Friday, February 25, 2022

Taylor on cognition, teleology, and God

In his book Metaphysics, a classic brief and lucid introduction to the subject, Richard Taylor devotes a chapter to the topic of God.  Most of the attention philosophers have paid to it seems to focus on his version of the cosmological argument, which is indeed a fine brief exposition and defense.  But Taylor also presents a second argument, of a broadly teleological sort.  It is decidedly not a variation on Paley’s design argument (of which, as longtime readers know, I am not a fan).  It is much more interesting and metaphysically deep than that, and at least in a general way closer to the spirit of Aquinas’s Fifth Way (even if it is not quite the same as Aquinas’s argument either).

Monday, February 21, 2022

Sex and metaphysics

My essay “The Metaphysical Foundations of Sexual Morality” appears in The Palgrave Handbook of Sexual Ethics, edited by David Boonin.  You can view the anthology’s table of contents and other information about it at the publisher’s website.  The book is, unfortunately, as expensive as academic books tend to be, and thus hard to get hold of for those without access to an academic library.  But you can at least read a big chunk of it via the preview at Google Books.

Friday, February 18, 2022

The failure of Johnson’s critique of natural theology

At the Reformed Baptist Blog, Jeffrey Johnson has responded to my First Things review of his book The Failure of Natural Theology: A Critical Appraisal of the Philosophical Theology of Thomas Aquinas.  He makes nine points, none of which is any more convincing than the book itself is.  What follows is a point-by-point reply. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

McDowell’s Aristotelian near miss

John McDowell’s paper “Singular Thought and the Extent of Inner Space” made a big impression on me in graduate school, around the same time his influential book Mind and World was published.  Like a lot of philosophers, I thought there was something deep going on in McDowell’s work, though (also like a lot of philosophers, I think) I was not quite sure what to make of it.  Part of this has to do with the difficulty of McDowell’s style, but that difficulty reflects, at least in part, the difficulty of the subject matter.  The nature of thought and of experience is so close to us – like the tip of one’s nose, always in one’s field of vision, and thus rarely noticed – that it can be, precisely for that reason, harder to get hold of than the extra-mental world is. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

If you’ve been missing links

David S. Oderberg asks “Is Prime Matter Energy?” in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.  Also, Oderberg on the “Principle of Sufficient Reason,” in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion, edited by Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro.

At the Claremont Review of Books, Joseph M. Bessette sets out a critique of the Eastman memos.

Aidan Nichols on the Herbert McCabe he knew, at The Lamp.

At UnHerd, Thomas Fazi and Toby Green make the left-wing case against vaccine mandates.  At The Tablet, Alex Gutentag on the continual, unacknowledged, shifts in expert opinion about Covid-19.  “Mandatory panic”: Freddie deBoer on Covid as the liberal 9/11.  A Johns Hopkins University study concludes that lockdowns did no good and caused much damage.