A Christian. An Atheist. Two Friends on God and Government (Round 12)


Adam:Thanks for your reply.I think you put forward some great points for discussion. To answer your question, in the Aristotelian-Thomistic view, God is not a moral epiphenomenon. Actually, epiphenomenalism would be the furthest thing from Thomistic realism which demands mind-independent ontology and reasoning towards universals from particulars (a posteriori). Morality, or goodness, is not an impotent mental state but a very real property that is apparent through being. God is Being and … [Read more...]

Etienne Gilson on Metaphysics, Being, and Faith


A gem from Etienne Gilson, an amazing historian of philosophy with an existential Thomistic flair. For Gilson, knowledge of God is not an a priori conception such as the ontological argument, but revealed a posteriori in existence (concealed, yet revealed). In his words, "a most deeply hidden God, 'He who is' is also a most obvious God. By revealing to metaphysicians that they cannot account for their own existence, all things point to the fact that there is such a supreme cause wherein essence … [Read more...]

A Christian. An Atheist. Two Friends. On God and Government (Round 11)


​Adam-Thanks for your reply.Let's definitely transition to government! I thought the spirit of the Obama quote would be a nice segue. We agree that an equal and free society, legislating from universal principles, is the only way true democracy (by definition) can proceed. Perhaps better stated: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the p … [Read more...]

Popper on Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethical Truth


Another great one from one of my favorite philosophers, Karl Popper, a self-proclaimed "critical rationalist": "It is important to realize that science does not make assertions about ultimate questions - about the riddles of existence, or about man's task in the world. This has often been well understood. But some great scientists, and many lesser ones, have misunderstood the situation. The fact that science cannot make any pronouncement about ethical principles has been misinterpreted as … [Read more...]

On Aristotle, classical theism, and the God of the Philosophers


To Aristotle and classical theists (a club which I am a proud member), God is the ultimate cause and necessity of which all contingent things depend. In the Aristotelian view, Wisdom relies on understanding causation which include material, efficient, formal, and final causes. God is pure Act, the final cause toward which all things move. The final cause, which Aristotle also labels the first cause, is often confused for the efficient cause, positing god as "a being" who simply set the world in m … [Read more...]

A Christian. An Atheist. Two Friends. On God and Government (Round 10)


Adam:Thanks for your reply.After much of our discussion on God's existence, character, the problem of evil and suffering, free will, and now consciousness, I think I've figured out our core disagreement: metaphysical first principles. Voila; the source of our impasse! You quote Democritus in your statement of principles: "By convention sweet is sweet, bitter is bitter, hot is hot, cold is cold, color is color; but in truth there are only atoms and the void." My metaphysical first … [Read more...]