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Relation in the Trinity & Husserlian pure consciousness viewed a

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  • James Given
    As a student of scholastic metaphysics, I find this discussion most provocative. Historically, it seems that the factor that tends most to destabilize any
    Message 1 of 16 , Feb 27, 2008
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      As a student of scholastic metaphysics, I find this discussion most provocative.

      Historically, it seems that the factor that tends most to destabilize any static version of Thomism in particular, or scholastic metaphysics in general, are the perceived need to answer the questions:

      1. Are 'relations' metaphysically real? That is, can they somehow be accommodated in substance metaphysics?

      2. Same question for `intentionality'.

      Mark Heninger's book details the controversy concerning relations from the thirteenth century onward. Much of later metaphysical controversy, from the work of Suarez in the sixteenth century to the rise of Scotism in France seems to center on these controversies.

      MY QUESTION: Does Husserl have anything important to teach us, as students of the Scholastics, about the metaphysical status of intentionality (or of relations)? Was Husserl in his philosophical work responding to the recurrent controversies of late Scholasticism?

      I would be grateful for any treatment discussing these matters.

      In this vein, I enthusiastically recommend the book by Sean J. McGrath on the influence on Heidegger of his studies in Scholasticism.

                 Jim Given

    • Anthony Crifasi
      ... In his book, the Cartesian Meditations, Husserl shows an exact parallel between the phenomenological epoche (which is absolutely fundametnal to his
      Message 2 of 16 , Mar 1, 2008
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        James Given wrote:
        > As a student of scholastic metaphysics, I find this discussion most provocative.
        >
        > Historically, it seems that the factor that tends most to destabilize any static version of Thomism in particular, or scholastic metaphysics in general, are the perceived need to answer the questions:
        >
        > 1. Are 'relations' metaphysically real? That is, can they somehow be accommodated in substance metaphysics?
        >
        > 2. Same question for `intentionality'.
        >
        > Mark Heninger's book details the controversy concerning relations from the thirteenth century onward. Much of later metaphysical controversy, from the work of Suarez in the sixteenth century to the rise of Scotism in France seems to center on these controversies.
        >
        > MY QUESTION: Does Husserl have anything important to teach us, as students of the Scholastics, about the metaphysical status of intentionality (or of relations)? Was Husserl in his philosophical work responding to the recurrent controversies of late Scholasticism?

        In his book, the Cartesian Meditations, Husserl shows an exact parallel
        between the phenomenological epoche (which is absolutely fundametnal to
        his phenomenological methodology) and Cartesian systematic doubt in
        Descartes' Fist Meditation. The suspension of belief in the metaphysical
        existence of the entire experienced world is precisely the same in both
        methodologies. So regarding Husserl and the Scholastics, it seems to me
        that far more basic than the issues of relation and intentionality is
        that of sensory epistemology. There are plenty of texts in which Aquinas
        indicates precisely what he would say to Husserl on this point, since
        Aquinas explicitly addressed the ancient skeptics who proposed similar
        doubts regarding sensory experience, using arguments identical to those
        of Husserl (dreams, illusions, etc.).

        So I think that Husserlian phenomenology is fundamentally just as
        anti-Thomist as it is anti-Suarezian. In other words, I do not think
        that Husserlian phenomenology is only opposed to late Scholastic
        philosophy, and I therefore do not think that it can be incorporated by
        Thomistic philosophy without compromising the latter to the very core.
      • uncljoedoc@aol.com
        Dear James et al As an outsider looking in to this interesting discussion, much of which I do not fully understand I still want to contribute that I believe
        Message 3 of 16 , Mar 1, 2008
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          Dear James et al
           
          As an outsider looking in to this interesting discussion, much of which I do not fully understand I still want to contribute that I believe relations must be viewed as being metaphysically real. Metaphysics is at the basis of explanation I believe. What makes sense to the intellect must be founded on a sound metaphysics. In the field of biology, especially ecology, it is 'relations' in the form of 'mutual relations' that forms the substrate of that entire explanatory field. Thus I feel what a 'relation' is must be very very real. If a certain relationship is specified, I suppose it is then an 'actual' relation. But relation as potency is quite tenable because it is the potency of the selection of favorable variations and hence explains modification. In other words it is the relation that is favorably possible that assists in the explanation as a natural selection. It is necessary to explain natural selection and I believe natural selection to have explanatory force.
           
