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What it Means to Be a Human Person – Part 4 – Thinking Empirically

Aquinas was an empiricist. Therefore, he thinks that philosophers must begin with “things and, in the course of their speculations, they explain knowledge in terms of what they know about the being of the things that are.”[1] In his Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics Aquinas states, approvingly, “But those things are better known in themselves which have more being, because each thing is knowable insofar as it is being. However, those beings are greater which are greater in act. Whence these are the most knowable by nature. For us, however, the converse is true because we proceed in understanding from potency to act. Our knowledge begins from sensible things which are material and intelligible in potency.”[2]
In order to find out what knowledge is, and how we obtain it, we must begin with the thing being known, with being, because knowledge is always of something, and the way in which knowledge is gained varies, depending on the thing known. When we attempt to make knowledge…

What it Means to Be a Human Person – Part 3 – Important Terms

Before we go too far I would like to stop and define a couple important terms that will be used through out these posts. I will be as complete as possible, though I may end up having to define some terms in later posts. By existent I mean an actually existing entity, a being. Now, being as being is the subject matter of Metaphysics. The natural sciences, however, do not study being as being, but qualified being. “All sciences are concerned with beings, but they do not consider all beings, but only a particular type of being, such as plants, minerals, or quantified being.” (Henry J. Koren, An Introduction to the Science of Metaphysics (1955; repr., St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1957), 7.) As Robert Bolton says, “At the beginning of Met. Γ Aristotle says of the special (non-universal) sciences that they do not concern themselves with any universal study of what is qua being but rather they each simply 'cut off a part of what is and study what happens to this' (1003a23-25).” …

Un Pensée sur la Gouvernance de l’église

Un pensée qui se répandre dans nos église est la notion que c’est les membres de l’église qui ont la responsabilité de choisir qui vont être leurs dirigeants, c’est-a-dire, les anciens. (Je vais utiliser, dans cette réflexion, le mot ancien, qui est le synonyme de pasteur, presbytère, prêtre, etc. C'est le meilleur traduction française pour le mot grec ἐπισχοπῆς (prononcé - épiskopès).) En printemps 2011 j’ai fait une présentation, dans une conférence qui avait comme but de démontrer à partir de la Bible qu'est-ce que l’église. Un des sujets sur lequel j’ai parlé était la gouvernance de l’église. Ce que j'ai découverte était que, dans le Nouveau Testament, la méthode par laquelle un nouvel homme était mis en place comme ancien était par la décision de ceux qui était déjà reconnu comme ancien, et non par le vote de l’assemblée (voit : Actes 14:23, Tit. 1:5).  Tout suite on pourrait entendre des gens qui réponds en disant que Paul suivait cette méthode seulement parce que c’…

What it means to be a Human Person – Part 2 – Where to start

In order to understand what it means to be human we must begin by studying humans. We need to see what they are. The approach that I am suggesting is an empirical approach to knowledge.For example, in the Summa Theologiae Thomas Aquinas waits until Question 12 to discuss how it is that mankind comes to knowledge, albeit imperfect knowledge, of God.[1] He has already discussed Gods unity, eternity, immutability, immanence, infinity, goodness, perfection, simplicity, and existence. Having discussed these issues he then looks back upon the knowledge that we acquired, and asks the question, "How did we attain this knowledge?" To many philosophers, and theologians, this order may seem counter-intuitive. Those who might think so are tempted to say, “How can you even talk about what God is like until you have established that you can know what God is like and how it is that you come to such knowledge?” This type of thinking is exactly why many contemporary theology books begin with…

