– A thing is an object of practical knowledge so far as it owes its existence to us, and therefore so far as it owes its truth to us.
-All entities known by experiment are objects of practical knowledge, even if it is practical knowledge in the service of theory. This is more true the closer one gets to physics; but it’s certainly true of any enterprise that converges on a physical law. All physical laws, and even many physical definitions specify ways of controlling the thing defined.
– Physical law specifies an in-principle way for mind to control phenomena, and so nature is seen through the lens of the impersonal and passive. If this is how we understand our relationship to the supernatural, then we have either magic or superstition.
-When relation to the supernatural become a matter of technique, one has superstition and magic. One has the same thing in the attempts to control other persons by technique. Using techniques in the sense science has techniques means we are being manipulative.
-When we say God is pure act, we certainly deny the kind of passivity and ability to be manipulated that our minds have to nature. But is the interpersonal relationships clearly involve sorts of influence and activity that is neither manipulative nor done on some sort of inert and passive entity. If you change my mind, it doesn’t negate my own autonomy or make you manipulative.
-Relationships between lovers are not act-potency relationships, even where there is influence. Lovers influence so far as they have a shared life.
-God’s own sharing of his life with us in friendship is the reason why we can really influence God by prayer, and really change things by it, while at the same time recognizing God as the First Immobile mover of all things, who cannot be changed in any way. What is negated by this latter fact is any sort of deceptive manipulation, not the mutual influence of the shared life.
-Manipulation and practical knowledge is based on act-potency relationships, together forming system in which the system alone is “what acts”; interpersonal friendships are based on two agents forming a shared life.