Thursday, November 5, 2020

Pink on Aristotle’s Revenge

In this week’s issue of the Times Literary Supplement, philosopher Thomas Pink kindly reviews my book Aristotle’s Revenge.  From the review:

Edward Feser’s Aristotle’s Revenge is presented as a philosophical defence of Aristotelianism in its robust scholastic form, as exemplified by the work of Thomas Aquinas.  This broadly Thomist Aristotelianism, Feser argues, far from being a block to the study of nature, provides a metaphysics that is the necessary foundation for any science of nature, from physics to psychology.  The “revenge” lies in this fact, and most especially in the indispensability of Aristotelian doctrine to the very understanding of science and scientific investigation itself

Aristotle’s Revenge defends ideas in metaphysics and philosophy of science that are very much live within contemporary philosophy, whose support goes well beyond those willing to identify themselves as supporters of scholasticism

[The book] provides a rich and suggestive survey of a venerable and still very significant programme in the metaphysics of nature.

End quote.  Pink raises the important question of how the Aristotelian conception of natural teleology or finality I defend in the book relates to goodness as a natural property.  As he notes, the Scholastics saw these notions as inherently linked, and it was an aspect of their position that early modern thinkers like Hobbes attacked.

Though it is an issue I have addressed elsewhere, I avoided doing so in the book for two reasons.  First, I think that at least a rudimentary kind of teleology can be defended without making reference to the notion of the good, by way of the sorts of arguments I present in the book.  Indeed, I think that defense of this rudimentary notion is a prerequisite to defending the thesis that goodness is a natural property of things (rather than something that would presuppose that thesis). 

Second, as Pink notes, the book is already very long as it is, and addressing the issue of goodness as a natural property would require a book of its own.  (As it happens, David Oderberg has recently published such a book.)

168 comments:

  1. Well, at least compared to other reviewers, Pink at least seems to get it (at least as far as I can tell from this snippet).

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  2. Ed, what resources do you recommend on psychology and things related to it (e.g. emotion theory, cognition, etc...) from a modern, Thomist perspective?

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  3. Nice that Oderberg's book is on Kindle. I decided to buy it. I didn't realize you (Ed) were personal friends with Orderberg (mentioned in his intro).

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    1. I just bought Oderberg's new book on Kindle today, too. Already into it. Looks excellent so far.

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  4. Mr. Feser, do you plan on having another books available on brazillian portuguese? God bless you.

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  5. Doesn't he know that you misrepresent the ideas of the US founders?

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  6. OP (link)
    “This broadly Thomist Aristotelianism, Feser argues, far from being a block to the study of nature, provides a metaphysics that is the necessary foundation for any science of nature, from physics to psychology. The “revenge” lies in this fact, and most especially in the indispensability of Aristotelian doctrine to the very understanding of science and scientific investigation itself.”
    In point of scientific fact, Aristotle’s metaphysics is irrelevant in the formulation and practice of modern science.

    Nor does Aristotelian metaphysics form some sort of unwitting underpinning that scientists are merely, in general, ignorant of. Rather, Aristotelian metaphysics is antithetical and explicitly rejected by modern science.

    “Feser denies the causal scepticism of David Hume and his many modern followers, and endorses a robust realism about causation and causal power.”
    Aristotelian notions of causation are irrelevant nonsense with respect to modern science, making the claim to some sort of “revenge” entirely vacuous on this subject.

    Modern science explicitly rejects Aristotelian notions of causation.

    “Nature is ordered, but natural regularities admit of exceptions”
    No such exceptions are in evidence or in any way rational.

    “For on his view, the regularities themselves stand in need of explanation.”
    All such attempts lead inevitably to an infinite regress of explanations.

    You say god is necessary, but why is the particular sort of god you speculate the thing that is necessary, as opposed to some other sort of god or absolutely nothing at all?

    The speculation of god solves no logical problem regarding the explanation of being.

    “In particular there are phenomena such as colour which are immediately available to us in perception and cannot be dismissed as illusions, or as mere products of the mind.”
    How absurd. Our perception of color is a function of the system of receptor cells in the human retina and the image modeling processing of the brain.

    Surely, Dr. Feser, you realize that the yellow you see on your computer screen is, in point of fact, an illusion, as compared to the yellow you see when looking at a monochromatic yellow light source, such as a yellow LED. The yellow of the LED is of a particular wavelength, and that wavelength is not emitted to form the yellow on your computer screen, rather, red and green wavelengths are emitted which together create the illusion of yellow color.

    Other animals have other visual systems and therefore perceive color differently than we do. Among humans there are those who are called color blind, who perceive color differently than the rest of us while viewing the very same object.

    Clearly, color is not an intrinsic property of an object, rather, it is an artifact of interpretation by the viewer that varies vastly between organisms.

    “Aristotle’s Revenge nevertheless provides a rich and suggestive survey of a venerable and still very significant programme in the metaphysics of nature.”
    Aristotle’s metaphysics is irrelevant to the practice of modern science. Many of its assertions are patently false, and others are simply vague generalities of value only as an ancient starting point on the long road to modern scientific understanding.

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    1. "explicitly rejected by modern science."

      Could you cite the article in which science explicitly and conclusively rejected Aristotle?


      "image modeling processing of the brain."

      What is your reason for thinking that a computer would have private sensation? Any evidence?

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    2. Although naturalistically inclined - and being a naturalist is not necessarily the same thing as being a 'physicalist' let alone a 'materialist - I do not think that human brains operate in the manner of digital computers, so would be very surprised if the latter could ever have conscious states. But that does not mean that other artificial devices, manufactured along the lines of how our brains actually do work ( when this is properly understood ) could not.

      I have never understood the denial by many theists of the conceptual possibility of conscious machines. Even if conscious states are immaterial states , there may be psychophysical laws relating states of consciousness to particular physical or functional states of the brain , and if God exists, these laws would be expressions of his will just as the straightforwardly physical ones are, and might allow for the creation of conscious non-human, indeed non-biological entities. Why would your God not allow his psychophysical laws to operate consistantly, as do his physical ones?

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    3. PAPERS READ BEFORE THE SOCIETY,
      1 9 1 S - 1 8 1 3 .
      I.—ON THE NOTION OF CAUSE.
      By BERTRAND RUSSELL.

      Against ‘measurement’
      John Bell
      From
      Physics World
      August 1990
      © IOP Publishing Ltd 2006
      ISSN: 0953-8585

      “Could you cite the article in which science explicitly and conclusively rejected Aristotle?”
      Can you cite the physics text that teaches the 4 Aristotelian causes?

      The whole of modern physics is formulated as mutual interactions wherein the very notion of “cause” and “effect” are arbitrary and therefore irrelevant and meaningless.

      Russell used the example of gravity, probably because that example can be understood in general from personal experience and basic knowledge of motion of objects in space.

      Aristotelian causation was just another ancient misconception, long ago abandoned, replaced, forgotten, and ignored. Aristotelian causation is irrelevant nonsense with respect to modern science.

      "What is your reason for thinking that a computer would have private sensation? Any evidence?"
      The reason is the evidence modern science has gathered thus far, that the brain is a finite collection of molecules that we analyze as a signal processing system.

      No soul, no pan-psyche-stuff, and no ectroplasm has been detected, only molecules and energy in motion.

      A very great deal of the brain has been modeled and functionally duplicated. There is no reason why, in principle, the entire brain cannot be modeled and duplicated and no reason to suppose such an artificial brain would lack any of the qualities of the natural brain.

      Besides, Commander Data was a pretty lovable guy, don't you think?

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    4. "The whole of modern physics ..."



      How could physics measure nonmaterial effects to be able to conclude that they do not exist? Experiments on the material world, the proper domain of physics, are not experiments on the nonmaterial. The fact that physics cannot possibly find a nonmaterial effect does not allow the conclusion that nonmaterial effects do not exist. They could exist in what we can only see as random. Physics actually postulates the inherently random.



      "The reason is ... we analyze as a signal processing system."



      So the reason we have private sensations is that it has been scientifically determined that computers have private sensations? Did a computer tell you this? I could write a program in two minutes that would tell you that it had private sensations, and it would only be expressing the intention of *my* mind, not some supposed mind of the computer.



      "... no reason to suppose such an artificial brain would lack any of the qualities of the natural brain"



      If you assume that the mind is just brain computation, then drawing that conclusion is merely circular reasoning.

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    5. Anon,
      “How could physics measure nonmaterial effects to be able to conclude that they do not exist?”
      How could physics measure unicorns to conclude that they do not exist?

      “Experiments on the material world, the proper domain of physics, are not experiments on the nonmaterial”
      Experiments on the material world are not experiments on unicorn-stuff.

      “The fact that physics cannot possibly find a nonmaterial effect does not allow the conclusion that nonmaterial effects do not exist”
      The fact that physics cannot possibly find unicorns does not allow the conclusion that unicorns do not exist.

      “So the reason we have private sensations is that it has been scientifically determined that computers have private sensations?”
      You have reading issues.

      “If you assume that the mind is just brain computation, then drawing that conclusion is merely circular reasoning.”
      If you assume the mind is made of some ethereal undetectable ectoplasm then concluding the soul is circular reasoning.

      The difference is evidence. There are volumes of vast evidence for the physical signal processing structure of the brain, and that those physical signal processing structures account for brain activity and the control of the body by the brain.

      On you side you have nothing but arm waving, unevidenced, and rather childish fantasy speculations.

      What is this soul made of? Nothing? Then in what sense do you say it exists? Something? If that soul-stuff acts so strongly as to link to and drive our thoughts and actions why is it undetectable?

      How does it make any sense that soul-stuff can interact with cellular material so strongly as to control it, yet remain undetectable?

      The term “immaterial soul” is incoherent. It claims to be both highly interactive with material and completely non-interactive with material at the same time.

      You are claiming that soul-stuff is interactive with material to control cellular material, yet you simultaneously claim soul-stuff does not interact with material at all and is therefore undetectable for us.

      In so doing you are speaking incoherent gibberish, which is what the term “immaterial-soul” is, merely incoherent gibberish.

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    6. I want to talk about minds rather than unicorns because there is evidence that private sensation exists. I don't know about unicorns or ectoplasm (this is making me laugh).


      If a mind like ours can exist on a computer then the computer must be able to have private sensations because our minds have them. But there is nothing in computer science that would lead to a conclusion that computers can have private sensation. What principle of computer science would it follow from? How would you even define it?


      The "evidence" that computers could have private sensations follows from the hypothetical idea that "minds are just brains in action" and the hypothesis that "brains can be modeled on computers". But real brains have random (not pseudo random) neural discharges so they cannot be modeled on computers. Furthermore, if the mind can affect the random part of the brain's function, it would be doing something that the physical matter of the brain or computer could not do without a physical principle that would contradict quantum mechanics. 


      Quantum mechanics tells us that the future is indeterminate given a particular current state and yet a particular future arrives out of the current distribution of possible future states. What chooses that future? In the case of random neural discharges, a non material agent, our mind, could be involved in that choice.


      "You are claiming that soul-stuff is interactive with material to control cellular material, yet you simultaneously claim soul-stuff does not interact with material at all and is therefore undetectable for us."


      No. Part of what happens in the material world involves inherent randomness. Through that randomness a non physical agent acts. A non physical agent acts in the brain causing the timing and ordering of the random neural depolarizations.


      I would like to show you something about randomness that just might surprise you.

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    7. If each bit of an n-bit sequence A is chosen such that it has a 50/50 chance of being a 1 or a 0, then each of the 2^n different n-bit sequences will have equal probability ( 1 / 2^n  ) of being the chosen sequence A. Such a random informational sequence can be chosen or produced by various physical methods dependent upon Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The random A can be combined with an ordered n-bit sequence B (the plaintext) using bitwise addition mod 2 to produce a third n-bit sequence C (the ciphertext). 


      It can be shown that the ciphertext C is as random as A. Without A, C cannot be decoded into the plaintext B. A way of saying this is that B could be any of the 2^n n-bit sequences. One of the 2^n possible A's will give the particular ciphertext C that encodes that plaintext B. So if the actual B is meaningful it is impossible to decode or crack the particular C without the actual A since as stated B could be any sequence depending on what A was. Since A is random there is no way that it can be reproduced by an interceptor of C. A word for A is the "key".


      The surprising thing about this, then, is that the meaning of B does not inhere in C. Several different receivers with different keys A could decode C into different meaningful B's. Only possession of the correct A allows the correct B to be discovered. The intended receiver can be directed with precision by C even though the instructions do not inhere in C. C, remember, is random.


      It follows that a random sequence of events without inherent meaning could still cause precise intended activity. This means that in the physical world a study of a series of events of a certain type for which no order can possibly be found because they are actually random (say, mutations) cannot conclude that the particular sequence of mutations does not have a precise intended purpose. The random sequence of mutations, the ciphertext, operating in the random environment (one out of a virtual infinity of similar environments), the key, could have a precise, intended, result.

