Search Results for: essentialism

Thomistic Essentialism and Sex in the Real World

Virtually every healthy human adult on the planet has a sex life of some sort, and the effect of Thomistic sexual ideology (use sex organs for procreation only), were it to be seriously followed everywhere, would be the generation of … Continue reading

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Sex, Thomistic Essentialism, and the Demographic Maintenance of the Catholic Church

With regard to sex, Thomism is a question-begging exercise that puts a veneer of essentialist metaphysics over the question, “Why is God upset if humans don’t make use of their sex organs in accord with their primary and essential function?” … Continue reading

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Richard Dawkins and Pat Robertson: The Essentialism That Binds?

After Pat Robertson said that Haiti’s earthquake had occurred because Haiti had made a pact with the devil, other Christians distanced themselves from his statement, and had a different reaction: don’t worry so much about the question of theodicy, but help those in … Continue reading

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Woke Fanatics? Essentialists vs. Nominalists

What’s a fanatic, exactly? The well-known Catholic essentialist philosopher Edward Feser, in a recent post at his blog, points to feminist philosophers like Kathleen Stock, Holly Lawford-Smith, and Julie Bindel as “woke fanatics,” but what is a fanatic, exactly, but someone … Continue reading

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What’s It Feel Like For Your Existence To Precede Your Essence? Monochromatic And Abstract Expressionist Paintings Suggest An Answer

God’s death (and essentialism’s) represented in art. Above is a monochromatic artwork by the French artist, Yves Klein (1928-1962), but what do monochromatic and abstract expressionist paintings mean? Matthew Israel’s recent essay on Klein suggests an answer: [W]hen [Yves] Klein started painting seriously … Continue reading

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Thomas Aquinas for Beginners

Listening closely to theist arguments–and Aquinas. As an agnostic, I’m not sure whether God exists or not, nor whether Thomas Aquinas’s metaphysics is wholly correct, but I’m also not the sort of person who is interested in practicing confirmation bias … Continue reading

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Who Shapes and Defines the Clay, and Who Cuts the Deck of Definition? Hylomorphism, Aquinas, Sartre, and Evolution

What is hylomorphism? Hylomorphism is a term out of classical philosophy (first used by Aristotle, later picked up by Aquinas) where a designer takes raw material and uses her mind and hands to impose purpose and form on it, as … Continue reading

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Arguing about Gay Marriage with Thomists: Love vs. Reproduction

The premises underlying Thomistic arguments against gay marriage are four: sex’s goal should be directed ultimately to reproduction; marriage is for the rearing of children and the union of man and woman; marriage is naturally a social institution for promoting … Continue reading

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What’s a Penis, and What’s It for? Thomas Aquinas vs. Ludwig Wittgenstein

What’s better: to see a thing as having both essential and accidental features, and placing it in a genus-species hierarchy (Thomas Aquinas’ view), or to drop hierarchy and essentialism in definition altogether, and just see a thing as sharing “family … Continue reading

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Who Is William Blake, Really?

William Blake is a poet, not a metaphysician. When someone writes with aphorism, irony, and wild and flamboyant system building (as Blake and Nietzsche did), they are mocking essentialism; they’re showing that language is infinite; that there are a gazillion … Continue reading

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What Love Is (A Definition)

What is love? I’d basically put it among the very broad family of “the better angels of our nature,” and in the genus of “seeking connection, harmony, and cooperation in a non-zero sum way.” As to the species of this … Continue reading

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Love, Thomism, Jews, and Gay Marriage

Love is what you bring into your circle of concern. You value it for your own happiness and the happiness of the other. It’s what you’ve found a way to work with rather than wall yourself off from, marginalize, and … Continue reading

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Thomas Aquinas Says We Are Children of Wrath. Is He Right?

In the fourth book of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles, chapter 52, there is quite a dark vision of the world on display. At one point, for example, Aquinas, echoing the apostle Paul, speaks of all humanity as “children of wrath.” God, … Continue reading

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Gay Marriage and Thomism

At Catholic philosopher Edward Feser’s blog, a poster in the threads wrote the following: “If I start with a conclusion, then perhaps I can manufacture a theory (or modify an existing theory) to arrive at my desired conclusion, but that … Continue reading

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Technology Bad for Thomists?

Should Thomists shun technology? At his blog, Thomist philosopher Edward Feser wrestles with the question of whether technology–playing with Promethean fire–is a good thing, and I think it’s telling that, by the end of his essay, his question shifts away from the … Continue reading

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The New Sexual Orientation Blindness: Michael Hannon Says It’s Time To Stop Seeing Individuals As “Heterosexual” Or “Homosexual”

In the latest volley between right and left over gay equality and civil rights, watch for this idea to catch fire among religious conservatives: sexual orientation blindness. That’s my phrase for the position of Michael Hannon. Writing in the Catholic … Continue reading

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Ludwig Wittgenstein for Beginners

First thought. To get a handle on the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, one can start with a simple question: what does the scientist (as opposed to the philosopher) do and accomplish? The answer seems pretty straightforward. The scientist reasons and experiments … Continue reading

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Rick Schlosser and Lawrence Swaim on Sherry Marquez’s Inane Demonization of All Muslims

The true nature of Islam is on display in the murder trial of a Muslim man in New York who beheaded his wife? That’s the essentialist conclusion of an elected Republican official in Southern California: Lancaster councilwoman Sherry Marquez. Here’s how … Continue reading

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Finger to the Wind: Dennis Anderson, Editor of the Antelope Valley Press, Weighs in on the Sherry Marquez v. Islam Controversy (Sort of)

Dennis Anderson, the editor of the Antelope Valley Press—a paper that serves the northern Los Angeles County cities of Palmdale and Lancaster—is in the unenvious position of walking a fine line between the paper’s large Republican readership and the obvious fact that one of its local … Continue reading

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Lancaster Councilwoman Sherry Marquez Finds a Vocal Local Ally: Audie Yancey, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Quartz Hill

Lancaster city councilwoman Sherry Marquez has dug in on her essentialist remarks on the true nature of Islam (it is a violent religion dominated by violent people who are properly exemplified by the recent beheading of a woman by her Muslim husband … Continue reading

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