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 Post subject: Re: Alien Questions
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:03 pm 
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Sabbath wrote:
What if said aliens had no original sin?
Then they may not need redemption. But they would still need to be made one with God. Christ doesn't just grant us the absolving of sins but communion with God, as a participation in the divine nature. Salvation goes beyond a return to the life on the Garden of Eden.

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 Post subject: Re: Alien Questions
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:22 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
Sabbath wrote:
What if said aliens had no original sin?
Then they may not need redemption. But they would still need to be made one with God. Christ doesn't just grant us the absolving of sins but communion with God, as a participation in the divine nature. Salvation goes beyond a return to the life on the Garden of Eden.


Isn't the purpose of baptism to forgive sins, and be cleansed of original sin?

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 Post subject: Re: Alien Questions
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:56 pm 
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Sabbath wrote:
Closet Catholic wrote:
Sabbath wrote:
What if said aliens had no original sin?
Then they may not need redemption. But they would still need to be made one with God. Christ doesn't just grant us the absolving of sins but communion with God, as a participation in the divine nature. Salvation goes beyond a return to the life on the Garden of Eden.


Isn't the purpose of baptism to forgive sins, and be cleansed of original sin?


That and more. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/a ... s2c1a1.htm

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 Post subject: Re: Alien Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:16 pm 
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Sabbath wrote:
Closet Catholic wrote:
Sabbath wrote:
What if said aliens had no original sin?
Then they may not need redemption. But they would still need to be made one with God. Christ doesn't just grant us the absolving of sins but communion with God, as a participation in the divine nature. Salvation goes beyond a return to the life on the Garden of Eden.


Isn't the purpose of baptism to forgive sins, and be cleansed of original sin?
Amongst other things, including becoming a partaker of the divine nature (cf. 2Pet 1:4). Salvation isn't just a returning to paradise. It goes beyond that.

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“Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt.” — Paul Tillich

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English texts: http://katolikken.wordpress.com/tag/english-texts-2/

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 Post subject: Re: Alien Questions
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:35 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
theJack wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I can think of at least one science fiction book (Limbo System) that asked the same question. What is sufficient to qualify as "Man"? Does being a rational animal suffice?

I would not think so. "Man" is a form, not merely a set of properties (i.e., being rational, being an animal). The human form has certain potentialities. More, we have certain ultimate capacities that direct our secondary capacities. For instance, humans have the ultimate capacity for mobility, and for us, we therefore have the secondary capacity of walking via a bipedal structure. We have the ultimate capacity for thought, and so there are a great many secondary capacities related to the formation of our brains, etc. All that is intrinsic to the form "man." Put a little differently, we have those potentialities on account of the fact that we are human; we are not human because we have those potentialities. So pointing to a "rational animal" would not be the same as pointing to another "man."

Since we're doing necromancy here....

I disagree. Being a rational animal does suffice and a rational alien would indeed be one of us. (It seems to me we have strong theological reasons to deny the existence of any rational aliens. But that's not relevant to this philosophical point.) You're correct--and make a crucially important point--in saying that it's not the having of the potentialities that makes us humans, but rather the being human that explains the potentialities we have. A related way to say this is that rational animal is not a reductive definition of man. But it's still a definition: an essential definition. If there were a rational alien life form that moves and senses (i.e. is an animal), then it would fall under the same definition that we do. Hence, it would have the same essence. It might look and act quite different from us, but it would still be one of us. I think it's useful here to think of the glorified body: when we're raised from the dead, we'll still be human beings--viz still rational animals. But we'll have powers that nobody would ever have predicted a human being would have. For example--here's a stunner--we won't need to eat. This is highly counterintuitive: it violates our thought that living beings take in nutrition. Even more stunning, we'll have the quality of agility. (Roughly put, we'll be where we want to be, right away.) Those amazing creatures--raised human beings--are still us, despite the differences. IOW the form human is susceptible of multifarious instantiation. It's true that a rational alien wouldn't be the same biological species as us. But I don't think biological species can be viewed as important.

This is quick and not well put.

I disagree with gherkin. :cloud9:

I don't think it follows that because man is a rational animal that all rational animals are men. "Rational" refers, in my assessment, to the type of soul. Just like all animals are not dogs, but all dogs are animals, just so all rational things are not men, but all men are rational things. By comparison, an angel is an immaterial rational being. But since there is no matter to individuate them, each angel is its own form. It therefore follows that "rational" is not its own form necessarily.

