Friday, June 25, 2010

The T-Shirt’s coming next…

A friend sent me the bumper sticker at left. It will nicely balance out the other sticker on my car, which, as readers of p. 56 of The Last Superstition know, sports the first of the Twenty Four Thomistic Theses. (To see why “Is does imply Ought,” read the first half of my article “Classical Natural Law Theory, Property Rights, and Taxation,” which deals with general ethical theory.)


  1. This is off-topic, but interesting:

    Philosopher Richard G. Howe wrote this paper entitled "Thomistic responses to some objections to Aquinas' second way" which I found very interesting:

    Howe has many other good articles here:

  2. Anyway, if you couldn't get an ought from an is, where would you get it from? An isn't?!?

  3. But, is not to say that "Yes, IS does imply OUGHT" to imply that all states which are *ought* to be? Which is absurd.

    Perhaps the bumber sticker ought to say "On the other hand, is may very well imply ought."

    In any event, one can frequently observe the very same people who love to brandish the saying that "One cannot get an ought from an is" as a cudgel with which to beat upon the idea of objective morality turning around and implicitly asserting that "Yes, is does imply ought." As one example, does not one frequently observe such persons pointing to the observance of same-sex sexual acts amongst animals as proof that same-sex sexual acts are "natural" ... that that, therefore, we *ought not* frown upon (much less condemn) same-sex sexual acts amongst humans?

  4. Jime,
    on your blog have you ever addressed Penn & Teller's show?
    Seems like a fitting topic.

  5. Hi Anonymous,

    No, so far, I haven't commented anything about Penn & Teller.

    Perhaps I should.

    Part of the reason why I haven't commented about them is that they attack many actually silly popular ideas, like palm readers and astrology charlatans, so I don't have any particular criticism against it.

    But what bothers me is their self-confidence and their conflation of serious topics (like near-death or experimental mediumship research, or repeatible psi experiments) with popular psychic frauds like palm readers, magazine horoscopes, etc...

    In this specific point they're misinforming and misleading the public.

    So perhaps I should comment about them in the future.

    By the way, in their "bullshit" bag, Penn & Teller have included topics like The Bible, praying, mediumship, Noam Chomsky, ouija boards, alternative medicine, ufos, religion, ghosts, etc.

    It's amazing and funny that they pretend to comment and even "refute" all of these matters using ridicule, magic's tricks and superficial arguments.

  6. I think it would be a great idea, Jime.
    I don't know other places that go after and call P&T on their BS, but someone really should.
    Looking at your blog - you're probably the most able to do it too. Not trying to butter you up, but your blog is pretty unique in that sense.
    But, whatever you chose to do I'll still be following your posts.

  7. There is nothing at all wrong or objectionable about self-confidence. For that matter, if one is not confident that one’s opinions are correct, how can one even hold them? And why would one?

    What is objectionable is the intellectual dishonesty and cowardice Penn and Teller make their shtick.

  8. Hi llion,

    You're right, "self-confidence" wasn't the right word nor what I actually meant.

    A more proper word would be "self-righteous", "self-assurance" or "arrogant" or something like that.

    Hype, thanks for your comments.

  9. Piotr Lichacz OP, the director of the Thomistic Institute based in Warsaw, wrote his PhD thesis (Fribourg) on this very subject. It is available at