Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Scotist argument for God's existence...

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1. An Uncaused Producer is logically possible.

2. Anything logically possible is either actual or potential.

3. A potential Uncaused Producer can only be caused (i.e., is not 'uncaused').

4. Hence, no Uncaused Producer is merely potential.

5. Therefore, an Uncaused Producer is actual.

6. This actual Uncaused Producer we call God.

7. Therefore, God actually exists.

(cf. James F. Ross, Philosophical Theology, pp.** [When I get home and have time, I will polish this up to fit exactly what Ross wrote, but for now I'm going from memory.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nothing more than...

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Is there an abstract reality called gravity over and above the warp and woof of matter? General relativity says No. Nore is there anything like absolute space or time over and above the convolutions of matter in motion.

Matter in motion? Presumably, energy is what moves material components throughout the universe. But I wonder: Is energy a substantial reality over and above particles in motion? If not, what is motion is not energy? Does energy produce motion or does motion produce energy?

If at some point long, long ago nothing was in motion-- principally because there was no determinate thing to move-- what set eveything in motion? If the primal state of nature is pure potential energy in a quantum froth, what could have released that energy into motion? Further, if all matter was contracted into dimensionless density, what object could act upon (i.e., move) any other object to produce energy?

Just some questions I've had after reading a little book on thermodynamics, inter alia.


Homo ignis...

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Does any species but the human race make fire? Even if we grant some species can make tools, does any other species make a tool comparable to fire? I know of a beetle which shoots super-heated acrid gas to repel enemies, but that is more like herculean farting than manufacturing fire for some purpose. The Greeks might be right: maybe an essential difference lies in man's Promethean abilities.

I find it interesting that "Prometheus" is taken as a secular patron saint, and secularism by and large goes out of its way to "dethrone" humanity as some "unique species" (a redundant term, btw) in the cosmos. And yet it may be our Promethean savvy which makes us unique!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Afore I ferget...

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* Just at a restaurant seated by a small family (granny and gramps with daughter and son-in-law). Granny was obsessed with finding the coolest seat in the palce, so they changed tables nearly three times and then she dragged the fan right up behind me. So funny.

* "When the style elf meets the Style coffee, happiness happens." -- Humanistic Cafe', Wenxin Rd.

* Ahh, how I sometimes wish I were still illiterate in Chinese. E.g., A couple weeks ago I read in the newspaper about a wife, overcome with both guilt for her 10-year affair and the fear that their new baby might not be her husband's, smashing her baby against a wall and then, seeing it was not dead yet, stabbing it 51 times. If memory and reading comprehension serves. A couple years ago I would have seen the gory photo and a bunch of difficult characters, and just directed my attention elsewhere. Now, however, I can explore the gory photo by way of all those comprehensible characters. Ignorance is bliss?

* Norman Doidge's The Brain That Changes Itself is astounding! Daniel Tammet's Embracing the Wide Sky is also extremely good.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

NOTES: Retracing Reality by Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP

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Retracing Reality: A Philosophical Itinerary, Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP (London: T&T Clark, 1999)

p. 15 …the true quality of an intellect is in its capacity to induce, to discover the proper principles of an experienced reality….

18 It is from a work of art that the first distinction between form and matter is drawn.

23 The experience of friendship reveals to me what a friend is: someone who is my personal good, someone who is capable of perfecting me, fulfilling me, revealing to me who I am because he is my friend, because he loves me, and because I am also his personal good.

24 Indeed, absence favors the development of the imagination, which easily idealizes the one we love.

25 A friend loves his friend for himself and not because of his qualities. … Love is immediately determined by the friend in his personal goodness…. …the one loved is also in the inmost depths of the one who loves. Ecstasy involves a new interiority….

27 …means never impose themselves as necessity. … Intention is to the moral life what inspiration––the source of every project––is to the artistic life.

32 [vécu, the subjective repercussions of experience upon an individual]

35 Cooperation at the community level requires a minimum of three persons.

38 The common good of the family allows the child to become an autonomous human person, with a capacity to discover his own end and orient himself, in a free choice, towards his end. For this, a family milieu must be created.

44 …if a physical reality is not moved towards its own end, it is moved by chance. Now, what is moved by chance does not have a proper cause; it therefore occurs accidentally. … natural movements are ordered and therefore imply a certain end.

45 Physical reality only exists in the present moment. … 'That-which-is' determines the judgment of existence. How that-which-is exists, conditions the judgment of existence.

57 n. 4 …intentionality is essentially ordered to reality.

60 Individual instinct at the level of nutriment is ordered to sexual instinct, as the individual is ordered to the species. … Procreation gives biological life its ultimate meaning. … Might there be a kind of intention of eternity in species? … Life is transmitted with superabundance. Matter, on the contrary, contracts and limits.

63 ['proper sensibles' vs. 'common sensibles'] For Aristotle, the objectivity of our sensations is ultimately based upon the 'proper sensibles.' Here, contact with the existent reality is primary from the sensitive viewpoint. According to Descartes, however, the objectivity of our sensations is ultimately based upon the 'common sensibles,' because only these sensibles are directly measurable.

