Weekly Reading - Aquinas

When I was in elementary school, I vaguely remember something called the Weekly Reader that functioned like a newspaper for children. A lot of water and a great many books have gone under the bridge since then, but I thought a Weekly Reading post might be fun to keep up.

The Guardian has a whole series going on major thinkers, and we’ll be reviewing what they have to say on Calvin, Plato, and Spinoza before we’re through. After that, it’ll be far enough into the summer to have some of my own reading built up.

But first, Thomas Aquinas! image The following columns by Tina Beattie do a good job on the basics of his outlook. I wouldn’t normally think to find this in the Guardian, but they’re being honest brokers.

If you’re up for some more reading, there’s always the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy or any of these (for a start):

Odd Combo: Freemasonry, Monty Python, Catholicism

“You absolutely cannot understand the British Empire without masonry”

Monty Python was right!

But still interesting; I’m going to look forward to the next few posts along these lines. Always admired Philip Jenkins’s scholarship.

Ironically, a few years ago, a reporter asked me about the prohibition against Catholics becoming Masons. I’d thought it had dropped out, but it turned out that it’s still in force.





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How I feel at the end of the academic year (h/t Professor Wagstaff)

Some day, Faculty Assembly, some day…

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Moleskine over Macbook FTW

Why students using laptops learn less in class even when they really are taking notes

"Writing by hand activates the brain in ways that typing doesn’t to improve learning."

Always thought this was true; nice to have some evidence to back it up. Even better: it’s an argument for banning the laptops in class! But then that assumes that student longhand is good enough to keep up…

UPDATE: If you like the idea, here’s a set of Moleskine notebooks at Amazon.

And Jesus said to Simon...

And Jesus said to Simon, Son of Jonah B.A. (Philosophy, Oxford), ‘Who do you say that I am?’ And he replied, ‘Given a) the probability that God exists, that is, given fine-tuning, the kalam cosmological argument and the low probability of atheism being true given the modal form of the ontological argument, and given b) the compatibility of incarnation with the prescriptions of Perfect Being theology and given c) the apparently inexplicable things you’re reported to have done (though, given that this is early in your ministry, ideally I’d need to see a few more), and given d) defeaters to the counter-argument from the Biblically defined role of the Messiah, I’d guesstimate that, on a Bayesian account, there is a conditional probability of at least 0.7 that you are in fact the Messiah. At the same time, of course, I should acknowledge that there is a corresponding probability of 0.3 that you aren’t.’ And Jesus responded, “Blessed be you, son of Jonah BA (Oxon). On this rock I shall build my church!”

Alan J. Torrance, “Analytic Theology and the Reconciled Mind

More complicated but also funnier than saying, Non in dialectica complacuit Deo salvum facere populum suum.

From this day, to the ending of the world...

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Vocational advice for first-year students

How to Find Your Vocation in College | Intercollegiate Review: College is both a place where you learn things and a phase of your life. For many of those with the opportunity to go to college—and never despise those who don’t—it is a transition between childhood, living with your parents, and independent adulthood. So it is a time for seeking, preparing for, and finding vocations. (Not just in the sense of jobs. College can also lead to other vocations, such as marriage or a heightened awareness of your citizenship.)
 One for the BAC incoming students today, as well as the returning ones.

798 years ago today

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

Magna Carta, 15 June 1215.

Depth dimension with your beverage

Five Oldest Pubs in the United Kingdom - Anglotopia.net: "The Old Ferry Boat is a great example of one of the pubs that started as an inn and still operates as such today. Though no documents apparently exist of when the Inn actually began, one record stated that liquor was served there as early as 560 A.D. and the foundations are reportedly another century older."

Mind-boggling witness to some of the continuities possible in the Old World.

Cloud, corporations, and trust falls

Mixed into an Andy Ihnatko article on FB’s likely purchase of a traffic navigation app is this gem of an analogy that perfectly catches my anxieties about FB. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t run a social network and Google+ is unlikely to draw enough family & friends to be worthwhile. And so we remain serfs on the Zuckerberg plantation…
Chicago Grid | What if Facebook buys Waze?
   I hand over lots of my personal information to Apple, Google, and Facebook. I use a “trust fall” analogy when I talk about how much I trust each of these companies. You know the exercise: turn your back to this person, close your eyes, count to three aloud, and then fall backwards.
I’m certain that Apple would catch me. My sole worries are of the “accidents can happen” variety.
   I’m pretty sure that I’d be safe with Google. There’s a good chance I’ll fall. If that happened, though, it’d probably be because Google often doesn’t really think things through. Google thought I was going to say “1… 2… 3…” and then start falling instead of falling on “3.”
   I’m pretty sure that Facebook would watch me fall. I can see myself smacking into the ground, and then Facebook would update my status to “Concussed” without my asking it to. As I struggled to my feet, Facebook would update its own private profile about me and my habits, noting that I trust companies so blindly that I didn’t even try to stop myself from falling. That’s a very valuable demographic for ads about home-refinancing.