Monday, May 1, 2017

Caught in the web


The Dictionary of Christianity and Science has just been published by Zondervan.  I contributed an essay to the volume.

Philosopher and AI critic Hubert Dreyfus has died.  John Schwenkler on Dreyfus at First Things.

A new article from David Oderberg: “Co-operation in the Age of Hobby Lobby: When Sincerity is Not Enough,” in the current issue of Expositions.  (Follow the link and click on the PDF.)

Philosopher Daniel Bonevac on being a conservative in academia, at Times Higher Education.

At Aeon, Adam Frank argues that materialism cannot explain consciousness

At Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, a review of Fran O’Rourke’s book Aristotelian Interpretations.

Philosopher Anthony McCarthy on Peter Singer and sexual consent, at Public Discourse.

The Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies announces its Summer Program for 2017.

Business Insider reveals the fantastic story behind the Marvel movie no one was ever supposed to see

Roger Scruton on existentialism, at the Claremont Review of BooksScruton profiled at The New Criterion

At The Catholic Thing, Prof. Eduardo Echeverria on Pope Benedict’s and Pope Francis’s contrasting views on Gospel and Law.  At First Things, historian Bronwen Catherine McShea on Pope Francis as historian.


Reason on Hayek’s Road to Serfdom and the situation in Venezuela

The New Yorker profiles Daniel Dennett.

National Review on Bill Nye the Left-Wing Hack Guy.  Even the New Republic thinks he’s become an embarrassment.

At First Things, Stephen Barr reviews Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s new book on language and evolution.

The Chronicle of Higher Education on the Claremont conservatives and Trump.


Also at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, a review of Nancy Cartwright and Keith Ward’s new anthology Rethinking Order after the Laws of Nature.


Aeon on the 25th anniversary of Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man.

Marvel Comics finds that political correctness isn’t sellingThe Federalist comments.  Marvel has had to fire an artist for inserting hidden Islamist messages into an X-Men comic book.

At the Times Literary Supplement, Steven Nadler asks: Exactly when did modern philosophy get started?

Reason and tolerance = shouting mindless slogans!  Quillette on the tyranny of flash mobs.  At City Journal, Heather Mac Donald on her ordeal at Claremont McKennaSlate on the creepy so-called “March for Science.”  Some left-wingers defend Ann Coulter’s right to speak.

52 comments:

  1. Wow that dictionary has drawn the finest crowd

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  2. Ed, I don't think Chomsky captures precisely Ross' argument for immaterial aspects of thought, but it's very close. How would you describe the relationship between Ross' argument and the empirical evidence regarding language?

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  3. The Fran O'Rourke book has some really interesting essays on Aristotle and evolution. You can find one of them here:
    https://creationism.org.pl/groups/ptkrmember/spor/2004/rourke%20aristotle-evolution.pdf

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  4. To be fair to Marvel comics, some of the comics under their "diversity" push seem to be selling better than others, probably because some of these transformations were more interesting and made more sense than others. But to make all your white male characters into women and minorities was an obviously terrible idea.

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    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsUGm1ATJB4&t

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  5. The essential thing to remember about Marvel is that they are IP trolls, squatting on their own trademarks. If they stop publishing comics using the names and trade dress of their major characters, they risk losing those trademarks. All their profit is made from movies and other sales of subsidiary rights. The comics themselves are a loss-leader and have been for decades.

    If the comics division want to recast Spider-Man as a transgendered Wahhabist border collie, they can go nuts – just as long as they keep publishing something with the Spider-Man name on it. It’s a perfect playground of irresponsible self-indulgence. The public may not buy the comics, but they are not the real paying customers; the film studios are.

    To suppose that Marvel must be a member of the genus ‘comic publisher’, just because it says so on the tin, is (dare I say it) unphilosophical. I am sure Dr. Feser could write an amusing and illuminating post on the hazards of naive classification.

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  6. Oh my....the persecution complex with Trump supporters is just so pathetic it's not even funny.

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    1. Oh great. Random insult anonymous guy is back.

