In the last article, we saw how William of Ockham developed his nominalist philosophy in the context of disputes within the medieval Franciscan order. Ockham’s nominalism—the thesis that there are no real, abstract universal concepts, but that these terms refer only to ideas that we have—undercut Aristotelian arguments about the naturalness of property ownership, based as they were on the Continue Reading …
How an important element of both modern philosophy and science emerged from an obscure dispute within the medieval Franciscan order involving Plato, Aristotle, the Roman Catholic Church, and William of Ockham, among others.
What is the “lust of the mind” and how does it fit in with the modern university?
“Next to the word ‘Nature,’ ‘The Great Chain of Being’ was the sacred phrase of the eighteenth century, playing a part somewhat analogous to that of the blessed word ‘evolution’ in the nineteenth.” –Arthur O. Lovejoy
From, whence, then, could arise the solitary and strange conceit that the Almighty, who had millions of worlds equally dependent on his protection, should quit the care of all the rest, and come to die in our world because, they say, one man and one woman had eaten an apple. –Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
We are often told that Europeans, in the medieval times, believed that Earth was at the center of the universe, and therefore especially good and important. An anthropocentric point of view flattered human vanity, according to this story. Sigmund Freud was perhaps its most famous representative. He wrote: Humanity has in the course of time had to endure from the Continue Reading …
In the previous article, we saw how geometry set the standard for knowledge in the world of ancient Greek philosophy, and how Christian theology emerged out of an effort to harmonize the very different traditions of Greek and Hebraic thought. Plato’s theory of the forms is perhaps his most famous contribution to philosophy, and requires no extensive discussion. But, as Continue Reading …
“Let no one ignorant of geometry enter.” –Said to have been inscribed above the doorway of Plato’s Academy
Why does happiness so often present itself as a problem?
“Serious scholarship in the history of science has revealed so extraordinarily rich and complex a relationship between science and religion that general theses are difficult to sustain. The real lesson turns out to be complexity.” –Jonathan Hedley Broke
“Batman is haunted by his dark past yet perseveres in fighting crime.” We know that Batman is a fictional character, but nonetheless talk about him as if he were a real person. But is Batman real or not? Instead of accusing him of non-existence, or granting him reality as an abstract object, could we not instead regard fictional characters as software running on the hardware of our brains?
“I need the binocular approach of science and religion if I am to do any sort of justice to the deep and rich reality of the world in which we live.”
–John Polkinghorne (Physicist, Anglican Priest)
The Romantic film-philosophy of Cavell, Mulhall, Sinnerbrink, and Smith completes the triangulation of values among the ethical, cognitive, and aesthetic: in the same way that film links Smith’s innovations in the disciplines of aesthetics, philosophy, and culture, authenticity links the ethical, cognitive, and aesthetic values of film.
“Surely if liberalism has a single desperate weakness it is an inadequacy of imagination: liberalism is always being surprised.” –Lionel Trilling
“God is also glorified in astronomy through my work.” –Johannes Kepler
What’s “mother!” all about? Here are a few attempts to answer that question in a single sentence.
“The Goal of Science is understanding lawful relations among natural phenomena. Religion is a way of life within a larger framework of meaning.”–Ian Barbour
“Your father was a computer engineer; your mother was a concert pianist, and when the spaceship lands, they make music together on the computer.”
“I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.” –Richard Dawkins
King Laius died at the Cleft Way, where he got in the way of an emigrant to Thebes who happened also to be his son. The prophecy was that Oedipus would be the death of Laius, and it was in the name of avoiding this fate that father and son worked together to seal it. Yet what truly made Oedipus Continue Reading …