Now, "animality" falls on a great many types of creatures. And if we include angels, then so does rationality. It happens that we only know of what being that is both an animal and rational: man. We can therefore say that man is a rational animal. But we cannot therefore say that if we found another rational animal that it, too, would be a man. We would then say that we have found another rational animal, that there are forms that both animality and rationality properly describe, just as there are forms that both four-leggedness and furriness describe.

As an aside, another problem I see with this is that you create multiple pathways by which an animal can become man, such that the term "man" ceases to be understood formally in the same way that, say, "dogness" does. Whether on special creation or evolution, by permitting something other than homo sapien to be man, you are separating the form "man" from the form "human" in a way that I think is just disingenuous. When we say God became man or that He took on a human nature, we aren't merely saying that He took on the nature of rationality animality but rather than He took on a human nature, and specifically, the same nature as the sons of Adam. It was for this reason that Mary gave birth to a Son. And yes, in the resurrection, we in some ways transcend our natural potentialities so as to become more than mere human--we become glorified humans--but this is by grace and an act of God. It is not a state we can achieve on our owns or that is owed us. God does not in our glorification take away our humanity by adds to it so that we are even more than our humanity, even if our humanity in His resurrection, is perfected.

But that, again, cannot be said of these supposed aliens. Jesus does not merely become the perfect rational animal but rather the perfect human. And to suggest that all hylomorphic rational entities are thereby human seems to me, again, just completely backwards in terms of metaphysical analysis.

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 Post subject: Re: Alien Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:42 am 
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theJack wrote:
"Rational" refers, in my assessment, to the type of soul.

In the definition rational animal it is the differentia. There isn't a one-one correspondence between the logical analysis and any things that actually exist as such in nature. For example, there's no such thing as an animal just as such, waiting for some kind of differentia to join it and mark it out as the specific kind of animal it is. Animal, in the definition, doesn't pick out any thing, it picks out the genus, a being of reason. Same idea with rational. I take it that the power of the soul which accounts for its being properly described as rational is its conceptual faculty. In other words, we are able to grasp essences. This is also true of angels. Hence they, too, are rational. But not animal.

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Now, "animality" falls on a great many types of creatures. And if we include angels, then so does rationality. It happens that we only know of what being that is both an animal and rational: man. We can therefore say that man is a rational animal. But we cannot therefore say that if we found another rational animal that it, too, would be a man. We would then say that we have found another rational animal, that there are forms that both animality and rationality properly describe, just as there are forms that both four-leggedness and furriness describe.


There certainly may be pragmatic reasons for preferring to use a different species term to refer to these other rational animals. But I'd be very leery of such moves. Kind of like taking racial distinctions among human beings too seriously.

Quote:
As an aside, another problem I see with this is that you create multiple pathways by which an animal can become man, such that the term "man" ceases to be understood formally in the same way that, say, "dogness" does. Whether on special creation or evolution, by permitting something other than homo sapien to be man, you are separating the form "man" from the form "human" in a way that I think is just disingenuous. When we say God became man or that He took on a human nature, we aren't merely saying that He took on the nature of rationality animality but rather than He took on a human nature, and specifically, the same nature as the sons of Adam. It was for this reason that Mary gave birth to a Son. And yes, in the resurrection, we in some ways transcend our natural potentialities so as to become more than mere human--we become glorified humans--but this is by grace and an act of God. It is not a state we can achieve on our owns or that is owed us. God does not in our glorification take away our humanity by adds to it so that we are even more than our humanity, even if our humanity in His resurrection, is perfected.

But that, again, cannot be said of these supposed aliens. Jesus does not merely become the perfect rational animal but rather the perfect human. And to suggest that all hylomorphic rational entities are thereby human seems to me, again, just completely backwards in terms of metaphysical analysis.

Like I said, I think there are pretty compelling theological reasons to deny that there are any rational aliens, and you're not far from some of them in the above.

I think it was Closet Catholic who posted the link to Feser above. Feser's drawing heavily on David Oderberg. I don't know what a more traditional Thomist like PED would make of all this, but at least the analytic crew is pretty much in agreement with my take on this. I don't know that you're particularly interested in agreeing with St. Thomas right, but if you are, that's worth thinking about. And if you're not, then it's a little mysterious why you'd care especially about the Aristotelian definition of man in the first place.

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