Wednesday, February 2, 2022

If you’ve been missing links

David S. Oderberg asks “Is Prime Matter Energy?” in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.  Also, Oderberg on the “Principle of Sufficient Reason,” in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion, edited by Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro.

At the Claremont Review of Books, Joseph M. Bessette sets out a critique of the Eastman memos.

Aidan Nichols on the Herbert McCabe he knew, at The Lamp.

At UnHerd, Thomas Fazi and Toby Green make the left-wing case against vaccine mandates.  At The Tablet, Alex Gutentag on the continual, unacknowledged, shifts in expert opinion about Covid-19.  “Mandatory panic”: Freddie deBoer on Covid as the liberal 9/11.  A Johns Hopkins University study concludes that lockdowns did no good and caused much damage.

One famed cartoonist’s graphic novel about another.  Forbes on the strange story of The Strange Death of Alex Raymond.  At The Nation, J. Hoberman reviews Paul Hirsch’s Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism. 

Tim Crane on why science can’t state all the facts, at IAI.

At The European Conservative, Hélène de Lauzun on the myth that medieval Europeans believed the Earth to be flat.

James Dominic Rooney on “Being a ‘not-quite-Buddhist theist,’” in Religious Studies.

At Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Bryan Reece reviews David Charles’ book The Undivided Self: Aristotle and the ‘Mind-Body’ Problem.

At Substack, Richard Hanania on why liberals have come to view Russia as the Great Satan.

John Tierney on alcohol and civilization, at City Journal.

Thomas Chatterton Williams on encountering Thomas Sowell, at AIER.

Don Devine on the conservative debate over John Locke, at The American Spectator.

Cathy Young on when the transgender movement jumped the shark, at Arc Digital.  At Areo, Richard Dawkins on why sex is pretty damn binary.  Philosopher and U.S. Army veteran Michael Robillard on transgenderism in the military.

New papers by Thomas Pink: “Final Causation” and “On Dignitatis Humanae: A Reply to Thomas Storck.”

At The Postliberal Order, Chad Pecknold on the therapists of decline and Patrick Deneen on conservatism as hospice care.

Francis Sempa on Spengler, Toynbee, Burnham, and the decline of the West, at The University Bookman.  At The New Criterion, Andrew Roberts considers what a world without the West would have been like.

In Religious Studies, Enric Gel asks: “How many and why? A question for Graham Oppy that classical theism can answer.”

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus at 100: a symposium at IAI.

A conference on Second Scholasticism, Analytical Metaphysics, and Christian Apologetics was hosted by the Catholic Theological Faculty in Prague last October, with presentations by Gyula Klima, Michael Gorman, and many others.  Via YouTube, you can still watch the first, second, and third sessions.

The Pull Request interviews historian Niall Ferguson: part 1 and part 2.

At 3:16, Richard Marshall interviews Benjamin Lipscomb about his book The Women Are Up to Something: How Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch Revolutionized Ethics.  The book is reviewed at Prospect.  Thomas Nagel comments in the London Review of Books.

On the Classical Theism Podcast, John DeRosa interviews James Dolezal about the Trinity and divine simplicity, Chris Tomaszewski about divine simplicity and William Lane Craig, and John Knasas about Aquinas’s metaphysics.

The story behind Steely Dan's “Rikki Don't Lose That Number,” at Far Out.  Vulture on how the Eagles’ Don Henley almost did vocals for Steely Dan’s “Peg.”

Yujin Nagasawa is interviewed at What Is It Like to Be a Philosopher? 

Commonweal on Pope Pius XII and John Courtney Murray.  At Eerdword, Matthew Levering discusses his new book The Abuse of Conscience: A Century of Catholic Moral Theology.

At UnHerd, philosopher Arif Ahmed on how our universities became sheep factories.  At Spiked, Ahmed on how Cambridge University uncancelled Jordan Peterson.  At the National Post, Peterson on why he is no longer a tenured professor at the University of Toronto.

Connor Grubaugh on Hannah Arendt on anti-racism as a totalitarian ideology, at the Tablet.  Critical Race Theory indoctrination: the kids don’t like it, reports Robby Soave at Reason.  John McWhorter, author of Woke Racism, is interviewed about the book and about Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi.  At The Upheaval, N. S. Lyons argues that woke insanity is nowhere close to being over.

Australian Catholic University has launched the Ethics Finder website.  A video explains.

At The Spectator, Sam Leith argues that the modern economy is built on addiction.


  1. I'm heartened to see a lot of people criticize "anti-racism" but how effective are these critiques when (a) they all assume that the celebration or protection of racial or ethnic heritage is always evil and (b) they are all made by people who have bought into one or more liberal assumptions. Are there are any conservative Catholics who make cogent critiques of this woke stuff besides Edward Feser?

    1. A relatively recent work confronts, more or less indirectly, these questions. A book called “Catholic and Identitarian: From Protest to Reconquest” by Julien Langella does a commendable job of taking the Pre-World War I sentiments of Catholic thought and pressing them toward concretion in our own time.

      Truths of political philosophy are presupposed in the presentation, so one won’t find a layout of Thomistic theses within the text, but many concepts, such as nation, race, ethnicity, traditions, are cleansed of the 20th century liberal drab that has accrued to them.

      The topic is no doubt taboo, but its reemergence is coming to the fore anyway. Why not do it right by viewing it through the lens of Thomism and Catholic thought in general?

  2. Dr. Feser,

    I notice you have a link above to Thomas Pink's latest response to my criticisms. Your readers might want to see my reply to Professor Pink's response

    Thank you very much.

    Thomas Storck

    1. Very simple question directed at Mr. Pink: What pre-Vatican II approved theological manuals used in seminaries teach your interpretation (Garrigou-Lagrange, Berry, Billot, etc,.) of Dignitatis Humanae?

    2. I too have a fairly simple question directed at Mr. Pink: what natural law based duties and rights of the state, regarding the worship of the divine, (and which, presumably, existed before God instituted a church), remain part of the natural law and remain duties and rights of the state, once God has instituted the Church via Jesus Christ coming into history at a specific time and place?

      Just to get us started thinking about one such duty and right: seemingly, it belongs to the state to have the authority, standing, and role of recognizing a (specific) Church as having a special claim. Is that correct? Can we flesh out that role - how it arises from the natural law, and in what way it remains in the Christian era?

  3. Hello,

    Can someone help me? I'm stuck in a mad thought process. My mind is going from atomism to epiphenomenalism back and forth, and I don't see a way out. I'm getting mad/depressed/horrified as I can't see how the mind can have any causal power.
    How can I see the end of it? What makes act/potency a valid distinction and not the random and meaningless wander of small particles? What gives us the right to reify ourselves?

    Please help me, I feel trapped...

    1. Others will probably adress directly your question. So, here, have fun:

      Read the posts with no hurry but instead consider anything you read carefully. Perhaps you find a entire revolution on how you see yourself, reality, metaphysics etc.

      And also a good refutation of materialism too.

    2. Thank you, Talmid, for your answer.

      I've already read the discussion and the article by Prof. Feser, but I'm still... stuck, I guess?

      I mean, what allows us to draw the conclusion that the world is not absurd? That materialism is false? I can't establish the premises of the argument: if materialism is true, we can't indeed reason... so why/how can Ed's argument pass?

    3. Well, if you want to avoid absurdity, you just need to adopt a worldview that is not self-defeating or built on logical fallacies, that it does not contradict the basics of common sense to the degree that it'd make ordinary life impossible, that it can explain the errors in other worldviews without relying on caricatures, etc.

      If you think that Edward Feser's worldview has these errors, then you ought to find something else. If you think that it does, then that's good evidence that it's correct and that you ought to think about adopting it.

    4. Dear Ylissean

      I was on the same boat that you are now (well, almost) but I know your pain and I'm going to help you.

      First of all, you must acknowledge that at the end of the day, both ideologies (i.e atomism and epiphenomenalism) are all fur coats, no knickers (they're nothing). They only seem to impose problems and they only seem to be true - but you need to make a lot of controversial claims for them to get off the ground in the first place! And I really understand you about epiphenomenalism because I was once shocked about that crap too.

      I'm not even going to talk about Huxley here or atomism. Especially because atomism seems too much implausible - it is obviously untrue. But, you can see how inapt this metaphysical claim is by simply looking at the Act and Potency distinction.

      Epiphenomenalism, on the other side, can't even get rid of intentions in the first place. But, like most doctrines that make these controversial claims (e.g moderns, buddhists, etc) they start the analysis in the wrong place - that's why they're always getting these crap claims.

      (I will continue in another comment)

    5. (continuation)

      But, I don't want to say much about it 'cus it will be too off-topic - and I guess that I already acted too much of a Karen with my off-topic comments before. So, I'm going to cut short for places where you can find good answers to your problems.

