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Aristotle on Chance and Spontaniety

The following was written for a class assignment. Footnotes are omitted. 
Chance is a species of the genus spontaneity. Chance is a cause, but unlike other causes it doesn’t have a regular effect. This is because chance does not have an end or telos for the sake of which it strives. While our understanding of causes has a necessary connection to their effects, the connection a cause by chance had with the effect is accidental. So for example, someone may heal an injured person, and he does so because he is a trained doctor. So the doctor is the cause of healing. The doctor may also be a surfer, and it would also be true that the surfer healed the person, but his status as a surfer is not what caused the healing. The surfer status is an accident, that is, it has no necessary connection to the effect. In the same way, chance causes have no necessary connection to their effects. Chance happens for a purpose, but that purpose does not cause it since incidental cause never come prior to …

Aristotle on Nature

I wrote the following for a class assignment. It deals with Book 2, Chapter 1 of the Physics. Footnotes are omitted. 
Aristotle’s line of thought is that some things exist by nature and by nature he means that which has an internal principle of change. This principle is to be found within the thing itself and not in an accidental attribute. One account of nature says that the matter which constitutes the thing is what the nature should be identified as. Antiphon, a proponent of this view, points out the wood of a bed is the nature of a bed since if you were to plant the wood of the bed what would sprout is not another bed but wood. Since nature tends to produce more of itself, and wooden beds do not produce other wooden beds but only wood, the bed is only an accidental attribute of the wood. Those who wish to identify nature with the form point out that matter considered by itself is only a potential, and doesn’t exist until it receives some form to inform it to be the kind of thing …

David Hume On Miracles

The following was an essay I turned in for class. There were footnotes, but those didn't copy over. The copying also made the Bayesian formula a little weird, but I did my best to make it look like a legit equation. 
David Hume has a two pronged argument against belief in miracles. The first is granting for the sake of argument that a full proof could be given for a miracle. Since the full proof for a miracle stands against a full proof against it, the miracle cannot be believed. The second is that in actuality, there has never been a full proof mounted for a miracle, so even more so miracle cannot be believed. 
Hume sets out as a principle of knowledge that one proportions his belief to evidence. When one comes to two competing propositions that needs to be judged, one proposition may tip the scales, so to speak, and the weightier proposition will be the more probable one. Now miracles are defined as a violation of the laws of nature. What establishes a law of nature is our cons…

The Tripartite Soul in the Republic

The following was a paper I turned in for class. There are footnotes, but they don't copy over for whatever reason. 
Socrates argues that the soul has three parts, the appetite, the spirit, and reason. “Part” refers to a faculty that moves us to act. Since there are movements of the human soul that desire contradictory things, the origins of those desires must therefore be distinct. He argues for this by first putting forth the principle of noncontradiction when he says a thing cannot want or do contradictory things. If the soul wanted to do something contradictory, like to drink and not to drink, then we would be dealing with something else other than a whole unified soul. We would be dealing with some part of the soul instead. In further establishing this approach, Socrates deals with some possible counter examples, such as a moving man or a spinning top. In the case of a man who may move his arms and legs, this is dealt with by distinguishing the parts of the man which move, w…

Bible Study: Sola Scriptura

The following is a bible study I did for Newman. Feel free to use as you see fit.

What Does The Bible Say About: Sola Scriptura?

Definition: Sola Scriptura is the Protestant doctrine that the only infallible rule of faith (and practice) is Sacred Scripture.

Biblical Data:
2nd Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. 
Discussion: All scripture is what by God? Inspired. What does inspired mean? This means that God, although he uses man to write the scripture, is ultimately the author of scripture. What is it useful for? Teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. What is the point of teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness? So that we as Christians can be proficient/equipped for every good work. Does this prove that scripture is therefore the only infallible rule…

John Locke's Argument for God's Existence

This was an essay I turned in for class.

Locke’s Argument for God

Locke’s argument comes in two stages. In the first stage, he argues for a first cause, and in the second stage, he argues for identifying that cause as God. It can be summarized thusly:

1. There are beings that have a beginning
2. All beings that have a beginning have been produced by something eternal
3. Therefore, something eternal exists

In support of the first premise, Locke points to our own existence as a thing that exists. His reasoning here is that if one truly does not exist, then one is nothing. Yet at some point, Locke is confident, that the one claiming he is non-being will eventually be hungry or have pain, which is only possible to being, not to non-being. This may sound like a practical argument, and practical arguments are not always the strongest arguments, but Locke also says that non-being cannot produce being. Non-being cannot have properties, sensations, passions, or anything whatsoever, predicated to…

Do We Only Inherit The Consequences of Original Sin?

I have an anabaptist coworker, and we got the talking about Original Sin. After pointing out Romans 5 to him and how it talks about how Adam's sin lead to the condemnation of all people, he pointed to a verse in the OT that says we will not inherit the iniquities of our fathers (which I have dealt with before on my short 3 part series on Original Sin, which you can find here, here, and here). I then pointed to other OT verses that seem to say the opposite, my point being that with the ambiguity in the OT, we should look to the NT for a clear interpretation.

But it occurs to me now that perhaps that isn't even necessary. His response was that the OT verses I pointed out only show that we suffer sins consequences. Is this a good response? It is not. According to Romans 6:23, after its long emphasis on the fallen state of humanity, says that the wages of sin are death. In contrast, our reward in Jesus is eternal life, and because that contrast is being made, we know that death i…