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A good refutation of the First Way?

Yangwenli
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8/10/2013 7:15:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Does anyone here know a good refutation of Aquinas' first proof.

By a good refutation, I mean one that isn't a straw man.

Here is a link which might help explaining it: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...
Dan4reason
Posts: 1,168
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8/10/2013 7:21:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 7:15:38 PM, Yangwenli wrote:
Does anyone here know a good refutation of Aquinas' first proof.

By a good refutation, I mean one that isn't a straw man.

Here is a link which might help explaining it: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...

Nothing can move itself.
If every object in motion had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover.
Movement cannot go on for infinity.
This first mover is the Unmoved Mover, called God.

I have one. Why does this mover have to be intelligent?
Yangwenli
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8/10/2013 7:50:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 7:21:05 PM, Dan4reason wrote:

I have one. Why does this mover have to be intelligent?

Looking at the OP, it seems I have serious problem with conveying what I mean.

Let me try again:

1. Do you understand Aquinas' first proof?

2. Based on your understanding; do you think the big bang can provide a naturalistic ontological (not just temporal) cause of everything occurring now?
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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8/10/2013 8:31:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 7:15:38 PM, Yangwenli wrote:
Does anyone here know a good refutation of Aquinas' first proof.

By a good refutation, I mean one that isn't a straw man.

Here is a link which might help explaining it: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...

All of Aquinas' proofs suffer the same problem: each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God. Saying that God is a first mover and a first mover exists isn't enough to prove that the first mover is God.

Basic logic fail.
drafterman
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8/10/2013 8:34:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Also Aquinas dismisses the validity of infinite series without justification. The provided reason begs the question of a first mover and the same language can be used to prove that any such sequence must be finite in both directions suggesting a last mover as well, which is clearly absurd.
popculturepooka
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8/10/2013 8:56:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 8:31:02 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 8/10/2013 7:15:38 PM, Yangwenli wrote:
Does anyone here know a good refutation of Aquinas' first proof.

By a good refutation, I mean one that isn't a straw man.

Here is a link which might help explaining it: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...

All of Aquinas' proofs suffer the same problem: each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God. Saying that God is a first mover and a first mover exists isn't enough to prove that the first mover is God.

Basic logic fail.

.........you know that he spends hundreds of pages doing conceptual analysis and deriving divine attributes from the prime mover/first cause to show that it has the traditional properties attributed to God right? ...right?
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popculturepooka
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8/10/2013 9:21:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 8:34:39 PM, drafterman wrote:
Also Aquinas dismisses the validity of infinite series without justification. The provided reason begs the question of a first mover and the same language can be used to prove that any such sequence must be finite in both directions suggesting a last mover as well, which is clearly absurd.

*sigh*

No he doesn't. He even accepts that an infinite series per accidens is possible and thought it wasn't demonstrable that the the universe had a temporal beginning. Temporally speaking, he allowed that the universe could be eternal and be an infinite series per accidens.
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drafterman
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8/10/2013 9:48:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
@pcp:

If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God

This quote addresses both. And maybe I'm just dumb, but it seems to me that he's saying an infinite series (ontologically, not temporally) is impossible.

Regarding the conclusion, no, I haven't read hundreds of pages that proves that a first mover has to be God. Is that what it proves?
Dan4reason
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8/10/2013 10:39:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 7:50:29 PM, Yangwenli wrote:
At 8/10/2013 7:21:05 PM, Dan4reason wrote:

I have one. Why does this mover have to be intelligent?

Looking at the OP, it seems I have serious problem with conveying what I mean.

Let me try again:

1. Do you understand Aquinas' first proof?

Yes.

2. Based on your understanding; do you think the big bang can provide a naturalistic ontological (not just temporal) cause of everything occurring now?

Could you explain to me what an ontological cause is and what a naturalistic cause is?
Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/10/2013 10:45:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 9:48:07 PM, drafterman wrote:
@pcp:

If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God

This quote addresses both. And maybe I'm just dumb, but it seems to me that he's saying an infinite series (ontologically, not temporally) is impossible.

The most important phrase in Aquinas's quote is "seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover." Note Aquinas uses the example of a staff in a hand: the staff is moving inasmuch as the hand moves. This is what Aquinas means by an essentially-ordered series, and that's the framework the argument uses.

Regarding the conclusion, no, I haven't read hundreds of pages that proves that a first mover has to be God. Is that what it proves?

Aquinas spends the twenty-five articles of the first book of the Summa Theologiae discussing the nature of God, another sixteen articles on the Trinity with respect to the nature of God, another five on God's Creation of the world, and another sixteen on God's government of creatures (there's other stuff in the first book about God, too, but it's usually analyzed with relation to something else -- like angels; the other books are about Christ, the Sacraments, etc.)

