Thursday, May 25, 2017
The latest issue of the Catholic Herald features an article by Dan Hitchens on Catholicism and the death penalty which discusses By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, which I co-authored with political scientist Joseph Bessette and which has just been released by Ignatius Press. The article contains some remarks from a brief interview I did with the Herald.
Some readers may by now have heard about what is happening at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where the university president’s actions have put the philosophy faculty in fear for their jobs and for the survival of their program. Details are available at Daily Nous (with a follow-up here) and at Inside Higher Ed. Philosophers at the University of Notre Dame have issued a statement on the controversy. John Hittinger at the University of St. Thomas has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a legal defense.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, which I co-authored with political scientist Joseph Bessette, is now available. Edward Peters, Professor of Canon Law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, comments today at Facebook:
Since I first saw it in galley form several months ago I have been impatiently awaiting the [book’s] publication… Well, my copy just arrived in the mail.
Defenders of the death penalty for certain heinous offenses need no encouragement from me to study this book, of course, but, from now on, opponents of the death penalty who do not address the arguments set out by Feser & Bessette really have nothing useful to contribute to the debate.
Friday, May 19, 2017
We’ve examined lust and its daughters. Turning to another of the seven deadly sins, let’s consider wrath. Like lust, wrath is the distortion of a passion that is in itself good. Like lust, it can become deeply habituated, and even a source of a kind of perverse pleasure in the one who indulges it. (Hence the neologism “rageaholic.”) And like lust, it can as a consequence severely impair reason. Aquinas treats the subject in Summa Theologiae II-II.158 and Question XII of On Evil. (Relevant material can also be found in the treatment of the passion of anger in Summa Theologiae I-II.46-48.)
Thursday, May 11, 2017
In The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil, Brian Davies draws a distinction between “evil suffered” and “evil done.” Evil suffered is badness that happens to or afflicts someone or something. Evil done is badness that is actively brought about or inflicted by some moral agent. A reader asks me:
Do you agree with Davies in saying that God does not directly bring about what he calls “evil suffered”? I want to agree, but yet I don’t know how to reconcile Davies’ position (and what seems to be Aquinas’ position) with God apparently directly willing the end of Ananias and Sapphira’s life in Acts 5, which obviously is an evil suffered. It doesn’t seem there is causality per accidens like Davies describes God’s causal activity when it comes to evil suffered (e.g., good of one thing curtailing the good of another).
Monday, May 1, 2017
The Dictionary of Christianity and Science has just been published by Zondervan. I contributed an essay to the volume.
A new article from David Oderberg: “Co-operation in the Age of Hobby Lobby: When Sincerity is Not Enough,” in the current issue of Expositions. (Follow the link and click on the PDF.)
Philosopher Daniel Bonevac on being a conservative in academia, at Times Higher Education.