Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rota on causation in Aquinas

Michael Rota is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. I commend to you his fine article “Causation,” written for the forthcoming volume The Oxford Handbook to Thomas Aquinas, edited by Brian Davies and Eleonore Stump. This is a topic I address at some length in chapter 2 of Aquinas, but Rota’s essay deals with a few issues I did not get into there and will be very useful for those looking for an introduction to Aquinas’s views and (in brief) how they relate to contemporary philosophical thinking about causation.


  1. I was wondering if you could put up your E-Mail Address, I can't connect to it at What's Wrong with the World but there's a few papers I would like to send you that may be of interest.

    I don't know if your aquanted with the work of Ruth G. Millikan she is a Philosopher in the Naturalism mold and with views on Intentionality in a similar (though not Exact)way to Dennett. Her work has a similar evolutionary theory frame to it.

    Her a link to a website with her work:

    and her wiki page

    In relation to Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism according to this link they believe her work has refuted it but you'll have to take a look youself.

    An other Article you may be interested in (to disagree with) is

    I've not got round to reading this article yet but I will.

  2. TPB,

    Ed touches on Millikan re: evolution and teleology in The Last Superstition, and addresses Dennett's views as well in the same book. He doesn't get into the EAAN - I recall he says the EAAN is related but not identical to Reppert's Argument from Reason, which he prefers to discuss.

    You should really read TLS at the very least, since it's there that he lays out his views on what is entailed by materialism, and how some common 'naturalist' strategies for explanations of things like intentionality, etc, actually reduce to either eliminative materialism (and thus absurdity and/or incoherence) or embrace a broadly Aristotilean view of nature (which thus abandons naturalism in any meaningful sense).

  3. I new he had replyed to Dennett's ideas but I wasn't sure about Millikan, but your right I do need to get round to reading The Last Superstition.

    I seen a lecture by a Christain Philosopher were he sayed the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism was far superior to the Argument from Reason, and thats why I picked it Specifically.

    (I'll try to find the lecture and put it up.)

    But from what I understand Millikan's work doesn't fall into the obvious fallacies apparent in Dennett's work, she seems like a more astute thinker, but I may be wrong.

  4. The EAAN Refutes God's Beliefs