Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Esse is percipi

Thus saith the Robinson:

“In any case, your appeal to the divine ideas is still a relic of middle and late Platonism.”

Even if that were true, a “relic” of a philosophical school involves the creative adaptation of a concept in conjunction with other concepts from other schools of thought, so that it is not something that you can simple-mindedly reduce to a single point of origin. The influences are many, and the resultant construct is not decomposable back into any one source.

In past exchanges, I’ve also argued my position from Scripture.

“Even if true that Augustine’s identification of Nous with the One furnishes him with metaphysical resources unavailable to Plato, it doesn’t follow that Augustines move is not Platonic or isn’t also made by middle and late Platonists before, during and after Augustine.”

Augustine also has the Bible. So there is a confluence of elements feeding into his theological construct. There’s the way that Scripture conditions his philosophy, and the way his philosophy conditions his hermeneutic.

In any case, my own position isn’t tracking Augustine’s in detail.

“The Reformed generally endorse either a Thomistic or Scotistic. Compare Turretin with Hodge for example. Turretin is Thomistic and Hodge Scotistic. Muller has a decent discussion of it in vol.3 of Post Reformation Reformed dogmatics. So just because you aren’t committed to one specific gloss on Augustine’s doctrine of ADS, doesn’t mean you aren’t committed to the view.”

The fact that this or that Reformed theologian espouses this or that version of ADS does not make it a Reformed distinctive. Commitment to ADS does not differentiate Reformed theology from other traditions.

And, as I’ve said on more than one occasion, my Calvinism does not take its point of departure from historical theology, but exegetical theology.

“Go back through your own archives-

It’s pretty obvious that you’re committed to the Platonic doctrine of ADS.”

Obvious from what, exactly?

The second article is by James Anderson. And he and I don’t quite see eye-to-eye on the interpretation of Clark, which is no doubt my fault, but the fact remains that Dr. Anderson speaks for Dr. Anderson, while I speak for me.

The first article is by me. In that article I attempt to correct some misinterpretations of Van Til as well as field fallacious objections.

In the course of this article I also register my own disagreements with Van Til.

The fact that I engage in an exposition of Van Til to correct misreadings as well as fielding faulty criticisms is not at all the same thing as if I were to write an essay in which I set forth my own commitments.

You have yet to quote anything I’ve said which commits me to ADS. Try again.

“The point about God was that if God is actus purus, then the divine ideas are actual since they are identical with God. If they re not actual, then they are potentia and then God isn’t actus purus. So if God is the exemplar, then he is a potentia, not act. If he is act, then he is not an exemplar. You haven’t grasped the point, since it doesn’t turn on thinking of the divine ideas as logically antecedent (what the heck does “over and above God?” Like God is such and so height?) to God. It turns on the difference between potentia and actus. If they are unexemplified then they are potentia and then God is not pure activity.”

Potential relative to what?

The divine ideas are actual in God, but (in most cases) unexemplified in the world.

They are not potential in God. They are actual in God.

God does not objectify all his ideas by instantiating all his ideas. Their divine mode of subsistence is fully actual. Their mundane mode of subsistence is not.

God is not his own exemplar.

“As to versions of ADS, any version you wish to bring forward will still suffer from the kinds of problems I have pointed out, whether Thomistic, Scotistic, or practically any other version.”

I don’t have to bring forth any particular version since I’m not committed to ADS.

“Berkeley is an empiricist for a simple reason-he thinks all knowledge comes from sensation. Empiricism doesn’t entail, or at least not obviously so, materialism. Berkeley can’t be classified as a rationalist because he doesn’t think that all knowledge either begins with or is derived from reason.”

His position is derived from reason since what the percipient “senses” are mental entities. And there’s nothing extramental generating these mental entities. The whole scheme is panpsychical from start to finish—from one res cogitans to another.

“And he isn’t a coherence theorist since the truth maker for propositions isn’t coherence but correspondence to a sensation.”

Except for the awkward little fact that, for him, the sensible is mental, and there’s nothing extramental corresponding to the sensible. So it’s just one big collection of thoughts with subsets thereof.

“Uh, yeah, Berkeley says God could have willed things differently and in fact does do so, which is why some sensations cease to be.”

You are reiterating the very same equivocation or non-sequitur.

Did God change his mind? Did he originally will that some sensations should not cease, then, at a later date, will that they should cease?

Or did he will that they should cease at a certain point, and carry through with his resolve?

“Its another form of Platonism, which is why matter for Berkeley has no existence. Round and round we go.”

I agree that it’s a merry-go-round. That’s because, in the paragraph before, you continued, quite emphatically, to classify him as an empiricist rather than a rationalist.

Now you classify his position as a form of Platonism. What is Platonism if not a subdivision of rationalism?

“Yes it is essential to his idealism since if God did not in fact will otherwise, there would be no time, no repeated or new cases of perceptions.”

You continue to equivocate between willing a change and changing one’s will.

“God could have and does will things differently, which is what we experience as time, and the coming to be and the passing away of things, for Berkeley. Happy now?”

No, because all you do is to paraphrase the original equivocation and derive from that a non sequitur.

“I and Berkeley both agree with the difference between the compounded and divided sense of temporality in reference to God. God wills X at T1 and At T1, God wills X. Obviously for those who hold to either simultaneity or complete timelessness, the former is acceptable and the latter is not.

Properly speaking, negation could qualify the divine will, depending on which view of God one endorses. Just because you are only familiar with the Latin take doesn’t mean that you can translate it across traditions and therefore make universal claims. Try again.”

This has strayed very far from main drag. You’ve now lost track of what was the original train of thought in your eagerness to discuss what you care about rather than what I care about.

This thread originally concerned my own theory of truth, about which a commenter expressed some reservations.

If you are going to criticize my position, then it’s my theory of time (as you know, I incline to the B-theory) and my theory of divine eternality (as timeless, not everlasting or simultaneous), which is what you need to target.

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