Friday, June 19, 2009

Intervista con Prof. P. Bruno Esposito

Arautos do Evangelho: Il Prof. P. Bruno Esposito, O.P. Vicerettore Accademico della Pontificia Università san Tommaso d'Aquino a Roma - "Angelicum" ci parla della sua visita in Brasile, sulla fede dei brasiliani e commenta la spiritualità degli Araldi del Vangelo. - visite: - Arautos do Evangelho.
The Dawn Patrol: Virgo redacta
Christopher West and the dangers of overanalogizing Mary

A guest post by FR. ANGELO MARY GEIGER F.I.
Mark Shiffman, Descartes, Algebra, and Alienation
James Chastek, The lack of proper formation and its effects

Aristotle argues that a defining trait of a first principle is being indemonstrable, and that to think otherwise shows lack of paideia- that is, lack of a proper formation (lack of proper upbringing, culture, liberal education, etc)

Mr. Chastek expands on this by looking at what St. Thomas says in his commentary on the Metaphysics. I don't think I can think of a better critique of modern education than what is presented here. Perhaps it would be more accurate to speak of miseducation or deformation than education. Students cannot distinguish between knowledge and opinion, nor do they know what is apparent and what is not.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yahoo: Transparent frog discovered
Scientists find a "crystal" frog whose organs appear through its clear skin.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

For the sake of precision

When people claim the Blessed Mother of God was the first Christian theologian, they need to realize that they are using "theology" and "theologian" equivocally, in a similar way to when Orthodox polemicists claim that Latins do not have a proper understanding of what "theology" is. Was the Blessed Mother a great Christian contemplative? Undoubtedly. Did she have the gift of wisdom in abundance? The supernatural virtue of faith? And so on? Yes. But did she have the acquired habit of theological science? I question that, and even if she didn't, she had far greater gifts to employ in her spiritual life, and the lack of theologia does very little to diminish her perfection.

Monday, June 15, 2009

James Chastek on the teaching of logic -- part 1 and part 2.

I must have reed St Thomas a thousand times before it hit me that he defined logic in relation to the rational faculty. Logic, by his definition, is the art that directs reason in its own act. This act is governed by the proper object of reason, the what-sensible-things-are. On this account, logic is subordinate to things by definition. The goal is not to give a universal system of all possible arguments, but to give a general account of how we figure out what things are. On St. Thomas’s account logic is the answer to the question: “generally speaking, how does one use an intellect?” or “how does an intellect work?” On this account, you first give its object, then the order we follow to attain the object (general to particular) then the most general things known that can do logical work (the categories) and then how we can refine these general things into definitions (Topics) then the laws that govern how we combine them to form a proposition (de interpretatione) and an argument (the books of Analytics)

The part on the Topics would be the easiest one to leave out, and the one we contemporary thinkers are most in need of.

Logic. Something all aspiring academics should be studying; it would also be useful for those who are engaged in ecumenical dialogue, particularly the "Latins" and the "Greeks". Most philosophy departments that take a historical approach to teaching philosophy do not have a basic logic course for both majors and non-majors. How much would majors benefit from having just one good logic course. It would help them deal with the sort of 'relativism' that one finds in such departments.

Papal Address to Social Doctrine Group

Papal Address to Social Doctrine Group

"Economic and Financial Paradigms … Must Be Rethought"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 14, 2009 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Saturday upon receiving in audience members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, which promotes the social doctrine of the Church.

* * *
Venerable brothers in the episcopate and the priesthood,
Illustrious and dear friends!

Thank you for your visit that you are making on the occasion of your annual meeting. I greet all of you with affection and am grateful to you for what you do, with proven generosity, at the service of the Church. I greet and thank Count Lorenzo Rossi di Montelera, your president, who interpreted your sentiments with refined sensibility, expounding the foundation's activities with broad brush strokes. I also thank those who, in different languages, wanted to present me with an attestation of their common devotion. Your gathering today assumes a significance and particular value in light of the situation that all of humanity is experiencing in this moment.

In effect, the financial crisis that has struck the industrialized nations, the emergent nations and those that are developing, shows in a clear way how the economic and financial paradigms that have been dominant in recent years must be rethought. Your foundation has done well, then, to confront, in the international conference that took place yesterday, the theme of the pursuit and identification of the values and guidelines that the economic world must stick to in order to bring into being a new model of development that is more attentive to the demands of solidarity and more respectful of human dignity.

I am happy to see that you have especially examined the interdependency between institutions, society and the market, beginning -- in accord with the encyclical "Centesimus Annus" of my venerable predecessor John Paul II -- from the reflection according to which the market economy, understood as "an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector" (No. 42), can only be recognized as a way of economic and civil progress if it is oriented to the common good (cf. No. 43). Such a vision, however, must also be accompanied by another reflection according to which freedom in the economic sector must situate itself "within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality," a responsible freedom "the core of which is ethical and religious" (No. 42). This encyclical opportunely affirms that: "The person fully realizes himself in the free gift of self, so too ownership morally justifies itself in the creation, at the proper time and in the proper way, of opportunities for work and human growth for all" (No. 43).

I hope the research developed by your work, inspired by the eternal principles of the Gospel, will elaborate a vision of the modern economy that is respectful of the needy and of the rights of the weak. As you know, my encyclical on the vast theme of economics and labor will soon be published: It will highlight what, for us Christians, are the objectives to be pursued and the values to be promoted and tirelessly defended, with the purpose of realizing a truly free and solidary human coexistence.

I also note with pleasure what you are doing on behalf of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, to whose aim, an aim which you share, I attribute great value for an increasingly fruitful interreligious dialogue.

Dear friends, thank you once again for your visit; I assure each of you a remembrance in prayer as I bless you all from my heart.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]