Aquinas five ways

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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby RickD » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Kurieuo wrote:Rick Mugabe, don't tell people to shut up! And don't make me warn you again!

Shut up, and put another joey on the barbie, mate.
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Kurieuo » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:44 pm

RickD wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Rick Mugabe, don't tell people to shut up! And don't make me warn you again!

Shut up, and put another joey on the barbie, mate.

You were warned. Enjoy your holiday bud.
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Nils » Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:08 pm

Kurieuo wrote:Nils,

While I'm no Aquinas expert, I am familiar with the mistake many make with understanding his arguments. In your post above, you make the same error in understanding as many others. Particularly your premise #6 makes obvious the misunderstanding you have of Aquinas' argument.

Kurieuo, I appreciate that you try even if you are not an expert. I haven't written the list myself but I took from the net, see my OP. I don't know the quality but it appeared to come from some university coarse. If #6 was a misinterpretation of Aquinas original text (that you have copied below), please give a better interpretation

I'd recommend to you reading over the first post here: Second Way Clarification. There Jac attempts to clarify the Second Way. To quote from Aquinas directly himself rather than myself risk building a strawman Second Way argument:
The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God. (ST Ia.3.2)

Understand that if we found out there were actually an infinite number of universes (despite some physical impossibilities I see with such a thing), then Aquinas' Second Way argument would still hold. It is important to understand an infinite multiverse position resembles what is called a per accidens causal chain. Aquinas admits such is possible in other terms, for example, Jac pointed out in some of his previous posts Aquinas saying:
In the sphere of non-simultaneously acting causes, it is not . . . impossible to proceed to infinity. (SCG II.38.13

And again,
it is not impossible to proceed to infinity accidentally as regards efficient causes. . . . Hence it is not impossible for a man to be generated by man to infinity (ST Ia.46.2)

So you see, Aquinas' reasoning accounts for something like an infinite multiverse being possible. So then, when people say such represents a knockdown response to Aquinas, it seems evident they fail to understand what Aquinas is saying and have merely accepted a caricature of his argument and indeed fuller writings. Heck, reflecting back on my philosophy of religion class, these strawman arguments of Aquinas were presented to me. It took me a while to believe Jac, that Aquinas didn't simply argue akin to William Lane Craig's Kalam Cosmological argument (which I assume you are likely also familiar with). One simply needs to read Aquinas' response to such himself in his Summa Contra Gentiles Book II Ch.38.

To explain the different types of causes in Aquinas' thinking, there are per se causes. These are where effects are simultaneous with their cause, there is a conjoined relationship of sorts. Such that, the first layer causes the second, third and fourth all at the same time. You remove the first, and all its effects disappear too. This is a very different line of argument from per accidens causes which Aquinas believed could be infinite (and which temporal causal events, or an infinite multiverse idea would fall under).

As I said in the OP, I have problems to follow the arguments in Aquinas five ways, for example the second that I try to discuss now. To do that a good start would be to have a concise list of premises and conclusions similar to that I copied in the OP. From them I could discuss shortly about the conclusions that could be made (as I did). I don't think that it reasonable that I have to study other posts, Aquinas complete writings and other literature on that and related subjects and then try to formulate the argument myself. That would probably take a very long time and the outcome may still be questionable. I have read for instance Jac's clarification but that didn't help because he referred to the first way that is still more difficult to understand. I have tried to google "per accidens causes" but got lost. I need a definition.

Even if what you say is barely intelligible to me, it is interesting and I would really like to understand.



An example I've used in my own line of argument is of a message written on a piece of paper. Whether or not this is an adequate example, hopefully it is at least illustrative enough.

If you found a letter, did the message exist first or the paper? You know, perhaps the paper existed and then a person came along with a pen and wrote their message, therefore the paper is the first link in the chain of causes necessary before someone can write their message. Right?

What if the message however actually existed first? What if the person already had it typed out on a computer and then printed it onto paper? In this instance, the message actually was had first. In these two examples, the temporal order of how the letter came to be represents accidental causation.

BUT, what if we just found a piece of paper with ink stamped upon it? The ink wouldn't exist on the letter unless the paper first existed. If the paper didn't exist, then most certainly no letter would be had at all. So then both the paper and ink must simultaenously exist in order to have the letter, but we might say that the paper is foundational to the ink. If the paper was also somehow the cause of the actual ink appearing, then irrespective of whether or not the fuller note actually existed infinitely, we would call the paper the first "efficient cause".

Causation is philosophically a very complex concept. If you can't handle it intuitively in the Second Way I think it will be difficult to get the argument functioning.

Nils

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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:24 pm

Nils,

Having read a little more about Aquinas' underlying metaphysics (in Feser's beginners guide book), it is quite different to that assumed in Materialism or contemporary thinking. I do not think understanding Aquinas is necessarily hard, however it might be for many who read his works through a contemporary lens without understanding the different underlying metaphysical issues that lay some context to his writings. I'm here talking Aquinas' very Aristotelean metaphysics and pushbacks on certain philosophies of his day debated, particularly within Christendom in the 13th century (who disliked Aristotle). There is likely much being lost in translation when it comes to many moderns reading and understanding.

So to really understand Aquinas' arguments requires some understanding of his context, and the metaphysical discussion that Aquinas is familiar with and participated within. Otherwise the precepts we take with us when reading over his arguments, will likely overshadow what Aquinas actually means. Mistakes are then made in understanding what he is actually saying, his arguments, because he is being read without any basic understanding of his starting points. It's like trying to understand algebra or physics without arithmetic.

It may be a surprise to know that Aquinas actually defended an eternal universe. He weighs up and defends against common cosmological argument forms at the time, often still presented by many Christian apologists today. As previously mentioned, you just need to read chapter 38 in his Summa Contra Gentiles Book II to clearly see this.

In any case, I'm reading through Feser's book, Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide. It's only US$2.99 (if you create a US account ;)). Within, the metaphysics behind much of Aquinas' thoughts are laid out, which enables us to read Aquinas' argument through a correct lens. I am finding it very interesting, from a philosophical point-of-view. I'm sure, given your interest in philosophical matters, that you'd very much find it a good read too. While we're on different sides when it comes to matters of God's existence, it seems we're on similar sides when it comes to valuing rational thought and reason so...
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Nils » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:29 pm

Kuieuo,

I understand that the Aquinas' arguments are based on an Aristotelian and Thomistic metaphysic and is exemplified by Aristotelian physics. The connection to outdated physics makes it difficult to a modern materialist to understand and comprehend part of Aquinsas' arguments. When I started visiting the Evidence site I knew very little about Aquinas and the Waves. But I trust you that it is an interesting area even if I seldom read historical accounts of philosophy bur it may be the only way to understand Aquinas' thoughts. I will give it a try even if time is more precious than the cost of the book (even if I buy it from UK).

There are apparently two issues here. The first is the historical aspect that we have discussed. The second is the question about the validity of Aquinas' arguments. To discuss that I think it is necessary to state the arguments in a form that is based on the current understanding of philosophy and physics. I haven't read Feser's book on the Five Ways and don't know how he is treating the subject so I hope that you or others that read him can tell me. What I mean is to avoid some Aristotelian terminology as per accidens causality, potentiality and actuality. If the arguments are valid there is no reason to use the wordings of Aquinas or even understanding him (assuming you understand the arguments). It's only to state as clear as possible in a modern language the essence of the argument. The arguments I cited in the OP seemed to satisfy these criteria and therefore I invite anyone that believe that they can be used as proofs for Gods existence to improve or add more arguments besides showing that the interpretation and my conclusion is false.

Nils

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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Kurieuo » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:07 pm

If you would like people to argue for something like the Kalam aside from Aquinas, then feel free to open up the discussion in that direction. There are modern Christians (including at this board) who'd defend such forms, akin to those Aquinas refuted in his time when he actually defended criticised arguments trying to show the world wasn't eternal based upon the impossibility of an actual infinite.

When the discussion is started about Aquinas' Five Ways however, then that will inevitably be the focus of the discussion. The merit of the argument presented in your original post, should first be validly laid out, and as I mentioned in my first response they are a misrepresentation so-far-as I see matters.

As for Aquinas' thoughts, they are just as relevant today and not at all outdated. You'll see just that, if you do take a read of Feser's book on him. Beliefs we take for granted surrounding movement, being, matter and form et al. are all covered. Sometimes, us more enlightened moderns can learn a thing or two, or more, from people of the past.
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Nils » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:44 am

Kurieuo wrote:If you would like people to argue for something like the Kalam aside from Aquinas, then feel free to open up the discussion in that direction. There are modern Christians (including at this board) who'd defend such forms, akin to those Aquinas refuted in his time when he actually defended criticised arguments trying to show the world wasn't eternal based upon the impossibility of an actual infinite.

When the discussion is started about Aquinas' Five Ways however, then that will inevitably be the focus of the discussion. The merit of the argument presented in your original post, should first be validly laid out, and as I mentioned in my first response they are a misrepresentation so-far-as I see matters.

I got the impression that on this board there are persons that consider Aquinas five waves to be proofs of Gods existence (I am not sure about you). This thread was aimed at them and if they don't think that the interpretation I cited in the OP is correct they should amend it. Then we can discuss the validity. It's not up to me to amend it. I am not competent to do that and I don't think it is valid any way (pun not intended).
As for Aquinas' thoughts, they are just as relevant today and not at all outdated. You'll see just that, if you do take a read of Feser's book on him. Beliefs we take for granted surrounding movement, being, matter and form et al. are all covered. Sometimes, us more enlightened moderns can learn a thing or two, or more, from people of the past.


I have to find out.
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Kurieuo » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:08 pm

Nils wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:If you would like people to argue for something like the Kalam aside from Aquinas, then feel free to open up the discussion in that direction. There are modern Christians (including at this board) who'd defend such forms, akin to those Aquinas refuted in his time when he actually defended criticised arguments trying to show the world wasn't eternal based upon the impossibility of an actual infinite.

When the discussion is started about Aquinas' Five Ways however, then that will inevitably be the focus of the discussion. The merit of the argument presented in your original post, should first be validly laid out, and as I mentioned in my first response they are a misrepresentation so-far-as I see matters.

I got the impression that on this board there are persons that consider Aquinas five waves to be proofs of Gods existence (I am not sure about you). This thread was aimed at them and if they don't think that the interpretation I cited in the OP is correct they should amend it. Then we can discuss the validity. It's not up to me to amend it. I am not competent to do that and I don't think it is valid any way (pun not intended).

Of course I find Aquinas' reasoning compelling, but it is apparent to me -- as I've extensively commented on in this thread -- people get him wrong. And, your argument in the OP I've also extensively commented on, in particular where it goes wrong. It kind of feels like I've written to the wind, if you're interested further then I expect you now know where to look.

If I were sum up the issue in a nutshell, people seem to confuse Aquinas' understanding of "eternal" with "infinite". To Aquinas, the former (Eternality) only belongs to being who self-exists outside of time and the natural world aka God. The latter however (infinite), the material world could extend infinitely backwards or it may not. Yet, even if the world is infinite in time, then that doesn't mean it is eternal.
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Philip » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:46 am

K: Yet, even if the world is infinite in time, then that doesn't mean it is eternal.


The key words above, obviously being, "in time." Because any physical reality - even an infinite one - must exist in TIME. And, by stark contrast, God is not a physical Being and He exists outside of time and the physical. Assertions that all of the physical are contingent things with a cause and that time and the physical had both a Cause and a beginning are a different consideration from the nature of God.

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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Byblos » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:51 am

I take a few days off from posting and you guys run amok. :mrgreen:

Nils wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:As for Aquinas' thoughts, they are just as relevant today and not at all outdated. You'll see just that, if you do take a read of Feser's book on him. Beliefs we take for granted surrounding movement, being, matter and form et al. are all covered. Sometimes, us more enlightened moderns can learn a thing or two, or more, from people of the past.


I have to find out.
Nils


Nils, I know I said I would offser some perspective on this thread but I think it is very important that we continue our discussion in the PSR one first as the two topics (PSR and the 5 ways) wil definitely eventually converse. So please allow me to make a post in the PSR thread in response to your last to me and we will pick it up from there.

Holiday Cheers. :wave:

Post edit: Nils, reply is posted in the PSR thread.
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Nils » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:44 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Nils wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:If you would like people to argue for something like the Kalam aside from Aquinas, then feel free to open up the discussion in that direction. There are modern Christians (including at this board) who'd defend such forms, akin to those Aquinas refuted in his time when he actually defended criticised arguments trying to show the world wasn't eternal based upon the impossibility of an actual infinite.

When the discussion is started about Aquinas' Five Ways however, then that will inevitably be the focus of the discussion. The merit of the argument presented in your original post, should first be validly laid out, and as I mentioned in my first response they are a misrepresentation so-far-as I see matters.

I got the impression that on this board there are persons that consider Aquinas five waves to be proofs of Gods existence (I am not sure about you). This thread was aimed at them and if they don't think that the interpretation I cited in the OP is correct they should amend it. Then we can discuss the validity. It's not up to me to amend it. I am not competent to do that and I don't think it is valid any way (pun not intended).

Of course I find Aquinas' reasoning compelling, but it is apparent to me -- as I've extensively commented on in this thread -- people get him wrong. And, your argument in the OP I've also extensively commented on, in particular where it goes wrong. It kind of feels like I've written to the wind, if you're interested further then I expect you now know where to look.

May be the wind is blowing in both directions. You say that you find Aquinas' reasoning compelling. If so, you should be able to state it in a similar way like the schema i cited in the OP. Without any detailed proof it is not possible to find out whether it is correct or not. Certainly, I am not competent do it. You have indeed tried to explain the general idea about what was wrong with #6 in the OP but it requires much more understanding of the argument as you see it to be able to write an amended statement. Besides, how could I formulate a proof? To be able to do that you have to check that the proof is correct but I don't think that there is any correct proof so asking me to do the job is unreasonable.
If I were sum up the issue in a nutshell, people seem to confuse Aquinas' understanding of "eternal" with "infinite". To Aquinas, the former (Eternality) only belongs to being who self-exists outside of time and the natural world aka God. The latter however (infinite), the material world could extend infinitely backwards or it may not. Yet, even if the world is infinite in time, then that doesn't mean it is eternal.

This is a comment how Aquinas thought but it does not help to formulate a proof of Gods existence and that is what I primarily am waiting for.
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Byblos » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:21 pm

I was hoping we would continue the discussion on PSR first but I see I need to make some contribution here.

Nils wrote:You have indeed tried to explain the general idea about what was wrong with #6 in the OP but it requires much more understanding of the argument as you see it to be able to write an amended statement.


First I will re-quote the second way

The Second Way wrote:Argument from Efficient Causes

1. We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world.
2. Nothing exists prior to itself.
3. Therefore nothing [in the world of things we perceive] is the efficient cause of itself.
4. If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results (the effect).
5. Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, nothing in the series exists.
6. If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now.
7. That is plainly false (i.e., there are things existing now that came about through efficient causes).
8. Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past.
9. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.


In order to understand what type of causation Aquinas is referring to, we need to first list the types of causation which I've referred to numerous times.

- Accidentally ordered causal series: This type of series is temporal, i.e. my grandparents having my parents, my parents having me, and so on. My existence today does not depend on the existence of my grandparents, seeing that they are all dead and I'm still typing. This type of causal series is temporal, and can in theory extend backwards in time to infinity. This is NOT the causal series Aquinas is using in his argument.

