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Aristotle and the Cause of Being

I have added an essay on Aristotle’s search for the causes of being. Aristotle conducted a scientific search for the cause(s) of being. He ifdentified four main causes of material beings: final (the extrinsic purpose), formal (the internal form), efficient (the extrinsic agent that actualizes the possibility of the thing – if the thing could realize itself it would never remain a possibility) and material causes (the intrinsic passive, determinable principle, the principle of limitation without which the form could not be realized. The breakthrough key to Aristotle’s search was one of the modes of being called substance, which is an all beings that exist in their own right (ex. man) as opposed to depending on a substance for their being (man’s color is an accidental mode of being).

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Rights in the US

I posted a new essay on the question “Is Society Composed of Individuals or Persons” in the context of the nominalist philosopher John Locke’s influence in the Founding Documents of the US and the US legal system. Locke’s influence results in an individualistic view of rights in the US without a corresponding balance of duties related to these rights and a decline in the influence of natural law thinking in decisions on rights in the courts and legislatation. Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon’s book Rights Talk is referenced extensively in the essay, especially regarding John Locke’s influence and the history of  the understanding of rights in the US.

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A lecture on the question “Is the moderate realism of Aquinas a better approach to understanding the world around us than Ockham’s nominalism?” is now posted under the lecture tab. It includes the audio, text for each slide in the Powerpoint and the Powepoint itself. I hope you enjoy it and I eagerly look forward to any comments and discusion you may have on the lecture. Just click on the lecture menu option at the top right of the page for instructions and the links to the lecture.

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The specific question to be considered

The specific question to be considered over the next few months is: “Is the moderate epistemological realism of Aquinas a better approach to understanding the world around us than Ockham’s nominalism?”. I will be preparing a lecture on this topic that I will post as a Powerpoint, WMV file recording and a transcript of the lecture. Your comments and suggestions are invited and will be much appreciated.

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This is a first post on what will be a blog on realist epistemology and metaphysics. The first topic is a discussion of the moderate realist epistemology of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas versus the nominalistic epistemology common in modern and contemporary philosophy.

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