Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Christendom job

Apparently the college is hiring...

Full-Time Academic Position Available in Philosophy

Christendom College announces the opening of a full-time faculty position in the Department of Philosophy, to begin August 15, 2007. Consideration will be given to applicants at all academic ranks. Qualified applicants who are ABD will also be considered.

The applicant should be a THOMIST willing to teach the courses of Christendom's core curriculum and major courses in PHILOSOPHY. Our Faculty Handbook states, "In accordance with the mind and discipline of the Church for the formation of the young, Christendom College is committed to a Thomistic educational policy: programs of instruction in Philosophy and Sacred Theology shall be taught according to the spirit, method, and principles of the Common Doctor." Area of specialization within the Thomistic tradition is open. The Philosophy core, required of all students, consists in an ordered sequence of semester courses in Greek philosophy; traditional logic; philosophy of human nature; metaphysics; medieval philosophy; and modern philosophy.

Located an hour and a half west of Washington, D.C., in the foot hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Christendom College is a small coeducational liberal arts institution dedicated to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. As a positive expression of the specifically Catholic character of Christendom College and in accord with the desire of the Holy See as expressed in the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, members of the faculty voluntarily make a public Profession of Faith (the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed) and take the Oath of Fidelity.

Application Deadline: February 2, 2007

Christendom College emphasizes teaching excellence in faculty hiring and advancement. Interested applicants should send a cover letter outlining their teaching philosophy and research interests, a curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, a sample of scholarly writing, and any other relevant supporting material to Dr. John Cuddeback, Dept. of Philosophy, 134 Christendom Dr., Front Royal, VA 22630. Inquiries about the position may be directed to Dr. Cuddeback (; 540-636-2900, ext.332)

I'm not sure if someone is leaving... who is currently in the department? Dr. Andres, Mr. Brown, Dr. Cuddeback, Dr. Flippen, and Dr. Snyder. Mr. O'Herron is still teaching a course or two for philosophy, evidently.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Papal Address to Academy of Sciences

Papal Address to Academy of Sciences

"Cannot Replace Philosophy and Revelation"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 6, 2006 ( Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today to the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the occasion of their plenary assembly being held in Rome.

* * *

Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to greet the members of Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the occasion of this Plenary Assembly, and I thank Professor Nicola Cabibbo for his kind words of greeting in your name. The theme of your meeting -- "Predictability in Science: Accuracy and Limitations" -- deals with a distinctive attribute of modern science. Predictability, in fact, is one of the chief reasons for science's prestige in contemporary society. The establishment of the scientific method has given the sciences the ability to predict phenomena, to study their development, and thus to control the environment in which man lives.

This increasing "advance" of science, and especially its capacity to master nature through technology, has at times been linked to a corresponding "retreat" of philosophy, of religion, and even of the Christian faith. Indeed, some have seen in the progress of modern science and technology one of the main causes of secularization and materialism: why invoke God's control over these phenomena when science has shown itself capable of doing the same thing? Certainly the Church acknowledges that "with the help of science and technology …, man has extended his mastery over almost the whole of nature", and thus "he now produces by his own enterprise benefits once looked for from heavenly powers" ("Gaudium et Spes," 33). At the same time, Christianity does not posit an inevitable conflict between supernatural faith and scientific progress. The very starting-point of Biblical revelation is the affirmation that God created human beings, endowed them with reason, and set them over all the creatures of the earth. In this way, man has become the steward of creation and God's "helper". If we think, for example, of how modern science, by predicting natural phenomena, has contributed to the protection of the environment, the progress of developing nations, the fight against epidemics, and an increase in life expectancy, it becomes clear that there is no conflict between God's providence and human enterprise. Indeed, we could say that the work of predicting, controlling and governing nature, which science today renders more practicable than in the past, is itself a part of the Creator's plan.

