Archive for May, 2008

Non scripsi iam diu, partim quia cogito adhuc de subiecto priori, et partim quia desidiosus sum. Laetat me tamen dicere me laboravisse; incepi laborare in dissertatione mea. Studeo quoque vocabula Latinae-novae auxilio programmatis nomine Anki, quod est programma studendis chartulis electronicis vocabulorum.

Iam quoque lego hunc librum, qui admodum attractivus est. Paucae res sunt tam attractiva quam philosophia religionis. Legi nuper capitulum in quo auctor fecit argumentum quod Deus non est necessarius in significatione verissima, sed tantum in significatione “factuali.” Ab hoc, visus significare quod Deus necessarius tantum inquantum est atque nihil est quod eum delere potest; non potest igitur desistere esse. Ulterius in capitulo, autem, dixit esse contradictionem in propositione quod Deus, qui esse ipse est, potest desistere esse. Cur est contradictio Deum desistere esse, si non est contradictio Deum non esse (quod est argumentum principale capituli)? Hoc mihi videtur non cohaerere.

Cur in his scholis eos philosophiam non docent?

I haven’t written for a long time now, partly because I am still thinking about the last topic, et partly because I’m lazy. I’m happy to say, however, that I have been working; I’ve begun working on my dissertation. I am also studying neo-Latin with a program called Anki [linked above], which is an electronic flashcard program.

I am also reading this book [link above], which is quite interesting. Few things are so interesting as philosophy of religion. I recently read an article in which the author made the argument that God is not necessary in the truest sense, but only in a “factual” sense. By this, he seems to mean that God is necessary only insofar as he exists, and there is nothing that can destroy him; therefore, he cannot cease to exist. Later in the article, however, he said that there is a contradiction in the proposition that God, who is being itself, could cease to be. Why is it a contradiction that God should cease to exist, if it is not a contradiction that God does not exist (which is the primary argument of the article)? This doesn’t make sense to me.

Why don’t they teach them philosophy in these schools?

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Comment on “///b”

Just a quick note in English–regarding the post entitled “///b” below, Maternaturalis asks, Where’s the translation on this post?

Happy to oblige. It probably means something like this:

So far as existence is the determining character of Dasein, the ontological analytic of this entity always requires that existentiality be considered beforehand. By “existentiality” we understand the state of Being that is constitutive for those entities that exist. But in the idea of such a constitutive state of Being, the idea of Being is already included. And thus even the possibility of carrying through the analytic of Dasein depends on working out beforehand the question about the meaning of Being in general.

But then again, it might just have been random banging on a keyboard. Your guess is as good as mine.

Speaking of banging on a keyboard reminds me of a joke I heard recently: “We have always been told that a million monkeys typing on a million keyboards will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Today, thanks to the internet, we know that this is not true.”

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Ex oribus infantum

Scriptura prior erat a filia mea. [The last post was by my daughter.]

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Postquam cogitavi de quaestione scripturae prioris, adhuc responsum non habeo. In primo visu, Sanctus Thomas videtur dicere plura mirabilia non requiruntur praeter ea Christi Apostolorumque:

Haec autem tam mirabilis mundi conversio ad fidem Christianam indicium certissimum est praeteritorum signorum: ut ea ulterius iterari necesse non sit, cum in suo effectu appareant evidenter. Esset enim omnibus signis mirabilius si ad credendum tam ardua, et ad operandum tam difficilia, et ad sperandum tam alta, mundus absque mirabilibus signis inductus fuisset a simplicibus et ignobilibus hominibus. Quamvis non cesset Deus etiam nostris temporibus, ad confirmationem fidei, per sanctos suos miracula operari. (SCG I, cap. 6)

Mentum duarum sum circa hos locos. Autem dicit quod ulteriora mirabilia non necesse sunt; autem dicit quoque rationem esse quod habemus adhuc hodie effectum visibilem mirabilium; utputa fides Christiana ipsa; mirabilius enim sit fides Christiana facta esset sine mirabilibus praeteritis, positis rebus quae docet. res gravis est quod fides docet doctrinas quae difficiles acceptu sunt, ac igitur homines eas non acceperint nisi rationem bonam habuissent. Etiam S. Thomas, ergo, implicat quod res historicae solae non sufficiunt in argumentum Ecclesiae. Praesentesne necesse sunt esse mirabilia? Videtur dicere in modo etiam, et in modo non.

Latina venit cunctissime hodie. Conabor cras scribere plus.