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    8. Critical error above:

      "One of the 2^n possible A's will give the particular ciphertext C that encodes that plaintext B" should be:

      "One of the 2^n possible A's will give that plaintext B encoded by the same ciphertext C"

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    9. To everyone who wonders why we think Stardusty is trolling, his responses here are a perfect example. STOP RESPONDING TO HIM!

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    10. Anon
      What principle of computer science would (private sensations) follow from?
      Self-diagnostics. Internal feedback.

      “But real brains have random (not pseudo random) neural discharges”
      That is mere irrational speculation that effects somehow do not require a cause.

      Your statement is a violation of the PSR. On PSR intrinsic randomness cannot be how the universe progresses in any way. The PSR mandates 100% determinism, which in turn rules out both free will in any being anywhere, and any element of randomness in the universe.

      “Quantum mechanics tells us that the future is indeterminate”
      Wrong. This is a very common misunderstanding. The wave function is itself deterministic. A probabilistic analysis of a deterministic system does not negate its fundamental determinism.

      “Part of what happens in the material world involves inherent randomness”
      Not on PSR it does not. You are merely speculating poof, that things happen for no reason at all, that there are effects without causes. That is magical thinking.

      “Through that randomness a non physical agent acts.”
      Incoherent.

      If an agent acts it isn’t random.

      “Such a random informational sequence can be chosen or produced by various physical methods dependent upon Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.”
      No it can’t. You misunderstand, again. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a statement as to what can be “measured”. But even that is wrong, as John Bell showed in “Against Measurement”.

      “C, remember, is random.”
      Remember, on the PSR intrinsic randomness is impossible.

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    11. "Here are [sic] a perfect example"

      He is not trolling but making a serious case for his beliefs. You are much closer to trolling me than he is

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    12. Nothing Bell did has eliminated the uncertainty principle, either theoretically or practically. Bell's famous inequality was not a new discovery but a prediction of quantum mechanics. But "Against Measurement" didn't establish anything other than his personal position in ongoing controversy. I have his book "Speakable and Unspeakable" somewhere but I can't find it. It contains his article, "Against Measurement". Just naming it, as you have done, does not make a case. Perhaps you could make it?



      The idea "against measurement" is funny, because science proceeds by measurement. A claim that measurement is not fundamental is, then, a claim that science is not fundamental. However, this would actually accord with the existence of nonmaterial agency outside the ream of science. A non material agent that chooses the indeterminable (by measurement, using science) future state of the universe every time a single measurement is made, thereby changing the distribution of future possible states, would accord with your PSR principle, which nothing I have posted would violate. Nonmaterial agency is still agency.



      Now "self-diagnostics" and "internal feedback are just vague terms, not principles, so nothing about sensation can be demonstrated from these terms. I ask you again how you could even know that a computer had sensation?



      “You are merely speculating poof, that things happen for no reason at all, that there are effects without causes.”



      I think everything has a cause.



      “The wave function is itself deterministic”



      Unfortunately, there is more to material reality than an immaterial wave function. Things actually happen. By pointing out that a function, factorable or not, is determined by its input variables isn't saying much.



      “If an agent acts it isn’t random.”



      Sure. If the agent knows everything we know, and is smarter, then for any algorithm of ours (mathematical science) that tries to predict the next bit in a sequence from the known bits, it can see to it that the prediction fails just the right number of times to accord with the uncertainty principle. When you come up with an algorithm that predicts the next decay interval in a sequence of decay intervals from a radioactive sample, let me know.

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    13. Anon,
      "Nothing Bell did has eliminated the uncertainty principle"
      I didn't say it did, only that the conventional notions of measurement are also wrong.

      " claim that science is not fundamental."
      Science is not fundamental, who says that it is? Science is just a tool human beings use.

      “However, this would actually accord with the existence of nonmaterial agency outside the ream of science.”
      Non sequitur. Science is just a tool used by humans, and is therefore limited as are all human endeavors. That in no way implies or demonstrates any non-material agency.

      “Now "self-diagnostics" and "internal feedback are just vague terms, not principles”
      Vague to you, perhaps. They have specific engineering and computer science definitions and structures.

      “I ask you again how you could even know that a computer had sensation?”
      The same way I know you have sensations, you tell me, which is to say I cannot know for certain that you do in fact have sensations. Perhaps you are a philosophical zombie merely stating that you have sensations even though you don’t.

      However, my mere inability to determine for certain that you are not a philosophical zombie in no way rules out that you do in face have sensations.

      “I think everything has a cause.”
      Then there is no such thing as intrinsic randomness, the universe is entirely deterministic, and all assertions of free will in any being whatsoever are false.

      “Things actually happen.”
      Right, and if those things happen for a reason, by a cause, then intrinsic randomness is ruled out.

      “When you come up with an algorithm that predicts the next decay interval in a sequence of decay intervals from a radioactive sample, let me know.”
      You are conflating human predictive capabilities with the PSR.

      If, at base, there is an element of intrinsic randomness in the way the universe progresses then that would be an instance of an effect without a cause, an effect without any reason at all, much less a sufficient reason.

      The PSR rules out all intrinsic randomness and mandates an entirely deterministic universe irrespective of whether human beings have complete predictive powers.

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    14. This is getting argumentative and therefore uninteresting as a dialectic exchange (although I respect your sincerity). Therefore, to reduce it, I am only going to answer your last sentence.

      "The PSR rules out all intrinsic randomness and mandates an entirely deterministic universe irrespective of whether human beings have complete predictive powers."

      I am not talking about what human beings can do, but what finite algorithms, in principle, can do. An infinite algorithm can encompass all finite algorithms as subroutines, but a finite algorithm can only shadow an infinite algorithm and it cannot understand it at all. All of human reasoning that could be modelled on a computer must be a finite algorithm. But what is determinate in a finite algorithm can be indeterminate in an infinite algorithm. For an extremely simple example, every finite number n is determinately either even or odd, but the infinite limit is indeterminate. Similarly, no finite number can be random since at best it can be incompressible in a technical way, but in the infinite limit, you can't say this. If human reason is nothing more than a finite algorithm then it cannot comprehend the indeterminacies of the infinite. However, if the mind has access to this infinity in a finite number of dimensions then it can have the indeterminacy which a computer cannot have. Reason is not the same thing as doing logic, which is what computers do. There is more to reason than just logic. For example, there is a countable infinity of trains of logic, but an also countable infinity of them lead to nothing. Something must guide the logic, limiting useless trains of logic (extremely simple example A -> A^AvAvA ...). Whatever subroutine would do this ... guiding ...must be very ... creative ... to eliminate subtle trains of "insane" logic without making some fruitful logic inaccessible.

      But human minds must be limited to computer logic because they have no access to an infinite algorithm that can differentiate between the insane and the fruitful? (It does exist if there is purpose - teleology.) You have no basis to say this. It is just a desire to deny.

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    15. Anon,
      “An infinite algorithm”
      An actual infinite is irrational. A real algorithm requires material to symbolize and execute it, so an infinite algorithm would require infinite material, which is irrational.

      “every finite number n is determinately either even or odd, but the infinite limit is indeterminate”
      That is a mathematical concept of infinity, not an actual infinite. I see you are prone to conflate the actual with the abstract.

      “Similarly, no finite number can be random”
      There are not 2 species of numbers, random and determinate. You are conflating the state of a number with a real process. A real process, on the PSR, must be determinate.

      There are those who assert that a real process can be indeterminate, or intrinsically random. That assertion turns out to be irrational, which can be shown in a variety of ways, for example on the PSR intrinsic randomness is ruled out.

      “if the mind has access to this infinity in a finite number of dimensions then it can have the indeterminacy”
      Ok, then it can’t because it doesn’t.

      “Something must guide the logic”
      The whole of our brain processes, yes. Your brain is a network of networks processing signals from senses, and memory with subconscious and conscious serial and parallel processes.

      Because the brain is finite there is no reason in principle that a finite computer must be barred from human reasoning and first person experiences.

      “infinite algorithm that can differentiate between the insane and the fruitful?”
      There is no such thing as an infinite algorithm.

      “Fruitful” is relative. Organisms evolve processes that are fruitful in that they increase the likelihood of reproduction in a harsh environment where organisms are otherwise likely to die or otherwise be prevented from reproducing.

      Finite machines are quite capable of making fruitful decisions. Your notion of an infinite algorithm is baseless and unnecessary.

      The PSR rules out any element of randomness in the universe, mandates determinism, and rules out all free will.

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    16. An algorithm implies its output without material or running in physical time. I can conceive of an infinite algorithm that implies its output logically, not materially.

      The PSR has been around for a long time. Aquinas used it. You can't prove materialism by saying that an immaterial cause is not a sufficient reason because there is nothing immaterial.

      This is fun. Here is a silly little puzzle for you. What do you call Spam that has been put through a meat grinder?

      This is to be asked of the youngest child you know who is old enough to understand the question.

      Sorry. Actually, I'm getting bored and will soon have to say my rosary and do other things.

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    17. Anon
      “An algorithm implies its output without material or running in physical time.”
      Wrong. There is no such thing as an algorithm absent material to symbolize and perform the algorithm over time.

      “I can conceive of an infinite algorithm that implies its output logically, not materially.”
      Not sanely, no, you cannot.


      Algorithm
      “noun. A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.”

      A process is of material. Rules require material to symbolize them. Calculations require material to perform them. Operations occur over time.

      “You can't prove materialism by saying that an immaterial cause is not a sufficient reason”
      I said the PSR mandates that there can be no element of intrinsic randomness in the way the universe progresses. The PSR mandates a strictly deterministic universe, which is therefore devoid of free will in any being whatsoever including any speculated god.

      “I'm getting bored and will soon have to say my rosary”
      What obligates you to manipulate some beads on a string while making a series of statements verbally or mentally?

      Do you suppose god will hear your prayers and intercede in Earthly events on your behalf, whereas he would not have if you had failed to say those words while manipulating those beads?

      Do you thus suppose you can change god’s mind with your words spoken while manipulating beads on a string?

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    18. No. God never changes. But God's will can be contingent upon what I determine to do using my free will.


      By a free will choice, I can change the course of the whole world, not miraculously, but through sensitive dependence of outcome on the nonmaterialistically selected choice from the superposition of states in my brain. A random neural discharge (random here meaning not predictable by material science, in principle) comes out of a superposition of possible discharges, which God has miraculously (it's not following rules of science at all, unlike my choice made from a superposition) granted me the mental power to make in the material of my brain


      The prayer is said on the beads for my benefit, to aid my prayer, which God knows without beads or even necessarily, verbal utterance, but my free choice to make it  must be involved. It can affect the course of material history through the above mentioned dependence of outcome from a microscopic differential distribution of possible initial conditions, a selection indeterminable to material science but which I can make, conditional of course on God not over-riding my choice for his own never-changing indeterminate, inscrutable, infinity.


      You keep saying stuff that amounts to nothing more than "materialism therefore materialism". Now "if materialism then materialism" is tautologically true, but you can't make "materialism" true by insisting on it. I would suggest you get a rosary and say "materialism" on each bead except that you wouldn't be praying to anything without logically contradicting your belief … but … try it anyway. Maybe God will respond by changing your mind, making some of those choices from the superposition in your brain. Your praying on the rosary might be known by God as evincing humility and be known as the crucial, for you, beginning of the search for truth. You can't find truth by being stubborn, angry, proud, impatient, etc.

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    19. Anon,
      “By a free will choice”
      On the PSR free will is impossible.

      If there is an element of intrinsic randomness in the universe then some aspect of the way the universe progresses does so for no reason at all, by no cause, much less a sufficient reason.

      That is what a random effect is, an effect without a cause. If the effect had a cause it would not be random. A random effect occurs without any cause at all and completely absent any reason whatsoever. Since a random effect must necessarily be an effect without any reason a random effect would violate the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

      An absence of reason cannot be a sufficient reason, so any degree of randomness in the universe would be a violation of the PSR.

      Without any randomness in the universe, as the PSR mandates, the universe must be strictly deterministic. On a strictly deterministic universe free will is impossible, rather, the entire universe is a clockwork, utterly devoid of free choice because there is no way anybody or anything can do other than what is actually done.

      There is no room for any element of free will in a deterministic universe, and the PSR mandates a strictly deterministic universe, therefore the PSR mandates an absence of free will.

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    20. God is a cause and satisfies the PSR.

      You can freely will the change in your own mental disposition. That would be the first, meritable, even though microscopic, step in searching for truth. If you pray for it and it makes you feel like a goof, that is a good sign because before the uncaused cause we are nothing.

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  7. Just a quick question.

