Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bertrand Russell accuses Aquinas of Special Pleading

There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know m advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given I in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading. (H.W.P.p463)

VR: Funny thing. A good deal of present-day philosophy of mind could be accused of the same thing. In many discussions in the philosophy of mind materialism is a base assumption that is not to be questioned, and the debate concerns what version of materialism is true.


Unknown said...

You might say the same thing about the origins debate, as well.

Anonymous said...

Back when Berent Enc was still among us and teaching at UW-Madison, Keith Yandell joked that Berent's Philosophy of Mind class should be re-titled, "Varieties of Materialism." (Berent didn't miss a beat and shot back that Keith's Philosophy of Religion should likewise be renamed "Varieties of Theism.")