I intend to cover this topic in my term paper for my class "Bacon and the Mastery of Nature." I would like to know what you all think...

It is granted by some that a speculative science takes part of its formality from the form of its object. Whence only if the object so known lends itself also to the use of practical reason can a speculative science inform a practical science. I take that an example of such an amenable speculative science would be the science of the human body. One not so disposed is metaphysics. However, if on the other hand the practical ends of reason begin to inform the way in which the formal object of a speculative science is taken up, it seems that one runs the risk of creating a mutant or crippled theoria. The physicist may discover not how nature is, but rather, for instance, how it is usable or alterable. Granted, if it is usable that must also be in some way how it is, but such is not necessarily all of its essence. The full picture may be, and arguable must be, missing.

Therefore the question is: granting that Francis Bacon wants to establish (in the New Organon) a science of nature that is ordered to the practical, in what way does it give an account for its object? What is its formal unity, if it has one?

Tentative thesis: The "new" physics Bacon proposes makes a very appropriate assumption in turning to "laws of nature" as its object, in order to address the various aspects (scientific objects) of nature in motion; for by understanding these processes (or apprehending their "behavior" by discerning the law they obey in action) men can more easily utilize these behavioral motions to achieve practical ends.

Another reason, at first glance, seems to be the fact that the object of such a new science would not be viewed insofar as it is speculatively true (i.e. knowable for its own sake and eternal or unchangeable), and this because of the introduced practical aspect to the science (for men would know for the sake of their ends, which a changeable, and need to involve changeable things). The eternal and unchangeable principles of mobile being, and their dependence upon a first cause, cannot be changed by men; however, the "law" according to which powers or habits of the soul, or of chemicals, "behave" seem to unlock certain inter-dependent relationships that can be played off one another to further benefit.

One of the difficulties is the fact that such laws, insofar as they are "not changeable," seem to have a speculative character to them. Can this be overcome by the fact that followers of the new physics apply these laws not to substance ("The Law of Being, That It Cannot Not Be") but to accidental qualities. It seems that it is for lesser qualities such as sweet tastes, or pleasures, or health of body, that these laws are sought.

I thank you all for your indulgence.

"Mastered by Nature, man overcomes by Art."
--Antiphon, (quoted by Aristotle in the beginning of his treatise on mechanical problems.)

Amongst Thomists, there is a discussion, almost a dichotomy, as to what falls first into the intellect. This is a valuable and important question. It seems the veracity of all scientific and philosophic inquiries are ultimately dependent on how it is that we know. Now, it should be made clear that this is in no way an essay. The appropriate research, therefore, that accompanies research and academic papers was not done. But I am convinced of this position. At the same time I also, humbly, request any comments, insights, or criticisms.

There are some in the Thomistic community who believe that Esse falls into the intellect first, rather than Ens. Now this is an attractive proposition, but one that i find patently false. The attraction stems from the truth that the intellect knows act, being, etc. But the study of Metaphysics prior to Physics convinces the student, who later becomes a 'master', that that 'being', which is the object of the intellect, is what Thomas calls Esse.

The immediate problem to my mind in saying that Esse falls first into the intellect can be summed up in the faulty position of Parmenides. It seems to me that he made the mistake of confusing Ens with Esse. Of course this led to the positing of many falsehoods, among them being the lack and impossibility of motion. Thus, it seems that these Thomists have, in effect created, not only a Metaphysics devoid of Physics, but one that not only contradicts true Physics, but also everyday experience.

Finally, there are other Thomists who don't take as radical a stance. You might call these quasi-existential Thomists. There position, however, is a somewhat modified version of the above. It seems that these believe that Ens falls first into the intellect, but that there is nothing wrong with studying Metaphysics prior to Physics. Of course, the logical question to put forth is 'What are you studying?' And their answer of course is 'Being (esse) as such, duh. Isn't that what Metaphysics is?' And I answer fair enough, but how do you know that something is other than what is in matter. And I get the following reply, because it is possible to separate existence from ens in the mind. True. The problem here, though, seems to be that without certainty that there is immaterial ens, you can't have a study of being as such. And if you do not have knowledge of being existing outside of matter, there is no proper object of science.

In conclusion, the result of both the above positions is one of faith rather than knowledge. Obviously the existential Thomists believe that motion exists because it is central to the Aristotelian and Thomistic thought. They also believe that there is a natural argument for the existence of God. But without the proper order of study and termination of the intellect, that is all these conclusions come to: BELIEF.

I am excited to have your thoughts on the matter. -Ciao

I am looking for some help as I am mulling over inertial motion. Taking Aristotle's definition of motion and Newton's account of inertial motion, there seems to be an inherent contradiction.

In analyzing the account of inertial motion, I am struck by Galileo's thought experiment of the sphere rolling down a plane on one side across the floor and up similarly inclined plane on the other. He posited that if this could be done without friction, the sphere would return to the same height on the opposite plane, and so back again, ad infinitum.
I am struck, however, by several questions when I consider this case. First of all, can there be motion without "friction?" I am inclined to think that it is a necessary condition of motion that it be through a medium which at once inhibits and allows for the possibility of motion. This idea is encouraged by the impossibility of a vacuum. Moreover, (and I know that is an area which you have studied Vincentius) is it right to make such an "abstraction" from motion that we see? Indeed, can the idea of inertial motion even be called abstraction? It seems to be a mathematical fiction, useful for calculation. It is hard for me to see that inertial motion is contained virtually in mobile objects the way mathematicals are contained in bodies. A sign of this is that I see nothing in the nature of matter that makes it impossible that there be a perfect sphere or cube. With inertia, on the other hand, there seem to be many impossibilities. One of which is an infinite effect from a finite agent.
Having laid these questions and considerations before you venerable brethren, I eagerly await your comments, questions and guidance.

Here is a proposed itinerary for an upcoming symposium on the nature of Aristotle's First Mover. Since these questions were prompted by recent claims that St. Thomas in his commentaries imposes his own philosophy/theology on the texts of Aristotle, this discussion will concern the text of Aristotle itself. Any comments will be appreciated!

1) Does the First Mover move by final cause only?
2) Does the First Mover know the things He moves? Does He have a will and hence love the things He moves?
3) Is the First Mover the designer/originator of the universe?
4) Does the First Mover act through necessity or election?
5) Is the First Mover subsistent esse (as a distinct notion)? If so, does Aristotle see the consequences of this (God's infinity, perfection, goodness, unity, etc.)?

Relevant texts:

- Physics VII 1; VIII 5; VIII 10
- Metaphysics II 1-2; XII 6, 7, 9
- De Anima II 4

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