To a Traditionalist, God is another name for existence itself
Doesn't that contradict divine simplicity?
2012-10-23 11:32 pm (UTC)
God as existence
A good response would take book, but perhaps a few lines might help.
In what is reviewed to as the "traditional" view here, God is existence not in the sense of him being everything that exists. Rather, he is the very actuality of existence. Think of God's self-identification from the burning bush: "I am who am." Everything else exists as a certain type of thing; God simply IS. Two implications: 1) Divine simplicity and excellence is secured even beyond our language. 2) All existing things exist insofar as they share in God's actuality in a limited fashion--thus, God is in all things without these things being God.
This is one point within a very subtle system of thought. I find it incredibly compelling.
To a Traditionalist, God is another name for existence itself, or, in the words of a Facebook friend of mine, "God is what a cat, an apple, and a chair have in common."
Your summary makes it sound like the book is written by a pantheist
who is appropriating and taking credit for "traditional" Christianity. Pantheism is also traditionally a heresy.Edited at 2012-10-23 05:49 pm (UTC)
No, he pretty clearly established that Aquinas believes the same thing as he does. The apple and so on aren't God, they're things immediately sustained by God since God is existence itself (ie in God essence is identical to existence) and the apple etc all exist.
A real Catholic can correct me if I'm wrong.
The last superstition is probably the belief that you can understand what other people are thinking by assuming that they're thinking the same way you are.
If "traditionalism" mostly follows the examples you described, then to my surprise I find I'm a traditionalist. (Still not a Christian, though, if Feser means Christianity to have anything to do with Jesus or the Gospels.)
It would surprise me if "traditionalism" was in fact *older* than "modernism", but hey, I'm willing to be surprised.
2012-10-23 11:40 pm (UTC)
That's exactly what he said.
Traditional is older than modern. The reason those words are used, in fact.
Interesting. This makes sense on a number of levels. My first reaction was that the Catholicism vs Modernity split goes a long way towards explaining why it's so easy when reading history and historical fiction (especially about the Renaissance through early Age of Enlightenment), it's so easy to cast traditional Catholics as the villains: Renaissance Humanists, early Protestant reformers, enlightenment philosophers, and their like were the intellectual forefathers of modernity, so we recognize them as being "on our side", and their Catholic, traditionalist antagonists were working against them from a largely alien (to us) perspective.
On the other hand, a major data point against Feser's thesis here is Against the Galileans
, an anti-Christian tract by the fourth century Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate. It's been a while since I read it, but I remember noting that Julian (a Neoplatinist Hellenic Pagan, who should if anything be more traditionalist than the early Christians)'s criticisms of Christianity sound distinctly similar in many respects to modern atheist criticisms of Christianity.
2012-10-24 01:24 am (UTC)
Having briefly examined this tract, it appears that Julian is offering a tirade against a purely-literal understanding of the Bible, rather than against traditional philosophy. Remember that the development of Christian philosophy spans millenia.
Julian wrote this tract fewer than 50 years after the Edict of Milan, so Christian philosophy was still in its infancy (broad persecution of adherents only slightly hinders intellectual inquiry). Only in the early 5th century will Augustine bring Christian philosophy to maturity by the integration of Platonism. Aquinas won't assimilate the work of Aristotle until the 13th century.
From your three examples I can't tell what epistemological difference there is between a traditionalist and an atheist - they appear to be using different names for the same things.
But since I'm certain there must actually be an epistemological difference, and not just a semantic one, I'm looking forward to the later parts of this review.
Edited at 2012-10-23 08:14 pm (UTC)
Indeed. The Traditionalist says "Of course angels exist - when a human does an unexpectedly generous thing, that person is an angel!"
Yesterday, I heard someone honestly arguing that Santa Claus does exist, since we all have a little Santa Claus inside us.
Interesting. Now I'm tempted to buy those books.
Not related to the content, but why does the link at the top link to ari_rahikkala
's comment rather than the post itself...?
The average Christian today is probably a Modern Christian, just because Modernism has become so pervasive that it's hard for anyone, including Christians, to think outside that particular box. Probably the most obvious flaw in The Last Superstition's angry criticisms of atheism is that the majority of atheist beliefs and arguments are actually well-suited to the majority of Christian beliefs and arguments, because the majority of Christians are indeed operating out of a Modern tradition.
