Classical Theism, Philosophy, and Religion Forum

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

Theoretical Philosophy » Is prime matter necessary for change and limitation? » 1/17/2018 6:01 pm

Miguel
Replies: 2

Go to post

But then it becomes another substantial form. It is not the same substantial form as before, because it has changed. What does it mean to say that the form of wood qua wood is the same form as the form of ash in that case, and when it was wood it had a potential to be another substantial form other than itself? That seems to me to crossing into nonsense territory, even. How can we even differentiate substantial forms like that; what on earth could mean "a substantial form X, which is X, has the potential to be a substantial form Y which is not X, and then substantial form X becomes substantial form Y but it is still somehow the same form"? That's nonsense.

That's not the only problem, however. As I argued, hylemorphism may be necessary to account for other facts as well, such as the problem of the one and the many and individualization, and our own capacity for knowledge -- the identity between the intelligible form and the real form, which must be maintained to account for real knowledge, but also the distinction between those two instantiations, and universality x particularity.

Theoretical Philosophy » Craniopagus Twins and Thomistic Dualism. Interesting stuff » 1/14/2018 7:24 pm

Miguel
Replies: 1

Go to post

Have any of you seen this?

https://evolutionnews.org/2017/12/the-craniopagus-twins-and-thomistic-dualism/

To sum it up, these two twins are connected through their brains. Their brains share a thalamus which allows for one brain to influence the other. Interestingly, they can both see what the other sees (although one of the twins specifically cannot see what the other one's right eye sees). They even are able to share mental images and say they "talk in their heads". They are highly interconnected, and yet they are clearly two different persons, and even have different personalities. Some have argued that this distinction in "selves" among two persons who so closely share so many bodily organs would be an evidence against materialism.

However, Vincent Torley thinks it is problematic for a thomistic dualist that the twins can share thoughts or "talk" in their minds. Egnor responds (and I agree with him) that the twins don't actually share immaterial thoughts themselves, just the mental images (phantasmata, be it images, sounds, smells, whatever) which, as one could expect, affects them both pretty much the same (and such phantasmata would be material in thomistic dualism). Torley then proposes a tentative experiment to see if the twins can share abstract, immaterial thought or not; if they did, it would suggest that thomistic dualism is false, if they could share mental images but not the concepts or thought-propositions themselves, then this would count in thomistic dualism's favor and suggest that it's true. Egnor thinks the proposed experiment woukd be faulty, but suggests another one: if it could be shown that the girls differ in speed and efficacy when solving mathematical problems, for example, this would suggest that the concepts really are immaterial in character.

Obviously more thought should be given into the methodology and the questions involved (not to mention the fact that first and foremost they are kids, persons, and shoukd first and foremost be

Theoretical Philosophy » Specified geographical location as a requisite of causation? » 1/12/2018 9:32 am

Miguel
Replies: 39

Go to post

surroundx wrote:

bmiller wrote:

The example you give is almost exactly the same argument used by Aristotle against the atomists to show how "the void" (what separated atoms) could not be nothing, since if there were nothing between 2 objects all objects would be continuous.  If there was literally nothing between 2 30cm cubes, no object could fit between them.

That is a non sequitur on Aristotle's part. Negations can be of different sizes in virtue of their parasitic nature upon the actual/potential (e.g. two different sized holes). The difference between two cubes adjoining each other, and two cubes being separated by 30cm, is the size of the negation of actuality.

And the reality of the negation of actuality is in virtue of several things. The finitudinal extension of material objects, the impossibility of an actual infinite, and the unqualified potential for material existence.

 
Holes are not nothing, and not even empty space is, as it would have the potency to be a receptacle for things. Nothing is nothing at all, no potentialities whatsoever.

Religion » Why is there God instead of Nothing? » 1/12/2018 9:27 am

Miguel
Replies: 8

Go to post

DanielCC wrote:

Dry and Uninspired wrote:

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

I understand your point, Dry and Uninspired. You are saying that Feser is showing that God must exist, but we can always why things are as they are. The problem here is the limits of discursive reasoning. What is necessary must be, but our discursive intellects have a problem assimilating that. The answer is, in fact, because God is - he is his own reason and explanation, but to fully appreciate this answer goes beyond what discursive reason can give.

 
Yeah, thanks, I think that’s about right.