    Feser thinks that 'goodness' is a natural property, which relates to the directedness of things towards objective ends, be they artifacts or examples of human behaviour. Now conceding for a moment his reading of teleology into nature ( which I think is erroneous ), surely the use of the word 'goodness' here is just a case of muddying the water, as it conflates the supposed directedness of, say , a behaviour towards its natural end, with what we humans ought to do ( and which presumably we merit punishment for if we do not ). But this just does not follow by logic, it is simply a stipulation on Feser's part. Take artificial birth control for example, which Feser would say thwarts the objective directedness of heterosexual copulation towards conception, and so is evil. Even if that was true ( and it is not ), so what? We humans might ( and do ) wish to have sex for fun, or to bond more closely to our partners, while at the same time wishing to avoid conception as we simply do not want children, either ever, or under the curcumstances pertaining. An ordinary, sane individual might therefore say that contraception is a very good thing, and the question arises as to why we should care that it is a deviation from 'goodness' as it is defined ( as a technical term ) in Feser's in any case otherwise tendentious account.

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    1. Oh. "Fun" and "bonding" are "goods" toward which "we humans" are directed. Okay.

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    2. TN 1.19am I did not say that ( I do not think that we are intrinsically directed towards anything as a matter of fact, but in the post I conceded teleology so that I could develop my point ).

      Now attentively read the post and answer my question.

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    3. Oh. "Fun" and "bonding" are *not* "goods" toward which "we humans" are directed. Okay. I guess that belonged in some other post.

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    4. TN I genuinely do not understand what you are driving at, though of course this may be consequence of an intellectual deficit on my part.

      To begin with, I thought that you had not properly read my post, failed to understand my puzzlement and so question, and had ascribed to me oppinions that I do not have. In your second contribution though you sneak in an additional word - not - which completely alters the meaning of what you write.

      Please elucidate and expand upon whatever it is that you are wanting to say.

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    5. "...so what? We humans might ( and do ) wish to have sex for fun..."

      Blindness of mind is your daughter.

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    6. " it conflates the supposed directedness of, say , a behaviour towards its natural end, with what we humans ought to do ( and which presumably we merit punishment for if we do not ). But this just does not follow by logic"

      How do you want to be take seriously if you bring here the idiotic Fact/value distinction?

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    7. So do you not think that we ought to behave according to teleology then? But if so why? It is people of your ilk and persuasion that constantly tell us that behaviour X, Y and Z is evil because it violates natural teleology, but even if it did, so what? And why muddy the waters by using 'good' and 'evil' as technical terms in your metaphysics, when they have little connection with the words as normally used? And that is before you proceed as though they have some kind of claim over us.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous November 8, 2020 at 12:49 AM,

      Humans might hold ideas for fun or to bond more closely with other humans. They might not hold true ideas at this time or ever.

      So by your definition of sane. A same person might hold that false ideas are a good thing.

      If we are not directed towards anything then there are no bad humans. In which case it's irrational for me to suffer to help you.

      Since we are not directed towards the love of neighbour. Having no duty to love your life that overrides concern for my physical well being I would never have joined the military to defend others.

      Your view leaves essentially our wills and wants. Which we impose on each other.

      So by good above you mean a means to an end I want. Making your will the center of reality. Meaning there is nothing good or bad just things you like or dislike. Why call what you want good as if your will is objective?



      Delete
    9. This is a good article from Ed on the subject of contraception:

      The Role of Nature in Sexual Ethics

      Delete
    10. I like this quote from the article:

      So sex exists in animals for the sake of procreation, and sexual pleasure exists for the sake of getting them to indulge in sex, so that they will procreate. And we are built in such a way that sexual arousal is hard to resist and occurs very frequently, and such
      that it is very difficult to avoid pregnancies resulting from indulgence of that arousal. The obvious conclusion is that the natural end of sex is (in part) not just procreation, but abundant procreation. Mother Nature clearly wants us to have babies, and lots of them. Nor can this be written off as just so much rationalization of prejudice. Apart from the Aristotelian jargon, everything said so far about the natural ends of sex and sexual pleasure could be endorsed by the Darwinian naturalist as a perfectly accurate description of their biological functions, whether or not such a naturalist would agree with the moral conclusions natural law theorists would draw from it.


      I think this is step one - this is the ends to which mother nature has given us the sexual faculty to which any biologist would agree from a scientific point of view. Step 2 is to describe the negative consequences of frustrating that end.

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    11. Daniel, being a naturalist, I do not think that sex ( or anything else ) exists for any 'sake', but let that pass. Suppose that the teleology is real and not just apparant, and suppose that in this case there are negative consequences in ignoring it ( yes there would be, but positive ones too.). Is that it? Is that why we are 'bound'to act in a certain way with regards to sexual and other behaviours? I see that you are a consequentialist.

      Delete
    12. Good question. I'm not sure what else you might be looking for, other than maybe the idea that God is every human being's ultimate end, and he requires us to purify our thoughts and inclinations before we can access the beatific vision. I suppose then the ultimate consequence for not following the natural law then is exclusion from heaven.

      Delete
    13. Maybe for humans, we could tweak the notion of natural good with the added notion of supernatural good. If we have no notion of a supernatural end for human acts, then it is harder to justify living acording to natural law. As Saint Paul said in Corinthians 15

      16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

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    14. Having said that, it is my understanding that every culture has some kind of approximation to the ten commandments or a natural law or a Dao.

      Delete
    15. Daniel,
      "16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either."
      Yep. Though luck, Charlie.

      "17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile"
      Indeed, faith is futile.

      "18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost"
      Yep, we are all lost in death. Everything you are, everything you know, all your feelings, all your thoughts, all you do, your whole you will be lost in death.

      A Christian is just a person who lacks the courage and insight to cope with that reality, so instead chooses to believe in childish ghost stories wrapped up in an edifice of faux sophisticated doctrine.

      Delete
    16. I see that you are a consequentialist

      No - because I don't think consequentialists believe in any moral absolutes. I think that there are things that are in every respects and circumstances, always wrong. And sometimes holding onto that truth leads to bad consequences .... in this life at least.

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    17. Daniel

      That is a good reply, thank you.

      There does not seem to be any good reason why I should follow the dictates of supposed teleology, unless it is underpinned at the very bottom by a necessary moral agent who dictates that is the way things will go, and there will be consequences for anyone who does not play the game. For someone who believes that, it is a prudential matter to play.

      I take the various arguments advanced by Feser and others for the existance of a necessary mind at the root of reality very seriously indeed , but I must say that even if successful, we are hardly obliged to equate this mind with Yahweh, let alone accept the theology of any branch of Christianity. What Feser et al do is to read their religion into the philosophical arguaments for a fundamental mind grounding the world, and to construct apologetic fantasies around this.

      If teleology is real and rooted ultimately in a fundamental mind, what makes you think that this mind could care less if we deviate from it, let alone throw a hissy fit and punish us for transgressions? That sounds to me to be human, all too human.

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    18. Well, good and evil in Natural Law theory is couched in terms of being and privation. Our natures or essences are good. Evil is a privation or perversion of good and is parasitic on it.The punishment of hell is separation from God, the true end of our nature. And I think most theologians would suggest that anyone who finds themselves in hell are there by choice because they have rejected God. Not the other way around.

      With regard to apologetics fantasies, I would put it more positively that sometimes what folks are doing when defending the faith is trying to show how the faith is not contrary to reason. But that is not the same as saying what is being described is accessible to unaided human reason without revelation. For example, it was shoking to the Jews of Jesus' day that he did not permit divorse.

      Delete
    19. To the inquiring anonymous:

      On the Thomistic account of human teleology, the will - that with which you choose your course of action - itself has a teleology: it's natural goal is to pursue that which is worth doing, that is, something you have real reason to do, as is evident from the fact that a properly human act is impossible if the agent in question does not think it worth her while.

      You seem to grasp the point about the will well, with your insistence on asking for proper reasons to follow teleology. If Thomostic teleology is real, you have one - that's what the will is for, as final causes, being causes, are thereby reasons. And further teleological analysis will yield ends (real reasons) to be sought in particular acts, depending on the circumstances.

      Delete
    20. Daniel,

      When you're talking to a naturalist, just swap in 'natural selection' for 'teleology' and they'll stop screaming.

      Delete
    21. Daniel,
      “The punishment of hell is separation from God, the true end of our nature.”
      Merely separation from god? That makes no sense.

      “ And I think most theologians would suggest that anyone who finds themselves in hell “
      So hell is a place of consciousness, yet separated from god, a sort of eternal solitary confinement? Your god is evil indeed.

      “are there by choice because they have rejected God.”
      So god blames her victim, first hiding herself, then blaming her victim for failing to find her in her hiding place. Your god is the most viciously deceptive and abusive being in the universe.

      “ Not the other way around. “
      Since god is omnipotent, omniscient, the creator of all, and could have created otherwise she is therefore responsible for all suffering in the universe, a monstrous being who creates knowing that her creation will lead to the eternal torture of solitary confinement without hope of ever being released.

      ” faith is not contrary to reason.”
      Clearly it is, see above, and a multitude of other irrationalities of faith.

      Delete
    22. A Christian is just a person who lacks the courage and insight to cope with that reality, so instead chooses to believe in childish ghost stories wrapped up in an edifice of faux sophisticated doctrine.

      A Christian is someone who believes that Christ is the son of God. This fantasy you have conjured to make you appear intellectually superior is, well, a fantasy.

      But I can help! To avoid looking like a troll or a complete idiot - given the premise, of course, that you wish to not present yourself as a troll or complete idiot - did you know that Christianity does not refer to God (capitalized, for the knowledgeable) as the Mother, but rather the Father? Pretty neat, huh? It's an easy fact to overlook, given that in the book of John alone Jesus only refers to God as the Father 116 times. Very easy to miss, that.

      And did you know that per the English language, the correct pronoun to use for "father" is he? So, when speaking of Christianity, the person who doesn't want to look like an utter moron says "he" and "him" and "his" when referring to God. I'm full of free advice, no need to thank me! But I'll accept it anyway!

      So, just for you, here is an exercise in looking like a mature adult with a functional brain! I know, I know, it's a harsh and normally unnecessary standard since even pre-school children familiar with the subject recognize that Christians call God the Father and "he", but there is so much work to be done that we have to rush the lessons! After all, respectable people engage others' beliefs as presented, not as a personal caricature.

      So, here we go! First question! Much like atheistic morality, there is no right or wrong grammar (outside of a school assignment perhaps) but certain standards and conventions are agreed upon by the majority. So, per these agreed upon rules of English, is the proper title God capitalized or not?

      Second question! When engaging the beliefs of others, and given a desire to look intelligent and mature, it is important to actually engage those beliefs rather than idiotic caricatures. For example, if I come across a discussion on how successfully Spock manages to be logical, and I interject and say "Spock is a fictional character so of course she isn't logical", this not only makes me look like a troll but also a complete idiot. Whether or not I am correct that Spock isn't a real being, Spock is a male, so saying "she" makes me look like a teenager who thinks he's being clever but isn't. So, is God referred to as the Father or the Mother in Christianity?

      If you can get these right, we can move on!

      Delete
    23. Hey guys! What part of "don't feed the troll you don't understand? Especially this particular concrete troll stardusty? Dr. Feser should ban all of you with him for not obeying the rules. Please stop!

      Delete
    24. Kevin,
      “as the Mother, but rather the Father?”
      Yes, that is one of many rather bizarre notions about god, that it somehow has a sex. Of course, John Travolta did portray an angel that that left women, shall we say, highly satisfied. Maybe god, is even more so like that? Or is its “he” so big no woman could take it? A god that has a sex, what a very creepy notion indeed.

      “is the proper title God capitalized or not?”
      No more so than gremlin, demon, or unicorn.

      The notion of god is just a general imaginary concept, that some people have some specific ideas about, others have other ideas about

      “So, is God referred to as the Father or the Mother in Christianity?”
      I don’t much care. I refer to god as a generalized imaginary concept. In science there is a tradition to refer to imaginary actors as “she”. In thought experiments there is Alice and Bob who are referred to as she and he, I think just to mix things up a bit, and because scientifically minded people sometimes like to use counter conventional designations just to emphasize the arbitrary nature of those designations.

      How about if I use xe, ze, sie, co, or ey? I hear those are becoming very popular among the pronoun triggered folks out there.

      Delete
    25. Good post Stardusty. This Kevin fellow seems a bit pompous and obviously did not understand your reasons for using the language and modes of expression that you did. But what can you expect from an adherent of and apologist for a belief system so dripping in misogeny?

      Delete
    26. Good post Stardusty. This Kevin fellow seems a bit pompous and obviously did not understand your reasons for using the language and modes of expression that you did. But what can you expect from an adherent of and apologist for a belief system so dripping in misogeny?