          JF
           
          In a message dated 3/1/2008 6:44:47 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, crifasian@... writes:
          James Given wrote:
          > As a student of scholastic metaphysics, I find this discussion most provocative.
          >
          > Historically, it seems that the factor that tends most to destabilize any static version of Thomism in particular, or scholastic metaphysics in general, are the perceived need to answer the questions:
          >
          > 1. Are 'relations' metaphysically real? That is, can they somehow be accommodated in substance metaphysics?
          >
          > 2. Same question for `intentionality'.
          >
          > Mark Heninger's book details the controversy concerning relations from the thirteenth century onward. Much of later metaphysical controversy, from the work of Suarez in the sixteenth century to the rise of Scotism in France seems to center on these controversies.
          >
          > MY QUESTION: Does Husserl have anything important to teach us, as students of the Scholastics, about the metaphysical status of intentionality (or of relations)? Was Husserl in his philosophical work responding to the recurrent controversies of late Scholasticism?

          In his book, the Cartesian Meditations, Husserl shows an exact parallel
          between the phenomenological epoche (which is absolutely fundametnal to
          his phenomenological methodology) and Cartesian systematic doubt in
          Descartes' Fist Meditation. The suspension of belief in the metaphysical
          existence of the entire experienced world is precisely the same in both
          methodologies. So regarding Husserl and the Scholastics, it seems to me
          that far more basic than the issues of relation and intentionality is
          that of sensory epistemology. There are plenty of texts in which Aquinas
          indicates precisely what he would say to Husserl on this point, since
          Aquinas explicitly addressed the ancient skeptics who proposed similar
          doubts regarding sensory experience, using arguments identical to those
          of Husserl (dreams, illusions, etc.).

          So I think that Husserlian phenomenology is fundamentally just as
          anti-Thomist as it is anti-Suarezian. In other words, I do not think
          that Husserlian phenomenology is only opposed to late Scholastic
          philosophy, and I therefore do not think that it can be incorporated by
          Thomistic philosophy without compromising the latter to the very core.



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        • LukᚠNovák
          ... You are right as far as Husserl s late views are concerned (those reflected in the Meditations). But Husserl started quite realistic , and his analyses of
          Message 4 of 16 , Mar 2, 2008
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            Anthony Crifasi scripsit:

            > In his book, the Cartesian Meditations, Husserl
            > shows an exact parallel between the
            > phenomenological epoche (which is absolutely
            > fundametnal to his phenomenological methodology)
            > and Cartesian systematic doubt in Descartes'
            > Fist Meditation. The suspension of belief in the
            > metaphysical existence of the entire experienced
            > world is precisely the same in both
            > methodologies. So regarding Husserl and the
            > Scholastics, it seems to me that far more basic
            > than the issues of relation and intentionality
            > is that of sensory epistemology. There are
            > plenty of texts in which Aquinas indicates
            > precisely what he would say to Husserl on this
            > point, since Aquinas explicitly addressed the
            > ancient skeptics who proposed similar doubts
            > regarding sensory experience, using arguments
            > identical to those of Husserl (dreams,
            > illusions, etc.).

            > So I think that Husserlian phenomenology is
            > fundamentally just as anti-Thomist as it is
            > anti-Suarezian. In other words, I do not think
            > that Husserlian phenomenology is only opposed to
            > late Scholastic philosophy, and I therefore do
            > not think that it can be incorporated by
            > Thomistic philosophy without compromising the
            > latter to the very core.

            You are right as far as Husserl's late views are
            concerned (those reflected in the Meditations).
            But Husserl started quite "realistic", and his
            analyses of consciousness and intentionality from
            this first phase of his thinking may be of some
            interest (they are found in the initial part of
            the "Logische Untersuchungen".

            Lukas
          • Anthony Crifasi
            ... You are right to put realistic in quotes, since the realism of the Logical Investigations is not a Thomistic one at all (i.e., not a *metaphysical*
            Message 5 of 16 , Mar 2, 2008
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              Lukáš Novák wrote:

