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August 31, 2006

Comments

Chris

Years ago, when there was just 3 big networks, the liberals could control the news.

Now that the internet has taken over, and there are so many sources of news, and we even have bloggers freely posting their opinions, sharing information, etc. the liberals are going nuts that they can't control the news.

Dan

Aww, come on, Jimmy -- we know you weild supreme power over the blogosphere. Admit it!

Steve

yeah, Chris, and now that there are 4 big networks and CNN, MSNBC and FOX news, the Bushies and the ultra-neo-conservatives control the news.

concerned

Jimmy, I think this is a good post, but it concerns me... there is Fr. Gabriele Amorth, there is this Bruce Kluger and others... how are you any different if you slam him (what a moron!) because he disagrees with you, because you disagree with him? If you have an opinion and someone else has an opinion why are they not equally valued?

dialogue has disappeared in the United States... it is all polarized.. I am right and everyone else is wrong... sad times indeed are with us and we are worse off because of it.

Brian Day

Mr. Kluger himself is a blogger--at least some of the time--at the HuffingtonPost.

'Nuff said.


Concerned,

What are you smoking? Jimmy's post in itself is an editorial addressing another editorial. There is no "dialogue" involved. Gimme a break.

Ry

I think Mr. Kluger makes a valid point. He never says that the bloggers are a monolith. Rather, his thesis is that, "what appears to be a coast-to-coast juggernaut on a 17-inch monitor is, in the real world, simply an elaborate PC-to-PC chain letter — enthusiastic, but not necessarily the national mindset."

A quick visit to DailyKos, myDD, Democratic Underground and moveon.org can show you how a tiny corner of the blogosphere can appear inflated. A typical blog post might look like this:

I just got done reading THIS GUY’S link to u>THIS GUY’S post regarding THIS GUY’S excellent analysis of THIS GUY’S comments on THIS GUY’S latest Lamont poll numbers.

Comments: 437

To dedicated Ned Heads, it looks like Lamont is the only thing anyone can think or talk about. In reality, it's the same handfull of guys linking to each other and commenting in each other's comboxes, creating a massive echo chamber.

Brother Cadfael

Concerned,

If you have an opinion and someone else has an opinion why are they not equally valued?

Because some opinions are worth more than others.

MissJean

Jimmy, I thinks it's apropos that Kluger is a blogger because it reveals how he himself defines blogging.

Here's the money quote in his editorial: "As an occasional blogger myself, I'm still wary of the phenomenon. On one hand, it can be liberating to log on and spout off, unencumbered by editorial oversight."

What he's described is the lowest common denominator blogging. Unencumbered spouting off may characterize personal entries at livejournal, etc. But a lot of the good blogs - the important blogs, if you will - is essentially the 21st Century equivalent of muckraking.

I also like the slight tone of disapproval from a "real" journalist. My favourite muckraker, Ida Tarbell, was not a "real" journalist either when she started her investigation of Rockefeller and Standard Oil.

ajesquire

"It would only make the Democratic Party look more extreme to the public and potentially alienate Liberman at a moment when the Party needed him particularly badly."

err, pot?

"I know the press loves simple stereotypes that it can pour people into, but this is simply unconscionably bad journalism."

meet kettle.

Only about 60% of the public disagree with Senator Lieberman's view on Iraq. Hardly "extreme". But I guess that's just another "stereotype to pour people into".

concerned

Bro. Cadfael,

this is exaclty my point.

ME... whoever me is... thinks that his / her opinion is worth more than every one else's opinion.

(and who / what is the determiner of the value of opinions???? that is like saying my nose is more valuable than yours because it is mine... yes, I know we all have noses, but mine is most valuable)

so we all stand around and look at each other and judge each other and dialogue goes out the window because we only discourse with those that agree with my opinion... which is worth more than the opposing / alternate opinions.

this only breeds pride, judgmentalism, arrogance and condescension.

bill912

Concerned: You are being judgmental.

Brother Cadfael

Concerned,

Perhaps you have missed my point. Some opinions actually do, objectively speaking, have more value than others. Treating all opinions equally would be to begin with a falsity, and that is never a good idea, as that only breeds more falsity.