Science, however, while giving generously, gives only what it is meant to give. Man cannot place in science and technology so radical and unconditional a trust as to believe that scientific and technological progress can explain everything and completely fulfill all his existential and spiritual needs. Science cannot replace philosophy and revelation by giving an exhaustive answer to man's most radical questions: questions about the meaning of living and dying, about ultimate values, and about the nature of progress itself. For this reason, the Second Vatican Council, after acknowledging the benefits gained by scientific advances, pointed out that the "scientific methods of investigation can be unjustifiably taken as the supreme norm for arriving at truth", and added that "there is a danger that man, trusting too much in the discoveries of today, may think that he is sufficient unto himself and no longer seek the higher values" (ibid., 57).

Scientific predictability also raises the question of the scientist's ethical responsibilities. His conclusions must be guided by respect for truth and an honest acknowledgment of both the accuracy and the inevitable limitations of the scientific method. Certainly this means avoiding needlessly alarming predictions when these are not supported by sufficient data or exceed science's actual ability to predict. But it also means avoiding the opposite, namely a silence, born of fear, in the face of genuine problems. The influence of scientists in shaping public opinion on the basis of their knowledge is too important to be undermined by undue haste or the pursuit of superficial publicity. As my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, once observed: "Scientists, precisely because they 'know more', are called to 'serve more'. Since the freedom they enjoy in research gives them access to specialized knowledge, they have the responsibility of using that knowledge wisely for the benefit of the entire human family" (Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 11 November 2002).

Dear Academicians, our world continues to look to you and your colleagues for a clear understanding of the possible consequences of many important natural phenomena. I think, for example, of the continuing threats to the environment which are affecting whole peoples, and the urgent need to discover safe, alternative energy sources available to all. Scientists will find support from the Church in their efforts to confront these issues, since the Church has received from her divine founder the task of guiding people's consciences towards goodness, solidarity and peace. Precisely for this reason she feels in duty bound to insist that science's ability to predict and control must never be employed against human life and its dignity, but always placed at its service, at the service of this and future generations.

There is one final reflection that the subject of your Assembly can suggest to us today. As some of the papers presented in the last few days have emphasized, the scientific method itself, in its gathering of data and in the processing and use of those data in projections, has inherent limitations that necessarily restrict scientific predictability to specific contexts and approaches. Science cannot, therefore, presume to provide a complete, deterministic representation of our future and of the development of every phenomenon that it studies. Philosophy and theology might make an important contribution to this fundamentally epistemological question by, for example, helping the empirical sciences to recognize a difference between the mathematical inability to predict certain events and the validity of the principle of causality, or between scientific indeterminism or contingency (randomness) and causality on the philosophical level, or, more radically, between evolution as the origin of a succession in space and time, and creation as the ultimate origin of participated being in essential Being.

At the same time, there is a higher level that necessarily transcends all scientific predictions, namely, the human world of freedom and history. Whereas the physical cosmos can have its own spatial-temporal development, only humanity, strictly speaking, has a history, the history of its freedom. Freedom, like reason, is a precious part of God's image within us, and it can never be reduced to a deterministic analysis. Its transcendence vis-à-vis the material world must be acknowledged and respected, since it is a sign of our human dignity. Denying that transcendence in the name of a supposed absolute ability of the scientific method to predict and condition the human world would involve the loss of what is human in man, and, by failing to recognize his uniqueness and transcendence, could dangerously open the door to his exploitation.

Dear friends, as I conclude these reflections, I once more assure you of my close interest in the activities of this Pontifical Academy and of my prayers for you and your families. Upon all of you I invoke Almighty God's blessings of wisdom, joy and peace.

[Original text: English; released by Vatican press office]

Link Seen Between Love and Common Good

Link Seen Between Love and Common Good

Cardinal Caffarra Gives Address at John Paul II Institute

ROME, NOV. 6, 2006 ( There is a direct relationship between the common good and the capacity to love, says the president of Rome's John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

"It is the capacity to love that makes the common good practicable," contended Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, in an address he gave at the opening of the academic year.

"Charity alone makes man capable of pursuing his own good, not at the expense of the other," he noted.

