Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The truly Catholic traditional cosmology is such a marvelously harmonious hierarchical system of natural and supernatural truths that I feel an apology is in order for using Father Spitzer's book as an occasion for pointing out the places where his modernist cosmology touches and denies this traditional catholic cosmology. I can only hope that in this process of analysis, the grand picture may eventually emerge for the reader of these papers.
It must be said also, that I am not a scientist as Father Spitzer is. Father Spitzer has advanced degrees in the physical sciences, whereas my A.B.D. is in literary theory. I just happen, by God's Providence, to have had the immense privilege of studying under three men who were devoted students, not only of their specialties, but also of St. Thomas Aquinas. Especially in literary theory, we followed the principles laid down by Aristotle in his Poetics, Rhetoric and the entire Organnor of logical principles. These are the same principles that permeate the theological Summa of St. Thomas. Apropo of these latter in particular, it is worth noting here that Father Spitzer confuses and/or conflates the arts of logic with the science of metaphysics. This is a common mistake among academics these days. And its influence is very harmful, mainly because it deprives its practitioners of the full benefits of both disciplines.
Father Spitzer makes great use of the disjunctive syllogism in Chapter Three (Part Two) of his book, New Proofs for the Existence of God, (Eerdmans, 2010). The basic distinction between logic and metaphysics is this: logic deals with the language of propositions, whereas, metaphysics focuses on the affirmative judgments of the intellect with respect to being as such in reality. Father Spitzer never rises from the language of propositions to the scientific knowledge of being as such. And yet he entitles Chapter Three, "A Metaphysical Argument for God's Existence". Again, in Chapter Six, (Part Two), there is the section heading, "I.A. Complete Disjunction Within Metaphysical Assertions." Since such assertions are not proper to logic or to syllogisms, these assertions bear a closer examination. Chapter Three is entitled, "A Metaphysical Argument for God's Existence", but the chapter deals entirely with the disjunctive language of dichotomies and never rises to metaphysical first principles. This reduction of metaphysics to logic goes back to Bertrand Russell and ultimately to Immanuel Kant. ------ To be continued....
at 8:10 PM