      1 - Ed's book Philosophy of Mind or William Jaworski Philosophy of mind. These 2 books talk about epiphenomenalism and why it is so bad even to imply that in an argument.

      2 - Ed Scholastic Metaphysics is a book for you to understand why atomism is so damn bad.

      In any case, Ed has the best books - with actually intelligible language for laypeople - where you can at least see that these both metaphysical views are wrong - even if you don't agree with his view.

      Btw, in a worst-case scenario, I already passed by a situation like this and I really understand your pain. If you want, send me an e-mail and I will try to help you with what I can, even though I'm not a literated person in philosophy (now and then I still don't understand properly the A-T meta and am still a noob btw). But, even I can see that these two views are very problematic - but I couldn't see that way at that time. And maybe that is what is happening to you right now. So stay calm and read the relevant works. These views are pretty vincible.

      I will pray for you! May God bless you, mate.

    6. @Ylissean

      And just a friendly tip. Stop taking materialism for granted. This is latent in the way that you even write your questions.

      I know that this sounds like a defeatist thing but that is very far from the truth. I could feel that there was something wrong with materialism and all the pre-packed absurdities that go with it, but my faith in ''science'' was so absurd - even sinful - that even though I was able to see the holes in the ship, I wasn't able to see that this ship was sunken long gone.

      So, stop having faith in that just because of its popular/'stabilished' appeal. It's not because it is ''science" or a 'sexy', let's say, ideology, that it is true in the first place. It may take some time, but if you read what I recommend, you will be able to see how fragile actually materialism is.

      I would say believe me, but I better just say: read these books and you won't be needing a promissory note.

    7. @Ylissean

      "I mean, what allows us to draw the conclusion that the world is not absurd? That materialism is false? I can't establish the premises of the argument: if materialism is true, we can't indeed reason... so why/how can Ed's argument pass?"

      Well, lets start with a easy point: why think that materialism is true? Is there a great argument that forces us to take this silly view seriously?

      "It could be true".

      It can not, as i show below, but even if it could: who cares? It could be the case that there is a sniper aiming to your window, but you will not pass it crawling as if the possibility was great, will you?

      Now with he harder point: if materialism is true you are first commited to this claim:

      1. Mattter has no non-quantitative qualities like sound, intention, color etc.

      And also commited to:

      2. The human mind is completely material.

      Both together entail:

      3. The human mind has no non-quantitative qualities like sound, intention, color etc.

      But notice that, as Ed say on posts on eliminativism, this is completely absurd! Are you not seeing colors and shapes, hearing sounds, having feelings, having intentions etc on this very moment? If materialism was true them this would be impossible, ergo...

      The most the materialist could say is that your experience is illusory and you are not having sensations at all. But them he finds two problems:

      1. If experience is completely illusory, them is not science and indeed reason itself worthless? All reasoning, including any argument for materialism, will take his premisses from experience, so there is no way the materialism can justify any claim he makes.

      2. How could a illusion happen if materialism is true? To i, say, see a stick on the water and see it as bended i need to be able to see shapes and colors, which can't happen if materialism is true.

      My two points would be them: there is no good evidence that materialism is true and the view has a lot of contradictions in it. Why care about this superstition? Look well and notice that you have nothing to fear.

    8. Hello guys,

      Thank you a lot for your replies. I was going crazy (I'm still feeling a bit mad, but much less, thanks to your responses).

      @Om :

      Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it soon, but I'm scared to *death* about radical skepticism.

      @Mister Geocon :

      It's not that I think Ed's worldview has errors (I believe it has none), but the idea that "it might be too good to be true". Problem is that I'm seeing naturalists/materialists objecting to it, and it persuades me of unjustified doubt. Very hard to feel at peace with that.

      @Tadeo :

      Your comments are bullseye! I'm afraid of all the possible "controversial claims", and, while they seem indeed controversial, my mind goes "well, sure, but WHAT IF they're true", which is enough to make me derail into madness.
      What you say about Act/Potency is exactly what I'd love to have, but I always wonder : well, what makes act/potency a valid distinction, and not atoms in the void, where everything is just absurd?

      I've read Ed's book on Philosophy of Mind, but for what I read, I just came across the "well, we can't talk about mind" argument... perhaps I've missed something?
      I agree with you on how accessible Ed's books are, and I say that while not being an English native. "Scholastic Metaphysics" is a bit harder for me.

      Thank for your invitation and your prayers.

      As for science, I'm not scared of materialists: I'm pretty confident that science is possible because materialism is false... but when I doubt, I'm willing to toss science off the window. :(

      @Talmid :

      "Well, lets start with a easy point: why think that materialism is true? Is there a great argument that forces us to take this silly view seriously?" : well, that's exactly my problem.
      I have a lot of panic attacks and I'm unable to reason while in that state, going as far as "well, perhaps it could be true, just like that, and we wouldn't know it". I mean, technically, if eliminativism is true, we can't know it, but it could be the case, no?

      "It could be the case that there is a sniper aiming to your window, but you will not pass it crawling as if the possibility was great, will you?" : in that case, I wouldn't be as sad/afraid as now.
      I mean, having someone with intentions would mean my fears are false...

      For what you say about the last part, I've tried to adress the question with friends who are into Thomism, because I think it hinges (and goes back to) a variant of Parmenides' argument. So I think it has enough to destroy atomism "no experience" argument, but how would it fight monistic pantheism, in which we could be a simple substance hallucinating that it is multiple, or "experiential atomism", in which particles could "feel" or "have illusions"?

      Thank you a lot for your time.

      Really, guys, thanks a million. I've spent almost three months trying to untie the knots my mind did, and you're of a tremendous help.

    9. @Ylissean

      Man, since you mentioned the Act and Potency distinction I would like to say some things about it and some other things about your skepticism.

      I will start with skepticism. First of all, skepticism will lead you nowhere. When I was in that awful situation, I felt the same way as you "it's too good to be true'' something like Act and Potency, Essences, etc. But, in fact, what blinded me from seeing how real and obvious they are was just my stupidity, and by that I mean my groundless skepticism. Because skepticism works a little like this: you may have zero reasons to think that something is false, but that ''what if this or that'' in your mind derails you from the truth.

      So, you got to choose between two things: something that you can know for sure or an unfounded or even childish skepticism, a fear of the unknown, let's say.

      (I will continue in another comment, so the reading would not become that boring)

    10. (Continuation)

      About the Act and Potency distinction, I must tell you a little background story first. I have OCD, and when the depression hit me (and that was clinical depression, with medication and all that awful stuff) hard because of somewhat the same reasons that struck you rn. So, I made some confusions with it - some impossible confusions to be honest, but it's not because I wanted it, it's because my mind usually confuses me. (and Ed, if you're reading this, I'm sorry for my last comment questioning a good definition of potency. Hope you understand that I behave strangely sometimes).

      But you must be asking "why are you telling me this cringe history of yours?" and the motive is simply that it doesn't matter your skeptical or mental state, you can see that the Act and Potency distinction is true (or, as you said, a "valid distinction") despite you doubts, you just got to at least understand it's metaphysical implications.

      If I could tell how that is true, the place to start talking about it was my experience with Ed's book Scholastic Metaphysics. I was really, really bad at that time and trying to find solutions for anti-realism that sank my mind with naturalism. And, when I had read chapter three of the book when he was talking about substantial form, I could finally understand that even though my doubts were oppressive at that time, substantial form must be real, because it captures something that is inescapable if you are to make sense of the world (you can find that part of the book for free in this post, give it a read).

      And how could, even if substantial form is real, would vindicate Act and Potency? I will explain that to you (bear with me).

    11. (Continuation)

      Okay, so assuming you read Ed's post that I linked to you, let's continue.

      I started the wrong way around at that time - I should've first understood Act and Potency and THEN substantial form. But, there, if you read the post that I've linked to you, you would see something very interesting when Ed's talked about the Liana Vine example, that is its intrinsic principle of function. The inner or built-in principle that makes the Liana vine be what it is. And, for something like that to be true, act and potency have to be true.

      But, even though you are still not convinced about that, let's analyze what these principles are in the first place. You must notice that they are not parts in the material sense, they are built-in principles that explain the change in the things around us. And they are necessary for change to be real.

      Aristotle was trying to explain how change is possible. And the Act and Potency distinction comes in place when he was answering Parmenides. Parmenides thought that change was impossible because what really exists for him is being, and only being. Because the alternative to being is non-being, change could not come from being, because being already is something rn and the only 'possible' candidate was non-being.

      Aristotle, on the other hand, discovered Act and Potency while answering Parmenides's position. He said that change could come from being in potency. Non-being is not the only candidate for change. Change, for Aristotle, just is the actualization of potential, that is, the transition of a subject from one state to another (e.g cold water that becomes warm).