      Delete
  7. I was in Fran O'Rourke's class. Never expected to see him mentioned on this blog. I remember once asking him if Parmenides might have been joking. It was a serious question but he seemed quite taken aback at it.

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  8. Hi everyone,

    I've got a big favor to ask. I need a Latin translation of a few lines from Gratian's Decretum. I'm having an online argument with Dr. Hector Avalos (Professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University) about Gratian's views on abortion. Dr. Avalos maintains that not only did Gratian not view abortion as homicide - a point on which we both agree - but he even questions whether Gratian viewed abortion as a mortal sin, an assertion which I find totally ridiculous, because if even he viewed contraception as a mortal sin (as we know he did, since he likened it to the sin of fornication), then how much more so would he have regarded abortion, even of an "unformed" embryo, as a mortal sin. Anyway, I came across this passage in Gratian's Decretum 2.32.4.5, and I was wondering if someone who knows Latin would be kind enough to offer a translation (the sooner the better):

    "Nichil fedius esi quam amare uxorem quasi adulteram.

    "Item leronimus [contra louinianum, lib. I.]

    "III. Pars. Origo quidem honesta erat amoris, sed magnitudo deformis. Nichil autem interest ex qua honesta causa quis insaniat. Unde et Sextus in sentenciis: 'Adulter est,' inquit, 'in suam uxorem amator ardentior.' In aliena quippe uxore omnis amor turpis est, in sua nimius. Sapiens iudicio debet amare coniugem, non affectu. Non regnat in eo inpetus uoluptatis, nec preceps fertur ad coitum. Nichil est fedius quam uxorem amare quasi adulteram. Certe, qui dicunt se causa reipublicae et generis humani uxoribus iungi, et filios procreare, imitentur saltim pecudes, et post, quam uenter uxoris intumuerit, non perdant filios, nec amatores se uxoribus exhibeant, sed maritos."

    A bit of background here: people in the Middle Ages apparently believed that sex during pregnancy could harm the embryo/fetus - especially during the first four months. It seems that Gratian regards men who have sex with their wives during this time as adulterers, insofar as they treat their wives as if they were their lovers. I may be wrong, but in the passage above, he also seems to be saying that in so doing, they lose their own sons. (Noonan writes in Chapter X, footnote 7 of his book, "Contraception," that Gratian hints at the danger marital intercourse poses to the unborn.) Apparently Gratian's successor, St. Raymond of Penyafort, interpreted him (Summa 4:28) as saying that sexual intercourse during pregnancy is mortally sinful - presumably because of the harm it does to the embryo/fetus. From this, it would surely follow that the intentional destruction of an embryo/fetus (as in abortion) would be an even greater mortal sin.

    Is my reading of Gratian right? Would someone like to offer a translation? Thanks a million.

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    1. Here is my attempt to render this passage:
      “Nothing is more unchaste than to love one’s wife as if she were a mistress.”
      Likewise Jerome [Against Jovinian, Bk. I] Part III. Admittedly love was honourable in its origin but its excess is corrupt. However it is irrelevant for what honourable reason a man goes mad. Hence in his Sentences Sextus says, ‘One is an adulterer who loves his own wife too ardently.’ Of course all love for someone else’s wife is wrong, but for one’s own wife excessive love is wrong. The wise man should love his wife judiciously, not passionately. The urge of pleasure does not rule him and he does not charge uncontrollably into intercourse. Nothing is more unchaste than to love one’s wife as if she were a mistress. Certainly let those who claim to marry and beget children for the sake of the commonwealth and mankind at least imitate the beasts and not kill their children after their wife’s belly has swollen, neither let them behave as paramours to their wives but husbands.

      Note that the entire passage is taken from Saint Jerome and "perdere" here means to kill or destroy, not just to lose.

      The allusion, as you say, is probably to the belief, widespread from antiquity until the nineteenth century or later, that intercourse during pregnancy is injurious to the unborn child. If that is not the meaning it can only be a direct reference to abortion. In either case causing injury or death to the foetus/child is clearly reproved, and any other view would, as you say, be unimaginable.

