philosophy historically and as distinct from other disciplines

The hierarchy of knowledge

The physical sciences, especially physics, are considered nowadays to be the pinnacle of knowledge. They are given credit for modern technology, which has far surpassed any other civilization. Maximum deference is given to the physical sciences, which then function as the paragon of all knowledge. “Physics envy” pervades the study of knowledge today. But it […]

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Temperament and explanations

The temperament of science exists within the typology of philosophy. Aristotle’s typology of causes (explanatory factors) provides a fourfold typology, which provides the basis for each twofold scientific temperament. The four causes/factors are the final, formal, efficient/mechanism, and material. Final Cause or Teleology Formal Cause Efficient Cause or Mechanism Material Cause The scientific temperaments are:

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General and special knowledge

General knowledge is based on common experience and is available to everyone. No special training or vocabulary are necessary for general knowledge. It is also called ‘general revelation’ and ‘common knowledge’. This is the knowledge that realist philosophy builds on. General sciences are the areas of general knowledge. In philosophy these are metaphysics, epistemology, and

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Methodical Realism

Here are excerpts from Étienne Gilson’s Methodical Realism (Le réalisme méthodique), translated by Philip Trower (Christendom Press, 1990 / Ignatius Press, 2011): The mathematician always proceeds from thought to being or things. Consequently, critical idealism was born the day Descartes decided that the mathematical method must henceforth be the method for metaphysics. p.11 Indeed, all

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Handbook for Beginning Realists

From Étienne Gilson’s Methodical Realism (Le réalisme méthodique), Chapter V: A Handbook for Beginning Realists, Translated by Philip Trower (Christendom Press, 1990 / Ignatius Press, 2011). (See also here.) 1. The first step on the realist path is to recognize that one has always been a realist; the second is to recognize that, however hard one

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Observers and travelers again

This post continues the ones here and here. Realism considers what is perceived with full consciousness as reality. Apperception and reality correspond to each other. The role of theory is to clarify this correspondence, not to deny it. So realists understand observation to be correct, not to be altered by theory. Anti-realism considers what is

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Is God immutable or faithful?

Aristotle (Metaphysics) and Aquinas (Summa Theologica) argue for the existence and attributes of God from the observation of motion or change. Aristotle lists four kinds of motion and change: in substance, in quality, in quantity, and in place. These simple changes do not exhaust the kinds of change – even Aristotle implied there were ten

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From persistence to God

Edward Feser’s book Five Proofs of the Existence of God (2017) includes his version of the Aristotelian proof, which looks at the existence of change. There is a similar proof that looks at the existence of persistence. Aristotle, with a static world-picture, wanted to explain change. Someone with a dynamic world-picture might want an explanation

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Essentials of Christian Thought, part 3

This post continues from part 2, which is here. The following are more excerpts from Roger E. Olson’s The Essentials of Christian Thought. For [Emil] Brunner, and for me, natural theology means only (1) that the biblical-Christian worldview better answers life’s ultimate questions than its competitors and alternatives, and (2) that eyes of faith for

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