Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cooperation with sins against prudence (and chastity)


Last month I gave a talk on the theme “Cooperation with Sins against Prudence” at a conference on Cooperation with Evil at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.  You can now listen to the talk at the Thomistic Institute’s Soundcloud page. 
 
Prudence is the virtue by which we know the right ends to pursue and the right means by which to pursue them.  Aquinas argued that sexual immorality tends more than other vices to erode prudence.  The erosion of prudence, in turn, tends to undermine one’s general capacity for moral reasoning.  Hence, when we facilitate the sexual sins of others, we tend thereby (whether we realize it or not) to promote their general moral corruption.  In the talk, I develop and defend this theme and apply it to a critique of the views of Fr. Antonio Spadaro and Fr. James Martin.

The other presenters at the conference were Msgr. Andrew McLean Cummings, Steven Long, Fr. Ezra Sullivan, and Christopher Tollefsen.  You can find their talks at the Soundcloud page as well.

24 comments:

  1. I've long held the belief that 90% of why people resist conversion is because of their attachment to sexual sin.

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    1. (Old) New AtheismApril 26, 2018 at 2:07 AM

      What do you think of Bertrand Russell on that score?

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    2. It is a prime reason I *sought* conversion.

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    3. I think I agree with that. (Too bad if there were any statistics on it, we wouldn't necessarily be able to trust them.) Though it makes me wonder how that should inform our apologetic approach.

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    4. Yes sir, the "inalienable right" for sexual expression and intercourse is definitely an a priori assumed natural right of the Enlightenment and secular philosophers.

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    5. (Old) New AtheismApril 27, 2018 at 5:38 AM

      But what do you think about Russell's take on things specifically? Any analysis?

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    6. What do you mean? You mean his life take on it? Have a lot of Affairs and divorce? I think it's a sure road to both temporal and eternal unhappiness.

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    7. (Old) New AtheismApril 28, 2018 at 7:31 AM

      No his take on Christianity in light of his views on sexual ethics.

      I think he may well prove the point of this OP.

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    8. Re Russell: " ... his take on Christianity in light of his views on sexual ethics.

      I think he may well prove the point of this OP."


      Yes, if anyone has read Monk's biography of Bertrand Russell, it's plain to see why you might think so.

      Reading Russell's pathetic, if honest, description of his school-boyish sexual enthrallment to Lady Morrell, and of his Bloomsbury values period, will make one cringe.

      There is something about those un-athletic, intellectual males, who do nonetheless have a sex drive, that gives evidence of a curious disorder, or derangement as Thomist might put it, of virtues.

      They embody a curious personality meld: a combination of intellectual and social development surrounding a core of leering junior high school jerk-off and weakling.

      Likewise, A.J. Ayer describes a sordid fling in a taxi; which left him panting for months after a woman who wanted nothing further to do with him sexually.

      Weak - physically weak - males seem particularly susceptible to an obsession with physical pleasure.

      Maybe they need to get out of doors more; let the weather toughen them up a bit. Or at least learn to sound less rhapsodic and needy when describing [if they must] their sexual affairs.

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    9. Dr Kelley Ross has a nice critique on Russel.

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  2. Or mammon. Or pride.

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  3. Can self-love, ego, attention seeking and narcissism corrupt prudence like sexual sins?

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    1. Yes. Every narcissist, no matter how high their I.Q., is a fool and therefore sins against prudence.

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    2. Yeah, but look at it a different way. Narcissists KNOW they are doing something wrong. So has prudence simply be subjugated by pride, malice and self-love?

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    3. Wondering what http://www.wnaad.com/ would make of the topic. Pity this hasn't been taken up by any media. One cause truly worthy of coverage. People have no idea who haven't experienced this how twisted these people are.

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  4. Dr. Feser's intro could use the Ben Shapiro treatment: "Facts Don't Care About Your Feelings"

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  5. The truth of atheism is proved from a desire to bang co-eds.

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  6. This talk reminded me of Orthodox icon carver Jonathan Pageau's video on The Matrix:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWT56hUMIWE

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  7. Thank you for this talk, Dr. Feser.

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  8. As I was driving my kids to school, I was going over the 8 parts of prudence with them. I was only able to remember 4 of them, but it was interesting to see their reactions and the discussion it generated. The whole idea of having a clear framework for thinking such topics was really interesting to them.

    I'd love to hear talks on the other three cardinal virtues as well. :)

    Cheers,
    Daniel

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    1. Can the ethics of Thomas be reapplied in an atheistic context?

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    2. There is an issue of applying any form of ethics in an atheistic context due to a question of the meaning of virtue, etc.

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  9. How many atheists are there who are against birth control and masturbation? Neither of those issues have anything to do with theism, yet MYSTERIOUSLY every atheist I've met has had exactly the same beliefs on those two issues.

    If only there were some explanation for this mysterious recurring coincidence! But alas, it looks like it must be because only superstitious Christians can believe that masturbation and birth control are immoral and our atheists are simply too enlightened by their own intelligence to possibly comprehend our foolishness.

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  10. An excellent elucidation of moral philosophy and Catholic moral doctrine and the moral confusion sown by Amoritis Letitia, Dr. Feser. Thank you for standing up for the moral system of faith. What's going on with Pope Francis? What's going on with the Church? Are they trying to purposely sow confusion, let it infiltrate and linger and then in a few years change doctrine? Will this create a schism in the Church, other than the informal schism that exists now?

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