              > Anthony Crifasi scripsit:
              >
              >> In his book, the Cartesian Meditations, Husserl
              >> shows an exact parallel between the
              >> phenomenological epoche (which is absolutely
              >> fundametnal to his phenomenological methodology)
              >> and Cartesian systematic doubt in Descartes'
              >> Fist Meditation. The suspension of belief in the
              >> metaphysical existence of the entire experienced
              >> world is precisely the same in both
              >> methodologies. So regarding Husserl and the
              >> Scholastics, it seems to me that far more basic
              >> than the issues of relation and intentionality
              >> is that of sensory epistemology. There are
              >> plenty of texts in which Aquinas indicates
              >> precisely what he would say to Husserl on this
              >> point, since Aquinas explicitly addressed the
              >> ancient skeptics who proposed similar doubts
              >> regarding sensory experience, using arguments
              >> identical to those of Husserl (dreams,
              >> illusions, etc.).
              >
              >> So I think that Husserlian phenomenology is
              >> fundamentally just as anti-Thomist as it is
              >> anti-Suarezian. In other words, I do not think
              >> that Husserlian phenomenology is only opposed to
              >> late Scholastic philosophy, and I therefore do
              >> not think that it can be incorporated by
              >> Thomistic philosophy without compromising the
              >> latter to the very core.
              >
              > You are right as far as Husserl's late views are
              > concerned (those reflected in the Meditations).
              > But Husserl started quite "realistic", and his
              > analyses of consciousness and intentionality from
              > this first phase of his thinking may be of some
              > interest (they are found in the initial part of
              > the "Logische Untersuchungen".

              You are right to put "realistic" in quotes, since the "realism" of the
              Logical Investigations is not a Thomistic one at all (i.e., not a
              *metaphysical* one). Husserl claims that his project in the LI is ONLY
              one of pure description (Deskription), not the discovery of *causes*
              (which is integral to the Aristotelian and Thomistic definition of
              philosophical knowledge). Even when Husserl spoke of the "real" or
              "actual" (wirklich) in the LI, this must be understood in his
              *phenomenological* sense only - for example, he says that many abstract
              objects are equally "real" and "actual," which is true in phenomenology,
              but not in metaphysics. This is precisely why he included a criticism of
              this approach in his subsequent revision of the LI in 1913, saying that
              he had tacitly tainted phenomenology with psychologism. To remove that
              element, he introduced the concept of the reduction of the entire
              natural attitude towards the experienced world. So to focus on his
              earlier work in order to bring it into comparison with Thomism would be
              to focus on the stage of his philosophy which (1) he himself explicitly
              said was philosophically inconsistent, and (2) still abstains from what
              both Aristotle and Aquinas emphatically insist to be absolutely
              essential to philosophy - knowledge of *causes*.
            • Jim Ruddy
              ... From: Anthony Crifasi To: thomism@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, March 2, 2008 10:18:32 AM Subject: Re: [thomism] Relation in the
              Message 6 of 16 , Mar 2, 2008
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                ----- Original Message ----
                From: Anthony Crifasi <crifasian@...>
                To: thomism@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Sunday, March 2, 2008 10:18:32 AM
                Subject: Re: [thomism] Relation in the Trinity & Husserlian pure consciousness viewed
                Anthony Crifasi said:

                >
                >> So I think that Husserlian phenomenology is
                >> fundamentally just as anti-Thomist as it is
                >> anti-Suarezian. In other words, I do not think
                >> that Husserlian phenomenology is only opposed to
                >> late Scholastic philosophy, and I therefore do
                >> not think that it can be incorporated by
                >> Thomistic philosophy without compromising the
                >> latter to the very core.
                >
                Phenomenology is an entirely eidetic science, and has nothing directly to say about either empirical matters of fact or a Scholastic ontology that abstracts from empirical matters of fact. To say it is opposed to Scholastic philosophy is as pertinent as to say that higher calculus or Riemannian geometry is opposed Scholastic philosophy. I doubt if an attempt to incorporate either of these latter two mathematical sciences into Thomistic thought would either enlighten or compromise such thought. Likewise for phenomenology.
                 
                Blurring boundaries between Scholastic ontology and phenomenology would be nothing less than a grave disservice to both great sciences.
                 
                Jim Ruddy


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              • Anthony Crifasi
                ... First, for Aquinas, Euclid s fifth postulate is not just one case among many possibles, but the ONLY possibility. This postulate is commonly referenced by
                Message 7 of 16 , Mar 2, 2008
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                  Jim Ruddy wrote:

                  >>> So I think that Husserlian phenomenology is
                  >>> fundamentally just as anti-Thomist as it is
                  >>> anti-Suarezian. In other words, I do not think
                  >>> that Husserlian phenomenology is only opposed to
                  >>> late Scholastic philosophy, and I therefore do
                  >>> not think that it can be incorporated by
                  >>> Thomistic philosophy without compromising the
                  >>> latter to the very core.
                  >
                  > Phenomenology is an entirely eidetic science, and has nothing directly to say about either empirical matters of fact or a Scholastic ontology that abstracts from empirical matters of fact. To say it is opposed to Scholastic philosophy is as pertinent as to say that higher calculus or Riemannian geometry is opposed Scholastic philosophy. I doubt if an attempt to incorporate either of these latter two mathematical sciences into Thomistic thought would either enlighten or compromise such thought. Likewise for phenomenology.

                  First, for Aquinas, Euclid's fifth postulate is not just one case among
                  many possibles, but the ONLY possibility. This postulate is commonly
                  referenced by both ancient and medieval philosophers as a prime example
                  of a self-evident principle which cannot be otherwise. But according to
                  Riemannian geometry, Euclid's fifth postulate *can* be otherwise, since
                  Reimannian geometry grants the possibility of alternatives to Euclid's
                  fifth postulate. Riemannian geometry (or any other such non-Euclidian
                  geometry) therefore fundamentally denies the self-evident *exclusivity*
                  attributed to Euclid's fifth postulate by Aquinas and just about every
                  other ancient and medieval thinker. The denial of such a prime example
                  of self-evidence therefore impacts not only geometry, but the very trust
                  in the self-evident that is absolutely fundamental to both Thomistic and
                  Aristotelian scientific methodology. It be like denying that 1+1 is
                  *exclusively* 2; that would have an enormous impact on the entire
                  paradigm within which Aquinas and Aristotle operate.

                  Secondly, Husserl considers phenomenology to be philosophical
                  *knowledge* - he makes that very clear both in the Logical
                  Investigations and in later works. That is what Aristotle and Aquinas
                  would fundamentally deny. For them, it would be absolutely ridiculous to
                  limit oneself to the phenomena if one can delve deeper into the
                  metaphysical causes behind them. It would be like saying that limiting
                  oneself to colors and shapes of cars constitutes knowledge of cars. The
                  ONLY reason why any philosopher would limit themselves to just the
                  phenomena is if they have doubts about the ability of philosophy to
                  pronounce on anything further. And that's exactly what Husserl himself
                  ended up saying.
                • Jim Ruddy
                  Anthony The influence of phenomenology on a true ontology is beneficial but indirect, since phenomenology deals with eidetically describable Beginnings
                  Message 8 of 16 , Mar 2, 2008
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                    Anthony
                     
                    The influence of phenomenology on a true ontology is beneficial but indirect, since phenomenology deals with eidetically describable "Beginnings" rather than real causes. It is both wholly descriptive like biology-as-taxonomy, and wholly eidetic like geometry. But that is precisely my point. Husserl says, in his English preface to Ideas, "The author sees the infinite open country of the true philosophy, the 'promised land' on which he himself will never set foot." He was forever self-effacing and humble in respect to ontology. Aquinas, if he were alive today would perhaps have the same attitude to Riemannian geometry. He would probably see it as working fine (irrespective of its own absurd premises) on what later scholasticism called the second degree of abstraction. He would stubbornly attempt, as always, to find good in it. I don't think he would see it as some dire heretical threat either to the Faith or to ontology itself. He was too reasonable for that.
                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: Anthony Crifasi <crifasian@...>
                    To: thomism@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Sunday, March 2, 2008 12:28:38 PM
                    Subject: Re: [thomism] Relation in the Trinity & Husserlian pure consciousness viewed a

                    Jim Ruddy wrote:

                    >>> So I think that Husserlian phenomenology is
                    >>> fundamentally just as anti-Thomist as it is
                    >>> anti-Suarezian. In other words, I do not think
                    >>> that Husserlian phenomenology is only opposed to
                    >>> late Scholastic philosophy, and I therefore do
                    >>> not think that it can be incorporated by
                    >>> Thomistic philosophy without compromising the
                    >>> latter to the very core.
                    >
                    > Phenomenology is an entirely eidetic science, and has nothing directly to say about either empirical matters of fact or a Scholastic ontology that abstracts from empirical matters of fact. To say it is opposed to Scholastic philosophy is as pertinent as to say that higher calculus or Riemannian geometry is opposed Scholastic philosophy. I doubt if an attempt to incorporate either of these latter two mathematical sciences into Thomistic thought would
                    either enlighten or compromise such thought. Likewise for phenomenology.

                    First, for Aquinas, Euclid's fifth postulate is not just one case among
                    many possibles, but the ONLY possibility. This postulate is commonly
                    referenced by both ancient and medieval philosophers as a prime example
                    of a self-evident principle which cannot be otherwise. But according to
                    Riemannian geometry, Euclid's fifth postulate *can* be otherwise, since
                    Reimannian geometry grants the possibility of alternatives to Euclid's
                    fifth postulate. Riemannian geometry (or any other such non-Euclidian
                    geometry) therefore fundamentally denies the self-evident *exclusivity*
                    attributed to Euclid's fifth postulate by Aquinas and just about every
                    other ancient and medieval thinker. The denial of such a prime example
                    of self-evidence therefore impacts not only geometry, but the very trust
                    in the self-evident that is absolutely fundamental to both Thomistic and
                    Aristotelian scientific methodology. It be like denying that 1+1 is
                    *exclusively* 2; that would have an enormous impact on the entire
                    paradigm within which Aquinas and Aristotle operate.

                    Secondly, Husserl considers phenomenology to be philosophical
                    *knowledge* - he makes that very clear both in the Logical
                    Investigations and in later works. That is what Aristotle and Aquinas
                    would fundamentally deny. For them, it would be absolutely ridiculous to
                    limit oneself to the phenomena if one can delve deeper into the
                    metaphysical causes behind them. It would be like saying that limiting
                    oneself to colors and shapes of cars constitutes knowledge of cars. The
                    ONLY reason why any philosopher would limit themselves to just the
                    phenomena is if they have doubts about the ability of philosophy to
                    pronounce on anything further. And that's exactly what Husserl himself
                    ended up saying.




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                  • uncljoedoc@aol.com
                    In a message dated 3/2/2008 12:29:02 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, crifasian@gmail.com writes: First, for Aquinas, Euclid s fifth postulate is not just one case
                    Message 9 of 16 , Mar 2, 2008
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                      In a message dated 3/2/2008 12:29:02 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, crifasian@... writes:
                      First, for Aquinas, Euclid's fifth postulate is not just one case among
                      many possibles, but the ONLY possibility.
                      Hi Crifasi,
                       
                      If Aquinas said that, he must have been brilliant. I have concluded that Euclid was quite correct because it was never meant to be an empirical derivation that parallel lines never intersect. It was merely an intuited definition from an as yet to be defined theory of solid geometry. One has only to realize that in early life Euclid never bothered to define the plane. It is no wonder he never methodologically recognized that the fifth postulate was a definition. Both the definition of the plane and the definition of parallel lines in a plane are part of solid geometry in which the plane and the parallel line is arrived at. I think Euclid intuited solid geometry. Penrose notes that Euclid eventually later systematized to some extent his understanding of solid geometry. I don't think Euclid ever meant to step outside the world of the abstract, and to be accused of being empirically wrong about lines is probably not necessary. He wasn't an empiricist. Aquinas was a genius not to fall into the gaff of modern mathematics by which Euclid is shouldered out by seemingly advanced mathematics. Solid geometry and Plane geometry form a set of complementary explanatory domains, the notion of straight line, plane and parallel lines are definitions in solid geometry and should not be mistaken for incorrect inductions. Euclid's fifth postulate is just not a problem. Let other geometers declare their own definitions, it has nothing to do with Euclid. I am fan of Euclid.
                       
                      Joe F
                       




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                    • Anthony Crifasi
                      ... First, biology-as-taxonomy presupposes *real* relationships between actual physical structures. Phenomenology does not. That s a huge difference - the
                      Message 10 of 16 , Mar 2, 2008
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                        Jim Ruddy wrote:

                        > Anthony
                        >
                        > The influence of phenomenology on a true ontology is beneficial but indirect, since phenomenology deals with eidetically describable "Beginnings" rather than real causes. It is both wholly descriptive like biology-as-taxonomy, and wholly eidetic like geometry. But that is precisely my point. Husserl says, in his English preface to Ideas, "The author sees the infinite open country of the true philosophy, the 'promised land' on which he himself will never set foot." He was forever self-effacing and humble in respect to ontology. Aquinas, if he were alive today would perhaps have the same attitude to Riemannian geometry. He would probably see it as working fine (irrespective of its own absurd premises) on what later scholasticism called the second degree of abstraction. He would stubbornly attempt, as always, to find good in it. I don't think he would see it as some dire heretical threat either to the Faith or to ontology itself. He was too reasonable for
                        > that.

                        First, biology-as-taxonomy presupposes *real* relationships between
                        actual physical structures. Phenomenology does not. That's a huge
                        difference - the latter is therefore purely descriptive, the former not.
                        Aquinas would therefore have absolutely no problem with
                        biology-as-taxonomy in natural philosophy, precisely because it is *not*
                        purely descriptive, but bases itself on metaphysical causes and
                        substances. Since phenomenology claims independence from all such
                        suppositions, it is difficult to see how Aquinas could possibly admit it
                        as either knowledge or philosophy at all, given that he defined
                        philosophical knowledge as knowledge of causes.

                        Secondly, Aquinas classifies geometry as a speculative science, not a
                        practical one, so for him, geometrical truth is not merely about whether
                        it is "working fine," but about whether its beginning premises *cannot
                        be otherwise* (Aristotle's demand upon primary premises in the Posterior
                        Analytics). You are treating his explicit statements about the starting
                        points of scientific knowledge with far too much looseness. Now, whether
                        he would hold the same premises were he alive today - that's another
                        question. All I'm saying is that he could only do so if he rejected his
                        previous paradigm for scientific knowledge altogether.
                      • rglencoughlin
                        ... trust ... and ... It seems to me that the fifth postulate, though it is true that it was granted to be self evident by St.Thomas, as I too think it is, was
                        Message 11 of 16 , Mar 3, 2008
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                          >
                          > First, for Aquinas, Euclid's fifth postulate is not just one case among
                          > many possibles, but the ONLY possibility. This postulate is commonly
                          > referenced by both ancient and medieval philosophers as a prime example
                          > of a self-evident principle which cannot be otherwise. But according to
                          > Riemannian geometry, Euclid's fifth postulate *can* be otherwise, since
                          > Reimannian geometry grants the possibility of alternatives to Euclid's
                          > fifth postulate. Riemannian geometry (or any other such non-Euclidian
                          > geometry) therefore fundamentally denies the self-evident *exclusivity*
                          > attributed to Euclid's fifth postulate by Aquinas and just about every
                          > other ancient and medieval thinker. The denial of such a prime example
                          > of self-evidence therefore impacts not only geometry, but the very
                          trust
                          > in the self-evident that is absolutely fundamental to both Thomistic
                          and
                          > Aristotelian scientific methodology. It be like denying that 1+1 is
                          > *exclusively* 2; that would have an enormous impact on the entire
                          > paradigm within which Aquinas and Aristotle operate.
                          >
                          It seems to me that the fifth postulate, though it is true that it was
                          granted to be self evident by St.Thomas, as I too think it is, was
                          nevertheless always a little problematic. As you know, the pre-history
                          of non-Euclidean geometry is replete with attempts to "prove" the
                          fifth postulate, an attempt which would not be undertaken if you
                          thought it was a self-evident proposition. SO there was always, it
                          seems, some disquiet about it. The fact that many tried to prove the
                          postulate indicates that they thought it was true, just not self
                          evident. Riemann and Co. just decided to work out the assumption that
                          it wasn't so; thus, late in the game, they began to think the
                          proposition not merely not self evident, but not even necessariy true.
                          So I diagree that the denial of the fifth is like the denial of 1+1=2.
                          But, be that as it may, I, being ignorant of Husserl, will take the
                          fifth on the other issues.
                        • uncljoedoc@aol.com
                          Message 12 of 16 , Mar 3, 2008
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                          • uncljoedoc@aol.com
                            Hi, This is interesting and I just want to run this by anyone. I hope it may be relevant to self-evident . In solid geometry you define a plane as a surface
                            Message 13 of 16 , Mar 3, 2008
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                              Hi,
                               
                              This is interesting and I just want to run this by anyone. I hope it may be relevant to 'self-evident'. In solid geometry you define a plane as a surface and this begs the question of what is a surface but I get around that. The definition of the plane is the surface for which a straight line joining any two of its points within the surface stays entirely within the surface ad infinitum.  A plane is also a locus. It is the locus of all the points equidistant from two reference points lying outside of it. Using the first definition a theorem shows that the intersection of two planes is a straight line lying entirely within both planes. Just define parallel planes as those two loci as defined above such that they will never share loci of points (not ever intersect). From their derive that two parallel lines (one in either plane both produced by the transversal plane intersecting both) exist by definition.

                              All that gobbledygook just says that straight lines, planes and parallel lines are matters of definition and relating theorems in the closely allied field of solid geometry.

                              Now Euclid did not give a thought to defining the plane. This omission suggests he was not looking beyond plane geometry consciously, But I submit he intuited a lot of solid geometry. In other words he intuited that straight lines may be parallel and never intersect from the abstract field of solid geometry. I point out that his omission of the definition of the plane suggests an omission of his solid geometry underpinnings. It was a matter of unstated methodology rather than clumsy empiricism which leads to the ambiguity of the fifth postulate. Surely a definition has a quality of self evidence and the definition of the plane is a certain peculiar kind which in a sense creates what it defines in the world of abstraction.

                              True, solid geometry was worked out in the life of Euclid after Plane geometry. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the abstractions were not operative in Euclid when he chose the fifth postulate. The postulate was based on a definition that emanates, not from observations of empirical space and time, but from the complex imaginings of solid geometry.

                              If this is so there is not problem with Euclid's fifth postulate. I am posting this to get a feedback because it is how it appears to me. I realize this is not a math forum. Perhaps it will open a discussion of 'self-evidence' for Aquinas.

                              Thanks for reading, consider it if you will.

                              Joe F


                               
                              It seems to me that the fifth postulate, though it is true that it was
                              granted to be self evident by St.Thomas, as I too think it is, was
                              nevertheless always a little problematic. As you know, the pre-history
                              of non-Euclidean geometry is replete with attempts to "prove" the
                              fifth postulate, an attempt which would not be undertaken if you
                              thought it was a self-evident proposition. SO there was always, it
                              seems, some disquiet about it. The fact that many tried to prove the
                              postulate indicates that they thought it was true, just not self
                              evident. Riemann and Co. just decided to work out the assumption that
                              it wasn't so; thus, late in the game, they began to think the
                              proposition not merely not self evident, but not even necessariy true.
                              So I diagree that the denial of the fifth is like the denial of 1+1=2.
                              But, be that as it may, I, being ignorant of Husserl, will take the
                              fifth on the other issues.



                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: rglencoughlin <gcoughlin@...>
                              To: thomism@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 12:45 pm
                              Subject: [thomism] Re: Relation in the Trinity & Husserlian pure consciousness viewed a

                              
                              
                              > 
                              > First, for Aquinas, Euclid's fifth postulate is not just one case among 
                              > many possibles, but the ONLY possibility. This postulate is commonly 
                              > referenced by both ancient and medieval philosophers as a prime example 
                              > of a self-evident principle which cannot be otherwise. But according to 
                              > Riemannian geometry, Euclid's fifth postulate *can* be otherwise, since 
                              > Reimannian geometry grants the possibility of alternatives to Euclid's 
                              > fifth postulate. Riemannian geometry (or any other such non-Euclidian 
                              > geometry) therefore fundamentally denies the self-evident *exclusivity* 
                              > attributed to Euclid's fifth postulate by Aquinas and just about every 
                              > other ancient and medieval thinker. The denial of such a prime example 
                              > of self-evidence therefore impacts not only geometry, but the very
                              trust 
                              > in the self-evident that is absolutely fundamental to both Thomistic
                              and 
                              > Aristotelian scientific methodology. It be like denying that 1+1 is 
                              > *exclusively* 2; that would have an enormous impact on the entire 
                              > paradigm within which Aquinas and Aristotle operate.
                              > 
                              It seems to me that the fifth postulate, though it is true that it was
                              granted to be self evident by St.Thomas, as I too think it is, was
                              nevertheless always a little problematic. As you know, the pre-history
                              of non-Euclidean geometry is replete with attempts to "prove" the
                              fifth postulate, an attempt which would not be undertaken if you
                              thought it was a self-evident proposition. SO there was always, it
                              seems, some disquiet about it. The fact that many tried to prove the
                              postulate indicates that they thought it was true, just not self
                              evident. Riemann and Co. just decided to work out the assumption that
                              it wasn't so; thus, late in the game, they began to think the
                              proposition not merely not self evident, but not even necessariy true.
                              So I diagree that the denial of the fifth is like the denial of 1+1=2.
                              But, be that as it may, I, being ignorant of Husserl, will take the
                              fifth on the other issues. 
                              
                              
                              
                               
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                            • Anthony Crifasi
                              ... But if we accept Euclid s *geometrical* derivation of numerical arithmetic, then wouldn t Euclid s fifth postulate (as a geometrical postulate) have to be
                              Message 14 of 16 , Mar 3, 2008
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                                rglencoughlin wrote:

                                > It seems to me that the fifth postulate, though it is true that it was
                                > granted to be self evident by St.Thomas, as I too think it is, was
                                > nevertheless always a little problematic. As you know, the pre-history
                                > of non-Euclidean geometry is replete with attempts to "prove" the
                                > fifth postulate, an attempt which would not be undertaken if you
                                > thought it was a self-evident proposition. SO there was always, it
                                > seems, some disquiet about it. The fact that many tried to prove the
                                > postulate indicates that they thought it was true, just not self
                                > evident. Riemann and Co. just decided to work out the assumption that
                                > it wasn't so; thus, late in the game, they began to think the
                                > proposition not merely not self evident, but not even necessarily true.
                                > So I disagree that the denial of the fifth is like the denial of 1+1=2.

