Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Looking for something to read? Review of "The Last Superstition- A Refutation of the New Atheism"

Today, after about a month's worth of reading (usually books don't take me that long, but it's been busy!), I finally finished Edward Feser's excellent book, "The Last Superstition".

Feser is a Thomistic philosopher, who philosophised his way from atheism to Catholicism. Go check out his amazing (albeit somewhat long) story The Road from Atheism

I absolutely loved this book. It tracks philosophical thought from the first Ancient Greeks, through to Plato and Aristotle, then Aquinas and the Scholastics, and concludes by examining the incoherent mess that is Modern Philosophy. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and tied together some of the ideas I had covered in my History of Ancient Philosophy class last semester. I'll delve more deeply into some of the specific arguments in later posts, so get excited!

Some of the Great Minds to get a mention: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant and Nietzsche.
One caveat, however: I would be so keen to give this book to some of my atheist friends to read, to see what they think, so that they may at least grasp how a reasonable person may believe in God, even if they are not convinced. Unfortunately though, as others have remarked, Feser seems to have felt the need to spice things up a bit with polemical language. He says himself that he does this because it seems that the religious folk among us have been too mild in our responses to the aggressive attacks of the New Atheism, and so he is simply dishing out the same back. Also perhaps he felt the average reader would need something to enliven the lengthy abstract discussions. Finally, since he was once an atheist himself, he may have felt a certain licence to take liberty with insulting Dawkins and his ilk. 

Whatever the reasons, it means I am hesitant to give the book to any friends, as they may not be able to distinguish between the polemics and the actual arguments, and will then end up dismissing the wonderful substance of what Aristotle and Aquinas actually have to say. 

But there is (a new) hope! Apparently he has another book called "Aquinas", which has similar content. Hooray! Adding it to the list...

Finally, if you haven't seen this, you really ought to:

I give you, the Dawkins Delusion!

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