Saturday, January 26, 2008

Msgr. McCarthy on Genesis

IS THE GENESIS ACCOUNT OF CREATION LITERALLY TRUE?

Dr. Pakaluk's Solution

The Solution to the Well-Defined Problem

My advice for how to interpret that difficult passage in Nic. Eth. II.6? Simply continue reading beyond the passage-- since then it becomes clear, I think, that the words which I place in brackets below are not meant to be part of the definition at all, but rather a comment upon the definition:

Ἔστιν ἄρα ἀρετὴ ἕξις προαιρετική, ἐν μεσότητι οὖσα τῇ πρὸς ἡμᾶς [ὡρισμένη λόγῳ καὶ ὡς ἂν φρόνιμος ὁρίσειεν].
If we bracket those words for the moment, then the definition of virtue given here (which is said, btw, to state the genos only, at 1114b27), is of a trait (ἕξις) which disposes someone to choose in a certain way (προαιρετική), and which is intermediate (ἐν μεσότητι οὖσα) as between two other states, in a manner relative to us (τῇ πρὸς ἡμᾶς). As Taylor points out in his commentary, that and precisely that is what Aristotle had established in his discussion which precedes the definition.

But what is the reason for the bracketed words? They comment upon the definition, and Aristotle gives the sense of that comment in the lines that immediately follow.

First Aristotle clarifies his definition with a couple of glosses:
μεσότης δὲ δύο κακιῶν, τῆς μὲν καθ' ὑπερβολὴν τῆς δὲ κατ' ἔλλειψιν· καὶ ἔτι τῷ τὰς μὲν ἐλλείπειν τὰς δ' ὑπερβάλλειν τοῦ δέοντος ἔν τε τοῖς πάθεσι καὶ ἐν ταῖς πράξεσι, τὴν δ' ἀρετὴν τὸ μέσον καὶ εὑρίσκειν καὶ αἱρεῖσθαι.

It is a trait intermediate between two vices one of which is so by excess and the other by defect. And they are so because they either fall short of or exceed what they should, in emotions or in actions, whereas virtue identifies and chooses the intermediate mark.
The sentence which next follows is, I think, a gloss as well on the bracketed words:
That is why, with respect to its nature and the definition that states its essence, virtue is an intermediate trait, whereas with respect to what is best and what is excellent, it is a high point.
The reason for this last gloss is that Aristotle is perfectly well aware that, to anyone who has actually striven to be virtuous, it will seem strange and even paradoxical to say that virtue is something intermediate. Rather, from the point of view of someone striving to be good (κατὰ δὲ τὸ ἄριστον καὶ τὸ εὖ), virtue looks like a nearly unattainable pinnacle. (Think, e.g. of the Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded it is said to "the bravest of the brave", for those who distinguish themselves "…conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty...". Nothing intermediate about that! And there are lots of other examples.)

So Aristotle thinks that he has to defend his definition. He therefore says that, in fact, as regards the nature of a virtue, and considering it formally (i.e. with a view to its logos), each virtue, it turns out, falls between two opposing vices. Someone immersed in the task of trying to act well might not notice this; yet this will be how a discerning person will define it.

And this is exactly what he had said in the bracketed words, and so the text should be translated:
Virtue is a trait (ἕξις) which disposes someone to choose in a certain way (προαιρετική), and which is intermediate (ἐν μεσότητι οὖσα) as between two other states, in a manner relative to us (τῇ πρὸς ἡμᾶς)-- that is, when virtue is marked out by its formal definition (ὡρισμένη λόγῳ ), and in the way that a person with insight into practical matters would mark it out (ὡς ἂν φρόνιμος ὁρίσειεν).
This explains perfectly the reading of the codices -- the key is to see that the problematic words are not in the definition but about the definition--

-- and it also shows why all of those dozens of articles on the passage should quietly be pushed aside and forgotten.

Monday, January 21, 2008

An introduction to Georgism

by Lindy Davis, the Program Director of The Henry George Institute and an editor of The Georgist Journal, for Distributist Review

Rick Sarkasian on Catholic Answers livw

I first posted about him here.

Here's his bio from CA:
BIOGRAPHY: Rick Sarkisian, Ph.D. was born and raised in Fresno, California, an area rich in farming and agriculture. He is founder and president of Valley Rehabilitation Services, Inc. specializing in vocational and career guidance since 1976. He earned his BS and MBA in Business Administration from California State University- Fresno, and his MA and Ph.D. in Education from the University of California at Berkeley.

He is author of LIFEWORK: FINDING YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE, THE MISSION OF THE CATHOLIC FAMILY, THE LIFEWORK INVENTORY, THE DRIVE FACTOR, THE LIFEWORK JOURNAL, NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE – THE REAL ST. JOSEPH AND THE TOOLS FOR REAL MANHOOD IN THE HOME, THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD, TOOLS FROM JOSEPH’S WORKSHOP and THE LIFEWORK WORKBOOK. He has produced a number of Catholic videos, including JOSEPH – THE MAN CLOSEST TO CHRIST and COMPLETELY CHRIST’S – THE RADICAL CALL OF THE CONSECRATED LIFE. He also writes for various Catholic publications, including Religious Life, Lay Witness, Guardian of the Redeemer and Vocations and Prayer magazine.

He has been active in Catholic scouting and works closely with the Oblates of St. Joseph, California Province, promoting devotion to St. Joseph as well as the Institute on Religious Life in helping to form a culture of vocations.

Rick has appeared on EWTN in "The Abundant Life" series hosted by Johnnette Benkovic and "The Carpenter Shop" with Steve Wood and has been a guest on a number of Catholic radio programs. He is also a conference speaker on vocations, life-purpose, families and St. Joseph.

Rick and his wife Cheryl have been married 26 years and have five children.

Audio:
Listen (Real) Click here to listen to show in Real audio format
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Listen (MP3) Click to listen to MP3 (right-click to download)


I'll have to listen and see if this is the popularization of the NNL for which I saw an an/book.

John Zmirak, Brain Science and Morality

Brain Science and Morality

Zenit: Vatican Aide: Heart of Ecumenism Is Prayer

Vatican Aide: Heart of Ecumenism Is Prayer

Father Lombardi Comments on Christian Unity


VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Ecumenism is prayer, the director of the Vatican's press office said in commenting on the theme of 100th Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi analyzed the theme "Pray Without Ceasing" on the most recent episode of the Vatican Television weekly program "Octave Dies." The week of prayer ends Jan. 25.

In these 100 years, he explained, "the ecumenical movement has followed a long path, but its innermost soul always remains prayer -- because the unity of Christians can only be a gift of God, to be asked for with constancy and insistence."

The priest continued: "Prayer gives us the strength to let ourselves be formed by the action of God, which purifies us and gives us his grace to obey his plan for salvation.

"Prayer changes our mentality and it helps Christians to consider the other brothers, sons of the same Father. Prayer educates and accompanies, proposes and transmits the truth, the light, the life, the love that is Christ, Savior of humanity."

"Observing the week in January has become a common practice of all the Christian confessions," he added, "and it is of great importance for reconciliation, brotherhood and unity among Christians, realizing the prayer of Jesus: 'that all be one.'"

Father Lombardi said the theme "makes it clear that the life of the Christian community is really exultant and prospers only through a life of prayer, which contributes to its spiritual, moral, social and cultural growth, and constructs bridges of love, of peace and of hope."

"A deeper and more true union with God," he added, "is the surest way to rediscover and recreate union among all the believers in Christ."