Friday, February 21, 2020
Morgan on Aristotle’s Revenge
At The Imaginative Conservative, Prof. Jason Morgan kindly reviews my book Aristotle’s Revenge. From the review:
In 456 very well-written pages… (followed by a treasure trove of a bibliography), Dr. Feser shows in Aristotle’s Revenge that, point for point, Aristotle got science right, or as right as he could given the limitations in instrumentation and communication with other researchers during his time. Scientists since the so-called Enlightenment have been trying to detach Aristotle’s greatest insight, the telos of things, from the world around them. But the telos is the linchpin of the material world, so without it, everything, as is apparent from most philosophy lectures one attends nowadays, or nearly any philosophy book one reads, falls apart…
[T]he most compelling part of Aristotle’s Revenge is section six, “Animate Nature.” Here, Dr. Feser goes a very long way toward restoring the life sciences to their proper relation to purpose and cause…
[O]ne of the greatest services of Aristotle’s Revenge, and of Dr. Feser’s work in general, is the clarity that Dr. Feser brings to discussions about terms and concepts.
End quote. Morgan gives special attention to the criticisms of Intelligent Design theory that I raise in that chapter.
Morgan also offers a suggestion for improvement:
I think that Dr. Feser’s call for a return to a teleological view of the cosmos could be even stronger with a more clearly-defined deployment of, for example, the term “species.” Dr. Feser goes to great lengths in part six of Aristotle’s Revenge to distinguish among various uses of the term, setting, for example, “logical species” off from the very different (but often conflated, to disastrous effect) “philosophical species.” This is helpful and correct, but I would suggest that Dr. Feser’s readers seek out the works of Peter Redpath, John Deely, and Charles Bonaventure Crowley for even deeper insights into the work that genus and species – not the terms, but the Aristotelian-Thomistic realities – really do.
Fair enough. Aristotle’s Revenge interacts with an enormous body of literature, but so vast is the subject matter that there is much more I could have covered. I thank Prof. Morgan for his suggestions and for his review.