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By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
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11th September 2001

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Science and Philosophy

I. The Ether

Some things are so obvious we hardly need express them.  Among them is the truth that nothing (ie, non-existence) does not exist.  Yet this is the claim implicit in the assertion of scientists that space is a void, a place empty of any matter.  Aristotle, and after him St Thomas Aquinas, consistent with common sense, taught that this is impossible.  Aristotle gave a name to the matter with which the apparent void in the heavens is filled, 'aether'. more

II. The Theory of Knowledge

How is it that we know?   The explanation derives from the doctrines of causality, and of matter and form.  more

III. Design in Nature

Dr Michael Denton's 'Nature's Destiny' is a compelling study from a scientific point of view of the evidence for design in nature. more

IV. Shaking the Darwinian Foundations

The second of two articles on evolutionary theory, this one considers Dr Michael Denton's two books on the subject and criticises the logic of his position.  It contrasts with it that of Aristotle and St Thomas, and the Catholic position. more

V. Atheism's Great Cosmogenic Myth

Darwinian evolution is atheism's response to God's revelation of His creation.  Unproven and unprovable, it is founded on nothing more than assertion.   more

VI. Science and Aristotle's Aether

In 2004, American philosopher, Christopher A Decaen, published in 'The Thomist' a remarkable paper on Aristotle's aether.  This commentary on what he had to say there is an attempt to develop the consequences of Aristotle's thought - as refined by St Thomas Aquinas - in the light of modern science.

This is a substantial revision of the commentary which appeared on this website on 25th May 2008.  more

VII. Further Thoughts on Aristotle's Aether

A further short commentary on the thesis advanced in 'Science And Aristotle's Aether'.  more

VIII. Spirit

This lucid explanation of the immaterial, and essential, part of man's being is the second chapter of F J Sheed's "Theology for Beginners" published 50 years ago.  more

IX. Light: Aristotle & St Thomas

This paper reproduces the teaching of the metaphysicians, Aristotle and St Thomas, on the fascinating topic of light.  The author has added his commentary in an endeavour to reconcile with that teaching the discoveries of modern empirical science. more

X. Light

What reality is more critical to our lives than light?  Here we suggest a view about its reality which blends metaphysics with modern science.  more

XI. The Two Rabbits

What is, and what is not, a substance? Read on...

XII. The God Particle?

Here is our comment on the discovery of ‘the Higgs Boson’.  more

XIII. Gravity and Aristotle's Aether

We offer in this paper a solution to the question of the cause, as opposed to the marks or the calculation of operation, of gravitational force.  more

XIV. THE Clumsiness of Lawrence M Krauss

This article, a review of the controversial book of the American professor of physics, Lawrence M Krauss, marks the 10th anniversary of this website and the 110th anniversary of the great Pope Leo XIII.  more

XV. 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

XVI. 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

XVII. Gravitational Theory & Weightlessness

Observations of the behaviour of fluids on the International Space-station appear to confirm metaphysical theory concerning the cause of gravity.  more

XVIII. Gravitational Theory & Weightlessness—Part II

Some further thoughts on the shortcomings of current gravitational theory and showing how Aristotelian theory supports the view that God is the Author of the universe.  more