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Displaying: 11-20 of 29 documents


session iii: lessons from the history of philosophy
11. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
Erin Stackle “Fifthly, or Rather First": Why Aristotle takes Public Religious Worship to be Crucial to the Activity of Science
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In his Politics, Aristotle identifies the public worship of the gods as the most important element of the city, but then immediately follows this claim with the claim that justice is the most important element of the city. I first consider the various possible ways of interpreting this claim on the basis of Aristotle’s metaphysical commitments. I then consider what Aristotle actually says about religious worship. The things Aristotle says when elaborating public worship in the city indicate that the importance of this public worship to the city is in establishing the leisure necessary for, and which turns the citizens toward, contemplation. This contemplation, the activity of science, is, as Aristotle elaborates in the Nicomachean Ethics, the most divine activity in which we can engage. Public religious worship, then, is essential to the activity of science in a city.
12. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
Karen R. Zwier The Status of Laws of Nature in the Philosophy of Leibniz
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Is it possible to take the enterprise of physics seriously while also holding the belief that the world contains an order beyond the reach of that physics? Is it possible to simultaneously believe in objective laws of nature and in miracles? Is it possible to search for the truths of physics while also acknowledging the limitations of that search as it is carried out by limited human knowers? As a philosopher, as a Christian, and as a participant in the physics of his day, Leibniz had an interesting view that bears on all of these questions. This paper examines the status of laws of nature in Leibniz’s philosophy and how the status of these laws fits into his larger philosophical picture of the limits of human knowledge and the wise and omniscient God who created the actual world.
session iv: comtemporary philosophy and two classical doctrines
13. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
Andrew Jaeger Mental Causation as Teleological Causation
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I argue that the Causal Closure Argument (CCA) and the Explanatory Exclusion Argument (EEA) fail to show that mental causes must either be reduced/ identical to physical causes or that mental causes are epiphenomenal. I begin by granting the soundness of CCA and EEA and go on to argue that they only rule out irreducible mental efficient causes/explanations. A proponent of irreducible mental causation can, therefore, grant the soundness of CCA and EEA, provided she holds mental causation/explanation to be teleological. I go on to argue that, in light of these two objections, such an account of mental causation is possible. I conclude by giving a cursory sketch of how such a picture of mental causation as non-reductive teleological causation would work. The upshot being that this general approach to mental causation, as non-reductive and non-epiphenomenal, cannot be undermined by the CCA and EEA.
14. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
William Jaworski Hylomorphism: What It Is and What It Isn’t
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“Hylomorphism” has recently become a buzzword in metaphysics. Kit Fine, Kathryn Koslicki, and Mark Johnston, among others, have argued that hylomorphism provides an account of parthood and material constitution that has certain advantages over its competitors. But what exactly is it, and what are its implications for an account of what we are? Hylomorphism, I argue, is fundamentally a claim about structure. It says that structure is a basic ontological and explanatory principle. I argue that hylomorphism is compatible with physicalism, and also with substance dualism, and epiphenomenalism. The most interesting kinds of hylomorphism nevertheless reject these views. I describe one such hylomorphic theory. It is an empirically well-warranted theory, I argue, one based on work in biology and biological subdisciplines such as neuroscience.
session v: the logic of science
15. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
Christopher M. Brown Some Logical Problems for Scientism
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This paper looks at nine different ways of defining scientism in order to show that potential definitions of the term conform to a general pattern: a definition of scientism either is self-defeating or else cannot really count as a construal of scientism in the first place. Advocates for the experimental sciences would therefore be better off accepting a middle position—one might say a broadly Thomistic approach to science—between the extremes of scientism on the one hand and a religious fundamentalism that ignores the important contributions of the experimental sciences on the other. Such a middle position recognizes both the intellectual significance and the inherent limitations of the scientific method employed within the experimental sciences.
16. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
Michael P. Krom Modeling the Dialogue between Science, Philosophy, and Religion: Aquinas on the Origins and Development of the Universe
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Thomas Aquinas is an acknowledged model for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of faith and reason as compatible and collaborative partners in the search for Truth. Further, his extensive reflections over the course of his intellectual development on the theme of Creation make him a fruitful source for understanding the contemporary science and religion dialogue on the origins and development of the universe. What follows is a discussion of Aquinas’s views on Creation with an eye toward contemporary scientific theory. It would be wrong-headed to attempt to “discover” that Aquinas was “the first Evolutionist/Big Bang Theorist” (as Lord Acton found him the “First Whig”), and yet we might be surprised to find how open his philosophical speculations are in this regard. And hopefully the lovers of Truth who wrongly reject Christianity as a result of this love are willing to be surprised by his perennial philosophy.
session vi: replies to two contemporary arguments
17. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
Alexander R. Pruss A New Way to Reconcile Creation with Current Biological Science
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I shall argue that, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, current biological science does not rule out the possibility of miraculous intervention in the evolutionary history of human beings. This shows that it is possible to reconcile evolutionary science with the claim that we are designed by God.
18. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
T. Ryan Byerly Intentions, Intentionally Permitting, and the Problem of Evil
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Some of the most persuasive contemporary statements of the problem of evil rely on premises concerning God’s intentionally permitting certain things to occur and premises concerning the moral wrongness of intentionally permitting such things. In this paper, I want to pose a dilemma for the defender of such arguments from evil. Either intentionally permitting p implies intending p or it does not. If it does, then the theist may plausibly resist these arguments from evil by insisting that the key claims in them concerning God’s intentionally permitting things are false. But, if intentionally permitting p does not imply intending p, then the theist may plausibly resist these arguments by contesting the premises in them which make claims concerning the moral wrongness of intentionally permitting certain things. Either way, the theist will have a response to these versions of the problem of evil.
session vii: science: modern and ancient
19. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
Paul Symington Thomas Aquinas, Perceptual Resemblance, Categories, and the Reality of Secondary Qualities
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Arguably one of the most fundamental phase shifts that occurred in the intellectual history of Western culture involved the ontological reduction of secondary qualities to primary qualities. To say the least, this reduction worked to undermine the foundations undergirding Aristotelian thought in support of a scientific view of the world based strictly on an examination of the real—primary— qualities of things. In this essay, I identify the so-called “Causal Argument” for a reductive view of secondary qualities and seek to deflect this challenge by deriving some plausible consequences that support a non-reductive view of secondary qualities from an Aristotelian view (via the philosophical commentary of Thomas Aquinas). Specifically, my argument has two facets. First, I show that Aristotle’s view both implies recognition of the extramental existence of secondary qualities and is a prima facia natural view to take regarding the ontology of secondary qualities. Second, I show that the Causal Argument, which is thought to undermine a natural view of secondary qualities as real things, loses its bite when one examines perception in light the ontological relationship among the categories of quality, quantity and substance.
20. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 85
Michael Hector Storck Cogs, Dogs, and Robot Frogs: Aquinas’s Presence by Power and the Unity of Living Things
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In this paper, I investigate the nature of complex bodies, especially living things. I argue that a living thing’s complexity is fundamentally different from that of a machine, so that living things are substances, while machines are not. I further argue that the best way to understand the unity and complexity of a living thing is to follow Aquinas in holding that the elements and other parts are present in wholes by their powers, rather than as substances. I show that presence by power is not refuted by the discoveries of modern physics, and that it can help us understand the relations between parts and wholes in a more universal way which includes both living and non-living things.