      Delete
    2. Hi John Daly,

      Thank you very much for your translation. Fr. Reginald Foster was also kind enough to offer me a translation, which closely agrees with yours. Thanks once again.

      Delete
    3. the belief, widespread from antiquity until the nineteenth century or later, that intercourse during pregnancy is injurious to the unborn child

      I absolutely resent this remark. I will not do it no matter what my wife or science says.

      I will have to look my children in their eyes, for heaven's sake, someday.

      Delete
  9. Wow, that New Yorker article features a lot of handwaiving.

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  10. Noam Chomsky mocks Democrats for their obsession with Russia.

    Okay, certainly the world must be coming to an end. This is just too strange.

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  11. @ Anonymous

    Liberals - the captains and champions of the "someone save me I am being persecuted!" argument - accusing anyone else of having a persecution complex is just TOO funny.

    The projection of Democrats and liberals will be a case study of history: how could so many people cast their own faults on others with such sincerity?

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  12. It's really sad how you think you're persecuted when for you "persecution" means not being able to express my "racist/sexist/Islamophobic/Anti-Semitic/Xenophobic" and what Trump thrives on. If you can't see that then either you're too stupid or amoral to realize it. It's really a shame as I used to be a BIG fan of this blog but now considering the type of people it attracts, it's a real pity. Just out of curiosity how many of you actually think Richard Spencer or white supremacy(greatest domestic threat in the USA, and is increasing plus Trump is minimizing attempts to counter it) is bad?

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    1. when for you "persecution" means not being able to express my "racist/sexist/Islamophobic/Anti-Semitic/Xenophobic"

      Delete Democrat brainwashing and go to bed, kiddo. You live in a free country: even the freaking KKK can speak their own nonsense. If Free Speech means "anti-Semitism" to you, then move to Israel (where I actually think it is also legal to publish things Jews don't like).

      Delete
    2. Yawn. It's cute how you pretend to be "disgusted" by the KKK as you made the same vote alongside them, and support a party with white supremacist, neo-nazi affiliated ties/support. Nice try.

      This is how it literally goes down:

      Trump Supporter: All Muslims are terrorist, and should be banned from entering the United States!

      Normal Person: That's an Islamophobic statement, and hate speech.

      Trump Supporter: Help!!!!!!! I'm being persecuted!!!!!!!!! My "persecution" is worse than that movement with the black people fighting for ummm, well I don't know what they were fighting for nor do I care because all black people are criminals but it's still worse than whatever they were fighting for! Someone help me!!!!!

      I'll also ask again. How many of you think white supremacy such as with Richard Spencer, Bannon, and has infiltrated the white house along with becoming more prominent in the USA and considered the greatest domestic terror threat, is bad?

      Delete
    3. Do you have anything more to offer than these hysterics? You can tell when someone is becoming unhinged when they can't stop themselves from peppering every sentence with an insult.

      Delete
    4. I'll also ask again. How many of you think white supremacy such as with Richard Spencer, Bannon,

      Bannon's no white supremacist, and SJWs aren't normal people. They're freaks.

      Normal people voted for Trump. Particularly the ones who are actually American.

      "REEE REEE but I called it white supremacy you have to disavoe REEEEE"

      Normal people: SJWs don't call the cultural shots, freak.

      Delete
    5. Aaaaand my point is proven. If you call anyone who rightfully calls your say racism, racism a SJW you've proven my point.

      I'll ask again I'll also ask again. How many of you think white supremacy such as with Richard Spencer, Bannon, and has infiltrated the white house along with becoming more prominent in the USA and considered the greatest domestic terror threat, is bad?

      Delete
    6. If you call anyone who rightfully calls your say racism,

      Speak english.

      There's no racism here, just weird allegations from you, utterly unfounded.

      How many of you think white supremacy such as with Richard Spencer, Bannon,

      Bannon's no white supremacist. Hell, even Spencer is no white supremacist, he's some other brand of oddball.

