We are affected by the world: when I place my hand next to the fire, it becomes hot, and when I plunge it into the bucket of ice water, it becomes cold. What goes for physical changes also goes for at least some mental changes: when Felix the Cat leaps upon my lap, my lap not only becomes warm, but I also feel this warmth, and when he purrs, I hear his purr. It seems obvious, in other words, that perception (...) (at least, and at least under ordinary conditions) is a matter of being affected by the agency of perceptible objects. Call this doctrine affectionism. Durand of St.-Pourçain rejects affectionism. The paper has three parts. In the first part, I sketch, briefly, what motivates Durand to reject affectionism. In the second part, I will take up the affectionist doctrine as defended by Durand's older contemporary at Paris, Godfrey of Fontaines, who holds that the object of all our mental acts (not just perceptions, but also thoughts and desires) is the efficient cause of those acts, or, in other words, all mental acts (not just perception) come about owing to the affection of the relevant mental faculty by the agency of the object. As it turns out, Godfrey develops a celebrated argument against the thesis that the object is not the efficient cause but a mere sine qua non cause. Hence his position offers a challenge to Durand's position, a challenge, I argue in the third part, Durand meets. (shrink)
As we now know, most, if not all, philosophers in the High Middle Ages agreed that what we immediately perceive are external objects and that the immediate object of perception must not be some image present to the mind. Yet most — but not all — philosophers in the High Middle Ages also held, following Aristotle, that perception is a process wherein the percipient takes on the likeness of the external object. This likeness — called a species — is a (...) representation (of some sort) by means of which we immediately perceive external objects. But how can perception be at once direct — or immediate — and at the same time by way of representations? The usual answer here was that the species represents the external object to some percipient even though the species itself is not at all perceived: the species is that by which I perceive and not that which I perceive. John Buridan defends this traditional view — call it direct realism with representations. However, just a couple of decades before Buridan, one of the more important philosophers at Paris, Durand of St.-Pourçain, had already rejected direct realism with representation. Durand defends what I will call direct realism without representations. On his view, a species is not at all necessary during overtly direct forms of perception, neither as cause nor as representation. This paper has two parts. In the first part, I will discuss some of the more interesting arguments that Durand makes against direct realism with representations. In the second part, I will look at Buridan's defense of the view. -/- . (shrink)
Business ethics and leadership play an increasingly important role for contemporary organizations as employers and employees search for new ways to cope with ongoing changes in organizational environments. Research attention to date has focused upon how to improve process and structural configurations, while there has been scant attention devoted to an examination of the ethical and leadership perspective. This article breaks new ground by exploring the applicability of the Rule of St. Benedict (RSB) to modern employment relationships. A significant proportion (...) of the RSB is directly relevant for today's leaders, as it contains crucial lessons dealing with leadership issues such as ethics, cultivating a consultative climate, encouraging the virtues of humility, obedience ("servant" leadership), justice, discretion, prudence, discernment, and personnel-related issues such as discipline and termination. (shrink)
Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, read on important Christian feasts, can be commented on from various perspectives: as a documents about mission, about warning with regard to the difficulties concerning the life of a believer, as one about the differences between Jews and Christians, or/and as one about freedom. It seems to us that within this text the Apostle intended to emphasize especially the latest aspect. St. John Chrysostom considered this document so important that he included it in his Liturgy.
This paper will attempt an investigation of hypothetical intelligent extraterrestrial life from the perspective of the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. Section I will feature an overview of St. Thomas's relevant philosophy of human nature and the differences between human and extraterrestrial natures. Section II will, with special attention to St. Thomas's De malo, treat some possibilities regarding the need for salvation in our hypothetical species. Section III will outline relevant aspects of Thomistic soteriology, especially the reasons behind (...) the Incarnation and the role of human nature in Redemption. Section IV will feature a critique of representatives from the two major schools of scholarly thought on this issue, showing that they either disregard the necessity of a human nature for incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ or deny the magnitude and singular importance of the Incarnation. Section V will sketch some possibilities for the soteriology of extraterrestrial life using the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas as a framework. (shrink)
Most philosophers in the High Middle Ages agreed that what we immediately perceive are external objects. Yet most philosophers in the High Middle Ages also held, following Aristotle, that perception is a process wherein the perceiver takes on the form or likeness of the external object. This form or likeness — called a species — is a representation by means of which we immediately perceive the external object. Thomas Aquinas defended this thesis in one form, and Durand of St.-Pourçain, his (...) Dominican successor, rejects it. This paper explores Durand's novel criticism of Aquinas's species-theory of cognition. I first develop and defend a new interpretation of Durand's central criticism of Aquinas's theory of cognition. I close with some considerations about Durand's alternative to the theory. -/- . (shrink)
In this paper I offer an account of the normative dimension implicit in D. Bernoulli’s expected utility functions by means of an analysis of the juridical metaphors upon which the concept of mathematical expectation was moulded. Following a suggestion by the late E. Coumet, I show how this concept incorporated a certain standard of justice which was put in question by the St. Petersburg paradox. I contend that Bernoulli would have solved it by introducing an alternative normative criterion rather than (...) a positive model of decision-making processes. (shrink)
One resolution of the St. Petersburg paradox recognizes that a gamble carries a risk sensitive to the gamble's stakes. If aversion to risk increases sufficiently fast as stakes go up, the St. Petersburg gamble has a finite utility.
This is a discussion of self-knowledge in Hugh of St. Victor. It will yield the following three systematic results. First, it will be shown that there is a clear sense in which human self-knowledge is knowledge of one’s own rationality, and therefore knowledge of the proper object of one’s rational capacities (dunameis meta logou). Second, a distinction will be drawn between perfect and imperfect self-knowledge. Third, it will turn out that under conditions of perfect self-knowledge, all our rational capacities would (...) work like our capacity for perceptual knowledge. (shrink)
Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT) does not explain the St. Petersburg Paradox. We show that the solutions related to probability weighting proposed to solve this paradox, (Blavatskyy, Management Science 51:677–678, 2005; Rieger and Wang, Economic Theory 28:665–679, 2006) have to cope with limitations. In that framework, CPT fails to accommodate both gambling and insurance behavior. We suggest replacing the weighting functions generally proposed in the literature by another specification which respects the following properties: (1) to solve the paradox, the slope at (...) zero has to be finite. (2) to account for the fourfold pattern of risk attitudes, the probability weighting has to be strong enough. (shrink)
It might be surprising to find in a journal of contemporary philosophy a text that is mostly about Hugh of St. Victor. The hermeneutic question, however, did not begin only yesterday. While this question has its actual sources in Origen and Saint Augustine, it is in the Didascalicon or The Art of Reading by Hugh of St. Victor that it first finds its clearest formulation and its most methodical development. This “hidden source of hermeneutics” allows for a questioning of the (...) foundations of the hermeneutics of the text from its outset, and also for a return of hermeneutics, or better to turn it, to its primordial origin: a hermeneutics of the “world” or of “creation” [ liber mundi ], rather than of the “text” and of “Scripture” [ liber Scripturae ]. A “Catholic” hermeneutics of “the body and the voice” should, in my opinion, take the place of the “Protestant” hermeneutics of “the meaning of the text” and the “Jewish” hermeneutics of the “body of the letter”. This thesis, which is stated and developed in my book Crossing the Rubicon, has its roots and justification in this historical essay on Hugh of St. Victor. (shrink)
