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presidential address
1. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
Thomas Hibbs LAUDATO SI, Modernity, and Catholic Aesthetics
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presentation of the aquinas medal
2. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
William A. Frank Linda Trinkhaus Zagzebski, 2017 Aquinas Medalist
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aquinas medalist’s address
3. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
Linda Zagzebski The Two Greatest Ideas
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plenary sessions
4. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
Bishop Daniel E. Flores Belonging to the WORD Made Flesh
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5. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
John Haldane Learning from Art and History: The Limits of Philosophy
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session 1: philosophy of nature—1
6. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
Christopher O. Blum Nature and Modernity: Can One Philosophize about Nature Today?
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A conspicuous feature of modernity has been the rejection of nature as an authoritative ground of intelligibility and value, a position once defended by nearly all Catholic philosophers. Since Fr. Ernan McMullin’s 1969 article, “Philosophies of Nature,” however, the philosophy of nature has been eclipsed by the philosophy of science in mainstream Catholic philosophy. After examining McMullin’s reasons for setting aside the philosophy of nature and Thomas Nagel’s recent re-affirmation of the possibility of a philosophical reflection upon nature prior to the claims of empirical science, this article responds to McMullin’s critique and defends the viability of an Aristotelian understanding of nature today.
7. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
Robert Verrill, OP Elementary Particles are not Substances
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The doctrine of the salvation of souls is obviously central to our Christian faith. Yet one of the challenges of communicating this truth is that many people have ontological commitments that don’t even allow for the existence of souls. Therefore, a philosophical understanding of physical reality which is compatible with a Christian understanding of the human person is especially important if we are to preach the Gospel effectively in the modern age. Like many Christian philosophers, I believe that St. Thomas Aquinas provides us with such a philosophical understanding of physical reality. Nevertheless, we need to be careful in how we map Aquinas’s philosophical concepts onto physical phenomena. It is with this concern in mind that I will argue that elementary particles are not substances.
session 2: epistemology
8. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
Christopher Tomaszewski A Geachian Cure for Morally Paralyzed Skeptical Theists
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Skeptical theism is a popular response to the evidential problem of evil, but it has recently been accused of proving too much. If skeptical theism is true, its detractors claim, then we not only have no good reason for thinking that God’s reasons for action should be available to creatures like us, but we also have no good reason for thinking that the reasons which govern how we ought to act should be available to creatures like us. And given this ignorance, we would be morally paralyzed, unable to decide what we ought to do in ordinary situations that call for a moral decision. In this paper, I present a simple solution to this problem of moral paralysis by drawing on Peter Geach’s now famous argument for the attributivity of “good.”
9. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
Joseph Gamache Doxastic Involuntarism and Evidentialism: A Curious Modern Conjunction
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It is a curious feature of early modern (specifically empiricist) epistemology and its contemporary heirs in analytic philosophy that belief is held both to be involuntary (doxastic involuntarism), and to be subject to a prescriptive norm of evidence (evidentialism). I begin by laying out these theses, pointing out the tension that exists between them, as well as discussing how they put pressure on religious faith. I then ask why the first thesis—doxastic involuntarism—has come to be so dominant. Following my diagnosis, I advance reasons to think that the thin concept of belief presupposed by doxastic involuntarism is not faithful to our ordinary and more substantial concept of belief. I conclude by outlining an alternative understanding of what it means to believe that p, based on insights of St. Thomas Aquinas and Gabriel Marcel regarding belief and opinion, as well as the relationship between persons and their beliefs.
session 3: metaphysics
10. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: Volume > 91
Karl Hahn “The Mystical is Everything Speculative”: Natural Theology in Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion
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Hegel is a towering figure in modern philosophy, and he is interestingly a thinker for whom philosophical modernity and traditional religion are necessary partners in the pursuit of shared truth. In this paper, I use Hegel’s unique rendition on natural theology as a test-case for examining the intersection of traditional Christian religion and Idealist reason in Hegel’s philosophical modernity. Specifically, I raise the question of whether Hegel’s philosophy of religion is faithful to what philosopher William Desmond has called the “religious between,” within which God exists as superior, transcendent other to the finite human being existing in created dependence on Him. I argue that Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion contain a German idealist conception of natural theology that counterfeits this “between” by subordinating it to a pseudo-mystical quest for noetic union with God that obliterates what should be the irreducible difference between the human and the divine essence.