Monday, March 18, 2019

Five Proofs on radio


Recently, John DeRosa interviewed me for the Classical Theism Podcast.  You can listen to the interview here.  We discuss my book Five Proofs of the Existence of God and Simon Blackburn’s criticisms of it, my conversion to Catholicism, my new book Aristotle’s Revenge, and other matters.  If you listen all the way to the end of the interview, John explains how you can enter to win a free copy of Aristotle's Revenge.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Wrath darkens the mind


A straw man fallacy is committed when you attack a caricature of what your opponent has said rather than addressing his actual views.  Hypocrisy involves blithely doing something that you admit is wrong and criticize in others.  But what do you call it when you bitterly criticize someone else for doing something you approve of and praise in yourself and others?  I don’t know if there’s a label for that.  “Being an unhinged weirdo” is about the best I can come up with, and I’ve got a couple of examples.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

2019 Aquinas Lecture


In January I gave the 2019 Aquinas Lecture at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, on the theme “Classical Theism and the Nature of God.”  Before the lecture I was kindly awarded the Order of St. Thomas Medal by the Center for Thomistic Studies.  You can watch the video of the lecture at the CTS website.  (Click on the “Aquinas Lecture Series Videos” link.)  That’s the medal you’ll see me wearing.  The waiter joke at the beginning makes reference to something said in Steve Jensen’s opening remarks, which are not in the video.

Monday, March 4, 2019

ORDER NOW: Aristotle’s Revenge (Updated)


UPDATE 3/9: A reader points out that another option, for readers anywhere in the world, is to order through Book Depository.  You can now also order through Barnes and Noble.  The other options, to remind you, are Amazon.com and Casemate Academic (for U.S. orders) and Eurospan, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon's other European sites (for European orders).
  
UPDATE 3/7: At the moment, Amazon is accepting pre-orders again.  These things tend to fluctuate, so check back periodically if the pre-order option temporarily disappears again.  As noted below, you can also pre-order through the U.S. distributor.  European readers can also order through Eurospan.

UPDATE 3/5: Looks like Amazon's pre-order stock sold out right away.  If you don't want to wait for Amazon to re-stock, it looks like you can also pre-order via the U.S. distributor.

Amazon has the U.S. release of my new book Aristotle’s Revenge: The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science scheduled for March 22.  You can pre-order now.  The book has already been available for a few weeks at Amazon.co.uk and other European outlets.   

Some pre-publication reactions to the book:

Friday, March 1, 2019

Byrne on gender identity


What is it to have a “gender identity”?  At Arc Digital, Alex Byrne examines some proposed definitions of the concept and common assumptions about it, and finds them problematic.  In earlier posts, we looked at Byrne’s views about whether sex is binary and whether sex is socially constructed.  As his earlier articles did, Byrne’s latest piece brings the cold shower of sober philosophical analysis to a discussion that is usually overheated and muddleheaded.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Surfing the web


At First Things, R. R. Reno concludes that Francis’s papacy is failing.  Cardinal Gerhard Müller issues a “manifesto of faith” to address the current theological crisis.  Meanwhile, Robert Fastiggi buries his head deeper into the sand.  (And wastes his time.  I already refuted Fastiggi’s position months ago.)

Jeremy Butterfield reviews Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math and Hossenfelder responds.  A review by Donald Devine at The Imaginative Conservative

Magician and actor Ricky Jay has died.  Reminiscences at The Federalist, Vulture, and NPR.  A personal remembrance by Jay’s friend David Mamet.

In the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Ryan Proctor argues that Catholic judges are not obligated to recuse themselves in capital cases.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Abortion and culpability


Yesterday at The Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru responded to a reader who criticizes opponents of abortion who express special outrage at late-term abortions.  If all direct abortion amounts to murder, the reader says, then it is only a cynical political tactic to speak of late-term abortions as if they were especially odious.  I more or less agree with Ponnuru’s reply to this (give it a read, it’s brief), but I would add a clarification and a qualification.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The latest on Five Proofs


My book Five Proofs of the Existence of God is briefly reviewed by Christopher McCaffery in the March 2019 issue of First Things.  From the review:

Addressing contemporary and historical objections, Feser explains the logic of each proof with impressive clarity… Five Proofs is a useful resource for anyone seeking an introduction to historical arguments about God’s existence and their relationship to contemporary philosophical scholarship.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Socialism versus the family


Yesterday I gave a talk at the Heritage Foundation on the topic “Socialism versus the Family.”  You can watch the lecture on YouTube or at the Heritage website.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Adventures in the Old Atheism, Part III: Freud


Our sojourn among the Old Atheists was briefer than I’d intended.  To my great surprise, I see that the previous installment in this series dates from roughly the middle of 2016!  So let’s make a return visit.  Our theme has been the tendency of the best-known Old Atheists to show greater insight vis-à-vis the consequences of atheism than we find in their shallow New Atheist descendants.  This was true of Nietzsche and of Sartre, and it is true of Sigmund Freud.  So lay back on the couch and light up a cigar.  And before you start speculating about what hidden meaning lay behind my sudden return to this topic, remember: Sometimes a blog post is just a blog post.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Early 2019 speaking engagements


I recently got back from Blackfriars in Oxford, where I gave talks on classical theism and cooperation with evil.

This Thursday, January 31, I will be giving the 2019 Aquinas Lecture at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.  

On February 11, I will be speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on the topic of socialism versus the family.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Bizarro world of left-wing politics


I have only a little to add to what others have already said about the Kafkaesque Covington affair.  There were, as you all know by now, three main parties involved.  There was the group led by Nathan Phillips, who is now known to be a liar and rabble rouser who appears to have been trying to provoke a confrontation.  There were the “Black Hebrew Israelites,” classified by the SPLC as a hate group and who have been captured on video instigating the whole mess by shouting things that any left-winger would normally denounce as the worst sort of racist, sexist, homophobic, and fundamentalist bigotry.  And there are the Covington Catholic school teenagers, who were there waiting for a bus and got caught in the middle of these two groups of lunatics. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Washburn contra the “new natural lawyers”


I highly recommend theologian Christian Washburn’s excellent article “The New Natural Lawyers, Contraception, Capital Punishment, and the Infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium,” from the latest issue of Logos.  Is there anything new to say about the “new natural law” (NNL) position on capital punishment?  There is, as Washburn shows.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Materialism subverts itself


A naïve understanding of materialism attributes to it a naïve understanding of matter.  Matter, common sense says, is more or less the way it appears to us in ordinary experience.  It is solid, colored stuff that always tastes, smells, sounds, and feels a certain way.  Materialism, on a naïve understanding, is the view that everything that exists is like that.  Even unobservable particles are assumed to be tiny solid, colored objects that have their own tastes, smells, sounds, and feels to them.  Like little stones or marbles.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Finnis on capital punishment (Updated)


John Finnis holds that the Catholic Church could reverse her traditional teaching that capital punishment can be legitimate in principle.  I criticized his position in the course of an exchange at Public Discourse several months ago.  Last month Finnis replied in an article at Public Discourse.  Today I respond to Finnis’s reply in an article at Catholic World Report.

Meanwhile, at Denver Journal, Ben Crenshaw kindly reviews By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment.  From the review: