Sunday, June 26, 2016

From Chesterton's The Dumb Ox

Thus, even those who appreciate the metaphysical depth of Thomism in other matters have expressed surprise that he does not deal at all with what many now think the main metaphysical question; whether we can prove that the primary act of recognition of any reality is real. The answer is that St. Thomas recognised instantly, what so many modern sceptics have begun to suspect rather laboriously; that a man must either answer that question in the affirmative, or else never answer any question, never ask any question, never even exist intellectually, to answer or to ask. I suppose it is true in a sense that a man can be a fundamental sceptic, but he cannot be anything else: certainly not even a defender of fundamental scepticism. If a man feels that all the movements of his own mind are meaningless, then his mind is meaningless, and he is meaningless; and it does not mean anything to attempt to discover his meaning. Most fundamental sceptics appear to survive, because they are not consistently sceptical and not at all fundamental. They will first deny everything and then admit something, if for the sake of argument--or often rather of attack without argument. I saw an almost startling example of this essential frivolity in a professor of final scepticism, in a paper the other day. A man wrote to say that he accepted nothing but Solipsism, and added that he had often wondered it was not a more common philosophy. Now Solipsism simply means that a man believes in his own existence, but not in anybody or anything else. And it never struck this simple sophist, that if his philosophy was true, there obviously were no other philosophers to profess it.




G. K. Chesterton, Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox. New York: Image Books, 1933, pp. 148-49.

8 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

I agree. i got into a similar problem over at SOP discussion without Dr. Parsons. I'm too ingrained in the existentialism of my youth I think he found that boring wasn't willing to give it a Chance before losing interest of course it couldn't be that I';m just bewaring. Naw.

what really gets me is most of the atheists make this assumption that our valuation of life and meaning have the same validity as God's. The issue was not proof reality but meaning. I think they are related though. they both center om epistemic limitations imposed upon us by our own sentience.

I don;t think I derive the same meaning from a value that I hold privately as one i share with others that with regular human people. how abouit one shared with God? But the concept means nothing to the atheists.

Joe Hinman said...

on sec outpost i am sparing wth Jeff Lowder on his Shchallenberg stuff, 25 indicative markers or the improbability of God.

wrote Blog piece

Joe Hinman said...

Dr Repppart the sec outpost guys act like my arguments are real stupid and like I don;t understand inductive from deductive thats total bullshit, they are not rude about it,I find it refreshing ot have a group of atheists who aren't insulting.

for example he argues that the way life is a struggles better explained by Naturalism than theism, I say that assumes you understand why God would do something they say you don't understand deductive from inductive, I do understand really well. how can you argue likelihood of someone doing doing and not have motivation matter? If we don't know why God allows struggle then how can we say it's less likely he would allow it?

I'f I', totally off the beam can you tell me how you would answer his arguments?

sorry to take over tye thread but this is important to me.

Victor Reppert said...

The difference between Secular Outpost and, say Debunking Christianity, is undeniable. I used to have good discussions with the DC crowd, but over time the site has devoloved.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Joe, I don't think your arguments are stupid.

Joe Hinman said...

he difference between Secular Outpost and, say Debunking Christianity, is undeniable. I used to have good discussions with the DC crowd, but over time the site has devoloved.

very much so, same here. they always disliked je because of atheistwatch. Except for Loftus. we were kind of friends at first,kind of still are I guess,

Joe Hinman said...

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...
Joe, I don't think your arguments are stupid.

No you did not Jeff. It was actually Ryan N I was thinking of on my own blog and he did not mean to make me feel that way,IU am just feeling that way because I didn't get some of the subtlety of the argument at first,

Joe Hinman said...

my follow up peoice om the F imductive arguments of Lowder

NOt all evidence is Equal