                                But if we accept Euclid's *geometrical* derivation of numerical
                                arithmetic, then wouldn't Euclid's fifth postulate (as a geometrical
                                postulate) have to be treated as even more evident (better known to us)
                                than any numerical proposition, including 1+2=3, or even its geometrical
                                equivalent? It seems to me that if 1+2=3 is treated as more evident than
                                Euclid's fifth postulate, Euclid's entire order of demonstration (up to
                                his definition of numbers) would have to be rejected, since the more
                                known would then be demonstrated from the less.
                              • rglencoughlin
                                ... geometrical ... than ... This seems too simplistic to me. There may be claims in geometry which are more or less known that those of arithmetic even if
                                Message 15 of 16 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                  >
                                  > But if we accept Euclid's *geometrical* derivation of numerical
                                  > arithmetic, then wouldn't Euclid's fifth postulate (as a geometrical
                                  > postulate) have to be treated as even more evident (better known to us)
                                  > than any numerical proposition, including 1+2=3, or even its
                                  geometrical
                                  > equivalent? It seems to me that if 1+2=3 is treated as more evident
                                  than
                                  > Euclid's fifth postulate, Euclid's entire order of demonstration (up to
                                  > his definition of numbers) would have to be rejected, since the more
                                  > known would then be demonstrated from the less.
                                  >
                                  This seems too simplistic to me. There may be claims in geometry which
                                  are more or less known that those of arithmetic even if geometry as a
                                  whole is more known than arithmetic. It is obvious, for example, that
                                  the definition of same ratio in Book V is given because of the
                                  difficulties with incommensurability, which difficulties are only
                                  found among magnitudes, while the definition of same ratio (or
                                  "proportion", as he calls it in Book VII) for numbers is more clear
                                  but simply not usuable for all magnitudes. On the other hand, the
                                  definition of circle is a lot easier than the definition of perfect
                                  number.
                                  Glen
                                • jamesmiguez
                                  ... not. ... *not* ... This is quite correct. The real relations that are found in biology, and also chemistry, etc., are vouchsafed in Aquinas discussion on
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Mar 13, 2008
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                                    --- In thomism@yahoogroups.com, Anthony Crifasi <crifasian@...> wrote:

                                    >
                                    > First, biology-as-taxonomy presupposes *real* relationships between
                                    > actual physical structures. Phenomenology does not. That's a huge
                                    > difference - the latter is therefore purely descriptive, the former not.
                                    > Aquinas would therefore have absolutely no problem with
                                    > biology-as-taxonomy in natural philosophy, precisely because it is *not*
                                    > purely descriptive, but bases itself on metaphysical causes and
                                    > substances.


                                    This is quite correct.  The real relations that are found in biology, and also chemistry, etc., are vouchsafed in Aquinas' discussion on real relations in STh I, 28, 1.  He gives an example from Aristotelean physics but the principle is still sound, even though it be applied to modern Newtonian or Einsteinian physics.

                                    Such a principle, moreover, can be applied in a far more superior sense to the ecclesial-social reality of the person, understood in reference to the  Trinitarian source and exemplar, but this would be to take the definition of person beyond the merely Scholastic one.  This however would be a work of theological anthropology per se and would use philosophy as intellectual reasoning.  It would also be difficult, but not impossible, I would think, and would include the findings of spiritual theology as well as spiritual experience of God and saintly love of neighbor.


                                    > Since phenomenology claims independence from all such
                                    > suppositions, it is difficult to see how Aquinas could possibly admit it
                                    > as either knowledge or philosophy at all, given that he defined
                                    > philosophical knowledge as knowledge of causes.
                                    >


                                    This question applies to an authentic thomistic philosophy, theology, and anthropology which is valid today.  What phenomenology or a "philosophy" of consciousness could contribute to thomism is to help describe the workings of consciousness, as well as to help explain it as a faculty of the human person and the field of awareness.  But of course, phenomenology is not a metaphysics, nor can it replace thomistic philosophy.

                                    James



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