The marriage of Joseph and Mary

Super Flumina
Babylonis

under the patronage of St Joseph and St Dominic

By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
on the poplars that grew there we hung up our harps. . . Ps 136

St Dominic

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Professor Solomon's Introduction to Philosophy

11th September 2001

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THE ONE NECESSARY ENCYCLICAL—PART II, A DRAFT

The statement of members of The Roman Forum meeting at Lake Garda, Italy, on 9th July 2015  [http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-lake-garda-statement.html ] demonstrates that there are many within the Catholic Church who recognise the crisis through which the Church is passing—has passed, these last fifty years—and are able to enunciate a course for the return to the Church's proper station as the means of salvation for all the world.

We have been insistent on superflumina about the need, if the Church's authority and salutary influence in the world is to be restored, for the Vicar of Christ to confront and confound the immense evil of atheism in an encyclical letter.    It is an undertaking that requires an immense effort of investment, with the hope of a proportionately immense return.  We have essayed a draft of such an encyclical to this end that it might attract the attention of the Church’s future bishops, one of whom will one day come to assume the pallium of the Vicar of Christ on earth. more

THE ONE NECESSARY ENCYCLICAL

This is a recasting with slight amendments of a paper published in August 2009 inviting His Holiness to address the one intellectual issue that presses mankind in the modern world.  more

HOW DO WE KNOW ?

Now, in our philosophy studies, we move to the question of knowledge starting with the senses.  Lesson 13

LOGIC & THE THREE FORMS OF LIFE

Here Professor Solomon concludes the present set of lessons with some basic logic and St Thomas’s teaching on living material things.  Lesson 12

FROM THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL TO THE SYNOD

Recently the Michael Davies Memorial Lecture was delivered by Roberto de Mattei. His lecture was entitled 'From the Second Vatican Council to the Synod: The Teaching of Michael Davies'. It confirms the views published on this website over the past decade - see 'Vatican II' in the menu or http://www.superflumina.org/contents_vatican_ii.html. The lecture is reproduced here from the the Rorate Caeli website - more

THE INN OF THE MARGERIDE

An essay Hilaire Belloc wrote 100 years ago provides a basis for commentary on the direction Europe, and the world, are heading.  more

AMERICANISM, THE US SUPREME COURT & THE CATHOLIC EPISCOPACY

There is more to the current debate over ‘gay marriage’ than first appears.  The chief issue is not homosexuals and their inclinations, but whether the institution of marriage is of man or of nature.  more

THE ORDER OF SUBSTANCES

There is a variety among substances and an order between them, as we now discover.  Lesson 11

CATEGORIES/PREDICAMENTS

Here we finalise our treatment of substance and the nine accidents, show how their existence in the real is reflected in our minds, and how their explication provides the philosophical explanation for the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.  Lesson 10

QUANTITY & A LITTLE QUALITY

Here we concentrate on the first two of the accidental forms attaching to any corporeal substance. Lesson 9   Go to 'Professor Solomon's Introduction to Philosophy' for lessons 1 to 8.

A SHORT REVIEW OF G. H. JOYCE’S ‘THE PRINCIPLES OF LOGIC’

English Jesuit, George Hayward Joyce M.A, Oriel College, Oxford (1864-1943), Professor of Logic at St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst, published his classic text, ‘The Principles of Logic’, in 1908 (Longmans).  The second edition was published in 1916.  A third appeared in 1949.  By some remarkable working of Divine Providence, the second edition has been reprinted in a facsimile edition by Isha Books, New Delhi (2013), and it is now readily available throughout the world.   One may obtain an electronic copy in facsimile form in a rather clumsy application on Google Play (where the author is described as G.J. Hayward, and the computer generated index is simply appalling).  Alternatively, access to portion of the text (of the third edition), as well as a short history of the author, is available via the link http://www.logicmuseum.com/joyce/principlesoflogic.htm   The first edition may also be downloaded as a PDF from https://openlibrary.org/books/OL7081760M/Principles_of_logic. In view of its availability in a compact volume for a reasonable price we would recommend the reader purchase the reprint of the second edition for his library.

This is not intended as a comprehensive review.  Fulfilment of that task would require greater talents and breadth of reading than possessed by this commentator.

The work’s chief merit lies in its grounding in the metaphysical world view of Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas, the view of the Catholic Church unaffected by the philosophical and theological fatuities that have marked pronouncements of popes and bishops over the last fifty years.   No one buys a dictionary to read its contents from cover to cover, but to hold it on his shelves for perpetual reference.  In similar fashion, no man of average talent sits down to read the works of Aristotle or of St Thomas from beginning to end, but has them as source documents to which he can turn.  The diligent student of Logic with a talent for the technical will read Fr Joyce’s work from cover to cover.  The rest of us will keep it for its value as a constant reference book.

The rejection of God’s authority and that of His Church by Martin Luther and Henry Tudor, and the legion of renegades who followed them, had immense consequences.  Folly in the highest discipline, theology, wrought disorder in philosophy and, in particular, in instrumental philosophy, Logic.   There developed a rejection of the simple principle that what we know is what is, a refusal to acknowledge that the mind is proportioned to reality.  The understanding that our knowledges rigorously reflect reality implies an essential and profound ordination.  St Thomas refers to this in passing in the De Veritate [I, 2], rem naturalis inter duos intellectos constituit, ‘the natural thing is established between two intellects’.   This concordance between mind and reality bespeaks the existence of a Divine Orderer, a Divine Author.   Protestantism is the rejection of God’s authority over what is to be believed in favour of the believer’s own authority.  Inchoately, the rejection of the Divine authority  involves a rejection of the Divine reality itself, atheism, which is where the western world is today.   Hence the abandonment by thinkers that followed the Protestant Revolt of the proportion between mind and reality (subjectivism), as the denigration of the formal in favour of the material (materialism), comes as no surprise to the metaphysician.   It is his identification of this loss of direction in human thought which gives such value to Fr Joyce’s work.

We suggest the buyer begin his study of the text with chapters viii, ix and x of the book, respectively, The Predicables, The Categories, and Definition and Division.   He will discover the meanings of species, genus and difference, what is a property and what an accident.  He will discover, if he has never been exposed to it before, that material reality can be analysed comprehensively in ten categories.  He will see, in dramatic contrast to the modern perception, that the substantial form of any material thing—the determinant that makes it be what it is, its substance—is not material.    He will begin to grasp  that the power of the mind to know the immaterial derives from its own reality as an immaterial power, and that its power matches precisely the immateriality of the substances of things.   He will discover that the mind knows things in their ‘what-ness’, their quiddity or essence, via concepts.   He will discover that a dictionary is not simply a collection of words, but of concepts.  He will begin, moreover, to understand that, though the two orders, that of the mind and that of reality, exist in parallel, the mind has its own way of proceeding and its own rules, and that it is the height of folly to confuse the mental order with the real.  And he will begin to grasp that it is through ignorance of basic logic that blunders have been made in the most basic philosophical matters by bishops and princes of the Church in the last fifty years. 

The rules of thinking, of weighing and of judging, are essential to a sound grasp of philosophy and it is to the great good of 21st century man that Fr Joyce’s text has again become available.  We recommend it unreservedly.

Michael Baker

LINK TO THE AQUINAS SCHOOL OF PHILOSOPHY

Dr Raphael Waters, sometime student of A.M. Woodbury PhD., S.T.D., founder (in 1943) of Sydney’s Aquinas Academy and its Regent until his retirement in the 1970’s, founded the Aquinas School of Philosophy in New York in 2005 with Dr Denis Bonnette PhD.  Dr Waters enjoyed a long career teaching the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas on the American continent.  He died on August 26th 2010.  Dr Bonnette and his assistants continue this admirable work.

It is difficult to find an institution where one may gain a proper understanding of the metaphysical view of reality taught by St Thomas.  By this we mean, one where the mind of St Thomas is not compromised by deference to the demands of modern philosophy.  Sydney’s Centre for Catholic Studies (formerly the Centre for Thomistic Studies), successor of the Aquinas Academy, is one such institution—http://www.cts.org.au/   New York’s Aquinas School of Philosophyhttp://www.aquinasphilosophy.com/index.html—is another.   We commend to our readers the courses, both live and on DVD the School has available which may be accessed via the link.

Intending students may find the lessons in basic philosophical principles provided here on superflumina will whet their appetite for the more profound teaching available there.

SUICIDE

In view of the appalling loss of life caused by the destruction of Germanwings flight 9525 on 24th March in the French Alps by the co-pilot, it seemed appropriate for us to put up again a paper published here in February 2010.  more

COMMENTARY ON 24 THESES OF ST THOMAS AQUINAS

The Sacred Congregation of Studies back in July 1914, endorsed certain theses of St Thomas to be adhered to rigorously by teachers in Catholic seminaries and houses of formation.  The document so published was referred to recently by Dr John Lamont in a paper on the Rorate Caeli blogsite.  We set out a short commentary on the document (reproduced in an English translation in the appendix) to assist those who may be unfamiliar with St Thomas’s thought.  more

FAILURE OF THE EXECUTIVE POWER

This is a revision of a paper that appeared on this website in August 2005. It deals with the problems that arose for Catholics on the interplay of two influences, one from outside the Church and the other, the more important, from within.  more

JOHN XXIII AND VETERUM SAPIENTIA

On 22nd February 1962, in the Apostolic Constitution, Veterum Sapientia, Bl. John XXIII wrote as follows:  "[I]t is necessary that the language the Church employs be not only universal but immutable.  For if the truths of the Catholic Church were to be handed on via one or other of more recent and malleable languages, no one of which is superior to another, the meaning of these truths, varied as they are, would not be manifest to everyone with sufficient clarity and precision.  There would, moreover, be no language which could serve as a common and constant norm by which to gauge the exact meaning of other renderings. But Latin is indeed such a language.  It is set and unchanging.  It has long since ceased to be affected by the alteration in meaning of words which is the inevitable concomitant of daily, popular use...  [T]he Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord.  It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular."

The wisdom of these observations and the directives the Apostolic Constitution contained were swamped by the indulgence in novelty which followed upon the Second Vatican Council.  Pope Benedict has stirred the Church's members to recognise the critical place that Latin plays in the Church's mission and liturgy.  It is timely, then, to resurrect this important Church document. more

THE SCHISMATIC TENDENCY IN ‘CREATION SCIENCE’

'Creation Science', the naive assertion that the universe was created only 6,000 years ago, is a Protestant thing.  Its adoption by Catholics presents real dangers to their faith. more

THE LOSS OF METAPHYSICS

John of Salisbury, 12th Century philosopher, says in his Metalogicon: 'Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more... because they raise us up...' In the century that followed John of Salisbury, the greatest of the intellectual giants appeared, Thomas Aquinas. His philosophy, metaphysics, is the only ultimately satisfying explanation of reality, the only philosophy which leads us inevitably to the Author of all reality, Almighty God. Thomas's philosophy was adopted by the Catholic Church as her own to assist in formulating doctrine and in solving the great problems of morals. Yet, in the last 40 years that philosophy has been abandoned and the Church and the world have suffered. If the Church is to be returned to her rightful position of influence in the world, her bishops and teachers must return to St Thomas's metaphysics. more