I am not following you two. Of course one can always ask what the explanation for something is, that explanation either being found in the nature of the being itself (reported by the states-of-affairs) or in the nature of another.

Also: I might be failing to answer the question (if so sorry) but I am not giving the same answer as Feser, since he, like all his Thomist brethren, is notoriously triggered by the ontological argument. If people want more on this subject I'd recommend Brian Leftow's essay Divine Necessity in The Cambridge Companion to Christian Philosophical Theology. Message me for the PDF if you don't have access.
 

 
I don't think thomists have a problem with the ontological argument as a sort of explanation or elucidating way to show why God exists. It would, after all, pretty much follow from the thomistic view of God as Pure Act, and Anselm's own view was based on divine simplicity.

The problem is with the ontological argument *as* an argument to show *that* God exists, because then we have to either give proof of the first premiss (in which case the argument is insufficient) or show it is likely, but in that case the probability of the first premiss is equal to that of the existence of God. These are my problems with it anyway.

However, the OA can be very useful to do a modal tweaking of premisses in different arguments (e.g. Cosmological). So we can have S

Theoretical Philosophy » Do we really have a natural explanation of consciousness/qualia? » 1/11/2018 9:07 pm

Miguel
Replies: 8

Go to post

Dry and Uninspired wrote:

RomanJoe wrote:

I really want to better understand the mind from an A-T view. My initial reactions when I first came across A-T accounts of mental experience, and how it supposedly doesn't fall victim to the hard problem of consciousness, is that it really is just a form of epiphenomenalism, no? Certain material forms can generate a rush of mental experience (qualia, intentionality, privacy) and these mental experiences can't be assessed empirically like  the third-person motions of material processes.

 
I’m no expert, but I doubt Thomists would consider it epiphenomenalism, not with the four causes system and all. I could be wrong, but under epiphenomenalism it would then basically be a part of the material cause or at least subordinate to it.

The material cause of consciousness would be the neurons involved in it, the efficient cause whatever happened to bring the neurons into existence...So we still have the formal and final causes, which are not somehow less important (which they would be if epiphenomenalism were true).

 
From what I remember, according to a standard A-T view, or at least Feser's interpretation, what we perceive as qualia would be real accidental features of substances, so it would be part of the formal cause I presume. I think it makes sense, and at least it is, to my mind, the best "natural" explanation one could give to qualia.

It's interesting to see different perspectives on the subject. While I am a committed hylemorphist, I recognize that "Cartesian" dualism still has very able defenders; Karl Popper, Swinburne, Goetz, Collins, etc. Fr. Robert Spitzer in particular defends what he calls "trialist interactionist hylomorphism", in which he complements John Eccles's later model of interactionism with a hylomorphism inspired by Bernard Lonergan and Polanyi. Although I don't know many details.

A small problem I have with hylemorphic dualism -- or at least Feser's view -- is that its view of t

Theoretical Philosophy » Do we really have a natural explanation of consciousness/qualia? » 1/10/2018 11:57 pm

Miguel
Replies: 8

Go to post

I'm mainly making this thread out of curiosity for different views on this subject.

The standard aristotelean-thomistic view has been that consciousness is a purely material process, inasmuch as it is something produced by the brain, unlike intellection or the abstraction of universal or determinate concepts/forms. However, A-T usually agrees that consciousness is a problem for modern *naturalism*, since the contemporary naturalist conception of matter really is insufficient to account for consciousness and thus is open to arguments such as the knowledge argument, the zombie argument, etc. A-T would then argue that consciousness can be understood naturally if we accept forms, real accidental features etc in our ontology.

Do you agree with this? Opinions on the hard problem of consciousness? On veridical NDEs? On other related stuff?

I tend to agree with the A-T view, but I haven't delved too much into this subject. Just curious to see what any of you think about these subjects.

Theoretical Philosophy » Five Proofs Critique - PSR Argument » 1/09/2018 10:57 pm

Miguel
Replies: 24

Go to post

UGADawg wrote:

If P explains Q, and there are possible words with P but not Q, given PSR there must be some reason Q doesn't follow from P in those possible worlds (otherwise brute), which he's calling a defeater. In every possible world with P & no defeater, then, Q obtains as well. So if there are no contingent defeaters it's an entailment.

At least that's how I understand him. If I can get in touch with him I'll ask him if he ever formally checked it with a computer; he's literally a professional logician, though, so I tend to trust his intuitions when it comes to formal logics.