Resumo As festas, durante o século XVIII, desempenhavam um importante papel no cotidiano das associações de leigos e religiosas. As ordens terceiras franciscanas organizavam distintas celebrações no intuito de promover a instituição no campo religioso local, difundir suas devoções e, ao mesmo tempo, ampliar o seu recrutamento. Este artigo analisa alguns elementos constituintes das celebrações realizadas pelas ordens terceiras de São Francisco em diferentes cidades do império português (Braga e São Paulo), visando compreender o significado e a valorização atribuídos às (...) celebrações no interior das igrejas por essas agremiações. Para realizar esse estudo foram utilizados, principalmente, os livros contábeis das instituições com o objetivo de vislumbrar o investimento nas celebrações e as suas características particulares. A partir das informações compulsadas constata-se um dispêndio avultado com as cerimônias e com a manutenção do culto pelas ordens terceiras franciscanas, evidenciando a importância dedicada por essas associações às celebrações e às festas executadas em seus templos. Palavras-chave: ordem terceira de São Francisco; festa; império português.The festivals, during the eighteenth century, played an important role in the daily religious and lay associations. The Third Orders of St. Francis organized distinct celebrations in order to promote the institution in the local religious field, spread their devotions, and at the same time broaden their recruitment. This article examines some elements of the celebrations held by the Third Orders of St. Francis in different cities of the Portuguese empire (Braga and São Paulo), aiming to understand the meaning and value attributed to the celebrations inside the churches by these associations. To perform this study were primarily used the accounting books of the institutions in order to glimpse the investment in the celebrations and their characteristics. From the gathered information we find a compulsive spending with the ceremonies and the maintenance of worship by the Third Orders of St. Francis, indicating the importance given by these associations to celebrations and festivals performed in their temples. Keywords : Third Order of St. Francis; festival; Portuguese Empire. (shrink)
Bocheński claims that it would be very useful to apply logical tools to philosophical and theological investigations. His viewpoint can be ascribed to the fact that during Bocheński’s youth logic and reflections on the foundations of mathematics flourished. His seminal work on these issues is the book Gottes Dasein und Wesen. Logische Studien zur Summa Theologiae I, qq. 2–11 (2003). Due to the fact that it was necessary to introduce numerous corrections to it, the book was published over a decade (...) after submitting the manuscript to the publishing house in 1989 (according to certain sources, in 1991). There exist two manuscripts: one German (1989b) and one Polish (1993b). The latter contains also Bocheński’s unpublished works, including the analyses of Question 1 from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae. In this Question, Aquinas focuses on the ways of understanding the term sacra doctrina. Bocheński’s text, which is a logical analysis of that Question, seems to be almost completed. With reference to the topic and the method of analysis, the text constitutes a whole together with the analyses of Questions 2–11, published in Bocheński (2003). (shrink)
This paper intends to append the frame of dialectic upon St. John of the Cross’ delineation of mysticism. Its underlying hypothesis is that the dialectical structuring of St. John’s mystical theology promises to unravel the web of relational concepts embedded within his immense writings on this unique phenomenon. It is hoped that as a consequence of this undertaking, relevant pairs of correlative opposites that figure prominently in mysticism can be elucidated and perhaps come to some form of resolution.
This paper examines the accounts of limit decision advanced by Hervaeus Natalis and Durand of St. Pourçain in their respective discussions of the sanctification of the Blessed Virgin. Hervaeus and Durand argue, against Aristotle, that the temporal limits of certain changes, including Mary’s sanctification, should be assigned in discrete rather than continuous time. The paper first considers Hervaeus’ discussion of limit decision and argues that, for Hervaeus, a solution of temporal limits in terms of discrete time can coexist with an (...) Aristotelian continuous time solution because Hervaeus takes continuous and discrete time to be two non-intersecting, but correlated time-series. The paper next examines Durand’s account of limit decision and argues that Durand rejects Hervaeus’ correlation assumption as well as Aristotle’s continuous time solution. (shrink)
Harris and Brokmeyer met in 1858 at the St. Louis Mercantile Library, where Harris was offering a public lecture. Brokmeyer convinced Harris of the significance of Hegel’s system, and its relevance to the historical trends of American society. They immediately joined forces, attracting a number of other youthful followers with intellectual ambitions, many of whom were, like Harris, teachers in the public schools. The nascent Hegelian movement was temporarily stalled when Brokmeyer went off to serve as a Colonel in the (...) Union Army during the Civil War, but it rebounded in full force upon his return with the formation of the St. Louis Philosophical Society in 1866, and the launching of the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, the official organ of the Society, in 1867. (shrink)
What is a good man, and how does he become good? My aim in this paper is to unravel and to assess Plato's and St. Paul's very different answers to these questions. The pivotal texts are the Republic and Paul's Epistles.
