• Strange Notions Strange Notions Strange Notions

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... 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... 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... Read More

“Optimistic Nihilism” and Whistling Past God’s Graveyard

The colorful six-minute animation from the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt recently raked in millions of views with a brief history of...well, everything. The narrator offers a naturalistic view of the entire universe, but carries it to nihilistic conclusions. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%;... 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... 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... Read More

On Liberty and Freedom: A Dialogue

by  
Filed under Man

I travelled down to New York Harbor to meet my dear friend Franz. No sooner had I arrived at our meeting place than when the sun began to emerge from its hiding place and light up the sky above and the waters beneath. As it leapt up from its abode its warm rays stretched out and rested on the cold and fragile buildings of the city. There is something about a sunrise that gives one hope. Soon I noticed Franz approaching in the distance. “Hello, friend!” he shouted from afar. “Good... Read More

Sympathy for the Borg

The idea of the mystical body of Christ has always been one of great interest to me, as there was always something about it at odds with the mentality in which I was raised: "Be yourself", etc. was (and remains) the mantra of the day, and the whole idea of being but a single part of something larger did not always sit well. I remember being a ten-year-old watching as the Borg stripped Captain Picard of his identity and "assimilated" him into their collective (his pronoun "I" replaced with... Read More

How Do You Know You’re Not in the Matrix?

by  
Filed under Man

At the heart of the philosophy of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas is the idea that we come into contact with reality through the senses. But what if our senses are not a reliable source? Perhaps our senses are deceiving us, and everything we perceive isn’t real but is merely an illusion like in the movie The Matrix. Descartes This skepticism of sense knowledge was part of René Descartes’s methodic doubt, which many radical skeptics have adopted. Descartes argued: Whatever I have... Read More

Next Page »