Thursday, December 27, 2018
In two recent posts, we looked at philosopher Alex Byrne’s criticisms of claims made by some transgender activists to the effect and . Byrne is by no means the only philosopher alarmed at the increasingly bizarre claims being made by such activists – and the shrillness with which they are making them. Kathleen Stock worries that such ideas . Daniel A. Kaufman warns that they threaten nothing less than . Nor are these philosophers conservatives who are hostile to the sexual revolution. They are progressives concerned about extremism and anti-intellectualism in their own ranks. And as if to prove the critics’ point, some of the activists have in response .
Sunday, December 23, 2018
A Protestant friend once asked me what the point is of the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. Why is it so important to think that Christ is really present under the accidents of bread and wine? What is the cash value of this idea? The answer I gave him is best understood in light of the meaning of Christmas.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Thursday, December 13, 2018
philosopher Alex Byrne’s defense of the commonsense view that there are only two sexes. In , Byrne defends another aspect of sexual common sense – the thesis that the distinction between male and female is natural, and not a mere social construct. Let’s take a look.
As is typically done these days by writers on this topic, Byrne begins by distinguishing between sex and gender. Sex has to do with the biological distinction between male and female, whereas gender has to do with the way the difference between male and female is shaped by culture. In the article in question, Byrne does not challenge the claim that gender is socially constructed. He is concerned only to rebut the more radical claim that sex is socially constructed. We’ll return to the gender question later, though, because the claim that sex differences are natural is relevant to it.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
My new book Aristotle’s Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science will be out early next year from Editiones Scholasticae. More information forthcoming, but to whet your appetite, here are the cover copy and the detailed table of contents:
Actuality and potentiality, substantial form and prime matter, efficient causality and teleology are among the fundamental concepts of Aristotelian philosophy of nature. Aristotle’s Revenge argues that these concepts are not only compatible with modern science, but are implicitly presupposed by modern science. Among the many topics covered are the metaphysical presuppositions of scientific method; the status of scientific realism; the metaphysics of space and time; the metaphysics of quantum mechanics; reductionism in chemistry and biology; the metaphysics of evolution; and neuroscientific reductionism. The book interacts heavily with the literature on these issues in contemporary analytic metaphysics and philosophy of science, so as to bring contemporary philosophy and science into dialogue with the Aristotelian tradition.