Annotated Bibliography for Upcoming Epistemology Presentation—by Cameron Daly

I’m working on a presentation for Epistemology (the topic of my presentation being what the human mind is capable of knowing—and it includes attempted refutations of denials of the human ability to know), and to my understanding, I am required to post my annotated bibliography for the presentation to my WordPress blog (which, as you can see, I conveniently already have). Thus, my bibliography is as follows:

Apodaca, Christopher. PowerPoint on Can the Existence of God be Proved? Cromwell, CT: Holy Apostles College & Seminary, distributed 4 September 2017. In this PowerPoint, Apodaca refutes any good reason to adhere to determinism, a principle that would basically cancel out genuine knowledge; this refutation may be useful in my own PowerPoint.

Augustine of Hippo. De Trinitate. At New Advent, http://www.newadvent.org. This is where St. Augustine states the “Three Things Concerning Itself” that “Every Mind Knows Certainly” (10, 10), which was a basis from the start for the topic of this project.

Copleston, S.J., Frederick. A History of Philosophy: Volume II: Medieval Philosophy: From Augustine to Duns Scotus. New York, New York: Image, 1993. Fr. Copleston cites some very key points of St. Augustine’s thoughts on knowledge (in contrast to skepticism) that I think might be useful in my lecture/PowerPoint.

Yates, Philippe. Class notes on Week 7 Can we Know? Wonder, skepticism, and method in Epistemology: Skepticism. Cromwell, CT: Holy Apostles College & Seminary, distributed 9 October 2017. I think that Yates’s refutation of skepticism could be a useful thing to add to a PowerPoint advocating the ability to know/what one can know, perhaps especially since it includes the skeptic’s claim to merely doubt the ability to know.

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One Day: A Reflection on Death and Decay—by Cameron Daly

I once saw an article posted by a Catholic page, about what a life-changer it can be to have a skull on your desk. After having written most of this post, I just now actually read it and would highly recommend it! https://aleteia.org/2017/09/12/memento-mori-how-a-skull-on-your-desk-will-change-your-life/

I can certainly see why this would be the case. A skull is a symbol of death—human death. Death can seem so far away from us, even when those close to us die; we might not think about how that will eventually be each and every one of us.

Harold the Skull

Does that make you think at all? About how you spend your time, perhaps?—what you do with it, how wisely you use it, what you put off or allow yourself to be held back from? It should. For one day, you will resemble that skull: one day, you will die. You will feel life slip from your grasp. What will you have done in the time leading up to that? How many regrets will you have? Will you be ready for what comes after it?

And not just you will one day die. One day, your loved ones will die (perhaps in your own lifetime), or perhaps grow distant; one day, every physical thing you possess will be lost to you—your physical abilities, your possessions, perhaps even your mental faculties.*

What does this mean? That we should cling to all these things with desperation? Not at all. It means we should appreciate and cherish each of them while we have them, but do so wisely, knowing that one day they will be gone. One day I will no longer have those I love around for me to appreciate; one day I will no longer have all my cherished possessions; one day I will no longer have my life, and will no longer have time to choose the path of salvation. When will these days be? I haven’t the slightest idea.

Yet, while we should appreciate these transitory things, we should never lose sight of He Who alone is not transitory. We must appreciate the transitory things transitoriness, and take care not to make any of them our foundation. God alone can be our true foundation; for He is the one foundation which will never break or cave in.

While I do as of very recently have a skull on my own desk, I’ll admit that it’s nothing from a laboratory … mine’s a rubbery Halloween decoration. But it gets the point across. For that matter, Halloween itself can help to get this point across. I know some Catholics do not celebrate it, and I respect that; but I am one of those who do. And I think that, if one remembers the true meaning of All Saints’ Day (which is tomorrow—and which, by the way, is a Holy Day of Obligation), and looks a little deeper than the surface appearance of the five-year-old Grim Reapers and little rubbery skulls, he will be reminded of the death that constantly stalks him and all that he knows of the physical world around him—the same death that overtook both the uncanonized souls (who we hope were well prepared for it) and the saints (who we know were well prepared for it). And what a crucial reminder that is.

A similarly important reminder is that which it gives us of sin, the cause of death. An/the original purpose of Jack-O’-Lanterns, for instance, was (to my understanding) to use them to scare away evil spirits. Ridiculous as that sounds, it can remind us of such spirits’ (i.e., demons’) very real existence—and, if we think about it enough, of their state of separation from God, something we want to take care not to share in. And of course, it also mocks them—wouldn’t you be insulted if someone thought he could scare you with a pumpkin?—something demons can’t stand: http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/02/laughing-lucifer-lewis.html

 

This is what’s important to remember, then, when celebrating Halloween: in being “spooked” by things, we should remember why we’re spooked—out of fear of death and evil, both very real things which we should not fail to forget the existence of. If we keep this sort of thing in mind, along with Christ’s victory over sin and death** and take care to have a God-centered, non-evil celebration ourselves, there should be no issue with celebrating a spooky Halloween.

 

*I’ll admit that I’m inspired in part here by the line “One day, you’ll leave this world behind/ So live a life you will remember” in Avicii’s “The Nights.”

**The first article linked mentions part of this in regard to keeping a skull on one’s desk. A Word on Fire article about Halloween I think also mentioned this, I think.

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Keeping a Faithful Friday—by Cameron Daly

When we receive the sacrament of reconciliation, we make an act of contrition; and in the one that I and probably plenty of others use, we say that we “firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance.” A simple question: do we actually do this?

The Church helps us in this regard by requiring certain penances–such as giving up meat on Lenten Fridays, which many people are probably familiar with. What they might not be so familiar with is that this doesn’t apply to just Lenten Fridays….

According to Colin B. Donovan, S.T.L., every Friday that isn’t a solemnity is a day of completing an obligatory penance or charitable act of some sort. For people outside the US, this consists of mandatory abstinence from meat every Friday; however, the USCCB was able to allow Catholics in the US to practice other forms of penance/charity in place of abstinence on non-Lenten Fridays should they so choose (whereas Fridays in Lent still exclusively require abstinence from meat). See the following EWTN article, in particular the part under the heading “Abstinence“: https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/fast_and_abstinence.htm

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Dance of the Sun–Miracle or Mind Game? by Cameron Daly

Wishing you all a blessed 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fátima’s Miracle of the Sun! I wanted to reblog this in honor or this miracle.

Roman Catholic Reflections

In honor of today’s being the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, I here offer my defense of the miraculous nature of the sign granted by Mary at the conclusion of the Fatima apparitions:

Perhaps the greatest public miracle of all time is what is known as the “Dance of the Sun,” which occurred on October 13, 1917 in Fatima, Portugal. It happened at the request of Lucia dos Santos, who asked Our Lady for a miracle so that people would believe what she and her cousins were saying about the Marian apparitions they had been experiencing. One common objection to this well-known miracle is the idea that it was something called a “mass hallucination” (“Modern Miracles”). Essentially, the idea is that around seventy thousand people had a nearly identical waking nightmare about the sun going haywire–at the same time, for the same amount of time. Not only does…

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“[E]xplain which of the proofs [of God proposed by those who came before St. Thomas] … you found most interesting and why”—discussion prompt answered by Cameron Daly

Last night, I posted what follows to the above discussion prompt in the truly epic Philosophy of God class I’m taking at Holy Apostles this semester (taught by Prof. Christopher Apodaca). As another point of interest, yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Roman Catholic Reflections’s existence!

 

I think the proof that jumped out at me the most was Plato’s.

Plato’s argument was the first of its kind; that is, it was the first attempt at proving the divine via the physical. Unlike the traditionally-understood (to modern Catholic philosopher ears) unmoved divine first mover, however, Plato suggested something somewhat different: a self-moved divine first mover. 1(Both of which are reasons I find the argument interesting.)

His argument for this ran that there had to be a point of initiation for all of the change we observe in the world around us. In his view, change itself comes about by things either moving themselves (which spiritual things are capable of) or moving other things (which material things are capable of). Therefore, the initiation obviously has to be in self-propagated motion—which indicates a spiritual source, something Plato identifies as God. 2

McInerny notes that there is a “serious metaphysical problem with the idea of a self-moving mover”; 3for anything that moves, even a spiritual will, must be moved at least in part by another (even if, as far as a spiritual will is concerned, that other is some external perceived good/desire). This is one reason for Aristotle’s theorizing an unmoved mover. 4

For Catholics, this may present a point of confusion: for if a human will must be moved to some degree by other things, why not the divine will? How can God will to create, and yet remain unmoved, if even a spiritual will must be moved to action?

God can do this, and yet be unmoved, because He is eternal—and therefore all of Him, including His will to create, 5 is eternal and unchanging. As McInerny notes, to move is understood to mean to change in any way6 This applies to a temporal, changing human will, but not to the eternal, changeless divine will. This is why God can will something, and yet remain unmoved in doing so; for what He wills, He wills throughout all eternity, even if His eternal will reflects differently through changing creation at different points throughout time.

1 D. Q. McInerny, Natural Theology (Elmhurst, Pennsylvania: The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, 2005), 51-52.
2 McInerny, Natural Theology, 51.
3 McInerny, Natural Theology, 52.
4 McInerny, Natural Theology, 53-55.
5 concerning God’s will being God Himself, see Frank Sheed, Theology and Sanity (Illustrated) (New York, US: Aeterna Press, 2015), chapter 4, The Mind Works on Infinity, Kindle edition.
6 McInerny, Natural Theology, 53.

 

A classmate had noted a bit of confusion of his, concerning why our own “eternal” spiritual wills could change, while God’s could not. The meat of my reply to his confusion runs as follows:

 

St. Augustine held that only God is eternal in the sense that God is eternal. Maybe you could think of his “eternity” and the “eternity” of our souls as being the difference between true eternity (always in existence) and immorality (in existence with a beginning but without end). We can change because we are not eternal–only immortal. You might find this post I once wrote interesting and hopefully helpful: https://camerondaly.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/the-unchangeable-god-and-his-changeable-creation/

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Revised Fátima Trivia—by Cameron Daly

Wishing you a blessed 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fátima’s September apparition!

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“Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world”—Our Lady of Fátima (quoted from https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/rosary/).

So I realized that I was mistaken the last time I tried to post a trivia question concerning Our Lady of Fátima…. I had asked why she appeared on the fifteenth of August rather than on the thirteenth (since she appeared on the thirteenth of every other month she appeared to the three shepherd children). Small wonder nobody answered, since it was actually the nineteenth that she appeared…. #besttoadmittobeingwrong

Therefore, about a month later, I’ll try again: why did Our Lady appear on the nineteenth of August rather than on the thirteenth? See if you can guess or remember without looking it up!

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Please be sure to Like our Facebook page!—by Cameron Daly

Not everything we post is here on the blog … please make sure you Like our Facebook page as well, for some of our pictures (like the great one in the post below, put together by Grace Marie) and shorter posts!

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