Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Telegraph on Scholastic Metaphysics

At The Daily Telegraph, Christopher Howse kindly calls attention to my book Scholastic Metaphysics, which he describes as follows:

A brilliant new defence of metaphysics… [I]t is a lively read.  The author is Edward Feser, and in 2011 Sir Anthony [Kenny] gave something of a rave review in the TLS to an earlier book by him, The Last Superstition...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Papal fallibility (Updated)

Catholic doctrine on the teaching authority of the pope is pretty clear, but lots of people badly misunderstand it.  A non-Catholic friend of mine recently asked me whether the pope could in theory reverse the Church’s teaching about homosexuality.  Said my friend: “He could just make an ex cathedra declaration to that effect, couldn’t he?”  Well, no, he couldn’t.  That is simply not at all how it works.  Some people think that Catholic teaching is that a pope is infallible not only when making ex cathedra declarations, but in everything he does and says.  That is also simply not the case.  Catholic doctrine allows that popes can make grave mistakes, even mistakes that touch on doctrinal matters in certain ways.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Augustine on semantic indeterminacy

St. Augustine’s dialogue The Teacher is concerned with the nature of language.  There are several passages in it which address what twentieth-century philosophers call semantic indeterminacy -- the way that utterances, behavior, and other phenomena associated with the use of language are inherently indeterminate or ambiguous between different possible interpretations.  Let’s take a look.  (I will be quoting from the Peter King translation, in Arthur Hyman, James J. Walsh, and Thomas Williams, eds., Philosophy in the Middle Ages, Third edition.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Long list o’ links

You’ve long longed for a list of links.  And it’s been a long time since I listed any links.  So here’s a long list of long longed-for links. 

Chris Kaczor is interviewed at National Review and America magazine about his new book The Gospel of Happiness.

At Nautilus, philosopher Roger Trigg explains why science needs metaphysics.

Sexual ethics and the modern academy: a Princeton Anscombe Society panel discussion with John Haldane, Candace Vogler, Roger Scruton, and Robert P. George.

The Wall Street Journal on how Steely Dan created “Deacon Blues.”

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dumsday and Vallicella on Neo-Scholastic Essays

At Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, philosopher Travis Dumsday kindly reviews my book Neo-Scholastic Essays.  From the review:

Edward Feser writes as an historically informed Thomist who is also thoroughly conversant with the analytic tradition…

[T]his volume nicely exhibits Feser's clear writing style and uncommonly strong facility with both the Scholastic and analytic traditions. Those of us attempting to integrate these traditions can profit from his example.