Tag: The Last Superstition

  • The Last Superstition: Conclusion

    The Last Superstition: Conclusion

    So now that we’ve come to the end of the book, what have we learned? There are two comments that stick in my mind. One is by Steve Watson: I think Aristotle systematized a lot of what we now call folk physics and folk biology, which was a good enough way to start, back then […]

  • The Last Superstition: Ubiquitous Teleology

    The Last Superstition: Ubiquitous Teleology

    Chapter 6: Irreducible teleology We’re in the home stretch. In this penultimate section, Feser tries to make the case that teleology, or goal-directedness, permeates the world. To start with, he tells us that human minds deal with final causes all the time: we conceive plans and execute them, and we build things for specific purposes. […]

  • The Last Superstition: Great Gobs of Uncertainty

    The Last Superstition: Great Gobs of Uncertainty

    Chapter 6: The lump under the rug In this section, Feser argues that the existence of the mind is incompatible with materialism. Not only that, but materialist explanations of mind often refer, if only implicitly or subconsciously, to aristotelian concepts. But first, he has to dispel a misconception: to say that something has a final […]

  • The Last Superstition: A Slippery Slope to Sounding Weird

    The Last Superstition: A Slippery Slope to Sounding Weird

    Chapter 6: How to lose your mind Feser opens the last chapter of his Refutation of the New Atheism by quoting a New Yorker article in which neurologist Patricia Churchland describes her mood to her husband and colleague Paul in neurochemical terms: Pat burst in the door, having come straight from a frustrating faculty meeting. […]

  • The Last Superstition: Back to the Cave

    The Last Superstition: Back to the Cave

    Chapter 5: Back to Plato’s cave This last section of Chapter 5 is basically a long jeremiad against everything and everyone Feser doesn’t like, with paranoid rants about the motivations of those who prefer post-Thomistic philosophies: More precisely, their desire to re-orient human life toward this world and reduce the influence of religion led the […]

  • The Last Superstition: A Grab-Bag of Objections

    The Last Superstition: A Grab-Bag of Objections

    Chapter 5: Universal acid Here Feser continues his earlier theme, listing more alleged problems caused by modernism. This is a grab-bag of philosophical problems, and while a lot of them are interesting in and of themselves, for the most part they have little or nothing to do with atheism — New or otherwise — and […]

  • The Last Superstition: Material Brains, Immaterial Software

    The Last Superstition: Material Brains, Immaterial Software

    Chapter 5: The Mind-Body Problem After spending several pages, as is his wont, trashing Locke, Descartes, and other people he doesn’t agree with, Feser tells us why materialist explanations of the mind are doomed: the human mind is all about final causes: we plan, we imagine, we make mental images and so on. All of […]

  • The Last Superstition: The Essence of Opium

    The Last Superstition: The Essence of Opium

    Chapter 5: Feser v. Molière In Molière’s play “Le Malade imaginaire” (The Imaginary Invalid or The Hypochondriac), there’s a scene between an oh-so-pretentious doctor and an equally pretentious medical student. The doctor asks the student, in dog Latin why it is that opium causes sleep. The student replies that opium has “virtus dormitiva” (Latin for […]

  • The Last Superstition: Hedonism Killed Aquinas

    The Last Superstition: Hedonism Killed Aquinas

    Chapter 5: Descent of the Modernists This chapter deals with modern philosophers, i.e., René Descartes and later. The first part of it is pretty much philosophical inside baseball, of little interest to those who care less about how ideas have been developed than about which conclusions were eventually reached. I’ll only point out one passage […]

  • The Last Superstition: The Problem of Evil

    The Last Superstition: The Problem of Evil

    4: The problem of evil This section deals with the problem of evil, a problem so big that, just as chemistry is divided into carbon (organic chemistry) and everything else, so I’m told theology is divided into the problem of evil (theodicy) and everything else. But first, Feser has to digress to lay some ground […]