Concept, Judgment, and Dogmatic Relativism
W. H. Marshner
It is a central claim of Christianity that certain teachings formulated in the Mediterranean world two thousand years ago are divinely revealed. It is also a central claim that this revelation has been grasped and repeated ever since as the “same Gospel” — an achievement which heresies did not prevent and from which legitimate developments did not detract.
Traditionally, these two claims have been understood to demand the following explanation: the expressions used in formulating the original teachings have been understood within the main body of the Church with enough invariance, over all the intervening centuries and in widely different civilizations, to ensure that the “same doctrine” has been handed down. Continue reading “Concept, Judgment, and Dogmatic Relativism”
A CRITIQUE OF MARIAN COUNTERFACTUAL FORMULAE: A REPORT OF RESULTS
By WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
This paper is devoted to refuting the so-called debitum hypotheticum or conditionatum. In general, a debitum is expressed by the claim that Mary, thanks to her connexion with Adam, was under a necessity to contract original sin; the debitum conditionatum is expressed by the claim that, thanks to the same necessity, she would have contracted original sin, if one or another condition had been fulfilled (e.g., if God had not preserved her).
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A LOGICIAN’S REFLECTIONS ON THE DEBITUM CONTRAHENDI PECCATUM
By WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
Reprinted from MARIAN STUDIES (1978)
The long-standing theological debate over whether Our Blessed Mother can be said to have had a debitum peccati begins and ends, it seems, with both sides admitting the truth of the following contrary-to-fact condition:
(A) If she had not been preserved, Mary would have contracted original sin.
The necessity of affirming this or similar counterfactuals is usually said to lie in the Church’s doctrine that Our Lady’s redemption was a “preservative” redemption. It is asked, what can “preservative” mean, if an assertion like (A) is not true?
Continue reading “A Logician’s Reflections On The Debitum Contrahendi Peccatum”
Principles Of Sufficient Reason: Selected Questions
In graduate school at the University of Dallas, I was exposed to a school of phenomenologists who defend the principles of sufficient reason. This famous invention of Leibniz is an all-purpose replacement for the causal principles known and explored in the Middle Ages. It guarantees that every proposition, if true, and every fact has a sufficient reason why it is so and not otherwise. The crucial question is whether free choice is compatible with this “principle.” This essay explores several versions of it and argues that most of them are, indeed, incompatible with liberty and with several theological truths emphasized in the Thomist tradition. Continue reading “Principles Of Sufficient Reason: Selected Questions”
Addenda to “Metaphysical Personhood and the IUD”
W. H. Marshner
October 3, 1974
Fr. Joseph Donceel’s account of ontogeny might be read as presenting an organism which, without changing genetically, undergoes a series of holistic alterations which can best be described as “emergent shifts,” Such shifts are said to occur (by evolutionary theorists) when life, for example, “emerges” in matter previously non-living, or when sensation “emerges” in living matter previously non-sentient, or when consciousness “emerges” in animals previously non-conscious. Teilhard, indeed, seems to extend this series indefinitely, lumping such phenomena as thought, value, history, community, and even the contemporary Zeitgeist into the general category of emergent qualities. Continue reading “Addenda To “Metaphysical Personhood And The IUD””