Tag Archives: philosophy

Writing or Art? Mel Bochner’s “LANGUAGE IS NOT TRANSPARENT” (1970)

Is it art? Is this the sort of art one passes by impatiently as not really art? Notice that it has no conventional images in it, such as, say, a Madonna with child. Where Mary and the baby Jesus might … 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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From A Lion Behind A Bush To God Behind The Oz Curtain: The Evolution Of God Belief

What is the relation between God belief and ignorance? I have a colleague in the science department at my college who said this to me yesterday (I’m paraphrasing): “I’m less sympathetic to the young Earth creationist of today than the … Continue reading

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Aquinas and Superstition: Thomist Philosopher Edward Feser Is An Aquinastitionist. What Is That?

Aquinastition. When you mix Aquinas with superstition you get Aquinastition. So an Aquinastitionist is an intellectual Thomist who makes apologies for religious superstition. Thomist philosopher Edward Feser is an example, as displayed in his recent essay, “Religion and Superstition,” in The Routledge … Continue reading

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Three Things I Think Are True

At this point in my life, I think there are three things that are true–the first one being rather obvious: I am a limited being, embedded in the system I’m trying to explain. This means I cannot be wholly confident that … Continue reading

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God Shadowed By Emptiness: Thomas Aquinas vs. The Buddhist Nagarjuna

Emptiness shadows theism. With regard to Thomas Aquinas’ method for grounding existence in being as opposed to change or emptiness (as the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna did), what I find interesting is how, despite himself, emptiness nevertheless shadows Aquinas’ theism. What … Continue reading

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How to Save Adam and Eve from Genetics and Darwin

Darwin and genetics have blown up the idea that Adam and Eve had a special creation physically. No new species tends to bottleneck down to two (unless perhaps two stray birds get isolated on an island and start a new … Continue reading

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The Terrible Toos (Too Fat, Too Poor, Too Old…)

Too this, too that. Theatrical, but moving. Might bring tears. __________ Watching Jade Beall’s TED talk on body hatred recalled for me the general problem of human suffering described by John Koller in Asian Philosophies (2007, p. 9, fifth edition): … Continue reading

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Imagination, Desire, And Action Through Chemistry: My Theory Of Free Will

In terms of free will, I don’t think we have contra-causal free will (free will that actually interferes with and pushes around determinate matter). I think our brains are modular, governed by often contending impulses, and that sometimes–or even characteristically … Continue reading

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How Evolution Can Help Us Think About Gay Marriage

Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, and gay marriage. The wisdom we take from evolution is the same that a good economist takes from the Invisible Hand: absent really good reasons, let things be. Don’t be hubristic; don’t interfere too much with … Continue reading

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Form v. Change: Gay Marriage, Thomism, Capitalism, and Evolution

I’ve had a modest insight: the dividing line that I’ve been trying to articulate between Thomists and myself surrounding gay marriage can actually be pretty succinctly stated: Thomists take clues from the nature of form to guide them in how … Continue reading

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Behavior Drives The Evolution Of Form: One Reason Thomistic Natural Law Theorizing Is Dubious

With regard to natural law theorizing (what constitutes rational or natural behavior for an individual), contemporary Thomists are not, in my view, taking proper account of the fact that, in the higher species of animals, form does not drive the … Continue reading

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God Is Maximally Existent; Existence is Good; Therefore God Is Maximally Good?

A bait-and-switch I notice among Thomist theologians and philosophers: they’ll say that existence is good; and God is the most existent Being; therefore God is maximally good. He has the greatest degree of “ontological Goodness.” (Imagine the sweetest and largest … Continue reading

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From The Brothers Karamazov To The Holocaust: Could You Will It Again and Again?

In the Brothers Karamazov, a little before the Grand Inquisitor section, Dostoevsky describes the death of an eight year-old, and this is sufficient to cause Ivan in the novel to reject the whole notion that a good God made the … Continue reading

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God’s Pregnancy Test: The Law of Non-Contradiction and the Holocaust

With regard to God’s existence, what happens when we apply the law of non-contradiction to the Holocaust? God is said to be all good and powerful–but the Holocaust happened; therefore if God is good, he’s not all powerful, and if … Continue reading

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Does The Holocaust Render Natural Law Problematic?

Think about the Holocaust in relation to natural law. Even if the Holocaust doesn’t give you pause in relation to God’s existence, it nevertheless functions as an impasse to comprehension. What was God up to in letting the Holocaust happen? … Continue reading

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How Do You Know? Factive Verbs in Relation to Political, Religious, and Scientific Discourse

I’m thinking about factive verbs this morning in relation to such things as global warming, God’s existence, evolution, the future of the stock market, etc. ESTABLISH, for example, is a very strong, emphatic verb, as in, “I’ve established the truth … 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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Why I’m an Agnostic (as Opposed to a Confidence Atheist or Confidence Theist)

I don’t think highly of confidence men, especially on matters of metaphysics. I’m not at all confident, for example, that everything can be reduced to physical causes, as the confidence atheist proclaims. Maybe there are two worlds–a physical and a … Continue reading

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