      Through change, things acquire perfections that they did not have before. In the subject, however, there must be a capacity for having this quality which is obtained through change. Aristotle has clear examples: both an animal and a small child don't know how to solve math problems, the animal, however, could never learn how to do so, the child can; Wood is not a sculpture, but it has the capacity to become one in the hands of the artist, while liquid water and gaseous air have no such capacity.

      (I'm afraid that the comment is too long, but I will finish in the next one).

    12. (Continuation)

      So, what can you learn about that examples from Aristotle? That things have different forms and capacities.

      Act just is a perfection that the thing possesses (e.g the water that is warm, the sculpted wood, etc.), and the capacity to have a perfection is what Aristotle means by potency. It's an inner capacity that the thing has to acquire certain perfections/characteristics. It's not a mere privation, it is a REAL CAPACITY (or like the Thomist would like to say a subjective capacity) within the things nature (e.g a block of wood cannot see and is not even capable of that act, whereas some new-born animals do not see, but they do have the capacity or power to see).

      And what you can take for granted with that lesson? From a layman perspective - mine - something that is necessarily true of the nature of the world i.e how it really works. I'm not a pro in philosophy or Aristotle, but I think that the philosopher just is saying something fundamental with Act and Potency, that is, things have essences, things have natures. For me at least, that's what we can grasp with that distinction. And that is extremely informative and has a lot of metaphysical explanatory power.

      You can see that Aristotle didn't make things up, he started as a real scientist, telling us how change is possible - a real chad if I may say. And in addition to that, he indirectly makes his point so persuasive by the simple fact that any person that doubts his view would necessarily face two extreme and incoherent opposites i.e or change cannot occur, or there is only change and both these views are subject to retortion and can't survive scrutiny.

      So, in short, if you take the act and potency distinction out of the metaphysical picture, you not only create problems with causation and essence (like Hume or the buddhists), but you can't explain who change can occur at all, because being in potency can only become actualized by some other being in act. That is, if you dismiss causal powers and being in potency, you cannot explain why change happens. If I may say a simple example it goes like this. If you do not acknowledge that white phosphorus has the passive potency to burn (i.e the capacity to be affected ) in the presence of oxygen and that it is necessarily oxygen (not iron, copper, water, or a dog) that affects white phosphorus that way (that is, something in the phosphorus and the oxygen nature/essence that make this that way, liking it or not). So, if you take the Act and Potency distinction, you cannot make sense of change (e.g why white phosphorus started burning with oxygen, and not before that) and you cannot explain the nature of things by a necessary implication of that (e.g why oxygen burns the white phosphorus and not h2o or some other element).

      Hope that helps.

    13. @Tadeo :

      I've started reading your comment, and...

      "I have OCD, and when the depression hit me (and that was clinical depression, with medication and all that awful stuff) hard because of somewhat the same reasons that struck you rn", "some impossible confusions to be honest, but it's not because I wanted it, it's because my mind usually confuses me", and especially "you must be asking "why are you telling me this cringe history of yours?""



      I could have typed that.

      I suffer from OCD with obsessive thoughts due to a latent disability that has a psychological morbid component, and I SWEAR I'm exactly like that at the moment. Even the "I behave strangely at times".


      You don't (really) imagine how good it feel to have someone typed what you type. Man. It's as if I see someone like me, and showing me where and what I should do.

      I'm... at loss for words.

      I'm going to register your entire message, and come back tomorrow to give you how brutally it cleared my mind.

      I think I can't thank you enough.

    14. @Ylissean

      First advice: seek some help with these attacks if you can, my friend. There is nothing shameful or wrong with seeking medical help. Perhaps i'am exagerating and just finding the right answers will help you, but if necessary seek help.

      Anyway, Tadeo gave you a phenomenal explanation of act and potency, truly awesome discoveries from the great mentic, hope he helps. Since you mentioned skepticism on his reply to Tadeo, take this Mister Geocon text on the theme and see how well it sustains itself:

      Now on materialism, what i'am saying is precisely that materialism CAN'T be true, your capacity of having doubts spits on any materialist face, the view can't survive that!

      "but how would it fight monistic pantheism, in which we could be a simple substance hallucinating that it is multiple, or "experiential atomism", in which particles could "feel" or "have illusions"?"

      On monistic pantheism*, what i would say is that from the classical arguments for the existence of God we know that a necessary being, your simple substance, can't be changing, be limited, be in time etc, so your experience also refute this view just like it does materialism. If there is a necessary and independent being, He can't be you.

      From what i heard Dr. Feser books Aquinas and Five Proofs of the Existence of God both do a great job at defending these arguments, so if you can pick any of the two them go ahead. If you can't, take this:
      (Tadeo comment will be useful)

      And this:

      Once you understand the classical theist position you see that there is no way pantheism is true.

      *which just is pantheism btw

    15. (Cont.)

      Now, on "experiential athomism", normally called panpsycism, this view is even harder to attack because it is treated more serious by materialists and usually rejected by they. I would say three things about it:

      1. Just why believe in it on the first place when the view is clearly just a ad-hoc way of trying to save materialism? Materialism says that matter only have qualitative atributes and this do not work, so come these guys who just say "yea, actually particles can feel". Why not just do like we aristotelians and admit that non-qualitative atributes are also part of matter? George Berkeley did tear apart the arguments for the distinction back them.

      2. How exactly can particles feel things? We know that every being we see on Earth need a nervous sistem to have emotions and sensations, how can the particles that do not have any of these have sensations?

      (Notice that this does not mean that there is no souls. We thomists defend that the emotions, memory, imagination and all we share with other animals is bodily. The intellect, reason, the will, these are immaterial and immortal).

      3. How could there be a illusion if this view were true? On this view, you are a bunch of diferent particles that each have their own experiences. How could these bunch of diferent experiences look like one unitary experience, like the ones you have,when they are diferent particles? It would be like if you entered a stadium and suddently you got fused with every other person watching and the fusion turned out as a giant seeing the game. Not gonna happen.

      This is called the "combination problem". If this view were true you would not even feel like one person, there would just be ALOT of little experiences with no confusion or union.

      Anyway, hope that helps you! Just remember that you are not alone in this and that reality is actually quite reasonable!

    16. @Talmid:

      Thank you for your support. I'm already being followed by my psychiatrist, but whenever I mention one of these topics to him, he always replies "more pills".

      Don't get me wrong: I'm NOT against medical help. It's just that in this issue, it's not just medical, but general wellbeing. How are we able to get well and think well if some sh**** materialist nonsense is being spewed down our throats by the average scientist?

      That being said aside, you guys are of deep help understanding a sane view of the world. Your explanations on being and change are the ones I'm after (especially the "he can't be you" part, which makes a lot of sense when processed calmly).

      My questionning started with the definition of truth by Aquinas, namely "adaequatio rei et intellectus" : what is meant here by "adaequatio"? For what I've understood, I think that my problematic questions stem from there.

    17. @Ylissean

      I was expecting something like that about a psychiatrist.

      Just like my dear countryman said it's good to get help sometimes. But, in your case, I must say some cautions.
      I don't mean to be a 'dad' or something like that, I just mean that I went through the same situation as yours with psychiatrists and psychologists.

      I have two kinds of experiences. One academic and another truly personal one while I was seeking help. You must notice two important lessons.

      1 - psychiatrists are NOT trained philosophers and they are even less informed than us 'normies'. They can be scumbags sometimes (e.g once a psychiatrist that I was an appointment with didn't even look in my face for the entire time). So you cannot talk something like that to them and expect to be treated as a normal person - even though you are.

      2- and they too - just like a bunch of psychologists - think that they're the only fountain of reason in the world because they do ''science'' - and of course, they do get a LOT of implicit materialist assumptions without questioning due to their education (in my line of work, I can say the same thing about lawyers and they're egos) and they think they are philosophers in some sense because they read they're line of work in everybody just like it's some ultimate truth - and they do get impressed by losers like Skinner and Co.

      And I would recommend some other activities. Bro, medicine could not solve your problem, most of it - if not all of it - is purely for philosophical reasons (it's hard to see how an anti-depressive could cure doubts about the awful conclusions that materialism could get if that was real). Of course, you have some kind of OCD, but believe me, once you truly understand why Aristotle's conclusion must follow all your 'paranoias' (just like mine) will fade away and they can't even bother you anymore - because you will know they're certainly not true. I may do some cringe questions about Act and Potency some times, but they're more 'aesthetics' ones (e.g definitions); what I don't have any doubts any more is the fact that they do reflect reality.

      So, take your time. Read the relevant works (Ed gives a lot of cool stuff on his blog). And remember, you're not crazy for questioning this. If I may say every person in the world should make metaphysical questions about reality and not simply conform about what 'pop ideologies' say - if they were not so sloppy the world would not be this mess we're in right now.

