Reading Aristotle: Physics 1.2: Is Nature One or Many?

In my last post in this series, we read through Aristotle’s Physics Book 1, section 1, which discusses what “scientific knowledge” is, and how gaining this knowledge consists of starting from the obvious, general facts and digging deeper into their explanations, causes, principles, and elements.

We will now turn to section 2:

“The principles in question must be either (a) one or (b) more than one” (Physics 1.2, 184b15-16) [1].

When we seek knowledge, we are seeking the deepest, most fundamental principles/explanations able to be found. Here specifically we are seeking these principles as they pertain to nature. Obviously, the principle of nature must be either one or many. Continue reading

Aquinas’s Argument from Contingency for the Existence of God: Introduction

This is the first post in my third series looking at arguments for the existence of God. I finished the last one a few months ago, which focused on Aquinas’s Second Way, or the First Cause argument (to read those, click these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Outlined Version). Before that I looked at Aquinas’s First Way, or the Prime Mover argument (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Outlined Version). This new series will be examining Aquinas’s Third Way, or the Argument from Contingency for the existence of God.

Before we begin, however, it is necessary to look at relevant contexts and concepts for understanding the argument. The Third Way, along with the previous two ways, are all cosmological arguments. A cosmological argument is not so named because it has anything to do with the modern scientific field of cosmology; rather it comes from the greek word kosmos which refers to the existence and order of the world/universe. Continue reading

Is the Prime Mover a “God of the Gaps” Argument?

Recently, a question was posed to me about several possible problems with the Prime Mover argument for the existence of God.

For those unfamiliar with the argument, you can follow the link above to the full articles I’ve written explaining/defending it. Here is an extremely condensed, outlined version of it:

  1. Our senses observe that motion really exists
  2. Motion is a potency reduced to act
  3. Potency can only be reduced to act by another which is itself already in act
  4. Essentially ordered series of such motion must either terminate in a prime mover (which is Pure Act), or else have a circular or an infinite regress
  5. Essentially ordered causal series of such motion cannot in principle have a circular or an infinite regression
  6. Therefore, there must exist a prime mover, which is a being of Pure Act

The first possible problem  is that the argument commits the logical fallacy of a “false dichotomy” that premise 4 is a false dichotomy. Continue reading

Reading Aristotle: Physics 1.1: What is the Study of Nature?

In my post Aristotle’s Answer to the Science/Philosophy Debate, I introduced a new series. I’ll repeat the introduction here:

As most of my readers are aware, I write mainly from what is known as the “Aristotelian-Thomistic” philosophical tradition, a system of thought which originates in the metaphysics of Aristotle, and was revived and expanded upon by St. Thomas Aquinas and other scholastic philosophers. Most of my knowledge of this system comes from contemporary, secondary writers; but it has been suggested to me that the best, and really only way, to truly dive into the system, is to read the originals themselves. With that goal in mind, I’ve decided to start a series doing exactly that: I’ll be reading passages from Aristotle, Aquinas, and other great thinkers and offering some of my thoughts/interpretations. Please note, I am about as far from an “expert” in this as one could possibly be, so if I ever read/interpret something incorrectly (which is bound to happen, probably often), please have patience and leniency with me. I welcome and encourage engaging comments and questions!

With that being said, I’ll begin by examining Physics 1.1. Continue reading

The End of Science?

 

The scientific field of study dominates academia around the globe. Our education system is increasingly directed towards the maths and sciences as the “most relevant” or even “most important” parts of learning. Our economic systems are overwhelmingly dominated by technological businesses and industries. Simplistic versions of “the scientific method” are indoctrinated into youth from their earliest years. But why is this? What is science, and what is its end? Continue reading

Recommended Links: 9/6/16

More links to articles that I’ve been reading and highly recommend!

Divine Impassibility and Our Suffering God. An extremely interesting theological/philosophical article about the doctrine of divine impassibility, and how it relates to other important theological issues such as christology and the trinity.

A difficulty for Craig’s kalam cosmological argument? The latest post from Ed Feser about William Lane Craig’s version of the kalam cosmological argument.

Pro-Nicene Theology. A brief post from Zondervan Academic about divine simplicity.

Materialism Denigrates Matter. An interesting, and certainly controversial, short article about the results of a materialistic worldview.

How to Think Like Shakespeare. A great article about education.

Finally, since Mother Teresa was officially canonized this week, a few articles concerning her and the process of canonization:

Jesus Visits Town, Trailing Controversy: If the mainstream media covered Jesus the way it covered Mother Teresa (satire).

Mother Teresa to become saint amid criticism over miracles and missionaries.

When Mother Teresa Came to Washington (I haven’t personally finished reading this one yet).

*Note: I do not necessarily agree with, either in part or in whole, any of the articles, or authors thereof, listed above. They are just articles I found interesting to read and think about, and thought might be worth sharing.

Aristotle’s Answer to the Science/Philosophy Debate

“Philosophy is dead,” says renowned physicist Stephen Hawking [1]. According to him, “Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics” [2].  This view encapsulates what has become somewhat of an embedded modern assumption: science is equivalent to knowledge and truth; philosophy is just a bunch of mad, unanswerable questions designed to make your head hurt, or else make you doubt your very existence, but with no actual truth or life value. A post in the New York Times sums up the attitude succinctly:

“Science education, however, has persistently relied more on empirical fit as its trump card, perhaps partly to separate science from those dangerous seat-of-the-pants theorizings (including philosophy) that pretend to find their way apart from such evidence” [3].

So what can one of the greatest thinkers in all of human history add to this discussion? Continue reading