The present dissertation concerns cognitive psychology—theories about the nature and mechanism of perception and thought—during the High Middle Ages (1250–1350). Many of the issues at the heart of philosophy of mind today—intentionality, mental representation, the active/passive nature of perception—were also the subject of intense investigation during this period. I provide an analysis of these debates with a special focus on Durand of St.-Pourcain, a contemporary of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. Durand was widely recognized as a leading philosopher (...) until the advent of the early modern period, yet his views have been largely neglected in the last century. The aim of my dissertation, then, is to provide a new understanding of Durand’s cognitive psychology and to establish a better picture of developments in cognitive psychology during the period. -/- Most philosophers in the High Middle Ages held, in one form or another, the thesis that most forms of cognition (thought, perception) involve the reception of the form of the object into the mind. Such forms in the mind explain what a given episode of cognition is about, its content. According to what has been called the conformality theory of content, the content of our mental states is fixed by this form in the mind. Durand rejects this thesis, and one of the primary theses that I pursue is that Durand replaces the conformality theory of content with a causal theory of content, according to which the content of our mental states is fixed by its cause. When I think about Felix and not Graycat, this is to be explained not by the fact that I have in my mind the form of Felix and not Graycat, but rather by the fact that Felix and not Graycat caused my thought. -/- This is both a controversial interpretation and, indeed, a controversial theory. It is a controversial interpretation because Durand seems to reject the thesis that objects are the causes of our mental states. In the first half of the present dissertation, I argue that Durand does not reject this thesis but he rejects another nearby thesis: that objects as causes give to us ‘forms’. On Durand’s view, an object causes a mental state even though it does not give to us a new ‘form’. In the second half of the dissertation I defend Durand’s causal theory of content against salient objections to it. (shrink)
Intentaremos mostrar en este estudio qué significa la expresión “hermenéutica en san Buenaventura”. Esto significa que no pretendemos hacer una lectura hermenéutica del pensamiento bonaventuriano y que situados desde una perspectiva de historia del pensamiento nos preguntaremos si realiza lo que podría señalarse en términos modernos una “teología hermenéutica” o más bien una “hermenéutica teológica”, es decir, una aproximación y lectura teológico-filosófica como herramienta para conseguir un fin teológico determinado. Para ello realizaremos una lectura del Prólogo del Breviloquium, sin duda, (...) el texto que mejor muestra la “hermenéutica en Buenaventura” como instrumento privilegiado para presentar la ciencia teológica como camino de comprensión de la Sagrada Escritura. (shrink)
Once Socrates has thought something, he comes to acquire an item such that he is then able to think such thoughts again when he wants, and he can, all other things being equal, do this with more ease than he could before. This item that he comes to acquire medieval philosophers called a cognitive habit which most medieval philosophers maintained was a new quality added to Socrates' intellect. However, some disagreed. In this paper, I will examine an interesting alternative theory (...) put forward by Durand of Saint-Pourçain and Prosper de Reggio Emilia about the location of cognitive habits. On their view, cognitive habits are not to be located in the intellect but in something on the side of the body or sensitive soul. (shrink)
Recently, the Intelligent Design (ID) movement has challenged the claim of many in the scientific establishment that nature gives no empirical signs of having been deliberately designed. In particular, ID arguments in biology dispute the notion that neo-Darwinian evolution is the only viable scientific explanation of the origin of biological novelty, arguing that there are telltale signs of the activity of intelligence which can be recognized and studied empirically. In recent years, a number of Catholic philosophers, theologians, and scientists have (...) expressed opposition to ID. Some of these critics claim that there is a conflict between the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and that of the ID movement, and even an affinity between Aquinas’s ideas and theistic Darwinism. We consider six such criticisms and find each wanting. (shrink)
By recourse to the fundamentals of preference orderings and their numerical representations through linear utility, we address certain questions raised in Nover and Hájek 2004, Hájek and Nover 2006, and Colyvan 2006. In brief, the Pasadena and Altadena games are well-defined and can be assigned any finite utility values while remaining consistent with preferences between those games having well-defined finite expected value. This is also true for the St Petersburg game. Furthermore, the dominance claimed for the Altadena game over the (...) Pasadena game, and that would have been claimed for the St Petersburg game over the Altadena, can be contradicted without fear of inconsistency with the axioms of utility theory. However, insistence upon dominance can be made to yield a contradiction of the Archimedean axiom of utility theory. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Since St. Thomas Aquinas holds that death is a substantial change, a popular current interpretation of his anthropology must be mistaken. According to that interpretation – the ‘survivalist’ view – St. Thomas holds that we human beings survive our deaths, constituted solely by our souls in the interim between death and resurrection. This paper argues that St. Thomas must have held the ‘corruptionist’ view: the view that human beings cease to exist at their deaths. Certain objections to the corruptionist view (...) are also met. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Barrio, Tajer and Rosenblatt establish a correspondence between metainferences holding in the strict-tolerant logic of transparent truth ST+ and inferences holding in the logic of paradox LP+. They argue that LP+ is ST+’s external logic and they question whether ST+’s solution to the semantic paradoxes is fundamentally different from LP+’s. Here we establish that by parity of reasoning, ST+ can be related to LP+’s dual logic K3+. We clarify the distinction between internal and external logic and (...) argue that while ST+’s nonclassicality can be granted, its self-dual character does not tie it to LP+ more closely than to K3+. (shrink)
In St. Augustine’s society, men’s tears were not considered a sign of weakness, but an expression of strong feeling. Tears might be occasional, prompted by incidents such as those Augustine described in the first books of his Confessiones. Or they might accompany a deep crisis, such as his experience of conversion. Possidius, Augustine’s contemporary biographer, reported that on his deathbed Augustine wept copiously and continuously. This essay endeavors to understand those tears, finding, primarily but not exclusively in Augustine’s later writings, (...) descriptions of his practice of meditation suggesting that a profound and complex range of emotions from fear and repentance to gratitude, love, rest in beauty, and delight in praise richly informed Augustine’s last tears. (shrink)
The teaching of deification has long been emphasized as a peculiarity of Eastern Orthodox theology, which is unmatched by Latin fathers. Protestanttheologians reduced this teaching to the influence of paganism and explained it asone of the indicators of the unhealthy Hellenization of Gospel science. Accordingto the general agreement of contemporary scholars, St. Augustine not only speaksof deification but deification occupies a significant place in his theological system.We will try to analyze the most significant aspects of Augustine’s teaching on dei-fication in (...) the context of his general theological position. (shrink)
A largely qualitative body of literature has contributed to understanding the contradictory dimensions of community gardening as a social justice tool. Building on this literature through a city-wide, quantitative intervention, this paper focuses on community gardening as a facilitator of ecological gentrification in St. Louis, Missouri. Combining the analytical lenses of spatial justice, urban political ecology, and the rent gap theory of gentrification, I deploy spatial regression analysis to show that community gardening was positively associated with gentrification in St. Louis (...) between the years 2000 and 2010, as measured by the growth of high socioeconomic status residents in each neighborhood. This result suggests that a sociospatial dialectic exists in which the implementation of a community garden, a change in the use of urban space, leads to unintended social outcomes. Contextualizing this finding within the broader literature, I conclude that the potential of community gardening as an instrument for spatial justice is contingent on institutional support against larger-scale processes, like gentrification, that lead to spatially unjust outcomes. (shrink)
In the Chinese stock market, special treatment (ST) firms are the firms listed as facing imminent danger of delisting, unless they return to profitability after reporting two consecutive annual losses. Some ST firms voluntarily pay substantial fees to their external auditors to conduct interim audits, which are not required by regulations. In this study, we investigate and find that ST firms that pay for voluntary interim audits report greater discretionary accrued earnings, higher non-operating earnings, and higher returns on assets in (...) ensuing annual reports. As a result, these firms are more likely to return to profitability and reduce their delisting risk. Our results, which contribute to the current debate on auditor independence, appear to be consistent with the possibility that ST firms “buy” external auditors’ cooperation to manipulate earnings when faced with the threat of delisting. (shrink)
In these pages, we expose the main traits of St. Albert the Great’s doctrine of providence and fate, considered by Palazzo the keystone of his philosophical system. To describe it we examine his systematic works, primarily his Summa of Theology. His discussion follows clearly the guidelines of the Summa of Alexander of Hales, in order to delve into the set of problems faced over the centuries by theological tradition. Albert also restates the reflections of different authors like Boethius or Saint (...) John of Damascus but, in his Summa he incorporates to his reflections also the noteworthy book of Nemesius of Emesa, De natura hominis, which includes some pages on providence. Albert gives his personal solution to the complex questions of providence, destiny and contingency of the world. His conception of providence is developed in the frame of the creative power of the almighty God. God’s knowledge is necessary and inerrant and his providential purposes are infallible, but that does not mean that every event is necessary. He does not communicate His own proprieties to the creatures. In order to understand this problem, Albert recalls the notion of hypothetical necessity coined by Boethius in an Aristotelian framework and the difference between 'necessitas consequentis' and 'necessitas consequentiae' proposed by Alexander of Hales. He also develops his account of providence, closely linked to the topic of fate. However, it would be exaggerated to deem his position deterministic. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the sixth century ’Rule of St. Benedict’, and argue that the authority structure of Benedictine communities as described in that document satisfies well-known principles of authority defended by Joseph Raz. This should lead us to doubt the common assumption that premodern models of authority violate the modern ideal of the autonomy of the self. I suggest that what distinguishes modern liberal authority from Benedictine authority is not the principles that justify it, but rather the first-order (...) beliefs for the sake of which authority is sought by the individual, and the degree of trust between the authority and the subject. (shrink)
Τρόπος ὑπάρξεως bei den Kappadokischen Vätern und bei St. Maximus Confessor In dieser Arbeit werden wir versuchen, zu erörtern, was der Begriff τρόπος ὑπάρξεως bei den Kappadokischen Vätern im Kontext ihrer Triadologie bedeutet. Unserer Meinung zufolge ist die Reduktion der Bedeutung des Begriffs τρόπος ὑπάρξεως auf individuelles Wesen mit Charakteristika kein entsprechendes Abbild der Absicht der Väter. Ganz im Gegensatz, der Begriff τρόπος ὑπάρξεως dient bei ihnen als Unterstützung für die Konstituierung des Begriffs der Hypostase, welcher neben der Bedeutung eines (...) individuellen Wesens mit Charakteristika auch Relation als Schlüs-selmoment ihrer personalistischen Ontologie besitzt. (shrink)
The realism grounding St. Thomas Aquinas’s pre-modern natural science defends the reception of similitudes of the forms of things known by abstraction. Modern natural science challenges this abstractio- nist account by recasting «form» in the leading role of principle of intelligibility—instead of forms, modern science discovers laws. Thomistic realism is prima facie incompatible with this account. Following Charles De Koninck, this essay outlines a rapprochement between the epistemology of pre-modern, Thomistic natural science and its modern successor. I argue that natural (...) forms are noetic limits towards which physical laws tend, and our grasp of this tendency uses a mode of knowledge comparable to what St. Thomas termed universal in repraesentando. (shrink)
Throughout his works, St. Augustine offers at least nine distinct views on the nature of time, at least three of which have remained almost unnoticed in the secondary literature. I first examine each these nine descriptions of time and attempt to diffuse common misinterpretations, especially of the views which seek to identify Augustinian time as consisting of an un-extended point or a distentio animi . Second, I argue that Augustine's primary understanding of time, like that of later medieval scholastics, is (...) that of an accident connected to the changes of created substances. Finally, I show how this interpretation has the benefit of rendering intelligible Augustine's contention that, at the resurrection, motion will still be able to occur, but not time. (shrink)
This study considers Newman’s sermon—“On the Nature of the Future Promise”—which he preached on 4 September 1825 at St. Clement’s Church, Oxford—likely with his mother and sisters present in the congregation; in addition to treating Newman’s style of preaching and Evangelical theology, this sermon’s theological and pastoral dimensions are also examined.
St. Maximus the Confessor claims that the logos of created beings represents their essence as an icon. This claim gives us the opportunity to understand the term essence as an dynamic reality and not as a static given. Essence is not something that the being is, but what it is supposed to be. The idea of icon is herein present as ultimately ontological. The icon is no mirror of reality, but rather its eschatological realization. That which will be uncovers the (...) truth of the being. This way, St. Maxius has founded a dynamic ontology, which is a fundamental step away from the Hellenic heritage. The equalization of the essence of beings and icon is only possible in an Eucharistic view of the world, wherein the Eucharist represents in an iconic way the presence of the eschatological truth in history. (shrink)
It has been argued that St. Thomas Aquinas’s anthropological views fall prey to the problem of “Too Many Thinkers.” The worry, roughly, is that his views entail that I—a human person—am able to think, but that my soul—which is not a human person—is also able to think. Hence, too many thinkers: there are too many ofus having my thoughts. In this paper, I show why this is not a problem for St. Thomas. Along the way, I also address Peter Unger’s (...) argument for substance dualism. (shrink)