      And by sheer experience, the only medicine that I would recommend to you is something to alleviate your anxiety (so you can think better). If your psychiatrist is being a 'medicine selling machine', try to find another.

      But of course, you could do natural things. I usually jog, walk or jump rope. Go jog listening to Whitesnake, Chicago, Foreigner, or even for a walk with friends listening to ABBA, Phil Collins, Frankie Valli, or whatever you like.

    18. " How are we able to get well and think well if some sh**** materialist nonsense is being spewed down our throats by the average scientist?"

      And about that, I used to feel the same thing. Are these creep ideologies (to not say the word with S or worse) that sank the world in this hole that it is right now.

      But of course, not just materialism, but the 'buy one and get 2 free' that goes along with it. Despise of the human condition. Reductionism. Nominalism. Conceptualism. Immorality. Sexual Vices. Dull-headedness incentivization. Incentivisation to moral vices. Moral relativism.

      So, you get the picture. Ideas DO have consequences. If you make a stupid metaphysical picture of the world like materialism you get these things (I know there is a lot more to the story). If something like materialism and its 'friends' are true, in fact, anything goes (a man 'identifying' as a woman, 'you're nothing but just a bunch of [insert the neurogag of the day] kind of stuff, etc).

      If the world was serious, all of these ideas would be such a bad joke or mockery (e.g we would read Sam Harris's free will book like it was a Ben Stiller clone that wasn't good at acting but only at writing jokes).

      But seriously, you should not bother to convince the world about Act and Potency, Essences or etc. you just need to know that, whatever we are going to say about reality, if we take one of these guys out of the metaphysical picture we will turn reality into an unintelligible mess.

      And don't even bother to 'create' or fabricate problems with the doctrine (e.g "how can we really account for individuation, is there a problem with that isn't it?" kind of stuff). Just start with the simple claims that we can know for sure and study them well to know how they must necessarily be true and why - no matter how it goes - we cannot dump them out without at the same time dumping reality with it. With this in mind, my friend, you can rest assured that nothing that we know or will find can contradict this.

      May God bless you!

    19. @Ylissean

      It is nice that we can help. I can't really advice on psychiatrists but i agree with Tadeo, who clearly knows this stuff better: that one will not help much. As he said, some good reflections and some other activities will help you a lot, you can do it!

      "How are we able to get well and think well if some sh**** materialist nonsense is being spewed down our throats by the average scientist?"

      Exactly! People today are teached to think that anyone can believe anything and nothing will happens, but how you see yourself, life, others, ethics etc does matters alot! Look how much mental health is declining, for instance, our philosophies do change how we organize our lifes and societies. The so-called pratical man is mostly just a fool.

      And materialists are specially guilt of that. The worse part are the ones who insist that no one can be sure on matters of metaphysics, of the supernatural etc and them goes on to argue that the world is obviously a bunch of mindless matter and we should live with it.

      Like, if there is no very strong of evidence of this view being true why should i ignore every sane belief i have and accept this position? Show the evidence first.

      "My questionning started with the definition of truth by Aquinas, namely "adaequatio rei et intellectus" : what is meant here by "adaequatio"?"

      I take St. Thomas to trying to define the famous aristotelian phrase that(can't remember right) the true is "saying that what is is true and what is not is not true". My mind says "the book is on the table" and the book truly is on the table! The adequation is when both the intellect and reality are similar.

      Anyway, helping people have their intellects reflecting reality is precisely the goal of theoretical study, so it is aways cool to help someone screwed up by bad thinking. One person at time!

    20. @Ylissean:

      If crappy materialism were true, then there would not be an enduring self "(Ylissean") to get worried/anxious about anything, because that "you", according to silly materialism, is grounded in an ever-changing set of brain molecules that never remains static; therefore, there are multiple "Ylisseans", each one appearing and disappearing in time like bubbles arising in boiling water.

      Does that sound stupid? Yes, it does. And that shows that materialism is illogical and untenable.

      Not to mention that the Darwin that makes materialists cream their pants would be equally impermanent, meaning that the "self" who started writing "On The Origin of Species" was not the same one that finished it.

      Ho-hum. Materialism is utter garbage.

      Aristotle's Revenge from Prof. Feser is a must read! :)

    21. @Tadeo & Talmid : Thank you for your kind words. :)

      @UncommonDescent :

      "If crappy materialism were true, then there would not be an enduring self "(Ylissean") to get worried/anxious about anything, because that "you", according to silly materialism, is grounded in an ever-changing set of brain molecules that never remains static; therefore, there are multiple "Ylisseans", each one appearing and disappearing in time like bubbles arising in boiling water." And that's exactly what made me panic. If there is "no enduring self", and just the feeling of despair and madness, just shrugging and saying "duh that's stupid" is easy for you to say, and perhaps works, but not for me. :/

    22. @Ylissean

      @UncommonDescent is spitting straight facts about the illogicality of Materialism (i.e collapsing in the same way as Heraclitus mobilism)

      Since I was stuck in the "it's easy for you to say part" for a while. My problem was in relation to Benjamin Libet's "free will" experiment, and I ended up 'accepting' something like that too - what an idiot I was, but anyway.

      So, besides you (like me at the time) throwing rationality out of the window because of the fear (and I was in your shoes, I DO understand you, but I don't endorse that action) I will teach you one thing - the thing - that helped me to solve this irrationality.

      When Ed was teaching about Act and Potency (chapter one of Scholastic's) he used a powerful retortion argument. I don't know if it has a specific name, but I like to call it " the argument from the impossibility of inference". This is the argument that makes the buddhist cry!

      It goes like this. If you are not the same person and a different person that (pay attention) does not have any relation whatsoever with the person you were in the past, how can you even in principle reason from the premises of one argument to its conclusion? If you at t(time) 1 were thinking 'Socrates is a man', at the t2 'all men are mortal', to then at t3 'then Socrates is mortal' how so can you reason from t1 till t3 if you we're not the person present since the beginning of the premise? If there is no permanence at all (not to mention the meaning that the words carry) from one thought to another, you cannot even reason in a regular manner or even reason at all.

      So, if you can learn something like Act and Potency, and then remember what I told you in the last feel comments, how in the hell can you do that if there is no permanence at all? How can you even remember something simple as a cake recipe or even explain the regularities and permanence in nature? Not to mention that if something like what Heraclitus were true, the practices of science would be impossible in the first place. Because there would be no such a thing as regularities or patterns that scientists do discover in nature.

      In short, if that bull... were true, you could not even in principle be arguing for it in the first place.

    23. @Talmid

      By the way, dear friend, I think that the concept you were trying to remember about Aristotle is related to the concept of truth.

      Truth is when your thought conforms with reality. I think that it's that you were trying to bring up to the table!

      Dominus tecum, frater!

    24. @Ylissean:
      And that's exactly what made me panic.

      Which of the "multitude of selves" that according to materialist reasoning (lol) "appear and disappear in time" is the one that panicked?

      Because if you are not the same "self" that wrote a post 4-5 days ago asking for help, then why should you experience its feelings, thoughts and emotions? It's gone, it has disappeared, and entities that do not exist can experience nothing at all.

      Not to mention that if "you" commit a crime, it's totally useless to punish "you" since the "self" is impermanent and the law would be punishing an innocent "new self" who is not guilty at all since it did not exist when the crime happened.

      Believe Prof. Feser (and please read his books!), believe me and believe all the sane collaborators of this blog: materialism is irrational garbage.

      And it's harmful to mental health and society.

      Ugh. My permanent self permanently hates it. :)

    25. Here we have two beautiful scenarios thanks to materialist "thinking" (lol)

      #Scenario 1: Mr. Darwin, the author of "On The Origin of Species", did not exist as a coherent, stable individual ("self"). There were multiple "Darwins", each appearing and disappering in time like bubbles arising from boiling water.

      So, which one of them should we credit for writing "On The Origin of Species"?

      #Scenario 2: If epiphenomenslism is true and the mind has no cuasal powers, then Mr. Darwin (providing he existed as a stable "self", for the sake of argument, which materialism can NOT explain), did not write "On The Origin of Species" because he travelled the world aboard "The Beagle" and as a result of his observations he developed his theory.

      IT JUST HAPPENED that he "imagined" that he was writing "On The Origin" as a result of his thought processes directing his body (hands) to do so, while in fact there was no such a connection. So, why should we credit him for something that was beyond his control?

      According to epiphenomenalism, it's matter obeying The Laws of Physics what CREATES the individual and makes him think his thoughts, NOT the individual the one who uses his conscious mind to execute rationally willed actions. Therefore, the individual is just a "neuronal residue" and Mr. Darwin was also another "residue".