- Essentially ordered causal series: This type of causal series is simultaneous, not temporal. The example most often used is when I use a stick to push a rock. The rock is pushed by the stick, the stick is moved by my muscles contracting, my muscles contract because of certain neurons firing in my brain, and the neurons firing in my brain fire due to an act of the will. This entire series of causation is interdependent. Take the first one out and the whole chain collapses. This IS the efficient causation Aquinas is referring to. Also note what this series says, it says that a first cause is absolutely necessary, therefore, infinite regress is impossible. A first cause MUST exist, otherwise nothing (of the whole chain) exists.

Now you might say, so what. Even if that's the case, how does that even prove God? Well, in 2 ways.

1. Even if you assume an infinite time with an infinite number of accidentally ordered causal chains, looking at each and every one of these infinite events we see that they are composed of smaller events that are essentially ordered, as with any motion/change. In other words, infinite temporal events are composed of essentially order events, each one of which requiring a first.

2. Existence itself is an essentially ordered causal chain for why do things keep existing at all? Why do things not simply vanish or get annihilated? After all, there is nothing in the inherent nature of contingent things that says they must stay in existence. Therefore, there must be a first cause that is itself uncaused, keeping all contingent things in existence in the here and now.

Now obviously 2 needs to be unpacked a great deal more than 1 for we must once again delve into actuality and potentially and other philosophical concepts such as form and matter, essence and existence, and so forth.

But in a nutshell, that's Aquinas' second way, which is much more nuanced than the first. IMO, the first brings out the argument much more forcefully (and the PSR even more so).

Your thoughts, Nils.
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Nils » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:22 pm

Thanks Byblos,
This made things a bit clearer to me but I have still lot of thoughts and comments. I also saw your post about PSR but I would prefer discussing the second wave first. I have too little time and also a backlog discussing morality with Kurieuo. Hope to be back in a few days.

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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Kurieuo » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:52 pm

Nils wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:
Nils wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:If you would like people to argue for something like the Kalam aside from Aquinas, then feel free to open up the discussion in that direction. There are modern Christians (including at this board) who'd defend such forms, akin to those Aquinas refuted in his time when he actually defended criticised arguments trying to show the world wasn't eternal based upon the impossibility of an actual infinite.

When the discussion is started about Aquinas' Five Ways however, then that will inevitably be the focus of the discussion. The merit of the argument presented in your original post, should first be validly laid out, and as I mentioned in my first response they are a misrepresentation so-far-as I see matters.

I got the impression that on this board there are persons that consider Aquinas five waves to be proofs of Gods existence (I am not sure about you). This thread was aimed at them and if they don't think that the interpretation I cited in the OP is correct they should amend it. Then we can discuss the validity. It's not up to me to amend it. I am not competent to do that and I don't think it is valid any way (pun not intended).

Of course I find Aquinas' reasoning compelling, but it is apparent to me -- as I've extensively commented on in this thread -- people get him wrong. And, your argument in the OP I've also extensively commented on, in particular where it goes wrong. It kind of feels like I've written to the wind, if you're interested further then I expect you now know where to look.

May be the wind is blowing in both directions. You say that you find Aquinas' reasoning compelling. If so, you should be able to state it in a similar way like the schema i cited in the OP. Without any detailed proof it is not possible to find out whether it is correct or not. Certainly, I am not competent do it. You have indeed tried to explain the general idea about what was wrong with #6 in the OP but it requires much more understanding of the argument as you see it to be able to write an amended statement. Besides, how could I formulate a proof? To be able to do that you have to check that the proof is correct but I don't think that there is any correct proof so asking me to do the job is unreasonable.
If I were sum up the issue in a nutshell, people seem to confuse Aquinas' understanding of "eternal" with "infinite". To Aquinas, the former (Eternality) only belongs to being who self-exists outside of time and the natural world aka God. The latter however (infinite), the material world could extend infinitely backwards or it may not. Yet, even if the world is infinite in time, then that doesn't mean it is eternal.

This is a comment how Aquinas thought but it does not help to formulate a proof of Gods existence and that is what I primarily am waiting for.

Aquinas offered his argument himself, my question was, why change it? Why inject terms and ideas into the premises that clearly distort? If you read my posts, you'll see I present Aquinas' argument verbatim. We could break Aquinas' into numbered premises, and more accurately so, but what is the point there? That's not needed to show the argument you present isn't the one Aquinas makes.

