Friday, August 18, 2017

Five Proofs is out (Updated)


UPDATE 8/22: Some readers will be interested to learn that Ignatius Press is now offering an electronic version of the book.

My new book Five Proofs of the Existence of God is now available.  You can order it from Amazon or direct from Ignatius Press.  Brandon Vogt, friend of this blog and creator of the Strange Notions website, is kindly hosting a Q and A about the book at the site. 

Here’s the book’s back cover copy:

This book provides a detailed, updated exposition and defense of five of the historically most important (but in recent years largely neglected) philosophical proofs of God's existence: the Aristotelian, the Neo-Platonic, the Augustinian, the Thomistic, and the Rationalist.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Jacobs on By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed



The arguments are offered in a lucid and systematic manner so that they are accessible to those with no background in philosophy, theology or law.  For example, the opening chapter has an admirably clear introduction to the natural law, and the second chapter elucidates the relative authority of various theological sources.  They support their argument with copious examples, citing a profusion of authorities, ancient and modern.  Conversely, they engage a wide range of objections to their position with great dialectical subtlety…

Friday, August 11, 2017

Rucker’s Mindscape


In his book Infinity and the Mind  (which you can read online at his website), Rudy Rucker puts forward the notion of what he calls the “Mindscape.”  He writes:

If three people see the same animal, we say the animal is real; what if three people see the same idea?

I think of consciousness as a point, an “eye,” that moves about in a sort of mental space.  All thoughts are already there in this multi-dimensional space, which we might as well call the Mindscape.  Our bodies move about in the physical space called the Universe; our consciousnesses move about in the mental space called the Mindscape.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Capital punishment with Patrick Coffin


Recently I did a long Skype interview about By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment for The Patrick Coffin Show.  You can watch it here.  (Boy do I need to master the art of Skype – I look like I just rolled out of bed.)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Capital punishment with Prager (UPDATED)


UPDATE 8/9: You can now hear the interview online here.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 8 at 11 am PT, Joe Bessette and I will be on The Dennis Prager Show to discuss our book By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment

Friday, August 4, 2017

Capital punishment on EWTN


Yesterday, Joe Bessette and I appeared on EWTN’s The World Over with Raymond Arroyo to discuss our book By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment.  The segment can now be viewed online

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cartesian angelism


Angels, as Aquinas and other Scholastic theologians conceive of them, are purely intellectual substances, minds separated from matter.  An angel thinks and wills but has no corporeal operations at all.  Naturally, then, popular images of angels – creatures with wings, long flowing robes, and so forth – have nothing to do with the real McCoy.  For a modern philosopher, the easiest way to understand what an angel is is to conceive of it as a Cartesian res cogitans – though as we will see in what follows, in a way this actually gets things the wrong way around.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Capital punishment on radio and TV


Tomorrow, Thursday, July 27 at 1:40 pm PT, I’ll be on The Ed Morrissey Show to discuss By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed.  On the same day, my co-author Joe Bessette will be on Meet the Author with Ken Huck at 12 pm PT.  On Thursday, August 3, Joe and I will appear on The World Over with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Msgr. Swetland’s confusions


Msgr. Stuart Swetland is a theologian and the president of Donnelly College.  You might recall that, almost a year ago, he gained some notoriety for his bizarre opinion that having a positive view of Islam is nothing less than a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy.  As that episode indicates, the monsignor is not the surest of guides to what the Church teaches.  If there were any lingering doubt about that, it was dispelled by his performance during my radio debate with him last week on the subject of capital punishment.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Essence and existence


Recently, Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY hosted a workshop on the theme Aquinas on Metaphysics.  I spoke on the topic of “The Distinction of Essence and Existence.”  Audio of the talk has now been posted online at the Thomistic Institute’s Soundcloud page.