      And these absurdities (which are an insult to the intellect) come from the side (the materialist one) which says that values reasoning above anything and everything.

      Go figure.

    26. @Tadeo

      Yes! That is what i was trying to remember. Thanks!

      Dominus tecum!

      (Man, i'am really the only thomist who does not know any latim?)

    27. @UD : Thanks. It clarifies more. :)

      @Tadeo : Thanks again for the offer. How would I be able to contact you by mail ?

      @Talmid : You're not. ^^'

    28. @Ylissean

      My e-mail is


      There's nothing to be ashamed of that. Latin is more difficult than German IMO.

      And I only know something's about Latin because my grand-grandfather (meu 'bizo', como dizemos no bom e velho português) was a devout catholic back in Italy to St. Anthony - which by the way is the Patron of my city. He was from an association named Associazione Universale Padova - something like that. And since I'm the only family member interested in our roots and faith (well, someone has to be) I then have his Sacred Cross that contains that praying from Saint Anthony in Latin (Aquela do Eis a Cruz do Senhor).

      VICIT LEO DE TRIBU JUDA (I know that's not with 'J' in Latin, but in the cross is actually that way)
      ALLEL. ALLL. (Alleluia in short, because of the limits of the size of the silver Cross)

      And some other things that I can't properly decipher. As far as I know, it's something more personal - well at least one colleague of mine said that. Anyway, the Cross is beautiful and I carry her with me wherever I go.

      So, don't be ashamed of not knowing Latin, if we are bound to the Infinite Grace of being saved, we could have the eternity to learn.

    29. @ Ylissean:

      Hope you are feeling better. We need less :/ and more :)


    30. @Tadeo

      Neat history. You got quite a treasure on having contact with a old-school catholic(ou católico raiz) like that. My grandma, while likely do not knowing what latin is, is also this kinda of believer but i had feel contact with her in life(she lives quite far) :/.

      Well, on entering the Church we got several other old-school friends, so that is okay. Que vejamos todos!

    31. @Talmid

      Que vejamos todos! Amém! Believe it or not, that phrase made me hopeful and joyful to see our beloved people and friends in heaven with our Father. Amen to that!

  4. While i can't comment much on american geopolitics*, the article on Russia brought a interesting point: Putin country culture is clearly opposed to some progressive american views, particularily on matters of sexuality. Not on the awesome way that Poland seems, but it is something. China also is.

    We can discuss here something that i did propose before: from thr big superpotencies today which one has a more thomist-friendly ethics? EUA? Russia? China? Which one could be called less degenerated?

    You commented several times on the lack of virtue of Murica, Professor, but i don't remember you comment other countries outside some remarks in past imperies on a post on Plato Republic.

    *even the politics of my country are boring me nowdays!

    1. I don't have feet on the ground in Russia or China, so I don't know enough to make a judgement. But I met a Chinese Catholic academic here in Canada who claimed he had presented a paper on Thomistic natural law theory to some of the highest levels of the Chinese government. He seemed to know his stuff and he was the relative of a man I highly respect. We spoke for a long time about Thomism, Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II, among others. We also spoke about points of contact with Chinese traditions such as Confusionism and Taoism.

      When I asked him about all the terrible things that the Chinese government was doing to his people, he minimized it as a problem, claiming that all political systems have their down sides.

      Personally, I've been amazed at the reversals in direction with regard to abortion and encouraging larger families that has quietly been implemented in China over the last few years as the glaring demographic problems have become clearer to see. It is a sign of hope.

      But I can't excuse the authoritarian bent of the CCP. And I wonder how long it will take them to move from encouraging and incentivising larger families to mandating and forcing larger families. The freedom of individuals to make their own choices and to live within the bounds of natural law seem to be a secondary preoccupation of the CCP. Rather, they appear to look at the demographic issues in a purely pragmatic way. This is not the Catholic way. Although large families are encouraged, people have the right to regulate their family size as they see fit within the morally acceptable bounds of natural law and natural family planning.

      Also, I have some real concerns about the expansionist tendencies in both China with regard to Taiwan and Russia with regard to the Ukraine.

      Anyway, I'm no expert. This is just what has been percolating in my mind over the last few years.

    2. @Daniel

      Interesting information, that is quite a contact when dealing with this theme!

      Yea, the authoritary way of the CCP and its materialistic view of the world are both some pretty bad things, but one could argus that the american elite is getting more and more on that way, so that is why the Russia article got me thinking which place is ignoring natural law more.

    3. LOL - There is no way I can really know whether he is legit or not. It was an interesting conversation though. I can certainly imagine the Chinese having people dedicated to understanding Catholic moral thinking. Likely those in power only have a passing interest.

      Yes, I agree with you, especially here in Canada, on our home grown authoritarianism. For example, I fully support the vaccines, but I know at least three people who have been fired from their jobs because they refused to vaccinate. These are people with impeccable job performance. And they were fired with cause, meaning, they were fired as though they had done something to personally deserve the firing. This means the employer is not obligated to give the severance and they are not legally on the hook for wrongful dismissal. This is a travesty of justice, in my opinion.

      It seems like the rule of law and personal rights here in Canada is becoming more and more, a nice to have, rather than a strict requirement. If the cause can spark enough moral outrage, then anything goes. The flimsiest arguments become sufficient to justify authoritarian and patently unjust measures.

      I suspect that this is the result of the default Rawlsian ethic that dominates in Canada and the US and the lack of any concrete virtue ethic governing that way of thinking. Its all about identifying more and more granular victim groups to champion, regardless of their actual moral status.

      Ed has an article from 2011 that talks about the idea that ethics is grounded more in politics rather than metaphysics. This makes the legal system grounded in the vicissitudes of political pressures rather than reason. This jetisonning of reason is done in the name of equality and presupposes an oh so rational liberal arbiter of what a truly neutral middle ground amongst acceptable moral alternatives might be.

    4. Exactly, you got a point here. Today the law is what is "reasonable" and there is no real rational basis to say what it means,the intellect can't do anything. And if the intellect can't command you can expect the will to do it...

      It is like the voluntarist personality that Dr. Feser described is leading right now, there are no virtues or rules governing the elite. Hopelly the process is slower were i'am, the elite here is quite content on just parasiting, but things csn get way worse. The new generation here specially seems to be more and more influenced by that, even cancel culture is a thing.

      In the end things are messy butl one can have one hope: all human empires fall one day.

  5. Thanks for mentioning my paper on Religious Studies! As an assiduous reader of your blog, that was a pleasant surprise :)

  6. Prof Oderberg's Articles in General and #57 his article on Premotion. Awesome.

  7. Dear Prof.Feser
    Thanks for the links. I was wondering if you could write up a post on the metaphysics of goodness.
    I was wondering what is your approach to goodness in situations where nothing seems to be perfected. Like for example if a non harmful micro particle makes contact and rests in our ear canal. It is neither beneficial nor harmful to the ear canal. But since the actuality of a micro-particle in the ear canal exists, it must be good in someway even if not "for" us . So how might one articulate the goodness of it. It seems to me that since a part of our nature is material, we are subject to the laws of physics and chemistry and when that is manifested it can be considered as good simpliciter even though it isn't perfective or good "for" us.
    Those are my unorganised thoughts.
    If you could direct me to some work of yours where you deal with the Nature of goodness,I would be really grateful.
    Thanks for all your work

  8. Thank you for the outstanding round-up of news links!

    Editor of:

  9. Arif Ahmed Complaining about wokeness is funny tbh. His very existence as an atheist arab at cambridge is woke.

  10. Thomas Sowell is an intellectual treasure. I need to add "The vision of the annoited" to my reading list.

    “The family is inherently an obstacle to schemes for central control of social processes. Therefore the anointed [essentially his proto-term for “woke”] necessarily find themselves repeatedly on a collision course with the family.” This is because, he continues, “the preservation of the family” is fundamentally a source of freedom. “Friedrich Engels’s first draft of the Communist Manifesto included a deliberate undermining of family bonds as part of the Marxian political agenda.”

  11. Dr. Feser itself did a pretty interesting lecture on this point:

    I would go more far and say that there appears to be a correlation also between a decline in traditional societies with their shared worldview, social pratices, customs, prejudices, traditions etc and State regulation of life. What i'am thinking is that to society to function men must behave on certain, predictable ways or chaos issues. If there is not a shared culture that organically makes people actions follow certain directions them more and more a central authority will need to give explicity rules about how to act on socially important situations.

    This seems to me one strong why modern states make laws about so many subjects that did not required anything writed centuries ago, custom is not as good of a guide now when compared with our ancestors. But i admit that i still need to work out on the idea.