My point back when I quoted Aquinas' argument was if you compare HIS argument with the one you presented, clearly there's a lot of eisegesis being performed to produce the (false) premises in the argument that you present. Compare the argument you presented in your original post side-by-side with Aquinas' words and we see there is much more being said in yours. The argument starts going strawmanish at #5. Aquinas doesn't mentioned "series" (#5), he doesn't mention "series of causes" going "ad infinitim into the past" (#6) and then #7-#8 are not what he is arguing. You see, the person creating this argument, has shifted it away from what Aquinas is actually argues and seems to read back in more modern presentations.

I wonder if you've read the following I previously referenced, which is taken from Aquinas' same writing, in the same part (Part 1) that his Five Ways are found only much further down:
I answer that, By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist, as was said above of the mystery of the Trinity (I:32:1. The reason of this is that the newness of the world cannot be demonstrated on the part of the world itself. For the principle of demonstration is the essence of a thing. Now everything according to its species is abstracted from "here" and "now"; whence it is said that universals are everywhere and always. Hence it cannot be demonstrated that man, or heaven, or a stone were not always. Likewise neither can it be demonstrated on the part of the efficient cause, which acts by will. For the will of God cannot be investigated by reason, except as regards those things which God must will of necessity; and what He wills about creatures is not among these, as was said above (I:19:3). But the divine will can be manifested by revelation, on which faith rests. Hence that the world began to exist is an object of faith, but not of demonstration or science. And it is useful to consider this, lest anyone, presuming to demonstrate what is of faith, should bring forward reasons that are not cogent, so as to give occasion to unbelievers to laugh, thinking that on such grounds we believe things that are of faith.

You see, I don't need to reformulate Aquinas' argument to know what you presented in your original post is wrong. Aquinas doesn't believe it can be demonstrated that the world didn't always exist, and yet many believe such is the argument he is making for belief in God. Whether or not I agree/disagree with Aquinas, and do find merit to something like the Kalam cosmological argument (which is more the argument in your original post), the fact of the matter is Aquinas allows for the logical possibility of an infinite world.

Thus, premises #5-#8 misunderstand Aquinas. This argument simply cannot be salvaged unless you remove the whole last half. And, in my posts throughout here, I attempt to explain what Aquinas IS actually arguing, which has simply been dismissed out of hand, so I now feel resigned to bothering further.

In your last few posts, it seems you aren't much interested in discussing Aquinas, or understanding and discussing and unpacking various issues within (not with myself anyhow). I've done a lot of unpacking throughout my posts, I'm not going to waste time and further words with this game when it is clear what I say will be dismissed as nothing meaningful. I'll hand over to Byblos, who I notice is venturing down the same path I did.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Nils
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Re: Aquinas five ways

Postby Nils » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:41 am

Kurieuo,

When I read what you write I remember an occasion many years ago. In my job I was discussing a technical issue, something about the logic of some software structure with a person that I didn't know very well. I had real problems to understand what he said but after more than one hour of discussion I finally grasped what he meant. Later I had to explain it to my business partner. We had had a company together for several years and had a similar technical background and the same worldview. I explained the issue to him in a few minutes and he had no problems at all to understand.

I write this story to exemplify how difficult it is to transfer information, to explain things, to a person who has a different background. As a receiver of information I use my old knowledge, my opinions, my worldview and tries to fit the new information in the old framework. When you describe Aquinas thinking I have to relate it to what I already know, there is no other way. Because it doesn't fit very well it is a complex task that takes lot of effort and time. I think that you underestimate that to a high degree. What you call eisegesis is an attempt to clarify but it is always difficult to clarify without distorting. Reading Byblos last post I thought that I in some way got a knowledge of what you and he are talking about. I don't think it was something that you haven't said before but I saw it in a new way. But, perhaps it's just a new misunderstanding. I'll be back.

Only one question on your last post now. Was the quote from Summa Contra Gentiles - Book II?

Nils


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