Saturday, January 20, 2007

Notes and Links

* Jim Kreines, The Logic of Life: Hegel's Philosophical Defense of Teleology (PDF). I believe I attended a presentation of an earlier version of this paper, or at least a paper on a related topic; in any case, it's quite good, and useful for making a point that I like always making: Hegel starts making sense when you recognize that a lot of his claims sound weird only because they are hard to contextualize -- he doesn't give you many clues about the context, so you have to dig a bit. Once you do that, and find out what he's responding to, he starts making a lot of sense, and saying some interesting things. And it is probably still true that Hegel is the most insightful critic of Kant ever to have written. In this case, Kreines notes that Hegel argues, in an argument suggestive in parts of Aristotle, that we can find in living things a teleology that is not intelligent design. (ht: OPP)

* A good post on the principle of causality at "Just Thomism".

* Rebecca has finished her series on sola fide and solus Christus. The full series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

* Via The American Jewish Committee, Kenneth Stern's Hate Matters: The Need for an Interdisciplinary Field of Hate Studies (PDF) argues that an adequate response to prejudice, scapegoating, and the like, requires a more multidimensional understanding of these matters, which can be furthered in academia by an interdisciplinary approach. It would need a better name.

* In Evangelicals and the Mother of God Timothy George argues for a greater appreciation of Mary. In it he mentions both Mary as type of the Church, and the popular (and much-covered) Amy Grant song Breath of Heaven. An exercise: listen to the song as the song of the Church in its pilgrimage in this life, as a sort of virgo praedicanda. Any song of Mary is our song, a song of the community of the faithful.

* This post at "The Discalced Yooper" is one of the more interesting defenses I've seen of the position that there are good reasons for the position condemning Saddam Hussein's execution; the argument makes use of Thomas Aquinas's discussion of vindicatio, vindication or (as the author calls it, following the Dominican Fathers translation) vengeance.

* John Calvin's Short Treatise on the Lord's Supper. Beza called it Calvin's "little golden treatise"; it gives a good summary of Calvin's view on these matters, both insofar as it is distinguished from the Catholic (the consecrated elements are a sacrifice) and the Zwinglian (the whole ritual is simply a memorial) as he understood them. It also gives his diagnosis of why Protestants failed to achieve unity on this topic.

* At "Dissoi Blogoi" Michael Pakaluk looks at the question of Christianity in Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. One thing I've always wondered is why people think there's any sort of problem with Boethius writing a book that doesn't explicitly take a Christian point of view; there clearly, for instance, was no problem on the part of Christian readers. They didn't have any problem with the book, for all that it seems to talk about the World Soul and the world's sempiternity. In fact, if there is any early medieval text to which the common Christian response could be called enthusiasm, it's the Consolation. And the general message of the book -- that philosophy gives consolation by showing that prayer is not futile -- is hardly one that discords with a Christian perspective, even if it is not an exclusively Christian message. So is this not rather a made-up problem? In any case, made up or not, it does occasionally raise interesting issues.

* An interesting word I came across recently that I am certain I had never, ever come across before: tokophobia.

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