Heard in the classroom Some of you may have heard about this in a philosophy, theology or psych class. It's kind of a philosophical mind game. The idea is not new and has been around for centuries, initially articulated by Aristotle. Aristotle used an example of a man, equally positioned between food and water, remained unmoved because he was as hungry as he was thirsty.
Taking the idea a bit further, Buridan's ass is the paradox named after the 14th century French philosopher, Jean Buridan, which states that an "entirely rational ass, placed exactly in the middle between two stacks of hay of equal size and quality, will starve since it cannot make any rational decision to start eating one rather than the other." Buridan also stated, however, the will could delay the choice to study the outcomes of the choice.
Heard on the street Personally, I never really believed the ass was rational. I think the hay stacks are obfuscating the real choice, that being between life and death. The dumb donkey either eats or starves. Not hard to see the better of the two choices here. That the hay stacks are equal, actually makes them no choice at all. One is neither better than the other, nor is it a choice of one being different than another, since in both cases you are merely choosing parts of the same.
This relates to a math problem in many respects. Algebra. Once you can group like objects together and assign them one variable, you are further on your way to solving the problem. Instead of having fruits, vegetables, desserts and such, you group them all together under the heading of "Food" and move on with the rest of the equation.
Pro-choice and pro-life are not equally good positions. They, the analogous haystacks, are so dissimilar morally, philosophically, religiously, in their outcomes, and in their effects, that they cannot be lumped together. These positions are not of equal "quality." Most people would define death as a bad, maybe not even in a moral or religious sense, but to not be on the planet to do as you please -- for those folks who follow that kind of thinking -- would find that being dead isn't so good. Partying is better than not existing. So, the opposite is true; life is good. Then, there is no dilemma here, no room for fence sitting. Buridan's ass would have to move in one direction -- life, over the other -- death.
To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.
~Cardinal John Henry Newman
2010 Cannonball Award
Father Solanus Casey
"Even suffering is part of the truth of our life. Thus, trying to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk creating, despite our good intentions, fragile persons of little generosity: The capacity to love, in fact, corresponds to the capacity to suffer, and to suffer together." ~Benedict XVI
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Fides et Ratio Encyclical
Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.
Thank you everyone that voted for the Kneeler at the Cannonball awards!!
Words of Father Corapi, for all my politician friends and relatives and those who vote for them
"Catholic office holders, whether presidents, senators, congress men or women, or judges at any level must adhere to Catholic teaching or run the risk of separating themselves from the Body of Christ. In such egregious and chronic cases of gross moral evil such as instituting and perpetuating abortion and the structures of sin that surround it, it is quite probable that such Catholic officials are excommunicated in virtue of the acts themselves. A latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication is likely triggered when they vote for laws, funding, and structures that enable and perpetuate such obvious and egregious evil (Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canons 1364,1398; Canon 1329, par. #2). They are in turn forbidden from approaching the sacraments as the result (Cf. Catechism of Catholic Church #1463)."
"It is not morally possible for any Catholic to support abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, or same-sex marriage. There are no ways around this, no justifications whatever. Why? For the simple reason that the Church holds these things to be intrinsically evil. They are evil in themselves, and no circumstances or subjective conditions can ever change that."