Monday, November 25, 2019

The Last Superstition in French


My book The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism is now available in a French translation.  The book is also available in Portuguese and German

While we're on the subject of translations, I suppose I might offer a reminder that Five Proofs of the Existence of God and Philosophy of Mind are also available in German, and that a book of some of my essays is available in Romanian.

45 comments:

  1. It is interesting that superstition is feminine but that atheism is masculine. By the way, your previous blog post was very nice, Ed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course it is; in fact, all “itions” are female and all “isms” are male.

      Delete
  2. Caio Lopes Alcaraz TorresNovember 26, 2019 at 6:26 AM

    Reading TLS in its Portuguese translation has sparked my interest in studying philosophy seriously and this study actually changed my life (and is still changing it). Thanks, Ed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Look out for the upcoming translation of his “Philosophy of Mind”!

      Delete
    2. Caio Lopes Alcaraz TorresNovember 27, 2019 at 12:17 PM

      I thought this translation's crowdfunding project had failed, since I received no more information about it. Is it really going to happen?

      Delete
    3. The publisher has said that publishing is guaranteed even if the goal is not achieved, though it may take a while now.

      Delete
  3. Where is the best place to discuss Ed's books? The comment box discussions on the blog are at a level that I can't get my head around, and they are also meant as responses to Ed's topical posts.

    I was thinking of something along the lines of the Reasonable Faith discussion boards (but without the Theistic Personalism!). Is Reddit or Catholic Answers better?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check the Thomism discussion group on Facebook.

      Delete
    2. Ed's open threads are good for that. Don't worry about the disparities in technical level, some people here are willing to engage with and answer simpler questions.

      Delete
  4. PSA: Palgrave Macmillan is having a cyber sale through December 3rd, so if anyone has wanted to get "Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics" but was not willing to shell out the money, you can get it (and other titles) for 10 bucks.

    Link: https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9780230360914

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not seeing that ten dollar price tag for the book. Am I missing something?

      Delete
    2. If this really works that way, then I just got Aristotle on Method, Craigs book on the Cosmological Argument and Swinburnes book for 10 bucks each. What the hell

      Delete
    3. If anyone has problems, follow the link in this tweet:
      https://twitter.com/Palgrave_/status/1199644050867007488
      If you are already registered it is possible, that there will be no offer for 9,99. In that case, log out, choose your books after clicking the link and only register again if you want to pay. The price will be at 9,99 per book.

      Delete
  5. There appears to be an apostrophe between the L and the A in the first "word" of the title. Is that intentional? I've spent many years with French and I don't recall ever seeing that. Perhaps I am seeing things?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It isn't an apostrophe, which would be wrong here. It is an effect of the 'distressed' font used in the title.

      Delete
  6. Dear Dr.Feser!
    You should publish your books in Russia also.

    ReplyDelete
  7. People have trouble thinking of something coming from nothing because they think of this materially, instead of like Buddhism, in which nothingness is higher than the universe, instead of parallel to it. Nothingness steps down from it's lofty heights and
    the events of the world flow from it. People try to think of this as nothing "causing" something, but that's a material way of thinking. I like Buddhism because nothingness is spiritual for them. To believe in spiritual "beings" is idolatry. Aquinas never proved the universe is contingent in the sense that it needs something necessary. That's his premise. So it's a premise without an argument.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The thing in Buddhism that you're thinking of isn't nothingness. Indeed, in Buddhism, the very idea of negation (which would include "nothing") is considered unreal, since "not-A" is only a thought-in-relation-to-"A".

      Hence the "ice cream koan": "If you have 'no ice cream,' I will take it; if I have 'no ice cream', I will give it to you." One of the most basic things koans are for is to get you to stop reifying privations.

      The Buddhist conception of causation (the interdependent origination) is extremely complicated, but they're more materialist than not—being atomist nominalists whose metaphysics is called "inanimate" (anatman, same Indo-European roots) for a reason. The Mahayana sects just realize that that's an infinite regress, and so fall back on extreme apophasis, advaita—which is a type of monism. (Buddhists object to being called monists, but all their objects can be made by every other monist, all of whom are still monists.)