McCaffrey and Murray on By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed


At Catholic Media Apostolate, Roger McCaffrey and Fr. Gerald Murray discuss my book (co-authored with Joseph Bessette) By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Aquinas watches Glengarry Glen Ross


David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross is a thing of beauty.  This assertion is bound to shock some readers who have seen the movie (originally a stage play).  It is notoriously foul-mouthed.  The dialogue is in other ways idiosyncratic, characterized by unfamiliar slang and incomplete sentences (a Mamet trademark).  None of the characters is admirable; indeed, most of them are to some degree or other positively repulsive – ruthless, lying, manipulative, arrogant, weak, cruel, incompetent, thieving, vindictive, corrupt.  The irony is that the movie is beautiful in part because of these features, rather than despite them.  How can that be?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Briggs on By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed



[A] book so thorough and so relentless that it is difficult to imagine anybody reading it and coming away unconvinced by the lawfulness and usefulness of capital punishment…

Experts on this subject may be assured that Feser and Bessette have covered every facet with the same assiduity of a lawyer preparing a Supreme Court brief.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Capital punishment on the radio (UPDATED)


Joe Bessette and I will be doing a number of radio interviews in connection with our new book By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment.  Yesterday I appeared on Kresta in the Afternoon, and you can find the interview here.  Today I appeared on The Mike Janocik Show to discuss the theological side of the issue.  Joe will appear on the show next week to discuss the social scientific aspects of the issue. 

Many further radio appearances are scheduled for next week and beyond.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Taking Aquinas seriously


At First Things, Connor Grubaugh interviews me on the subject of Thomas Aquinas and Analytical Thomism.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It’s the next open thread


Here is your latest opportunity to converse about topics that have not arisen in the course of other combox discussions at this here blog.  From neo-Kantianism to neo-conservatism, from mortal sin to imported gin, from the dubia cardinals to the Doobie Brothers – discuss whatever you like, within reason.  Keep it civil, but for once you needn’t keep it on topic.

Fr. Z on By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed


The esteemed Fr. John Zuhlsdorf kindly calls his readers’ attention to By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, my new book co-written with Joseph Bessette.  Fr. Z writes:

Anything written by Edward Feser is reliable and worth time… This is a good book for the strong reader, student of Catholic moral and social teaching, seminarians and clerics.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Arguments from desire


On his radio show yesterday, Dennis Prager acknowledged that one reason he believes in God – though not the only one – is that he wants it to be the case that God exists.  The thought that there is no compensation in the hereafter for suffering endured in this life, nor any reunion with departed loved ones, is one he finds just too depressing.  Prager did not present this as an argument for the existence of God or for life after death, but just the expression of a motivation for believing in God and the afterlife.  But there have, historically, been attempts to develop this idea into an actual argument.  This is known as the argument from desire, and its proponents include Aquinas and C. S. Lewis.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Surf dat web


A lecture by David Oderberg answering the question: Should there be freedom of dissociation?

Philosopher of physics Tim Maudlin defends the reality of time and change, at Quanta magazine.

At The Weekly Standard, Camille Paglia on Trump, transgenderism, and terrorism.

Why is there more disagreement in philosophy than in science?  Maybe because philosophy is just harder, suggests David Papineau in the Times Literary Supplement.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Stroud on Hume


David Hume, as I often argue, is overrated.  But that’s not his fault.  It’s the fault of those who do the overrating.  So, rather than beat up on him (as I have done recently), let’s beat up on them for a change.  Or rather, let’s watch Barry Stroud do it, in a way that is far more genteel than I’m inclined to.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Five Proofs is coming


Five Proofs of the Existence of God will be out this Fall.  You can pre-order at the Ignatius Press website and at Amazon.  Here’s the book jacket description:

Five Proofs of the Existence of God provides a detailed, updated exposition and defense of five of the historically most important (but in recent years largely neglected) philosophical proofs of God's existence: the Aristotelian proof, the Neo-Platonic proof, the Augustinian proof, the Thomistic proof, and the Rationalist proof.