      Misogyny.

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    27. Dr. Feser should ban all of you with him for not obeying the rules.

      Yeah I do have difficulty ignoring sheer nonsense, which is why a Stardusty post provides such fertile soil for my attention. Given that he makes up his own definitions and grammatical rules, but then is quick to point out other areas of agreed upon convention, a troll is the only remaining conclusion. No one is actually that dumb.

      Delete
    28. Other than someone who happily feeds an individual she believes to be a troll, despite endless instructions not to do so. Mind you, that diagnosis is clearly debatable, and others may not agree with it and choose not to comply with an unjust dictat. But at least they would be acting consistantly.

      Delete
    29. Kevin 6.08PM

      Ha, ha. I knew that there was a 'y' in there somewhere. Bet you got a real kick out of that didn't you.

      Delete
    30. Apologies - 'didn't you?'

      Delete
    31. Don't Feed the TrollsNovember 12, 2020 at 7:41 PM

      Stardusty is obviously a troll and there's nothing unjust about pointing that out. Any unbiased person who spends the slightest time interacting with him or reading his posts realizes this.

      And you're not fooling anyone Unknown.

      Delete
    32. Except for one or two Stardusty boosters, who clearly do defend him because they agree with his broad philosophical and political opinions, is there anyone else here who thinks he isn't functionally a troll? The only debate is how sincere he is, not whether he is a pest who should be ignored. Feser has actually banned him several times.

      Delete
    33. Anon,
      "The only debate is how sincere he is,"
      That is no debate at all, since none of us can read minds sincerity is not discoverable.

      You waste time debating your little guesses at intent and sincerity.

      I debate issues on the rational merits. There the opposing views are discoverable because they are written in English for all to read and analyze on the merits of the points made.

      But by all means, please do point out how much sense it makes to assign a sex to god, and why reference to a generalized class of nonsense beings warrants capitalization.

      Delete
    34. At the very least you have to suspect some kind of psychological issues on Stardusty's part, if you pay attention to his behavior here. Week in week out, he posts here. It's been years now, and there has just about never been a positive interaction he has had with other members. Some start to engage him and quickly come to regret it. Just look at his reply here. It's pathological. I sincerely think he needs help. Ignoring him doesn't seem to get rid of him completely, although perhaps that is because it is never done consistently, alas. But it is still better for his own good than indulging his pathologies.

      Delete
    35. Anon,
      "has just about never been a positive interaction he has had with other members."
      Anybody who wants to engage on the merits may do so.

      But your post is typical, focusing on your little internet psychology speculations and devoid of any rational arguments on the merits.

      Your post contains no rational arguments on the merits to engage with.

      "Some start to engage him and quickly come to regret it."
      Because I quickly demonstrate the lack of rational points in their posts, and rather than avail themselves of that educational opportunity the typical poster just starts hurling inane insults.

      "Just look at his reply here. It's pathological."
      How so? Specifically, on the rational merits.

      For me god is a generalized concept of a fantasy being that does not warrant capitalization. The notion that god has a sex leads to some rather grotesque absurdities, correct?

      Delete
  8. Calm down or you risk blowing a gasket.

    Instead of bloviating, how about addressing my question, as posed in the original post?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous November 8, 2020 at 1:33 AM,

    A good ruler is one that does what it is ment to do.

    Why would a good human action be something other than what a human is ment to do?

    By sane do you mean rational? Or proper thinking. But how if our minds are not directed towards anything can a thought be good/proper/sane or bad/improper/insane. If our minds are not directed towards thinking correctly why would be have much confidence in them being useful towards that end?

    You seem to transform what humans want into good. This does not follow logically.

    Some people want to never work and to have a public stipend. Many people don't want to pay a public stipend to someone who wants to play video games all day long.

    What should be done and how are we to be confident that our minds can know the correct answer?

    Since our minds are not directed towards knowing justice.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks to Daniel and the 'Anonymous' at 12.25pm for taking my inquiry seriously and offering considered responses.

    ReplyDelete
  11. AnonymousNovember 8, 2020 at 10:21 AM:

    You're assuming purposiveness (teleology) in demanding any approximation to rationality, in the same way that the juvenile (and embarrassingly named) combox flooder StardustyPsyche attempts to use reason as a cognitively-obligating theistic mind-God.

    There's an overarching purpose to everything, because the denial of it 1) is itself purposive in being asserted for the purpose of distinguishing one's own view from the affirmation in question instead of not being asserted etc., and 2) is itself an overarching denial due to the very nature of what is in question, namely, and overarching purpose.

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    Replies
    1. This is silly stuff. Whatever overarching purpose that theism purports exists, is simply illusory, a figment of ancient man's imagination, given the astoundingly limited levels of information and knowledge base when it was first conjured up. And to continue to propagate such nonsense about purposiveness [teleology] underpinned by some God mythos in the 21stC is begging the question of one's credibility going forward. All that we have discovered through the sciences has put paid to that belief with a better, more informed, explanation of why we tick as we do. Theologically infused teleology [or purposiveness] has been pretty much debunked, is both epistemologically and ontologically groundless, and irrelevant as an explanatory model about us, the world and the universe. If there is a purpose to life or existence, it ain't at the animal [human] level; rather, if anywhere it's at the gene level.

      So let's not get too silly about man's place under the sun.

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    2. Papa - you've simply put together a string of declarations with zero evidence to back your claims. If anyone is being silly, it is you, if you think your post will convince anyone here.

      So let me ask you this - have you read any of Ed's books? Have you studied Aristotle or Aquinas at all? What is your evidence for your declarations? Show me that you at least understand the arguments before you declare them debunked.

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    3. Thomism debunked? Well, hardly any philosophers working in ethics, metaphysics and philosophy of mind in major research universities are Thomists. These people are highly intelligent and philosophically highly able and very well informed in their specialisms, yet they are almost never followers of the long dead doctor and his dusty tomes. This is at the very least highly suggestive.

      Meanwhile, the little rump think that they have found the answer to life, the universe and everything, from why there is a world to what happens to us when we die. Is that remotely plausible? How come almost no philosophers in the relevant fields - and none without a religeous axe to grind - have noticed this miracle?

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    4. How would you know if the arguments are plausible if you don't even attempt to engage or understand them.

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    5. The point of the above is to make a plausibility inference based on what the great majority of philosophocal specialists in the relevant fields seem to think. I

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    6. Ed brings St. Thomas into dialog with widely accepted ideas in Analytic philosophy. He and others of his ilk, are engaged with these ideas in very interesting ways. To reject even cracking open one of their books is doing yourself a disservice.

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    7. Assuming you're the same inquiring anonymous, this is the same anonymous: I implore you to refrain from grandiose statements that, as Daniel noted above, beg all sorts of questions in the environment of this blog, especially in keeping with your choice to remain anonymous.

      Please note that this argument seems to presuppose a lot of rather theoretically costly things, such as, to wit, effective transpersonality of the philosophical enterprise, the successful institutional integration of the various specialisms and our rational duty to defer to the corresponding authoritative communal hierarchy.

      However, I think it's sufficiently clear that this hierarchy — an human historical accident if there ever was one, especially given Papalinton's premises — does very little in the way of philosophically grounding its authority. It seems to me there's no instinsically evident case made by that corporation in its authoritative status. In addition, the corporation in question has proven to be quite tolerant of fairly popular accounts clearly inimical to any such understanding of its status, like logical positivism, scientism, reductionist materialism etc. etc.

      Indeed, its ambitions are very limited. Its very incorporation - as opposed to, say, the Catholic Magisterium, or even, relatively speaking, the Republic of Letters - is achieved politically, through the sanction of positive law, and as contemporary polities claim no power but that derived from voluntary resolutions of the people, there's no extrinsically evident argument in favour of vesting academic philosophy with the authority you need it to have for your argument to work.

      In addition to that, academic philosophy as practised in the affluent West is a historically recent and - in terms of human geography - a fairly rare occurrence. Judging by the comments above that seem to belong to you, you would probably hold that genetically this 'all-too-human' enterprise is suspect, given the - per hypothesim - profound irrationality of the civilisation that gave birth to it, which its successor at least partly retains, exemplified by, say, widespread belief in exclusivist historical revelation, great regard for figures like the Friar you despise so much, misogyny, illiberal politics etc. etc. The difference in, e.g., IQ, between a Scholman and a modern philosophy chair should plausibly be fairly minimal.
      Given all of this, what is so implausible about this timid government subsidiary being wrong?

      P.S.
      In case your question is meant for the comitted Thomist, there's no shortage of Thomistic accounts of our descent into decadence, including some by Dr. Feser himself. If you're actually curious, do read his books; search this blog, at the very least.

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    8. In short, I urge you to remain philosophically-, rather than sociologically, minded. There's really little point to do otherwise here: you can hardly expect us to invest the opinions of unspecified philosophers with more import than the latter do themselves.

      Delete
    9. Daniel,
      "have you read any of Ed's books? Have you studied Aristotle or Aquinas at all? "
      Oh please. Yes, of course, that is how we know what nonsense Thomism is.

      On the subjects of physics and metaphysics Thomism gets nearly everything wrong.

      A-T accounts of causality are at best quaint irrelevant ancient superficial initial attempts at understanding the way the universe operates.

      As an attempt at a modern account of causality A-T is a howler, a belly laugh, hopelessly idiotic twaddle.

      Aristotle was a brilliant man who produced volumes of very serious work on many subjects. He can be much appreciated in the context of some 2300 years ago.

      For a modern scholar, philosopher, or scientist to seriously adhere to A-T calls into question that person's honesty and mental fitness, particularly the more educated and professional the individual is.

      Today we, and by we I mean nearly all scientists and philosophers alive today, understand that causality is not of 4 types, rather, all causality is mutual and interactive with the designation of one object as cause and another as effect being arbitrary and therefore meaningless.

      Similarly we realize that there are not the species of change A-T describes and Feser repeats. All change requires the motion of material, the translation through space of material. All of the sorts of change proposed by A-T are in fact the same sort of change, the only sort of change that occurs in the universe, the physical motion of material through space.

      The First Way, as with all five ways, is another howler, riddled with errors and of negative value, because it only serves to confuse those who are not in possession of the honesty and education to understand its glaring defects.

      Dr. Feser occasionally writes with great lucidity, such as on the A theory of time, because in that case there is no A-T ideological twaddle to corrode his cognitive capacity, so without the albatross of A-T around his neck Dr. Feser shows his underlying eminently rational mind.

      Delete
    10. Remember everyone: ignore Stardusty!

      Delete
    11. It is simply funny in a sad way that machinephilosophy gives a pretty interesting point and the response he gets is one from someone who clearly can't bother to try to understand him :(


      Feels bad man.

      Delete
    12. Talmid
      “machinephilosophy gives a pretty interesting point and the response he gets is one from someone who clearly can't bother to try to understand him :(
      Feels bad man.”

      Cheer up, Talmid, Machine is just talking in circles. There really isn’t anything especially interesting in Machine’s words.

      Machine
      ”There's an overarching purpose to everything, because the denial of it 1) is itself purposive in being asserted for the purpose of distinguishing one's own view from the affirmation in question instead of not being asserted etc.,”
      Conflating the individual describing X with X itself. The individual may have a relative purpose in describing X, but that does not mean X has in intrinsic or absolute purpose.

      Purpose is relative. Just because I express a relative purpose for X in no way necessitates that X does in fact have an absolute purpose.

      “ and 2) is itself an overarching denial due to the very nature of what is in question, namely, and overarching purpose.”
      Wrong again, for the same reason. If I deny an overarching purpose for X then that meets my relative purpose for X, but that in no way necessitates that X has an absolute purpose.

      My interpretation of purpose of X, or my denial of purpose for X is relative to my perception of X as X relates to me in my personal estimation. None of that in any way necessitates that X must therefore have an absolute purpose.

      Delete
    13. DrYogami
      "Remember everyone: ignore Stardusty!"
      The werewolf always seeks to destroy the one he loves most.

      How touching that you feel so affectionately for me.

      Now, trundle off to Tibet to obtain your mariphasa, but beware, there are other werewolves afoot!

      Delete
  12. You are quite right of course , so I have just ordered a bunch of his works, namely 'Beginners Guide to Psychology", 'Beginners Guide to Aquinas', 'Five Proofs', 'Scholastic Metaphysics' and 'Aristotle's Revenge' . 'The Last Superstition' is on the table as I write - more of that later.

    I am particularly curious to read 'Aristotle's Revenge', as my academic background ( to Master's level in a leading UK research university ) is in physics.

    I am quite a busy person, so reading all these works will take time, but it is obviously true that I should achieve a degree of mastery over Thomism if only to be more confident that my rejection of it is warrented.