    If i'am getting at something right, them it is no coincidence that the State is getting bigger and bigger once social bonds break down. At least on y view it seems to complement Sowell and Feser points, for the family is THE group with a organical organization and so the fans of controlling people will not like it very much.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Love, love, the links. Such a treasure trove!
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. The Chinese literally tried to genocide their own people and did genocide Tibet. No one even made a noise as the last Dalai Lama wept that his country was going to die with him. Thankfully at least a few media outlets saw what China did to Hong Kong and aims to Taiwan as a threat to freedom everywhere.

    Communist countries always end up taking conservative policies because they realize you need a healthy work force if you are going to win a fight. Free countries allow and encourage people to be healthy and don't mandate it.

    The CCP has too many sins on its head. They are mass murderers. It's embarrassing that anyone in or from a free country would treat a Chinese "official" as anything other than a monstrosity.

  15. Richard Hanania's article was awful. Whatever the faults of the modern West, Russia under its current leadership was bound to make trouble in Ukraine. This isn't about NATO. Nor is it about the Russian system's attitude towards "gender" ideology, same-sex "marriage" etc., because Ukrainian attitudes towards these things are much harder.

    If the Russian president asserts that Ukraine is not a real country and that its people are "the same" as Russians, why should anyone be surprised if there is no end of unjustified attacks on Ukrainian sovereignty?

    Ukraine's crime in Moscow's eyes seems to have been its self-affirmation as a Western, European, Christian country. As such it can make a great contribution to Europe. There was nothing about joining NATO in 2014, yet Russia invaded. It isn't going to join now either. What Moscow wants is for Ukraine to integrate the armed bantustan in Donbass on Russia's terms. This could easily cause an implosion of the Ukrainian state.

    Nor is the article's claim there would be no "insurrection" to Russian occupation in Ukraine. The arguments this claim is based on are laughable: lack of forest cover and a low birthrate. These days, guerilla warfare does not require forest (look at the Catholics insurrection in tiny Northern Ireland), and the birthrate in the russophone areas which (supposedly) set off their own insurrection against Ukraine is the lowest in the country.

    This is not a fight between liberal Western values and some kind of Christian order in Moscow. That's a myth promoted by certain conservatives in the West who should know better. Religious practice among Russians is under 5%, less than Catholic western Europe. In Ukraine it's far, far higher.

    Russia today is a model conservative society; one where the majority of people don't believe in the object of religion, but "identify" with it and think it's a good thing for society (whereas Western Jacobins want to burn it all down). Civil society on the other hand, is the real object of worship. The attack on Ukraine follows logically from this.

    It's very doubtful there will be any Russian invasion as long as the West sits this out and refuses to force Ukraine to integrate the Russian-controlled bantustans as they are. On the other hand this Russian aggression, over the long term, is also driving Ukraine towards the real West whose heart is Rome. Providence is at work.

    1. Your mention of russian religious pratice made me look it up because the number looked very small and i gotta say: just what?

      Look at that:

      I had to coment. It seems that the orthobros numbers are pretty inflated on this country, how can a atheist call himself orthodox?* I can see how the country is a model of something like conservatism: the idea that our christian heritage is part of our identity but the religion itself is just cool.

      Man, you learn something new everyday!

      *not that i'am suprised, my country is supposed largely catholic but there are few who cares about the faith and our culture is pretty hedonistic. Fortunately tere seems to be more enthusiasm on the converts

  16. Dear Fear, we need more of your books in spanish!!!! Thanks for your books!!!

  17. Andrew Roberts' alternate history piece is hilarious. Thanks for linking.

    1. Oddly, I personally found it more icky than funny.

      On a different note: am didn't find it even slightly plausible that we would have ever even noted the murder of a Jewish rabbi by Pilate if his following died out with his murder, and the resulting imagined religious meld of (Christian) ideals with other sects is, at best, barely even interesting. It comes off (to me) more as a Christian's thinly veiled assertion that these ideals MUST have become recognized at that point in history even without Christ's followers making a stamp on history. Or something.

  18. The Richard Hanania article on Russia is interesting, but the neo-con war against Russia goes back to the 2nd term of George W. Bush. The 1st term was characterized by a burgeoning friendship between the US and Russia. The 2nd term saw a souring of this relationship, inspired by accusations that Russia was not committed to if that should make any difference. Classic neo-con stupidity, which has pushed Russia right into the open arms of China. Way to go!

  19. Senator Ron Johnson expert witness testimony

    'Emergency Use' untested unmonitored uncontrolled human trial of gene-transfer-technology and AIDS

    Where did the 'emergency' come from? Gang based fraud and corruption rackets in private-public partnership with hospitals and bureaucrats and from Gates-Gavi redefinition of 'pandemic' and 'immunity' through regulatory capture of WHO (at 25min)

    Dose:Range-Finding for lethal outcomes

    DoD now covering up their carefully gathered data that shows far worse adverse effects than even pessimists were predicting

    RFKJr - why children are targets for the experimental injections're-Going-After-Children-with-COVID-Vaccines:9

    Israel Announces 'immune erosion' (AIDS) as predicted by experts from the beginning. (

    And late-stage malignant plutocracy context that produced tecnocratic-machine mass-murder Whitney Webb on Moderna Robert Kennedy talks with Tucker Carlson about vaccines and BigPharma And Dr David E Martin on their patent trails, gain of function research and the cash and prizes proposed by the plandemic.

  20. Before I debate the efficacy of the Jabs I would rather debate the mandates. Are they warranted? I say nay...

    1. That's right. Not enforcing mandates would have avoided most of this unpleasantness - the vast majority get vaccinated even when there's no mandate, so everyone should be happy. But that would be too simple no doubt.

    2. Bullshit. Vast majority *did not* enrol as research subjects in this uncontrolled unmonitored experimental genetic therapy human trial. They were subjected to ruthless military-industrial-complex psychological warfare and threats.

    3. We've been subjected to massive and panicky media and government campaigns on the issue. But except where "vaccine mandates" applied, we can't really say people were forced to vaccinate. In Spain,for example, they got to an 81% vaccination rate without mandates in order to work, go to cafes etc. The lockdowns and panic were wrong, and gave leftists (in the minority parts of the world where they're taken seriously) the power trip of their lives. However its gradually fading. There's no "Great Reset" "End Times". Life goes on. Deo Gratias! Now let's get back to matters of importance.

    4. What's wrong with you? Lose career if you don't take an experimental genetic therapy under false pretences? (it was as dangerous as a regular flu) long planned for what it proposed to the superclass....huge concentrations of power and money. It is the most dangerous medicinal product in history and will do hideous damage for decades. Your attitude is truly evil.

    5. Last year I made a bet of one Euro with a true believer in The Great Reset that most of the world's population would not have become sick or died from taking the vaccine by the end of this year - or even by 2031. (I'll make ten cents a year that way hopefully). I'm against vaccine mandates and the Left's power trip in some rich countries of the West, but this ain't the end of the world. You'll know when that happens. In the meantime, the unvaccinated are alive. The vaccinated are alive, and life is good.

      If you're determined to make Reset panic your central belief, I would be happy to make the same bet for a more substantial amount with you.

    6. I've set forward the clear facts and issues. You have changed the subject. Shame on you again.

    7. The answer you got was to the point. You said the product (Covid vaccines presumably) would do "hideous damage for decades" and I pointed out that it hasn't and gives no indication that it will. The side effects and deaths caused by these vaccines, while often more serious than those caused by vaccines for other diseases, are not in an order that will affect the world's population, as is claimed by believers in The Great Reset. The idea that Bill Gates wants to reduce the world's population through vaccines is garbage. Leave it to the bible belt end timers. We're Catholic.

  21. Any thomistic thoughts on the legitimacy of civil disobedience relating to the Covid mandates in Canada and the trucker convoys? I'm in Ottawa, and so far I've been impressed with the self control of the protesters. But as a Catholic, I feel like it has been ingrained in us to be obedient citizens. Is it morally right to do what the truckers are doing?

    1. Without attempting any complete answer: in general, obedience is required of lawful orders. Obedience is not (in general) required of orders that fail to be legitimate. St. Thomas clarifies this by indicating that an order is not legitimate when it fails to satisfy one (or more) of the 4 kinds of causal principles that make law to BE law, (form, matter, agent, and end). Law is, (as he shows) an ordinance of reason, by the one who has authority as the caretaker of the common good, for the sake of the common good, and promulgated. If a law manifestly is not an ordinance of reason, or is not within the scope of authority of the lawgiver, or if he issues it not aiming at the common good, then in principle it fails to be law, and therefore is not binding.

      An apparent (but not real and binding) law can acquire a kind of extrinsic obligation for one to obey it: if disobedience would cause such social ramifications that more evil came about by your disobedience than would accrue to society by going along with it as if it were binding, you may be obliged to submit to it for the sake of the common good even though it is not binding in its own standing.

