Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
Member of the Alliance for Liberal Learning

Thursday, April 26, 2018

What Happened to Philosophy between Aquinas and Descartes?

John Deely on John of St. Thomas (John Poinsot) at The Thomist (1994)

"At this moment, we find that a hook translated from the work of the last of the Latin commentators, the Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot, while receiving no significant treatment within the Catholic intellectual world, is seriously discussed within the international intellectual movement that has grown up in the last quarter century around the study of signs and reviewed in such mass media as the Times of New York, Los Angeles, and London.

"Such a situation participates in improbability. My own view is that The Semiotic of John Poinsot (as the work in question is subtitled in its contemporary edition) is a harbinger of what the postmodern development may prove to be. Postmodernism, in my view, is not to be, as initially appears, a kind of literary/sophistic attempt to eviscerate rational discourse in philosophy through a forced control of signifiers made rather to dismantle (under the mantra of 'deconstruction') than to constitute some text taken precisely as severed from any vestige of authorial intention. Postmodernism in the long run will be seen rather as the term inevitably employed through juxtaposition with the internal dimensions of the classical modern paradigm so as to establish thereby a philosophical sense of a change of age and temper of thought defined historically but able to link contemporary requirements of speculative understanding with late Latin themes omitted from the repertoire of analytic tools developed by modernity." [footnotes omitted]

#sign

Friday, April 13, 2018

Reason and Self-Interest in Hobbes’ Reply to the Fool

Joseph Carlsmith in Prometheus Journal

"ABSTRACT: The Fool offers a famous objection to Hobbesian ethics: if practical rationality is rooted in self-interest, then isn’t it rational to abandon ethical reasoning when doing so “conduces to one’s benefit”? In this paper, I examine Hobbes’ reply to the Fool as it reveals the limitations of the moral theory presented in Leviathan. I begin by sketching out the reply and two traditional ways of interpreting it – the “case-by-case” interpretation and the “rule-commitment” interpretation. I argue that for empirical reasons both these interpretations fail to answer the Fool’s challenge. I then turn to an interpretation that I think a more promising answer to the Fool: Gauthier’s theory of conventional reason. This theory, I argue, contains a crucial insight that the first two interpretations lack: what Hobbes really needs to do to reply to the Fool is not to reconcile covenant-keeping with self-interest, but rather to show how constraints on the pursuit of self-interest can be rationally justified. Gauthier’s attempt to do so within Hobbes’ framework fails, but this failure illuminates a fundamental problem with Hobbes’ moral theory: that moral constraints on the pursuit of self-interest cannot provide reasons to a Hobbesian agent."

#government

Monday, April 9, 2018

Love: Neuroscience reveals all

'Poetry it is not. Nor is it particularly romantic. But reducing love to its component parts helps us to understand human sexuality, and may lead to drugs that enhance or diminish our love for another, says Larry J. Young' in this essay from Nature, at ResearchGate

#love

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Conditions of personhood

Daniel C. Dennett, in Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), The Identities of Persons, University of California Press (1976), at PhilPapers

Friday, April 6, 2018

Aquinas Leadership International Update - April 2018

Peter A. Redpath writes "to update you about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, our affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work."

ANNOUNCING THE
Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress
20 to 22 July 2018
Immaculate Conception Seminary
Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA
●  The Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress Topic
The chief topic for the ALI 20 to 22 July 2018, 5th annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA, will be:
“Artificial Intelligence and the Futures of Philosophy, Global Leadership, and World Peace”
This World Congress will celebrate the following 5 anniversaries:
10th Anniversary of its Founding of the International Étienne Gilson Society (IEGS) at a meeting sponsored by Civitas Christiana, Warsaw, Poland
10th Anniversary of the death of Mieczysław Albert Maria Krąpiec, O.P.
40th Anniversary of the death of Étienne Gilson
50th Anniversary of publication of Jacques Maritain's Peasant of the Garonne
100th Anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankensteinor the Modern Prometheus
This World Congress especially welcomes individual papers, or panels, that relate works of the above individuals and organizations to the Congress main topic. If you are interested in doing an individual paper or organizing or participating in a panel, contact Congress organizer Peter Redpath ASAP.
If you would like to co-sponsor this meeting, prepare a paper, participate in, or organize, a panel related to this topic, contact the Congress Chair, Peter Redpath, at: peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com.
The Aquinas Leadership International group is pleased to announce that the American Maritain Association will join our already-existing co-sponsors to help host this meeting!
 The Aquinas School of Leadership (ASL) Announces Formation of the "Aquinas Global Leadership University" (AGLU)
Starting in September 2018, the Aquinas School of Leadership will inaugurate an Aquinas Global Leadership University (AGLU) as a division within its Center for Leadership Coaching. For further information about the AGLU, contact Dr. Peter A. Redpath at: peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com
● University of South Africa and the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin Thomistic Studies Research Doctoral Programs

The Ontological Problem (the Mind -Body. Problem)

Paul M. Churchland, in Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to Philosophy of Mind, at Amitabha Mukerjee, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

#mind

Sunday, April 1, 2018

'Enduring Lessons about Happiness from Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas'

Dr. Curtis Hancock presented this Aquinas School of Leadership inaugural lecture at Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, Arizona.

There is also >audio of the lecture and the discussion following.

#happiness

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Lon Fuller reviews Adler's 'A Dialectic of Morals'

Lon L. Fuller reviewed A Dialectic of Morals: Towards the Foundations of Political Philosophy by Mortimer J. Adler at The University of Chicago Law Review (1942).

"If there is anything that distinguishes our ethical thinking from that of former times, it is the disappearance of the notion of man's nature. This is the missing constant in our thought. It is the lack of it that explains the relativism which inheres in all our ethical judgments, for without it, no condemnation of evil can carry real conviction. Jefferson and Marshall would never have defined our present differences with the Fuhrer as a choice between different 'ways of life.' They would have said quite simply that Hitler is wrong. They would have said that man cannot make himself a beast of prey without ceasing to be a man, without losing, in other words, his capacity to enjoy what he seeks to obtain through rapine. They would have regarded Mein Kampf not simply as a wicked book, but as a mistaken book."
Recommended Citation
Fuller, Lon L. (1942) "Review of A Dialectic of Morals: Towards the Foundations of Political Philosophy by Mortimer J. Adler," University of Chicago Law Review: Vol. 9 : Iss. 4 , Article 18.
Available at: http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclrev/vol9/iss4/18

(via Chapman University, Leatherby Libraries)

#good #man #nature

Monday, March 12, 2018

“What are the Great Ideas: Why & Where Do They Really Matter?”

That's the disputed question for the 43rd Annual Philosophy/Theology Symposium at Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio. All events are free and open to the public, and will be held in Betzler Auditorium. No registration is required. The 2018 Visiting Scholar is William Cathers, an Aspen Institute Moderator, Philosopher, Educator, and Mortimer J. Adler Protégé.

Program Schedule

Tuesday, March 13, 7:30 p.m. “Great Ideas We Judge By:”
- Truth – Dr. Joe Vincenzo
- Goodness – Dr. Brad Beach
- Beauty – Dr. John G. Trapani, Jr.

Wednesday, March 14, 7:30 p.m. “Great Ideas We Live By:”
- Liberty – Dr. Will Cooley
- Equality – Dr. Koop Berry
- Justice – Dr. Joe Torma

Thursday, March 15, 7:30 p.m. Art Form: “Great Ideas in the Arts:”
- Literature – Dr. Matt Akers
- Painting – Dr. Katey Brown
- Music – Dr. Britt Cooper

Friday, March 16, 7:30 p.m. Visiting Scholar: Lecture #1
- Will Cathers: “The Great Ideas: Objects of Understanding”
- Will Cathers: “A Socratic Seminar with Walsh Students; Teaching the Great Ideas the Way Mortimer Adler Would Have Taught Them”

Saturday, March 17, 9:00 a.m.* Visiting Scholar: Lecture #2
- Walsh Seminar Students: Anne Monnin & Andy Zmecek: “Mortimer Adler and the Biographical History of the Great Ideas”
- Will Cathers: Disputed Question #43: “What Are the Great Ideas; Why & Where Do They Really Matter?
*Special recognition to Dr. John G. Trapani Jr. given by President Richard Jusseaume

(via Charita Goshay at The Canton Repository.)

#idea #truth #good #beauty #liberty #equality #justice #art #education #MortimerAdler

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A single atom is visible to the naked eye in this stunning photo

"An image of a single atom of the metal strontium suspended in electric fields has won the 2018 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council science photography competition.

'David Nadlinger‘s photo, Single Atom In An Ion Trap, was captured through the window of a vacuum chamber in an Oxford University laboratory, using an ordinary digital camera on a long exposure shot."
reported New Scientist.

#

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Aquinas Leadership International Update - Late February/March 2018

Peter A. Redpaht writes "to update you about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI), affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work. ..."

● Dr. Curtis L. Hancock to Deliver Inaugural Lecture on 01 March in Paradise Valley, AZ

The Aquinas School of Leadership announces that Freeman Chair of Philosophy at Rockhurst Jesuit University, Curtis L. Hancock, will deliver the inaugural lecture for the newly-formed “Aquinas School of Leadership Lecture Series” as part of Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) Public Philosophy series sponsored by the PVCC Philosophical Society

Day/Date: Thursday, 01 March 2018

Time: 6:00 to 8:00 PM on

Topic: “Perennial Lessons about Happiness from Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas”

For more details about the talk, contact Prof. Kelly Fitzsimmons-Burton at: 602-787-6833kelly.fitzsimmons@paradisevalley.edu or Peter A. Redpath at: peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com

● Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress Topic

The chief topic for the ALI 20 to 22 July 2018, 5th annual Aquinas Leadership International Conference at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA, will be:

“Artificial Intelligence and the Futures of Philosophy, Global Leadership, and World Peace”

If you would like to co-sponsor this meeting, prepare a paper, participate in, or organize, a panel related to this topic, contact the Congress Chair, Peter Redpath, at: peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Adler On: The Great Books

How to Read a Book: A Guide to Reading the Great Books, Chapter Sixteen, at Cyberspace incognita

(via Wikipedia)

#MortimerAdler

Thursday, February 22, 2018

"The Firmament Sheweth His Handiwork"

'Re-awakening a Religious Sense of the Natural Order' by Harry Oldmeadow at Religio Perennis

#nature #religion

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Welter reviews Redpath's 'Moral Psychology of St. Thomas Aquinas'

Brian Welter reviewed The Moral Psychology of St. Thomas Aquinas: An Introduction to Ragamuffin Ethics, by Peter A. Redpath, at Studia Gilsoniana.

"The author connects organizational psychology with moral psychology, highlighting how both feature whole-part relationships. When indifferent to the principles put forth by Aristotle and St. Thomas, the reason that orders these relationships 'inclines to become anarchic' (22). Redpath links this back to the West’s philosophical problems. The decline and anarchy we see around us stem from the fact that 'centuries ago, Western civilization lost its understanding of the nature of philosophy as an organizational psychology' (22). By this he specifically means the lost 'understanding of the natures of metaphysics, ethics, and science as habits of leadership excellence of the human soul' (22)."

#metaphysics #virtue

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Reading and Renewal of the Mind

Fr. Dwight Longenecker with a "Benedict Option" at National Catholic Register.

"During the six weeks of Lent I have been blogging about the six aspects of the Benedictine life. First we considered the three vows of obedience, stability and conversion of life. Now, for the second half of Lent we’ll look at the three practical ways that the three vows are lived out day by day.
...
"The first of the three aspects of Benedictine life is reading. This does not simply mean the casual curling up with a good book. Certainly, reading for entertainment and diversion is a useful aspect to the life of study, but the Benedictine approach is deeper than that. ..."

#education #religion

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Conflict Continues

John Farrell reviews On Faith and Science, by Edward J. Larson and Michael Ruse, at Commonweal.

"The laws of nature in the heavens were one thing, but applying such laws to human beings was something else. And in the third chapter the authors deal with the impact of Newtonian mechanics on the concepts of the mind and soul. Descartes’ separation of an immaterial mind from the mechanics of the human body can be viewed in this light as a sort of pre-emptive strike to protect the unique status of the soul. If so, it was short-lived, as the advent of Darwinian evolution threatened to place everything human under the power of natural selection.

"Here is where the real conflict with faith remains."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Substance and Dynamics:

'Two Elements of Aristotelian-Thomistic Philosophy of Nature in the Foundation of Mathematics in Physics' by Fr. Rudolf Larenz at Studia Gilsoniana

#mathematics #physics

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Little Errors in the Beginning

Mortimer J. Adler at The Thomist (January 1974)

"... I would like to call attention to the two ways in which little errors in the beginning occur. In some cases, they are made because something that needs to be known or understood has not yet been discovered or learned. Such mistakes are, of course, excusable, however regrettable they may be. In other cases, the errors are made as a result of culpable ignorance--ignorance of an essential point, an insight or distinction, that has already been discovered and expounded.

"It is mainly in this second way that modern philosophers have made their little errors in the beginning. When they are made in this way and then perpetuated by the same ignorance that accounts for their origin, they are ugly monuments to failures in education--failures that have one or both of the following sources: on the one hand, corruptions in the tradition of learning, like the corrupt and decadent scholasticism of the 15th and 16th centuries, the effects of which are so evident in the writings of Descartes, Hobbes, and Locke;1 on the other hand, an attitude of antagonism toward or even contempt for the past--for the achievements of those who have come before. Both of these causes are operative today. ...



"1 Though the 15th and 16th centuries were the centuries of Cajetan and Jean Poinsot, their work exercised little influence on current scholastic thought, and none outside it."

#truth #MortimerAdler

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Famous Philosopher: 10 Books EVERYONE Should Read

Martin Cothran on how 'In a speech, Peter Kreeft recommended these ten books as essential for everyone's intellectual formation", at Intellectual Takeout. That's obviously not Prof. Kreeft pictured in the article; see the About page of his website.

#education

(via Jay Gold, a Senior Fellow of the Center)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Founders in Full

Vincent Phillip Munoz reviews The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom, by Thomas G. West, at The Claremont Review of Books.

#equality #liberty #virtue

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Aquinas Leadership International Update - January 2018

Peter A. Redpath emails "about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI), affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work."


● Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress Topic

The chief topic for the ALI 20 to 22 July 2018, 5th annual Aquinas Leadership International Conference at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA, will be:

“Artificial Intelligence and the Futures of Philosophy, Global Leadership, and World Peace”

If you would like to co-sponsor this meeting, prepare a paper, participate in, or organize, a panel related to this topic, contact the Congress Chair, Peter Redpath, at: peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com

They're Made Out of Meat

Terry Bisson's famous science fiction short story, at his website, and a copy of it as originally published in Omni Science Fiction 151, April 1991, posted at William Flew.

#mind

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Secret Life of Time

'It may seem slippery and maddeningly abstract, but it’s also deeply intimate, infusing our every word and gesture.'

Alan Burdick at The New Yorker

#time

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Kant & The Human Subject

'Brian Morris compares the ways Kant’s question “What is the human being?” has been answered by philosophers and anthropologists' at Philosophy Now.

#man #philosophy #science

Friday, January 12, 2018

Whither nationalism?

'Nationalism is not fading away. But it is not clear where it is heading.' Essay at The Economist.
"Nationalism is an abiding legacy of the Enlightenment. It has embedded itself in global politics more completely and more successfully than any of the Enlightenment’s more celebrated legacies, including Marxism, classical liberalism and even industrial capitalism. It is not an aberration. It is here to stay. Putting aside the concerns of a cosmopolitan elite, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Like religion, nationalism is capable of bringing out the best in people as well as the worst. It can inspire them to bind together freely in pursuit of the common good. But it can also fill them with a terrifying, righteous certainty, breeding strife and injustice."

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Metaphysics Test

Twenty required questions, one point for each correct answer, and eighteen optional questions, here.

#metaphysics

Sunday, January 7, 2018

John Deely on 'How to Think about God' by Mortimer Adler

"Mortimer Adler came to the University of Dubuque sometime in the 1970s as part of a lecture tour on 'How To Think about God'. Subsequently he published a book on the subject in which the first part claimed to be based on Anselm and the second part (which someone failed to proofread) based on Aquinas. Overall the book was actually not all that great, but the point of the first part captured the situation exactly. If we are to think clearly about God, we must indeed think of God as existing actually and not merely in thought. But clear thinking on our part is not sufficient to prove, even in the unique case of God, that God actually exists. For that, appeal must be made to the nature of actual existence, whence, if at all, some proof or other might be derived.

"Descartes, as mentioned above, later would compare the situation to that of a triangle. Existence is to God as having three sides and three angles is to a triangle. As we cannot think of a triangle unless we think of it as having three sides and three angles, so we cannot think of God unless we think of God as actually existing. But this argument makes the point of Adler and Aquinas, not the one Descartes or Anselm before him hoped to make.

Four Ages of Understanding: The First Postmodern Survey of Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Turn of the Twenty-first Century (2001), by John Deely, p. 241

#being #god #MortimerAdler