Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Scott Ryan RIP

Longtime readers who frequent the comboxes of this blog will be familiar with Scott Ryan, who for many years was a regular commenter here.  He was also a moderator and regular commenter at the Classical Theism, Philosophy, and Religion Forum.  I was very sorry to learn that Scott died last week, apparently of a burst stomach ulcer.  I did not know Scott personally, but I always greatly valued his contributions to combox discussions, which consistently manifested Scott’s high intelligence, breadth of knowledge, sense of humor, clarity of expression, and charity toward others.  The exchanges on this blog have been of a consistently high quality in large part because of Scott’s presence.  (My recent book Neo-Scholastic Essays was dedicated to my readers.  Scott had become such a presence in the comboxes that when I wrote that dedication, and when I have thought about it in the months since, Scott’s would be the first name and face that would come to my mind.)

Recently Scott began the process of converting to Catholicism.  While reading through some of his recent posts at the Forum the other day, I came across this exchange.  It is especially poignant in light of Scott’s death, and that, together with the beauty, simplicity, and tranquility of the sentiments Scott expressed, brought tears to my eyes.

Many readers have been making their feelings about Scott known in the combox of an earlier post.  It is clear that they will miss him as much as I will.  Our prayers are with you Scott, and with your family.  RIP. 


  1. I will miss Scott. Thoughts and prayers for him and his family. St Thomas Aquinas, pray for them.

  2. Sorry to hear this. Holy Mary, oro pro nobis.

  3. Requiescat in pace.

    Dr. Feser is absolutely correct in his assessment. Scott helped me personally with many questions, as he would anyone who asked. No matter how busy he might have been, he would always make it a duty to provide you with an incredibly detailed and thoughtful answer, in addition to resources you could consult to pursue the question further (of which his knowledge was encyclopedic).

    I don't believe Scott ever pursued philosophy or theology in any formal career. But it's clear that his love and understanding of both outshone that of many who study them for a living.

    Scott, I think, was a model for us all of true Christian charity in discourse. He didn't care who you were, what you knew or didn't know. He was going to treat you as someone with the same love of wisdom as he had. A true embodiment of Isaiah 1:18.

    We will miss you here at Feser's blog, Scott.

  4. These comment sections are sure going to be different without Scott's insightful comments.

  5. I attempted to leave a comment on the other thread but it didn't go through, so I'll give it another try.

    I've been a follower of this blog for a while, which played a major role in my reversion to apostolic Christianity a few years ago. I took it for granted that I could scroll down and see some kind of further elucidation coming from that same long-haired, bespectacled individual who always seemed to have some argument or incite worth reading. Rest in Peace Scott.

  6. Correction, "insight", not "incite".

  7. I just wanted to add my respect to the thoughts here for Scott. I was always amazed by the depth of his knowledge of scholastic philosophy, and I was always impressed by the winsome manner of his interactions with others, especially those who were not so kind. He truly inspired me to want to learn more and to be cheerfully courageous in expressing the truth.

  8. What rotten news. Scott was always a great guy. Intelligent and well spoken.

    He is missed, and the world's a worse place without him.

  9. I don't usually read this blog closely, on account of the high level of discourse here; I'm a philosophy professor who has a small child (only one) and it's all I can do to keep up with him. That said, over the years I noticed many of Scott's comments, and I always wondered what it would take for me to learn as much philosophy as he did. I'm stunned that he didn't have a Ph.D. in the subject -- it seems to me, from what I read of his remarks that he could have easily gotten one and made important contributions. I'm also really shocked and saddened that he died, and I will pray for his eternal repose.

    Robert Gressis

  10. I'm so sad to hear this. I've always appreciated Scott's comments, and I will definitely pray for the repose of his soul.

  11. As a regular viewer of Ed's blog since 2011, and a frequent follower of the comments, I concur: Scott was an ace. Even a congenitally irascible person and a sinner like me was able to admire and learn from his consistent example of patience, kindness, and Christian charity.

    Requiescat in pace, my brother. May Our Lady, to whom you consecrated yourself, guide you into the presence of Our Lord.

  12. Another amen to what others have said, from a long-time (3 or 4 years) lurker reader. I thought Scott was one of the best, if not the best, of the regular commenters here, and this blog won't be the same without him.

  13. I also am surprised Scott didn't possess a PhD in Philosophy. He seemed to know so much and was clearly in love with the subject. Seeing his love for the subject only makes me wish I knew half as much as he did (perhaps that's why we come here).