In the earlier Summa contra Gentiles, Aquinas spends the first book (102 articles) on God's existence and nature, the second book (101 articles) on God's Creation of the world, and the third book (163 articles) on God's providence over the world (the fourth book is on Salvation).

I mean, of course, you disagree with Aquinas. Not an issue. But at least give him credit for attempting it for a good portion of his entire life, sitting in his study dictating thousands of pages on theology. Even the First Way in the Summa Theologiae is expanded upon greatly in contra Gentiles, and in both books is probably less than one percent of the entire work.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/10/2013 10:49:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 10:45:46 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/10/2013 9:48:07 PM, drafterman wrote:
@pcp:

If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God

This quote addresses both. And maybe I'm just dumb, but it seems to me that he's saying an infinite series (ontologically, not temporally) is impossible.

The most important phrase in Aquinas's quote is "seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover." Note Aquinas uses the example of a staff in a hand: the staff is moving inasmuch as the hand moves. This is what Aquinas means by an essentially-ordered series, and that's the framework the argument uses.

Regarding the conclusion, no, I haven't read hundreds of pages that proves that a first mover has to be God. Is that what it proves?

Aquinas spends the twenty-five articles of the first book of the Summa Theologiae discussing the nature of God, another sixteen articles on the Trinity with respect to the nature of God, another five on God's Creation of the world, and another sixteen on God's government of creatures (there's other stuff in the first book about God, too, but it's usually analyzed with relation to something else -- like angels; the other books are about Christ, the Sacraments, etc.)

In the earlier Summa contra Gentiles, Aquinas spends the first book (102 articles) on God's existence and nature, the second book (101 articles) on God's Creation of the world, and the third book (163 articles) on God's providence over the world (the fourth book is on Salvation).

I mean, of course, you disagree with Aquinas. Not an issue. But at least give him credit for attempting it for a good portion of his entire life, sitting in his study dictating thousands of pages on theology. Even the First Way in the Summa Theologiae is expanded upon greatly in contra Gentiles, and in both books is probably less than one percent of the entire work.

Also, I meant to say that Aquinas elaborates on accidentally-ordered series (ex. temporal series) when he discusses God's creation in both books. He refutes Aristotle's proof that it can be proven the World always was, but he also states that the opposite cannot be proved either. He believed both are logically possible, and only through revelation can we know the world had a beginning.

I don't know how I feel on the issue of an eternal past, as I've said on another thread. But Aquinas certainly didn't believe it could be proved either way temporally.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
Yangwenli
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8/10/2013 11:39:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 10:45:46 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:

The most important phrase in Aquinas's quote is "seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover." Note Aquinas uses the example of a staff in a hand: the staff is moving inasmuch as the hand moves. This is what Aquinas means by an essentially-ordered series, and that's the framework the argument uses.

You seem to understand the first way, so I'd like your opinion on my objection to it.

The hand moves the stick which moves the stone. Well and good, I accept that.

However, that occurred due to the transmission of energy; from the hand to the stick to the stone, which is a temporal process. I realize per se causation doesn't have to be simultaneous, but when we trace back the transmission of energy from the stone to the stick to the hand we also go back temporally, so when we go back in the per se causal series we go back temporally.

My point is, going back enough in the per se causal series will lead us to the big bang, so it seems to me the big bang is as much of a per se cause as it's a temporal cause.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/10/2013 11:50:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 11:39:46 PM, Yangwenli wrote:
At 8/10/2013 10:45:46 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:

The most important phrase in Aquinas's quote is "seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover." Note Aquinas uses the example of a staff in a hand: the staff is moving inasmuch as the hand moves. This is what Aquinas means by an essentially-ordered series, and that's the framework the argument uses.

You seem to understand the first way, so I'd like your opinion on my objection to it.

The hand moves the stick which moves the stone. Well and good, I accept that.

However, that occurred due to the transmission of energy; from the hand to the stick to the stone, which is a temporal process. I realize per se causation doesn't have to be simultaneous, but when we trace back the transmission of energy from the stone to the stick to the hand we also go back temporally, so when we go back in the per se causal series we go back temporally.

My point is, going back enough in the per se causal series will lead us to the big bang, so it seems to me the big bang is as much of a per se cause as it's a temporal cause.

Your argument is basically that nothing is simultaneous? That time is so infinitely partitioned, that we can frame all actions as the transmission of energy?

