Monday, July 30, 2012

Back from Sydney

And quite tired from a very busy week (and very long flight!)  I want to thank my new friends at the Catholic Adult Education Centre and all the other fine people who treated me so well during the trip.  Regular blogging will resume this week.

23 comments:

Kiel said...

Thanks again to yourself for coming and your family for enabling you to come. I'm sure it wasn't easy for them while you were gone. I learned a lot, the content was well presented and it inspired me to continue learning.

Michele Arpaia said...

I second with Kiel.
A big thank you from Arpaia's (little) family :-)

Edward Feser said...

Thanks Kiel and Michele, it was great to meet the both of you in person!

Paul said...

Thank you for your inspirational lectures. I'm trying to spread the word around various organisations I belong to, and tell them to follow up your works and the references you gave us.

Kiel said...

I'm just disappointed I couldn't express my appreciation using a triangle.

Aquinas3000 said...

Next time come to Brisbane too :)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!


Quick question to Edward and anyone with a little more insight into the matter than myself...


Does theory of time (A theory of time Vs B theory of time) play any role in the arguments for Classical Theism? Or is either theory compatible with Aquinas' Ways? Or is it simply irrelevant?

Anonymous said...

If I might be so bold as to make a suggestion for a future blog post: perhaps Prof. Feser could discuss Aquinas's understanding of free will? There have been a historic number of understandings about it, dating back to accusations of determinism in Aquinas's own time. From my reading, these seem to be false--but an elaboration on Thomistic free will would be an interesting read.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Feser, were any of these lectures recorded?

21st Century Scholastic said...

>>>Does theory of time (A theory of time Vs B theory of time) play any role in the arguments for Classical Theism? Or is either theory compatible with Aquinas' Ways? Or is it simply irrelevant?

Mmmmh.... WLC says Aquinas was a B-theorist, but many of his (Aquinas') followers seem to disagree with that (and generally accept A-theory).

As for compatibility with the 5 ways, the key question would be: does B-theory deny the existence of change, or there is change even if time does not exist?

>>>If I might be so bold as to make a suggestion for a future blog post: perhaps Prof. Feser could discuss Aquinas's understanding of free will? There have been a historic number of understandings about it, dating back to accusations of determinism in Aquinas's own time. From my reading, these seem to be false--but an elaboration on Thomistic free will would be an interesting read.

I agree!

Edward Feser said...

Glad you remembered my hackneyed example, Kiel -- no doubt you'll now never be able to read A-T philosophy without it popping into your head!

In answer to Anon @ 8:42, some of the talks were recorded, but it is up to the CAEC how to use them, since the talks were made "under their banner" as it were.

Re: the philosophical questions raised by a couple of the commenters, I will get to them in due course.

Steve said...

Thought this might be of interest to most of the readers here...

http://www.justinvacula.com/2012/07/NepaGodDebate.html

Jules said...

Just remarking that Feser already talked about free will in both Aquinas and The Last Superstition. So you can get some info there.

Brian said...

Ugh, that debate does not look like a good idea at all, Steve. She is a PhD, and the atheist is just some guy? Hey, he could be a good-willed person and may actually be interested in a good debate, but I doubt it. She will just get mud on her.

Tony said...

Mmmmh.... WLC says Aquinas was a B-theorist, but many of his (Aquinas') followers seem to disagree with that (and generally accept A-theory).

WLC is generally out to lunch on really understanding Aquinas, so it wouldn't be surprising that he got this wrong too. I cannot remember one single phrase in Aquinas that would support B-time theory. At most (and this is a vast stretch) one might suppose that he is neutral between them, his theory not staking any requirement that time be A or B. But that's only by a warped and constrained un-reading of everything he says about change, re-casting its meaning as if it were to be read unnaturally. Certainly Aristotle made comments about the past not existing anymore, and the future not yet existing.

In addition to common sense, other problems with B-timer include the question of whether the notions by which they attempt to circumvent past and future with supposedly logical relations like "precedence" is whether such logical relations REALLY ARE neutral about the issue, or whether instead the notions include past and future as inherently implicit aspects. The problems are non-trivial, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

If you have the time and interest to do so, I'd be interested to see a treatment of time in the scholastic framework. I just discovered McTaggart, who (so far) seems to really jive with my own thoughts about the unreality of time.

Alternatively, if you have dealt with this is the past, or if there are good (and easily accessible) resources I could avail myself of I would greatly appreciate it if someone could point me in their direction. Thanks!

Steve said...

Brian,

Perhaps...but the good news is that you can skype in and call him on it, and although you probably won't convince him of anything, you never know who will be listening.

BenYachov said...

If I may name drop I know Ronda. I met her in NYC during a gathering of Hebrew Catholics.

She was an old school Jewish Socialist Atheist back in her day.

I doubt her Atheism has anything in common with this guy's semi-Gnuism. From my reading of his blog this guy has an obvious Theistic Personalist view of God.

I think I should warn her about that.

Anonymous said...

For the interested, Craig's God and Real Time outlines some of his views and apparent criticisms of Aquinas.

Are there good resources describing the Thomistic theory of time?

Anonymous said...

@ 21st Century Scholastic

>>>>As for compatibility with the 5 ways, the key question would be: does B-theory deny the existence of change, or there is change even if time does not exist?

I think that is the important questions and that is essentially what I am asking here.


@Tony

>>>> At most (and this is a vast stretch) one might suppose that he is neutral between them, his theory not staking any requirement that time be A or B. But that's only by a warped and constrained un-reading of everything he says about change, re-casting its meaning as if it were to be read unnaturally. Certainly Aristotle made comments about the past not existing anymore, and the future not yet existing.

Like I said earlier, I think the important question is whether given b-theory of time change is real. If that’s the case then anything he says about change would not be committed either to a-theory or b-theory of time.

In the article posted by anonymous Craig says the following:
“On the B-theory creatio ex nihilo is reduced to the ontological dependence of the creation upon God and the space-time continuum's having a front edge. But the creation as a whole is co-eternal with God in the sense that it exists as tenselessly as He. There is no state of affairs in the actual world which consists of God existing alone without creation. But such an analysis is a wholly inadequate understanding of the biblical doctrine that the created order began to exist and was brought into being by God.”

The first sentence is true. What is most fundamental to the argument as I understand it is the world’s ontological dependence on God rather than the world having a beginning per se. The second sentence I would assume is compatible with Aquinas since he did not require that the world had a beginning. The last two sentences is I think where Craig goes astray and imposes his own understand of creation ex nihilo as the correct one. For according to him if there is to be creation ex nihilo it would require that there is a state of affairs in the actual world that the world does not exist. That I think, on a classical reading is simply wrong. I don’t think that requirement is warranted. I think it might have something to do with the fact that he prefers the Kalam than other arguments and thus wants that requirement (God to exists without the world) in order for that specific argument to be “better”.

I would really be interested in hearing exactly what Aquinas’ views (as well as Aristotle’s) in regards this question of time. As well as whether b-theory of time has any impact whatsoever on the reality of change. I hope Edward Feser (or anyone with better understanding of Scholastic thought than myself) gets a chance to comment on this as he is probably in better position to illustrate the thinking of Aquinas and help us shed some light on these particular issues:

1. Does b-teory of time deny ontological change?
2. What Aquinas thought in regards to time and its relation to God.
3. Whether both a-theory and b-theory of time seem to work well with theistic arguments (as Craig seems to imply) depending on the specific argument one utilizes.

Ray said...

Dr. Feser and fellow commenters,

I would like to echo the above requests for some good material on Aquinas' views on time. I'm an undergraduate student in the analytic tradition but foresee myself venturing into scholastic thought some as time goes on. I've chosen time--especially A vs B theory--as the topic of my senior thesis that I will be working on this coming academic year and would love any material on the topic from a scholastic perspective.

As for the questions regarding Aquinas' view: I've been under the impression that Aquinas would have held to the B-theory (though this is of course anachronistic). I've also thought that the traditional view in Classical Theism has been that God is eternally (contra William Lane Craig) atemporal and this seems to require the B-theory of time. Paul Helm (a Reformed philosopher) concurs with this and has written a book (Eternal God: A Study of God Without Time) and the SEP article on eternity where he endorses B-theory. Katherin Rogers is a B-theorist as well and I think Alexander Pruss holds to something like it too. But most analytic philosophers of religion favor A-theory over B-theory.

I think this is unfortunate. I really don't see how God could be immutable or simple if he is temporal (of course, most analytic philosophers reject these as well). In my thesis I'll be defending the b-theory of time with hopes of looking into the theological implications of these issues in grad school.

If Dr. Feser or anyone else would be able to provide information regarding Aquinas' views on time (or other scholastic sources), I would be very appreciative. Proponents of A-theory are welcome as well! :-)

Thanks!

Ray

Vincent Torley said...

Hi Ray,

These references might help you:

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1010.htm#article4 (S.T. I, q. 10, art. 4)

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1025.htm#article4 (S.T. I, q. 25, art. 4)

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1014.htm#article5 (S.T. I, q. 14, art. 5, reply to obj. 3)

http://readingthesumma.blogspot.jp/2010/04/question-10.html

http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/bishop-eternity.shtml

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/god-time-and-eternity

Best wishes,

Vincent

Ray said...

Thanks Vincent! This makes for a good start.