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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.

   
 

Whatever is Moved is Moved By Another

“Motion is the act of a being in potency insofar as it is in potency.” - Aristotle, Physics Book III, 201a10-11 In his famous First Way of proving God’s existence, St. Thomas Aquinas says, “It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion.”1 But, are things really in motion? Most people would think that motion in the world is too obvious to doubt. Yet, some, based on theories of modern physics, claim that physical change in the universe is actually... Read More

Why an Infinite Regress Among Proper Causes is Metaphysically Impossible

Presuppositions, definitions, and purpose: This article presupposes the metaphysical first principles of non-contradiction, sufficient reason, and causality, which I defended earlier in a Strange Notions article. By the principle of sufficient reason, I mean that every being has a sufficient reason for its being or becoming. This principle is recognized by virtually all mankind as essential to reality’s intelligibility. By causality, I mean that every effect (a being whose sufficient reason is... Read More

“Brute Facts” vs. “Sufficient Reasons”

The metaphysical principle that every thing must have a sufficient reason for its being or coming-to-be is challenged by those who claim that some “brute facts” exist, that is, things for which there are simply no reasons at all. The opponents of sufficient reason’s universality claim that science works quite well by finding reasons for many things, even though we allow that one thing or some things might turn out just to be “brute facts,” that is, things without a reason. But that is... Read More

Why Modern Physics Does Not Refute Thomistic Philosophy

Today some claim that modern physics evinces that Aristotelian-Thomist philosophy is an archaic myth that has outlived its credibility. They say things like, “If Thomist metaphysics contradicts modern physics, then Thomism is false.” They make claims against Thomism, citing modern physical theories like quantum mechanics and relativity. We are told counterintuitive things, such as that (1) whole universes can pop into existence from nothing according to quantum mechanics, (2) effects sometimes... Read More

What Is the True Understanding of Causality?

The classical proofs for God’s existence, particularly St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways, employ the notion of causality – both efficient and final. In that context, many misunderstandings arise concerning the true metaphysical meaning of the principle of causality. This article will assume the validity of the metaphysical first principles of non-contradiction and sufficient reason, which were established as true in my previous Strange Notions article on the first principles – and will not be... Read More

Are Metaphysical First Principles Universally True?

Today, certain lines of attack against classical proofs for God’s existence, such as St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways, seek to undermine foundational metaphysical first principles such as causality, sufficient reason, or even non-contradiction.1 Such attacks employ, for example, claims that (1) David Hume’s critique of causality is definitive, (2) the existence of the cosmos is simply a “brute fact,” needing no explanation, and (3) modern physics shows that the principle of non-contradiction... Read More

Naturalism’s Epistemological Nightmare

Metaphysical naturalism, usually identified with scientific materialism, is not to be confused with methodological naturalism, which maintains, at least in principle, that the scientific method confines itself to natural explanations without any philosophical bias against the supernatural. Metaphysical or philosophical naturalism insists that only entities empirically verifiable by natural science exist, which excludes all supernatural beings, especially God. The truth value of all scientific statements... Read More

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