    As regards 'The Last Superstition' , I tried to begin reading it earlier tonight but found it difficult to get beyond the very first page. Here Feser bemoans the fact that by accepting gay unions a court "declared by sheer judicial fiat the equal dignity under the law of the family and sodomy', as if gay people who wish to make such a commitment to each other have nothing more in mind than screwing. I found this quite infuriating, and it just confirmed my suspician that Feser is an odious bigot. At the very least he is an imbecile for writing this on the very first page of a book that I imagine was intended for a wide audience, not just Roman Catholics or the socially conservative. I can guarantee that through the quoted passage alone ( I dread to think what is to follow ), Feser will have lost the potential readership of thousands of liberally minded people, who would therefore never arrive at the philosophy.

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    Replies
    1. Don't read The Last Superstition. Its a reaction against the New Atheists and is meant to be polemic. Pretty much every other book stays away from that tone.

      I started with the Philosophy of Mind, then Aquinas, then Scholastic Metaphysics. Going back to Aquinas after Scholastic Metaphysics was really amazing, because that he where he really engages with Analytic philosophy, among other disciplines. Aristotle's Revenge is difficult for me because I'm not a scientist.

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    2. I will continue to read 'The Last Superstition', as with Feser in full polemical mode he will no doubt be unable to contain himself in many other places and so reveal things about his personality, outlook and perhaps motivation that ordinariy remain hidden. Papalintron - who has read the work - confirms this in his 6.13pm post below. I will of course try mightily to seperate any dislike I feel for the author from my evaluation of philosophical claims that he makes as along the way.

      Delete
    3. With regard to odious bigotry specifically relating to sexual issues, bear in mind that the sexual revolution happened a mere half century ago. Things that you declare odious bigotry now where part and parcel of the culture then. What Ed is teaching is part of the philosophical underpinning of that culture. Essentialism has for the most part been rejected (wrongly in my opinion), but it still shows up from time to time. For example, Oderberg was cited in the US Hobby Lobby case in relation to different views on cooperation with evil. It is the philosophical framework of Natural Law arguments.

      More generally, I believe the sexual revolution ushered in great moral problems based on faulty philosophical perspectives not grounded in actual human nature. The problems lead us to conclusions such as the out of control pornography industry, the legalization of prostitution, the abortion of millions of babies every year, and laws that propose to mandate the chemical castration of kids and eventual mutilation of the gender confused.

      What you call odious bigotry, I call a return to sanity.

      Delete
    4. Daniel,
      "bear in mind that the sexual revolution happened a mere half century ago."
      Nonsense. The ancient Greeks practiced man-boy love, and male leaders were openly homosexual.

      People have been having sex with each other every which way for thousands of years.

      Christians made sex dirty and bad, something to feel guilty about.

      The so-called sexual revolution was just a matter of rejecting Christian guilt complex nonsense and getting back to healthier attitudes toward sex.

      Delete
    5. 23:59: "Man, these people that believe in objective morality are so dumb."

      00:00: "Christian morality bad, my culture morality good".

      Delete
    6. Talmid, great minds think alike, as do stupid ones it seems. Papalinton is bloviating that anything that is not testable (i.e., empirical) is to be dismissed, whilst maintaining that modern social liberal morality is self-evidently true.

      Delete
    7. Papalinton is a famous imbecile, second only here to Stardusty and a few others. If he confirms something the opposite is probably correct. Also why don't you attend to the actual arguments instead of trying to ferret out things about Feser's personality and the like? No one here cares about what you feel about these or indeed Feser's arguments themselves, except so far as you can form rational objections. You have done nothing so far to show you have any kind of intellectual authority.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous at 3.27PM was replying to Daniel, but the reply could have been made equally well to the 'Anonymous' who posted while I was typing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just wanted to applaud your effort to get to understand the "other side". Ed's books are a good if not the best place to do that. And even if you ultimately hate and reject Thomism, at least you will be rejecting what I consider to be the best arguments for the more traditional world view that I espouse. I can't ask more from a philosophical opponent that a fair hearing.

      And if you give me a fair hearing, I'll be much more likely to consider your objections.

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    2. Daniel,
      "Have you read the book?", or "you obviously do not understand the arguments", or "you obvioulsy did not even read the OP" are just the stock responses by Thomists when the fallacies of A-T are exposed.

      Of course we atheists have read and understood the arguments, that is why we are atheists.

      There is no "Revenge" of Aristotle. Aristotle has been thoroughly debunked on the subjects of causality and change.

      Modern science and philosophy do not employ Aristotelian metaphysics or physics either explicitly or implicitly. There is no "Revenge" of Aristotle because his metaphysics and physics are irrelevant notions in the dustbin.

      For example, specifically, there are not the species of change Aristotle called for, rather, all change reduces to the motion of material.

      Causality is not subdivided into per se and per accidens, rather, all causality is a multibody problem of mutual interaction that is vastly complex.

      Since A-T got these fundamentals of change and causality wrong the First Way is a failure with its false premises, and logically invalid arguments.

      Of course I have read and understood the A-T arguments. That is why I can so easily point out where they each go wrong.

      In what sense do you think Aristotle has somehow extracted from we moderns a "Revenge"?

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  14. Daniel [at 5.59] "Papa - you've simply put together a string of declarations with zero evidence to back your claims. If anyone is being silly, it is you, if you think your post will convince anyone here."

    I'm not trying to convince anyone at this blog. The purpose is to offer a singularly different narrative based on what we actually do know rather than on what we think might know or wish it to be if we close our eyes tight enough in supplication to an overarching mythos. The purpose is to formally put on the record that theological explanations are rightfully and properly challenged and uncover them as the deeply flawed and tenuous claims they are. One need only to undertake a cursory overview of history to appreciate the bewildering extent and variety of gods, unmoved movers, essences and origin stories on tap, be it islamic, christian, ba'hai, ju-ju, hebraic, etc etc etc; take your pick. It is extremely difficult to reason with those that have been inculcated in a tradition that was spawned and which grew out of our mythological past, devoid of the reality of hard evidence, ontologically truths, testable and verifiable facts. They are entertaining stories, to be sure, but at core they are products of humanity's creative mind, not from an understanding of the nature of reality.

    In terms of Feser's work; yes I have several of his books, as one ought to have if they are going to contribute to the discussion. My favourite is his "The Last Superstition" a wonderfully visceral polemic to get the monkey off his chest. One of my pet take-aways from his book is at P.151: "As I have said, the subject requires a book of its own [ie the natural law of sexual morality], at least given the extreme depravity into which modern civilisation has fallen from a natural law point of view. But what has been said already suffices to show that whatever quibbles one might have over the details, the main outlines of traditional sexual morality are 'obviously' rationally justifiable, even unavoidable, if one assumes the truth of a broadly Aristotelian metaphysics."

    Wow! He seems to be someone born out of his time, better suited to earlier times of Aquinas when the 'sexually depraved' were physically eviscerated in the normal course of executing their 'social justice' functions for the good of society.
    I say this is extremism at its most raw.

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    1. The purpose is to offer a singularly different narrative based on what we actually do know rather than on what we think might know or wish it to be if we close our eyes tight enough in supplication to an overarching mythos.

      No one does this on this blog. Definitely not Ed. You have certainly not given any evidence for this claim.

      The purpose is to formally put on the record that theological explanations are rightfully and properly challenged and uncover them as the deeply flawed and tenuous claims they are.

      Your using the passive voice here. Care to attribute this claim to an actual person who has made the case and has actually provided.. you know... evidence?

      One need only to undertake a cursory overview of history to appreciate the bewildering extent and variety of gods, unmoved movers, essences and origin stories on tap, be it islamic, christian, ba'hai, ju-ju, hebraic, etc etc etc; take your pick.

      This blog is about philosophy. You seem to be saying that any philosophy that isn't inimical to any or all religious claims is automatically to be rejected. That seems to be at best prejudiced. At worse, bigotry.

      Helpful hint: The definition of bigotry is an obstinate or unreasonable attachment to a belief, opinion, or faction; in particular, prejudice against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.


      It is extremely difficult to reason with those that have been inculcated in a tradition that was spawned and which grew out of our mythological past, devoid of the reality of hard evidence, ontologically truths, testable and verifiable facts. They are entertaining stories, to be sure, but at core they are products of humanity's creative mind, not from an understanding of the nature of reality.

      You are simply making assertions here. You have in no way achieved your stated purpose of challenging any of the claims that Thomists make. Not one. You are simply bloviating. You are pointing at conclusions you don't like without even the most cursory look at the evidence provided.

      Wow! He seems to be someone born out of his time, better suited to earlier times of Aquinas when the 'sexually depraved' were physically eviscerated in the normal course of executing their 'social justice' functions for the good of society.
      I say this is extremism at its most raw.


      You are implying that Ed would argue for a return of the jailing and segregation of homosexuals when he is only talking about the nature of marriage here. He has not done so.

      I for one, am happy that no one is persecuted for their sexual orientation any more. But one can make an argument that marriage is by nature an institution between a man and a woman, without seeking to persecute gays and lesbians. This was an open issue in Canada and the US just a decade ago, and now anyone who does not conform that what the courts decided is suddenly an extremist? Who is being extreme here?

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    2. Isn't it interesting that Papalinton wants at one and the same time wants to aver that we should put aside metaphysics and philosophy in favor of what is testable, but then thinks it obvious that his relatively novel (historically speaking) metaphysical and ethical claims about sexuality are self-evident and those who dissent are extremists. So some metaphysical and non-empirical claims apparently are acceptable. Interesting.

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    3. Ultimately, these things have to be fought for politically ( on the streets if necessary ), and your side has clearly lost thankfully ( in the democratic west at least ).

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    4. How is that a response to what is being argued? You can fight as long and hard as you like, but it still seems inconsistent to reject objective morality and yet be extremely moralistic, or dismiss any truth claims that aren't empirically testable and still take modern social liberal ethics as self-evident.

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    5. I do not think that ethical systems are self-evidently true or false, as they are not the kind of thing that can have these properties. We belong to 'moral tribes' , which have their basis in our species nature, individual psychology , cultural and educational background , traditions into which we have been inculcated, political outlook etc. The great majority of actors think it self evident that their perspectives are objectively correct , while the more politically, psychologically and philosophically aware will see that although it feels like that ( and these strong feelings motivate behaviour ), there is no truth here to be had.

      The great mass of people in western countries are to a large extent members of a moral tribe which accepts modern social liberal ethics. Those that accept full on Thomistic ethics are few in number, and may one day become an empty set.

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    6. The great mass of people in western countries are to a large extent members of a moral tribe which accepts modern social liberal ethics. Those that accept full on Thomistic ethics are few in number, and may one day become an empty set.

      It seems that as long as there are Catholic priests and religious in Western Europe, there will be some members of that set.

      On the other, in a century's time how big will the tribe which accepts modern social liberal ethics be? Looking at accounts of the demographics of Western countries and the issue of cognitive decline, it is not clear.

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    7. Plenty of religious people are very liberal indeed.

      Could you please elaborate upon your last sentence, especially the referance to cognitive decline.

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    8. Anon, but then why the moralistic high dungeon? You seem quite ready to spew the usual epithets at Feser, like bigot. Yet you seem to admit at other times that you see moral system as relative and socially constructed. This seems inconsistent. If there's no objective morality, or at least one we can discover much about, then it doesn't make much sense to treat some moral beliefs as intrinsically evil or bigoted or wrong.

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    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    10. Daniel @ 6.45am
      Sorry that I am unable to address all your responses, you know, time permitting, other responsibilities etc etc., but you do say: "This blog is about philosophy."
      No. It's not, unfortunately. It's about the lived experience of an arch-conservative, ultra-right wing religionist couching his extremism in the vocabulary of philosophy, particularly Thomist in character. Thomism simply doesn't feature, if at all, in the wider philosophical landscape. The irony here is that it largely remains at the margins of broader contemporary philosophical discussion going forward. As outlined in Wiki: "Thomistic scholasticism in the English speaking world went into decline in the 1970s when the Thomistic revival that had been spearheaded by Jacques Maritain, Étienne Gilson, and others, diminished in influence." ..... The piece adds further: "A renewed interest in the "scholastic" way of doing philosophy has recently awoken in the confines of the analytic philosophy. Attempts emerged to combine elements of scholastic and analytic methodology in pursuit of a contemporary philosophical synthesis. Proponents of various incarnations of this approach include Anthony Kenny, Peter King, Thomas Williams or David Oderberg. Analytical Thomism can be seen as a pioneer part of this movement." [See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism]

      It is important to note the structure of the reporting. A 'renewed interest' in 'attempts emerged' at 'combining elements', 'in pursuit of ... a synthesis'. "Proponents of various incarnations ...."

