November 16, 2015

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 metaphysical inference as well as a faith… Read more

October 11, 2015

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 radical… Read more

August 9, 2015

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 -… Read more

July 7, 2015

It was more like a vacation among friends – Adam and his wife Elizabeth stayed with my family and I amongst our debates last week. We truly enjoyed their company, hanging out, the post-debate parties over some wine and snacks, and talking honestly about philosophy, theology, and politics. The tour was kicked off on Wednesday, July 1st when I picked up Adam and Elizabeth at the airport. We had to head right to Theology on Tap at the Tow Yard… Read more

June 30, 2015

“Theology on Tap”. It has a nice ring to it. I’m still not sold on the title, “Faith vs. Doubt” as I feel that term encapsulates the sentiments of any believer. All of the faithful, at one point or another, face doubt. With that, “versus” sets the stage for the typical debate, of which Adam and mine are nothing like! I consider “my opponent” as a friend, one that I disagree with on many things, but a friend first and… Read more

June 22, 2015

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 unchangeable entities is shown by… Read more

May 31, 2015

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… Read more

May 3, 2015

A masterpiece and must-read for those with an interest in the philosophical concept of God through the Ages. Etienne Gilson shines in this timeless classic and highlights his contribution as a historian of philosophy and prominence among the Thomistic elite. The intellectual depth and clarity embedded in this slim text of 144 pages is profound. It’s divided into four sections: God and Greek Philosophy, God and Christian Philosophy, God and Modern Philosophy, God and Contemporary Thought. The Greek Philosophy section… Read more

March 23, 2015

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… Read more

January 31, 2015

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 indicating that there are no… Read more

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