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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.

   
 

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

The Scientific Possibility of Adam and Eve

Until the advent of Darwinian evolution, most Christians believed that the entire human race actually descended from our literally-real first parents, Adam and Eve.  Many still do. In 1950, Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical, Humani Generis, in which he wrote that “revealed truth and … the magisterium of the Church teach” that Original Sin is "a sin truly committed by one Adam [ab uno Adamo], and which is transmitted to all by generation, and exists in each one as his own."1 The current... Read More

How to Approach the Problem of Evil

The problem of evil in relation to God’s goodness is too vast a topic to treat fully in this short article. Therefore, I shall offer just a few relevant observations on this widely known objection to God’s goodness and existence. In classical metaphysics, proving God’s goodness starts with defining what is meant by the good. The good is that which all things desire.1 But a thing is desirable because it is perfect, which implies that it is as actual as its nature permits. Since a thing has... Read More

How God Can Know and Cause a Universe of Things

Nature of the Problem God is absolutely simple, meaning that he is not composed of parts, principles, or things. He is a spiritual being, since what is physical is subject to motion and God, as Unmoved First Mover, cannot be subject to motion. It seems unimaginable that a simple, pure spirit could both know and cause the nearly infinite myriad of things that God has created. Yet, it is demonstrable that he causes each creature and knows each one individually. That God causes all finite things follows... Read More

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