Classical Theism, Philosophy, and Religion Forum

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 8/16/2018 4:09 pm

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

A thought on Vos' Scotus. The book is excellent (I read the central section on the Subtle Doctor's philosophy some years ago and am just beginning it again) and Vos really tries hard to give the reader a sense of the time and local in which his subject worked.

The one little quibble I have is that though Vos is right to stress Scotus innovation with regards to synchronic contingency ('logical potency') he sometimes talks as if prior scholastics including Thomas were modal fatalists, that they held the actual world was the only possible world. This is quite clearly false - earlier scholastics still understood what synchronic contingency entailed even if they were stuck with an Aristotelian paradigm that tried to parse modality into diachronic statements (this is one reason why though Thomas is happy to admit matter might be necessary in the Aristotelian sense of existing from eternity he still stresses its difference from the necessity of the divine substance). Although the emanationist view held by the Neo-Platonists and some Arabian philosophers points towards modal collapse most scholastic philosophers had a strong sense of creation's contingency dating back to Augustine's discussion of different worlds God could create.
 

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 8/16/2018 9:33 am

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

kypwri wrote:

Daniel, Is the Richard Cross you're referring to this?:

(I'm not allowed to include the amazon link as a new member, so instead the title:Duns Scotus (Great Medieval Thinkers))

I don't know anything about Scotus so is this a good place to start?  I'm surprised to see it $40 new....

Yes, that's the one. I agree that $40 is way too steep.

Put it this way: it doesn't cover everything but it gives one a nice feel for Scotus' overall philosophical project. Mary Beth Ingham's The Philosophical Vision of John Duns Scotus is supposed to be more comprehensive though also more advanced. If you're familiar with the basics of Thomism and contemporary philosophy I'd take a chance on that instead.

Hard to find a cheap copy at the moment, but Efrem Bettoni did an introduction to Scotus after the manner of the Neo-Thomist manusals.

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 8/14/2018 11:11 am

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

More cheery reading

I have recently finished Richard Cross introduction to Scotus. It's an accessible little volume, though the emphasis Cross places on some subjects and not on others (for instance the subject of haecceities is relegated to a brief mention at the end) is slightly surprising, as is his failure to more clearly bring Scotus in line with modern ideas e.g. his being the father of the principle of alternative possibilities criterion for libertarian free will. Overall it's a good, lucid and engaging piece of work and leaves the reader wanting more.

The more I read about the Subtle Doctor the more I think Scotus is a better representative of natural theology than Thomas. His thought does justice to perfect being theology and modal discourse in a way Thomism can't and his epistemology/psychology is potentially less troubled by imagism.

Next is the Antoine Vos huge The Philosophy of John Duns Scotus.

Resources » Resources for Thomistic Response to Contemporary Philosophy » 8/11/2018 6:03 am

DanielCC
Replies: 3

Go to post

4MarksMojo wrote:

Thank you for responding, and sorry for taking so long to reply.  

Yeah, I'm more interested in metaphysics and natural theology rather than semiotics or ethics.  What suggestions would you have in the way of metaphysics and natural theology?

Barry Miller has a trilogy - The Fullness of Being, From Existence to God and A Most Unlikely God – attempting to elaborate and develop some of the more controversial aspects of Thomas ontology and natural theology e.g. the real distinction and divine simplicity, in the language of contemporary Analytical philosophy. It might be too technical (not to mention expensive!) for your purposes, but Elmar Kramer has a nice overview of Miller’s thought, Analysis of Existing: Barry Miller's Approach to God, which is available for non-astronomical amounts.
 
Christopher Martin’s Thomas Aquinas: God and Explanations is the go to analytical defence of the Five Ways. It too is expensive but well worth checking out if you can get it through a library. 

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 8/09/2018 6:43 am

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

To return to my complaints Davies’ overview and criticism of various theistic accounts of evil e.g. the tapestry theory or soul-making, would be considered a disgrace to a lowbrow philosophical atheist like Martin or Maitzen. That a theist should come out with them in the muddled strawman way that he does is highly depressing.

I am also impressed how that noble son of the Ox manages to completely ignore applicatione of the Principle of Double Effect to the cases he discusses. If he is applying human moral standards to God (to show why that should not be done of course least Plantinga creep into our houses and eat our children) then quite categorically he is not applying Thomistic ones.

With due deference to Anscombe fans I really think Wittgenstein ruined Thomist and associated scholastic philosophy in the U.K. Almost all of them bear his taint and Davies is no exception.

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 7/29/2018 4:48 pm

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

C. S. Lewis made the insightful point that 1984 was redundant. Orwell had said all he needed to say, more clearly and succinctly, in Animal Farm. It is the modern prejudice against animal fables that caused him to restate it all again in a different form. Not only that, but he included extraneous and questionable additions that distract from the main point, like the strange idea a totalitarian regime would be prudish.

