instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, August 12, 2012

And the nominalists lamented

Presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan earned praise in politically conservative Catholic circles for saying, while rebutting the charge that he is an Objectivist:
If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas.
Now, I've never read any of Rand's novels; Donleavy's The Unexpurgated Code is more the sort of youthful enthusiasm I'd have to distance myself from. But I wouldn't have guessed the problem with Objectivism is its epistemology.

That said, I do think the country would be well served with moderate realists in public office. And I would love love love it if Notre Dame sponsored a disputation between Rep. Ryan and Vice Pres. Biden on the problem of universals. For its own sake, of course, but also to see how many ways the national media comes up with to paraphrase Wikipedia. The Time cover story alone -- dare I hope it be titled, "Is Idealism Dead in America?" -- would sustain me through the rest of the campaign.