In spite of its infinite expectation value, the St. Petersburg game is not only a gamble without supply in the real world, but also one without demand at apparently very reasonable asking prices. We offer a rationalizing explanation of why the St. Petersburg bargain is unattractive on both sides (to both house and player) in the mid-range of prices (finite but upwards of about $4). Our analysis – featuring (1) the already-established fact that the average of finite ensembles of the (...) St. Petersburg game grows with ensemble size but is unbounded, and (2) our own simulation data showing that the debt-to-entry fee ratio rises exponentially – explains why both house and player are quite rational in abstaining from the St. Petersburg game. The house will be unavoidably (and intentionally) exposed to very large ensembles (with very high averages, and so very costly to them), while contrariwise even the well-heeled player is not sufficiently capitalized (as our simulation data reveals) to be able to capture the potential gains from large-ensemble play. (Smaller ensembles, meanwhile, enjoy low means, as others have shown, and so are not worth paying more than $4 to play, even if a merchant were to offer them at such low prices per trial.) Both sides are consequently rational in abstaining from entry into the St. Petersburg market in the mid-range of asking prices. We utilize the concept of capitalization vis-à-vis a gamble to make this case. Classical analyses of this question have paid insufficient attention to the question of the propriety of using expected values to assess the St. Petersburg gamble. And extant analyses have not noted the average-maximum-debt-before-breaking-even figures, and so are incomplete. (shrink)
One way of viewing the organizing structure of the Confessions is to see it as an engagement with various texts at different phases of St. Augustine’s life. In the early books of the Confessions, Augustine describes the disordered state that made him unable to read any text (sacred or profane) properly. Yet following his conversion his entire orientation— not only to texts but also to reality as a whole—changes. This essay attempts to trace the winding paths that lead up to (...) Augustine’s conversion through his various encounters with texts (and individuals) and to examine his struggles both intellectual and spiritual along the way. In the final section, I bring Augustine into conversation with Hans-Georg Gadamer in order to highlight a number of hermeneutical continuities shared by premoderns and postmoderns. After comparing premodern and modern hermeneutical orientations, I conclude that Augustine’s approach to Scripture contrasts sharply with a (strict) modern grammatico-historical biblical methodology, whereas premodern hermeneutics share a number of continuities with Gadamerian and postmodern emphases. Lastly, in light of Gadamer’s famous statement, ‘all of life is hermeneutics’, I suggest that perhaps we could read Augustine’s life as affirming this claim. By taking a close look at Augustine’s story, I will attempt to show how pre-judgments, interpretative traditions and a dynamic/analogical rather than a static/univocal understanding of text (and reality) decisively affected his spiritual and intellectual vision—observations Gadamer would no doubt heartily affirm. (shrink)
In On the Soul and the Resurrection, St Macrina and St Gregory of Nyssa consider what the soul is, and its relationship to our body and identity. Gregory notes the way that our bodies are always changing, and asks which is most truly our ‘real’ body if we are always in a state of growth, decay and transience? What physical body will be with us at the resurrection? If our body is as important to our identity as our soul, then (...) who am I when my body changes? Macrina answers that our identity is bodily, but that the sufferings and passages of time that alter our bodies mean that we are an imperfect version of ourselves in this life. The person that we will be at the resurrection will be free from the influence of evil and the ravages of impermanence. Modern-day science fiction wrestles with Gregory’s problem—where is my identity located? If my body is altered beyond recognition, or my mind transferred to a new body, am I still me? These cyberpunk and transhumanist worries call to mind the ancient topic of mind/body dualism, and Macrina and Gregory have some surprisingly relevant insights to offer to our contemporary technological dilemmas. (shrink)
Michael Polanyi argues in Personal Knowledge (1958) that conceptual frameworks involved in major scientific controversies are separated by a `logical gap'. Such frameworks, according to Polanyi (1958: 151), are logically disconnected: their protagonists think differently, use different languages and occupy different worlds. Relinquishing one framework and adopting another, Polanyi's scientist undergoes a `conversion' to a new `faith'. Polanyi, in other words, presaged Kuhn and Feyerabend's concept of incommensurability. To what influences was Polanyi subject as he developed his concept of the (...) logical gap? The answer, as unfolded in this article, is twofold: Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande and the Confessions of St Augustine. (shrink)
Several writers have argued for the implausibility of there being naturalistic explanations of mystical experience. These writers recognize that the evidential significance of mystical experiences for theism depends upon whether explanations that exclude supernatural agency can be discounted; but they seem unaware of some of the best scientific work done in this area. Part I of the present paper introduces the theory of I. M. Lewis, an anthropologist, and tests it against the case of St Teresa. I use Teresa because (...) of her prominence, and because we have considerable biographical data for her. I conclude that Lewis's approach, suitably supplemented, is strikingly successful in explaining this case. (shrink)