 
My questions are:

1) Why assume that, If P explains Q, there must be a reason why Q *doesn't* follow from P in a certain possible world in which P obtains? It seems to me that there is only an explanation required for "why Q doesn't follow" if we are already presupposing that P entails Q, which of course would beg the question. If we don't believe that explanations entail what they explain, then there is no explanation needed for why we'd have P without Q, and the whole view that some positive defeaters are needed to account for why Q does not follow from P would be wrongheaded from the start.

2) If we grant that some contingent facts (namely, some free actions or decisions, as Pruss suggests and DanielCC mentions in his article) are self-explanatory, then in a possible world w God can choose not to create the universe in a contingent and self-explanatory act. This would be a defeater and part of the BCCF, but self-explanatory. Wouldn't this also defuse the argument?

3) What if God always has necessary reasons for both creating and not creating the universe? The necessary reasons for not creating the universe can explain why God didn't create the uniferse in possible world w. Why would this be a problem if we don't assume explanations must necessitate what they explain?

Theoretical Philosophy » Five Proofs Critique - PSR Argument » 1/09/2018 6:58 pm

Miguel
Replies: 24

Go to post

UGADawg wrote:

Miguel with the "a true explanation that succeeds entails the truth of what it explains" he's just talking about those explanations that account for all their possible defeaters. He's not assuming, prior to the argument, all explanations are entailments; rather he's arguing that for any situation in which an explanation accounts for all its contingent defeaters (and it must have contingent defeaters in the first place, otherwise it's already an entailment), and the explanation is true, then all the defeaters must be false, so we have an entailment. This kind of situation obviously holds for the relationship between E and the BCCF, therefore it's an entailment.

 
I understand he is not presupposing that all explanations are entailments. I do not understand how he concludes that if an explanation has no defeaters, then it means it is an entailment. This simply does not follow. It only follows that it is the only possible explanation, being undefeatable as an explanans. In modal terms, if the explanation Q has no possible defeaters, then in every possible world in with explanandum P exists, then Q exists also. But this does not mean that in every possible world in which Q exists, P also exists. If an explanation has no contigent defeaters, it does not mean that there is an entailment from Q to P. How are you concluding this?

Theoretical Philosophy » Five Proofs Critique - PSR Argument » 1/09/2018 5:05 pm

Miguel
Replies: 24

Go to post

So I disagree with i. And explanation with no defeaters simply is the only explanation for the explanandum; modally, an explanation with no defeaters would be understood as the fact that in every possible world in which explanandum P obtains, explanans Q obtains; it does not follow, however, that in every possible world in which Q obtains P obtains.

Theoretical Philosophy » Five Proofs Critique - PSR Argument » 1/09/2018 5:00 pm

Miguel
Replies: 24

Go to post

UGADawg wrote:

FWIW it's not exactly difficult to prove the move from the necessary being to the BCCF must be an entailment, even if we allow that some explanations aren't entailments. To quote from one of my friends:

What I'm trying to get at is if explanation are (sometimes) not entailments, then it's possible that they fail, even when the conclusion is also true - the explanation from P to Q has defeaters. In the example I gave, even though someone being pushed off a building explains that he died, and he did die, it was defeated by the man being shot on his way down. And, if the PSR is true, there is a fact to whether or not any given explanation is defeated for each defeater, and these facts must have an explanation. 

Therefore, given the explanation E, for the Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact (BCCF), I believe we can demonstrate that it is an entailment, if we accept than an explanation that gives an account of every possible defeater of it, forms an entailment. I haven't sketched out the formal proof of that part, but it seems reasonable - if it's impossible for there to be any other ways for the explanation could fail, then we know whether it does in fact succeed or not. And a true explanation that succeeds entails the truth of what it explains. 


i) An explanation with necessary defeaters or no defeaters is an entailment (as it would either always succeed or never succeed). 
ii) Therefore, if E is not an entailment, it must have contingent defeaters.
iii) Therefore, the defeaters of E are part of the BCCF
iv) Therefore, E explains the defeaters of E
v) Therefore, E is an entailment.

 
Perhaps I don't understand the argument. I don't follow how "a true explanation that succeeds entails the truth of what it explains". I don't see why an explanation being the only one and not failing to explain the explanandum, it means that the explanandum was necessitated by the explanation. It simply means that it's the explanation for it, and

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum