• Metaphysician Undercover
    12.7k
    This little illustration helps us see that time is potentiality and exists only so far as motion is happening,Gregory

    Potentiality is a requirement for motion and is therefore prior to it. So is time a requirement for motion and is prior to it. How would you support your claim that potentiality only exists if motion is happening?
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    I can't say for sure that an actuality that has all power and goodness is not the ground of being. It's not about that. It has to do with what is provable. I've been saying that time, near infinite potentiality, and limited material actuality move by the laws of physics to produce life and the experience of phenomena. You would have to provide an infallible proof that an infinite person is required to explain the universe in spite of the fact that Aristotelian physics has been debunked
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.7k
    I've been saying that time, near infinite potentiality, and limited material actuality move by the laws of physics to produce life and the experience of phenomena.Gregory

    By the laws of physics, time does not move. It is a principle of measurement, and is therefore moved by the measurer. This is the great advancement of Einstein's relativity, the overruling of absolute time, as something which moves independently from a frame of reference. This provides the capacity for the measurer to move time in a way which facilitates measurement.
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    Are you saying time is measure of motion or that it is a dynamic aspect of space? Aristotle said the first, Einstein the second

    I see no reason that actuality has to be centered and combined in one entity prior to the world since potentiality, the might of substance, time, and motion operate as a organic whole following the laws of relativity to produce a dynamic experience of time
  • Gregory
    4.6k
    "If being exists as over against God, it is its own support; it does not preserve the least trace of divine creation. In a word, if it had been created, being-in-itself would inexplicable in terms of creation; for it assumes its being beyond creation. This is equivalent to saying that being is uncreated." Sartre in Being and Nothingness

    Aquinas writes like Mozart made music. Technique is good in both but neither are the best at their craft. I wish I could enjoy Aquinas and get into that but his writings are a bore so I read more difficult philosophies by other writers. Thomists say that they can prove their is a God but is their proof infallible? Can philosophy prove anything beyond all doubts? It seems to me that Aquinas made an error in making existence a predicate of essence
  • spirit-salamander
    268
    My problem with Aquinas or the Thomist school is that I do not find its synthesis of emanationistic or Neoplatonic pantheism, of Late Jewish/Early Christian Abrahamic monotheism, and of Aristotelian metaphysics (with the unmoved mover thinking only of himself, who moves only as the beloved moves the lover) convincing. All these three constituents are on their own more convincing than that Thomistic synthesis.
    Moreover, at important theoretical points, the Thomists always remain with a mere word explanation instead of a factual explanation, so that one does not know where one stands.
    Since you read my quote-rich critique of the first way, do you find it valid?
    If you google "spirit-salamander" and "blogger" you'll find my more comprehensive criticism.
    At the very least, not knowing about Thomism is somewhat naive philosophically because it has always been one of the major schools of thought. I think in the 19th century Kantianism and Thomism fought each other for dominance in the humanities.
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    I comprehended your critique of Thomistic consolidation of all attributes in a single first Mover and can tell you understand the arguments. You've done a fine job. I recently have been inspired by Jung's idea of darker, more primitive god who interacts with the human mind at deep levels. We can't know about the existence of this being nonetheless like we can of a table or chair. Aquinas's God is good by his will being infinitely subtle in its goodness and although this may be a ideal a human may have but it can not be proven to be a reality outside us
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    Thomism has been fought against since Spinoza and Hume. I'll read your longer article today sometime. This is fun because I base my arguments on my own critique of Aquinas's and Aristotle's original writings. I don't read a lot of contemporary commentary
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.7k
    Are you saying time is measure of motion or that it is a dynamic aspect of space? Aristotle said the first, Einstein the secondGregory

    Aristotle identified two senses of "time", the primary one as a measure, and the secondary as something which is measured. Einstein treats time as a measure, that's why whenever we speak of the passage of time (which would indicate "time" as what is measured) within the precepts of special and general relativity, it, meaning the passage of time, is always relative to the system of measurement, frame of reference. So time is a measure, and whenever we try to derive a real "passage of time" we come up with something different depending on the system of measurement.

    I see no reason that actuality has to be centered and combined in one entity prior to the world since potentiality, the might of substance, time, and motion operate as a organic whole following the laws of relativity to produce a dynamic experience of timeGregory

    This makes no sense. How could there be an organic whole prior to the existence of life?
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    Life arises from the motion of chemicals. I didn't use the word organic. Anyway, you are still trying interpret modern physics within the parameters of Aristotle's theory of being and that just doesn't work. Do you know that length is relative? Do you understand how time causes gravity? Modern physics is much closer to process philosophy than outdated Thomism. We know from science and mathematics that a self-consistent infinity of past motions is possible. I question whether the very idea of Aquinas's God is even plausible on very serious grounds
  • spirit-salamander
    268
    I described only extended particles towards the end of my original post, but there are also point-like particles in physics that have similarities to Leibnizian monads:

    "A point particle (ideal particle or point-like particle, often spelled pointlike particle) is an idealization of particles heavily used in physics. Its defining feature is that it lacks spatial extension; being dimensionless, it does not take up space." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_particle)

    And:

    "In summary, extended particles have a fixed size, although they may have a fuzzy edge; point-like particles are mathematical abstractions with zero size. But even zero-size particles have an extended effect, due to the effect of the field surrounding them." (https://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/archive/archive_2013/today13-02-15_NutshellReadMore.html)

    So I would have to modify my conclusion like this:

    The attempt to save Aquinas' proof by making it a composition argument fails. The supposed saviors want to say: parts compose (move) the whole and these parts are composed by further parts and this cannot go to infinity and must end with God. I say that this is refuted by holistic wholes or reductivistic fundamental particles or even point-like particles.
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    Leibniz invented calculus and seemed to say objects have infinite parts (monads). He argued for God using the ontological arguments, which was best expressed by Descartes actually. Keep thinking critically, Greg
  • Gregory
    4.6k
    I guess I'll add that Aquinas held the idea of simplicity vs corporality very close to his heart. Without this distinction his arguments fails. If you accept spiritual simplicity (no parts plus life or no parts equal life) then he goes on with a further assumption that causality must be thought alongside "reason for" in the same thinking moment. So he assumes an infinite past series of finite causes is unsatisfactory because it explains how but not why and his assumption is that why and how must be thought of together. His next step is that God must be the reason and cause of the series but his arguments for what God is become weaker as his arguments enfolds from there.
  • spirit-salamander
    268
    Monads, at least according to Kant's interpretation, are something extensionless with an extended effect. Therein I saw the similarity to the point particles.

    He argued for God using the ontological arguments, which was best expressed by Descartes actually.Gregory

    Perhaps because of the nature of monads, he could not make a proof from motion, but had to resort to the ontological or modal-cosmological ones.
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    Points are always tricky things. They are dimentionless but not nothing
  • spirit-salamander
    268
    I guess I'll add that Aquinas held the idea of simplicity vs corporality very close to his heart. Without this distinction his arguments fails.Gregory

    Since Aquinas thinks neoplatonically, he excludes from the outset that something extended can exist in itself. Kant thinks in principle the same way (transcendental aesthetics). Trendelenburg argued that Kant's arguments in support of transcendental idealism ignored the possibility that space and time are both ideal and real. One could say something similar to Aquinas.
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    Kant's hard to understand correctly, but Aquinas thinks it's self evident that material things are contingent and something necessary is needed and it must be spiritual and unextended
  • spirit-salamander
    268
    Aquinas thinks it's self evident that material things are contingent and something necessary is needed and it must be spiritual and unextendedGregory

    Exactly
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    Aquinas's arguments are grounded (unfounded) in a very specific ontology. There can't be two "Pure Acts" he says, even though they CAN be distinguished by their individuality (it seems to me). This is an example again him uniting arguments with a desire for a meaning in life, although God and such might not have anything to do with a meaning of life. He argues that God is infinite because God has no "potentiality" although he doesn't prove that this follows or that God has no potentiality at all. He makes leaps of logic in every step of every argument he makes and but Thomists can't see there are other ways of doing philosophy that are perfectly valid
  • spirit-salamander
    268


    We seem to distinguish between things on the basis of their actualities rather than on the basis of their potentialities. Aquinas thought the other way around.

    I find Plotinus more convincing than Aquinas.

    God is pure potentiality for Plotinus. Pure actuality would be the Nous, which is nevertheless composed according to Plotinus criteria:

    "Plotinus denies sentience, self-awareness or any other action (ergon) to the One (τὸ Ἕν, to En; V.6.6). Rather, if we insist on describing it further, we must call the One a sheer potentiality (dynamis) without which nothing could exist. (III.8.10) As Plotinus explains in both places and elsewhere (e.g. V.6.3), it is impossible for the One to be Being or a self-aware Creator God." (Wikipedia on Plotinus)

    And:

    "We turn from the One to the second element of the Plotinian trinity, Intellect (nous). Like Aristotle’s God, Intellect is pure activity, and cannot think of anything outside itself, since this would involve potentiality. [...] Despite the identity of the thinker and the thought, the multiplicity of the Ideas means that Intellect does not possess the total simplicity which belongs to the One. Indeed, it is this complexity of Intellect that convinced Plotinus that there must be something else prior to it and superior to it. For, he believed, every form of complexity must ultimately depend on something totally simple." (Anthony Kenny - Ancient Philosophy)
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    Yes I believe the universe is limitless potentiality with an eternal actual element that has always existed and moves by the laws of physics. Potentiality makes every day new
  • NotAristotle
    254
    Here is an interpretation of Aquinas' first way in argumentative format:

    1. There is motion.
    2. Motion is a kind of change.
    3. Change is the actualization of a potential.
    4. Something cannot actualize its own potential.
    5. The actualization of something's potential must be done by something else.
    6. There cannot be an infinite series of potentials that need to be actualized in order to actualize some potential (otherwise, no change could occur by the definition of infinite and by the definition of what it is to be an actualized actualizer).
    7. Therefore, there must be a first unactualized actualizer (unchanged changer or unmoved mover).
    8. This everyone understands to be God.

    I find it to be a convincing argument. If you have objections, I can try to answer them.
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