What it means to be a Human Person – Part 1 - Introduction

I would like to discuss some ethical issues, such as abortion, marriage, etc. However, I realize that unless I lay down a foundation for these discussions, I will be simply voicing my opinion. Frequently we discuss ethical issues without ever asking the more basic questions of what it means to be a human person. (Behind this question there are some questions that are even more basic, such as, what is a nature, what does it mean to exist, and is there a common nature that all humans share or is there some other way of understanding the similarities that we see between humans? Some of these questions may be answered along the way.)  It seems that in order to decide whether it is right or wrong for a human person to act in a certain way, or to develop a certain character, we must first know what it means to be a human person. In light of this fact, we will spend some time, in the following posts, discussing what it means to be human. (Some of what I have to say comes directly from my Ma…

David Bostock on suicide in Plato's Phaedo - Part 2

In the last posting we looked at two formulations of an argument about suicide. In order to understand this post I suggest that you refer to Part 1.
Bostock seems to think that premise 1 is generally accepted by most people, he says, “Even if you hold that death is the end, you may still find it difficult to say what is wrong with suicide. After all, there is nothing very surprising in the thought that some unfortunate people live such wretched lives that their life is not worth living, and they would, therefore, be better off dead (p. 16).” He goes on to point out that Socrates accepts, in general, the idea that some people would be better off dead, namely, philosophers. His reasons are not, of course, due to the wretchedness of their lives, but due to what Socrates thinks awaits them on the other side of death. On such an account, should we not fit Christians into this picture? After all, Paul, in Philippians 1:21-24, says that though his earnest desire is to be with Christ, he is co…

David Bostock on Suicide in Plato's Phaedo - Part 1

David Bostock, in his book Plato's Phaedo, sets out to examine the discussion about suicide that is found at the beginning of the Phaedo. He begins by outlining the two main premises that are accepted by Socrates and company.
(1) Some people are better off dead, and
(2) No one should ever commit suicide (p. 16).
Bostock notes that, in and of themselves, these two premises are not contradictory. However, if we add the following third premise, then these two premises, says Bostock, are contradictory.
(3) “If anyone ought to do something, then doing it is good for him (p. 17).”
It seems that the main idea that Bostock wants to get across, in the third premise, is that one should always do what is best for oneself (that which is in one’s own interest or that which is done out of self-interest). However, premise 3 is worded such that it should be read as follows: “If someone has a moral obligation, then it is good for that person to accomplish that moral obligation.” Such a logical for…

La beauté: est-elle objective ou subjectif?

Il faut dire que tout ce qui existe est beau d’une façon ou un autre. La beauté d’une chose n'est pas le même type de beauté qu'on voit dans une autre chose. Pour exemple, un couché de soleil est beau, un giraffe est beau, quand les feuilles d'arbres changent de couleurs, c'est beau. Mais chacun des exemples ici donné est beau dans un facon differente. Dans tous les exemples ici donné, ainsi que tout autre exemple qui pourrait être donné, une définition courte de la beauté serait que la beauté est ce qui fait plaisir quand on la contemple.
Il y a trois aspects à la beauté: de l'ordre, excellence de forme, et, qu'on est capable de la contemplé. Toutes qui existe, d'un facon ou d'un autre remplis ces trois aspects. Si on dits que quelques choses n'est pas beau, c'est parceque la chose en question est déficiente dans un des trois aspects ici donné, ou, parce qu'on la pas assez contemplé.
Souvent quelqu'un qui n'a pas pris le temps de con…

the purpose of this blog

In this blog I will be posting my thoughts on philosophy and theology. As a philosopher I am seeking truth, and will be presenting arguments for the claims I make. I would ask that, when you read my thoughts, you do not allow your emotional attachment to a certain claim distract you from objectively examining the arguments that I present.
As I am bilingual I will be posting, sometimes in french, sometimes in english. If you cannot read my thoughts in the language that they are written in, there are plenty of online text translator programs that you can use (such as google, or babblefish).
I welcome discussion on my views as long as it is relevant, respectful, and objective. Arguments from authority are the weakest arguments that can be used, so, I will not respond to a post that says, "your view is wrong because...says that it's false." Any post that is disrespectful, irrelevant, or vulgar will be removed.
I hope that you will take the time to read my thoughts, and…