• Strange Notions Strange Notions Strange Notions
Dr. Dennis Bonnette

About

Dr. Dennis Bonnette retired as a Full Professor of Philosophy in 2003 from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. He taught philosophy there for thirty-six years and served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1992 to 2002. He lives in Youngstown, New York, with his wife, Lois. They have seven adult children and twenty-five grandchildren. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1970. Dr. Bonnette taught philosophy at the college level for 40 years, and is now teaching free courses at the Aquinas School of Philosophy in Lewiston, New York. He is the author of two books, Aquinas' Proofs for God's Existence (The Hague: Martinus-Nijhoff, 1972) and Origin of the Human Species (Ave Maria, FL: Sapientia Press, third edition, 2014), and many scholarly articles.

   
 

Materialism’s Failures: Hylemorphism’s Vindication

Scientific materialists propose certain epistemological and ontological claims, allegedly in the name of natural science, that conflict with man’s common sense experience of the world. This article will show (1)  that such claims are not based on sound natural science, but the assumed philosophy of materialism, (2) that the materialist/atomist worldview is fundamentally flawed, and (3) that hylemorphism offers scientifically-compatible alternatives that align with reality. Materialism's... Read More

Abortion Ethics: Natural Law vs. Naturalism

This article will examine (1) natural law’s and (2) naturalism’s opposing views on abortion. Their diverse philosophies determine radically divergent abortion ethics, which will be examined solely through natural reasoning. Pertinent Thomistic Doctrines Since embryology teaches that specifically human life begins at conception, modern natural law ethics – following the principles of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) – prohibits direct abortion at any stage, since it is the taking... Read More

Why Natural Law Ethics is Rational

This article will lay out the rational foundations of natural law ethics as well as show how they lead to implications for the philosophical science of ethics. Everyone thinks he is an expert in ethics – or, so it seems. Just ask anyone’s opinion about any hot topic, like abortion, the homosexual agenda, the proper response to climate change, or the death penalty, and you will elicit strong judgments as to what we are obliged to do or not do. Rarely does someone say, “Who am I to judge?” Still,... Read More

The Principle of Non-Contradiction’s Incredible Implications

Thomism’s metaphysical first principle of non-contradiction (PNC) reads, “Being cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.” Its sister first principles are those of identity and excluded middle. Its logical form reads, “The same predicate cannot be affirmed and denied of the same subject.” The metaphysical statement is about being itself (that which in any way has existence), not about propositions about being. There appears little reason to examine something... Read More

The Santa Claus “Proof” for God’s Existence

In my title, the word, “proof,” is in quotation marks, because this article is not intended as a strict proof for God’s existence. Many may well not be impressed by the argument at all. Still, it may have some merit, since it might at least give skeptics, agnostics, and atheists some pause for thought. Most children are taught in their early years to believe in the fictional character who lives at the North Pole. Indeed, like St. Thomas Aquinas’s own Five Ways to prove God’s existence,... Read More

How Aquinas’s First Mover is Also Universal Governor

This post aims at better understanding how God interacts with creatures, not primarily at proving his existence. Central objections to God’s existence are that (1) his nature is self-contradictory and/or (2) his relation to creatures is somehow impossible, as in, for example, the problem of evil that I have addressed here previously. In other posts, I have argued that God is the source of all “new existence” that appears in the world every moment it progresses through time. Regarding... Read More

Understanding the Mysterious Fifth Way to God’s Existence

The fifth way is taken from the governance of things. For we see that things which lack knowledge, such as natural bodies, act for an end, which is apparent from this: that always, or more frequently, they act in the same way, so as to obtain that which is best. Hence it is plain that they achieve their end, not by chance, but from intention. However, those things which do not have knowledge do not tend toward an end unless directed by something with knowledge and intelligence -- as the arrow [is... Read More

How Human Free Will Harmonizes with “Sufficient Reason”

This article’s sole purpose is to defend free will against the claim of those who maintain that free will is metaphysically impossible, because it somehow violates the principles of sufficient reason and causality. Arguments Against the Harmony The most forceful argument against free will’s possibility is the claim that it violates Thomistic metaphysics’ understanding of the principle of sufficient reason. That principle states that every being must have a sufficient reason for its being... Read More

How We Know the Human Soul is Immortal

In a 2015 video, I facetiously argued that, based on his own philosophical assumptions, Dr. Richard Dawkins does not actually exist. Of course, I firmly believe he does. But, my point was that, given his view of the universe, in which things are merely interacting aggregates of subatomic particles, there is no place for substantial unities above the level of whatever ultimate particles compose the cosmos. A substantial unity is a thing whose entire nature is the same throughout. Every part of it... Read More

The Big Problems with Naturalism

When skeptics, agnostics, and atheists oppose theists, Christians, and, specifically, Catholics, they frequently do so from the perspective of philosophical naturalism. This article will challenge the rational credibility of naturalism. Naturalism has historical roots in early Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers: Thales, Anaximander, and Anaxagoras. These thinkers are sometimes called “naïve materialists,” because they espouse a purely material world—without explicitly rejecting a spiritual... Read More

Next Page »