Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Death Penalty and Genesis 9:6: A Reply to Mastnjak (Guest article by Timothy Finlay)

Genesis 9:6 famously states: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image” (RSV). This has traditionally been understood by Jews and Christians alike as sanctioning capital punishment. In a recent article at Church Life Journal, Nathan Mastnjak has argued on grammatical grounds for an alternative reading of the passage, on which it does not support the death penalty. What follows is a guest article replying to Mastnjak by Timothy Finlay, who is Professor of Biblical Studies at Azusa Pacific University and a member of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew.

In his article, Nathan Mastnjak writes, “The translation ‘by a human shall that person’s blood be shed’ is not strictly impossible, but given the norms of Classical Hebrew grammar, it should be viewed as prima facie unlikely especially since there is a much more plausible translation that is contextually appropriate and grammatically mundane.” This has it completely backward. It is Mastnjak’s claim that the ב in Genesis 9:6 be construed as expressing price or exchange that, while not strictly impossible, flies in the face of Hebrew lexicons and grammars – in contrast to the standard translations (both Jewish and Christian) which are contextually and canonically appropriate and grammatically mundane.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Hartshorne on the project of natural theology

Process theism denies some of the key attributes ascribed to God by classical theism, such as immutability and impassibility.  Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000) was among its chief representatives.  As a Thomist, I am the opposite of sympathetic to process theism.  However, I’ve always found Hartshorne an interesting thinker.  Many twentieth-century philosophers had a regrettable tendency toward overspecialization, and also often ignored all but a handful of thinkers of the past.  Hartshorne, by contrast, was a philosopher of the old-fashioned stripe.  He addressed a wide variety of philosophical problems, was deeply read in the history of philosophy, and that history informed his work on contemporary issues.  He was also old-fashioned insofar as his theism (flawed though it was from my point of view) was integral to his more general metaphysics and ethics.  Like the greatest thinkers of the past, Hartshorne knew that the question of God was at the very heart of philosophy, not something that could be ignored by any serious philosopher, or at best tacked on to an otherwise complete system.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Fastiggi on Capital Punishment and the Change to the Catechism, Part II

In 2018, Pope Francis authorized a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which now states that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”  This might be read as implying that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong, which would contradict scripture and two thousand years of magisterial teaching.  As a result, the change has been criticized as at least badly formulated.  In a recent four-part series at Where Peter Is, theologian Robert Fastiggi criticizes the critics of the revision.  The first part of my response to Fastiggi addressed what he has to say about the obligations of Catholics vis-à-vis the Magisterium of the Church.  In this second part, I will address what he says about the teaching of scripture, the Fathers, and previous popes on the topic of capital punishment.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Fastiggi on Capital Punishment and the Change to the Catechism, Part I

In 2018, Pope Francis revised the section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church dealing with the topic of capital punishment, so that it now states that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”  Flatly to assert that capital punishment is “an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” might be read as implying that the death penalty is intrinsically evil, or immoral of its very nature and not just under the wrong circumstances.  Such a claim would contradict scripture and two millennia of consistent magisterial teaching.  For this reason, the revision has been criticized as at least badly formulated, even by some Catholic thinkers who support the abolition of capital punishment.  For example, after the revision was announced, an appeal was made by forty-five prominent Catholic academics and clergy to the cardinals of the Catholic Church to call upon the pope clearly to reaffirm traditional teaching on the subject.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Aquinas and Nietzsche on the politics of envy

Recently, I joined Postliberal Order as a regular contributor.  Today, my essay “Against the Politics of Envy” appears at the site.  It discusses Aquinas’s account of the nature and effects of the sin of envy, Nietzsche’s account of the nature and effects of ressentiment, and how woke politics is clearly an expression of envious ressentiment as Aquinas and Nietzsche understand it.