After thinking about the question of the last post, I still don’t have an answer. At first glance, St. Thomas seems to say that further miracles are not required beyond those of Christ and the Apostles:

Moreover, this so marvelous conversion of the world to the Christian faith is the most certain indication of past miracles, so that it is not necessary that they should be further repeated, since they appear plainly in their effect. For it would be more marvelous than all other signs if, apart from miraculous signs, the world had been led by simple and unknown to believe such hard things, to do so difficult works, and to hope in things so high. And yet even in our times, God does not cease from working miracles through his saints for the strengthening of the faith. (SCG I, ch. 6)

I am of two minds about this passage. On the one hand, he says that further miracles are not necessary; on the other hand, he says also that the reason is that we have still today a visible miraculous effect; namely, the Christian faith itself. For it would be more miraculous if the Christian faith had come to be without prior miracles, given the things that it teaches. The important thing is that the faith teaches doctrines that are difficult to accept, and so men would not have accepted them unless they had had a good reason. Even St. Thomas, therefore, implies that historical things alone are not sufficient to the argument for the Church. Do the present things need to be miracles? He seems to say in a way yes, and in a way no.

The Latin is coming very slowly today. I’ll try to write more tomorrow.

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In scriptura priore, quaestio adducta est de mirabilibus sicut evidentia Ecclesiae. Ut faciam principium in re, non considero hic utrum mirabilia post apostolos sint necesse; potius, dicam iam de mirabilibus et fide generaliter, atque extendam quaestionem postmodo.

Concilium Vaticanum Primum pronuntiat nonnullas sententias in hac re. Dabo eas in Anglice (inventas hic), quoniam invenire non possum Latine (Emphasis omnis mea):

3. Faith, declares the Apostle, is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

4. Nevertheless, in order that the submission of our faith should be in accordance with reason, it was God’s will that there should be linked to the internal assistance of the Holy Spirit external indications of his revelation, that is to say divine acts, and first and foremost miracles and prophecies, which clearly demonstrating as they do the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are the most certain signs of revelation and are suited to the understanding of all.

5. Hence Moses and the prophets, and especially Christ our lord himself, worked many absolutely clear miracles and delivered prophecies; while of the apostles we read: And they went forth and preached every, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Again it is written: We have the prophetic word made more sure; you will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place.


10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.


3. If anyone says that divine revelation cannot be made credible by external signs, and that therefore men and women ought to be moved to faith only by each one’s internal experience or private inspiration: let him be anathema.

4. If anyone says that all miracles are impossible, and that therefore all reports of them, even those contained in Sacred Scripture, are to be set aside as fables or myths; or that miracles can never be known with certainty, nor can the divine origin of the Christian religion be proved from them: let him be anathema.

Videntur clarae ex hoc duae res. Prima, quod licet fides superet rationem, tamen ratio fidem condit; secunda, quod ratio facit sic aestimandis mirabilibus praecipue. In aliis verbis, ratio, mirabilibus consideratis, fundat fidem esse a Deo, originem divinam fidei, ac deinde doctrinae fidei creduntur virtute huius auctoritatis. Secundum igitur Ecclesiam ipsam mirabilia sunt magna fidei rationabilitati. Hoc non concludit quod necesse est omnem hominem posse demonstrare originem divinam fidei antequam id accipit, sed potius necesse est talem originem posse demonstrari. Alias fides videatur indigna creaturae rationali. Non est igitur impius dicere mirabilia requiruntur argumento Ecclesiae. Utrum mirabilia Christi sufficiant erit quaestio posterioris scripturae meae.


In the last post, a question was raised about miracles as evidence for the Church. To begin with, I will not consider whether miracles after the apostles are necessary; rather, I will speak now about miracles and the faith generally, and continue the question later.

The first Vatican Council declares several statements in this matter. I will give them in English, since I can’t find them in Latin (all emphasis mine):


Two things seem clear from this. First, that although faith surpasses reason, yet reason grounds faith; second, that reason does this especially by considering miracles. In other words, reason, having considered miracles, establishes that the Faith is from God, the divine origin of the Faith, and then the teachings of faith are believed on the strength of this authority. According to the Church herself, therefore, miracles are important for the rationality of the Faith. This does not imply that it is necessary for everyone to be able to demonstrate the divine origin of the Faith before he accepts it, but rather that it is necessary that such an origin be able to be demonstrated. Otherwise, faith would seem unsuited to a rational creature. Therefore it is not impious to say that miracles are required for the argument for the Church. Whether the miracles of Christ are sufficient will be the question of my next post.

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