      Your hatred for jews, blacks, hispanics, whites, and everyone else who doesn't toe your left-wing line is palpable. Why you've got such hatred in your heart just because people of ethnicities you dislike don't think the way you want, is a mystery - but it's unfortunate.

      Will you denounce the religious and racial hatred of the left, that has been leading to violence and hate crime hoaxes, and currently poses the single greatest threat to life and stability in the west? Or do you just think it's okay to endorse hatred and lies?

      Delete
    7. You support Trump and you're calling ME hateful/racist when I made no implication of this anywhere. I am black, and I have never hated anyone because they look different from me/worship different from me and have done my best to ensure this attitude dies. I'm utterly against racism/sexism/anti-semitism, or whatever Trump supports. This must be some kind of joke. You are utterly delusional if you can't see what Trump, and his team are promoting but have the nerve to call me racist. Not calling Bannon/Spencer white supremacist is just......laughable. Next thing you're gonna tell me is that the Confederates should've won the Civil War(based on your comments, you probably think that)

      I'll ask again do any of you think that white supremacy promoted by Bannon and Spencer is bad? The FBI have literally called it the greatest domestic terror threat to the USA. Just answer the question. Not that hard.

      Delete
    8. You support Trump and you're calling ME hateful/racist when I made no implication of this anywhere.

      Actually, you're overflowing with hatred. Look, you won't even denounce the brutal racial and religious hatred of the left, and instead insist on baselessly accusing others of white supremacy. Bannon is no white supremacist, and even Spencer is just some other brand of weirdo.

      I'll ask you again: Will you denounce the religious and racial hatred of the left, that has been leading to violence and hate crime hoaxes, and currently poses the single greatest threat to life and stability in the west? Or do you just think it's okay to endorse hatred and lies?

      Let me just say, I think it's tremendously unfortunate that a many such as yourself - who should know exactly how harmful racial and religious hatred and lies are - nevertheless refuses to denounce all three. Is your hatred really so valuable that you'll embrace the left's bitter hate and religious/racial intolerance?

      Sad.

      Delete
    9. @ DTT

      Spencer is no white supremacist, he's some other brand of oddball.

      Really? Spencer strikes me as eminently down to earth and normal.

      Delete
    10. @ Anonymous,

      You support Trump and you're calling ME hateful/racist

      I'm getting sick and tired of the Democrat strategy of assuming their own dogma as a condition for debating with them.

      The liberal self-righteous circle-jerk is over: loving your country and caring for the welfare of its people is not a form of hate. What is perverse is that anti-American propaganda has been so effectively propagated that so many people think it is. Liberals will literally praise other countries for defending their own interests or security from dangers or threats; but when our countries do it, it's some sort of hate crime. This is beyond absurd.

      For example, liberals have never once complained about the massive arms build up of China. Liberals do not and will not complain if Cuba or some other socialist or communist country takes drastic and draconian security measures to defend itself from perceived threats: but whenever our country does it, it's the end of the world.

      You people are total hypocrites.

      Delete
    11. @ DTT

      Spencer is just some other brand of weirdo.

      My apologies for my above comment. I thought this remark was about Sean Spicer, the new Press Secretary. I am still trying to get all the names right.

      The Spencer you spoke of is more than an oddball.

      Delete
  13. Dear Democrats: Why do people from Communist countries always vote Republican?

    Explain this.

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  14. Ed,

    You know what would make a great post sometime, if you can fit it in your busy schedule? A moral and philosophical examination of fake hate crimes. Like this one.

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    1. "Pretty bad. Shouldn't do it."

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  15. Ed's entry in the new Encyclopedia is available through the amazon search function. Just type in "feser". The essay is on natural law.

    -Neil Parille

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  16. On the march for science article.
    its not a march for science but a march to impose conclusions that are said to be based on science.
    to oppose, i guess, the people by way of the government in decisions.
    There is a lot of problems in "scientific" world of north america.
    I don't think things are going fast ahead as much as they could.
    However the great issues are creationism,global warmingism, or any social science assertions.