If so, then I dunno, I disagree, but I don't have much knowledge of the physics behind your argument and therefore can't refute it within that domain. I've heard that time is basically meaningless below 10^-43 sec, and as such can be framed as discrete instants. So, if we turn to the classic example of a ball curving the sheet below us, then there's not much one can say against simultaneity, since even as the ball's 'gluon' carriers of the strong force interact with the sheet, they are operating within finite partitions. Of course, that's just the physics side of it.

The philosophical side of it is that the potency of the 'energy transmission' is being reduced to act only inasmuch as the prior mover is in act. So, even if we reduce it to 'energy transmissions', it's doesn't really affect the simultaneity of movers in the sense that Aquinas means: motion only inasmuch as the prior mover, that is.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
drafterman
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8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.
Rational_Thinker9119
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8/11/2013 12:12:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 7:15:38 PM, Yangwenli wrote:
Does anyone here know a good refutation of Aquinas' first proof.

By a good refutation, I mean one that isn't a straw man.

Here is a link which might help explaining it: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...

I'm a B-Theorist, so in my view; nothing ontologically moves, or is mutable. This view of time, by default, disarms any "first mover" arguments.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/11/2013 12:20:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

Drafterman, you stated the following: "each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God." No, it doesn't; he doesn't "assume" anything. He operates within a framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, and each of the Five Ways (or at least the Four that I've studied further than just the Summa text) deduce the existence of some kind of "Pure Actuality." The First Way is literally a paragraph in the second article of book one, in the chapter devoted to studying God's nature. Sure, the argument could keep going, "and we know Pure Actuality to be omnipotent because X, and we know it to be omniscient because Y..." but Aquinas was only seeking to reach the idea of Pure Act in each argument, and then analyze that concept in his book.

I'm not even trying to shut you up by saying "it's addressed elsewhere." My point was that Aquinas does not "assume" that it must be God, but rather spent a great many pages proving it. An analysis of Pure Actuality with the attempted derivation of each of the divine attributes in the same article in which he proves God's existence is really just a matter of the organizational structure of his work. Seriously, you're throwing out his analysis because it's not "in the presented argument." He left the analysis for later because the analysis took up another 23 articles.

No, he states that an infinite series is impossible if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover. Aquinas states that a temporal infinite series is possible and could be disproved in his articles on Creation: "By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist" (see book 1, question 46, article 2).
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
Rational_Thinker9119
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8/11/2013 12:36:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 12:20:23 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

Drafterman, you stated the following: "each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God." No, it doesn't; he doesn't "assume" anything. He operates within a framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, and each of the Five Ways (or at least the Four that I've studied further than just the Summa text) deduce the existence of some kind of "Pure Actuality." The First Way is literally a paragraph in the second article of book one, in the chapter devoted to studying God's nature. Sure, the argument could keep going, "and we know Pure Actuality to be omnipotent because X, and we know it to be omniscient because Y..." but Aquinas was only seeking to reach the idea of Pure Act in each argument, and then analyze that concept in his book.

I'm not even trying to shut you up by saying "it's addressed elsewhere." My point was that Aquinas does not "assume" that it must be God, but rather spent a great many pages proving it. An analysis of Pure Actuality with the attempted derivation of each of the divine attributes in the same article in which he proves God's existence is really just a matter of the organizational structure of his work. Seriously, you're throwing out his analysis because it's not "in the presented argument." He left the analysis for later because the analysis took up another 23 articles.

No, he states that an infinite series is impossible if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover. Aquinas states that a temporal infinite series is possible and could be disproved in his articles on Creation: "By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist" (see book 1, question 46, article 2).

So, what is the argument that the first mover (assuming the argument even proves a first mover, which it doesn't) or w/e, has to be God?
popculturepooka
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8/11/2013 12:41:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

No, it's just not kosher to accuse him of "assuming" the first mover is God when he he spends hundreds of pages of careful argumentation attempting to do just that. You may think they fail, but to say

And actually I think it would perfectly okay for a someone who has spent a considerable amount of time spelling out the implications of their arguments to refer a critic to their other work before criticizing it.

This is not any different than WLC outlining the kalam cosmological argument in syllogistic form and then later support each premise with pages and pages of argumentation. It's much the same when critics accuse HIM of just "assuming" that that the cause of the universe is God without any argumentation. Truth is, he later analyzes what a cause of the universe would have to to be and derives some attributes traditionally attributed to God. Again, you may not agree with his conclusions but accusing him of that is just inane.
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Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/11/2013 12:44:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 12:36:59 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 8/11/2013 12:20:23 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

Drafterman, you stated the following: "each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God." No, it doesn't; he doesn't "assume" anything. He operates within a framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, and each of the Five Ways (or at least the Four that I've studied further than just the Summa text) deduce the existence of some kind of "Pure Actuality." The First Way is literally a paragraph in the second article of book one, in the chapter devoted to studying God's nature. Sure, the argument could keep going, "and we know Pure Actuality to be omnipotent because X, and we know it to be omniscient because Y..." but Aquinas was only seeking to reach the idea of Pure Act in each argument, and then analyze that concept in his book.