  14. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

    Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for him.

  15. May the Lord bless you and keep you.
    May the Lord cause his countenance to shine upon you.
    May the Lord bless you and keep you safe.


  16. I am very sad to hear about Scott's death; anything I can or could say sounds woefully inadequate, but he certainly was one of our best, both in depth of knowledge and greatness of spirit.

  17. R.I.P. Scott.

    I learnt much from that delightful, informed and generous man.

  18. I am not a regular commentator, but I have followed this blog for some time -- and indeed many past ones, plus their comments.

    Scott's is a name that jumped out at me severally in my forays into the past blogposts on this site, and I can say that -- although, I also did not know him personally -- this news of his death comes as a rude shock and we will all miss his great comments.

    I don't know anything about the Dead, people, but if it is anything, I wish his intellect all the best...

  19. Despite being a regular follower, I have never contributed to this blog before, but I do want to say how shocked and sad I was to learn of Scott’s death. I always looked forward to reading his comments: they were invariably intelligent and perceptive, often inspiring, and always characterized by a kindness and humility that – in my experience, at least – are extremely rare in the blogosphere. I shall miss him. My thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP.

  20. ὦ Κρίτων, ἔφη, τῷ Ἀσκληπιῷ ὀφείλομεν ἀλεκτρυόνα: ἀλλὰ ἀπόδοτε καὶ μὴ ἀμελήσητε.

    [ôː. krhiːtoːn | épʰɛː | tôː. asklɛːpiô. opʰektryóna | alla. apódote kai. amelɛ́ːsɛːte]

    Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Pay it and do not neglect it.

    ~Plato, Phaedo, 118a4-5

  21. (On review: I'm not a great writer, but some random thoughts ...)

    I mentioned it in the other thread, but -- as it's much more on-topic here -- I'll bring it up again. Scott was an undeniably formative influence on my intellectual development (such as it is). He convinced me that philosophy could be so much more than Ayn Rand; he showed me that it was valuable to approach even those with whom we disagreed with grace and class. I recall an essay he wrote once on what Blanshard called the rational temper, and he seemed to embody that.

    I'm not religious, but for a time I deeply considered becoming Catholic. That's how I originally found myself reading this blog. Imagine my surprise to see him commenting here after all those years, thinking some of the same thoughts that I too was thinking -- when *he* had done so much to set me on the journey that brought me here in the first place.

    I thanked him that first time I saw him commenting, but I feel now that I should have done more to convey to him how much his writing meant to me. He was a resource both intellectual and spiritual that I neglected to my detriment, and now it's too late.

  22. "I did not know Scott personally," as Ed writes. But from his comments here, I felt as if I did. Profound erudition coupled with a manifest and deep Christian devotion is uncommon on the Internet (or anywhere), and I was grateful to have known him even if only through this site. Rest in eternal peace forevermore, where we see face to face.

  23. I'm still stunned at this sad news.

    After reading the posts here I would often skim the comments section until I came to Scott's picture. What he had to say was always illuminating. His charity to everyone here--including to folks that I would've written off as trolls--is something of which I'm still in awe. I remember how amazed I was when he announced that he was going through RCIA; given his knowledge and keen insights (not to mention that saintly charity), I had assumed that he was a lifelong Catholic! Indeed, Scott's many contributions to this combox led in no small part to my own Baptism and Confirmation into the Church last year. For that I am grateful to him beyond words.

    Requiescat in pace, Scott Ryan.


  24. Oh man ... can't believe it.

    I have had many exchanges on this blog with Scott. And in a great many of those, what he was about was the business of generously sifting, salvaging, and restructuring my sometimes dishabille and politically tinged rants, for some kernel of common insight, sense, or logical import.

    scbrownlhrm has already said...

    "Absolutely speechless on seeing this news about Scott."

    Greg said regarding Scott,
    "intelligence, patience, and charity."

    dguller said regarding Scott
    "gracious and thoughtful "

    Nothing I can say would add much to that. All I can do is offer my condolences to his family, and to those close to him here.

    And this, I suppose: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."

    D. Wright

  25. Requiescas in pace, Scott. I, too, am one of the many lurkers on this blog who profited from your contributions and your kindness. I will pray for you.

  26. Here’s to Scott, the man who even though we did not know personally had so much impact. Reminds me of the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi "For it is in giving that we receive". He gave us the pearls of his wisdom which are invaluable. Rest in eternal peace and hope to see you one day, from one brother in Christ to another.

