Saturday, July 6, 2013

Self-Evident Truths and American Independence

By Brandon Watson here.

1 comment:

Bill Fortenberry said...

Campbell’s objection reminds me of Aquinas’ explanation of how something can be self-evident to one person and not to another.

“Now a thing is said to be self-evident in two ways: first, in itself; secondly, in relation to us. Any proposition is said to be self-evident in itself, if its predicate is contained in the notion of the subject: although, to one who knows not the definition of the subject, it happens that such a proposition is not self-evident. For instance, this proposition, ‘Man is a rational being,’ is, in its very nature, self-evident, since who says ‘man,’ says ‘a rational being’: and yet to one who knows not what a man is, this proposition is not self-evident. Hence it is that, as Boethius says (De Hebdom.), certain axioms or propositions are universally self-evident to all; and such are those propositions whose terms are known to all, as, ‘Every whole is greater than its part,’ and, ‘Things equal to one and the same are equal to one another.’ But some propositions are self-evident only to the wise, who understand the meaning of the terms of such propositions: thus to one who understands that an angel is not a body, it is self-evident that an angel is not circumscriptively in a place: but this is not evident to the unlearned, for they cannot grasp it.”