I'm not even trying to shut you up by saying "it's addressed elsewhere." My point was that Aquinas does not "assume" that it must be God, but rather spent a great many pages proving it. An analysis of Pure Actuality with the attempted derivation of each of the divine attributes in the same article in which he proves God's existence is really just a matter of the organizational structure of his work. Seriously, you're throwing out his analysis because it's not "in the presented argument." He left the analysis for later because the analysis took up another 23 articles.

No, he states that an infinite series is impossible if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover. Aquinas states that a temporal infinite series is possible and could be disproved in his articles on Creation: "By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist" (see book 1, question 46, article 2).

So, what is the argument that the first mover (assuming the argument even proves a first mover, which it doesn't) or w/e, has to be God?

First of all, I'm not very good at summarizing it, since honestly there's a lot to it. I mean it's not a single syllogism that leads to all of the divine attributes. For instance, omniscience obviously involves the idea of knowledge, which as understood in the Aristotelian-Thomistic sense is the immaterial grasping of forms in a rational soul, which takes quite a bit of explanation. I can, however, give you a few books and online resources to read (and watch) if you're interested.

Second, my point here was really just to refute the charge that Aquinas 'assumed' it must be God when he literally did the exact opposite by devoting the subsequent text to rigorously showing it.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
popculturepooka
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8/11/2013 12:48:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 12:36:59 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 8/11/2013 12:20:23 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

Drafterman, you stated the following: "each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God." No, it doesn't; he doesn't "assume" anything. He operates within a framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, and each of the Five Ways (or at least the Four that I've studied further than just the Summa text) deduce the existence of some kind of "Pure Actuality." The First Way is literally a paragraph in the second article of book one, in the chapter devoted to studying God's nature. Sure, the argument could keep going, "and we know Pure Actuality to be omnipotent because X, and we know it to be omniscient because Y..." but Aquinas was only seeking to reach the idea of Pure Act in each argument, and then analyze that concept in his book.

I'm not even trying to shut you up by saying "it's addressed elsewhere." My point was that Aquinas does not "assume" that it must be God, but rather spent a great many pages proving it. An analysis of Pure Actuality with the attempted derivation of each of the divine attributes in the same article in which he proves God's existence is really just a matter of the organizational structure of his work. Seriously, you're throwing out his analysis because it's not "in the presented argument." He left the analysis for later because the analysis took up another 23 articles.

No, he states that an infinite series is impossible if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover. Aquinas states that a temporal infinite series is possible and could be disproved in his articles on Creation: "By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist" (see book 1, question 46, article 2).

So, what is the argument that the first mover (assuming the argument even proves a first mover, which it doesn't) or w/e, has to be God?

It's not a single argument.
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Rational_Thinker9119
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8/11/2013 12:50:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 12:44:25 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 12:36:59 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 8/11/2013 12:20:23 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

Drafterman, you stated the following: "each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God." No, it doesn't; he doesn't "assume" anything. He operates within a framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, and each of the Five Ways (or at least the Four that I've studied further than just the Summa text) deduce the existence of some kind of "Pure Actuality." The First Way is literally a paragraph in the second article of book one, in the chapter devoted to studying God's nature. Sure, the argument could keep going, "and we know Pure Actuality to be omnipotent because X, and we know it to be omniscient because Y..." but Aquinas was only seeking to reach the idea of Pure Act in each argument, and then analyze that concept in his book.

I'm not even trying to shut you up by saying "it's addressed elsewhere." My point was that Aquinas does not "assume" that it must be God, but rather spent a great many pages proving it. An analysis of Pure Actuality with the attempted derivation of each of the divine attributes in the same article in which he proves God's existence is really just a matter of the organizational structure of his work. Seriously, you're throwing out his analysis because it's not "in the presented argument." He left the analysis for later because the analysis took up another 23 articles.

No, he states that an infinite series is impossible if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover. Aquinas states that a temporal infinite series is possible and could be disproved in his articles on Creation: "By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist" (see book 1, question 46, article 2).

So, what is the argument that the first mover (assuming the argument even proves a first mover, which it doesn't) or w/e, has to be God?

