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11th September 2001

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PROFESSOR SOLOMON'S INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Monitum

Not everyone can be taught the principles of philosophy.  There are a number of reasons.

The first is that philosophy involves speculative thinking, and not everyone has an intellect which is disposed to speculative thought.  Fewer women than men have speculative minds for the very good reason that women are, from their make-up, primarily concerned with people, whereas men are primarily concerned with things.  And while the category 'things' embraces the immaterial as well as the material, many men have difficulty dealing with the abstract.  But there are more profound issues.

Everyone over the age of about 14 years already has a philosophy of his own, with a small 'p', a view of the world, perhaps as yet only weakly formed, resulting from his engagement with family and friends, with the influences purveyed by the media and the teachers of the school he may be attending, by shows on television, by movies and by talk-back radio hosts.  If he is lucky, he will have had the salutary influence of religion to balance the almost universally secularist view that characterises public thought.  But, as is becoming increasingly obvious, many religions produce harmful effects and even more harmful thinking.  There are religions and religions ; or, better expressed, there are religions and there is religion.  There is—it has been the constant contention of this website—only one religion worth following and that is the religion founded not by this man or that under some alleged inspiration, but by God.  That religion is Catholicism.

This business of philosophy with a small 'p' gives rise to a problem which is not of the intellect but of the will.  “It pertains to the student to believe,” Aristotle remarked.  The last disposition the teacher needs in a student is that of the 'know-all', for no matter what he may say the student will know better.  Teaching him will be waste of time.  The intending student has to understand and realise that he must suspend the acceptance of his own 'philosophy' and consider honestly the arguments put to him, arguments which will in all probability conflict with his present views.  This willingness to suspend belief in one's own view is an absolute pre-requirement.  It takes humility.  Moreover, in the modern world it presents immense difficulties.  For the modern citizen is programmed with a universal secularism—an effect of Masonic protocols embedded in the social psyche—to reject any but a materialistic and atheistic view of reality, a view which is fundamentally flawed.

Yet, there remains in every man a desire for the truth.

But there is an even more fundamental problem, one likely to afflict a majority of intending students, namely, the character of their present moral conduct.  If you want to be free to acknowledge the truth you must live in accordance with the truth.  If you live, on the contrary, in a state of sin—blaspheming, lying, thieving, fornicating, or otherwise dishonouring your fellow man—you are no long free.  The native freedom of your intellect is lost.  The reason is that the will is the appetite of intellect and by its decisions it binds the intellect to its choices.  This renders the sinner incapable of acknowledging truth's demands.  How rightly did Christ, Our Lord, say “the one who commits sin is a slave.” [John 8: 34 ; & cf. Romans 6: 16-19 ; 2 Peter 2: 19]   Thus, it is quite impossible to teach the unrepentant sinner the truths of philosophy.

A.P.S.S.

Lesson 1 - Starting Out

Professor Solomon, in retirement in country New South Wales, is giving lessons in the philosophy of St Thomas to the local home-schooled Catholic children.  He has been prevailed on to allow us to reproduce them on superflumina.  We hope that their content will assist those ignorant of the Church’s philosophy to understand the reasons underlying her teachings.   He has, as a pre-requirement, provided a warning or ‘Monitum’ to intending students, see above, of what he has to say about problems that may confront them. Lesson 1

Lesson 2 - The Next Step

Having embarked on the study of philosophy, let us take the next step. Lesson 2

Lesson 3 - Moving to the Natural

Having used artificial things to illustrate the principles of the doctrine of causality, we must now move to consider natural things.  Lesson 3

Lesson 4 - Form & End

Now we explore the close connection between the chief of the intrinsic causes (final) and the chief of the extrinsic causes (form).  Lesson 4

Lesson 5 - Substantial Form

Now we deal with the substantial forms of natural things and expose some surprising facts about the world in which we live. Lesson 5

Lesson 6 - Substance

Here we expose a few more details about the form that determines any natural thing.  Lesson

Lesson 7 - Tidying up, & a Few Principles

Before we go on to address the important issue of how a corporeal substance gets a body, we tidy up a few ends.  Lesson 7

Lesson 8 - The Categories

We begin to consider the ten classes in the metaphysical order, to one of which all things whatsoever can be referred.  Lesson 8

Lesson 9 - Quantity & a Little Quality

Here we concentrate on the first two of the accidental forms attaching to any corporeal substance. Lesson 9

Lesson 10 – 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

Lesson 11 - The Order of Substances

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

Lesson 12 - 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

Lesson 13 - How Do We Know ?

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

Lesson 14 - A Little More on Knowledge

Here we go a little further in our explorations of what is involved in knowing. Lesson 14

Lesson 15 - The Inclination of Appetite

Every form is followed by some inclination.  This is the ground for the appetite that follows on the sense knowledge of any animal.  Lesson 15

Lesson 16 – Knowing in Man and Beast

How do they differ in their knowing, man and beast ? Lesson 16

Lesson 17 – Potency & Act

We close the year’s lessons with Prof Solomon’s summary of the fundamental doctrine of potency and act.  lesson 17

Lesson 18 – Life, the Universe and Everything

As a bonus, Prof Solomon has included as a last lesson for the year, his assessment of the way the universe operates.  Lesson 18  more

PROFESSOR SOLOMON'S LESSONS IN PHILOSOPHY

SECOND SERIES

Professor Solomon is producing a second series of lessons in metaphysics this year.  After addressing some basic concepts he will proceed to elaborate each of St Thomas’s Five Proofs for the existence of God.

Lesson 1 - What Philosophy Addresses

Here we carry out some revision of issues addressed last year, and consider an interesting objection raised by one of the class.  more

Lesson 2 - Being is Transcendent

The greatest feature of any thing is that it exists.  Nothing is more significant.  Being, existence, transcends all the categories into which we can divide the things of nature.  more

Lesson 3 – Proving the Existence of God – Some Preambles

Before we embark on the first of the proofs of God’s existence, we must lay some groundwork.  more

Lesson 4 – More Preambles

We must understand the difficulties that confront our task and where they originated.  more

Lesson 5 - Proving the Existence of God, How Not to Go About It

You cannot prove the existence of God by mixing up mental being with real being.  more

Lesson 6 - The Proof from Movement – Part I

When we understand what movement is, we begin to grasp just how dependent every mover is on something else moving it.  more

Lesson 7 – The Proof from Movement - Part II

We consider an apparent difficulty.  How can things such as animals, that move themselves, be said to be moved by another ?  more

Lesson 8 – The Proof from Movement – Part III

The dependence of mover on mover must be essential, or per se, for the proof to be a valid demonstration that all movers depend ultimately on a First Mover.  more

Lesson 9 – The Proof from Causation

This is the second of St Thomas’s five proofs for the existence of God.  more

Lesson 10 – The Proof from Contingency

The third of St Thomas’s proofs turns on the existence of things from the aspect that every material thing can both be and be not, i.e., it is contingent.  more

Lesson 11 – More on the Proof from Contingency

A little more on the Third Proof for God’s existence.  more

Lesson 12 – The Proof from Degrees of Perfection

The Fourth Proof, in which we address the essences of things manifest in their possession of certain perfections. more

Lesson 13 -  Philosophical Perfection, Potency & Act

The word ‘perfection’ has a specific meaning in philosophy.  Here we explore it.  more

Lesson 14 – The Proof from Order : Part I

Here we begin to address the final of the five proofs for God’s existence. more

Lesson 15 – The Proof from Order : Part II

Here we conclude the argument for a first cause of the order in the universe.  more

Lesson 16 – Wrapping It All Up

We gather together the conclusions of the five ways to show that they conduce to One Prime Cause who is God.  more

Lesson 17 – The Folly of Atheism & of Evolutionary Theory

Here, in our last lesson for the year, we address the atheistic position to its face.  more

PROFESSOR SOLOMON'S LESSONS IN PHILOSOPHY

THIRD SERIES

Lesson 1 -  Death in Twenty Seconds

Professor Solomon embarks on the third year of his lessons for home schooled children with this offering.  He advises that this year he will mix philosophy with the theology of Christ’s Church.  The recent tragedy on Australia Day in Perth provides a good place to begin.  more

Lesson 2 – True and False Equality

Here we address the errors in modern slogans that flow from the errors of the French Revolution.  more

Lesson 3 – A World Gone Backwards

Here we map the regression in human thought that followed on Martin Luther’s rejection of God’s authority 500 years ago.  more

Lesson 4 – Why We Should Believe in God & His Catholic Church

Here is a short analysis of Cardinal Manning’s statement on the rationality of belief in God and His Church.  more

Lesson 5 – The Consequences of Atheism

Deny God’s existence and you must deny He has communicated with man.   The result is a loss of sense of vocation (for who is there who has called me ?) and of any fitting end of this life that I enjoy so much.  more

Lesson 6 – Procedure from a Principle

A principle is a beginning.  It is, Aristotle says, “that wherefrom something proceeds...”  There are two sorts of physical principles, the intrinsic and the extrinsic.  The failure to understand this, as the failure to understand the manner in which things proceed from each sort of principle goes far to explain the problems in the modern world.  more

Lesson 7 – Procedure from a Principle – Part II

There are further errors that follow on the failure to understand the distinction among principles and how they produce their effects.  more

Lesson 8 –  Even More on Procedure from a Principle

Ignorance over these real distinctions is at the heart of the view that man will someday create ‘artificial intelligence’, and popular belief in Darwinian evolutionary theory.  more

Lesson 9 – The Greatest Reality in the Universe

Such is the debility of modern thought, we take the greatest reality in the universe for granted.  Our blindness to ‘the bleeding obvious’ hinders our comprehension, too, of the location of the centre of the universe.  more

PROFESSOR SOLOMON'S LESSONS IN PHILOSOPHY

Difficulties

This is a letter addressing certain difficulties expressed by our readers in their endeavours to grasp the metaphysical.  more