  27. I will miss Scott. Thinking in terms of classical philosophy and theology does not come naturally to me. Scott always answered my naive questions with intelligence and courtesy. I am grateful to him for helping me and others to know a fuller intellectual life.

  28. RIP Scott. I always admired his thoughts and his patience. A gifted man.

  29. That’s very sad to hear about, Scott. But, I’ll pray that he’s with Our Lord Jesus Christ as quickly as possible.
    When I first started reading Feser’s “Aquinas” I had some questions about understanding the terminology (substance, accidents, forms). Scott was always patient and willing to help me.
    I liked reading his posts because he’s the exact opposite of me. He was patient, rarely if ever rude to anyone…. And certainly never rude because someone simply disagreed with his views.
    When I would try to be more of a patient, understanding discusser/debater I would many times reflect on how Scott handled himself. God be with you, Scott.

  30. Terrible news. He was as gracious and personable as he was intelligent. Like many others here, he was deeply influential in my (negligible) intellectual development, and was very supportive of my fiction work. As I thought so highly of him, that support was very valuable to me. RIP, Scott. You're one of those people whose soul I don't think I have to worry about.

  31. Terribly sad news, shocking. Scott was a thoroughly good egg, his comments were always kind and of interest. I have often read Ed's post then skipped to what Scott said.

  32. "He disappeared in the dead of winter:
    The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
    And snow disfigured the public statues;
    The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
    What instruments we have agree
    The day of his death was a dark cold day.

    Far from his illness
    The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
    The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
    By mourning tongues
    The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

    But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
    An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
    The provinces of his body revolted,
    The squares of his mind were empty,
    Silence invaded the suburbs,
    The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

    Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
    And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
    To find his happiness in another kind of wood
    And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
    The words of a dead man
    Are modified in the guts of the living.

    But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
    When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the
    And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly
    And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his
    A few thousand will think of this day
    As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

    What instruments we have agree
    The day of his death was a dark cold day."

    Rest in peace, Scott.

  33. This sucks. I don't comment a lot, but I've followed this blog and the combox exchanges for years. Scott not being an active member of this community here is a blow to the gut. The Fesersphere without Scott is like a married bachelor, an unextended body. To make sense of this place without his kind, patient and thoughtful presence might be just as vexing as the above analytic paradoxes.

    My prayers and thoughts are offered in condolence for his family and friends.

  34. Very sad news. Condolences to his family and friends. He will be deeply missed in this combox and elsewhere.
    Requiescat in pace.

  35. I just told my wife two nights ago that I could only ever aspire to Scott's precision of thought, and logical clarity. I am deeply saddened by his death. Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on him.

    That's all I can say . . . just stunned, and incredibly saddened.

  36. Requiescat in pace

    He was a good man. I would like to follow his example.

  37. Pardon the poems. They will have to be my prayers for now. My, how that news saddens me.

    "The daily press keeps up-to-date obits
    Cooling in morgues and is piously prepared
    For the claim that any day may be one’s last.
    Dictators, famous short-stops, felons, wits
    Intimately recline in darkly shared
    Beds of fine print, their leaden, predestined past.

    But you, dear friend, managed to slip away,
    Actually disappear in the dead of winter
    More perfectly than Yeats. As at a show,
    While we were savoring your skills, the play
    Of your words, your elegant, serious banter,
    You cloaked yourself, vanished like Prospero

    Or Houdini, escaping from the padlocked fact,
    Manacles, blindfolds, all our earthly ties,
    Leaving us stunned in the middle of his act,
    The stage vacant, expecting some surprise
    Reentry from the wings to a rousing Lizst

    Fanfare, tumultuous applause, a bow
    And a gentle, pleased, self-deprecating smile.
    There comes no manager hither to explain.
    Words fail us, from the weak and fatuous ‘ciao,
    Bello,’ to the bellowing grand style,
    As we shuffle out to the shabby street and the rain.

    You are now one of that chosen band and choice
    Fellowship gathered at Sandover’s sunlit end,
    Fit audience though few, where, at their ease,
    Dante, Rilke, Mallarmé, Proust rejoice
    In the rich polyphony of their latest friend,
    Scored in his sweetly noted higher keys."

