In an extended (and sometimes heated) discussion with colleagues at the Center for the Study of Digital Life, it was determined that one of the key things needed to advance in our work is a clear understanding of causality. I have, consequently, been at work in attempting to provide a stripped-down, simplified explanation of what … Continue reading Causality: a Rough Draft
Modes: a mode is not a "what", but a "how". Something could exist in different modes without changing its "whats"; for instance, what exists in itself can exist also in the mind while identical in its "what". Esse (existence/modus essendi): this is the mode in which some "what" exists in itself independently of any foreign … Continue reading Modes: essendi, intelligendi, significandi
Bear with me, audience... I'm working out some ideas. --- Humanity, among all animal species, possesses unique social relations. That is, while seemingly all highly-developed animals interact socially, only humans interact socio-culturally. What exactly does this mean, though? We are all familiar, on some level or another, with the idea of culture, and even with many … Continue reading Signs and Culture
From the introduction to my medieval philosophy class: There are two methods to study a chronological period of philosophy: one is primarily historical, and engages the thought of the time insofar as it is effected by political or social changes, such as the fall of the Roman Empire (beginning around 376ad with the Gothic invasions) … Continue reading What Makes Philosophy Medieval?
A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. -Alexander Pope A word that has been thrown about in academia for as long as I've been involved is "interdisciplinary". On the Thomist side of my experience, the … Continue reading The Allure and the Danger of Interdisciplinary Study
Ronnie de Sousa, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Toronto, penned quite a piece of sophistry for Aeon Magazine. The title: "Natural-born existentialists"; the by-line, "Ethics cannot be based on human nature because, as evolutionary biology tells us, there is no such thing." It's unfortunate that de Sousa is a professor, and from … Continue reading Evolved Inanity
The following is from the introduction I give in my metaphysics course, last taught at the University of St. Thomas (TX) in Spring of 2016. It explains the germ of my Thomism as well as my rejection of modernism... in terms of metaphysics, at least. -- There are few topics which seem more unsuited to … Continue reading Why Study Metaphysics?
Over at Quillette.com yesterday, the site's founder and editor-in-chief, Claire Lehmann, posted an article asking readers to "help build a third culture"--that is, a culture which does not hold humanities and science education in opposition, but which bridges the gap between the two, or somehow otherwise allows them to coexist in harmony. Her inspiration was … Continue reading Together but Disunited: On Intellectual Culture
Last week, I received an email out of the blue from a complete stranger, asking me questions about God. It was sent with an earnest curiosity, and so I took the time to answer. Below is an edited version of the conversation, given some literary license and with his identity changed. -- Dear Professor … Continue reading God and God’s Ways
Sexual harassment has been a regular in the news cycle for the past twenty-plus years--often but not always as a tool of political exposure. Powerful men with covered-up but uncurbed desires have been a mainstay of U.S. politics and political news coverage since Anita Hill leveled unproven, but not disproven, accusations against Clarence Thomas in … Continue reading Sex, Power, and Instinct