recorded in all of written history. I have an argument above in the comments using a Cathode Ray Tube TV example. Just search for that and you’ll find it.
      So the only plausible conclusion is that these things are made intelligible by a mind who can freely will that their specific forms are always maintained. This requires assent to classical theism and concurrent I am.

      Delete
    2. "Why does the hot water need to get it's actual hotness from something else"

      Because if actuality was inherent to the hotness of the tea, then the tea would never cool down. In fact it gets even more absurd. The tea would then never cease to exist because it was be held in actuality by the hotness which inherently will never cease either. And to get even more absurd, if you analyse inherent actuality to its fullest extent, you will need to conclude that the hotness is God.

      "It may be true that the water and air/room need to be held in actual being by something else. But I don't think that affects the change of temperature in question here."

      As I said, the specifics of the particular example is not important at all. The hotness could get its actuality from some other aspect of the water, like the state of the oxygen and hydrogen; from the air, like the state of the compounds in it, from something else, or where ever. What matters is that the hotness cannot get its actuality from itself for the reason stated above, so the hotness must be a potential that was actualised by another.

      The potential/actual distinction is proposed to account for how any thing could be one way and then be another way, AKA change. If the water is hot then becomes cold, then it leads to a contradiction to say that the water is both hot and not hot (cold). So the only way to fix this contradiction is to propose the difference between potential and actual. Whatever example of change you propose needs the potential/actual distinction to make sense.

      Delete