    What the tRump, or anyone, government should do is to demand a end to censorship inn publkic institutions on contentions called science. no more school censorship of creatioonism, opr criticism of global warming by humans and so on.
    Thats what they should champion and make history .
    Likewise a end to interference with who gets into science. i mean affirmative action, or ethnic/sex concepts in who should prevail or get degrees and positions.
    They are stopping the people and the better people.
    Science in america and cAnada should represent the true common people. Not accommodating ethnic interference of any way or feminist ideas.
    There is a stephen Pinker youtube thing on women and science called THE TRUTH IS NOT SEXIST.
    Helpful even if there is problems with Pinker. Step forward for truth and justice and a smarter civilization.

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  17. http://www.ump.edu.my/sayangump/index.php?userid=KA16188

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  18. @timocrates,

    But you think he's a horrible human being, and scumbag, right?

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    1. Spencer? I don't know him at all. The only thing I ever heard about him was that he gave a Nazi salute at some ball in Washington, D.C.

      Again, as I said above, I confused the reference to Spencer with Sean Spicer, whom I like just fine.

      Scumbags, however, are in no shortage in the Left: they have all become scumbags.

      Delete
  19. So you call a bunch of people you don't know in the left scumbags but you won't call a Neo-Nazi a scumbag? Wow, just wow?

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    1. If he's a neo-Nazi actually, sure. If he was a Milo-like character pulling some sort of stunt or attempting to make some childish point, sure.

      Nobody knew who that guy was and I found the media giving him so much attention at the time they did highly suspicious: for this guy to just come out of nowhere all of sudden and apparently merit national and international media attention - you don't find that strange? Of course there are neo-Nazis out there: it doesn't change the fact they are all but irrelevant.

      Consider this: you have to this day a significant number of Communists in the USA who still have a party. Year after year they endorsed and supported the DNC candidates - did it follow the Democrats were outright Communists? And the anarchists too would support the DNC - but the media didn't broadcast their meetings and present them as representative of DNC candidates, did they?

      And forgive me for my broad repulsion at the left. When Hillary and Podesta openly talk about organized political subterfuge of my Church for their own political ends - and these people almost took over the Presidency, and people still vote for them anyways - I have a hard time having any respect for them whatsoever. So much for the separation of Church and State.

      Delete
    2. But you're also repulsed by the right/Trump's tendencies to associate with racist/white supremacist/Neo-Nazis and other discriminatory groups rights?

      Delete
    3. He probably would like you to support and explain the highly dubious use of associate here. What you mean seems to be that a few white supremacists saw Trump as mildly better than Hillary and the usual Republican candidates. That isn't association, though it looks perilously close to a guilt by association fallacy.

      Delete
    4. ”So you call a bunch of people you don't know in the left scumbags but you won't call a Neo-Nazi a scumbag? Wow, just wow?

      You may agree or disagree with him for calling them scumbags, but if he believes Left is scumbag, or Leftism scumbaggery, if you prefer, then it’s quite rational for him to call leftists scumbags. I think you’d be taken more seriously if you’d try to demonstrate his idea about the Left is wrong, rather than wow-wowing manically. Sounds quite silly and above all impotent.

      PS. I haven’t met many – very few indeed - Nazis, or new-Nazi, or Communists, but I do call them scumbags. Would you also point out that inasmuch as I don’t know all of them my doing so deserves stern wow-wowing?

      Delete
  20. But you're also repulsed by the right/Trump's tendencies to associate with racist/white supremacist/Neo-Nazis and other discriminatory groups rights?

    No I am repulsed by the Left's idiotic hypocrisy. You cravenly lambast the right for not attacking every fringe group that has accidental motive to vote conservative; but you refuse to be ashamed when Satanists, pedophiles and child murderers and rapists vote for you.

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    1. You are aware that Trump and his cronies don't by "accident" associate with these people, and clearly put them in inner circle, and appeal to them, right? You do think racism/KKK/Neo-Nazis/Anti-Semitism, or ANYTHING that Trump/his followers clearly hold and appease are bad right?

