Somewhere, I ran across the following story: Fred was the most hated person in the Foreign Legion. Everyone wanted him dead. One day, Fred was assigned to go on a mission alone in the middle of the desert. At midnight the night before, Alex put poison in Fred’s canteen. An hour later, unaware of this,… Continue reading Guilt
The other day, I went to a Thomistic Society talk about Aquinas’s views on the Problem of Evil and other topics. At one point, the presenter casually mentioned that humans engage in self-destructive behavior, like alcoholism, self-mutilation, drug addiction, etc., while non-human animals don’t. That made my  sense tingle, so I looked around. Among other… Continue reading Do You Even Science, Frater?
Chapter 3: Getting Medieval Having laid the groundwork in Chapter 2, Feser now moves on to the star of the show, Thomas Aquinas. He opens the chapter with a story of Aquinas overlooking a woman’s achievements, and instead interrupting her with a comment about her body: he once came upon “a holy nun who used… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Let’s Meet Aquinas
Chapter 2: Greeks Bearing Gifts, Aristotle’s metaphysics We now come to Aristotle, and one of Feser’s central points (emphasis in the original): How significant is Aristotle? Well, I wouldn’t want to exaggerate, so let me put it this way: Abandoning Aristotelianism, as the founders of modern philosophy did, was the single greatest mistake ever made… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Aristotle’s Metaphysics
Chapter 2: Greeks Bearing Gifts is a recap of the history of Greek philosophy that led to Thomas Aquinas, which he’ll talk about in chapter 3. This is, in my opinion, the best chapter in the book. I’ll skip over the first section, From Thales to Socrates because although it’s interesting, from a historical perspective,… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Plato’s Forms
Imagine a woman living in India in the 18th or 19th century. Her cousin, the sailor, has just returned from a trading voyage and, after being suitably plied with food and attention, tells his audience about distant lands where it is so cold that water becomes as hard as wood; you can break off a… Continue reading The Indian and the Ice: When to Believe Something
(Note to people reading this in a future when they’ve grown up never using a telephone for voice communication with another human: we used to have a game where a message would be distorted by serial whispering, and we found this amusing.) So apparently Thomas Nagel, who’s an honest-to-Cthulhu serious philosopher, published a book last… Continue reading Flaming Telephone
Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Intuition Pump So the other day, I found myself inside a philosophical intuition pump. But first, a bit of background: Qualia (singular quale), in philosophy, are basically the sense of perceiving something. If you’ve ever had that discussion about “how do I know that what… Continue reading I Am Chase and/or Sanborn
Back in 2010, Greta Christina wrote about liberal and conservative moral systems. At the core was a set of studies showing that while everyone shares the same core values — fairness, minimizing harm, authority, purity, loyalty, and a few others — that liberals and conservatives prioritize these values differently: liberals tend to put a higher… Continue reading Why Is Universalizability a Good Thing?
Well, duh, yes. But is symmetry a thing? Well, no. Again, duh. The reason I bother to bring this up in the first place is that I’ve stumbled on the festering swamp of pretentiousness that is Edward Feser’s blag One thing that annoys me is the way he constantly reifies ideas, and acts as though… Continue reading Does Symmetry Exist?