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Practical Philosophy » What counts as perverting a faculty? (NSFW) » 8/10/2018 9:47 pm

Greg
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RomanJoe wrote:

However, what about instances of physical sexual pleasure that don't result in premature climax or climax outside of the vagina? For instance, crossing one's legs a certain way because it feels good, direct stimulation of a faculty without ejaculation, or even (though perhaps rare) sexual intercourse and stopping deliberately before climaxing. In these cases is one acting contrary to the natural end of the sexual faculty? If semen has not been ejaculated in aat all, if there was no redirected climax, say, in a condom or tissue, then would the non-climactic stimulation just be seen as using a faculty in a way "other" than its natural end rather than contrary to its natural end?

The trouble I have always thought the argument faced was spelling out the relevant sense of "use contrary to end" in a manner neither too inclusive nor too exclusive. I think there are also more significant problems of the character of Thomistic ethics generally--and whether "good is to be done and evil avoided" has the sense necessary to be both a) defended in the manner Feser defends it and b) applied in the manner Feser applies it.

But the sense of use at issue is I think clearly supposed to be one according to which the reproductive faculty is used even when one does not reach climax. Intuitively, the sexual organs are still being used in such a case, for pleasure or whatever else. I don't have the article on hand at the moment and haven't read it in a while, so I can't say whether it is phrased in a way that anticipates this possibility, but I suspect that it is, and even if not, it should be.

I don't think that is the tough part of the argument. The argument isn't that sperm is wasted when it isn't used for procreation, so that the wrong enters principally at the stage of non-marital ejaculation. However one winds up claiming that ejaculating into a condom is using the reproductive faculty contrary to its natural end, it should also be the case that usi

Theoretical Philosophy » Evolution and Proportionate Causality » 7/25/2018 10:19 am

Greg
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I don't think that will work. There are lots of powers that all animals have in common with humans, but not all of them. Oysters lack locomotion, in Aristotle's view, and from our standpoint it should probably look like there is even greater variation in the possession of various senses among animals. (I am not familiar with the details of Aristotle's biology at all, but I understand that he does count sponges among animals rather than vegetables, and holds that they at least have perception/sensation--or, at least, a quick search seemed to show this, but he certainly thinks it's true of oysters.)

However, I think it is also not going to be correct to characterize the difference between the prefections of two animals which do have all of the same powers (say, a horse and a dog) as a difference in degree rather than kind, unless all animals with the same set of powers are specifically the same, which they are not.

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 7/25/2018 9:56 am

Greg
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I recently read Stephen Mulhall's The Great Riddle: Wittgenstein and Nonsense, Theology and Philosophy. I thought it was an excellent little book, and it struck a chord with me, since one of my recent preoccupations has been the status of philosophical language and Thomists' (as well as lots of medieval philosophers') failure to take their qualifications about philosophical language seriously.

Mulhall's primary training is in Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. He just came across the grammatical Thomist tradition in the last several years and became curious about the claims, chiefly of David Burrell, to be the rightful inheritor both of Aquinas and of Wittgenstein. That project evolved into the 2013-2014 Stanton Lectuers, of which the book is a republication. It is both an updating of Burrell's work with superior Wittgenstein scholarship and a reading (or rereading) of Aquinas's Summa theologiae as articulating and meditating upon the grammar of the word 'God' ("Grammar tells what kind of object anything is. (Theology as grammar)," PI §373).

It makes use of the work of Cora Diamond, who (rightly) disputes whether 'nonsense' is always a term of opprobrium in Wittgenstein. (The philosophical understanding which the Tractatus helps one toward, for instance, is achieved only when its reader comes to understand that its sentences are nonsense.) The basic idea is that our language contains perfective terms which allow us to formulate riddles, to which God is the only answer--but our only way of expressing the way in which God is the answer is, as it were, by breaking our language and uttering the formulations of divine simplicity to which Aquinas is inclined. (It therefore rejects two major approaches in Wittgenstein-inspired philosophy of religion, the one to regard traditional formulations of divine simplicity as nonsense and therefore bad and useless, the other to deflate and domesticate religious language

Theoretical Philosophy » Review of Renewing Philosophy of Religion: Exploratory Essays » 7/14/2018 3:49 pm

Greg
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FZM wrote:

​Is the idea of a kind of crisis in philosophy of religion being pushed, basically, by philosophers committed to atheism and metaphysical naturalism? Because they feel that there are too many theists working in the field?

I think it is more that there are some philosophers with either naturalism-compatible theisms or non-theistic (and naturalism-compatible) religions, who think their views deserve more of a hearing.

Chit-Chat » ​Who are your three biggest philosophical influences? » 6/30/2018 9:08 pm

Greg
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Indeed, my answer is more determinate these days.

I mentioned Newman in my previous answer. I could perhaps even swap out Aquinas for him.

Chit-Chat » ​Who are your three biggest philosophical influences? » 6/30/2018 9:02 pm

Greg
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You've asked this question before. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


At this point, I say Aquinas, Anscombe, and Wittgenstein.

Theoretical Philosophy » Dissolving the Interaction Problem » 6/27/2018 3:38 pm

Greg
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John West wrote:

I should copy Armstrong's version of the interaction problem some time (A Materialist Theory of the Mind). He freely admits that the conceptual versions of the problem aren't very serious. He's more worried about the empirical versions. I think this stance is at least somewhat common in the non-dualist literature. (I seem to remember Lowe saying something to the same effect in one of his books.)

I think that's right. A lot of non-dualists think that anyone who rejects causal closure of the physical will eventually be skewered by empirical results.

Chit-Chat » Just a bit of good news » 6/26/2018 1:02 pm

Greg
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Congratulations.

Theoretical Philosophy » What are your thoughts on the problem of personal identity? » 6/25/2018 9:33 pm

Greg
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DanielCC wrote:

If you mean the argument from the unity of consciousnesses then great argument, also tells against Aristotelian accounts (like C.B. Martin's?) which hold phenomenal consciousness can be adequately accounted for on a materialist basis with addition of immanent teleology. I believe William Hasker discusses it somewhere.

Hasker has a paper on the topic in the Koon and Bealer collection The Waning of Materialism. It defends the Leibnizian-Kantian argument for the conception of humans as persons / unified selves, argues that this conception is consistent with empirical data which might seem to contradict it, and defends Hasker's emergent dualism.

Theoretical Philosophy » PSR thread » 6/24/2018 8:05 pm

Greg
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What do you take a coincidence to be? "A coincidence might be an explanation" is most naturally taken as saying that the fact that is a coincidence explains something else, which is not anything I have denied, but which also does not seem to be relevant to our discussion. (That A and B were both in Pepe's Pizzeria, albeit coincidentally, might be an "explanation" (explanans) of the fact that they both witnessed the theft which took place there that night.)

One might take that sentence, alternatively, to mean that the identification of some fact as a coincidence suffices to explain it, or implies that it has an explanation. That would contradict what I have said, though it is a rather obscure and doubtful remark. But to assess its plausibility, we should first hear what you think is being claimed by someone who says that a fact is a coincidence. I have given my own analysis; the person is claiming that the fact cries out for explanation but lacks it.

It is unresponsive to what I have claimed to respond that "everyday coincidences are not brute facts"--for what I have explicitly argued is that, if 'explanation' is polysemous, then 'brute fact' is polysemous, so that coincidences might be brute facts in one sense even if they are not brute in another. In an exceedingly common usage of 'coincidence' and 'explanation', it seems to be the case--indeed, a truism--that coincidences are brute facts; to call something coincidental just is to deny that the apparent need for explanation is met, where this apparent need is something that not all facts have.

Now, one can argue that in fact what is being denied is not that the occurrence has an explanation (in some sense though not perhaps in others) but that it has an explanation of a certain sort (a unified explanation): in other words, one is just claiming that the explanation is nothing more than "the chancey and orderly individual activities of A and B".

I should first of all repeat that I have not denied

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