      Delete
    2. Aquinas's "contingent" is Buddhism's "conditioned", you know that right?

      Delete
  8. If this "nothingness" is capable of being the basis of reality them it is actually something. In fact, if it really is the basis of every thing, them it has to have the caracteristics we understand to be only in God. But you can use the name "nothingness" if you want.

    Also, do you think the universe is necessary them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, a Westerner would be on firmer ground characterizing Buddhism as denying the existence of everything except (what Westerners call) God, but Western missionaries did a piss-poor job of explaining themselves so most Buddhists don't understand that.

      Certainly the ineffable ultimate reality that Buddhism considers the only thing truly real is not "nothingness".

      Delete
  9. Hi Talmid. I don't believe Aquinas proves that matter needs something spiritual in order to create it simply because matter can be physically divided. Also, he never proved God lacks all potency whatsoever, and this is an important question to those who have read Hegel. Nothingness is spiritual to Buddhism. You can't say it's a being, and you can't dismiss it as worthless either, because it's spiritual. There is no creator. The beginning of the universe was a spiritual event. Cause and effect work within the universe. Aquinas tried to put these into the realm of the angelic and divine, and I think he was wrong on this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The movement of nothingness is called nihilation, not creation. The world exists, but it has no substance. This lack of substance is called Shunyata. If the world is Zero, than nothingness would be the infinity of negative numbers. I recommend Kitaro_Nishida, if anyone wants to go a different direction than Aquinas. There could be gods out there. Call them aliens or higher beings, it doesn't matter. Is there a person within nothingness who is never incarnated in this world? Who cares. We are all one with nothingness, so such a question is just trying to put someone higher than nothing. Some mystical Sufism is just one example of people finding that they are one with the source of the world. I was asked by a Thomist "how can you love someone if that person IS you". Well, it's a spiritually discerned thing. Aquinas's is a one-sided intellectualistic viewpoint.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So, anon, i can't really understand much of what you are saying really, i get pretty confused by this more mystical(i suppose) talk, still working on developing my own mystical side.

    Here Dr. Feser quickly talks about the argument from motion: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XoVDutpB4Cw

    I'am showing you this because it seems a argument really easy to misunderstand. In my view, pantheism falls flat by this argument.

    Also, if a thing creates, it has being, since non-being can't create. "From nothing, nothing comes".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon doesn't really understand Buddhism. Nor Thomism.

      Delete
  12. Nothing is a state, not a substance. The world is neither necessary nor contingent. It's something else. Morality is neither objective nor subjective. It's something else. You are not your conscious
    mind (ego) nor your subconscious mind. You are something else.

    The argument from motion is faulty because, as Einstein said, time only exists once their is motion. The "first motion" only requires gravity. There is nothing "before" it. At least this is what science says. I don't know what this has to do with pantheism. Maybe you can explain further please Talmid.

    I know I will get some giggles from this, but the Beatles's song "It's All To Much" is a gorgeous sound painting about non-duality

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The world is "empty", because it is conditioned. Which is the same thing as contingent.

      It is increasingly clear you understand neither Buddhism nor Thomism.

      Delete
  13. "We're all dead, God bless us."

    ReplyDelete
  14. Talmid, Aquinas and Augustine made the intellect into an idol, and therefore didn't understand it's proper use. Scotus was right that the will is greater than the intellect because the will loves (the highest virtue). But love is not a substance. Don't get hung up on material things. Learn more about Shunyata and Anicca. There are lots of resources out there

    ReplyDelete
  15. There is more I want to say (sorry). Philosophy is just a facet of meaning. The use of koans are the opposite of Thomism. Thomism get's you nowhere. It doesn't rely on or understand the science of consciousness that the East has been working on for thousands of years. Learn about the Kyoto School. People think that because material "substances" seem to have power, that the spiritual must be a substance but with greater power. It doesn't work that way, however. For Thomism, prime matter has all the material elements of an object. The form is spiritual. So maybe that is a good starting point. But there comes a time when such thinking must change.

