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    Question on the Tradional Logic DVD

    Hi, I go to a private school where we use your Tradional Logic course and the DVD. One part on the DVD pertaining to the Porphyrian Tree says that since angels are non-material (spirit) that is where they end on the Tree. But aren't angels rational by the definition given (knowing the diference of true and false) and sentient? How come then does the tree not recognize this? I hope you can help.

    John T.

    #2
    Are angels rational?

    John T.,

    Angels may be said to be "rational", but only only if we use that term analogously. In other words, they may be said to understand truth, but not in the same way as we do. The reasoning of human beings is sequential. Our reasoning process has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It begins in simple apprehension and ends in deductive inference. Angels, being simple beings (and more like God in this respect, Who is a completely Simple Being), have no distinct beginning, middle, or end to their reasoning process. In fact, they have not "process" to their reasoning at all. "Process" implies that one must proceed from one thing to another. But the reasoning of angels is not sequential. They apprehend truth directly.

    Since man is a complex material being he needs this sequence, and we call this sequence logic. Angels, however(and God), being simple beings, do not need logic. Angels might be said to apprehend truth directly and intuitively, while we apprehend it indirectly and discursively.

    Therefore, although we could say that both angels and men are "rational", we can say that only by way of analogy. They are not the same by way of their rationality, because the rationality of angels (and God) and the rationality of men are not the same; they are only comparable.

    Even if the rationality of men and angels was the same, rationality would still not be grounds to put them on the same level of the Porphyrian Tree. For men, rationality is a difference which marks them off from other animals. Angels have no "difference" which marks them off from anything else. Only complex beings can have a difference, since a difference indicates one level of complexity to their nature. Angels are simple substances (with only one note). Being simple, there is no level of complexity to their nature that would require a difference. They may be rational, but their rationality does not constitute a difference for them.

    This last argument will make more sense to you if you understand what a difference (one of the five predicables) is. I discuss this in my book, Material Logic.

    I hope this helps a little.

    Martin Cothran


    Originally posted by John T
    Hi, I go to a private school where we use your Tradional Logic course and the DVD. One part on the DVD pertaining to the Porphyrian Tree says that since angels are non-material (spirit) that is where they end on the Tree. But aren't angels rational by the definition given (knowing the diference of true and false) and sentient? How come then does the tree not recognize this? I hope you can help.

    John T.

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      #3
      Thank you!

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