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[Serious] Thomism: Then & Now
#21
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
(October 11, 2021 at 12:44 pm)Neo-Scholastic Wrote:
(October 11, 2021 at 12:13 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: Order is simply a set of relationships.  If there is no order, there cannot be structure to existence, as complexity requires relationships to form.  With no relationships, there is no mathematics, no physics, no information, and no intelligence.

Is it fair to rephrase that as follows? The existence of physical reality is contingent on some kind of necessary fundamental order?

(October 11, 2021 at 12:13 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: As far as we know, yes, specific quantum events are uncaused.
 

So would be fair to say that the potential in the quantum vacuum remains unactualized until it does so for some reason?

Yes, existence of reality (is there any type of reality other than physical?) requires the existence of relationships.  In fact, at its base, reality just IS a set of relationships.  All of quantum physics can be described as relationship and change.

I assume you are using "potential" in a philosophical sense, and not a scientific sense.  Because we wouldn't use "potential" like that, unless you are talking about the initial inflation of the universe.

No, there is no "reason" in our current understanding.  The proof that there we can have statistical prediction also invalidates the idea that a god directs quantum events.  To do so would mean that god is bound by statistics, or alternatively that god is provable by being shown to break those statistics.
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#22
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
(October 11, 2021 at 1:10 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: [quote='Neo-Scholastic' pid='2068331' dateline='1633970654']


(October 11, 2021 at 1:10 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: Yes, existence of reality (is there any type of reality other than physical?) requires the existence of relationships. In fact, at its base, reality just IS a set of relationships. All of quantum physics can be described as relationship and change.

Formal and final cause are the concepts in Scholastic philosophy that closely match the way you are using the terms relationship and change. You answered your own question. Yes, there is a type of reality that is not physical…the types of universally true relationships (logical, mathematical, etc.) that define and constrain this particular manifestation of physical reality.

And I said this particular physical reality because it is not at all clear to me that the precise value of the physical constants and a set of 4 (not 3, 5, or 351) forces necessarily follows from the rules of mathematics or logic. They certainly seem arbitrary. Presumably things could be otherwise, in which case these physical constants & forces have a reason to be what they are. Those reasons could include 1) chance, 2) necessity, or 3) choice.

(October 11, 2021 at 1:10 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: I assume you are using "potential" in a philosophical sense, and not a scientific sense. Because we wouldn't use "potential" like that, unless you are talking about the initial inflation of the universe.

Well it seems to me that we are teasing out those differences in nomenclature. Yes? What scientific term is conceptually closest, IYO, to the philosophical concept of potency.

(October 11, 2021 at 1:10 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: No, there is no "reason" in our current understanding. The proof that there we can have statistical prediction also invalidates the idea that a god directs quantum events. To do so would mean that god is bound by statistics, or alternatively that god is provable by being shown to break those statistics.

I don’t believe those two conclusions exhaust all possible explanations. A general pre-existing harmony between the statistical outcome and Providence remains in play and there could be other possible explanations.
<insert profound quote here>
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#23
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
(October 11, 2021 at 1:10 pm)HappySkeptic Wrote: ...
Yes, existence of reality (is there any type of reality other than physical?) requires the existence of relationships.  In fact, at its base, reality just IS a set of relationships.  All of quantum physics can be described as relationship and change.
...

Oh so very yes.

How about Data Reality? What would we call that since it's not physical?
The PURPOSE of life is to replicate our DNA ................. (from Darwin)
The MEANING of life is the experience of living ... (from Frank Herbert)
The VALUE of life is the legacy we leave behind ..... (from observation)
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#24
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
And this we call god. Never quite got there, just tacked some jesus on at the end. No matter where or what his arguments would lead to, god was always the answer.

Philosophy being the art of learning how to ask good questions, aquinas is instructive as a negative case. He was very explicitly trying to work backward from a desired conclusion. It was his life's work as he understood it. We can probably give him a mulligan for not knowing as much as we do now..but even he knew he'd fudged it a bit.

