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 5: Back to Plato’s cave This last section of Chapter 5 is basically a long jeremiad against everything and everyone Feser doesn’t like, with paranoid rants about the motivations of those who prefer post-Thomistic philosophies: More precisely, their desire to re-orient human life toward this world and reduce the influence of religion led the… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Back to the Cave
Chapter 5: The Mind-Body Problem After spending several pages, as is his wont, trashing Locke, Descartes, and other people he doesn’t agree with, Feser tells us why materialist explanations of the mind are doomed: the human mind is all about final causes: we plan, we imagine, we make mental images and so on. All of… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Material Brains, Immaterial Software
Chapter 5: Descent of the Modernists This chapter deals with modern philosophers, i.e., René Descartes and later. The first part of it is pretty much philosophical inside baseball, of little interest to those who care less about how ideas have been developed than about which conclusions were eventually reached. I’ll only point out one passage… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Hedonism Killed Aquinas
4: The problem of evil This section deals with the problem of evil, a problem so big that, just as chemistry is divided into carbon (organic chemistry) and everything else, so I’m told theology is divided into the problem of evil (theodicy) and everything else. But first, Feser has to digress to lay some ground… Continue reading The Last Superstition: The Problem of Evil
Chapter 4: Minds Are Not Material In order to prove that human souls are immortal, Feser has to prove that there’s some part of a person that survives death, and the destruction of the body. If there’s a part of a human left behind when you remove the matter, that part must presumably be immaterial,… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Software Is Immaterial
Chapter 4: Scholastic Aptitude Having introduced his main themes in chapters 1-3, Feser now elaborates upon them, starting with The Soul a soul is just the form or essence of a living thing. [p. 121] And the form or essence, you’ll recall, is the whatever-it-is that makes a thing the sort of thing that it… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Animal Souls
Chapter 3: The First Cause If you thought Feser’s “Unmoved mover” argument was just mental masturbation, the sort of sophistry that gives philosophy a bad reputation and evokes the image of a tweed-wearing ivory tower professor using five-dollar words to ask meaningless questions, then you can skip his First Cause section, because it’s more of… Continue reading The Last Superstition: The First Cause
Chapter 3: The Existence of God: The Unmoved Mover First of all, “movement” in this context really means change of any kind, not necessarily motion through space. Yes, I know this is annoying and confusing. Feser introduces two kinds of causes: accidentally ordered and essentially ordered. (Here, “accidentally” doesn’t mean “by misfortune”, and “essentially” doesn’t… Continue reading The Last Superstition: The Unmoved Mover
Chapter 3: The Existence of God So when people say “God”, what sort of entity are they talking about? Many secularists seem hell-bent (if you’ll pardon the expression) on pretending that religious people in general believe in a God so anthropomorphic that only a child or the most ignorant peasant could take the question of… Continue reading The Last Superstition: Who Is This God Person, Anyway?