The insubordination of economics

Caravaggio, Christ Driving the Money-Changers from the Temple (1610; WikiMedia) Paul Oslington’s essay—“Why are Philosophers and Theologians so Hostile to Economics?”—provides a case study of the academic phenomenon of failure to obtain joinder of issue. The essay is an underwhelming and confused mix of agreement and critique. My interest was drawn to reading it through … Continue reading The insubordination of economics

Shorting the Market on the Common Good

Over at Public Discourse, an essay by Joseph E. Capizzi and V. Bradley Lewis—entitled “Bullish on the Common Good?”—attempts to put recent conservative discussion about “the common good” in a more realistic and pragmatic light. They refer to C. C. Pecknold’s First Things essay, “False Notions of the Common Good” as well as two other … Continue reading Shorting the Market on the Common Good

The “Perfect” System Would Eliminate Being Human

A recent case heard by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands found that "a doctor had not acted improperly when he euthanized a 74-year-old woman with advanced dementia, even though the woman had to be repeatedly sedated and physically restrained during the procedure." The woman had previously set out in her advanced directives a request … Continue reading The “Perfect” System Would Eliminate Being Human

The cosmos of Christian mystery

Mattias Joseph Scheeben's The Mysteries of Christianity begins with a reflection on the nature of Christian mystery. It can also be read as a commentary on the prooemium to the Summa contra Gentiles Book IV (which is itself an echo of the prooemium to the work as a whole, SCG I.1–8). At key points—either by … Continue reading The cosmos of Christian mystery

Something ever new under the sun

From Fr. Ronald Knox, a sermon entitled “The Risen Christ,” from Pastoral and Occasional Sermons. There is nothing new under the sun. — Ecclesiastes 1:9 Behold, I make all things new. — Apocalypse 31:5 When Easter comes, the Church delights to remind herself of that newness which is in the risen Christ. [...] We are beginning … Continue reading Something ever new under the sun

Sine Thoma, Aristoteles mutus esset

Recently, I came across this gem, written by Petrus Hoenen in his Cosmologia (5th ed., 1956, p. 305). Hoenen, who obtained a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Leiden in 1912 (writing a dissertation on thermodynamics and studying under, among others, H. A. Lorentz), writes in this context against making form out to be a being, … Continue reading Sine Thoma, Aristoteles mutus esset

Disgruntled scholastic readers

While looking for a book recently in the library stacks, I happened upon this Spanish tome (The Essence of Thomistic Philosophy), which bears the following inscription, yesteryear’s equivalent of today’s Amazon customer reviews: A translation of the concerned reviewer’s self-appointed epigraph: Warning: A very ‘light’ book. It tries to be very clear, but in the attempt … Continue reading Disgruntled scholastic readers

Hans Jonas and the test of self-reference

  Among the many tools of the mind at the philosopher’s disposal, the test of self-reference is one of the most fundamental, subtle, and direct. I have utilized it myself in past arguments (here). In summary, the test is one of retorsion: you turn back the meaning of what a speaker says or claims upon … Continue reading Hans Jonas and the test of self-reference

Two medieval thought experiments in a vacuum

In his Cursus Philosophicus, John of St. Thomas considers the final six predicaments or categories in the second part of his Logic, and in q. 19, a. 3, he turns to ubi or “where,” the category that seems to add some being to locus or “place” as a type of quantity. The nub of the … Continue reading Two medieval thought experiments in a vacuum

Chesterton’s anthropic principle

Jaki's Chesterton, A Seer of Science, is an enjoyable tour through the Englishman's common sense understanding of the deliverances of science—it could almost be called a statement outlining his philosophy of science if that term did not conjure up such stodgy material by comparison to the vigorous wit Jaki's lectures abstract from a variety of Chesterton's … Continue reading Chesterton’s anthropic principle