      This sounds and reads very much like a fraught attempt by the defenders of Thomism, such as Feser et al, to resuscitate an idea that has long been on life-support, or in colloquial speak, flogging the veritable dead horse. All the while, this sadly desperate neo-revivalist adventure is occurring only within the shrinking catholic bubble at the periphery of mainstream philosophical discourse.

      In this context the importance of my earlier statements of purpose, ie.:

      "The purpose is to offer a singularly different narrative based on what we actually do know rather than on what we think might know or wish it to be ...." and

      "The purpose is to formally put on the record that theological explanations are rightfully and properly challenged and uncover them as the deeply flawed and tenuous claims they are." ....

      becomes clearer. These two statements of purpose introduce a notably wider perspective among the ideologically confined commentators to that which might otherwise inform them on this site.

      So it is important that a competing and more ontologically grounded narrative be properly embedded into the discussion to counter the Thomist 'goddidit' version. It is uncomfortable, I know, to consider there is indeed a chronicled account that is significantly more grounded and aligned with the nature of reality than the god variety. The trouble with the god variety, as history shows us, is that there are far too many gods in existence to imagine any discerning person being able to epistemologically decide 'which one?'.


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    11. Anonymous 2.37pm

      You are confusing me with a different contributor i am afraid, but I will say that a view can be bigoted independently of an moral evaluation of it, and I would never use the theologically loaded word 'evil' to describe anything. It is not part of my vocabulary I am afraid. Views are labelled using moral language as they reflect the feelings or perspective of the user. The moral framework motivates behaviour, and my use of moral language is generally instrumental, though being a reasonably well socialised human I ofcourse experience 'moral' feelings , though very different in many respects from yours I would imagine.







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    12. That doesn't really get around the inconsistency here. For a start I'm not sure what you mean by saying bigotry can be independent of moral evaluation. I suppose you could mean that bigotry can be used to describe positions based on assumption and not evidence or argument. Okay, although that would mean the term could as easily apply to social liberals as anyone else. No more of them than anyone else have deeply thought about their moral beliefs and principles. On the other hand, Feser has and offers actual arguments, so would not seem a bigot.

      The rest of your post seems to want have your cake and eat it. It's one thing say the moral relativist can't entirely escape inhabiting moral tradition and framework, but he should surely maintain a detachment as far as possible. It still seems fundamentally inconsistent for him to moralistically condemn certain moral perspectives and beliefs. You can't have it both ways. If moral relativism is true, there's no objective moral superiority in social liberalism over other varieties of sexual ethics.

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    13. Papalinton @8:16 PM

      So I think there are a few approaches that can be taken to evaluate what is being done with regard to Analytical Thomism.

      1-Historical research into primary sources: These folks are primarily interested in what Aquinas himself thought in his own context and less about what Aquinas can teach us today. Lots of examples here. No need to list them since this is more about history.
      2-Thomists proponents - Those who believe Aquinas has ideas that are still relevant today and try to bring those ideas into dialog with academic disciplines at various levels. For example, Ed, Oderberg, and others.
      3-Antagonists of Thomism that take Thomism seriously Those who have spent time trying their best to understand Thomism on its own terms and criticized its conclusions as faulty. For example, Anthony Kenny and others.
      4-Antagonists of Thomism that do not take Thomism seriously Those who have spent little time trying to understand Thomism and when they do discuss Thomism, tend to make ridiculous errors and set up farcical straw men. For example, most of the New Atheist types.

      You seem to fall into category 4, I'm afraid. Your excuse seems to be the following:

      Thomism simply doesn't feature, if at all, in the wider philosophical landscape. The irony here is that it largely remains at the margins of broader contemporary philosophical discussion going forward.

      But this does not match my experience in Canada. Thomas is still studied in Classics departments and philosophy departments across Canada along with other philosophers. I know of a man who earned his PHD in Philosophy at the University of Ottawa on Thomas' understanding of the Eucharist. I also know of a man who did his PHD in Philosophy comparing the Native American myth of the Wendigo with the Christian myth of Satan, and relied heavily on Thomas Aquinas to bring those two world views into dialog.

      Again, I'm not denying that there are many other forms of philosophy that I was exposed to in university. But you can hardly claim that one type of philosophy has a hegemony and all others must bow down to it in submission. The popularity of various philosophical movements ebb and flow.

      Rather than bloviating on how passé Thomism is why don't you suggest some alternative that suits you better. Why not point to folks who have actually engaged in topics ... you know... related to this post. For example, other perspectives on how the Aristotelian conception of natural teleology or finality [Ed] defend{s} in the book relates to goodness as a natural property.

      I think I'll leave it there.

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    14. Daniel,
      "Why not point to folks who have actually engaged in topics ... you know... related to this post. For example, other perspectives on how the Aristotelian conception of natural teleology or finality [Ed] defend{s} in the book relates to goodness as a natural property. "

      Indeed, the topic of the OP is the assertion that Aristotle somehow is, in modern science, exacting a "revenge" of sorts, in that, supposedly, modern science is either explicitly or implicitly dependent upon Aristotelian metaphysics and/or physics.

      Yet, modern science is devoid of teleology. There is no formulation for ultimate purpose in modern physics.

      Nor is there any use made, either explicitly or implicitly, of the notion of final cause, or the other sorts of causation described by Aristotle.

      In modern physics there is only the mutual interaction wherein designation of X as cause and Y as effect is arbitrary and therefore meaningless.

      The core premise of the OP is entirely baseless, yet nobody here can defend the notion of a "revenge" in any sense.

      It seems the villagers are much too preoccupied ranting "troll" with their pitchforks and torches held up, to actually present any sort of rational defense of the notion of any sort of Aristotelian "revenge".

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    15. Daniel, the thing is, people like Papalinton don't even seem like they know much about the philosophical landscape. He hardly comes across as well-read in any kind of philosophy. Also there is actually quite a lot of variety among philosophers in a lot of areas of philosophy. There's a broad tendency towards materialism or naturalism in Anglo-American Analytical philosophy, but even this is far from universal and it, besides, comes in a myriad of forms, qualifications, and applications. Finally it doesn't seem that philosophy is a discipline that uniformly progresses. In some areas changes represent genuine new knowledge, such as advances in formal logic, but it isn't clear that the changes in fashion in metaphysics over the decades and centuries are a matter of intellectual progress. In medieval Europe, Materialism was philosophically marginal. A century ago Idealism was very popular. Those claiming some kind of conclusion from the fact Thomism today is a minority position among philosophers today need to show in detail why this implies the intrinsic inferiority of Thomism.

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    16. Agreed @Anonymous 3:54 It makes me wonder if there is something cyclical in societies that makes them abandon perfectly good ideas for bad ones. Or, perhaps on the other hand, even when bad ideas start to proliferate, there always seems a remnant in society that returns to the basics of Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas. They go about doing their damage, and when folks get sick of them, they return back to rationality. One can hope they do anyway. Or perhaps some society less decadent will pick them up and thrive on their ideas.

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    17. Daniel @ 6.48am

      You haven't provided any evidence of the fact and truth of the role of Thomism that counters the argument of its shrinking power and influence in contemporary philosophical discourse. Your two anecdotal Canadian examples hardly qualify as evidence of any change whatsoever that mitigates the dwindling nature of religious-based philosophy and rescues it from the periphery of mainstream contemporary discussion.

      You see, it's all about the broader context and not the niche or boutique market that Thomism occupies that drives the debate proper in addressing the many philosophical challenges into the future.

      I reject the rationale behind your four approaches to Thomist study as they comport only to a personal preference of characterisation. In all, the listing doesn't convey any substantive confirmation that Thomism is a growing force du jour in modern philosophy.
      Adherence to Thomism tells us little about the bona fide character of philosophers but everything about their religiosity. It equally tells us much of the misguided notion that can we actually extend our sociality beyond the human world to a (putative) realm of non-human agents who apparently can also interact with us socially in turn. A completely unfounded premise in Thomism. One need only to attend a Sunday service to witness the practice of apparently communing with non-human agents across the natural/supernatural divide. This is the untested and unverified baggage that Thomism carries, the core of unsubstantiated claims that confutes it as a truly universal, competitive philosophical framework.

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    18. You have no idea what you are talking about. Firstly, where's the evidence Thomism is dwindling in its influence? It is definitely a minority in the academy, but it is probably more popular now than it has been for decades or even centuries, if we are talking about philosophy in the mainstream Anglo-American tradition. More broadly Neo-Aristotelian philosophy has been having something
      of a renaissance. Furthermore, you speak clearly as one who doesn't know much about contemporary philosophy. Whilst Thomism is of course a system, philosophy in the academy is generally about analyzing particular philosophical issues across the various fields and sub-fields. For example, a philosopher might write a book on the problem of universals or even a subsection of it. Although more philosophers tend to Materialism or Naturalism than other broad metaphysical positions, when it comes to the nitty gritty of all the different particular philosophical topics, there's often a great variety of positions. For universals, there are realists, conceptualists, and nominalistd, and then again these all can be broken down in particular varieties, such as trope nominalism vs. blob nominalism, and individual philosophers often have their own particular variations of these. In some areas there is a relatively clear majority position, whilst in others there isn't really. But it is rare that the majority position is taken to have definitively routed all challengers. Having a minority position in philosophy isn't often something to be ashamed of. The Aristotelian-Thomosm position on universals is a live one, for instance.

      Of course, and most importantly, you haven't done anything to show philosophical fashions are generally authoritative. You've presented no evidence at all in fact. Some progress occurs over time in philosophy, but it more like literary theory, where the changing intellectual fashions certainly can't be taken as representing a uniform linear progress, than (ideally) science.

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    19. I should add that your discussion of your criticisms of Thomism is remarkably ignorant. You seem to be talking about theological claims of Thomism or Catholicism more generally, which are separate from the strictly philosophical aspects of Thomism. The arguments for the existence of God are philosophical, but then Feser, among others, has given sophisticated treatments of these. You give neither refutation of them nor do you have any authority that would make us trust your views on these arguments without evidence.

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    20. Anonymous 3.45pm and Daniel

      Just a couple of questions.

      Do you think that there is ever any real progress in philosophy, other than the further elucidation and delineation of positions ( including the occasional introduction of new ones ), as the persistance of such diversity among qualified and so presumably well informed practitioners, which ebbs and flows through time, suggests not. Are we therefore best to approach philosophers and their beliefs culturally, psychologically and sociologically?

      Secondly, if naturalism is such a self evidently bankrupt framework as theists tend to profess,how is it that the great bulk of academic philosophers today adhere to it? They are, after all, clearly highly intelligent and philosophically able people, well versed in the range of theoretical options available in their particular specialisms. Can it really be primarily just a case of the 'zeitgeist', but if not that, then what?

      These are questions that I find genuinely puzzling, and are sincerely asked.

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    21. Yes, it's the zeitgeist. As someone with a philosophy degree, I have observed first hand how Natrualism is simply assumed.

      As for the first question, it doesn't follow from the lack of substantial progress in philosophy, or good parts of it, that we cannot come to truth here. It just means that the we can't take current majority opinion as necessarily authoritative. It means that the a lot more of the search for truth devolves to the individual seeker.

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    22. By the way, my impression is that Materialism and Naturalism, whilst still dominant, aren't quite as much as they were a few decades ago. Not only are there more non-Naturalists, but the popularity of more hard line Materialism is probably less than it was from the 50s to 80s. Behaviorism and Verificatism are some of the few philosophical positions that seem definitively dead. Identity Theory is nearly so and has lost a lot of philosophical support. Eliminative Materialism ticks along, but it remains very much a minority position and hasn't really grown in popularity. Property Dualism is probably the most popular single position in philosophy of mind, and even theories like Panpsychism are seriously discussed.

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    23. Yes, I can see that it is necessary for an individual to read widely in their search for philosophical 'truth', and not to simply assimilate the current majority oppinion, which may just be a fashion of the times. However, having done this, I doubt if a random sample of "seekers' would alite on anything like the same conclusions, which makes me think that psychological factors play a very important role here. We can struggle to be logical and objective, but the field is so 'soft' that reasons can always be found to avoid a conclusion that one finds personally unpalatable. I am inclined towards naturalism for example, and freely admit that the immorality of non-procreative sex in Thomism makes it very hard for me to give it a fair hearing, becauuse it just does not sit well with me and I do not want it to be true. I can imagine that the same is true of yourself with respect to naturalism, in which we are ultimately just deeply illusioned animals, destined for oblivion at the end of our short physical lives.

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    24. I must admit that I am gravitating towards property dualism, and take panpsychism seriously. These positions are a development and enlargement of the naturalist paradigm though.

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    25. What you mean by the immorality of non-procreative sex is ambiguous. It is something of a strawman of Thomism and Catholicism that sex can only be for procreation, if that is supposed to mean the spouses must have this as their immediate subjective intention in having sex. What Thomism and Catholicism say is that sex must be open to procreation.

