Friday, November 25, 2005

Interesting Links

* "Leithart.com" has a post on Aquinas's argument that it is fitting to convey divine truths by way of bodily images. (HT: BHT) There's also an interesting post on Scotus on univocity.

* The discussion on Heidegger and Nazism continues with a great post at The Rhine River. (Looking at my comment just now, it's a bit long -- I should have written another blog post rather than taking up so much space in the comments section. I'll try to keep that in mind if I comment again.)

* Bill Vallicella has a very nice summary of the set-theoretical paradox of omniscience. My (limited) understanding is that it actually depends considerably on what formulation of set theory we are using (see here and also here, for example; the latter link shows just how interesting the paradox is, since it would have ramifications for possible worlds semantics as well -- the paradox is one form of a general type of set-theoretical paradox for the semantics of modal logic). I'm also not convinced that we should concede that omniscience is defined as knowledge of the set of all possible truths, rather than knowledge of all possible truths (which may or may not make a set in the relevant sense), although Grim in the exchange linked to in The Maverick's post denies that this would make a difference. I also wonder if one could perhaps deny the emphasis on propositions, and say that what this sort of paradox shows (if it even works) is that divine omniscience is such that its content cannot be fully specified as a set of propositions, because there is no set of all propositions specifying it. (This is perhaps not so far out as it might seem; on some medieval accounts of omniscience, for instance, divine knowledge of enunciables, i.e., propositions, is an entirely incidental result of the arguments that God has flawless self-knowledge and practical, non-propositional knowledge of things as creatable -- to put it crudely and a little misleadingly, divine know-how.) On such a view that paradox would cause no problems for the doctrine of omniscience, although some might be uncomfortable with the notion of omniscience as non-propositional knowledge. In any case, it's a good paradox to ponder.

* John da Fiesole at "Disputations" discusses the Fra Angelico exhibit at New York's Metropolitan, with pictures and links to reviews.

* Read John Haldane's What Philosophy Can Do (in the November issue of First Things). Haldane, of course, is a major member of the analytic Thomism movement (in the tradition of Anscombe and Geach).

* BTW, I really liked this comment in his Public Square column by Fr. Neuhaus:

Actress Jane Fonda’s 1998 conversion to Christianity received considerable attention. She recently told the Baltimore Sun, “I believe people have different ways of approaching the Word. For me, it’s metaphor, written by people a long time after Christ died and interpreted by specific groups. I read the gospels that aren’t included in the Bible. These make me feel good about calling myself a Christian.” She may be on to something. The ones that are in the Bible sometimes make me feel bad about calling myself a Christian.

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