Posts Tagged ‘Aristotle’

Theatre + intensionality + throwness + Back Wall + social animal + simplicator + radical individualism

September 22, 2008 2 comments

[here are some weak notes from last week’s Metaphysics class:]

In order to present an image for the structure of human experience, we use the image of a “Theatre.” We are the person in the audience, always watching, not passive. We go to the Theatre to see with “intensionality.” Not “intentionality” (with deliberation), but with “intensionality,” – a basic movement or dynamism in our relationship (like Augustine’s “restless heart“). It is a “throwness,” where our experience of being thrown into that dynamism in engaging and not passive, like a picture camera (Naïve Realism).

Procrastination is, therefore, the art of trying not to be human, hanging on to and not moving … repeating the same thing to the point of distracting us from thinking, avoiding “intensionality.”

Also in the Theatre, we watch Actors that don’t move, but are identifiable to their purpose. Behind them are changeable “Backdrops” that we may see as an outdoor picnic scene or an indoor house scene that we can easily identify. These Backdrops are our presuppositions. We have “thematic” presuppositions that are explicit and fully conscious of. We also have “non-thematic” presuppositions that are implicit and ingrained in us that we must learn to identify. In order to come to real “truth,” we must identify what our “natural standpoint” is, that becomes our reference point, pull of presuppositions, to discover the universals of truth for our lives. These universal are the “Back Wall” of the theatre. The “Back Wall” behind the “Backdrops” is “being” that we seek.


Man is essentially a social animal, as Aristotle said. Modernity, however, does something unique. Through Radical Individualism, the slate is wiped clean making man the only being of importance. This was best expressed by Locke … Man is essentially an individual. It is later on that he organizes itself as a society. This is portrayed in our society with icons like the “Marlboro Man” who’s a cowboy living independent very self-confident without the need of others. This idealized character, however, is not real and used to sell cigarettes.

This Radical Individualism cannot be true. We are born into a family that necessitates society to “raise” a human being, at minimum, a man and woman to conceive a human being. One of the first acts of God, as seen in Genesis, is to create a society: “It is not good for Adam to be alone.” Locke is wrong. Aristotle is right. We ARE social animals.


With Naïve Realism, we have “Simplicators” that see things as “it is the way it is.” We must abandon the “Simplicitor.” We strive for Hermeneutical Realism, in which what man encounters is real … not imagined or invented.

Animals, just as man, has sensation that allows them to experience hot, cold, wet, blue, hungry, etc. Animals respond to their environment, but only as stimuli to their sensation. It is a “pseudo-perception.” Human beings, however, have true perception, whereby they can make discoveries and rationalize their sensations to, ultimately, make references using language. When we describe the world, we relate our presuppositions (“Backdrops”). All human experiences are mediated by language. Language is the beginning. We take it for granted. Man is the only being that is intrinsically dynamic, that has awareness that he “IS” (“Who I am?”). No other being is aware of it’s being.

Socrates balance of happiness + true humility

September 3, 2008 1 comment

FUNDAMENTAL ETHICS – (Fr Vallee) — Ethics of Plato vs Aristotle. Plato’s Philebus & The Republic.

 Ethics for Plato is (1) eudaemonological (“Happiness for each and every creature consists of possession of the hightest good to which his or her nature has access.” ), (2) intellectual (virtue = knowledge, sin = ignorance), and (3) formalism, absolutist (circumstances don’t matter, we must contemplate the forms, anamnesis).

Ethics for Aristotle is (1) eudaemonological, (2) practical (habit), and (3) consequentialist (virtue-based).

Pleasure is a result of good, not good a result of pleasure.  To Socrates, happiness is a balance of many needs and desires, with a perfect balance of the soul among beauty, proportion and truth.

A great quote from Frances de Sales … “true humility is to see yourself as you are seen in the eyes of God, not more than you are and not less than you are.”

Aristotle test + Venus + cartoon + David

November 28, 2007 Leave a comment

DaVinci's Madonna of the RocksMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — start Hegel.  Hegel’s solution to Kant’s problems of circularity & skepticism is to unify the “knower” (subject) and “known” (object).  Hegelian Absolute Idealism = subject + object are 2 moments of the process by which the absolute unfolds into reality.  — if you say so?

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — test on Aristotle.  — I think I started understanding him half-way through the 3 essay questions (Plato vs Aristotle’s view of “soul” … forgot #2 … Aristotle on “virtue”)

Botticelli's The Birth of VenusVirgin and Child with St Anne and St John the BaptistARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — Boticelli‘s The Birth of VenusLeonardo da Vinci’s cartoon sketch for Madonna and Child with St Anne and the young St John.  DaVinci’s Madonna of the RocksMichelangelo‘s David & Bacchus.

DOTS — laundry day — worklist: floors — holy hour: Fr Rios

virtues – “Ch”

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Kant’s synthetic a priori : math, natural science, metaphysics, ethic/morals.

Aristotle's virtuesANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Aristotle’s “virtues” … (intellect vs moral).  Moderation is the “golden mean” between virtue & vice.  Being virtuous means (1) being excellent & (2) acting in an excellent way

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — (part 1) Being Attentive … What am I experiencing?

(part 2) Being Intelligent … Exploring … open to new data … make connections to experiences …. How do I make sense of my experience?

DOTS — OT Study Group — Spanish Study Group — Heroes — – “Ch”

3 people + yacht + multiple choir

November 16, 2007 1 comment

MASS – (Fr Alvarez) — there are 3 kinds of people … those that live for things (most selfish) … those that live for ideas (most frustrated/ing) … those that live for people (most happy). 