Monday, August 21, 2023

All One in Christ on EWTN Bookmark

Some time back I was interviewed about my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory for EWTN Bookmark with Doug Keck.  The episode airs on Sunday, August 27 at 10 a.m. ET.  It encores on Monday, August 28 at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, and on Saturday, September 2 at 9:30 a.m. ET.  Here’s the advert for the episode.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Haugeland on hylomorphism

In his essay “Ontological Supervenience” (in his anthology Having Thought: Essays in the Metaphysics of Mind), John Haugeland puts forward an unusual criticism of hylomorphism, essentially accusing it of being too parsimonious.  The standard objection to hylomorphism is that it posits more distinctions and entities than are necessary.  Haugeland suggests that it posits too few, thereby failing to capture all of reality.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Open-minded open thread

It’s time for an open thread.  So dust off those otherwise off-topic comments you’ve been aching to post.  Because from M.C. Escher to MC Hammer, from pick-up sticks to Kubrick flicks, from panpsychism to pan pizza, everything is now on-topic.  Just keep it civil and in good taste, as always.  Previous open threads archived here.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Stove and Searle on the rhetorical subversion of common sense

One of the stranger aspects of contemporary political and intellectual life is the frequency with which commentators put forward extremely dubious or even manifestly absurd claims as if they were obvious truths that no well-informed or decent person could deny.  Examples would be woke assertions to the effect that women have penises or that everything from professionalism to exercise to disliking body odor to getting a good night’s sleep is “racist.”  In his book The Plato Cult and Other Philosophical Follies, David Stove characterized a similar rhetorical move sometimes made by philosophers as “reasoning from a sudden and violent solecism” (p. 142).

Monday, July 24, 2023

A comment on the Lofton affair

For any readers of my recent reply to Michael Lofton who have not been following events at Twitter and YouTube, Lofton has, over the course of the last few days, posted a series of tweets at the former and a series of videos at the latter strongly taking exception to my article.  I have to say that I am mystified at the number and vehemence of these responses.  But Lofton seems especially angry about my characterization of his initial video as “defamatory” and “libel.”  What follows are some brief remarks that I hope will put his mind at ease and allow us to move on from this affair.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Lofton’s YouTube straw man (Updated)

There’s a popular mode of online intellectual discourse that I rather dislike, which might be labeled “the extended YouTube hot take.”  It involves a talking head riffing, for an hour or so, on something someone has written on a complex philosophical or theological topic (an article, a book, a lecture, or whatever).  My impatience with this kind of thing is no doubt partly generational, but there is more to it than that.  The written form is more conducive to intellectual discipline.  A good article on a philosophical or theological topic, even when written for a popular rather than academic audience, requires the careful exposition of ideas and lines of argument, both the writer’s own and those of anyone he’s responding to.  It also has to be clearly written and well-organized.  You can’t achieve all this by simply pouring out on the page whatever pops into your stream of consciousness.  It takes time, and as a writer tries to whip a piece into shape, he’s likely to mull over the ideas and come to see flaws in interpretation and reasoning he would otherwise have overlooked.  A video, because it is so much quicker and easier to make, is for that very reason likelier to be of considerably lower intellectual quality. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

What is classical theism?

Recently, I was interviewed by John DeRosa for the Classical Theism Podcast.  The focus of our discussion is my essay “What is Classical Theism?,” which appears in the anthology Classical Theism: New Essays on the Metaphysics of God, edited by Jonathan Fuqua and Robert C. Koons.  We also address some other matters, such as the book on the soul that I’m currently working on.  You can listen to the interview here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Archbishop Fernandez’s clarification

Recently, it was announced that Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernandez would become the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF).  As I noted in an article last week, Pope Francis has stated that he wants the DDF under the new prefect to operate in a “very different” way than it has in the past, when “possible doctrinal errors were pursued.”  The archbishop himself has said that he wants the DDF to pursue “dialogue” and to avoid “persecutions and condemnations” or “the imposition of a single way of thinking.”  He also indicated that he took this to mark a difference from the way the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (as the DDF was known until recently) has operated in recent decades.  As I argued in the article, the logical implication of the pope’s and archbishop’s words seemed to be that the DDF would largely no longer be exercising its traditional teaching function. 

Friday, July 14, 2023

Cardinal Newman, Archbishop Fernandez, and the “suspended Magisterium” thesis

St. John Henry Newman famously noted that during the Arian crisis, “the governing body of the Church came short” in fighting the heresy, and orthodoxy was preserved primarily by the laity.  “The Catholic people,” he says, “were the obstinate champions of Catholic truth, and the bishops were not.”  Even Pope Liberius temporarily caved in to pressure to accept an ambiguous formula and to condemn St. Athanasius, the great champion of orthodoxy.  Newman wrote:

The body of the Episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism… at one time the pope, at other times a patriarchal, metropolitan, or other great see, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people, who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellae, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them.

Friday, July 7, 2023

The vice of insensibility

Temperance or moderation is the virtue governing the enjoyment of sensory pleasures.  In particular, and as Aquinas says, “temperance is properly about pleasures of meat and drink and sexual pleasures.”  These pleasures reflect our bodily nature (which is why angels, unlike us, neither need the virtue of temperance nor exhibit the vices opposed to it).  Specifically, they reflect our needs for self-preservation and for preservation of the species.  Eating and drinking exist in order to meet the first need and sex exists in order to meet the second.  The pleasures associated with these activities exist in turn so that we will be drawn to carrying them out.  And temperance is needed so that the pleasures will perform that motivating task successfully.  In short, temperance exists in order that we will be drawn to the right kinds of sensory pleasures and to the right degree; those pleasures exist for the sake of encouraging eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse at the right times and in the right ways; and those actions exist, in turn, in order that the individual and species will carry on.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Pilkington responds

Philip Pilkington sent me a response to my reply to his American Postliberal article. I thank him for it and am happy to post it here:

Feser's response to my piece is a welcome effort at clarification. We need such clarification if postliberalism and related thought is to move from the abstract to the concrete. Here I will address the key points, as best I can.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Postliberalism, economics, and culture

I commend to you economist Philip Pilkington’s fine essay “Towards a Postliberal Political Economy,” at The American Postliberal.  It is in part a response to my recent Postliberal Order article “In Defense of Culture War.”  It seems to me that we are essentially in agreement, and that for the most part the essays complement rather than contradict one another.  But there might be some differences over details, or at least of emphasis.  Let’s take a look.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

In defense of culture war

From Marxists on the left to former House Speaker Paul Ryan on the right, many voices in the political discussion assure us that the “culture war” is a distraction and that what matter most are economic issues.  But economic order has cultural prerequisites, and indeed economic phenomena themselves cannot even be conceptualized apart from cultural presuppositions.  I make the case for the priority of culture to economics in my essay “In Defense of Culture War,” which appears this week at Postliberal Order.

Monday, June 12, 2023

The associationist mindset

When Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophers say that human beings are by nature rational animals, they don’t mean that human beings always reason logically (which, of course, is obviously not the case).  They mean that human beings by nature have the capacity for reason, unlike other animals.  Whether they exercise that capacity well is another question.  Human beings are often irrational, but you have to have the capacity for reason to be irrational.  A dog or a tree doesn’t even rise to the level of irrationality.  They are non-rational, not irrational.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Reconsidering corporal punishment

Debates about crime and punishment today typically concern disagreements about the death penalty, or about the length, and in some cases the appropriateness, of prison sentences.  Largely neglected is the topic of corporal punishment – the infliction of bodily pain as a penalty for an offense.  No doubt many will regard the very idea as a relic of a less enlightened age.  But that is not a view shared universally.  And the practice made headlines in the West within living memory, when, in 1994, the American teenager Michael Fay was caned in Singapore for vandalism (specifically, for stealing road signs and damaging a number of cars).

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Hell and conditional prophecy

In a recent talk at the Angelicum (which can be viewed at YouTube), Fr. Simon Gaine addresses the question of whether scripture teaches that some will in fact be damned.  He notes that certain prophecies of Christ might seem to imply this, but suggests that they may plausibly be read as conditional prophecies rather than descriptions of what will in fact happen.  Let’s take a look at his argument.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Capital punishment and the law of nations

What is the nature of Pope Francis’s 2018 change to the Catechism’s teaching on capital punishment?  Does it amount to a reversal of traditional teaching?  A development of doctrine that is consistent with that teaching?  A prudential judgment?  And if the latter, is assent to the new formulation binding on the faithful?  Barrett Turner offers an important analysis in his Nova et Vetera article “Pope Francis and the Death Penalty: A Conditional Advance of Justice in the Law of Nations.”  Let’s take a look.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Substance, teleology, and intentionality

There is an illuminating parallel between the traditional Aristotelian distinction between substances, artifacts, and aggregates, and the distinction John Searle draws between intrinsic intentionality, derived intentionality, and as-if intentionality.  This might seem odd given that the Aristotelian distinction is concerned with very general questions about the metaphysics of physical objects, whereas Searle is concerned with a very specific topic in the philosophy of mind.  But on closer inspection the parallel is quite natural and obvious, and the connecting link is the notion of teleology.  Let’s first consider each distinction, and then we’ll be in a position to see the parallels.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

A Festschrift for Gyula Klima

My essay “Truth as a Transcendental” appears in the Festschrift Metaphysics Through Semantics: The Philosophical Recovery of the Medieval Mind: Essays in Honor of Gyula Klima, edited by Joshua P. Hochschild, Turner C. Nevitt, Adam Wood, and Gábor Borbély.  Gyula’s work has contributed mightily to the revival of interest in medieval and Scholastic philosophy, and this honor is most deserved and welcome!  You can check out the table of contents at Josh Hochschild’s Twitter feed or at the publisher’s website. 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

The Catechism and Capital Punishment: A Reply to Annett

Some years back, in my article “Three questions for Catholic opponents of capital punishment,” I argued that Pope Francis’s statements on the death penalty cannot plausibly be read in a way that would make assent to them binding on Catholics.  This week, in an article at Where Peter Is, Tony Annett offers a reply.  Let’s take a look.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Hazony and Gottfried on wokeism and Marxism

Right-wingers often characterize wokeism as a kind of Marxism, and left-wingers routinely dismiss the characterization as a cheap smear that reflects ignorance of Marxist theory.  Who is right?  In his book Conservatism: A Rediscovery, Yoram Hazony argues that there is indeed a significant link between wokeism and Marxism.  Paul Gottfried responds at Chronicles, arguing that the similarities between the two have been overstated.  Let’s take a look at their arguments.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

What is a Law of Nature?

Some time back I gave a lecture at Fermilab on the topic “What is a Law of Nature?”  I’ve posted the text of the lecture at my main website.  You can watch the video of the lecture either at the Fermilab website or at YouTube.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

All One in Christ on EWTN Live

Recently I recorded an interview about my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory for the television program EWTN Live with Fr. Mitch Pacwa.  The show airs today – at 5 pm Pacific time, again at 10:30 pm, and then tomorrow morning (Thursday) at 7 am.  The recording will be available for viewing later at the show’s website and at YouTube.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Talking philosophy and natural theology

Recently, on the Thomistic Institute’s Off-Campus Conversations program, Fr. Gregory Pine and I had a discussion about Aquinas’s Five Ways, their metaphysical presuppositions, and the moral and spiritual preconditions of doing philosophy well.  You can watch it at YouTube or listen to it at Soundcloud.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Strawson on free will and interpersonal relationships

In his classic paper “Freedom and Resentment,” P. F. Strawson addresses the question of what difference the widespread acceptance of determinism would make to our everyday ways of dealing with each other.  He judges that our commonsense conception of human behavior is too deeply rooted in our nature to be dislodged even in such a scenario.  As in Strawson’s other work, he urges attention to details of ordinary experience that are ineliminable but often overlooked by revisionist systems of metaphysics.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

All One in Christ on Bookmark Brief

Recently I recorded interviews about my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory for the television programs EWTN Live and EWTN Bookmark.  They will be aired in the coming weeks, but a preview of the Bookmark interview has already appeared on Bookmark Brief with Doug Keck.  You can view it here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

McCaig and Reilly on All One in Christ

At Twitter, Bishop Scott McCaig kindly recommends my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory.  He writes:

A devastating critique of CRT and a clear Catholic response to the evils of racism.  A real eye-opener!  The incompatibility of CRT with the Faith, its numerous logical errors, and it’s deeper entrenching of racism into societal fabric could not be clearer.  Please read.

In the Winter issue of the Claremont Review of Books, Robert R. Reilly kindly reviews the book.  From the review:

Feser’s [book] is an important rejoinder, delivered in an accessible way for a wide audience, not just specialists and Catholics…

The philosophy of capital punishment

My essay “The Justice of Capital Punishment” appears in The Palgrave Handbook on the Philosophy of Punishment, edited by Matthew C. Altman.  You can view the anthology’s table of contents and other information about it at the publisher’s website

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Putnam on reason, reductionism, and relativism

Naturalism holds that what is real is what can be accounted for in terms acceptable to science.  More or less the orthodoxy in contemporary intellectual life, naturalism is a purportedly less crude descendent of what was traditionally known as materialism.  For the materialist, matter alone is real, so that anything that is both real and seems to be different from matter (mind, for example) must somehow really be material after all.  In modern times, matter is often conceived of on the model of particles in motion, so that “materialism” connotes the idea that everything real is really nothing but particles in motion. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

How to define “wokeness”

A common talking point among the woke is the claim that “woke” is just a term of abuse that has no clear meaning.  Whether many of them really believe this or are just obfuscating is not clear, but in any event it isn’t true.  I would suggest that what critics of wokeness have in mind is pretty obviously captured in the following definition: Wokeness is a paranoid delusional hyper-egalitarian mindset that tends to see oppression and injustice where they do not exist or greatly to exaggerate them where they do exist.

Friday, March 10, 2023

This month at First Things

My review of Thomas Ward’s superb new book Ordered by Love: An Introduction to John Duns Scotus appears in the current issue of First Things.  I was recently interviewed by Mark Bauerlein for the First Things podcast about my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Naturalism versus Katz’s Platonism

Naturalism holds that there is nothing more to reality than the world of concrete entities causally related to one another within space and time.  Since this is the realm studied by the natural sciences (such as physics, chemistry, and biology), naturalism can also be characterized as the view that the subject matter of natural science is all that there is.  Naturalism thus denies the existence of God, of angelic intellects, of immaterial souls (whether conceived of along the lines of Descartes’ res cogitans or in some other way), and of Platonic Forms and other abstract objects. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Open thread combox

Here’s the latest open thread, by popular demand.  Actually, it was one guy, but I’ll bet there at least twice as many as that who are interested.  From quantum logic to Quantumania, MacArthur at Inchon to Thomas Pynchon, Muay Thai to Jamiroquai, everything’s on topic.  Just keep it civil and classy.  Earlier open threads archived here.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Catholicism, CRT, and the spirit of the age

Recently I was interviewed by the Catholic Herald’s Katherine Bennett about Critical Race Theory and the need for Catholics not to let themselves be intimidated by the progressive spirit of the age.  You can watch the interview at YouTube.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Pope Francis contra life imprisonment

The white supremacist Buffalo shooter who murdered ten people has been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  According to scripture, natural law theory, and traditional Catholic moral theology alike, he is worthy of death.  It follows that this lesser penalty can hardly be unjust.  However, it seems that Pope Francis would disapprove of it.  For he has on many occasions condemned this sort of punishment as on a par with the death penalty, which he has also famously condemned.  I discussed this neglected but problematic aspect of the pope’s teaching in a Catholic World Report article originally published in 2019, and he has since then made further statements along the same lines.  Current events make the topic worth revisiting.

Friday, February 10, 2023

The Faith Once for All Delivered

Coming soon, the important new anthology The Faith Once for All Delivered: Doctrinal Authority in Catholic Theology, edited by Fr. Kevin Flannery.  Contributors include Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke (Foreword and Introduction), C. C. Pecknold, Christopher J. Malloy, Thomas Heinrich Stark, Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., John M. Rist, Edward Feser, Eduardo Echeverria, Kevin L. Flannery, SJ, Robert Dodaro, OSA, John Finnis, Guy Mansini, OSB, and Robert Cardinal Sarah (Afterword).  My essay for the volume is on the topic “Magisterium: The Teaching Authority of the Church.”

Talking about All One in Christ

The latest on my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory:  Recently I was interviewed for the EDIFY Podcast on the topic “The Truth about Critical Race Theory.”  You can listen to the interview here.  I was also interviewed about the book by Deal Hudson for the Church and Culture radio show.  You can listen to the episode here.  Other reviews of and interviews about All One in Christ can be found herehereherehere, and here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

An anonymous saint?

When we think of saints, we often associate them with mighty spiritual feats – dramatic martyrdoms, the production of works of great theological learning or spiritual insight, the founding of religious orders or vast charitable enterprises, and so on.  But saintliness, like the still small voice heard by Elijah, can manifest itself in subtler ways.  An illustration is provided by the life of Fr. Ed Dowling, SJ, the subject of Dawn Eden Goldstein’s fine new book Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.’s Spiritual Sponsor

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Avicenna on non-contradiction

We’ve been talking about the law of non-contradiction (LNC), which says that the statements p and not-p cannot both be true.  (In symbolic notation: ~ (p • ~p) )  We briefly noted Aristotle’s view that skepticism about LNC cannot be made a coherent position.  Let’s now consider a famous remark on the subject by the Islamic philosopher Avicenna or Ibn Sina (c. 970-1037).  In The Metaphysics of the Healing, he says of such a skeptic:

As for the obstinate, he must be plunged into fire, since fire and non-fire are identical.  Let him be beaten, since suffering and not suffering are the same.  Let him be deprived of food and drink, since eating and drinking are identical to abstaining. (Quoted in the SEP article “Contradiction”)

Friday, January 27, 2023

Quantum mechanics and the laws of thought

It isn’t news that much pop philosophy nonsense is peddled in the name of quantum mechanics.  Perhaps the best-known example is the claim that quantum mechanics refutes one or more of the traditional “laws of thought.”  The arguments are fallacious, but stubbornly persistent. 

The laws of thought are three:

1. The law of non-contradiction (LNC), which states that the statements p and not-p cannot both be true.  In symbolic notation: ~ (p • ~p)

2. The law of identity, which says that everything is identical with itself.  In symbolic notation, a = a

3. The law of excluded middle (LEM), which states that either p or not-p is true.  In symbolic notation: p V ~p

Friday, January 20, 2023

Cartwright on theory and experiment in science

Nancy Cartwright’s A Philosopher Looks at Science is a new treatment of some of the longstanding themes of her work.  It is written in her characteristically agreeable style and full of insights.  The book is devoted to criticizing three widespread but erroneous assumptions about science: that science is essentially just theory plus experiment; that in some sense everything science tells us is reducible to physics; and that science reveals that everything that happens, including human action, is determined by the laws of physics.  In this post I’ll discuss what she says about the first of these claims, which is the subject of the first and longest chapter in the book.  I may devote a later post to the other claims.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Benedict XVI, Cardinal Pell, and criticism of Pope Francis

In the wake of the deaths of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal George Pell, it has emerged that each of them raised serious criticisms of aspects of Pope Francis’s teaching and governance of the Church.  How might the pope respond to these criticisms?  As I have explained elsewhere, the Church explicitly teaches that even popes can under certain circumstances respectfully be criticized by the faithful.  Moreover, Pope Francis himself has explicitly said on several occasions that he welcomes criticism.  It seems clear that the criticisms raised by Benedict and Pell are precisely the kind that the pope should take the most seriously, given the teaching of the Church and his own views about the value of criticism.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

More about All One in Christ

The latest on my book All One in Christ: A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory: I was interviewed about the book by Carl Olson on the Ignatius Press Podcast.  I was interviewed by Cy Kellett on Catholic Answers Focus.  I was interviewed by Ken Huck on the Meet the Author radio program.  Reviewing the book at Catholic World Report, Gregory Sullivan writes: “Among its many virtues, All One in Christ is a work of genuine argumentation.  Meticulous and temperate in stating the case he is critiquing, Feser dismantles CRT with his characteristic rigor.”  The Spectator included the book on its list of the best books of 2022.  The book is available in German translation, and was reviewed favorably by Sebastian Ostritsch in Die Tagespost.  Other reviews of and interviews about All One in Christ can be found hereherehere, and here.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Sunday, January 1, 2023

The wages of gin

My review of Jane Peyton’s The Philosophy of Gin appears in the Christmas 2022 issue of The Lamp magazine.