Austin and Assurance

After his early death in 1960, J.L. Austin was nearly forgotten,. In recent years, there has been something of an Austin revival, as philosophers have given renewed attention to the issues of ordinary language and epistemology that Austin raised. Writing in the TLS , Duncan Pritchard notes that . . . . Continue Reading »

Promethean Postmoderns

Anthony Baker begins his mediation on the notion of “perfection,” Diagonal Advance: Perfection in Christian Theology , with the Romantic Prometheus and various responses to it. Deleuze and Guattari make an appearance, and one would think that they have put the Romantic well behind them. . . . . Continue Reading »

Kantian SciFi

Like everyone in his time, Kant believed in the great chain of being, and like many he extended it to the planets and their inhabitants. The further the planet from the sun, the better; like man, earth was midway. Kant wrote: “The excellence of thinking natures, their quickness of . . . . Continue Reading »

Identity and difference

Philipp Rosemann examines what he describes as the “fundamental principle of Thomist ontology” in Omne ens est aliquid. Introduction a la lecture du ‘systeme’ philosophique de saint Thomas d’Aquin. The principle is stated in the title, and stated baldly it is an utter . . . . Continue Reading »

Individual and other

I cannot be the particular individual I am without particular others (parents, teachers, friends, etc.). The others might have been other others (different parents, e.g.) but then I would be a different particular individual. But I cannot be an individual at all without being a particular . . . . Continue Reading »

Haunted Postmoderns

Nietzsche claims in his Course on Rhetoric that tropes are not ornaments but inherent in language. As Ricoeur puts it, “Language is figurative through and through” ( Oneself as Another , 12). Then Nietzsche says that for this reason language is a lie. But the conclusion follows only if . . . . Continue Reading »

Reversing the Cogito

Descartes’s doubt leads to the cogito , but Ricoeur, following Martial Gueroult’s argument in Descartes’ Philosophy Interpreted According to the Order of Reasons I: The Soul and God , argues that by itself the cogito gives us “a strictly subjective version of truth; the . . . . Continue Reading »

Tossing the quantum dice

In a contribution to The Trinity and an Entangled World: Relationality in Physical Science and Theology , Anton Zeilinger illustrates the “entanglement” of quantum entities by imagining a popular future Christmas toy - the quantum dice: “If we throw the two dice, they will always . . . . Continue Reading »


Pickstock sees mimesis everywhere. There is a sort of imitation in the way a plant “returns inside itself to draw forth nutrients from the soil, to drink down the rain and transform these, with the sunlight’s energy, through photosynthesis.” Animals copy one another, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Finite things, essence and existence

In her argument for the primacy of “reology” over ontology ( res over esse ), or the transcendental character of res , Catherine Pickstock invokes the typical Thomist distinction between essence and existence ( Repetition and Identity: The Literary Agenda ). According to Thomas, these . . . . Continue Reading »