First of all, I'm not very good at summarizing it, since honestly there's a lot to it. I mean it's not a single syllogism that leads to all of the divine attributes. For instance, omniscience obviously involves the idea of knowledge, which as understood in the Aristotelian-Thomistic sense is the immaterial grasping of forms in a rational soul, which takes quite a bit of explanation. I can, however, give you a few books and online resources to read (and watch) if you're interested.

Second, my point here was really just to refute the charge that Aquinas 'assumed' it must be God when he literally did the exact opposite by devoting the subsequent text to rigorously showing it.

Fair enough. You are saying that there were actually additional arguments given, and he did not just presume God was the first mover without attempt at justification.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/11/2013 12:54:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 12:50:44 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 8/11/2013 12:44:25 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 12:36:59 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 8/11/2013 12:20:23 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

Drafterman, you stated the following: "each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God." No, it doesn't; he doesn't "assume" anything. He operates within a framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, and each of the Five Ways (or at least the Four that I've studied further than just the Summa text) deduce the existence of some kind of "Pure Actuality." The First Way is literally a paragraph in the second article of book one, in the chapter devoted to studying God's nature. Sure, the argument could keep going, "and we know Pure Actuality to be omnipotent because X, and we know it to be omniscient because Y..." but Aquinas was only seeking to reach the idea of Pure Act in each argument, and then analyze that concept in his book.

I'm not even trying to shut you up by saying "it's addressed elsewhere." My point was that Aquinas does not "assume" that it must be God, but rather spent a great many pages proving it. An analysis of Pure Actuality with the attempted derivation of each of the divine attributes in the same article in which he proves God's existence is really just a matter of the organizational structure of his work. Seriously, you're throwing out his analysis because it's not "in the presented argument." He left the analysis for later because the analysis took up another 23 articles.

No, he states that an infinite series is impossible if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover. Aquinas states that a temporal infinite series is possible and could be disproved in his articles on Creation: "By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist" (see book 1, question 46, article 2).

So, what is the argument that the first mover (assuming the argument even proves a first mover, which it doesn't) or w/e, has to be God?

First of all, I'm not very good at summarizing it, since honestly there's a lot to it. I mean it's not a single syllogism that leads to all of the divine attributes. For instance, omniscience obviously involves the idea of knowledge, which as understood in the Aristotelian-Thomistic sense is the immaterial grasping of forms in a rational soul, which takes quite a bit of explanation. I can, however, give you a few books and online resources to read (and watch) if you're interested.

Second, my point here was really just to refute the charge that Aquinas 'assumed' it must be God when he literally did the exact opposite by devoting the subsequent text to rigorously showing it.

Fair enough. You are saying that there were actually additional arguments given, and he did not just presume God was the first mover without attempt at justification.

Yeah, exactly. The first five ways are dealt with in the article "the existence of God" in book 1. After, Aquinas discusses all of the properties -- not only deriving whether it belongs to God to be omnipotent, but also discussing the idea of power, what it meand to be powerful, whether God alone is omnipotent, etc. It's a lot of stuff, and I'm a novice myself, but I do have a basic understanding of it. It's extremely difficult cutting it down in a debate, for instance, where I've had to cut to 8000 characters.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
drafterman
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8/11/2013 1:18:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 12:20:23 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

Drafterman, you stated the following: "each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God." No, it doesn't; he doesn't "assume" anything.

"Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God."

No. I don't understand that to be God. Aquinas assumes I do. I don't.

He operates within a framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, and each of the Five Ways (or at least the Four that I've studied further than just the Summa text) deduce the existence of some kind of "Pure Actuality." The First Way is literally a paragraph in the second article of book one, in the chapter devoted to studying God's nature. Sure, the argument could keep going, "and we know Pure Actuality to be omnipotent because X, and we know it to be omniscient because Y..." but Aquinas was only seeking to reach the idea of Pure Act in each argument, and then analyze that concept in his book.

I'm not even trying to shut you up by saying "it's addressed elsewhere." My point was that Aquinas does not "assume" that it must be God, but rather spent a great many pages proving it. An analysis of Pure Actuality with the attempted derivation of each of the divine attributes in the same article in which he proves God's existence is really just a matter of the organizational structure of his work. Seriously, you're throwing out his analysis because it's not "in the presented argument." He left the analysis for later because the analysis took up another 23 articles.

No, he states that an infinite series is impossible if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover.

Which he posits as a premise of his argument. Regardless, if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover, an infinite series is not shown to be impossible based on the First Way.