      I don't think philosophy is soft. I think that the issue is that we often compare it, consciously or not, with science. Science very often is based on experiment, which is a lot easier and more definitive for our minds to grasp. It is a little simplistic, but we can see with our eyes whether a testable hypothesis is true or not. Philosophy is about rational argument, which isn't quite so easily testable, at least in as easy to grasp a way for us humans. But I wouldn't say that this means that we can just find reasons for any position we want to be true and we will be able to find ones of equal weight to those against the position. This doesn't actually follow. The psychological and the rational are separable here: as hard as it can be for humans to come to definitive philosophical conclusions in many areas, it doesn't follow that there aren't stronger arguments for one position over another.

      The relationship of Property Dualism and Panpsychism to Naturalism is debatable. They certainly aren't Materialist. They seem to me to stretch Naturalism as traditionally understood, especially Panpsychism, unless by Naturalism you mean just the rejection of Theism (and presumably Idealism).

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    26. @Anonymous 11:48 pm
      ..Are we therefore best to approach philosophers and their beliefs culturally, psychologically and sociologically?

      Clearly these factors play in to any philosopher’s theories, but I would add honestly, and sincerely to the list. We have to at least make an attempt at objectivity, or else lose all credibility except with those in our own echo chambers.

      Having read account’s of Ed’s philosophical development, and as he states in the Last Superstition, he does not seem to have found god in a bottle. His journey seems to have been remarkably free from psychological factors driving him towards the truth of Thomism.

      My journey has more psychological motivators, but I would like to believe I would have been attracted to Thomism without those factors, in an ideal world. I would call myself a refugee of the sexual revolution, having experienced painful things in my youth that seem to me to be directly caused by the sexual liberation so touted to be an improvement in every respect by proponents of the sexual revolution. My childhood friend, who was more of a sister to me, was a party girl, fell into drugs and alcohol abuse, was repeatedly raped, and experienced abortion twice. She has no religious background, but eventually, deeply regretted her abortions, even going to the point of naming her unborn children. Growing up in the 1980s and 90s, I watched In horror as the sexual revolution tore her body and soul apart.


      Having said all of that, I did experience an Atheistic phase in university. The religious perspective I was exposed to at this stage in my life were not comprehensive or sophisticated enough to provide any kind of intellectual grounding for me. But through my studies in the Classics and Greek and Roman history, I was exposed to authors like Plato and Aristotle, and later on, with Thomas. I am firmly convinced that more traditional approaches to sexual morality might have shielded my childhood friend from her experiences.

      The Me Too movement we are seeing right now seems to be a reaction in the right direction, that will, hopefully, lead the younger generation to a more prudent approach to matters of sexuality. I hope that it will lead to a rediscovery of the virtue of chastity, of a more courteous and gentlemanly approach to romance, of a rejection of crass pornographic attitudes towards sex.

      But I don't think this can be done adequately without a much better understanding of the purpose of human sexuality. And, from a philosophical perspective, this cannot be done apart from a teleological approach to the sexual faculty.

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  15. I might also add; the deep irony in the title "The Last Superstition" cannot be more profoundly stated than the words of Samuel P. Putnam, a former Congregationalist minister:
    "The last superstition of the human mind is the superstition that religion in itself is a good thing."

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  16. Who has said that "religion" in itself is a good thing?

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  17. Kevin: "Who has said that "religion" in itself is a good thing?"

    My goodness. Where have you been closeted? The very existence of Feser's blog is a testament to the claim; and for a very particular flavour and colouring of religious belief at that.

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  18. The very existence of Feser's blog is a testament to the claim; and for a very particular flavour and colouring of religious belief at that.

    You can believe a particular religious belief or system is inherently good without having to believe that "religion" is inherently good. I've never heard of anyone who believes "religion" is inherently good, because "religion" is a broad enough term to be useless for determining good or bad, for anyone who isn't an antitheistic ideologue anyway.

    May as well make the claim that beliefs are inherently good or bad if you're going to paint with that broad a brush.

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    1. Papalinton's long and sorry career of internet trolling and idiocy shows he is incapable of making such logical distinctions. He ranks only a little behind Stardusty and should be ignored as well.

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    2. Here endeth the traditional preachy lecture on the subject of alleged trolls by Constable Anonymous. Consider yourself well rebuked Kevin. As for the rest of us, we will continue to interact with people ( or not ) as we see fit.

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    3. Here cometh Unknown, the perpetual troll feeder, to butt in where he isn't wanted. Whatever can be said about the downsides of reminding people not to feed the trolls or the value of free exchange even with Stardusty (don't laugh), be warned that Unknown is not motivated by these concerns. He has made it abundantly and explicitly clear he defends Stardusty (and presumably Papalinton) because he agrees with him philosophically and politically. In fact he has made this so clear I don't know why he even bothers to chime in anymore. He has zero credibility or support (beyond the trolls themselves).

      Most people here, including Feser, advise and hope that there is less troll feeding. Feser has said this repeatedly. Stardusty, for example, was banned. Unfortunately, blogspot doesn't allow true banning, so Feser would have to delete his comments constantly. At this point he has decided it isn't worth it, but he still asks us not to feed him wherever possible.

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    4. Kevin @ 3.35am
      You have missed the point entirely. In my remark, I did in fact conspicuously and deliberately narrowed the term "religion" from its broader context to that of 'a very particular flavour and colouring of religious belief at that". For those who read this blog and are intellectually able to, indeed capable of, comprehending context, they would not find it too much of a stretch to appreciate that I was referring to 'catholicism', a very specific form of religion with its particular flavour and colour. So I reject your assertion that I was not exacting enough in my use of the term 'religion'. And yes, I can list any number of historical examples, instances, though I bother not doing, where catholicism as a belief system has been a rank canker in the global community and not the 'force for good' it claims for itself.

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    5. Anomymous at 11.30pm

      For goodness sake , stop feeding the trolls!!

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    6. Don't Feed the TrollsNovember 13, 2020 at 5:09 AM

      That Anonymous feeds them because he agrees with them in at least his broad conclusions about philosophy and politics . He also goes under the account name Unknown and made this abundantly clear in tirades against Feser.

      Is he, though I wonder, the same Anon who above posted a critique of Feser and got in a back and forth? That Anon is prejudiced and makes some clearly fallacious points, but he does seem to show some redeeming intellectual qualities and be careful of some self-awareness, which is more than can be said for the likes of Papalinton or Stardusty.

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    7. Oh dear, it looks like Constable Anonymous has changed his name, so that he can be more immediately recognised , which is fortunate as it will now be possible to immediately bypass his tedious preachings.

      Many people post on these threads as 'Anonymous', while a smaller number go by the label 'Unknown'. Now it seems that you wish to expend time and energy speculating upon how many, and what each said. For someone who is obsessed with not feeding trolls, and who has actually adopted that very name now, you do an awful lot to encourage them and keep the issue alive.

      Delete
    8. Constable AnonymousNovember 13, 2020 at 2:28 PM

      STFU. You aren't fooling anyone. You are one guy defending Stardusty and Papalinton's because you agree with them philosophically and politically. That's your right, I suppose. I'm just pointing out to Kevin and others that you have no further support here, apart from the trolls themselves. There is no sensible poster here who values their input, or yours. Your attempts to pretend otherwise are pathetic.

      Delete
    9. Interestingly, although somewhat off-topic, but a germane public service message nonetheless, it seems Anonymous[?]/Don't Feed The Trolls/Constable Anonymous is in the midst of a disturbing identity crisis. It behooves us all to urge him/her[?] to seek professional health advice as soon as possible.

      Delete
    10. Constable AnonymousNovember 13, 2020 at 6:21 PM

      Yes, I'm sure someone who thinks it a wise use of his time to spend years posting the most worthless, pointless stupidity all around the internet is a great authority on health advice. Like Stardusty, have you is there any remotely unbiased person here who thinks you have ever contribute anything worthwhile to the site?

      Also it's hilarious you make a dig at my handles in responding to another poster who makes ample use of different handles himself. But that's just the usual Papalinton idiocy.

      Delete
    11. To the Anonymous who also goes by the name' Constable Anonymous' and 'Do not Feed the Trolls', probably among many others.

      You clearly cannot help yourself, habitually replying to and feeding those you consider to be trolls, despite obsessive exhortations to others to cease such behaviour and to observe your interpretations and dictats. Your hypocracy is laid bare fot all to see I am afraid.

      Constable, you are clearly the 'Anonymous' who popped up with a rant several threads ago now in which you made some very disturbing and threatening comments about StarDusty, including that you would like to let loose the full forces of the inquisition against him.
      I would therefore echo others in gently questioning your psychological health and suggesting that it might be appropriate for you to seek professional assistance and advice. You are way too personally invested in this. Others make their plea that people avoid interacting with trolls, then get on with their life, leaving others to decide for themselves how to respond. Policing the site and other peoples actions, and venting animus at StarDusty in particular, seems to be your very raison d'etre however. Very sad.

      Delete
    12. Constable Anonymous @ 6.21pm

      .."the most worthless, pointless stupidity....", "all around the internet...", "... is a great authority.."

      Methinks you suffer from hyperbole poisoning.

      Whatever remaining intellect you might possess you would do well to conserve or preserve it. It is a precious commodity, and wasted, all for nought if you continue to doggedly defend a theological world view that is ineluctably shrinking. [See this salient report in the Catholic Journal: https://www.catholicjournal.us/2019/05/06/our-shrinking-reality/. ]

      Delete
    13. Constable AnonymousNovember 13, 2020 at 9:27 PM

      Actually that wasn't me. I am not even aware first hand of what was said. I can understand getting very annoyed at Stardusty. He clearly has deep psychological issues and is a blight on this site. His ego alone is infuriating, given his colossal stupidity and ignorance. For years now he has haunted this place, where he is clearly not wanted (as Feser himself has told him). There's something hilarious about a Stardusty defender worry about the psychological health of others. But there's a line I wouldn't cross.

      And there are no others here on your side, except the trolls themselves. Let's get this straight. The pro-troll team is the troll themselves and a total of two posters, who often post anonymously. One is known as Unknown as well and defends the trolls because he hates Feser and agrees broadly with the philosophical and poltical views of the trolls. The other is Miguel Cervantes, who though he is a traditionalist Catholic is also a banned troll with a fixation on Feser. Cervantes has received similar treatment to Stardusty, quite deservedly, and clearly resents it. Plus no doubt he is quite content to see Stardusty and the like vandalize Feser's blog.

      Unless we are counting you, I don't usually feed the trolls either. I should never do it, of course, and I can't claim that. But more often than not I don't interact with them directly.

      Delete
    14. I assumed that you did count me as a troll ( do you not then ? ), in which case I would have been growing very fat indeed recently.

      I had no idea that Cervantees was an alleged troll too, but that would explain why , in reply to a recent brief reply post from some 'Anonymous', the retort 'sod off Cervantees' was ejaculated forth.

      You know Constable, it is possible to feed trolls in ways other than by addressing them directly, for example by endlessly discussing them and their activity and so spreading and deepening their reputation and notoriety, which may very well delight and encourage them. The great mass of people who read this blog must be well sick of you.

      Delete
    15. They may well, but where's the evidence? No one chimes in to support you, except the trolls themselves. That's odd if it's me and those like me who are the real problem here. Don't you think a lot more are sick of Stardusty (especially) and Papalinton? Afaon your post is hilariously. You accuse me of being a nuisance..whilst you are defending Stardusty. In this very thread I'm hardly the only one to point out he's a troll. You couldn't make it up. Give up. You have no credibility. At this point you have made it explicitly clear why you defend them, though it was already pretty obvious.

      Delete
    16. You REALLY can't stop can you? You are clearly a pathological obsessive, whose actions repeatedly clog up threads with extensive discussions about trolling. Go away, be gone! As you wrote to me earlier, STFU.

      Henceforth , I will refer to you as 'Taliban'.



      Delete
    17. The irony just keeps on coming. You are obsessed with defending odious trolls, for ideological reasons, and in deceptive terms. You don't give a damn clogging up threads or this blogs, if you did you would at least acknowledge Stardusty is a pest who it would be great to get rid of, even if you think that telling people not to feed him is counterproductive. You never do that because you don't care about the blog. You are a liar.

      And it's also ironic that you accuse others of psychological issues: you hate Feser and have no respect for the blog, but you constantly come here obsessively defend trolls in your sanctimonious way, pretending it's for the good of the blog or some nonsense.

      And I'm still waiting for you to produce someone, and not a troll or another Anonymous account, who is more sick of Stardusty than his detractors.

      Delete
    18. You do like interacting with me Taliban ( full blown schizophrenia now, or maybe MPD ). It must be so unbearable for an authoritarian like yourself to see his demands and stipulations go unheeded, hence you keep returning with more of them. But you are on highway to nowhere.