Wherein does the flaw lie? It can't be that most Christians hold Modernist beliefs, because that is just argumentum ad populum , especially when they are doing so because they are living in a modern setting and not through reasoning themselves into them.
The flaw lies in that Feser was criticizing the atheists for being intellectually dishonest in making these arguments, but in fact it's totally legitimate to argue against the position your opponent actually believes instead of some position that some much better educated person might believe, especially if your goal is to convince your opponent.
2012-10-24 12:34 am (UTC)
I found this blog from facebook, and must say that I like the way you write/think/etc. I also like the way you explain the book's point. Maybe I just like the book's point itself... I'll check it out. You may enjoy C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man, and G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. Oh, and read Aquinas himself. it's worth it. then you can see how your view may differ from Feser. (my philosophy program has a policy of reading "the greats" instead of explanations of them, for just this reason)
have a great day, keep reading, and definitely keep writing!
2012-10-25 10:44 am (UTC)
"To a Traditionalist, the soul is another name for the shape that the body currently has, and saying a human being has a soul is no more controversial than saying a chair is chair-shaped.
To a Traditionalist, God is another name for existence itself"
I have never, ever heard anyone espouse such views, and I spend a lot of time interacting with what you call "traditionalists".
Seriously, no-one thinks this. There may be some philosophers somewhere claiming that "God is existence", in some sort of attempt at pantheism, but no-one thinks "the soul is another name for the shape that the body currently has". No-one. Traditionalists generally assume that some aspect of humanity - be it intelligence, morality, subjective experience - requires something more than mere matter.
2012-10-31 01:54 pm (UTC)
Sure. And you can probably quote a traditionalist who says that then...?
Because Feser is one who says the opposite, so it looks like the evidence is Traditionalists who say that: 1, Traditionalists who don't: 0, but you bet there are loads.
reminds me a bit of (what little I've read of) Mencius Moldbug.
2012-11-04 12:34 am (UTC)
Да уж, хорошо написано
Если же мы понимаем, что брак – это союз мистический, это тайна, это чудо, это не только здесь, но и на небесах, это то, от чего зависит наше счастье всей нашей жизни и наших детей, если мы понимаем, какое великое это дело и какой великий труд, то мы, вероятно, должны учитывать, как повлияет на будущую семью мероприятие, с которого семья начнется. Ведь в нашей жизни все имеет значение и продолжение.Что же это за волшебное мероприятие – современная свадьба? Что это такое на самом деле?
2012-11-06 02:16 pm (UTC)
Проще головой о стену удариться, чем все это реализова
Описанные в начале три юношеских критерия касаются не нашей реакции на людей, а скорее реакции людей на нас. Это гораздо менее точный критерий. И поэтому не стоит придавать этим признакам какое-либо значение.
2012-11-09 09:14 pm (UTC)
Для всего найдется что написать, вобщем еще не понятно
Наш с вами разговор не на уровне «нельзя-можно». Мы живем в реальном мире, а в реальном мире трудно совершать правильные поступки, особенно когда рядом мало или вовсе нет тех, кто так поступает. Реальность такова, что мы с вами к моменту прочтения этой книги, возможно, уже совершали ошибки, и поздно говорить о вершинах чистоты и добродетели. Но жизнь – не черно-белая, есть много оттенков. Мы говорим с вами о том, что полезно нам и что вредно, мы говорим о добре и зле как о полюсах, по которым настраивается наш компас. А дальше мы делаем выбор, причем каждый день много раз, в какую сторону идти и насколько настойчиво. Кто-то выбирает полюс сиюминутных удовольствий, полюс слабости, и за всю жизнь так и не создает настоящей семьи. Кто-то довольствуется среднестатистической долей двух-трех непродолжительных браков с несчастными детьми-полусиротами. А кто-то понимает, что жизнь одна, и обидно разменивать ее по мелочам, хочется выиграть главные призы. Крепкая счастливая семья, наполненная любовью, - один из самых главных, если не самый главный приз в этой жизни. Ради него стоит воспользоваться разумом и волей, которые для чего-то даны нам. [url=http://newcentralasia.ru/glavnye-novosti-dnya-v-rossii]Аksenov Erik[/url]