If there's an unmoved mover..then there's an unmoved mover..but jesus isn't an unmoved mover. He's a fabled personal demigod who intervenes in human affairs.

If caused things must have causes, then caused things have a cause..but, again, a demigod from the ane isn't a cause of anything. It's a story, caused by human beings...who may well have causes themselves, granted.

Things may be contingent, but the sun isn't contingent on a story about a demigod from the ane. Nor is the universe..you..me, or the housecat. Meanwhile, stories about personal demigods from the ane are very much contingent on man.

Most-good beings? Sorry, jesus is out of the running on principle. What with reason requiring an ability to differentiate between degrees of perfection, and me being reasonable..I'm comfortable positing that there are quite a few degrees between jesus and perfection.

Final causes or ends? The reason that things behave the way they do? The universe doesn't behave the way it does because someone told a ghost story 2k years ago even if there is such a thing as a final cause or end.

I suppose we could strike jesus out of all of it, just say god...but...all of the same statements would be true. Our gods aren't prime movers, first causes, necessary beings, most good beings, or final causes. If that sort of thing, or collection of things, is what we should be calling a god, what we should understand a god to be, none of ours qualify. Charitably speaking...which is to say assuming that if he had lived today and had access to textual criticism, comp myth, modern synth, contemporary physics, or contemporary philosophy and was diligent in their application..I don't think he'd have offered any of these arguments. We would probably expect something more like plantingas modal ontological argument.
It's bad for the rest of the world when americans are paid so little they can only afford chocolate mined by child slaves and clothes made in overseas sweatshops. - Robyn Pennacchia
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#25
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
I don't undersand the terminology 'from the ane'. Would you mind briefly explaining what you mean by that, The Grand Nudger?
I'm not anti-Christian. I'm anti-stupid.
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#26
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
(October 12, 2021 at 10:57 am)Mister Agenda Wrote: I don't undersand the terminology 'from the ane'. Would you mind briefly explaining what you mean by that, The Grand Nudger?

ANE = ancient near east
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#27
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
Thanks, that seems to come under the heading of things I should have been able to figure out without help. I appreciate it. ;-)
I'm not anti-Christian. I'm anti-stupid.
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#28
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
(October 12, 2021 at 4:53 am)The Grand Nudger Wrote: And this we call god.  Never quite got there, just tacked some jesus on at the end.  No matter where or what his arguments would lead to, god was always the answer.

Philosophy being the art of learning how to ask good questions, aquinas is instructive as a negative case.  He was very explicitly trying to work backward from a desired conclusion.  It was his life's work as he understood it.  We can probably give him a mulligan for not knowing as much as we do now..but even he knew he'd fudged it a bit.  

If there's an unmoved mover..then there's an unmoved mover..but jesus isn't an unmoved mover.  He's a fabled personal demigod who intervenes in human affairs.  

If caused things must have causes, then caused things have a cause..but, again, a demigod from the ane isn't a cause of anything.  It's a story, caused by human beings...who may well have causes themselves, granted.

Things may be contingent, but the sun isn't contingent on a story about a demigod from the ane.  Nor is the universe..you..me, or the housecat.  Meanwhile, stories about personal demigods from the ane are very much contingent on man.

Most-good beings?  Sorry, jesus is out of the running on principle. What with reason requiring an ability to differentiate between degrees of perfection, and me being reasonable..I'm comfortable positing that there are quite a few degrees between jesus and perfection.

Final causes or ends?  The reason that things behave the way they do?  The universe doesn't behave the way it does because someone told a ghost story 2k years ago even if there is such a thing as a final cause or end.

I suppose we could strike jesus out of all of it, just say god...but...all of the same statements would be true.  Our gods aren't prime movers, first causes, necessary beings, most good beings, or final causes.  If that sort of thing, or collection of things, is what we should be calling a god, what we should understand a god to be, none of ours qualify.  Charitably speaking...which is to say assuming that if he had lived today and had access to textual criticism, comp myth, modern synth, contemporary physics, or contemporary philosophy and was diligent in their application..I don't think he'd have offered any of these arguments.  We would probably expect something more like plantingas modal ontological argument.