  38. "When the student is ready the teacher will come". Farewell Scott R.I.P

  39. He always consecrated his own free time to answering questions as fully and as seriously as possible... Even though these questions were asked by perfect strangers to whom he didn't owe anything at all.

    He was indeed both an example of charity and a helpful man.

    I hope he's in a better place, may he be rewarded for his kindness.

  40. Scott was one of the most helpful and unpretentiously serious internet philosophical commentators I, and I'm sure many others, have had the good fortune to meet. His presence both on Ed's blog and the Classical Theism boards will be greatly missed.

    On a more personal note: news of his passing only reached me a couple of days. After initials reactions of shock and confusion I was surprised by how tranquil I felt about it (apologies if this sounds cold or insensitive; the feeling was the reverse) – like other regulars on Ed’s blog I’d watched the evolution of Scott’s religious views, his eventual acceptance of Catholic Christianity and his ongoing admission into the Church. Through-out all of this he was a model of humility and graciousness. As someone once said: ‘Do not weep for what was became of the dead; weep for what we have lost’.

    Just in case anyone here isn't aware Scott was also author of a fine book critiquing the supposedly Aristotelian backdrop of Ayn Rand's philosophy, in particular her understanding of the nature of universals, entitled Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality. He was generous enough to make the full PDF available through Scholardarity:

    Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality: A Critique of Ayn Rand's Epistemology

  41. I've been a reader of the blog only for alittle over a year but i remember his comments 'sticking out' to me for their knowledge and like you said their charity.

    may perpetual light shine on him

  42. Although I have been a faithful reader of this blog for several years, I have never commented before; however, the death of Scott, whose humanity and intelligence greatly contributed to its high quality, has compelled me to add my tribute to him. The man was a joy to read; he was clearly a fine individual. May he rest in peace.

  43. This is only partially related. Well hardly related. But, speaking of Thomism and sociality, I have tried to join the Thomism Discussion Group on Facebook but no one ever denied or approved my request. I canceled it and tried again, but perhaps if someone on here is a part of it they could do me the favor of saying something to the proper individuals.

  44. Daniel: After initials reactions of shock and confusion I was surprised by how tranquil I felt about it I'm lagging behind, But I'll get there. Eventually. Meanwhile...

    James: "I recall an essay [Scott] wrote once on what Blanshard called the rational temper, and he seemed to embody that." That essay is available here.

    In 2002 Scott wrote on a now defunct website: Heartfelt Confession: Some two decades ago I went through my own "Objectivist phase[.]" I got over the "phase," but the aftereffects lasted for years. My profoundest apologies to anyone who knew me then. I'm better now.

    And on another old and likewise defunct website, Scott wrote that a reader who "want[s] a taste of what my book on Objectivist epistemology is about" should read his Rand on Creativity: Her Epistemological Problems in a Nutshell -- the entirety of which comprises the next four comments (and the gist of which, in some sense, might be said to be that reason, if it is to be treated, should be treated reasonably).

  45. The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses. . . . "Creation" does not (and metaphysically cannot) mean the power to bring something into existence out of nothing. "Creation" means the power to bring into existence an arrangement (or combination or integration) of natural elements that had not existed before. (This is true of any human product, scientific or esthetic: man's imagination is nothing more than the ability to rearrange the things he has observed in reality.) ["The Metaphysical Versus The Man-Made," in Philosophy: Who Needs It; p. 25]

    If I had to pick a single brief passage that illustrated all of the fundamental problems in Ayn Rand's epistemology, this is probably the one I'd pick. For extended examination of those problems, the reader should see my Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality (henceforth O&CR). But here, using the passage I've just quoted, I'll try to give you a short summary of the difficulties in her approach.

    Note first of all her presumption that a new "arrangement" or "combination" or "integration" is not anything metaphysically new (brought into existence out of nothing). This remark could have either of two meanings, and we are probably expected to infer which one she intends from our familiarity with the rest of her philosophy:

    (1) An "arrangement," a "combination," an "integration" is not an existent in its own right at all. Patterns and forms do not exist in "external reality"; they are simply conceptual abstractions that exist only in our minds.

    (2) An "arrangement," a "combination," an "integration" is an existent in its own right, but human creativity does not bring it into existence ex nihilo. Patterns and forms are eternal, existing timelessly and independently of our conceptual abstractions.

    Now, in fact Rand's epistemological outlook is not as unambiguous as we might like, and there are passages throughout her writings that suggest each of these interpretations. In O&CR, I have devoted considerable effort to determining which of the two Rand "really" means, and I have concluded that she favors the first interpretation.

