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 Post subject: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:49 pm 
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I've mentioned before here that I'm totally out of space for my 3200+ book library, most of which were gifts that I haven't yet had time to read. I've brought up a few on this forum, but most of them are old and I haven't generated much discussion. But hope springs eternal in Christians, and perhaps there will be some interest out there in one or more of the following, which I just bought, probably impulsively, for a variety of reasons that I may not entirely understand:
The Lessons of History, Will and Ariel Durant
The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James
Aquinas: On Law, Morality, and Politics, ed Baumgarth and Regan
What Pope Frances Really Said, Tom Hoopes
I'll probably be struggling through these for weeks, so don't worry whether you have time to dig these out and review them. I'd be very grateful for encouragement, comments or reviews, and perhaps warnings.


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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:10 am 
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If anyone ever asks you about the James book, I strongly encourage you to tell them to avoid it, give it away to someone they don't like. I'd read his Psychology, and also Pragmatism, and in hindsight I suppose I should have sensed his arrogant and sarcastic atheism. It's appalling in Varieties.


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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:16 am 
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I was thinking of telling you about that, but I thought, well, maybe you'll like it anyhow.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:02 pm 
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None of those are in my particular area of interest right now...

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:43 pm 
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I'm grateful for your comments. The Durants were outspoken communists and atheists in their youth, but seemed to have mellowed a bit in recognition of the communist slaughter in Russia, China, Spain, and many more--apparently far in excess of 100 million dead. But they still seem to be utopian, universalist, socialists in their last books.
Strangely, although Lessons of History is loaded with anti-Church and anti-religious comments, their concluding remarks seem to suggest some respect for religious values of morality, hope, peace, and social order. Or is that just hopeful thinking on my part?


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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:05 pm 
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I've never read it and can't say. But there's no point destroying a building and then commenting how nice the flowers in the windows look.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:42 pm 
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I suppose I'll always struggle to understand the hatred of atheists, like the Durants, against all things good and all things religious. The existence of hatred, and especially the existence of malice, present an enormous challenge for humanity to raise our children with intelligence to escape the malice that seems sometimes to stem from hatred, and seems sometimes to stem from fear, and yet other times seems to have an independent life and purpose.
It seems atheism often splits between hatred of religion in general, and hatred of a particular church or belief. Is it clear to anyone why atheists cannot keep silent and desist in their opposition?


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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:29 pm 
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The St Thomas Aquinas selections in Law, etc seem to me to be appalling. The translation is by Richard Regan, and he cooperated with William Baumgarth in the Intro, Notes, and Glossary.
Reading this book seems akin to listening to Jehovah's Witnesses and trying to pretend they are Christians when they seem to try to undermine all things Christian.
Regan/Baumgarth seem to have selected segments intended to undermine the Summa Theologica, but not in any way to present it effectively.
I suppose I should have recognized that the title is incongruous: Law , Morality, and Politics, it seems a triple oxymoron. Compounding the matter, the book starts with two selections described as on conscience, Articles 12 and 13 from ST 1 Q79, which discuss incoherently whether conscience and synderesis are powers of the Soul? It goes downhill from here.
Why would a professor of political science publish this? Don't burn the book, burn the professor.
Can anyone see a redeeming factor (other than acknowledgement, although not praise, of a very great Saint)?


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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:44 pm 
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The title is not an oxymoron; the disjunction of the three topics is what ails our political system today. I'm not sure what your gripe is with the question on conscience and synderesis.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:31 pm 
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It looks to me like it's excerpts from the Summa, and apropos ones as far as I can tell. What do you think is missing or distorted?

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:43 am 
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Surely law, morality, and politics ought to be intimately connected in a healthy society? :scratch:

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:00 am 
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They should. And stop calling me Shirley.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:06 pm 
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>Obi-wan-My concern is that this presentation of St Thomas selections seems deliberately intended to be ineffective, confusing, and abstruse. Much better selections could have been made.
Also, I think the authors are forced to publish, and they want the book listed as Christian because it will sell more than if listed as atheist or political science. But it demeans Aquinas and Christianity.
Presenting only two obscure articles about the soul as a discussion of conscience is outrageous, misleading, deceitful.
The next two articles about the Will are even worse:
#5-Is the Will Evil if it Wills Contrary to Erroneous Reason?
#6-Is the Will Good if it Wills Contrary to Erroneous Reason?
The authors seem intent on the worst portrayal of St Thomas.
Hopefully you might be more willing to comment on whether you think any lessons can be learned from history, and even suggest a few important ones.


