Why Won’t You Argue What I Know You Believe?

phil translation

Yvain has been reading Feser's The Last Superstition, and he has an excellent gloss of one of Feser's main points: Feser's argument is that most atheists arguing with Christians are pretty much the equivalent of a Calvinist going up to a Hindu saying "Look! John Calvin's writings totally oppose abortion! Why can't you see that?!".And then when the Hindu isn't convinced, the Calvinist gets angry and says "Any reasonable person could see that John Calvin opposes abortion. Therefore, you must … [Read more...]

The Privation-Perfection Problem


In Edward Feser's The Last Superstition he goes through the argument that some Unmoved Mover (called God) must exist, to be the cause of all perfections, must embody all perfections.  In brief, in order to be the cause of some quality, the causal agent must either possess it explicitly (red paint is red and can make other things red) or have the property of being able to cause it (morphine isn't sleepy, but it's nature is to induce sleepiness).  In the passage below, Feser is explaining why the U … [Read more...]

It’s Hard Out Here for a Platonist

Alex Knapp took issue with my quasi-Platonism (and possible math idolatry) over at his tech blog for Forbes.  Here's the crux of his argument: The bottom line is that human beings have brains capable of counting to high numbers and manipulating them, so we use mathematics as a useful tool to describe the world around us. But numbers and math themselves are no more real than the color blue – ‘blue’ is just what we tag a certain wavelength of light because of the way we perceive that wavelength. A … [Read more...]

Futzing Around with Final Causes

Paralympic athlete Aimee Mullins

This post is part of a series on Aquinas, Aristotle, and Edward Feser's explanation of them both.Back to Feser and Aristotle for a bit.  Later on in The Last Superstition, Feser talks about some of the obvious final causes we can observe.  He's using this section to defend natural law against the accusation that it's proponents want us to go back to pre-modern technology and to set up his attack on homosexuality.  I'm not interested in those points, so you can look them up yourselves.  I want … [Read more...]

Three First Causes I Don’t Pray To


This post is part of a series on Aquinas, Aristotle, and Edward Feser's explanation of them both.I said in my first post on Edward Feser's book that I have deep Aristotelian sympathies.  The four causes seem like a coherent way of describing the world, even if I'm not confident they're the territory, not just an approximated map.  But if I'm willing to give a little ground there, how do I avoid believing in a First Mover?That was the question the Dominans asked me, when I was discussing F … [Read more...]

[Feser] Stuck in the Map-Territory Gap

As promised yesterday, this is the kickoff of my analysis of and questions about Edward Feser's The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.  Yesterday, in the index post, I pasted in Feser's summary of Aristotle's Four Causes which you may want to refer back to.  I'm interested in Feser's book because he's making the pitch that if you believe in moral order and some kind of telos for people, Christianity will follow inexorably.  Since I fit the first part of his modus ponens, I want t … [Read more...]