Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2013

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE QUESTION "WHAT IS BEING ?”

Having just finished the wonderful book Faut-il déconstruire la métaphysique?[1] by Pierre Aubenque. I was struck by a remark that he made near the end of his final chapter. He says, “Si je demande quel est le sens de la. [sic] vie, je n’attends pas – et je ne tolérerais pas – que l’on me répondre par une énumération, un catalogue. Or la réponse d’Aristote à la question du sens de l’être est catalogique. L’être, c’est l’essence, la quantité, la qualité, la relation, etc.; c’est aussi l’être par soi et l’être par accident, l’être en acte et l’être en puissance. »[2] (I translate all french quotations in the endnotes.)
This remark will immediately strike a chord with anyone who is familiar with Plato’s Socratic dialogues, particularly Euthyphro. In Euthyphro Socrates meets the young Euthyphro who is on the way to the courts, in order to prosecute his father for murder. Thinking that anybody who would prosecute his own father for such a grievous crime would know what virtue is…

D. M. ARMSTRONG’S DOCTRINE OF BEING

In Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics, D. M. Armstrong sets out to give a basic, and simplified, outline of his metaphysical positions.[1] Armstrong does not make any explicit attempt to deal with the problem of Being qua Being. However, an attentive lecture of his book will reveal what could be qualified as a modified, and over-simplified, Aristotelian response to the problem of Being. The following survey and attempted systematization of Armstrong's doctrine of Being deals exclusively with the book mentioned in the first sentence.
 Armstrong is more worried about beings than Being, however, he does explain that Being simply is synonymous with Existence and Actuality. “The Actual may be identified as existence, as being.”[2]To be is, therefore, to exist or to be actual. In conjunction with this claim Armstrong also asserts that there are no gradations of being.[3] Either a thing is or it is not, it exists or it does not exist, it has being or it does not have being. Armstrong doe…

A DEFENSE OF AQUINAS’S FIRST WAY

In this article, the fourth article in the blog series Contending for God, sponsored by the Canadian Apologetics Coalition, I will first outline Thomas Aquinas’s first way, then comment on the premises.[1] Aquinas says that this is the most evident or manifest way to demonstrate that God is.[2] It should be noted that if this argument demonstrates that a divine being exists, it is not a demonstration, or a making manifest, of the nature of God, but, of the fact that God exists, or is. It is a demonstration that only claims to show that something is, not what it is. It is also necessary to note that there are two types of demonstration. Demonstration propter quid (by way of the thing that is)[3] moves from the essence or nature of a cause to its effects.[4] Demonstration quia (demonstration of the fact)[5] moves from the effect to the existence of the cause.[6] In light of the above observations, it is not necessary to know anything about the nature of a thing prior to show…