    "The great Persian Sufi Mansur al-Hallaj was executed as a heretic in Baghdad in 922 for saying 'I am the Truth'" Stephen Prothero

    Sounds like what Jesus did

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sufis are pantheists, or at most acosmic monists. Buddhists (at least Mahayana ones) are apophatic monists. Stop conflating them.

      Delete
  16. Catholicism makes rituals and myths ends to themselves. Nagarjuna's arguments were basically Parmenides's. And Aristotle totally missed the point. Aristotle was basically a scientist like Newton. There is higher knowledge nevertheless. Tantra was pioneered in the Nalanda University from the eighth to the eleventh centuries. This is not about lust. It's about overcoming lust.

    Enough on this post.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I really can't get what you are saying, anon. Let's try another time.

    But your thought seems kinda pantheistic to me, like Sophia's say. There is definite something real, or else no one would be seeing this post, especially if you consider this Nothingness, for if it is a state like you said, it pressuposes someone who is having that state.

    But your posts confuses me, so better leave it at that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He (?) is saying "I have read popularizations I didn't really understand and can name-drop some big thinkers".

      The Buddhist term is "Fox Zen" (foxes being tricksters in East Asia as coyotes are in the New World). The Western term is "mystagoguery".

      Delete
  18. Sophia, Aquinas's uses contingent to mean created. He thinks it's obvious that the world is created because things can be moved and divided. The Third Way is a very poor argument. Conditioned means what Descartes was talking about with regard to the outer edge of things and the Eucharist. The senses can never perceive what's going on inside objects. So Shunyata would be a unity of Kant's noumena and phenomena united to form a pure state with no substance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually Aquinas uses "contingent" to mean essentially the same thing that Buddhism does by "empty", which is what all conditioned things are. Conditioned things lack self-nature—which makes them contingent on something that doesn't.

      But since you are presuming to lecture me, please explain the essence-function distinction in Zen thought in terms of Thomism. Since you're the expert on both that should be easy. Right?

      Delete
    2. Admittedly Aquinas does not consider the conditioned beings to be entirely empty, only empty when compared to that upon which they're contingent. But that is as much as to say that, presented with the same problem as Buddhism sets out to solve, he doesn't solve it by atomist nominalism leading to apophatic monism, the way they do. He's still grappling with the same fundamental question they do.

      Delete
  19. As Buddhists say btw, "emptiness itself is empty". Christians like William Craig will say instead that the world doesn't have the reason for its existence in itself. As if this is obvious. It certainly isn't. It all depends on how you look at the world. Thomism won't get you far spiritually. Theresa of Avila said there are 7 levels of spirituality ("mansions"). Zen Buddhism says there are three more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buddhists also say that the world doesn't have the reason for its existence (to the extent it exists at all) within itself. Its "existence" (such as it is) is a delusion arising from the mind's clinging to epiphenomena as if they had true identities.

      Buddhism will get you pretty far, spiritually—but Fox Zen will not only not get you far, it will set you back.

      Delete
  20. Lastly, To say Buddhism is substantial monism is to say it's not different from Hinduism. I object. It is it's own religion, not a branch of Hinduism. It's closer to Schopenhauer's beliefs than Hegel's actually.

    Kant, as I said, is a much better bridge to Buddhism than Aquinas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which is why I didn't say it was substantial monism. It's apophatic monism. (Also Hinduism runs the gamut from polytheism to pantheism to acosmic monism to, yes, apophatic monism…which is advaita just as in Buddhism.)

      Kant and Hegel are less than the filth in the latrine, as Rinzai would say; though you are correct there are some commonalities between Schopenhauer and Buddhism.

      Delete
  21. Any translations for Mandarin speakers? I'm in a hard science and have lots of deep conversations with lab mates. Their culture makes them open to Aristotelian philosophy, however, not much material that I know of

    ReplyDelete