The cardinal expressed this conviction in view of the fact that "legislation in the West is changing its fundamental attitude in regard to the institution of marriage and the family, having moved from 'favor juris' to neutrality."

It is "a neutrality that generates the progressive equating with marriage of communities of life that until now were considered and treated as essentially different," said the cardinal.

Western countries' lack of support of marriage and the family is "the final outcome of the interpretation that the values of autonomy and equality have suffered, which are the basis of our Western society," said Cardinal Caffarra. This, in turn, is possible given "the negation that a human common good exists."

This is the case, despite the fact that a "common reference of values," which historically is that of the Christian tradition, is what has sustained the West's democratic functioning, he noted.

"Instead, these years we are witnessing an event the extent of which is not easy to calculate," the 68-year-old cardinal continued. "The common reference to the Judeo-Christian cultural matrix has been breaking up and eroding little by little."

No limits

"In the context of this disintegration and erosion," he said, "the pure doctrine of equality and autonomy" leads to what is already evident: "The state must consent to what is technically possible; the state must not prohibit what the individual prefers. It is not difficult to understand that this principle, applied to the letter, implies simply the destruction of all forms of sociability.

"A 'favor juris' can be granted to the institution of marriage only if in the conjugal relationship a goodness, a specific value is seen: a goodness, a value that fulfills, in its own way, the idea of the human common good, as such. What is more, it fulfills it to an eminent degree."

But, on the contrary, the "'favor juris' … has no strong justification if there is no recognition that the interpersonal relationship has in and for itself an intrinsic goodness of its own, … that it only offers usefulness to realize one's own idea of happiness."

He added: "The negation that a truth exists about the human common good leads to reducing political action to mere procedural action.

"In other words, either one believes that the end of political activity is the common good -- and then all experiences of such good must be protected, promoted and favored -- or one believes that a human common good does not exist, but only coexistence of private goods, and then there is nothing to do, on the part of the political authority other than to institute 'traffic rules' for individuals' race to their own happiness."

In this way, the cardinal contended, "the 'favor juris' which marriage enjoys remains or falls together with the idea of the common good."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

D. Brendan Nagle, The Household as the Foundation of Aristotle's Polis

Cambridge University Press
Prof. Nagle's faculty site

Review by Robert Mayhew

Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Meeting

Friday, November 10

panel f21: Roundtable: The Household as the Foundation of Aristotle’s Polis, by D. Brendan Nagle (Cambridge University Press)
Chair: Thornton Lockwood, Fordham University
First Commentator: Bernard Yack, Brandeis University
Second Commentator: P.L.P. Simpson, City University of New York
Authorial Response: D. Brendan Nagle, University of Southern California

Powers and seeds

An addendum to the post on Alexander Pruss and first potentiality:

From ST I, 77, 8:

I answer that, As we have said already (5,6,7), all the powers of the soul belong to the soul alone as their principle. But some powers belong to the soul alone as their subject; as the intelligence and the will. These powers must remain in the soul, after the destruction of the body. But other powers are subjected in the composite; as all the powers of the sensitive and nutritive parts. Now accidents cannot remain after the destruction of the subject. Wherefore, the composite being destroyed, such powers do not remain actually; but they remain virtually in the soul, as in their principle or root.

So it is false that, as some say, these powers remain in the soul even after the corruption of the body. It is much more false that, as they say also, the acts of these powers remain in the separate soul; because these powers have no act apart from the corporeal organ.

This is the distinction I was aiming for! So it seems that Aquinas would hold that the powers of the sense, and so on, are not really present in the conceptum before a certain stage, since the proper organs are not yet formed. They can be said to be there "virtually" (in so far as they are contained in their source, the soul) but not there "really."


As the powers of the soul are really distinct from the soul, and are accidents, it would seem that withotu the organs, these accidents are not yet present. It seems to be the case then that one who maintains that the soul and its powers are not really distinct, but one, or denies that the powers are accidents of the soul, but part of the soul itself, would disagree with what has been said.