Perhaps you should be more concerned about how one goes about discerning which opinions have more value.

concerned

bill912,

I am being judgmental??? because Jimmy calls this Kluger guy a moron?????? and I don't understand???

concerned

Bro. Cadfael,

exactly... and this process is called dialogue.

bill912

"this only breeds pride,judgmentalism, arrogance, and condescension." That is an example of your being judgmental.

Ry

Jimmy called Kluger a "maroon," not a moron.

bill912

Addendum to above:

Not that I think there is anything wrong with being "judgmental"; without making judgments, one can't think.

Also, my first comment was made with a twinkle in my eye. I hope you'll take it that way, concerned.

Maureen

If some blogger has low visibility but is consistently sensible and interesting in expressing his opinion, that blogger will very likely gain visibility, because people who happen across him will be likely to point out the worth of his opinions to others.

If someone has high visibility and says uninformed things in an illogical and ill-expressed way, he will be pointed out as a bad example. If he adds arrogance to his other shortcomings, he will be fair game for mockery.

Even if people don't agree with your opinions, you can always learn to express them in a sensible, logical way. (Maybe you'll never be entertaining, but good sense has its own interest.) And even people who don't agree with you will appreciate that.

The problem today is not that opinions are judged. That's a normal exercise of the human brain, and we can hardly do without it. The problem is that many people don't express themselves well and abjure good sense.

Unconcerned

If you have an opinion and someone else has an opinion why are they not equally valued?

Because your own eyes have judged them as unequal.

this only breeds pride, judgmentalism, arrogance and condescension.

So you judge.

Some opinions actually do, objectively speaking, have more value than others.

All comparisons are subjective.

Treating all opinions equally would be to begin with a falsity

That falsity is that their a difference of opinion to begin with. The only opinion you'll ever see is your own.

Brother Cadfael

Unconcerned,

All comparisons are subjective

And all truth is relative. Gotcha.

Brother Cadfael

Italics off. Sorry.

Some Day

I will agree to a certain point. Blogging might just be a result of the overuse of technology.
Might. It might not even be bad in itself.
Its along the tendencial lines. Too hard to explain, forget about it.

Now to ignore blogs as a completly unimportant source of the remnants of public opinion, is pretty stupid. Now there are blogs that are pretty stupid, and many times of sinful subjects.
But the Catholic blogs are now somewhat a thermometer on the minds of the Catholics. Sure sometimes there is only polarized disputes, but not completely. Blogs, while maybe a product of another defect tendencially, is indeniably a source of public opinion, so much that even I must admit a certain compulsion to read the latest post. But anyhow, I try to some apostolate...

Some Day

How do you change the font? Italics, different font and font size?

Brother Cadfael

Concerned,

I said, Perhaps you should be more concerned about how one goes about discerning which opinions have more value.

And your response was, exactly... and this process is called dialogue.

Nonsense. I am not diminishing the importance of dialogue, but what I am talking about is completely distinct from dialogue.

Consider for example, Football Coach who is intimately familiar with the talents and limits of his particular players, with the intricacies of his particular scheme, and with the strengths and weaknesses of his particular opponent. Now consider Joe Fan, who watches the same team on television and reads about the same team in the newspaper. Now, Football Coach is of the opinion that playing Joe QB is the best for his football team, but Joe Fan is of the opinion that Shmoe QB is better. I ask you, are those opinions of equal value? No. Does the process of determining that have anything to do with dialogue? No. In fact, in this particular example, there would be no point to any dialogue.

One might use dialogue at some point as part of the discernment process, or one might (and usually does) do some discernment before the dialogue to make the dialogue more fruitful.

But assuming that all opinions are equal, or that the determination that they are not is purely subjective, is nonsense. At least that's my opinion.


Mary

Italics <i>text</i>

It's the lack of the "/i" that causes endless italics -- so now you can turn off other people's, too.

did it work

Some Day

wundebar!

joe

Great anology brother cadfael. I think that in this predominant culture of subjectivism we live in, we forget that some opinions are right and some are wrong. You and 'unconcerned' can argue all day about whether leaping off a 100ft. building is a wise decision or not; but at the end of the day and at the end of the argument, the person who jumps, metaphorically speaking, hasn't a leg to stand on.

sorry, had to throw in a bad pun.

Unconcerned

All comparisons are subjective
And all truth is relative. Gotcha.

Absolute truth is without foundation; otherwise it would be relative to that foundation, its base, its source.

assuming that all opinions are equal, or that the determination that they are not is purely subjective, is nonsense.

What you claim is no less nonsense. ;)

Brother Cadfael

Unconcerned,

Absolute truth is without foundation; otherwise it would be relative to that foundation, its base, its source.

So...you're saying that it must be founded in something absolute. Hmmmm, wonder what that could be? What is true that could serve as a foundation for absolute truth? Can anyone help Unconcerned out here?

Unconcerned

So...you're saying that it must be founded in something absolute.

No. I'm saying if any truth were founded upon the absolute, that truth must be a relative truth. Only what is unfounded can be absolute.

What is true that could serve as a foundation for absolute truth? Can anyone help Unconcerned out here?

Your question is in error. There is no foundation for absolute truth. The foundation itself is absolute truth. HTH

Brother Cadfael

Unconcerned,

The foundation itself is absolute truth.

Agreed.

joe

I agree as well. Great point unconcerned. I was becoming fearful that you were speaking absolutely about that fact that there is no absolute.

Unconcerned

Football Coach who is intimately familiar... Now, Football Coach is of the opinion that playing Joe QB is the best for his football team, but Joe Fan is of the opinion that Shmoe QB is better. I ask you, are those opinions of equal value? No

It would depend on who is seeking the opinion and for what reason. To some people, perhaps a researcher on the subject of opinions, both opinions might be seen with equal value. To someone else, the opinion expressed in the fewest words might be preferred. It is the very nature of an opinion that it is always subjective. An objective opinion is an oxymoron.

I was becoming fearful that you were speaking absolutely about that fact that there is no absolute.

To borrow a phrase, fear of the absolute is the beginning of wisdom.

Brother Cadfael

Unconcerned,

Which gets us back to where we started. Some opinions are worth more than others.

Unconcerned

Which gets us back to where we started. Some opinions are worth more than others.

Which gets us back where we left off. All opinions, including the opinion that some opinions are worth more, are subjective.

Brother Cadfael

fear of the absolute is the beginning of wisdom.

And elimination of the absolute would be the beginning of folly, no? At least in my opinion. :p

Tim J.

If there is no absolute, then absolutely nothing matters.

Unconcerned

elimination of the absolute would be the beginning of folly, no?

No. Without the absolute, what folly could begin? It's only by the power of the absolute that folly can begin.

If there is no absolute, then absolutely nothing matters.

If there were no absolute, who would care?

I am,
Unconcerned

Tim J.

"If there were no absolute, who would care?"

That sounds easy. But be sure to keep that in mind the next time you are with someone you care about.

They don't matter. You don't matter. None of it matters.

In your saner moments, you know better. I would bet that most of the time YOU are better than your cramped little philosophy.

Brother Cadfael

Unconcerned,

Is the statement "there is no absolute truth,"

(1) absolutely true;
(2) relatively true;
(3) false;
(4) an opinion; or
(5) none of the above?

Brian Day

Stop feeding the troll (unconcerned). Think of the children!

MissJean

The Michigan Alumnus magazine's newest issue has an article on blogging "Blog or Bust". It cites a Pew poll that found (as of fall 2005) only 9 percent of Internet users had ever created a blog and only 27 percent had actually read one.

Unconcerned

Unconcerned,
Is the statement "there is no absolute truth,"
(1) absolutely true;
(2) relatively true;
(3) false;
(4) an opinion; or
(5) none of the above?

As all opinions are subjective, understanding of any answer would depend upon the mindset through which it is perceived. That would mean YOUR mindset. Like I said before, the only view you'll ever see is your own. No one else can see for you. Like Jesus said, "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?" HTH

joe

1,2,3,4,or 5. c'mon make a choice and drop the semantic contortions.

in lighthearted fraternity.

Brother Cadfael

Joe,

He did (4) -- As all opinions are subjective...

J.R. Stoodley

The absolute is God. He is the Truth, He is He who Is. All other truth is true because it has its origin in Him. That anything exists, including that I think, is evidence that something is true. God is the being whose nature it is to exist. It is therefore by divine nature that God exists and hence absolute truth and the Universe itself.

Unconcerned

All other truth is true because it has its origin in Him.

Your claim rests on an assumption that there is other truth beyond Him. It also ignores the issue of the origin of that which would not be truth.

That anything exists, including that I think, is evidence that something is true.

Your claim rests on an assumption that anything, including yourself, truly exists. While it may seem apparent that anything exists, can you judge rightly by appearance?

Some Day

Unconcerned,
What are your motives? I am inclined to say you are not a Catholic.I don't mean to insult you.
Simply that what you are argueing is in the line of Reletavism, Gnosticism and others.
God is Truth. Well it is a "quality"of Him, but that is just a term, because we need to attempt to figure out God, but we can't, or else He wouldn't be God. See evil is illogical. It has absoulutly no rationale. Sure temptation seems to provide one, but that is a sophism, as there needs to be an explaination, true or not. Satan himself is in a way, crazy, because he was the first to deny that Truth and "sustain"it with lies. The Devil knows that He is God and Invincible. Yet he denies it. What is the logic in that? None what so ever. But don't think that evil always existed. In fact, it is a state of denial. You may invent a powerful sophism to explain that gravity does not exist. But if you jump from the Empire State Building, you are going down.
2nd part: ARE YOU THAT STUPID THAT YOU DON'T KNOW THAT YOU EXIST?!
Please don't come here with that. But since I don't want to be just here to bash you here goes some info from New Advent web.


Essence and Existence
Catholic Encyclopedia on CD-ROM
Contains 11,632 articles. Browse off-line, ad-free, printer-friendly.
Get it here for only $33 plus FREE shipping worldwide

(Lat. essentia, existentia)

Since they are transcendentals, it is not possible to put forward a strict definition of either of the subjects of the present article. Essence, however, is properly described as that whereby a thing is what it is. Existence is that whereby the essence is an actuality in the line of being.

ESSENCE
Essence is properly described as that whereby a thing is what it is, an equivalent of the to ti en einai of Aristotle (Metaph., VII, 7). The essence is thus the radical or ground from which the various properties of a thing emanate and to which they are necessarily referred. Thus the notion of the essence is seen to be the abstract counterpart of the concrete entity; the latter signifying that which is or may be (ens actu, ens potentiâ), while the former points to the reason or ground why it is precisely what it is. As furnishing in this manner an answer to the question What? (Quid?) — as, e.g., What is man? — essence is equivalent to quiddity; and thus, as St. Thomas remarks (I, Q. iii, a. 3), the essence of a thing is that which is expressed by its definition.

Synonyms

Nature

Essence and nature express the same reality envisaged in the two points of view as being or acting. As the essence is that whereby any given thing is that which it is, the ground of its characteristics and the principle of its being, so its nature is that whereby it acts as it does, the essence considered as the foundation and principle of its operation. Hence again St. Thomas: "Nature is seen to signify the essence of a thing according as it has relation to its proper operation" (De ente et essentia, cap. i).

Form

Furthermore, essence is also in a manner synonymous with form, since it is chiefly by their formal principle that beings are segregated into one or other of the species. Thus, while created spiritual things, because they are not composed of matter and form, are specifically what they are by reason of their essences or "forms" alone, the compounded beings of the corporeal world receive their specification and determination of nature, or essence, principally from their substantial forms.

Species

A further synonym of essence is species; but it is to be carefully noted that essence in this connexion is used rather with a logical or metaphysical connotation than with a real or physical one. This distinction is of considerable importance. The real or physical essence of compound entities consists in, or results from, the union of the constituent parts. Thus if we consider man as a being composed of matter and form, body and soul, the physical essence will be the body and soul. Apart from any act of abstraction, body and soul exist in the physical order as the constituents of man. On the other hand, we may consider man as the result of a composition of genus proximum and differentia ultima, i. e. of his animality and his rationality. Here the essence, humanity, is metaphysical or logical. Thus, while the real essence, to speak still only of composite beings, consists in the collection of all those physical component parts that are required to constitute the entity what it is, either actually or potentially existent, without which it can be neither actual nor potential, the logical essence is no more than the composition of ideas or notions, abstracted mentally and referred together in what are known as "second intentions".

Distinction between metaphysical and physical essence

This consideration provides a basis for the distinction of essences according to the degree of physical and metaphysical complexity or simplicity which they severally display. The Supreme Being has — or rather is — a unique and utterly simple essence, free from all composition, whether physical or metaphysical. Moreover, in God — otherwise, as we shall see, than in creatures — there is no distinction of any kind between His essence and His existence. Spiritual created beings, however, as free from the composition of matter and form, have physically simple essences; yet they are composite in that their essences are the result of a union of genus and differentia, and are not identical with their existence. In the angel the essence is the species consequent on this union. Corporeal creatures not only share in metaphysical complexity of essence, but have, on account of their material composition, a physical complexity as well.

The characteristic attributes of the essence are immutability, indivisibility, necessity, and infinity.

Immutability.— Since the essence of anything is that whereby the thing is what it is, it follows directly from the principle of contradiction that essences must be immutable. This, of course, is not true in the sense that physical essences cannot be brought into being or cease to exist, nor that they cannot be decomposed into their constituent parts, nor yet that they are not subject to accidental modification. The essence of God alone, as stated above, is so entirely free from any sort of composition that it is in the strictest sense immutable. Every essence, however, is immutable in this, that it cannot be changed or broken up into its constituent parts and yet remain the same essence. The attribute is transcendental and is applied to essence precisely as it is essence. Thus, while the essence of any given man may be broken up into body and soul, animality and rationality, man as man and humanity as humanity is changeless. One individual ceases to exist; the essence itself, whether verified or not in concrete actuality, persists. The definition, "man is a rational animal", is an eternally immutable truth, verifiable whenever and wherever the subject man is given, either as a concrete and existent entity, or as a mere potentiality.

Indivisibility.— Similarly, essences are said to be indivisible; that is to say, an essence ceases to be what it is when it is broken up into its constituents. Neither body nor soul alone is man. Neither animality nor rationality, taken separately, is humanity. Therefore, precisely as essence, it is indivisible.

Necessity.— In like manner necessity is predicated of essences. They are necessary in that, though they may be merely possible and contingent, each must of necessity always be itself. In the order of actual being, the real essence is necessarily what it is, since it is that whereby the thing is what it is; in the order of the merely possible, it must necessarily be identical with itself.

Infinity.— Finally, essences are said to be eternal and infinite in the negative sense that, as essences, there is no reason for their non-existence, nor for their limitation to a given number of individuals in any species.

From what has been said, the distinction between essence considered as physical and as metaphysical will be apparent. It is the metaphysical essence that is eternal, immutable, indivisible, necessary, etc.; the physical essence that is temporal, contingent, etc. In other words, the metaphysical essence is a formal universal, while the physical essence is that real particularization of the universal that provides the basis for the abstraction.

Non-Scholastic views

So far the present article has been occupied in exhibiting the Scholastic view with regard to essence, and in obtaining a certain precision of thought rather than in raising any problems intimately connected with the subject. Notice must be taken, however, of a philosophical tradition which has found adherents mainly among British philosophers and which is at variance with the Scholastic. This tradition would treat as futile and illusory any investigation or discussion concerning the essences of things. By those who hold it, either


the fact of essence is flatly denied and what we conceive of under that name is relegated to the region of purely mental phenomena;
or, what practically amounts to the same thing, that fact is judged to be doubtful and consequently irrelevant;
or again, while the fact itself may be fully admitted, essence is declared to be unknowable, except in so far as we may be said to know that it is a fact.
Of those who take up one or other of these positions with regard to the essence of things, the most prominent may be cited.