Aquinas states that a temporal infinite series is possible and could be disproved in his articles on Creation: "By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist" (see book 1, question 46, article 2).
drafterman
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8/11/2013 1:22:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 12:41:41 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

No, it's just not kosher to accuse him of "assuming" the first mover is God when he he spends hundreds of pages of careful argumentation attempting to do just that. You may think they fail, but to say

And actually I think it would perfectly okay for a someone who has spent a considerable amount of time spelling out the implications of their arguments to refer a critic to their other work before criticizing it.

So, if I presented you an argument, and that argument contained a non sequitor. Would it not be "kosher" for you to point that out specifically in response to my request for critiques of that argument? Would me saying that the logical bridge connecting the two non sequitor points is contained elsewhere affect the validity of the argument I provided you?


This is not any different than WLC outlining the kalam cosmological argument in syllogistic form and then later support each premise with pages and pages of argumentation.

Yes it is. Supporting the truth of the premises of an otherwise valid argument is different then presenting an invalid argument and leaving the logical connectives that make the argument valid elsewhere.

It's much the same when critics accuse HIM of just "assuming" that that the cause of the universe is God without any argumentation.

Yes, and such a response is perfectly valid. The KCA only proves that the universe has a cause.

Truth is, he later analyzes what a cause of the universe would have to to be and derives some attributes traditionally attributed to God. Again, you may not agree with his conclusions but accusing him of that is just inane.

Whether I agree is irrelevant. Such analysis and arguments are not part of the KCA. If I asked you to evaluate Newtonian mechanics, it's not appropriate for me to response to your criticisms with the subsequent fixes of general relativity.
Yangwenli
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8/11/2013 2:37:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/10/2013 11:50:21 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:

Your argument is basically that nothing is simultaneous? That time is so infinitely partitioned, that we can frame all actions as the transmission of energy?

If so, then I dunno, I disagree, but I don't have much knowledge of the physics behind your argument and therefore can't refute it within that domain. I've heard that time is basically meaningless below 10^-43 sec, and as such can be framed as discrete instants. So, if we turn to the classic example of a ball curving the sheet below us, then there's not much one can say against simultaneity, since even as the ball's 'gluon' carriers of the strong force interact with the sheet, they are operating within finite partitions. Of course, that's just the physics side of it.

The philosophical side of it is that the potency of the 'energy transmission' is being reduced to act only inasmuch as the prior mover is in act. So, even if we reduce it to 'energy transmissions', it's doesn't really affect the simultaneity of movers in the sense that Aquinas means: motion only inasmuch as the prior mover, that is.

I don't know much about physics myself. However, i'm basing my objection on two things which I think are true.

1. Nothing is faster than light.
2. All motion (the aristotelian term) is due to interactions between the four fundamental forces.

Since the interaction can't be faster than light, it means it will take time for any motion to occur.

Let's imagine the hand-stick-stone again, except this time it's in space (to get rid of gravity).

The energy is transmitted from the hand to the stick, at this point, even if we remove the hand, the stick will still move stone, the hand was only necessary at some point in the past.

The transmission of energy was reduced act by another transmission of energy, which occurred at some point in the past.

And that's basically my point; if we go back in the per se chain (not sure if it can be called per se anymore), we'll eventually reach the big bang.

Of course, that's only if I got the physics right, there is a good chance someone with a good background on physics is laughing somewhere.

At 8/11/2013 12:12:35 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:

I'm a B-Theorist, so in my view; nothing ontologically moves, or is mutable. This view of time, by default, disarms any "first mover" arguments.

Yeah i'm aware of the B-theory of time (it just pops up in my head every time I hear a first cause argument).

I wanted just wanted to know if the argument had merits under A-theory of time.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/11/2013 6:18:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 1:18:59 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 8/11/2013 12:20:23 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 6:09:26 AM, drafterman wrote:
The topic here was clearly the First Way, not hundreds of pages of supplementary documentation.

If I hand you an argument proposing to prove "A" and ask you for a refutation of that argument, it isn't valid for me to respond to your refutation by saying that your issue is addressed elsewhere. If it isn't in the presented argument, then the argument fails.

As far as the infinite series, I don't get what you guys are saying. He explicitly says it's not possible. It's right there in the argument.

Drafterman, you stated the following: "each proof proves the existence of something of which Aquinas assumes we all agree is God." No, it doesn't; he doesn't "assume" anything.

"Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God."

No. I don't understand that to be God. Aquinas assumes I do. I don't.

Alright, you know what, drafterman? You're right -- you don't understand that to be God. Alright. Okay. Got it. I'll quit trying to tell you about his analysis in the next twenty-something articles of the pure actuality reached by all of the traditional Thomistic arguments in the first article. Alright.

