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The Transcendental Certitude of Metaphysical First Principles

How do we really know that basic metaphysical principles, such as, that contradictions in being are impossible, are both certain and transcendentally true? That is, how do we have perfect certitude that they apply validly to every possible thing, including the God of classical theism? Some have argued that the principle of non-contradiction (PNC), which states that the same thing cannot both be and not be in the same respect, applies merely to macroscopic reality – to the humans... Read More

Why Reason Demands Absolute Certitudes

The concept of certitude itself is not very popular today. Most skeptics, agnostics, and atheists view natural science as providing the surest available rational knowledge, and yet, because of this very fact, view all knowledge, at best, to be a matter of very high degrees of probability – never of absolute certitude. The inherent epistemological limitation of natural science is its inductive method, since observation of particular events can never produce universal certitudes... Read More

Why Humans Are More Than Mere Animals

Ever since the time of Charles Darwin’s thunderous appearance on the human stage, evolutionary materialists have envisioned a world in which man appears without any rational need either for the God of classical theism or for a spiritual and immortal human soul. Human beings are finally to be classed as merely highly-developed subhuman hominins, whose mental abilities do not differ in kind from those of other primates. Human intellectual activity is thought to be merely a highly-evolved... 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... Read More

Was Bertrand Russell Right About Thomas Aquinas?

Filed under Philosophy

Bertrand Russell was one of the most prominent philosophers of the 20th century, and an outspoken skeptic. His bestselling book A History of Western Philosophy (which was cited as one of the reasons for his 1950 Nobel Prize in Literature) contains a short chapter in which he examines St Thomas Aquinas’ life and work, concluding with the following, damning remark: There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever... Read More

Speaking the Truth in the Beauty of Love: A Guide to Better Online Discussion

EDITOR'S NOTE: This talk was delivered by Dr. Bryan Cross, a Strange Notions contributor, at Franciscan University on July 29, 2017. Although the original audience was primarily Catholic, most of Dr. Cross' advice applies equally well to all readers at Strange Notions, Catholics and atheists alike. We're sharing it given our special commitment here to "speaking the truth in love," to rational, charitable discussion. Enjoy!     I. Introduction   A number of years ago, before... Read More

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... 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... 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

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