This article addresses one of the crucial metaphysical presuppositions of the contemporary problem of evil: the belief that evil is that which a good thing must eliminate, or to be more precise, that evil is that which God must eliminate. The first part analyzes J. L. Mackie’s atheological argument in “Evil and Omnipotence.” The second part analyzes the reasons why Saint Anselm rejected the claim that God must eliminate evil in his De Casu Diaboli. The article’s goal is not just (...) raise crucial questions with respect to contemporary approaches to evil. It is also to reflect with Saint Anselm upon one of the genuine aporiai posed by existing evils: how does one remove them? (shrink)
This volume examines some of the most contentious social justice issues present in the corpus of Augustine's writings. Whether one is concerned with human trafficking and the contemporary slave trade, the global economy, or endless wars, these essays further the conversation on social justice as informed by the writings of Augustine of Hippo.
This article analyzes the claim that “deliberate denial [of genocide] is a form of aggression that ought to be regarded as a contribution to genocidal violence in its own right.” Its objective is to demonstrate that the claim is substantially correct: there are instances of genocide negation that are genocidal acts. The article suggests that one such instance is contained in a letter sent to Professor Robert Jay Lifton by Turkey's ambassador to the United States. The article is divided into (...) three parts. In the first part, it delineates and discusses the unexpected contents of the letter to Lifton. In the second, it primarily deals with three topics: lying, genocide, and Austinian performatives. In the third part, it takes the points made in the second part and applies them to the contents of the letter to Lifton, and demonstrates that the letter is an instance of genocide negation that is genocidal. (shrink)
Intellectual receptivity is both the prerequisite for objective human knowledge and the condition of possibility for all human knowledge. My arguments are cast in Thomistic terms. In the first part, I review the most important arguments with which Aquinas defends the receptivity of the human intellect, especially the argument from intellectual media and the argument from actualization. In the second part, I attempt to resolve the apparent contradictions involved in the claim that the intellect is receptive, contradictions that stem from (...) the fact that the intellect is an active potency (since its proper act is to reason) and receptivity is the act of a passive potency. In the final part,I argue that knowledge of the proper object of the human intellect (material singulars) is possible if and only if the human intellect is receptive. (shrink)
This paper regards the plausibility of rejecting the scholastic claim that the “good” is a transcendental property of being—that ens et bonum convertuntur—onthe basis of two claims: Stephen Cahn’s claim that evil worlds created by an evil God are intrinsically plausible—i.e., that it is plausible to think of evil as a positive and instantiable property; and the claim that “evil is a primitive”—that is, that evil is a primary or basic ontological property. It argues that if an “ontological primitive” must (...) be a property which has no basic constituents other than itself—or whose definition cannot invoke concepts or constituents other than the primitive itself—evil itself cannot be considered a primitive. Nor can it be considered a positive property. (shrink)
This paper regards the plausibility of rejecting the scholastic claim that the “good” is a transcendental property of being—that ens et bonum convertuntur—onthe basis of two claims: (1) Stephen Cahn’s claim that evil worlds created by an evil God are intrinsically plausible—i.e., that it is plausible to think of evil as a positive and instantiable property; and (2) the claim that “evil is a primitive”—that is, that evil is a primary or basic ontological property. It argues that if an “ontological (...) primitive” must be a property which has no basic constituents other than itself—or whose definition cannot invoke concepts or constituents other than the primitive itself—evil itself cannot be considered a primitive. Nor can it be considered a positive property. (shrink)
If nations are sacred, then there is no warranting our having drawn the map of the Middle East to suit our needs rather than those of the peoples who populate those lands. If we have the right to draw world maps to suit our needs rather than those of the peoples who populate those lands, on the other hand, then there is no warranting the claim that nations are sacred. If patriotism is love of one’s nation, then patriotism’s being a (...) dangerous thing makes nations a dangerous thing. And if nations are a dangerous thing it would seem impossible to warrant the claim that they are sacred. But if nations are a sacred thing, then there would seem no warranting the claim that patriotism is a dangerous thing. If nations are things of the past, then there is no claiming that they are sacred, and if nations are sacred there is no claiming that they are things of the past. So the little church on Cedar Street begs us to ask terrible questions. Are we right in thinking that nations are a thing of the past? Or are they things to be protected, loved, and celebrated? Are nations sacred? (shrink)
One of the primary concerns of the Consolatio is to draw out many of the paradoxical conclusions concerning the relation between creation and God that stem from the premises of classical creationist metaphysics, and attempt to solve them. Once one accepts that God does exist, is omnipotent, omniscient, and simple, it becomes viciously difficult to explain: (1) how anything contrary to God’s will—evil—can exist; (2) how any cause can act independently of God’s will—human freedom; and (3) how “independent causes” can (...) relate to God through their own agency—human prayer. This naturally begs the question: why should we accept the premises of classical creationist metaphysics? This paper addresses this question by analyzing and defending two of the central premises of Boethius’s version of classical creationist metaphysics as they are addressed in Consolatio III,10: (a) that God exists, and (b) that God is simple. (shrink)