      Not being a Canadian, I have not tried to keep up with the Canadian laws, but it seems relatively plausible that AT LEAST SOME of their (apparent) "laws" failed to be real law, e.g. some laws that blocked churches from operating. Arguably, it may be the case that (like in our state of Michigan), you might have had cases where the governor just claimed ongoing "emergencies" that would extend her powers, without any basis, and this would speak to whether some of the rules were within the scope of the law-giver. Or, (as we saw also in some places) laws were manifestly not "ordinance from reason" in that they imposed burdens on some (i.e. churches) that they DID NOT impose on other, similarly situated entities (bars). But you have to piece out the individual laws and their individual pathways and situations in considerable detail before you can say anything definite about them. Some argue "we lowly serfs" cannot judge whether the authorities might have had some reason(s) they didn't tell us about, and while this carries a significant reason for caution in deciding whether a law is binding, it cannot be an absolute mandate across the board, (under St. Thomas's approach), or St. Thomas wouldn't have said such "laws" are not binding, because it would be impossible to locate them.

    2. Of course. Conscripting people into now known to be extremely dangerous and failed genetic experiments - for a mild seasonal respiratory virus - is Dr Mengele/Prison Camp tyranny cubed. Even evil states elsewhere have dropped their mandates. Even these jurisdictions* cannot live with an avalanche of lies.

    3. I'm not qualified to give a philosophical answer, so here's the historical one, based on the part of the world where the Scholastic worldview survived the longest: the Iberian empires.

      In the Spanish empire, magistrates, local authorities, etc,, could (and did) apply the principe of obedezco, pero no cumplo, literally "I obey, but I do not fulfill".

      The actual meaning was "I recognize the lawful authority of the one who gave the order" (the King, in the last analysis, though usually acting through his functionaries), "but I will disregard it" (but not in a spirit of rebellion, but because I think this order is wrong/unjust).

      So in a Scholastic-influenced polity (not perfectly so, as nothing is perfect in history, etc.), the "legitimacy of civil disobedience" was a recognized element of official jurisprudence.

    4. Lastly, if you want a short view of how popular insurrection (broadly conceived) was seen at the time, you could do worse than browsing through Lope de Vega's Funteovejuna. It's pretty short and there are several English translations around.

    5. Thanks for your response Tony. With regard to this:

      “An apparent (but not real and binding) law can acquire a kind of extrinsic obligation for one to obey it: if disobedience would cause such social ramifications that more evil came about by your disobedience than would accrue to society by going along with it as if it were binding, you may be obliged to submit to it for the sake of the common good even though it is not binding in its own standing.”

      I suspect that is where we are at with the truckers. I fully sympathize with those that were fired for no other reason than they were opposed to getting the vaccine. I believe they have a right to be up there on the hill and to protest. But the level of demonization coming from our leftist politicians and our leftist mayor … the lies they continually spread about the protesters … the continual barrage of hatred they show for these people is something as close to Satanic as I’ve ever seen. There is something grossly irrational about their reactions. The main stream government sponsored media shows sparks of disagreement from time to time, but on the main, they are as self righteous in their condemnation of the truckers as the politicians are.

      I have met the truckers. They are salt of the earth type of folks. Rural in many cases. From small towns. Farmers. Truckers. And most of them are Christians. I saw a wonderful Philipino woman with a massive cross in one hand and a statue of Mary in the other with a huge smile chatting away with reporters. I saw a black man with a billboard across his chest saying “Look at me! I’m a white supremacist.” The irony was completely missed by the reporters. There are prayer sessions that constantly spring up. There are Native Canadian drum sessions. There are Muslims who are standing with the protesters. I’ve never seen a more diverse bunch of folks in my life. Still, most of them are Christians.

      Again, to go back to the government and media portrayal of these people as White supremacists, possibly funded by Russia, or evil right wing Americans, homophobic, misogynists, hateful…. They seem like they are ideologically possessed. The police build up is gaining momentum, and we should be seeing lines of police forming at some point. Possibly tear gas. The protesters in every meeting I’ve seen online have continually urged their followers to be non violent. That their safety is in numbers. That they intend to be there for the long haul. The police are setting up a detention center of some sort in the local football stadium.

      My heart goes out for these people. I have never felt so persecuted in my own country/city before. And I am not even up there with the protesters. I am fully vaxed.

    6. Daniel the end-state of the kingdom of mendacity - calling truth tellers terrorists

      The scribes and pharisees have remained silent or supported this humanitarian disaster. What has their learning and confessions of faith meant at the testing point?

    7. It has been true in the past that regimes built on lies can come crashing down because, at root, one person stood up and refused to countenance the lies, and said "no, it isn't so." But in order to overturn the regime, that "one person" always requires, eventually, that many more notice the lies and also refuse to go along with them, with (ultimately) enough people who refuse that the regime cannot persist.

      The problem is, you can never be ENTIRELY sure when is the ripe time at which one person's "no" will be an effective trigger. I am sure that there were bright refusers in Russia in 1920 and 1930, but their "no" did not trigger a downfall of the soviet regime. Arguably, Solzhenitsyn and his books were that "one person" (though he would agree he was never alone in it), but also arguably his early acts of denial were too early. Where Boris Yeltsin successfully stood in front of tanks in downtown Moscow, similar protestors stood in front of tanks at Tiananmen Square and were crushed, without (apparent) success.

      And making things more complicated: it is not always the case that insisting on speaking out with a solid "no, it isn't so" and being crushed like a bug, with no (apparent) effect on the unjust regime, means you made a mistake and you shouldn't have bothered. There are times when it is better to testify to the truth and not have any noticeable effect than to be quiet - as many of the martyrs can attest. They were killed for over 200 years, before Rome's government finally was brought to its senses on Christianity.

      Yet, in matters other than those of eternal consequence, it often WILL be imprudent to insist on a vocal and noticeable resistance when you can confidently predict you will have no noticeable effect on the unjust regime. So, there isn't simply a one-size-fits-all shoe that says you should always stand up (visibly) to the nonsense, or that you should always take a seat. It's complicated, and will have different answers for different people even in the same times and (mostly) similar circumstances.

  22. Prof. Feser,

    Oderberg in that article says prime matter belongs to no genus. But isn't prime matter a substance on the A-T view?

    1. Dear Sinawi

      I think that you made some sort of confusion. Btw, you should read carefully Oderberg's work - it's quite hard.

      But, on to your question. Prime Matter is not a substance. Prime Matter is the ultimate substratum that composes things up (it corresponds to potency). But it does not exist by itself but only when composed with some form or other. A Substance is a composite of Form and Prime Matter. Our knowledge of Prime Matter is totally indirect (i.e it is something that must follow by the distinction of Act and Potency) and in addition to that (and as a complement to what I stated early), its existence is potential, that is, it does not exist until combined with the Form (an Act).

      Hope that helps, bro.

      May God bless you!

    2. No, I don't think prime matter is a "substance" under the A-T view. In fact, an important part of the A-T approach is that prime matter is too lacking to qualify as a substance.

      In a nutshell, the A-T dualism says each whole complete "thing" (which is an individual being, unqualified by any constraint as "sort of" a being, or "in a sense" a being), is a union of matter and form. The matter (without form) is only the substrate OF a being, it is not "a being" in its own right. When we say "prime matter" what we are doing is referring to matter without reference to a form, so it isn't "a being". In reality, you never have prime matter running around separated from form, you only ever encounter matter that has some form or other, because it doesn't exist unformed. So "prime matter" is always only a conceptual or notianal referent, since it can't exist apart from form.

      For A-T, all regular substances* have a "nature", and that nature requires a substantial form. Since it wouldn't even make sense to suggest prime matter has a "form", (for its very NOTION is to denude matter of ALL form), it can't be a substance.

      (*I am here referring to all substances of this worldly order, and excluding angels, whose being does not involve matter.)

  23. Those articles by Oderberg are hard going! I am no philosopher, but to me prime matter is not something and it is not nothing. It is however a useful fiction in Aristotelian metaphysics. Those of us who subscribe to a Platonic metaphysics don't really need it. I would say that the substratum of created things is the knowledge and will of God. If this sounds like Idealism, yes it is!

    1. @Jonathan

      " It is however a useful fiction in Aristotelian metaphysics. Those of us who subscribe to a Platonic metaphysics don't really need it."

      Useful fiction? Nice joke, pal. The day you guys come up with a solution that actually works for Substantial change I will be glad to hear it.

    2. @Jonathan

      Give, give us a recommendation of a good introduction to neo-platonic thought.

      I did read some articles(academics and others) about some key thinkers but there are still some areas were i don't get much. Like theology or their views on matter. I did recently read a Proclus text on the origin of evil and i can see that it truly is worth of being studied, but i don't know were to go with the tradition.