Maltese Falcon yachtMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — intro on Kant.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — discussed Aristotle‘s Nicomachean Ethics.  What is true happiness?  a yacht? … Virtue is connected with “habit” & “moderation”?  … (for next time)

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — today was our test for the Medieval Period.  We were told (several times) that it would be multiple choice, matching & true/false.  So, what was it? … fill in the blank and true/false.  — must be yet another test in patience.

MIAMI MEETING – (Fr Manny) — the Arch of Miami seminarians had a meeting reviewing our handbook.

Organ ConcertORGAN CONCERT — 8pm tonight was “An Evening of Sacred Music” by St John Neumann Festival Choir (all volunteers) at our St Raphael’s Chapel.  The event was done to thank all the benefactors who have financial assisted the seminary with various projects, especially the repair of our organ (damaged in a hurricane years ago).  A beautiful choir performance, but I would have like to hear more organ (– or more cowbell). 

gothic variety + gargoyles + corruptio

November 12, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Santos) — when it comes to bad influences and avoiding scandal, be transparent and trust formation.

Notre Dame gargoylesMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — summarize Hume.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Aristotle‘s 3 kinds of soul … vegetative, animal & rational.

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — discussed variations in gothic architecture: French/German, English, Spanish, & Italian Gothic.  Then gargoyles (with water spouts) & grotesques (no spouts).  // corruptio optima pessima est = “corruption of the best is the worst” //  — guys care about winning, no matter what kind of baseball team.

MINISTERIAL METHODS — missed class ‘cuz of last night Denny’s (I think). — I can’t eat like some of these younger guys … old man!

1000 bell church + grassness + screen door

November 9, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Joseph) — in today’s readings, “you are the temple of God.” — Small Island Church with 1000 Bells … earthquake sinks island … legends says, only the “pure of heart” can hear the bells … waves block sound … after month, one can finally hear the bells.

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Hume on “God.”  — no miracles — [Međugorje]

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Aristotle on “soul.”  — potency & actuality — analogies:

1st potency = (matter) = EYE / MIND / GRASS / ACORN SEED 
1st actuality + 2nd potency = (form) = SIGHT / THOUGHT / GRASS-NESS / ACORN’s NATURE ESSENCE
2nd actuality = ACTUAL SEEING / THINKING / ??? / TREE ?

DOTS — soccer semi-finals — cable internet — new locks — “screen door”

De Anima + wax + incense

November 7, 2007 1 comment

thurifer with thuribleMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Hume on “self.”  There is no real “present.”  We need to make connections for survival/living/existence … “fides” (faith) & “fiducia” (trust/confidence).

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Aristotle‘s De Anima on the “soul.”  His “soul” explains WHY something is alive, and not otherwise.  // (don’t ask about Jesus in the Trinity using Aristotle’s form/matter?) // Man has a potentiality of becoming a corpse? // biggest advantages of Catholic over Protestants is we are (1) incarnational & (2) sacramental

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — Romanesque vs Gothic architecture.

WORKLIST — today I did “polishing” of all candle stick holders … which means I use a hairdryer to melt off the wax.  — my fingers are still waxy
polishing candle holders polishing candle holders

HOLY HOUR (bonus) — today I alter served during benediction at holy hour.  I was the thurifer (incense guy) holding the thurible (incense burner on chain).  I was nervous (afraid the coals would die out), but did ok.  Holy hour included a considerable reflection on our fragile vocation.  — memorable

DOTS — PreT lunch — spanish study group — Bionic Woman — CCC 


October 29, 2007 Leave a comment

OkraMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Hume on the “world” — what is “okra“? — describe it

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Aristotle — modes of “being”

DOTS — roomie

metaphysics + new & unique

October 24, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Alvarez) — “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Hume … practical vs abstract philosophy.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Aristotle … 4 types of “metaphysics.”  — reading him IS like “chewing sandpaper.”

WORKLIST — bathrooms + dust + mop

HOLY HOUR – (Fr Alvarez) — even if you’re doing something you’ve done before, every experience is new & unique.

DOTS — pancakes — tuna burger — ice cream

Lauds + angel icons + Daily Examen

October 22, 2007 Leave a comment

NEW MORNING SCHEDULE — starting today, we’re doing Morning Prayer (Lauds) together (instead of “on our own“) before Mass everyday.  It’s a revision to our regular schedule, but it shouldn’t affect it too much.  — my breakfast time is critical.

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — today we start David Hume.  He’s supposed to be easier and more relevant to us.  — we’ll see about that.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — today we start Aristotle.  According to Fr Vallee, reading Aristotle is “like chewing sandpaper.”  — whatever that means?

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — we reviewed some slides of various angel icons.  I didn’t realize the significance of each color.

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — the next part of our semester will focus more on person reflection of our ministry.  Today we learned how to do a “Daily Examen” of St Ignatius of Loyola.  For next week, we have an assignment to write a 3-5 page reflection paper on any aspect of the Church documents we’ve studied so far regarding the laity.

PRE-THEOLOGY MEETING — all the Pre-Theology guys met with Fr Michael to discuss status of the new off-campus housing for us 12 guys.  It looks like we’ll be moving in the next couple of weeks.

V-O-L-L-E-Y-B-A-L-L — the greatest way to return to seminary life … an evening of VOLLEYBALL.  — Heroes” will have to wait.