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Religion » Catholicism » 1/17/2018 3:40 pm

DanielCC
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Brian wrote:

As something akin to a new Year's resolution I've decided to dive into learning about Catholicism this year. I grew up protestant and am familiar with Ancient philosophy, so I am not ignorant of historical Christianity, but am looking to learn specifically about Catholic practice, art, history, and obviously philosophy.

Does anyone have any recommendations of books or things to look into?

I am planning on attending a traditional Catholic mass (which I have never done, it sounds like a beautiful experience), and I just finished reading G.K. Chesterton's short biography of St. Thomas Aquinas. As for other books on my list, I have the Story of Monasticism, by Greg Peters, and a book by Rene Guenon dealing with Freemasonry and the traditional Catholic workers guilds of the middle ages. I'm also considering rereading Elementary Christian Metaphysics by Joseph Owens and eventually want to read some St. Bonaventure with a commentary I found.

Any other suggestions on books or art or literature or anything to immerse myself in catholicism?

Thanks!

I am not a Catholic but do have quite a fondness for Catholic literature. From a literary and historic perspective I would recommend Joseph Pearce Literary Converts (it gives an interesting overview of conversion and the arts). Pearce is also responsible for a number of entertaining biographies of various British Catholic figures like Belloc and Tolkien.

Speaking of Belloc you might enjoy his Great Heresies and Europe and the Faith. His apologetic stuff is dated but still enjoyable to read, far more so I find than Chesterton. Finally I would recommend Robert Baldick's bio of J.K. Huysmans for a study of spiritual extremes (Schopenhauerian pessimism, spiritualism and potential Satanism and thence Catholic monasticism).
 

Chit-Chat » Discord Chat? » 1/13/2018 3:30 pm

DanielCC
Replies: 1

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I don’t really think the forum is large enough to justify it at present. The threads appear to carry discussion well enough.

Religion » Why is there God instead of Nothing? » 1/12/2018 6:18 am

DanielCC
Replies: 8

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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.
 

Religion » Why is there God instead of Nothing? » 1/11/2018 1:33 pm

DanielCC
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Dry and Uninspired wrote:

DanielCC wrote:

Dry and Uninspired wrote:

I’m sure there is a reason why, in fact, there has to be God instead of Nothing, but I don’t think we can really know it with our limited minds.

Am I missing something here?

The ontological argument.

 
Which one? Leibnizian?

Yes, the modal argument. More generally God is a necessary being and this necessity follows from various divine attributes such as perfection or simplicity.

Arguments such the PSR Cosmological Argument prove that a necessary being exists but they don't give an account of what it is in the nature of said being that makes it necessary. I have written about this just recently in the context of that argument:

http://ontologicalinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/five-proofs-critique-rationalist-proof.html

I agree that 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' though historically venerable is not the most illuminating way of phrasing that question. What is really meant is something like 'why do contingent beings' exist?'

Religion » Why is there God instead of Nothing? » 1/11/2018 1:12 pm

DanielCC
Replies: 8

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Dry and Uninspired wrote:

I’m sure there is a reason why, in fact, there has to be God instead of Nothing, but I don’t think we can really know it with our limited minds.

Am I missing something here?

The ontological argument.

Theoretical Philosophy » Do we really have a natural explanation of consciousness/qualia? » 1/11/2018 8:06 am

DanielCC
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I think that ironically consciousness is the main problem for materialism if one endorses a teleologically 'rich' view of matter a la C.B. Martin and other naturalistic Aristotelians. On hindsight I wonder if Feser's claim in his Philosophy of Mind that the problems of consciousness reduce to the problems of intentionality were not some what tactical (because if he admitted they were a problem it would cause problems for the Thomistic tripartite theory of soul). 

I don't think the A-T- account of mind really provides a convincing or even fully fleshed out account of how phenomenal consciousness can be built up out of non-conscious processes. I'd need to re-read books on the subject but two immediate persisting problems would be the unity of conscious and the endurance of the ego over time.

The Thomistic theory of cognition is riddled with problems or at least inadequacies (that is points which may be right but need a hell of a lot more fleshing out). For instance what does it mean to say a form exists in the mind? Or, even worse, the Imagist elements in their account of singular cognition.

Theoretical Philosophy » Five Proofs Critique - PSR Argument » 1/10/2018 2:25 pm

DanielCC
Replies: 24

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If people are interested I might do a follow up covering some questions about the PSR.

Religion » How to speak with atheists » 1/09/2018 6:27 pm

DanielCC
Replies: 65

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Might I suggest persons like this are too quick to equate God with what they see as the character in the Bibble?

God is by definition the supreme good, the perfect being et cetera et cetera, so saying ‘what’s so good about God’ or ‘God is bad’ doesn’t make sense - it is equivalent to saying ‘good is bad’. Likewise for actions this person considers wrong - if they are wrong then God could not command them, simple as that.

Theoretical Philosophy » Five Proofs Critique - PSR Argument » 1/09/2018 8:58 am

DanielCC
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Thinking about it folks, if you have any further 'big' questions could you post them in the blog combox? Want to drive up traffic so that it gets in the Google search.

Callum wrote:

Daniel it's great to see you use the quantum mechanics examples, which I feel are the main example which sidestep your point on the epistemology of our scientific and statistical explanations.

I think Feser's version (you note he gives 3) on making something intelligible may help here. Quantum mechanics (from my shoddy and shallow understanding) is inherently probabilistic. Though such and such state of affairs doesn't determine or strictly entail another state of affairs, we can intelligibly explain why.

Inherently probabilistic causation and disjunctive effects do come up in the next installment on the Aristotelian argument actually. I accept the contention that I am assuming the strong PSR implies that a hidden variable interpretation of quantum mechanics is preferable. I suppose the question is why should we accept no further explanation is necessary in that case as opposed to it being merely an epistemic brute fact (one unusual scenario might be to accept the free choices as self-explanatory and claim ergo that this can be the only way of explaining quantum particle behavior, thus arguing for panpsychism)

Put it like this: if prior philosophical concerns give us enough reason to reject interpretations of General Relativity which commit one to the B theory then more so do they give us reason to reject theories which involve inherent randomness based on ontological brute facts.

Theoretical Philosophy » Five Proofs Critique - PSR Argument » 1/09/2018 8:28 am

DanielCC
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Calhoun wrote:

What Do you think of Stephen Maitzen's objection? It seems one way Naturalist can justify restricting PSR to local scientific or naturalistic facts and defend Hume-Edwards objection.

Which essay is this from? The only essay of his I am familiar with is 'The Problem of Magic', which is, to put it politely, not very good. (I might write up my notes on that sometime as it's a prime example of how not to be a naturalist). I had him pegged as a Stephen Law tire atheist. 

I don't think the Hume-Edwards objection has any force as long as one can ask questions about the membership of sets or which world is actual.

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