    For what we are examining here is simply a version of the "problem of universals," a problem that (I argue in O&CR) Rand does not even state correctly, let alone solve. A "universal" is a character, quality, or relation that may be given in diverse contexts; arrangements, combinations, integrations, forms, and patterns are examples of (possible) universals. Since I conclude elsewhere that Rand wishes to deny the existence of real universals, I think we may safely take Rand to be denying that arrangements, combinations, integrations, forms, and patterns are real existents of any kind (other than conceptual abstractions, in whatever sense these exist as mental entities).

    How plausible is this? Not very. I devote a good deal of space to this topic on O&CR; here I shall make only a few brief remarks.


  46. As I argue in my comparison of Rand's view with that of Roy Wood Sellars, once one admits real universals among conceptual abstractions, the camel's nose is under the door of the tent. If there are real universals in our thoughts but not in the objects of those thoughts, then thought can never succeed in "reaching" its object. If, for example, the "two" in my thought of "two chickens" is literally identical with the "two" in my thought of "two dogs," but there is no sense in which a real universal "two" is literally present in the pairs themselves, then there just isn't anything "out there" to serve as the referent of my thought of "two." If this is true in general, then my thought consistently, everywhere and always falls short of successful reference.

    Rand's account also glosses over the problem of grasping necessities. But there is a clear sense in which relations of necessity (a) exist eternally and (b) govern the course of our thought. This too I discuss in O&CR, but consider the following short example (due to Blanshard, at least in its application to philosophy; I think the original version of the tale itself is due to Thackeray):

    The priest enters the room. "Ladies," he says by way of making interesting conversation, "did you know my first penitent was a murderer?"

    Then Smith enters. Upon seeing the priest, he says, "Ladies, did you know that I was the father's first penitent?"

    If you understand why the ladies were shocked, then your thought has just now been conditioned and informed by a relation of necessity between two premises and a validly drawn conclusion. (Note that the conclusion isn't stated anywhere; you inferred it at once, probably quite involuntarily.)

    Do those relations of necessity exist, and exist independently of your present thoughts of them? I do not see how to deny it. If they do not, indeed if they never govern our reasoning in the manner I have just illustrated, then we never reach a conclusion because the evidence requires it.

    In that case Rand has a second problem here that is just as important. When Rand speaks of "the things [man] has observed in reality," she means (as we can tell from the rest of her writings) the things of which man has acquired knowledge through strictly sensory perception.

    But if reasoning involves actual grasp of real universals and of the relations of necessity among them (and if, as Rand maintains, the human mind is a tabula rasa at birth), it is not at all clear how such entities manage to sneak into our minds through our senses. Here again, I discuss this at length in Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality and shall therefore content myself with a few brief remarks.

    I do not think Rand ever made a clear distinction between "sensation" proper, on the one hand, and actual perception on the other. As a result, her writings continually fold into the "perceptual level" things that we would ordinarily not take to belong there.

    The present instance -- human creativity -- will serve as well as anything to illustrate why there is a difficulty here. Consider the creation of a song, let us say a simple melody.


  47. Suppose, to make the example as concrete as possible, that the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is sitting down and creating the melody that eventually became known as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." [Note: A helpful correspondent has informed me that Mozart did not actually originate this melody; it was an existing French tune entitled "Ah, Vous Je Dirai, Maman," of which Mozart did, however, compose a set of variations. The same correspondent also tells me that Jean-Jacques Rousseau composed the melody we know as "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie," so the reader may feel free to make the appropriate substitutions in what follows.] According to Rand, Mozart [or Rousseau] creates the melody by "rearrang[ing]" bits of what he has "observed in reality."

    This seems plausible enough at first glance; after all, a melody is made up of notes, isn't it? And Mozart has certainly "observed" those notes "in reality"; he has not conjured them out of his own intellectual vitals.

    Unfortunately there are numerous difficulties with this view. We shall take the time here to mention only three (and the reader is referred to Brand Blanshard's The Nature of Thought for an excellent and thorough discussion of the process of creation generally).

    (1) The musical notes themselves are grasped as notes only by grasping them in their relations to other notes. We do not grasp middle C as middle C unless we recognize it as having a place, indeed a necessary place, in an entire spectrum of audible pitches. We shall not analyze the process by which we make this recognition, but it is surely not a matter of pure sensation. (And we note in passing that middle C seems to be a real universal. If it were not, the "same" note could never be played twice.)

    (2) Even at that, the melody seems to be something beyond the individual notes. For surely there is a clear sense in which the "same" melody could be played in either, say, the key of C or the key of F#. These two variants of this particular melody will have no notes in common (as the reader can check quickly at a piano) -- and yet they seem to share a common pattern that has a reality of its own independent of instantiation in a particular key. (Which also means that when we "sense" the individual notes of the two melodic variants, we have not as yet "perceived" the melody itself; that wants an additional step. Probably many animals can "hear" the same pitches we do; how many of them grasp melodies?) But Rand's account leaves us wondering how the "same" melody could result from "rearrang[ing]" entirely different and nonoverlapping sets of elements we have "observed in reality."

    (3) Finally and in some ways most importantly, Mozart himself would probably feel uncomfortable with the claim that he merely "rearranged" at will those things he had "observed." Composers (including songwriters like myself) ordinarily describe themselves as having been in some way under a compulsion to create. The compulsion is hard to describe to non-artists (and deucedly difficult to analyze philosophically), but there seems to be a sense in which the melody itself directs the creative process and helps to bring itself into being.

    This sounds paradoxical but is not. Or at least it need not be, if we are willing to recognize that a "melody" exists eternally as a timeless form or pattern and is therefore "available" to direct the creative process by which it comes into being in time.


  48. The truth would seem to be that even when we are at our most creative, our thought is conditioned and governed by relations of necessity that obtain between real universals, and that these relations and universals exist in some way timelessly or eternally. Rand denies that they do so, and therefore in effect denies that we can ever grasp necessities at all. As I note elsewhere, her view of "reason" reduces its function to that of sorting incoming "sensory data" into convenient file-folders.

    For more complete arguments on these points, the reader is referred to O&CR. All I have sought to do here is provide, for the reader new to my epistemological criticisms of Rand, a short exposition of the fundamental problems in Rand's view of reason.

    For present purposes it will be sufficient if the reader is able to see that Rand does defend a view of "reason" that deprives this faculty of everything but its name.

    [End (of the fifth, not fourth, part of Scott's Rand on Creativity: Her Epistemological Problems in a Nutshell)]


  49. There once was a shock
    that left behind a long, pale, shimmering comet tail.
    It envelops us. It makes the TV pictures fuzzy.
    It settles as cold drops on the overhead cables.

    You can still shuffle along on skis in the winter sun
    between groves where a few of last year's leaves still hang.
    They look like pages ripped out of old telephone directories -
    Customers' names swallowed up by the cold.

    It's still lovely to feel your heart pounding.
    But often the shadow feels more real than the body.
    The samurai looks insignificant
    beside his armour of black dragon scales.

  50. Scott,
    You are in my prayers. When you see the divine image, please allow me to be in yours.

  51. I'm a teacher in a Catholic school, and I am having my students pray for Scott's soul at the beginning of each class. It's the least I can do for a man to whom I am so greatly indebted.

  52. Sometimes when I had trouble figuring out how to make a point clear, Scott would say it better than I could. Thanks, Scott.

    Sometimes when I was being dense and didn’t understand a point, Scott patiently explained it so I could understand it. Thanks for that too, Scott.

    Sometimes when I was ornery and out of sorts with a fellow blogger, Scott poured balm on the discussion and helped me recover my wits. Thanks also for that, Scott.

    Sometimes when I made a point really well, Scott noted it and appreciated me, out loud instead of just in his head. Thanks ever so much, Scott.

    Sometimes for no special reason Scott just reeled off a joke, a bon mot, a play on words or a play on life, that lighted the discussion and lightened my day. Thank you kindly, Scott.

    Everything that Scott did for me he did for so many others.

    Not sometimes, but ALLTIMES, Scott was a grace to the discussion. Thank you for Scott, God.

  53. Rest in peace, Scott. I too was one of the many, quietly observing from the shadows, who has been blessed, encouraged, challenged and enlightened by your comments on this blog. Thank you so much. Your presence here will be missed.

  54. An exceptional man. Will be missed.

  55. So sorry to hear about Scott. I can only echo the thoughts and feelings already expressed.

  56. That's terrible news concerning Scott. I'll pray for him.

    I used to contribute more regularly to this blog, but as time went by I decided it was generally better to wait hear what the best commenters would say - Scott principally among them.

    Rest in peace.


  57. I'm sorry to read of Scott's passing. In the several times I've visited this blog,
    Scott was a welcome presence. He was intelligent and patient during some very long discussions. I can see why he will be missed by many here (and by those who knew him)!


  58. I am also a long time lurker and fan of Scott come to pay tribute.

    I am grateful to have had the opportunity to read his wise, deep and kind posts and will miss him greatly. I've been praying for his family and for the repose of his soul.

    Also, thanks to Prof Feser for this post and all those who've posted links to his books, book lists and quotes.

  59. Do come back to us, Scott, one way or the other. I was so very proud of you for taking the painful leap of faith. I have a sin on my conscious when you asked us to comment on your personal dedication to our perfect lady, in whose arms I know you were welcomed into heaven. I took you for granted my friend and my brother.

    As I said before, you were and are a light. Thank you so much for your kindness, and I sincerely hope you are happy with our Mother in Heaven, being loved as her son.

    God bless you Scott and I will miss you a lot.

  60. Very shocked and sad to hear this news. I've been reading Ed's blog for years and always looked forward to reading Scott's clear and incisive comments.


  61. Oh sweet Yeshua no...............

    He was awesome.

    He was a Jewish convert.

    This is for you buddy.

    Yisgadal v'yiskadash sh'mei rabbaw (Amen)
    B'allmaw dee v'raw chir'usei
    v'yamlich malchusei,b'chayeichon, uv'yomeichon,
    uv'chayei d'chol beis yisroel,
    ba'agawlaw u'vizman kawriv, v'imru: Amen.
    (Cong: Amen. Y'hei sh'mei rabbaw m'vawrach l'allam u'l'allmei allmayaw)
    Y'hei sh'mei rabbaw m'vawrach l'allam u'l'allmei allmayaw.
    Yis'bawrach, v'yishtabach, v'yispaw'ar, v'yisromam, v'yis'nasei,
    v'yis'hadar, v'yis'aleh, v'yis'halawl sh'mei d'kudshaw b'rich hu
    (Cong. b'rich hu). L'aylaw min kol birchawsaw v'shirawsaw,
    tush'b'chawsaw v'nechemawsaw, da'ami'rawn b'all'maw, v'imru: Amein
    Y'hei shlawmaw rabbaw min sh'mayaw,v'chayim
    awleinu v'al kol yisroel, v'imru: Amein
    Oseh shawlom bim'ro'mawv, hu ya'aseh shawlom,
    awleinu v'al kol yisroel v'imru: Amein

    May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (Amen.)
    in the world that He created as He willed.
    May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days,
    and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel,
    swiftly and soon. Now respond: Amen.
    (Cong Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.)
    May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.
    Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
    mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed is He
    (Cong. Blessed is He) beyond any blessing and song,
    praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now respond: Amen.
    May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life
    upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen.
    He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace,
    upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen.

    In the Name of Yeshua Ben Miriam the Messiah King of Israel.

  62. Scott Ryan was a great-souled man, right out of Aristotle.

    I too am stunned and saddened at this news.

    Scott is a noble example of what we should all aspire to in our discussions.

    Here's to Scott: Amor et ratio vincit omnia!

  63. Sad news, I always appreciated Scotts comments.

  64. Another faceless observer here. Shocked and saddened at the news of Scott's passing; dude was a heavy weight in the combox, always looked forward to his comments and eloquent responses.
    You will be in my prayers Scott.


  65. Thoughts about Scott Ryan came to mind here:


  66. I'm very sorry to hear the news. I always enjoyed reading Scott's comments. May God assuage the sorrow of his family.

  67. I thought some of you might want to know about the kickstarter campaign to get Scott's last CD, The Gift, printed.

  68. "...and charity toward others"? Some others, no doubt. Anyone who has tried to read Ryan's critique of Objectivism will know that he strained to be as uncharitable as possible in his reading of texts by Ayn Rand. Wherever he could misinterpret, he was careful to do so.

  69. Re Glenn's comment above: Rand does not "deny" that we can grasp necessities. Nor does she assert that what a concept integrates does not exist in reality. But certainly the mental integration does not exist until the mind performs the integration. We can observe identities and cause and effect directly and indirectly, and conceptualize what we observe. See Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Rand, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Peikoff, and How We Know by Binswanger for elaboration. It is probably best to try to understand Rand's concept theory before trying to refute it.