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About Davy

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    philosophy, the natural world, science.

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  1. Hi Davy, I think you will find that NB writes more to the point on causality than AR. I'm sorry I don't have my references handy but you will find a page or two on causality in Branden's The Psychology of Self-Esteem. NB also briefly discusses the idea of metaphysical dualism in one of his later books (might be The Art of Living Conciously...I think MSK referenced it recently) and mentions that AR was in agreement with his thoughts in this area. Here he suggests that consciousness and matter may both emerge from a common underlying substance. While still vague, this is a step pointing the dire
  2. Since the author is a traditional Roman Catholic, he argues from a religious premise. Identifying the basic premise from where an individual is arguing from works quite well for finding out his/her the agenda. His polemic against Dawkins & Co is therefore also an attack against a philosophical worldview that rejects the god premise. But since Feser is a traditional Roman Catholic, it would be quite interesting to get him to explain why he thinks those alleged "truths beyond reason" are in fact true. What has to be examined: does it constitute evidence? For labeling something as evidence
  3. Dan, As I understand it, Omnipresence is to be understood (at least According to Aquinas) in an analogical sense. In The Last Superstition, Feser says that we might usefully distinguish five gradations in one's conception of God: There's an excellent blog post by Feser which you might find useful, I still think it's better to read the book, in which he devotes a lot of pages to laying the groundwork, as it were, to a proper understanding of Aquinas' "Five Ways". There's also a link to a utube lecture which covers the same ground.
  4. I'm an ex-Catholic. Catholicism is a dogmatic religion based on the premise of original sin. Feser is, by his own words, "a traditinal Roman Catholic". http://edwardfeser.blogspot.de/ The first question I'd ask him would be "You really believe in original original sin? If yes, why?" For if the premise doesn't stand up scrutiny (which it can't in that case, give the very nature of the claim: for neither a Bible text nor a church dogma can qualify as evidence), all subsequent attempts to then 'prove' this god's existence will become even more futile (all attempts to prove any god's existence mu
  5. Hi Dan, The Prime Mover argument entails monotheism. I won't go into details, but having got to that point, you can go on to deduce other things about what such a being would have to be like, and it turns out that it would have to be like the God of traditional Western religious belief. Regarding O'ist Metaphysics, it's not so much that I'm disputing anything, more that I find it a bit vague. I've no problem with the law of identitiy per se, it's the relation of it to cause and effect which I find fuzzy. Sorry, I know that's vague, I'm re-reading parts of OPAR and ITOE and I'll get back to you
  6. whYNOT, Fair enough. But it's not really "AND" connected to the internet. The idea only works IF the cameras are connected to the internet - that's the whole point. I don't have a problem with the privacy issue; if you're in a shopping centre, railway station or other public space, do you you think about privacy issues then? if you want privacy, stay at home! Actually, on reflection, I think Michael's point about the relative unimportance of street crime is making this idea less attractive for me. Something like 80% of that kind of crime is committed by people on drugs or alcohol; I wonder whe
  7. Michael, The key difference is that what Hehner is proposing doesn't involve an "agency". There is no big brother in the Orwellian sense, rather, everyone is "big brother", but only in regard to public spaces. Private spaces are still private, but the Panopticon concept seems to remove the boundary between public and private.
  8. Xray, I would urge you to read The Last Superstition, which lays the necessary groundwork for understanding the "proofs" for the existence of God, otherwise, they're likely to seem not very impressive at all. As Feser says in TLS - The conflict, then, is not over any actual results or discoveries of science, but rather over the more fundamental philosophical question of what sort of results or discoveries will be allowed to count as "scientific" in the first place. In particular, it is a war between, on the one hand, what I have called the classical philosophical vision of Plato, Aristotle, Au
  9. Playing Blackjack? I taught myself to count cards years ago, did pretty well too. Then the casinos brought in continuous shuffle machines.
  10. In the UK (where I live), there are reportedly more CCTV cameras than in any other country. Opponents are concerned about privacy and civil liberties, but here's an idea by computer scientist Eric Hehner, which would appear to solve the problem. I think it's a pretty cool idea. What do you think? Cameras Everywhere Eric Hehner University of Toronto I propose that we mount cameras everywhere, on all streets, in all parks, and in all public places. The cameras should be so numerous that every part of every public area is covered by at least one camera. And I propose that the scenes viewed
  11. Medieval Christendom has had a bad press for a long time, it's a myth that there was no science in the middle ages worth mentioning and that the church held back whatever advances were made. The idea that there is an inevitable conflict between faith and reason owes much to the work of 19th propagandists Thomas Huxley and John William Draper. Draper wrote the hugely influential History of the Conflict between Religion and Science, which cemented the conflict hypothesis in the public imagination (see Conflict Thesis). The denigration of the Middle Ages began as long ago as the 16th Century, whe
  12. And that's their PURPOSE? Bob, this trend is absurd and self-refuting. I know you won't have any truck with it (word salad!), but I highly recommend reading Ed Feser's "The Last Superstition" The central contention of the "New Atheism" of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens is that there has for several centuries been a war between science and religion, that religion has been steadily losing that war, and that at this point in human history a completely secular scientific account of the world has been worked out in such thorough and convincing detail that th
  13. Terence McKenna said: "Give us one free miracle and we'll explain everything else" ;-) Regarding dark matter and energy, I tend to agree. Seems like a fudge to make the equations balance.
  14. I was talking with some guys at my local astronomical society the other day, and the general consensus seemed to be that black holes, dark matter and energy and other hypothetical entitities are just fudges conjured up to fill gaps in the mathematical models. Modern cosmology doesn't do science the way it should be done; rather, it seems that the cosmologists have given themselves the licence to invent whatever mathematical abstractions they like in order the save the theory whenever the observations don't fit. In this book, electrical engineer Don Scott sets out the case for an "electric sky"
  15. I agree with you about mathematicians being closet Platonists, the 'pure' ones anyway. Surely you have to be a Platonist to believe that infinite sets have any meaning in the real world? Alder has written a few popular articles for 'Philosophy Now', you'll probably enjoy the others which you can find on his home page (scroll down to 'Public Service Work'). Isn't the internet wonderful? there's some really cool stuff out there.