Hobbes and Locke, Mill, Hume, Reid, and Bain, the Positivists and the Agnostics generally, together with a considerable number of scientists of the present day, would not improperly be described as either doubtful or dogmatically negative as to the reality, meaning, and cognoscibility of essence. The proponents and defenders of such a position are by no means always consistent. While they make statements of their case, based for the most part on purely subjective views of the nature of reality, that the essences of beings are nonentities, or at least unknowable, and, as a consequence, that the whole science of metaphysics is no more than a jargon of meaningless terms and exploded theories, they, on the other hand, express opinions and make implicit admissions that tell strongly against their own thesis. Indeed, it would generally seem that these philosophers, to some extent at least, misunderstand the position which they attack, that they combat a sort of intuitive knowledge of essences, erroneously supposed by them to be claimed by Scholastics, and do not at all grasp the theory of the natures of things as derived from a painstaking consideration of their characteristic properties. Thus even Bain admits that there may in all probability be some one fundamental property to which all the others might be referred; and he even uses the words "real essence" to designate that property. Mill tells us that "to penetrate to the more hidden agreement on which these more obvious and superficial agreements (the differentiæ leading to the greatest number of interesting propria) depend, is often one of the most difficult of scientific problems. And as it is among the most difficult, so it seldom fails to be among the most important". Father Rickaby in his "General Metaphysics" gives the citations from both Mill and Bain, as well as an important admission from Comte, that the natural tendency of man is to inquire for persistent types, a synonym, in this context, for essences. The philosophical tradition, or school, to which allusion is made — although we have anticipated its assertions by the admissions into which its professors have allowed themselves to be drawn by the exigencies of reason and human language — may be divided roughly into two main classes, with their representatives in Locke and Mill. Locke got rid of the old doctrine by making the "supposed essences" no more than the bare significations of their names. He does not, indeed, deny that there are real essences; on the contrary, he fully admits this. But he asserts that we are incapable of knowing more than the nominal or logical essences which we form mentally for ourselves. Mill, though, as we have seen, he occasionally abandons his standpoint for one more in keeping with the Scholastic view, professedly goes further than Locke in utterly rejecting real essences, a rejection quite in keeping with his general theory of knowledge, which eliminates substance, causality, and necessary truth.

The considerations previously advanced will serve to indicate a line of argument used against scepticism in this matter. The Scholastics do not and never have claimed any direct or perfect acquaintance with the intimate essences of all things. They recognize that, in very many cases, no more than an approximate knowledge can be obtained, and this only through accidental characteristics and consequently by a very indirect method. Still, though the existence of the concrete beings, of which the essences are in question, is contingent and mutable, human knowledge, especially in the field of mathematics, reaches out to the absolute and necessary. For example, the properties of a circle or triangle are deducible from its essence. That the one differs specifically from the other, and each from other figures, that their diverse and necessary attributes, their characteristic properties, are dependent upon their several natures and can be inferred by a mathematical process from these — so much we know. The deductive character of certain geometrical proofs, proceeding from essential definitions, may at least be urged as an indication that the human mind is capable of grasping and of dealing with essences.

Similarly, and even from the admissions of the opponents of the Scholastic tradition given above, it may reasonably be maintained that we have a direct knowledge of essence, and also an indirect, or inductive knowledge of the physical natures existent in the world about us. The essences thus known do not necessarily point to the fact of existence; they may or may not exist; but they certify to us what the things in question are. The knowledge and reality of essences emerges also from the doctrine of universals, which, although formally subjective in character, are true expressions of the objective realities from which they are abstracted. As Father Rickaby remarks: "In the rough the form of expression could hardly be rejected, that science seeks to arrive at the very nature of things and has some measure of success in the enterprise"; and again, "In short, the very admission that there is such a thing as physical science, and that science is cognitio rerum per causas — a knowledge of things, according to the rationale of them — is tantamount to saying that some manner of acquaintance with essences is possible; that the world does present its objects ranged according to at least a certain number of different kinds, and that we can do something to mark off one kind from another." (General Metaphysics, c. III.)

EXISTENCE
Existence is that whereby the essence is an actuality in the line of being. By its actuation the essence is removed from the merely possible, is placed outside its causes, and exists in the world of actual things. St. Thomas describes it as the first or primary act of the essence as contrasted with its secondary act or operation (I Sent., dist. xxxiii, Q. i, a. 1, ad 1); and again, as "the actuality of all form or nature" (Summa, I, Q. iii, a. 4). Whereas the essence or quiddity gives an answer to the question as to what the thing is, the existence is the affirmative to the question as to whether it is. Thus, while created essences are divided into both possible and actual, existence is always actual and opposed by its nature to simple potentiality.

With regard to the existence of things, the question has been raised as to whether, in the ideal order, the possible is antecedent to the actual. The consideration here does not touch on the real or physical order, in which it is conceded by Scholastics that the potentiality of creatures precedes their actuality. The unique actuality, pure and simple (as against such theorists as von Hartmann, maintaining an absolute primitive potentiality of all existence), that necessarily precedes all potentiality, is that of God, in Whom essence and existence are identical. We are concerned with the question: Is the concept of a possible entity prior to that of an existing one? Rosmini answers this question in the affirmative. The School generally takes the opposite view, maintaining the thesis that the primitive idea is of existent entity — that is, essence as actualized and placed outside of its causes — in the concrete, though confused and indeterminate. Such an idea is of narrow intension, but extensively it embraces all being. The thesis is supported by various considerations, such as that the essence is related to its existence as potential to actual, that the act generally is prior to potentiality, and that this latter is known, and only known, through its corresponding actuality. Or, we know the possible being as that which may be, or may exist; and this necessary relation to actual existence, without which the possible is not presented to the mind, indicates the priority, in the line of thought, of the actually existent over the merely possible. Existence is thus seen to be in some sense distinguished from the essence which it actuates.