72 An imminent difficult-to-overcome evil arouses in us the passion of despair which saps all our strength.

74 The passions incarnate themselves in man's gait and behavior.

78 …all reasoning is brought to completion in a judgment, just as all becoming ends in that-which-is.

84 …our will is first a capacity for spiritual, personal love, and not first a power for efficacy, or efficiency, as Descartes asserts.

86 Choice is a spiritual act where cooperation between the intellect and spiritual love is perfect.

96 …substance… an irreplaceable originality of being. … The intellect discovers a source which radiates in all that he is. Substance, as principle and cause of that-which-is, is thus beyond the distinction between body and soul.

100 The primary division of mobile being… is the division between form-matter and nature-matter…. The primary division of that-which-is considered as being is the division between substance and the secondary determinations (accidents).

104 Being-in-act is end in the strongest, fullest sense, for being in potency is entirely and essentially rendered to it.

106 We do not have a single intuitive perspective on being, but two: substance-being and act-being…. Being grasped as act is end-being…. Being-in-act is so ultimate that we do not have a quidditative grasp of it…. What we grasp is a reality that exists, not being-in-act. … Only at the end of an induction does out intellect grasp being-in-act.

107 Essence, precisely speaking, cannot be by itself. Essence is, as it were, a capacity to be. … It only exists thanks to a particular act of being. Moreover, even if the essence has a certain intelligibility, we can only rasp this intelligibility from the reality's act of being. … the intelligibility of reality is not ultimate.

108–109 [five modes of being-in-act] …everything in potency is ordered to and, in its being, depends upon being-in-act. This is the principle of final causality at the level of that-which-is….

(1) Essence is ordered to and depends on esse;
(2) Natural appetite is ordered to an depends upon a good;
(3) The power of intellectual knowledge is ordered to truth;
(4) All vital powers are ordered to vital operation;
(5) Mobile being is ordered to movement. …

(1) That-which-is moved is moved by another;
(2) That-which-moves-itself moves itself by another;
(3) Judgment depends on truth;
(4) Appetite is ordered to the good;
(5) All possible essence is ordered to esse.

112 …being-in-potency is the foundation of all multiplicity.

113 Autonomy of the self is based upon the radical autonomy of substance in the order of being.

121 appanage: ??

125 …[creatio] ex nihilo… not 'labor' but pure gift.

127 Creation is the gift of being….

139 …pure potentiality (matter) allows love to manifest its gratuitousness. Is matter not, as it were, a great symbol of the poverty of a creature who is pure receptivity in the presence of its Creator and Father?

156 …sapiential judgment explicitly entails a new judgment of existence. The only way we can speak of the First Being is to affirm that he exists, for we have no 'idea' about him, no 'concept' proper to him.

157 If the first judgment is altered or set aside, once can no longer discover the existence of the First Being and the judgment of wisdom no longer has meaning.

"Мир спасет красота. Beauty will save the world."

Retro culture shock!

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As a kid, I loved this song. Only now, over twenty-five years later, do I have the technology and desire to discover a few small things about it. Little things like its title, singer, production year, and basic meaning! "Break My Stride" was Matthew Wilder's only major hit, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot List in 1983. Turns out the song is a "defiant" song about getting over past heartbreak. First, "she" tells "him" she's getting as far away from, and as clean of, her past with him as she can. He ends up telling her that he's doing the same. As a kid, however, I only focused on the upbeat message of the rererefrain: "Nobody's gonna break my stride, nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no, I got to keep on movin'!" Right on, baby! Not just a top-five hit, but also motivational music for a 5-year-old! I thought it was just about "life in general" and about not giving up when life bears down.

It really is best that I had so little consciousness of the song as a pop-media reality, since, upon seeing the video now, I realize Wilder and the video––and the cheesy cut-away––might have ruined the song for me, leaving me that much more scarred by the 80's. For one thing, I thought the singer was black. And, for another, not in tight leather pants. And I had no idea so many synth-boards could exist on one stage in so short a span of time.

In any case, here's to upbeat pop! Stride on!

Last night I had the strangest dream
I sailed away to China
In a little row boat to find ya
And you said you had to get your laundry cleaned
Didn't want no one to hold you
What does that mean
And you said

Ain't nothin' gonna to break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh-no
I got to keep on movin'
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh no, I got to keep on movin'

You're on a roll and now you pray it lasts
The road behind was rocky
But now you're feeling cocky
You look at me and you see your past
Is that the reason why you're runnin' so fast
And she said

Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh-no
I got to keep on moving
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh no, I got to keep on moving

Never let another girl like you, work me over
Never let another girl like you, drag me under
If I meet another girl like you, I will tell her
Never want another girl like you, have to say

Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, oh no, I got to keep on moving
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch the ground
Oh-no, I got to keep on movin'

Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, oh no, I got to keep on moving
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch the ground
Oh-no, I got to keep on movin'

Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, I got to keep on moving
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch the ground
Oh no, I got to keep on movin'

Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, oh no, I got to keep on moving … …