      Delete
    2. You are aware that Trump and his cronies don't by "accident" associate with these people

      No Trump unlike Hillary Clinton does not associate with rapists and child porn consumers; Hillary does, her husband is one and her associate, Huma, is married to another.

      You can try like a punk all day long. We are not ceding the moral ground to you lying hypocrites any more. My children will grow up in a free, fair and just Republic, as I did. Your apologizing for moral corruption is over. We are sick of you.

      Delete
    3. Um yes, Trump associates with white supremacist/neo-nazis/racist openly, and has done actions such as these in the past. Hell There is a good chance Trump is a sexual predator. You do acknowledge racism/KKK/Neo-Nazis are bad right? It's a simple question.

      Delete
    4. Anon, you have any proof of that? And I mean actual proof? Not calling Breitbart White supremacist nor claims about Trump not condemning David Duke quite as fast and vehemently as the leftist media would like.

      Timocrates, I think you are going a bit over the top here.

      Delete
  21. @ Anon,

    What is over the top is your willingness to lie and lie and lie again and then lie some more.

    You can't even bring yourself to deny that the left coddles child rapists and embraces pedophiles. This is a fact. I frankly apologize for nothing to filth of the human race such as yourself. You have forsaken any right to respect a long, long time ago and you deserve being called scumbags.

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    Replies
    1. I'm a different anon to the leftie one.

      Delete
    2. @timocrates,

      I feel really bad for you. What disgust me if your inability to see that the right coddles and PROMOTES white supremacy, racism, sexual predatorhood, etc. I actually find rape/pedophillia y'know bad. You're the scumbag as your inability to condemn these actions promoted by the side your worship blindly is appalling, and disturbing. Hell I'm sure you're the type of guy who supports the Confederate flag being flown in the USA, and probably doesn't even care about the plights of African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, women, or y'know anyone who isn't you. Pathetic persecution complex. Now I'll ask again. Do you think racism/KKK/Neo-Nazis/White supremacist are actually bad/ You're refusal to answer says's much about you.

      @other anon

      Here:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/president-donald-trump-racist-examples_us_584f2ccae4b0bd9c3dfe5566

      Delete
  22. Just to try and establish the lay of the land, we quote anonymous as saying:


    "I'm sure you're the type of guy who ... doesn't even care about the plights of African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, women, or y'know anyone who isn't you. "

    And we naturally then ask: 'Is that indifference an objectively "bad" thing?' and, 'If so, how do you know?'

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  23. "Philosopher and AI critic Hubert Dreyfus has died. John Schwenkler on Dreyfus at First Things. "

    Great link. Say what you want about the phenomenology movement to this point; but the critical insights concerning the likely real status of A.I. offered by phenomenologically oriented philosophers provides much needed references to and reminders of the conscious being's embeddedness, teleological context, driving interests, and the immanence of the physical feedback loop, when speculating what it is to have a conscious mind.

    Just considering some of these aspects of what it is to be a self-conscious human, make those blithe assertions from some that machine programmed mimicry of socio-biological organism's responses constitute an existential equivalent to human conscious, just too stupid to take seriously.

    The fact that you can be fooled into thinking a pig is in the poke over the telephone or sales counter, does not mean that it is not a cat that is in the bag.




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  24. Some more links of interests:

    Cosmic inflation theory gets a beating: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cosmic-inflation-theory-faces-challenges/

    "The latest astrophysical measurements, combined with theoretical problems, cast doubt on the long-cherished inflationary theory of the early cosmos and suggest we need new ideas"

    More and more evidence that galaxies matured much earlier than previously thought: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v544/n7648/full/nature21680.html

    "What is clear is that either substantial revisions of the physical ingredients of galaxy formation and possibly our standard model of cold-dark-matter halo assembly are needed to explain the rapid formation, and sudden and deep quenching, of massive galaxies in the very early Universe in a manner reminiscent of pre-cold-dark-matter pictures of galaxy formation."

    Oldest human fossil yet found in Morocco: we may be 150 000 years older than previously thought: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2133807-our-species-may-be-150000-years-older-than-we-thought

    ReplyDelete