Category Philosophy

Is A Vodka Martini Really A Martini?

In his Confusio and Excitorio Hereticorm, St Remy of Aquatine continues his discussion of Spirits with question 14: Whether or not a Vodka Martini is Really a Martini. Fifty years later Bonaventure would cite this exposition as turning him from vodka Martinis but Aquinas, who in Summa Contra Gentiles took the position described in Objection 3, never seems to have […]

Is Gin a Girly Drink? A Refutation of The Pink Agendist

The following is an excerpt from Refutatio et Exscidium Hereticorum by St Remy of Aquitaine (1150? – 1205). Book Four is De Spiritus which concerns itself with Angels, Demons, and Alcohol. In Question 14, St Remy takes up the thesis, Is Gin A Girly Drink?   To some heretics, it seems that gin is a girly drink, fine for summer […]

On the Goodness of the Material World

The other day I was helping a friend build a greenhouse. As we cleared snow, swung picks in the frozen earth, sank the posts and erected the structure, my friend described the principles of permaculture, an art of gardening that respects and imitates as much as possible the natural rhythms of the earth: embrace the […]

Can one be fully human in suburbia?

I have only a passing familiarity with the work of Alasdair MacIntyre, but one of his concepts, the collapse of a common vision of ethics and its effects on modern culture, was very important to me. Today I ran across this challenging quote, from an article on MacIntyre by Stanley Hauerwas, which in a way relates […]

Book Review: The Drama of Atheist Humanism

The Drama of Atheist Humanism brings together into book form several long articles by Henri de Lubac. The articles and subsequent book were published during the Second World War under the Vichy regime in France when it was not possible to mention the Nazis by name, but when people were naturally thinking about the causes and nature of the […]

The Sorrow of Odysseus

Last week I mentioned that The Iliad  is a boy’s book, and The Odyssey is a book for men. The only way to identify with Odysseus is by getting older. I once spent a brief but memorable vacation on a beach in Southern Italy rumored to have inspired some of the scenes from The Odyssey. I was 32 years old, […]

The American Aristotle?

For Aristotle, the goal of all human activity is happiness. Everything people pursue (money, honor, pleasure), they pursue because they think it will make them happy. The art of living well is knowing what sort of activities will make you happy, and which will not. For Aristotle, the life of virtue (or excellence, an alternate […]