Saturday, April 28, 2018

SES podcast on classical theism

While at Southern Evangelical Seminary last week, I recorded a podcast with Adam Tucker on the topic of classical theism and theistic personalism.  You can listen to it here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cooperation with sins against prudence (and chastity)

Last month I gave a talk on the theme “Cooperation with Sins against Prudence” at a conference on Cooperation with Evil at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.  You can now listen to the talk at the Thomistic Institute’s Soundcloud page. 
Prudence is the virtue by which we know the right ends to pursue and the right means by which to pursue them.  Aquinas argued that sexual immorality tends more than other vices to erode prudence.  The erosion of prudence, in turn, tends to undermine one’s general capacity for moral reasoning.  Hence, when we facilitate the sexual sins of others, we tend thereby (whether we realize it or not) to promote their general moral corruption.  In the talk, I develop and defend this theme and apply it to a critique of the views of Fr. Antonio Spadaro and Fr. James Martin.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Best T-shirt ever

Just back from a very enjoyable visit to Southern Evangelical Seminary, where I gave a lecture last night on classical theism.  Many thanks to the very kind folks at SES for their hospitality.  And thanks also for what is probably the best T-shirt I’ve ever seen – SES’s Act and Potency T-shirt, emblazoned with an image of Aquinas together with the first of the Twenty-Four Thomistic Theses.  You can pick one up via the SES store website, where I see they also have a matching Act and Potency coffee mug and Act and Potency poster.  Amaze your friends, or at least baffle them!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Does God have emotions?

An accusation sometimes leveled by theistic personalists against the classical theism of thinkers like Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas is that their position makes God out to be “unemotional” or “unfeeling” and thus less than personal.  Is the charge just?  It is not, as I’ve argued many times.  So, does God have emotions?  It depends on what you mean.  On the one hand, as Aquinas argues in Summa Contra Gentiles I.89, it is not correct to attribute to God what he calls “the passions of the appetites.”  For passions involve changeability, and since God is purely actual and without passive potentiality, he cannot change.  Hence it makes no sense to think of God becoming agitated or calming down, feeling a sudden pang of sadness or a surge of excitement, or undergoing any of the other shifts in affect that we often have in mind when we talk of the emotions.  On the other hand, no sooner does Aquinas say this than he immediately goes on in SCG I.90-91 to argue that there is in God delight, joy, and love.  And of course, delight, joy, and love are also among the things we have in mind when we talk of the emotions.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Upcoming speaking engagements

Just back from a very enjoyable speaking engagement at Baylor University.  Here are the next few scheduled talks:

On Thursday, April 19, I will be speaking on the topic of classical theism and the divine attributes at Southern Evangelical Seminary near Charlotte, North Carolina.  More information here.

I will be speaking at the Society of Catholic Scientists conference on The Human Mind and Physicalism which will be held at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. from June 8-10.  More information here.

On June 27, I will be speaking at Fermilab near Chicago, Illinois, on the topic “What is a Law of Nature?”  More information here.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Chalk on Five Proofs, etc.

At The American Conservative, Casey Chalk recounts some of the public controversies I’ve been party to over the last few years, and judges them a model of how academic debate ought to proceed.  (David Bentley Hart drops by to comment in the TAC combox.)  Meanwhile, at The University Bookman, Chalk kindly reviews Five Proofs of the Existence of God.  From the review:

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Five Books on Arguments for God’s Existence (Updated)

Five Books is a website devoted to in-depth interviews with leaders in a wide variety of fields – philosophy, politics, science, literature, and so forth – about five books in their fields that they would recommend.  Recently I was interviewed for the site on the subject of five books on arguments for the existence of God.  It’s a pretty long interview (and conversational in style insofar as it was conducted by telephone).