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Modernity and the Failures of Pure Rationality

In this episode, I talked to John Timaeus of Modernity Has Fallen about epistemology, rationality, and the failures of modernity. John writes about these issues on his blog. As a software developer and mathematician, John understands problem solving, and is able to show how we’ve gone wrong. So, we discussed how in our modern world we don’t know how we come to truth. Then, we looked back at how we came to know what is true in the past. Last, we discussed how our extreme problem solving can never run out of problems to solve – and might even create more.

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“Modernity, the child of the Enlightenment, failed when it became apparent that the good society cannot be achieved by unaided reason.”

Robert Bork

Modernity’s Confused Epistemology

Too many people today assert what is true without knowing how they came to know it. Although we can know many facts, we are not good at knowing how we learn or the basis for what is true. We offhandedly discount the supernatural and take materialist assumptions. Many modernists will say that science is the only source of truth, but at same time fail to defend why it should be.

That’s our problem: we know a lot of things, but don’t know why. Knowing is not only the who, what, when, where, and how. There’s a why behind what we know to be true and why we believe something to be true. That is what we use epistemology to understand, and that is something that modern man has lost that the ancient world knew.

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Failures of Modernity

Modernity has promised us that we will solve all the world’s ills with rationality. We can leave religion behind, trading it in for science. However, that has not come true. In fact, modernity has failed to solve our problems, even creating many more in the process. Because we are finite beings, we cannot know all that goes into our decisions, and so each solution will be ultimately insufficient. Just take the internet for example. It has given us tremendous ability to solve problems through communication. But, it has also brought a host of issues with social media, porn, and more.

228. Peter Kreeft's Intro to the Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas Conversation of Our Generation

 I wanted to start reading the Summa Theologiae by Thomas Aquinas – until I realized it was a multi-volume set. So, I despaired and looked for another option. And, I ran across A Shorter Summa, Peter Kreeft's work that helps introduce people to Aquinas. Buy your copy of A Shorter Summa by Peter Kreeft here>> Full episode: Peter Kreeft's Intro to the Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas  Who Was St. Thomas Aquinas? Thomas Aquinas is a Dominican friar, Catholic Saint, and a Doctor of the Church. He was philosopher who helped the Medieval Church incorporate Aristotle and the Greek philosophers into the Catholic tradition. He was a spectacular thinker and writer whose impact on the Church is still tremendous. While he's best known for the Summa Theologiae, he also wrote numerous commentaries, the Summa Contra Gentiles, and much more. What is the Summa Theologiae? Buy your copy of A Shorter Summa by Peter Kreeft here>> Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae is his largest work. Aquinas wrote the Summa to be a beginner's guide to the faith. Today, we would think it is rather comprehensive and hard to grapple with. It argues in favor of belief in God and the teachings of the Catholic Church as well as speculate on moral and theological questions. How Peter Kreeft helps read the Summa Theologiae What I found helpful about Kreeft's summary of the Summa Theologiae is how he broke down the questions. Kreeft's offered insight and background to questions, but didn't talk down to the reader. I found his notes helpful in understanding the context as well as the methods and jargon used in philosophy. His glossary of terms helped me grasp the concepts because Thomas didn't write in a way we'd be familiar with. Unless you've read and studied Aristotle (which I barely had at the time), much of what Aquinas wants to say is muddled. By leveraging Aristotle's system, he took on his terms and methods. Kreeft translates that in the notes, helping the layman like myself make better sense of it. Buy your copy of A Shorter Summa by Peter Kreeft here>> — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 228. Peter Kreeft's Intro to the Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas
  2. 227. You're Not A Monk | Unexpected Advice From a Priest
  3. 226. Nicomachean Ethics Book 2, Class 2
  4. 225. Suffering For The Truth & The Importance Of Integrity
  5. 224. When Civil Disobedience Is Justified

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