      Am I a troll or not? Please respond to this question.

      Delete
    19. My requests to not feed the trolls? It's a little disappointing, but it has little to do with you. You have no constituency beyond the trolls themselves. No one reads your pathetic interventions on behalf of Stardusty and thinks you are onto something. I don't know why you waste your time. And rest assured, I'm here from now on to point out to anyone you rebuke for attacking Stardusty your actual motives and beliefs.

      e real issue is that Stardusty is so psychotic that he only takes a little feeding, sometimes none.

      I will answer when you produce a regular or known poster here, who isn't a troll, who thinks I'm more of a nuisance than Stardusty.

      Delete
    20. Well Taliban, as you will always be intervening after my posts, there is sure to be an awful not of thread clogging in future, as rest assured, it will inevitably descend into an exchange like the one above. I am just not going to withdraw and accept your crap.

      Did you notice that absolutely nobody chimed in to support YOU during this exchange, as everyone else has sufficient psychological insight to see that what you are doing is insane? I do not agree with your designation of 'troll' to label the individuals you hate so viscerally, but adopting it for one second , maybe you could add yet another monica to your ever expanding list - 'Troll Feeder and Enabler in Chief'.

      Rest assured, it will not be long before people get sick of your derailing interventions and write in to tell you to STFU.

      Delete
    21. My, my, you are annoyed, aren't you.

      These individuals, or at least Stardusty and Cervantes, have been so designated by Feser himself, and banned. Doyou dispute Feser's use his label? Upon what grounds is Stardusty not a troll? He's universally regarded so here, except amongst fellow trolls. He is profiling and yet contributes absolutely nothing of worth. He never properly engages with anyone. Only an imbecilic, ignoramous, and/or ideologue would defend him.

      And yet no one has jumped in, during this dying thread, to defend you either. So are you admitting they realize you are insane?

      Delete
    22. SP is a massive troll. And yes he is a lot worse than the don't feed the troll guys. Why are you guys even having this conversation? When I moderated the Classical Theism forum we had to ban him. He is loathed and banned around the net. Seems a pointless discussion to me. We can all see his posts. The Anon defending him needs to knock 9t off and get some hobbies.

      Delete
    23. I will defend who I like Jeremy, and have plenty of hobbies thank you very much, though if Taliban intends to persue and hector me, I will add plaguing him to the list. Doesn't take a minute to knock out a commumication. I think that you all enormously exaggerate how much time Stardusty devotes to this, though he does exhibit impressive consistancy over time.

      Delete
    24. You sound like a twelve year old.

      Do what you want.

      What's time got to do with it? Surely the point is SP posts a heck of a lot. And his posts are entirely without merit. As those of us who over the years have had the misfortune of trying to interact with him have quickly discovered, he doesn't know the first thing about what he opines on; he commits the most blatant fallacies; and he is utterly pointless to try to enter into discussion with. Die on the hill of defending him if you want. It is no skin off my nose, but you just look bloody stupid.

      Lesson over. Go waste your time as you see fit.

      Delete
    25. Constable AnonymousNovember 14, 2020 at 3:10 AM

      Jeremy, you're right. I regret for
      getting dragged into an undignified back and forth. Somewhat counterproductive.

      Delete
    26. Halleluja, Taliban sees sense AT LAST. But more to achieve compliance with Jeremy I think than through any psychological insight on his part.

      Delete
    27. "O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
      To see oursels as others see us!"

      Delete
    28. Hi Jeremy, nice of you to stop by.

      "SP is a massive troll"
      The topic of the OP is Aristotle's supposed revenge, most especially Pink's review of Dr. Fesere's book on that subject.

      You and all the others on the "troll" rants are posting off topic and in violation of the rules of this site.

      So tell me, Jeremy, if you can, what exactly is it that Aristotle is having his "revenge" about?

      Surely you realize that modern science and modern philosophy reject Aristotelian accounts of causation and change, as well as Aristotelian physics.

      Aristotelian metaphysics and physics have no place either explicitly or implicitly in modern science.

      Can you name any aspect of modern science that relies either explicitly or implicitly on Aristotelian metaphysics or physics?

      If not, then the premise of the book reviewed by Pink is fantasy.

      Delete
    29. Taliban
      "You don't give a damn clogging up threads or this blogs, if you did you would at least acknowledge Stardusty"
      You are clogging this thread with off topic posts in violation of the rules of this site.

      The topic of this thread is Aristotle's supposed "revenge", in particular Pink's review of the site owner's book on that speculative assertion.

      I assert that there is no such "revenge" in modern science because modern science does not employ Aristotelian metaphysics or physics either explicitly or implicitly.

      The sorts of causation and change as described by Aristotle are modern howlers, just silly nonsense of negative value to science and scientific understanding.

      But by all means, please do demonstrate on the merits that there is some sort of "revenge" of Aristotle by showing that the sorts of causation and change described by Aristotle are explicitly or implicitly utilized in modern science.

      In truth, in modern science, all change reduces to motion of material such that the sorts of change Aristotle considered to be distinct are in fact merely superficially different and in point of modern scientific fact at base the same, motion of material.

      Causation is not of the four sorts described by Aristotle, nor does causation divided into per se or per accidens.

      In modern science causation is a mutual interaction process over time such that the designation of P as cause and Q as effect is arbitrary and meaningless.

      So, based on my clear examples above the very idea of an Aristotelian "revenge" is nonsense, but by all means, do provide a counter argument on the merits, if you think you can.

      Delete
    30. I wish I knew where you lived, StarshittyPussy. I'd love to mash a good club against your empty skull until we'd see how stupidly shitty your brain is.
      And then, I'd make sure none of your useless person and worthless being is intact.

      So, be good, and pray that I never learn your real identity.
      Until now, be a dear, and shut up. <3

      Delete
    31. Anonymous at 7.40pm Is that you Constable, festering with animus and wounded pride?

      Delete
    32. That guy needs a shrink,or a priest, or visit from the cops I reckon.

      Delete
    33. Constable AnonymousNovember 21, 2020 at 7:10 PM

      No, does it look like it's me? A totally different posting style for a start. This guy posted on the voter fraud thread as well. I suppose you are quite capable of indulging in speculation about me using a different posting though.

      Here's my speculation: this is Troll-Feeder-in-Chief pretending to be someone else to make those who object to the troll look bad.

      I can't be sure, I fully admit, but it would explain why this guy is almost comically over-the-top. It does look like what a not too bright troll-feeder might cook up to bring odium on those who dislike the trolls. Look at this:

      "And then, I'd make sure none of your useless person and worthless being is intact."

      It seems fake.

      It would also explain why Troll-Feeder-in-Chief keeps going on about another caricature-like attack on Stardusty a while ago.

      Delete
    34. It catagorically was not me, and sounds nothing like me. However, the post expresses your deep and visceral hatred towards StarDusty in a manner that might indicate that your guard was down ( perhaps you had been on the 'pop' ), and followed my question on a different thread of where the guy had gone who made extreme and threatening comments about StarDusty if it was not you.

      Of course, I cannot prove it, but I would speculate that after being humiliated recently by two readers of this site effectively telling you to shut up and cease your counterproductive interventions, and while fuming at me and StarDusty, you posted the above vile posting to try and create the imoression that your twin in obsession had returned. Instead, the circumstancial evidence - including that the posting was not made on the then current thread - indicated the opposite, that it waa the not very intelligent Constable up to his deranged old tricks again.

      All I can say Taliban is that if it was you , always remember that God is watching you and there will be an accounting for this one day.

      Delete
    35. Which 2 readers? I count only you, unless mean Jeremy or Tim. They gave me constructive criticism but sided with my basic perspective. It's bizarre you would even bring that up. Jeremy's posts are right there above. Who could read them and think you come off better?

      It doesn't sound like me either. And why would I start writing like that just to insult him? It doesn't make much sense. Changing styles would make a lot more sense if it was someone trying to make those who object to trolls look bad. In rereading that post and the one under the moniker KilltheTrolls, it strikes me even .ore that they are a caricature of anti-troll posters. They just scream fake. I'm over 90% sure. And if I'm correct they are almost certainly you. I can't see anyone else would do it.

      Your "reasonings" don't make sense. What twin? There was a posting on the then current thread. You list no real evidence therefore except I don't like Stardusty, but that would cover most commentators and lurkers on the blog. You are clearly an idiot, so this might just be your general intellectual level. However such poor reasoning seems to show you are grasping at straws and therefore you are desparate to paint me as the author because that was your plan.

      It's all rather pathetic and just lame. It isn't well-executed.

      Delete
    36. Tim's post, intervening in our dispute:

      "Constable Anonymous this wrangling is indeed counterproductive if you're worried about the disruption of trolls. Just relax. No one takes this guy [in context obviously you!] seriously. He's pretty transparent. We can all read AKG's posts and some of us remember him. Just because you don't respond doesn't mean you concede."

      It's just weird you would bring this stuff up.

      Delete
    37. You protest a very great deal, even returning for a second salvo, no doubt in a pathetic attempt to half convince yourself of the cogency of your ramblings and so assuage your feelings of guilt.

      Is this going to turn into yet another completely 'unproductive' and 'undignified' exchange Constable, something that you have been repeatedly warned about, and which you once recanted for?

      I absolutely did not post the recent vile and threatening contribution about StarDusty, or its predecessor several threads ago. I ofcourse apologise if it was not made by you either, but I maintain that as a probable though tentative hypothesis given the circumstantial evidence.

      Why not read your quote from Tim's post again Taliban, and save yourself even further indignity?

      Delete
    38. Constable AnonymousNovember 22, 2020 at 2:14 AM

      I don't know 100% it was you, but I highly suspect it. It and the one on the voter fraud thread were almost certainly (95%+ certainty) by someone pretending rather ineptly to be anti-trolls. Who else would it be? You presented no circumstantial evidence except I don't like Stardusty. But that could convict most people here. You don't respond to my evidence , which increases my suspicions. For instance would a person in earnest talk like this:

      "And then, I'd make sure none of your useless person and worthless being is intact."

      It isn't just that it is over-the-top but that it reads like what someone wanting to sound over-the-top, and without the intellect to try to sound realistic, might write.

      I read Tim's quote. I won't be getting into these exchanges on live threads, but this is an old one. Did you read his quote, or Jeremy's? Did you not notice they were a lot harsher on you than me?

      Delete
    39. I won't be getting into these exchanges on live threads, but this is an old one' Ha, ha - how ridiculous.

      As this is not a live thread though, I will not get into another exchange.

      It is worth commenting though, that all the characteristics you see in the vile, threatening post , hardly indicates that it was me, but rather your ready analysis might confirm my hypothesis that it was you!

      Nothing further to gain from this exchange. Just remember though Constable, God is watching you!

      Delete
    40. Constable AnonymousNovember 22, 2020 at 2:49 AM

      My ready analysis? You mean reading and paying attention? Some of us can do that quite easily. Also are you suggesting a double bluff on my part? That I made a crude caricature of an anti-troll post so that I could accuse you of pretending to be me? That's 4-D chess and then some. It also is clearly very unlikely. Otherwise why would my ready analysis be relevant? That your "evidence" beyond disliking Stardusty is so far-fetched or just lacking any explanation adds further to my suspicions.

      The characteristics almost certainly show it was someone who wanted to make those who object to the trolls look bad. That doesn't mean it's you, true. But you are surely the prime suspect. No one has supported your pro-troll shilling. So that would mean it was either a random lurker or one of the trolls themselves. Can't rule out these but a lurker would surely have said something in support of you at one stage, and I just don't see Stardusty or Papalinton making such posts. No, the more I think about it the more it seems so likely to be you. Pathetic. Just remember, no body takes your pro-troll crap seriously.

      Delete
  19. One point I'm really uncertain on relates to the philosophy of biology. Can the distinction between the substantial forms of living things and the accidental forms of artifacts really be maintained? Or is the distinction between the two just a matter of degree? If we reject vitalism, it must be possible, at least in theory, to construct a machine that would perform all the functions of an animal, including nutrition, reproduction and movement. But if we have something with internal organization sufficient to do all the same things an animal does, don't we just have an animal? And if we say such a machine is impossible, haven't we re-introduced vitalism? And if we have a hylomorphist philosophy of mind, wouldn't we also need to say that the animal-machine has an animal soul, and is therefore conscious?

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    Replies
    1. Vitalism: the belief that "living organisms are fundamentally different from non-living entities because they contain some non-physical element or are governed by different principles than are inanimate things".

      Isn't that what Aristotlian philosophy explicitly agrees with?

      Delete
  20. A machine simply doesn't have internal organization. That is why it is a machine.

    If it has internal organization, then no matter what it is, it simply isn't a machine.

    I'm confused as to why yo are concerned with introducing vitalism.

    ReplyDelete