He operates within a framework of Aristotelian metaphysics, and each of the Five Ways (or at least the Four that I've studied further than just the Summa text) deduce the existence of some kind of "Pure Actuality." The First Way is literally a paragraph in the second article of book one, in the chapter devoted to studying God's nature. Sure, the argument could keep going, "and we know Pure Actuality to be omnipotent because X, and we know it to be omniscient because Y..." but Aquinas was only seeking to reach the idea of Pure Act in each argument, and then analyze that concept in his book.

I'm not even trying to shut you up by saying "it's addressed elsewhere." My point was that Aquinas does not "assume" that it must be God, but rather spent a great many pages proving it. An analysis of Pure Actuality with the attempted derivation of each of the divine attributes in the same article in which he proves God's existence is really just a matter of the organizational structure of his work. Seriously, you're throwing out his analysis because it's not "in the presented argument." He left the analysis for later because the analysis took up another 23 articles.

No, he states that an infinite series is impossible if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover.

Which he posits as a premise of his argument. Regardless, if the moved only moves inasmuch as the prior mover, an infinite series is not shown to be impossible based on the First Way.

He gave a reason for this: the posterior movers ontologically depend on the prior mover for motion, and as such the chain makes no sense if every member of the chain is a composite of act and potency, because then each of the members thus require a prior actuality for its motion. That's why it's called an essentially-ordered series of motion: because the priority of a mover is ontologically mandatory for the next mover in the series to move. Without a first mover, the rest of the members would not be able to move, as they all depend on priority.

Aquinas explains it better than I can in ch. 13 of the summa contra gentiles. Here's a link: http://dhspriory.org...

Aquinas states that a temporal infinite series is possible and could be disproved in his articles on Creation: "By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist" (see book 1, question 46, article 2).
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/11/2013 6:27:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 2:37:47 PM, Yangwenli wrote:
At 8/10/2013 11:50:21 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:

Your argument is basically that nothing is simultaneous? That time is so infinitely partitioned, that we can frame all actions as the transmission of energy?

If so, then I dunno, I disagree, but I don't have much knowledge of the physics behind your argument and therefore can't refute it within that domain. I've heard that time is basically meaningless below 10^-43 sec, and as such can be framed as discrete instants. So, if we turn to the classic example of a ball curving the sheet below us, then there's not much one can say against simultaneity, since even as the ball's 'gluon' carriers of the strong force interact with the sheet, they are operating within finite partitions. Of course, that's just the physics side of it.

The philosophical side of it is that the potency of the 'energy transmission' is being reduced to act only inasmuch as the prior mover is in act. So, even if we reduce it to 'energy transmissions', it's doesn't really affect the simultaneity of movers in the sense that Aquinas means: motion only inasmuch as the prior mover, that is.

I don't know much about physics myself. However, i'm basing my objection on two things which I think are true.

1. Nothing is faster than light.
2. All motion (the aristotelian term) is due to interactions between the four fundamental forces.

Since the interaction can't be faster than light, it means it will take time for any motion to occur.

Let's imagine the hand-stick-stone again, except this time it's in space (to get rid of gravity).

The energy is transmitted from the hand to the stick, at this point, even if we remove the hand, the stick will still move stone, the hand was only necessary at some point in the past.

The transmission of energy was reduced act by another transmission of energy, which occurred at some point in the past.

And that's basically my point; if we go back in the per se chain (not sure if it can be called per se anymore), we'll eventually reach the big bang.

Of course, that's only if I got the physics right, there is a good chance someone with a good background on physics is laughing somewhere.

Hey Yangwenli, thanks for your reply. I don't think that the philosophy behind your argument is sound, because I do believe there can exist simultaneous series of motion. That is, I don't believe the 'transmission of energy' in any way undermines an essentially-ordered causal series.

To go a bit more in depth, casual series per se and per accidens are conveyed by what's called instrumental and principal causation. For instance, to use the same example Edward Feser uses (in this article, which I recommend: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...) if we use a stick to push a stone, the stick does not intrinsically have the potency to move the stone. It must realize this potency from another member of the causal series (i.e., the hand) which is in act and as such can reduce the stick's translation to act, which can reduce the stone's translation to act. Thus, the hand is using the stick as an instrument (the posterior mover) which uses the stone as an instrument (its posterior mover). Thus the simultaneous (essentially-ordered) causal series is based around the idea of instrumental and principal causes. Of course, if we follow Aristotle's and Aquinas's reasoning, that in this sort of series there can only be a finite number of intermediate movers, then we reach the classical idea of Pure Act sustaining the motion of the Universe.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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8/11/2013 6:29:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 6:27:17 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 8/11/2013 2:37:47 PM, Yangwenli wrote:
At 8/10/2013 11:50:21 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:

Your argument is basically that nothing is simultaneous? That time is so infinitely partitioned, that we can frame all actions as the transmission of energy?

