16 March 2011

Aquinas on the A- and B-Series

Summa Theologica I:14:15,

Whether the knowledge of God is variable?

Objection 3. Further, God knew that Christ would be born. But He does not know now that Christ will be born; because Christ is not to be born in the future. Therefore God does not know everything He once knew; and thus the knowledge of God is variable.…

14 March 2011

Spinoza's Ethica III

Part III of Spinoza's Ethica, ordine geomterico demonstrata (Ethics demonstrated in geometrical order) concerns the ‘nature and origin of the affects’ (roughly, emotions) and consists chiefly of a long series of arguments to the effect that, in thus-and-such circumstances, we will, ceteris paribus, be excited with this or that affect: when, for example, ‘anyone conceives that he is loved by another, and believes that he has given no cause for such love, he will love that other in return’ (Prop. XLI), and ‘love or hatred towards a thing, which we conceive to be free, must, other conditions being similar, be greater than if it were felt towards a thing acting by necessity’ (Prop. XLIX).  In the process of defending these theses, Spinoza takes himself to be providing a scientific (cause-to-effect) account of the essences of our various affects, and thus ascertaining their real, as opposed to merely nominal, definitions.

11 March 2011

Should old Aquinas be forgot?

I recently encountered these excellent song lyrics and thought they might afford my slight readership some laughter.  (ht)

Should old Aquinas be forgot, and never brought to Mind?
Should old Aquinas be forgot,in these days of Wittgenstein?
Can quiddity and haecceity, analogies divine,
Resolve the paradoxes of Willard Van Orman Quine?

Should symbols bleak replace the speech we learned at Mother's knee?
Or should we now reverse ourselves, and write the backwards E?
Can form and matter be preserved, and analyticity,
If we but put particulars for variables free?

Now Henry Veatch and Peter Geach we really must berate:
The subject and the predicate they leave to copulate.
Intensions pure we can't secure with Frege, Russell, Boole,
By treating good old Barbara with a novel kind of tool.

And Hesperus and Phosphorus are entities distinct--
Or should we say, not this, but that they're analytically linked?
Shall we aver they're one indeed, with Smullyan, Church and Fitch?
Or should we moan "Ah, Quine alone can tell us which is which"?