Ten Years

This blog started ten years ago last week, and the first archived post dates to today. This makes blogging the longest continuous endeavor of my adult life: older than marriage, kids, home-ownership, etc. More to the point, it’s the longest amount of time I’ve devoted to anything sheerly for the love of doing it.

The blog started in the hope of being a part of a larger website that would function as an ongoing philosophical seminar, but the nature of blogging didn’t allow for this. Blogs are essentially personal, and even group blogs are just some number of personal ones displayed on the same page. Comboxes, for various reasons, never read like ongoing seminars on the point of the post or even Q+A’s after a speech, but share in the the idiosyncrasies of blogging itself. At any rate I have little talent for comboxing, which requires a different if in some ways overlapping skill set to writing posts. And so the nature of the thing mixed with my own personality to make this blog a public-though-voiceless record of the things I saw while alone in contemplation.

A good number of the things I saw were embarrassing nonsense, others just wrong, others merely fatally flawed. I’ve put in some time towards deleting the the worst of these and I continue to do so.  But I’ve hit upon a few ideas that are worth keeping too, often by working them out over the course of a few years. I still stand by claims like (a) the argument from evil has no coherent and/or necessary account of divine goodness, (b) that form is the principle of the whole and matter of the part (c.) that the “more and less” in the Fourth Way is of perseity (d.) that the best entryway into the mystery of God is the fact that we must understand him as both a concrete hypostasis and an abstract nature. Most of these claims are underwritten by St. Thomas, but they deserve to be developed and highlighted as responses to modern problems and as valuable insights in themselves.

Much of the work here goes far afield of anything St. Thomas dealt with explicitly, and I’ve toyed with the idea of renaming the blog. But the development of any rational system happens by way of objections, fights, and occasional journeys to the land of foreign  doctrines. There were far more fundamental disputes at the University of Paris than one ever finds among modern Scholastics; and St. Thomas himself spent far more time trying to overturn his own ideas than most of his disciples. For all that, I love that burly  introverted friar more than I’ll ever be able to love any other thinker. The name stands.

I’m very thankful for those who read the things I write here. I would have abandoned a mere private diary or a blog with no readers after two entries, and so each of you had an essential role to play in the project.

So now back to the regularly scheduled fare until, God willing, I feel the need to write another post like this after 20 years.


  1. Kristor said,

    January 28, 2014 at 11:57 am

    James, thanks for the work you do here. I learn a lot from it.

  2. January 28, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    After ten years, you might have enough for a short book. You could systematize it around the four theses you listed, perhaps. As an editor, I would encourage you to think about it (assuming you haven’t already … or in a while). Your writing is very clear, and your blog is popular enough that I would not be surprised if some publisher would be interested.

  3. January 28, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Congratulations! Having been a reader what must certainly be more than eight and perhaps more than nine years of that time, it hardly seems like it could be so long.

  4. theofloinn said,

    January 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    And on January 28th, no less! The very Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.

    I second the book, fwiw. I have especially enjoyed your “dialogues.”

    • January 30, 2014 at 12:53 am

      I would think that January 28 was an excellent day to begin such a blog on Thomism, as well. I wonder if it was deliberate?

      (Judging from the early posts it doesn’t seem to have been declared deliberate. Perhaps the deliberateness has been infused, as with a process, rather than declared, as with a moment.)

  5. January 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Here’s to many more years!

  6. January 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    1. Happy birthday!
    2. Consider this a third to the book.
    3. Any chance of an index post chronicling the topics in your third paragraph? I’d like to read up on perseity and the Fourth Way, &c.

  7. primematter said,

    January 28, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I thank you so much for this blog. It often succeeds in renewing my interest in philosophy and religion, and sometimes my commitment to the latter. I have found mystical inspiration as well. I don’t think I have found a better statement of the problem of the reflective religious person than d). There is real wisdom here, both theoretical and practical. I can’t say I have understood everything or liked everything, but certainly enough to keep me coming back.

  8. thenyssan said,

    January 29, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Ite ad Just Thomism.

  9. Matthew McCormack said,

    January 29, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Nice work !
    Happy memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas (a day late).

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