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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:21 pm 
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What you have is a college textbook, designed to present certain texts for the teacher to cover with his class. What you find obscure is just the way St. Thomas writes--something a teacher would help with. And I am afraid that what you don't like is in fact what St. Thomas has to say about the points in question. I invite you to compare what the CCC has to say about erroneous conscience: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a6.htm#1790

You'd probably be best off putting that book down for now and finding a copy of Ralph McInerney's Ethica Thomistica (which is in English, despite the title); and perhaps also this: https://smile.amazon.com/Thomas-Aquinas ... s+politics

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:38 am 
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eschator83 wrote:
Much better selections could have been made.

For example?
Quote:
I think the authors are forced to publish, and they want the book listed as Christian because it will sell more than if listed as atheist or political science. But it demeans Aquinas and Christianity.

There's very little chance that a "Christian" book published by an academic press like Hackett will sell better than a secular one.
Quote:
Presenting only two obscure articles about the soul as a discussion of conscience is outrageous, misleading, deceitful.

It's very often the case that college textbook presentations of St. Thomas are just what you describe: philosophy of religion textbooks, for example, that just print a brief bit from the "5 Ways" as the Thomistic approach to God. This Law, Morality and Politics book does not, it's true, give a really thorough account of any of the areas it treats, but it's just a textbook, and does a fairly reputable job at what it does.
Quote:
Compounding the matter, the book starts with two selections described as on conscience, Articles 12 and 13 from ST 1 Q79, which discuss incoherently whether conscience and synderesis are powers of the Soul?

The questions driving those articles are what you say, but the answers, as is typical, actually spell out clearly what St. Thomas thinks synderesis and conscience are. For example:
Quote:
"Synderesis" is not a power but a habit; though some held that it is a power higher than reason; while others [Cf. Alexander of Hales, Sum. Theol. II, 73] said that it is reason itself, not as reason, but as a nature. In order to make this clear we must observe that, as we have said above (Article 8), man's act of reasoning, since it is a kind of movement, proceeds from the understanding of certain things--namely, those which are naturally known without any investigation on the part of reason, as from an immovable principle--and ends also at the understanding, inasmuch as by means of those principles naturally known, we judge of those things which we have discovered by reasoning. Now it is clear that, as the speculative reason argues about speculative things, so that practical reason argues about practical things. Therefore we must have, bestowed on us by nature, not only speculative principles, but also practical principles. Now the first speculative principles bestowed on us by nature do not belong to a special power, but to a special habit, which is called "the understanding of principles," as the Philosopher explains (Ethic. vi, 6). Wherefore the first practical principles, bestowed on us by nature, do not belong to a special power, but to a special natural habit, which we call "synderesis". Whence "synderesis" is said to incite to good, and to murmur at evil, inasmuch as through first principles we proceed to discover, and judge of what we have discovered. It is therefore clear that "synderesis" is not a power, but a natural habit.

Now, you might not like this, or you might not understand it, but you can't honestly claim it's incoherent. It's anything but incoherent. Indeed, it's a model of philosophical clarity. As a basic presentation of St. Thomas's thought on the matter, it's hard to beat. Like I asked at the outset, do you have an alternative text in mind that would do a better job?

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:54 pm 
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eschator83 wrote:
I suppose I should have recognized that the title is incongruous: Law , Morality, and Politics, it seems a triple oxymoron.


That sounds like an awfully cynical view, to put it mildly

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:45 am 
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It's very sad you would write such emotional comments on a book you haven't read. Gherkin is not quoting the Baumgarth/Regan translation, which is not nearly as good as the translation Gherkin refers to from Enc Brit Great Books.
I very much enjoy reading St Thomas, but Baumgarth's manipulation of selections is deplorable. I recommend strongly against it, and see no benefit in quoting from it. Will you guys also defend Baumgarth's God and Creation?


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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Can you give us a sample of the translation you're using?

Can you give an example of how and why you think the selections are manipulated? What is included that shouldn't be, or omitted that should be included? Because, as I mentioned above, if you think that there's a problem with Law, Morality, and Politics as a title, the problem may lie with your expectations, not the book.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:27 pm 
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I haven't read Baumgarth's edition of God and Creation, and Amazon has no comments on it. So I can neither defend nor attack it.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 New (used) books--anybody interested in discussing?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:46 pm 
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eschator83 wrote:
It's very sad you would write such emotional comments on a book you haven't read. Gherkin is not quoting the Baumgarth/Regan translation, which is not nearly as good as the translation Gherkin refers to from Enc Brit Great Books.
I very much enjoy reading St Thomas, but Baumgarth's manipulation of selections is deplorable. I recommend strongly against it, and see no benefit in quoting from it. Will you guys also defend Baumgarth's God and Creation?

I'm not sure where the "emotional" thing is coming from, but anyway you haven't replied to any of my points or questions. Nor did you mention that you apparently had a serious issue with the translation--that's new. :fyi:

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