The question agitated in the School arises at this point: What is the nature of the distinction that obtains between the physical essence and the existence of creatures? It is to be borne in mind that the controversy turns not upon a distinction between the merely possible essence and the same essence as actualized, and thus physically existent; but on the far different and extremely nice point as to the nature of the distinction to be drawn between the actualized and physically existent essence and its existence or actuality, by which it is existent in the physical order. That there is no such distinction in God is conceded by all. With regard to creatures, several opinions have been advanced. Many Thomists hold that a real distinction obtains here and that the essence and existence of creatures differ as different entities. Others, among them Dominicus Soto, Lepidi, etc., seem to prefer a distinction other than real. The Scotists, affirming their "formal distinction", which is neither precisely logical nor real, but practically equivalent to virtual, decide the point against a real distinction. Suarez, with many of his school, teaches that the distinction to be made is a logical one. The principal arguments in favour of the two chief views may be summarized as follows: —

Thomists:


If essence and existence were but one thing, we should be unable to conceive the one without conceiving the other. But we are as a fact able to conceive of essence by itself.
If there be no real distinction between the two, then the essence is identical with the existence. But in God alone are these identical.
Suarez:


A real physical essence is actual in the line of being and not merely possible. But this actuality must belong to it, as a physical essence; for it is, ex hypothesi, neither nothing nor merely possible, and the actuality of an essence is its existence. Cardinal Franselin cast the argument in this form: "Est omnino evidens in re positâ extra suas causas, in statu actualitatis, ne ratione quidem abstrahi posse formalem existentiam" (De Verbo Incarnato).
It is inconceivable how the existence of a real or physical essence should differ from the essence of its existence.
These positions are maintained, not only by argument, but by reference to the authority and teaching of St. Thomas, as to whose genuine doctrine there is considerable difference of opinion and interpretation. It does not, however, appear to be a matter of great moment, as Soto remarks, whether one holds or rejects the doctrine of a real distinction between essence and existence, so long as the difference between God and His creatures is safe-guarded, in that existence is admitted to be of the essence of God and not of the essence of creatures. And this would seem to be sufficiently provided for even in the supposition that created essences are not distinct from their existences as one thing is from another, but as a thing from its mode.

Some Day

OH NO, I DIDN'T MEAN FOR THAT TO BE THAT LONG!


PARCE ME!

bill912

Some Day: Unconcerned sounds a lot like the troll we had a few months ago who was spouting the same kind of nonsense. He apparently gets off on confusing and riling people. My advice is just say a prayer for him, and ignore him.

Bob McCray

I'm finding it easier to ignore than to pray for the trolls in my world. I guess that may be an insight into what I need to be working on. I'm not suggesting befriending them or compromising with them, just praying from afar.

Trolls may rarely change much. But God supposedly loves them. I really don't know why he does, but I don't know a lot about much. That's why I listen to Jimmy on Catholic Answers rather than catch the news. If I'm supposed to pray, I'll do it. Kinda like going for a prostate exam: It's a good thing to do.

J.R. Stoodley

What we hate about any person is their sin. In the case of a troll, we see nothing but their sin so they seem unlovable. In reality they are human beings like the rest of us of course.

The creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Jamie Beu

I, for one, am happy that Jimmy included the link about the "Secret Senator". However, was anybody really surprised that Sen. Stevens (R-AK) and Sen. Byrd (D-WV) were the secret "holders" of the bill to reveal all "pork" spending? These 2 are among the top 5 pork recipients in the entire Senate! I would dare to say that more things in West Virginia are named for Robert Byrd than are named for George Washington in the entire U.S.! And Ted "Tubes" Stevens just got a useless highway to connect the Aleutian Islands paid for by all the U.S. taxpayers.

Surprised? not me.

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