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Theoretical Philosophy » Aquinas and embodied cognition » 12/22/2018 9:17 pm

ficino
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Due_Kindheartedness wrote:

Knowledge is propositions that are strong and have a lot of utility. True is not necessary, because a lot of things that are not true are knowledge. E.g. you believe your Aunt Tilly is alive and before you get any news update she dies of a fever. Your belief that she is alive isn't true anymore, but it's still knowledge.

No, it is not knowledge. You are not entitled to make up your own definitions unless you are willing to stand outside the community of discourse.
 

Theoretical Philosophy » Virtual Reality Conjecture » 12/09/2018 9:00 pm

ficino
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Cosmyk's OP reminds me of one stage in the debate between Feser and Keith Parsons. Parsons said that the PSR does not do the work that its proponents think it does:

" It is one thing to think that things have sufficient reasons; it is something else entirely to say that we are in the epistemological position to discover them. We might go wrong every time we think that we have found the sufficient reason for anything."

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/05/reply-to-prof-fesers-response-part-iv/

Theoretical Philosophy » What are the conditions necessary for free will? » 12/09/2018 8:42 pm

ficino
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Yes, I think the LFW position violates premises that Thomistic arguments about God's causality seek to establish. The human (or the angel, if there are such) must be the first cause of the motions of its will if its will is to be "free." 

There is a big literature on this even for Aristotle, who has to accommodate his LFW thesis to his unmoved mover thesis. And Ari has fewer doctrines about God's providence to deal with than Aquinas does.

Theoretical Philosophy » What are the conditions necessary for free will? » 12/06/2018 9:20 pm

ficino
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Hello Joe, leaving aside the problem of the agent's consciousness, which I suspect won't be decisive, I think a necessary condition of libertarian free will is that the agent have "dominion" over the willed action, or be the first cause/source of the motion of will. I think the Thomist position about the causal primacy of God as first mover/cause rules out libertarian free will for rational creatures.

Theoretical Philosophy » A Question About Free Will » 12/06/2018 2:57 pm

ficino
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OK. So you are saying that it doesn't follow that, if a creature is a rational agent, then the creature has free will/makes free choices? If so, cool.

I think it's a problem for Thomism to hold both that God is the first cause of every motion, first cause in any hierarchical order of causes, and to hold that acts of will are motions, and to hold that the controlling cause of the rational creature's acts of will is not God - however much Thomism wants to affirm concurrentism. 

I asked my earlier question because the usual answer is that the agent produces an effect in the recipient in line with the mode of being of the recipient. And in an argument for LFW, it would beg the question to define the mode of being of the recipient, the rational creature, in a way that already includes LFW as one of its properties. But I gather you're not making such a move. 

Theoretical Philosophy » A Question About Free Will » 12/06/2018 10:10 am

ficino
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RomanJoe wrote:

  ... Free agency doesn't mean our choices occur in a vacuum it means that we are free to choose how we govern our will with response to causal conditions that move it.

[Feser] "Human beings act freely because they are rational.

Joe, so you hold that if it's a rational creature, then it has libertarian free will? That the definition "rational" includes or entails LFW?

I thought this is the very point in question.

 

Chit-Chat » Reading recommendations on the metaphysics behind modern science? » 11/28/2018 3:09 pm

ficino
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Calhoun wrote:

Also I would recommend "Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized" By James Ladyman and others, I think this is the most sophisticated defense of scientism and naturalism,

I read several chapters of that plus a paper and a YouTube video by/with Ladyman. I too thought he made a sophisticated defense. I am not signing on to "scientism," but I do like his caution to metaphysicians that they not ignore developments in science, esp. in physics, but rather seek to make use of them.

Right now I'm reading Quentin Smith and L. Nathan Oaklander, Time, Change and Freedom. It is pretty good so far and not laced with symbolic logic. In his Introduction, Smith says that philosophical metaphysics today is consistent with (or maybe he means, "aspires to be consistent with") contemporary scientific theory and is partly based on it. He clarifies that the present book stands in the analytic philosophical tradition. some topics; nature of substances, persons, changes, eternity, divine foreknowledge, fatalism, the universe. As to physics, he says that the metaphysician's task is to interpret the physicist's equations for an understanding of time and the universe, but metaphysics doesn't collapse into talk about physics: "we cannot help but adopt and live by various metaphysical beliefs" (Smith's italics)... "Metaphysics deals with the rock-bottom issues that no one can escape"
 

Theoretical Philosophy » God is a quark? How do you arrive at God from per se causality, etc? » 11/23/2018 10:08 am

ficino
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ForumUser wrote:

The only thing he says is that if it has potency, then that potency must be actualized and hence it isn't the terminus of a per se series.

Hello, Forum User, just two minor suggestions. First, it may be clearer if you use some term like "first principle" or "origin" for the first cause of a per se series and reserve "terminus" for the final effect of the series.

  So the idea that the terminus of a per se series must be 'pure actuality' and hence be God seems simply false.

There can be many hierarchical series of causes ordered per se. God is not the only causal agent that can set into motion a process that will produce a desired effect. An example of a per se series used by Aquinas is one that starts with a king who orders an action. The order is transmitted from one minister to another until the action, the effect - the terminus of the series - is effected. But you are right to notice that Aquinas would hold that the origin/first cause/principium of every secondary per se series is itself a subordinate mover within another per se series, of which the first mover is God.

Good questions, carry on and I shall appreciate lurking further.
 

Theoretical Philosophy » Are generation and corruption "motions" in A-T? » 11/01/2018 6:46 am

ficino
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bmiller, I have not seen you on here or on Feser's blog in almost a year. I hope you are doing OK.

Today I came across a passage where Aquinas explicitly denies that generation and corruption are proper motions. That's because in motion, there is an *actual* subject that persists as the same through the change. In generation and corruption, there is not a subject that persists in act throughout the change:

"Accordingly there is sometimes one actually existent common subject of both terms of a change, and then we have movement properly so called, an example of which we have in alteration, increase and decrease, and local movement. In all such movements the one subject while actually remaining the same is changed from one contrary to another. Sometimes again we find the one subject common to either term, yet it is not an actual but only a potential being, as is the case in simple generation and corruption. For the subject of the substantial form and of the privation thereof is primal matter which is not an actual being: wherefore neither generation nor corruption are movements properly so called, but a kind of change." De Potentia 3.2 (trans. from dhspriory)
https://dhspriory.org/thomas/QDdePotentia3.htm#3:2

Theoretical Philosophy » Book on Byzantine reception of Aquinas » 10/15/2018 6:01 am

ficino
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This collection of essays on the  Byzantine translations and reception of the work of Thomas Aquinas may be of interest to some here:

http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2018/2018-10-26.html

From the review: "The chapters also contribute to the demolition of two ideas that have dominated discussion of Latins and Greeks for far too long. First, the authors demonstrate convincingly that there is no fundamental incompatibility between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic thought, in spite of common claims to the contrary that western, "Augustinian" theology cannot be reconciled with the thought of the Cappadocian Fathers and their successors in Byzantium. Second, the authors reveal a real dialogue between Greek and Latin theologians in the late Byzantine period that belies the widely assumed and often stated idea that some sort of methodological difference between Orthodox theology and Roman Catholic theology, especially after the development of Latin Scholasticism, rendered attempts at communication between the two sides an exercise in futility."

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