A neglected dystopian work is Lewis's own space trilogy, specifically the final work, That Hideous Strength. They are not without their weaknesses, but each work is rather good, I think. That Hideous Strength is more or less his brilliant The Abolition of Man in fictional form, and with an ending for the bad guys that reminded me of the Divine Comedy.

Animal Farm had the advantage in that it tried to depict the trust and faith subjects still invested in the Party even when it tyrannised them. I read Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward a few months before 1984 and I don’t think words can convey how superior a work it was, both as an anti-Stalinist polemic and as a literary work.
 
Ironically I wrote in response to someone else that it's hypocritical for those who champion 1984 to critise Tolkien's fiction as being too dualistic and naive in its view of evil, since it's exactly the same psychology of evil at work with Melkor and Sauron albeit spelled out slightly more obliquely.

 

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 7/29/2018 9:55 am

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

Ohh dear... my choice of reading materials is proving rather poor at the moment.

I recently finished Owell's 1984. Unfortunately I found it greatly disappointing. Orwell's depiction of a dystopian society was heavy-handed and his prose-style frankly rather ugly. It was Dickens does Stalinism but with a heavy element of Marxism still remaining. The worst thing was his depiction of the 'proles', a sort of fetished deception of the 'working class' as a group of lusty, foul mouthed Cockney speaking noble savages who are largely ignored and allowed to go about their business by the totalitarian government. Of course this group is looked on with envy and at one point taken as the only possible hope for the future. I really dislike this tendency of Anglo-Modernists to depict those of a certain economic station as representatives of some oppressed superior culture - noble savages or the meet who shall inherit the earth - as opposed to, you know, taking people as individual agents deserving of a basic quality of life regardless of their culture or background. Of course one has this in older writers, Dickens for instance or Tolstoy with his peasants (though Tolstoy does try to give a more nuanced picture), the prime difference with the modernists being that they look upon this group with a kind of resentful envy, a repressed hankering after crudity and righteous brutality.

Back to the novel - O'Brien's long speech about the ultimate purpose of the party would be extremely frightening were it not too drawn out and overdone (whole pages could have been abbreviated by Nietzschean slogans 'will to power! all that exists is the drive to power and the only point of power is as a means to obtain more power!)'. The state described, that of the subject who abolishes the concept of truth and external reality in a solipsistic rejection of anything beyond themselves, that which only exists in continued rejection and attack against anything independent of its own mind, is probabl

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 7/25/2018 9:59 am

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

Edit: let me quickly point out that I am not claiming some of the Thomists claims about God e.g. the analogical theory of predication or the Real distinction, are necesserily wrong (though in some cases I think they are). I do however absolutely decry philosophers who make them needlessly hard to understand - those who, for instance, express the analogy of beings with claims like 'God is not a being' 'We cannot say that God exists only that He is' or that God cannot be counted (what does that later even mean?),

Calhoun wrote:

Right, so his appeal to humility don't even reach the levels of some kind of Skeptical Theism( because they try give arguments for how we can't know what God ought to do) or do you find that problematic too? 

Yes, humility is treated as being indicative of religious virtue (of being virtues) rather than our being unable to formulate x due to some specific cognitive limitation. It stems, I am certain from the Thomist idea of the proper object of the intellect being the quidity of a material thing*, but Davies does not spell it out as such as it would suggest his argument commits one to a specifically Thomist theory of perception and epistemology that many would reject (on the grounds it doesn't do justice for our basic dependence of modal intuitions) or at least would not accept without hearty argument. 

(And I do think the CORNEA criterion Wyskstra appeals to in his original article is problematic)

*In which case I am with Scotus that the property object of the intellect is being itself.

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 7/25/2018 5:34 am

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

Calhoun wrote:

Why is his appeal to humility so problematic to you ? Simply appealing to it isn't wrong , do you think his view contains more humility than rival hypothesis or something like that? 

 
Because it's solely a rhetorical appeal. Even the sceptics give arguments for their position on why someone cannot know X or Y. Imagine someone claiming one cannot know whether not God exists because of 'humility' - I wouldn't give such a person the time of day. I don't think humility is some thing theories have either (one talks of a more modest hypothesis but that usually mean salvaging something from a more comprehensive hypothesis that has turned out to be inadequate as it stands – it doesn’t mean simplicity is a theoretical virtue like explanatory power or simplicity).
 

Chit-Chat » Recent reading » 7/24/2018 6:01 pm

DanielCC
Replies: 14

Go to post

What I find mystifying about a lot of these books is that Thomas' own writing is not that obscure and inaccessible, in fact as long as one puts in the time to learn a bit about the background and the scholastic terminology used it's far more accessible. Both of the Summa are quite enjoyable to read and even the more dense Disputed Questions on Evil or On the Power of God aren't too bad - even if one disagrees with some of Thomas' theories one at least learns something from it (it falls into the rank of serious contender).

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum