The Truth That Frees (Aquinas Lecture 21)


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The course proceeds through an introduction to St. By enrolling in the free video course, subscribers also will have access to selected readings, recommended podcasts and further resources. The Thomistic Institute was founded 10 years ago and seeks to promote Catholic truth in the contemporary world by strengthening the intellectual formation of Christians especially at top-tier universities. Using Thomas Aquinas as its touchstone, the institute has over 50 student chapters at schools such as Harvard, Yale, New York and Duke universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Vincent de Paul as they bring their gifts to society. Below is the current St.


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Vincent de Paul Lecture and Concert Series schedule:. Fall Concert Paul Galbraith, classical guitarist. Lecture: Mr. Lecture: Dr. Lecture on Shakespeare Dr. Lecture on St. Augustine Dr. Timothy B. January 28 p. Daniel E. March 20 p. Carol A. I am concerned in this section to propound the thesis that an explanation of some event makes possible the prediction of further events and indeed provides the paradigmatic means of making predictions. My concern arises because I wish to point out that the same criteria, notably simplicity, are at work in judging the worth of purported explanations as of purported predictions.

Though the question is slightly different from that to which my thesis gives an answer, the same kind of examples and counter-examples prove relevant. A theory with few variables often has an advantage over a theory with many variables of a kind to which Glymour drew our attention.

The Church's Common Doctor: Aquinas and the Catholic University

This is that the value of Simplicity as Evidence of Truth 59 a variable of the former can be calculated from different parts of the data by different routes. Plausibly, if the two ways of calculating it yield the same value, that confirms the theory. It is not an advantage possessed by one fully determinate theory postulating many properties with precise values over one postulating few properties with precise values, which is what the first and second facets of simplicity described in the text are concerned with.

For if there are two kinds of observation each of which allows us to calculate the value of a certain variable of T1, then for each value of one kind of observation, all values except one of the other kind of observation are ruled out. If this does not hold for T2, T2 rules out less than does T1.

So T1 predicts more precisely than does T2. See the famous example introduced into philosophical discussion by Nelson Goodman in his Fact, Fiction, and Forecast Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, second edition, Hence all emeralds observed so far that is, before are green, and also now grue. Our conception of grue is a more complicated conception than that of green since in order to grasp what it is to be grue, we have first to grasp what it is to be green, but not vice versa.

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Hence our preference for the former hypothesis can be explained in terms of our preference for the simpler hypothesis. After A.

A History of Philosophy - 24 Thomas Aquinas' Christian Aristotelianism

Of course to distinguish between different cardinal and ordinal infinite numbers, and to grasp transfinite arithmetic does require certain sophisticated con- Simplicity as Evidence of Truth 61 cepts, but one can grasp the concept of a quantity being infinitely large without grasping all that. See p. For given any successful background theory, there can be an infinite number of equally successful theories differing from the former only by having wild predicates in them.

Simplicity has to enter in to eliminate the background theories with the wild predicates, before it enters in to pick out theories of a new area which fit well with the non-eliminated theories. See, for example, A.

POPE LEO XIII.

His view seems to arise from regarding background as consisting not merely of scientific theories in the ordinary sense but also of principles of inference, and this conglomeration of two very distinct things seems to arise from a claim that empirical data can provide evidence not merely for theories but for principles of inference. But these Simplicity as Evidence of Truth 63 principles of inference so established cannot be all the ones that there are—for then there would be no principles left in virtue of which the empirical data could provide evidence for them. Science must have some a priori contribution.

But the reason why such hypotheses are very unlikely is that very simple hypotheses have worked poorly in the past in social and economic theory, while the simplest among hypotheses of a certain kind and degree of complexity have done better; and so a new hypothesis, to fit well with such hypotheses, will have to postulate the same kinds of complex interactions—in other words a new relatively complex hypothesis will make for a simpler overall theory than does a new very simple hypothesis.

He infers—correctly—that 64 Richard Swinburne scepticism about the ability of science to give absolute rankings to the worth of theories must lead to scepticism about its ability to give comparative rankings.


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Supposedly Archimedes formulated his law in his bath, Newton formulated his theory after watching an apple drop, and Einstein once worked in a patent office. David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, 1. See A. See, for example, Pannekoek, A History of Astronomy, pp. Thomas and the Life of Learning. John F. McCormick, S. Thomas and the Gentiles. Mortimer J. Adler X 3. Thomas and the Greeks. Anton C. Pegis 4. The Nature and Functions of Authority.

The Truth That Frees (Aquinas Lecture 21)

Yves Simon 5. Thomas and Analogy. Gerald B. Phelan 6. Thomas and the Problem of Evil. Jacques Maritain 7. Humanism and Theology.

Werner Jaeger 8. The Nature and Origins of Scientism. John Wellmuth 9. Cicero in the Courtroom of St. Rand Thomas and Epistemology. Louis-Marie Regis, O. Thomas and the Greek Moralists. Vernon J. Bourke 68 Aquinas Lectures History of Philosophy and Philosophical Education. The Natural Desire for God.

Edward Feser: Aquinas Lecture

William R. Thomas and the World State. Robert M. Hutchins Method in Metaphysics. Robert J.

The Truth That Frees (Aquinas Lecture 21) The Truth That Frees (Aquinas Lecture 21)
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