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Commenting on comments, v. 1

This anonymous commenter on Ed Feser's blog post "Stove on contemporary academic style" makes one common kind of bogus objection: he presupposes that one who affirms some of the ideas of Aristotle and Aquinas (where Aristotle and Aquinas can stand for any thinker) is committed to affirming them all. But unless he can show either that (a) Feser explicitly affirms Aristotle's views on the souls of animals and slaves, or (b) that it is logically inconsistent to deny Aristotle's views on the souls of slaves and animals, and simultaneously to affirm those views of Aristotle and Aquinas that Feser expressly does affirm, the objection lacks all traction. Suppose (as seems likely) that those parts of A & A that Feser does affirm do not logically imply Aristotle's views on the souls of animals & slaves, and suppose further that Feser does not affirm these views, or that he even condemns them outright; is Feser obliged to explain away crimes committed by those who follow views he doesn't affirm and isn't required to affirm? I think not.

I take it to be exceedingly unlikely that any human thinker, however great or however simple, holds a set of positions exhaustive for her, that due to their logical interrelations must be affirmed or denied in toto. Those hacks who love to foist bashable straw persons onto the objects of their disagreement are all too glad when their readers can be duped into attributing this false consistency to those objects of disagreement. Do not be so duped!

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