From my perspective I'm just interested in understanding the arguments (the Five Ways) on their own terms... because I think you can't really expect to even potentially find an argument compelling, let alone reasonably discuss/debate it, unless you truly understand it on it's own terms, including all its axioms/assumptions, which in this case are coming from classical philosophy. Granted I know that's a large undertaking... understanding that foundation... but I'm in no hurry and I'm finding it very interesting so far. Like I've found a very thorough and interesting playlist of university lectures on ancient philosophy on YouTube, covering all of these subjects (eg Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plato, and Aristotle as per Neo's suggested reading above), and am finding it fascinating to work through, in their own right as well as towards this goal.

But this is just about wanting to truly understand the argument and see if it's compelling on it's own terms, or to put it another way, to see if it's internally and logically consistent/coherent within it's own framework of understanding. Next comes whether, if so, it's also relatable to reality. But then, even if accepting that, the last thing is like you say, and I agree, and I don't think even Aquinas claimed otherwise, the Five Ways themselves even if accepted don't prove any particular god and aren't meant to; that's the purpose of the rest of the Summa Theologica to make the case that the God/entity of the Five Ways is the Christian God. But frankly I'm not even slightly interested in that, and would be very hard to convince on any of that, even if I did end up accepting one or more of the conclusions of the Five Ways. But that's never been what my interest has been here, just the Five Ways themselves and what conclusions can be drawn from them alone.

So as regarding this thread, I just want to see where the arguments go, wherever they go... it's all informative. I don't want to be taking sides... I'm glad to see Neo getting a chance to essentially redo that old debate as well as debate/discuss his favourite subject... just as interested as I am in seeing everybody's objections to it. Basically I'm just  Popcorn ing this thread, not taking part myself because as I said, I don't think my understanding of its underlying framework/assumptions is good enough yet to meaningfully contribute... maybe in the future, I don't know... but for now it's just an interesting thread to read long term... or however long it lasts... while I'm learning about classical philosophy.
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#29
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
Well, sure, and thats exactly the problem. The arguments dont go to the conclusion.....in addition to the conclusion being false on it's own merits.

A non sequitur in every case, and no theist actually considers any one of those things or all five of them together god. Theism is defined by personal and intervening gods. Not prime movers, first causes, necessary beings, perfect beings, or final causes. Aquinas himself didn't believe that any of these arguments could prove a god, let alone his god. That, he reckoned, took special revelation.

All of it fascinating, as a study of a historical character. We can assume he was a pretty smart cookie, and it's fun to see why he believed the things he did (not about gods, but about these arguments). It was important to him, he was a student of classical thought and very much wanted the new god to fit the old mold. It seemed meaningful, at the time, for that to be so.
It's bad for the rest of the world when americans are paid so little they can only afford chocolate mined by child slaves and clothes made in overseas sweatshops. - Robyn Pennacchia
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#30
RE: Thomism: Then & Now
(October 12, 2021 at 12:12 pm)The Grand Nudger Wrote: Well, sure, and thats exactly the problem.  The arguments dont go to the conclusion.....in addition to the conclusion being false on it's own merits.  

A non sequitur in every case, and no theist actually considers any one of those things or all five of them together god.  Theism is defined by personal and intervening gods.  Not prime movers, first causes, necessary beings, perfect beings, or final causes.  Aquinas himself didn't believe that any of these arguments could prove a god, let alone his god.  That, he reckoned, took special revalation.

Well, I don't really know what to say... I can't disagree with you on that as regarding special revelation, which I put no more stock in than you do, but I was/am just nonetheless curious how the Five Ways came about and what, if anything, they prove on their own. I mean I don't even know if they'd necessarily have to be the same entity, but that's one of the things I'd hope to find out from this discussion.
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