  24. Tadeo and Tony,

    a composite or union of form and matter is a *material* substance. but substance, generally, is that which exists not in a subject. now, prime matter exists (yes, inextricably with sub. form). the question then is: does it exist in a subject or not. if not, then it is a substance.

    1. @Sinawi

      "The question then is: does it exist in a subject or not. if not, then it is a substance."

      It does not exist by itself. It's NOT a substance.

    2. Tadeo,

      that's not the definition of substance though. 'existing by itself' is more general than 'existing not in a subject'. everything the former is also the latter, but the converse is not true.

    3. @Sinawi

      In A-T metaphysics, prime matter is often classified as an incomplete substance; that is, a potential substance. So, while it is correct that prime matter reduces to the category of substance, this is with the required qualification.

    4. With all due respect, man. But I think that you're confusing things up when it comes to prime matter.

    5. @Heraclitus,

      granting what you've said, then there are incomplete substances and complete ones. what does their substancehood consist in? i'm telling you: the fact that when they exist, they don't exist in a subject.

    6. that's not the definition of substance though.

      Right. The problem is nailing the right sense of "being" and "in". When we say of the "white" that exists when we see snow, it is clear that it does not "exist on its own", it exists in a subject. But the same distinction is inadequate when we speak of a kidney: while it does NOT exist "on its own", neither does it exist "in a subject" in the same sense that white exists in snow. (Especially when you take the kidney out during surgery, before putting it right back in after the other surgical corrections have been made.)

      It should be clear that if the form and the matter of a being are necessary to make up the being as a composite, and the two are different KINDS of principles, then speaking of the form being as "in" what receives it as a substratum (i.e. “in” the matter) cannot be turned around and applied to the matter as being "in" the whole composite. The matter is "in" the whole in a different sense than white is "in a subject" AND different from the way form is "in" the matter as a substratum, as well as different from the way a kidney is “in” the man. So here we have, effectively, 4 different senses in which X is "in" Y.

      but substance, generally, is that which exists not in a subject. now, prime matter exists (yes, inextricably with sub. form). the question then is: does it exist in a subject or not.
      Of the 10 categories, only the those in the first (substance) are said “to be” simply, the others are said “to be” as inhering in a something as in a subject, and thus of the 10 categories, substance is that which exists not in a subject, and the others exist “in a subject”.

      But some things belong to the category “substance” not simply, i.e. not so as to be called “beings” simply, but qualifiedly, as for example PART OF a being, though not inhering in a being as the other nine categories of “beings” inhere in a substance. “Kidney” belongs to the category of substance, not one of the other 9, even though it does not exist on its own, but only exists (properly) when it is a part of the man. It does not inhere in a man the way the accidents inhere in a man, it’s a different “in”.

      All the more so, then, would we say that the matter belongs to category “substance” but is not said
      to be” in the same way a man is said “to be”. It does not inhere in a substance as an accident inheres in a subject, but it is “in” the man in the manner of providing the substratum of the form, it is one of the principles that “make up” the man. (But “white” is not what makes up a man.)

      The only thing “prime” adds to ”matter” for this discussion is the clarification that it is said of matter insofar as having NO form at all, not even the virtual formal aspect of elements as “present in” the complex body. This addition does not change any of the above clarifications: it still belongs to the category of substance and is not “a substance” simply, just as a kidney or the substantial form belong to the category “substance” but are not “a substance” simply speaking.

    7. Tony,

      "But the same distinction is inadequate when we speak of a kidney [...]."

      kidney strictly, just like hand and head, is said with respect to another i.e., the thing of which it is the kidney (call it 'the kidneyed (thing)'). this is a relational consideration, which is a category of accident. in this respect, kidney does exist in a subject (the kidneyed). on its own, though i.e, cut off from the kidneyed, the relation is gone, and what was previously a kidney is now no longer truly a kidney. there's something else here instead i.e., some physical body, which is a substance.

    8. I am pretty sure the term "kidney" is not in the category of relation. Relational terms are correlatives. This means that they cannot be defined or understood apart from the other end of the relation. While "kidney" cannot be fully understood without recognizing it as part of the human, it DOESN'T go the other way around: you can certainly understand what "human" means without any notion of "kidney". Furthermore, a term cannot be the correlative of X, and at the same time be the correlative of A, B, C, D... But the whole human person) if the term were correlative to "kidney" would also have to be correlative to "toe", "eye", "pancreas", etc. Which is not how correlative terms work.

      It is true that "part" and "whole" are correlatives, that's fine. But that doesn't make each and every instance of a thing and its part also correlatives - that mistakes the meaning of the term with the actual content of the THING.

    9. Tony,

      "While "kidney" cannot be fully understood without recognizing it as part of the human, it DOESN'T go the other way around: you can certainly understand what "human" means without any notion of "kidney"."

      you have not given the proper correlative; it is not human, but, as i said, the kidneyed. go back and see what the First Teacher says at Categories 7, 6b36-7b14

  25. It is aways interesting to see these moderate liberal types* argue against wokeness by defending that free speech is this sacred right necessary to a good society and a good university. It never seems to occurs to they that ideologies that have little connection with reality and very little tolerance of other views could slowly become dominant by non-intellectual factors, specially on a political system were group battles for power is a build-in feature, and that tolerating these types of radical views could be dangerous.


    *Jordan seems mostly a classical one, though. Not than that helps

    1. In other words, the free market of ideas--just like the free market of property--doesn't work.

    2. Yea, classical liberal views on social organization kinda sucks. One day we got to admit that the ancients knew somethings well.

  26. I am listening to Klima's talk at the conference on second scholasticism for the third time and it is truly remarkable. He refers to a paper he wrote in the 90s that lays out a program of his own work under the name historical analytical metaphysics. He refers to the remarkable recovery of scholastic metaphysics in recent years (his own articles and founding of the Medieval Society for Logic and Metaphysics has made a huge contribution in this regard), but argues that a full recovery of scholastic realist metaphysics has not yet occurred. He uses the analogy of a medieval Gothic Cathedral and notes that a rebuilding of the cathedral requires more than a gargoyle or stained glass window; it requires a blue print and a restoration of the central structural pieces to the Cathedral. That central structural piece to scholastic realism is a full recovery of formal causation in its metaphysical, verbal/semanatic, and cognitive/epistemological aspects. He focuses in the paper on the logical or semantic aspect and makes the case for the need for a fully developed inherentist logic that matches the specificity of the logics developed by Wittgenstein and Frege, but is able to point to the metaphysical items described within scholastic realism (e.g. substantial forms, beings of reason, etc.)

    In the paper, he argues that inherentist logic is essential to realist scholastic metaphysics. He argues that we should not "get the metaphysical cart before the semantic horse." I found this suggestion initially unsettling, but realized that he is making a distinction between the order of being and the order of knowing. In this regard he quotes St. Thomas who writes, "the question of whether something is precedes the question of what it is; but one cannot show of something whether it is, unless it is first understood what is signified by its name." This account of St. Thomas' method of asking first whether something is will be familiar to those familiar with the Summa. Yet to ask whether something is, we have to know what *thing* are you asking about? So we have to get clear about what our language points toward (hence the need for semiotics), before moving into questions about the essence of a thing.

    This seems to me to work for physical realities where you can take your finger and point to them. Yet how do you point to an immaterial item through your language without defining it? Perhaps by pointing to some accidents or properties of the thing? Or by noting it's operations? If you point to it by defining it, have you not accounted for the essence of the thing via the definition? Have you not touched upon the type of being it is? In other words, have you not then done metaphysics? These are some questions I would like to ask Dr. Klima and questions that I wrestle with as I consider St. Thomas' method. I of course ask these questions as a student believing that my betters have the answers to these questions and that all will be illuminated once someone's heart is moved to instruct the ignorant (hint, hint, Dr. Feser).

  27. On Klima’a Talk continued:

    Like all of Klima's work, this paper is well written and rigorously argued. It is also grand in its proposal for the need to fully recover scholastic metaphysics and the need to focus on formal causality in all of its aspects to do this.

    There were also some good questions at the end that clarified that what Klima is proposing (the inherence account of predication) is compatible with the identity account of predication, but not compatible with the Nominalist theories of predication which Klima has engaged estensively (He translated Buridan's massive work on logic). Dr. Michael Gorman from CUA also asked a question about making metaphysical arguments within a particular semantics without begging the question. This question was ably handled by Dr. Klima in showing that it is not the inherentist semantist that excludes Ockhamist metaphysical positions, but rather it is the law of non contradiction which is shared by the respective semantic frameworks. This talk is well worth the time if you have it (the talk and questions are about 1 hour long).

  28. Where to find some input of prof. Feser on chance and randomness?