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Today we return to a PHILOSOPHICAL theme since some very interesting material has appeared in the theological and philosophical sub-sets of the et Invisibilium.
We begin, as the good Thomists that we are, with a definition. And that definition is “FIRST PRINCIPLES“: (see here)
A first principle is a basic, foundational, self-evident proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.
The notion (objective reality in fact) of a first principle is quite common within the et Invisibilium, spanning its individual sub-sets from mathematics, physics, logic, philosophy and all the way up to the queen of all sciences, THEOLOGY.
So naturally, the proper place to start any discussion of FIRST PRINCIPLES is with St. Thomas Aquinas. According to St. Thomas, the FIRST PRINCIPLE is the proof as to the existence of God. (see here) It is on this REALITY, according to St. Thomas that all other reality is constructed.
Furthermore, given the fact that ALL first principles are “self-evident”, if for no other reason than by definition, we can define a PRESUPPOSITION that all reality rests upon the existence of God. So what we have above is a logical proof for not only the nature of reality but also for its structure.
Right about now, you dear reader are saying to yourself, your saying ‘yes, but Armaticus, aren’t you engaged in preaching to the choir?’
And this is a proper and fitting question.
So I will answer it.
Over on the Orthosphere blog, we get a post written by Richard Cocks titled: Foundationalism: in praise of vagueness. This post is what I would described as a tour de force through post-Enlightenment “philosophy”. Specifically, this post, and it is a rather long-ish one, (but a must read, and one to be read for comprehension) explains what on this blog would be termed the TRANSRATIONALITY of the Cartesian “philosophical” school.
Nota bene: as my long time reader know, Rene Descartes was the individual who was responsible for taking the field of philosophy, that was nicely progressing along a REALIST (Scholastic) trajectory as set out by Thomism and kicked it into the long grass of MYSTICISM, from which it is trying to dig itself out presently. The most popular present strain of the mystic “philosophical” school is known as “analytic philosophy”.
Quickly, what is important to note in the Cocks post is that Cartesian “philosophy” is in fact nothing more than a “caged death match” with FIRST PRINCIPLES. Here is that relevant passage:
Epistemology became a major topic for analytic philosophers because they trace their intellectual origins to Descartes and the British empiricists. Descartes dismantles the foundations of his beliefs and then tries to rebuild them on certain grounds. Having used the method of doubt to tear everything down, including even mathematics, he finds irrefutable evidence of the existence of his own mind and then tries to prove that the “external world” exists.
The only problem with the above is that Descartes failed, since that “irrefutable evidence” doesn’t exist. The reason that he failed was demonstrated by Kurt Goedel and is explained in this post as follows:
Goedel’s theorem confirmed Aristotle’s argument and definitively proved that any axiomatic system beyond the level of complexity of addition, such as multiplication, would require faith in an axiom not provable within the system. Multiplication, for instance, requires at least nine unprovable axioms.
So what Goedel definitively proved is that there is no such thing as “certain grounds” on which a “system”, such as a NEW WORLD ORDER can be built. Every system, including Materialistic Marxism is ultimately build on assumptions that can’t be proven.
In other words, Marxism is a “FAITH BASED” system.
So this we definitively know, and the mathematical proof is contained in the post.
Which brings me to Dr. Jordan Peterson, who also makes an appearance in the Cock’s post. Dr. Peterson, when discussing the post-Modernists, makes the following claim: (see our discussion in the post titled: Twisting The “Fabric Of Reality” Has Consequences…)
You know, they (post-Modernists) say something like: ‘there’s an infinite number of interpretations of the world. And that’s actually true.
But then they make a mistake, and they say: ‘ no interpretation is to be privileged over any other interpretation.’
And why they are wrong:
It’s like WRONG. WRONG. That’s where things go seriously off the rails because the interpretation has to be… and this is the Piagetian objection: ‘ if you and I are going to play a game, rule 1 is that we both have to want to play. Rule 2 is that other people are going to let us play. Rule 3 is we should be able to play it across a pretty long period of time without it degenerating. And maybe Rule 4 is that while we are playing, the world shouldn’t kill us. There are not that many games… you know, you don’t send your kids to play on the super highway right. They’re not playing hockey on the superhighway. Cause the world kills them.
So there is an infinite number of interpretations, but there is not an infinite number of solutions.
Concluding, given the above, we are able to make one observation. And that observation is that with a “finite number of solutions” that do not kill, one solution that appears to be by far the best of ALL the “solutions” is Catholicism. And the reason that it is the best is that it has allowed a Civilization to not only arise, but to prosper. And it has prospered for over 1600 years.
Which brings me to my final point and a fitting conclusion to this post. Over on Fr. Z’s blog, we get a post titled: NEW BOOK: Heroism and Genius: How Catholic Priests Helped Build—and Can Help Rebuild—Western Civilization.
In this post, the following is written:
With stubborn facts historians have given their verdict: from the cultures of the Jews, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Germanic peoples, the Catholic Church built a new and original civilization, embodying within its structures the Christian vision of God and man, time and eternity.
The construction and maintenance of Western civilization, amid attrition and cultural earthquakes, is a saga spread over sixteen hundred years. During this period, Catholic priests, because they numbered so many men of heroism and genius in their ranks, and also due to their leadership positions, became the pioneers and irreplaceable builders of Christian culture and sociopolitical order.
So tying in the above passage with Piaget’s observation that not all systems are “created equal”, but that some are better, depending on the long term viability of the system itself, we can confirm that the “new and original” Civilization that the Catholic Church has built is by far the best of the lot.
Furthermore, given that this is the case, it is quite proper to state that the “re-building” of our Civilization will come in a large part through the Sacred Catholic Priesthood, as Our Lord has instituted and as the Holy Roman Catholic Church has understood it for 1984 years.
The proof is self-evident!