Frankl on the Highest Good

Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning is one of the most powerful books I've read in my life. A pyschotherapist whose landmark theory was lived through the horrific experience of not only losing freedom, but facing a new reality in a concentration camp. Such horror I cannot pretend to understand - only recollect a harrowing feeling I experienced watching Solomon Northup's story in 12 Years as a Slave. There is no shortage of philosophies of the highest good, but for extraordinary individuals l … [Read more...]

Copleston on Knowledge of God

For Aquinas, knowledge begins with sense perception. ‘Our natural knowledge takes its beginning from sense. Therefore it can extend only so far as it can be brought by (reflection on) the things of sense.’ (S.T., Ia, 12, 12) Neither a strict empiricist, nor a strict rationalist, though Aquinas believed that though knowledge starts with sense perception, it's completed in abstraction - experiencing the particulars and reasoning towards universals.Knowledge of God entails both this meta … [Read more...]

Bryan Magee on Jesus

A surprising quote from Bryan Magee, one of my favorite historians and commentators of philosophy. His writing is clear and eloquent, and in his Confessions of a Philosopher, also very humble, personal, and autobiographical. His love of the big questions and metaphysics is loaded in every page. As he's an atheist with a lean towards Kantian metaphysics, we're quite far off on theology and metaphysics, but as truth-seekers and metaphysicians with an interest in morality, we stand together on the … [Read more...]

Augustine on Concealed Revelation

Concealed revelation - its's about the nature of God as comprehended by the limits of our rationality - God is the most obvious, yet most beyond our understanding. Aquinas called it ipsum esse subsistens - subsisting Being itself. Where all other living things are a combination of essence and existence , for God there is no distinction, His existence is His essence. God is pure Act (all activity with no potential), immanent in all things, yet infinitely transcending our understanding - perhaps … [Read more...]

Aristotle on the Nature of the First Mover

It's unsurprising that Aquinas drew from Aristotle to synthesize natural theology with Christianity (Aquinas frequently labeled Aristotle "The Philosopher"). Looking at Aquinas' Five Ways, you see signs of Aristotle through and through. Many are familiar with Aristotle's First Mover Argument from his classic Metaphysics, but looking a little deeper reveals not only the foundation of the Five Ways, but poetic insight as to the nature of this First Mover: "That a final cause may exist among … [Read more...]

Whitman on Contributing a Verse

One of my favorites from Whitman, I remember coming across it vividly by way of Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society. I continue to come across this poem, more and and more moved each time I read/hear it, a renewal and prayer that I may, in the example of Christ, "contribute a verse": Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring, Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish, Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and wh … [Read more...]