If so, then I dunno, I disagree, but I don't have much knowledge of the physics behind your argument and therefore can't refute it within that domain. I've heard that time is basically meaningless below 10^-43 sec, and as such can be framed as discrete instants. So, if we turn to the classic example of a ball curving the sheet below us, then there's not much one can say against simultaneity, since even as the ball's 'gluon' carriers of the strong force interact with the sheet, they are operating within finite partitions. Of course, that's just the physics side of it.

The philosophical side of it is that the potency of the 'energy transmission' is being reduced to act only inasmuch as the prior mover is in act. So, even if we reduce it to 'energy transmissions', it's doesn't really affect the simultaneity of movers in the sense that Aquinas means: motion only inasmuch as the prior mover, that is.

I don't know much about physics myself. However, i'm basing my objection on two things which I think are true.

1. Nothing is faster than light.
2. All motion (the aristotelian term) is due to interactions between the four fundamental forces.

Since the interaction can't be faster than light, it means it will take time for any motion to occur.

Let's imagine the hand-stick-stone again, except this time it's in space (to get rid of gravity).

The energy is transmitted from the hand to the stick, at this point, even if we remove the hand, the stick will still move stone, the hand was only necessary at some point in the past.

The transmission of energy was reduced act by another transmission of energy, which occurred at some point in the past.

And that's basically my point; if we go back in the per se chain (not sure if it can be called per se anymore), we'll eventually reach the big bang.

Of course, that's only if I got the physics right, there is a good chance someone with a good background on physics is laughing somewhere.

Hey Yangwenli, thanks for your reply. I don't think that the philosophy behind your argument is sound, because I do believe there can exist simultaneous series of motion. That is, I don't believe the 'transmission of energy' in any way undermines an essentially-ordered causal series.

To go a bit more in depth, casual series per se and per accidens are conveyed by what's called instrumental and principal causation. For instance, to use the same example Edward Feser uses (in this article, which I recommend: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...) if we use a stick to push a stone, the stick does not intrinsically have the potency to move the stone. It must realize this potency from another member of the causal series (i.e., the hand) which is in act and as such can reduce the stick's translation to act, which can reduce the stone's translation to act. Thus, the hand is using the stick as an instrument (the posterior mover) which uses the stone as an instrument (its posterior mover). Thus the simultaneous (essentially-ordered) causal series is based around the idea of instrumental and principal causes. Of course, if we follow Aristotle's and Aquinas's reasoning, that in this sort of series there can only be a finite number of intermediate movers, then we reach the classical idea of Pure Act sustaining the motion of the Universe.

Oh, and to add a bit more: the simultaneity that Feser means is just the usual example of a causal series per se, but in the article above he goes on about essentially-ordered series which is "simultaneous" in an ontological sense (i.e., instrumental causation) but not in a temporal one.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
Yangwenli
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8/12/2013 11:37:45 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/11/2013 6:27:17 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:

Hey Yangwenli, thanks for your reply. I don't think that the philosophy behind your argument is sound, because I do believe there can exist simultaneous series of motion. That is, I don't believe the 'transmission of energy' in any way undermines an essentially-ordered causal series.

To go a bit more in depth, casual series per se and per accidens are conveyed by what's called instrumental and principal causation. For instance, to use the same example Edward Feser uses (in this article, which I recommend: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com...) if we use a stick to push a stone, the stick does not intrinsically have the potency to move the stone. It must realize this potency from another member of the causal series (i.e., the hand) which is in act and as such can reduce the stick's translation to act, which can reduce the stone's translation to act. Thus, the hand is using the stick as an instrument (the posterior mover) which uses the stone as an instrument (its posterior mover). Thus the simultaneous (essentially-ordered) causal series is based around the idea of instrumental and principal causes. Of course, if we follow Aristotle's and Aquinas's reasoning, that in this sort of series there can only be a finite number of intermediate movers, then we reach the classical idea of Pure Act sustaining the motion of the Universe.

At 8/11/2013 6:29:42 PM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:

Oh, and to add a bit more: the simultaneity that Feser means is just the usual example of a causal series per se, but in the article above he goes on about essentially-ordered series which is "simultaneous" in an ontological sense (i.e., instrumental causation) but not in a temporal one.

That doesn't contrast with what I said; if anything, it confirms it.

A thing can be a per se cause, even though it exists in a different time.