Notes on Money, Markets, and Economics
October 15, 2017
Posted by Trevor Newton
Aristotle opens with the statement that “Every art [techne] and every inquiry, and similarly every action [praxis] as well as choice, is held to aim at some good” (1094a). And while there are many “actions, arts, and sciences [episteme]” - all of them, always, aim at some good (1094a5-10).

Further, every human action/art/science falls “under some one capacity [dunamis]… in all of them, the ends of the architectonic ones are more choiceworthy than all those that fall under them” (1094a7-17).

An example of this hierarchy could be jogging, which falls under exercise, which falls under health, which is good. Thus health is the end of exercise, which is the end of jogging. Since health (architectonic) is considered good on account of itself, then it is...[read more]
August 1, 2017
Posted by Trevor Newton
Or, to put the question in terms which apply more specifically to myself, “Can I be a good economist yet not be a good person?

If Plato were to attempt to answer this question, speaking as he would through Socrates, he would first ask for clarification: What is Economics concerned with? What aspect of life does it know about? What is the goal (ergon) of Economics? (For example, in the Gorgias dialogue, where Socrates debates the merits of rhetoric, he spends considerable time (Gorgias 447a-457c) seeking to clarify the definition of rhetoric before he even attempts to launch his main argument against it).

Economists have debated the answers to these questions for more than two hundred years; yet still, there are no conclusive answers. The...[read more]
July 1, 2017
Posted by Trevor Newton
The dialogue opens with Socrates engaging in banter with his acquaintances Chaerephon, Callicles, and Pontus, setting the scene for the first part of the debate between Socrates and Gorgias, the Sicilian sophist and orator.

Socrates begins by posing the question, What is your area of expertise? (449a). Gorgias answers, It is rhetoric, and adds that he is also a teacher of rhetoric. Socrates responds by asking, What is rhetoric? (449d). Gorgias broadly defines rhetoric as being concerned with speaking but Socrates insists on a more precise definition. Gorgias further explains that rhetoric is concerned with persuading crowds of people to think or act a certain way (452e). Socrates still isn’t satisfied, so he asks Gorgias, What is rhetoric attempting to persuade people of? Gorgias explains...[read more]
May 1, 2017
Posted by Trevor Newton
In researching this area of study I have been considering basic questions such as: Is science really morally neutral? Is anything morally neutral? Are there proofs for God’s existence which even hard-core atheists can’t refute? Can the transcendent moral code of Christianity be shown to be the driver of sustained progress?

As the West tries to replace Christianity with Humanism, the culture is very obviously collapsing. As it keeps collapsing, people are looking for solutions. I believe that Christian economists can provide at least some of those solutions.

But if someone asked me to define what Christian Economics is, I would first need to provide a definition of Economics. All things considered, this ought to be a very straightforward definition to rattle off, but I...[read more]
March 31, 2017
Posted by Trevor Newton
Plato’s Republic is divided into ten books which, when taken together, provide a model and plan of the ideal state as Plato (or Socrates) sees it. The dialogue also, perhaps more importantly, provides an exhortation for men to live justly and righteously not only for earthly rewards, but also eternal.

The dialogue opens with banter between Socrates, Glaucon, and various other characters. Socrates engages Cephalus, an older man who is rich, in conversation and is pleased to hear him say that old age is not very burdensome as long as one’s character is temperate and cheerful, for the older one gets they less one is affected by passions and desires.

Socrates asks if perhaps Cephalus would feel this way if he weren’t so wealthy (329e)....[read more]
February 27, 2017
Posted by Trevor Newton
The dialogue presents a cosmogony as elaborated through Plato’s philosopher character, Timaeus. His creation account is not presented as conclusive, only possible and likely. The arguments of Timaeus provide insight to Plato’s thoughts on the existence of God, at least indirectly, which is part of my research focus.

Timaeus’ discourse doesn’t start until 27d, everything prior is an introductory conversation between Socrates, Timaeus, and the other characters present. The focus of the discourse is the generation of the world and the creation of man (27a).

Timaeus begins with the question/answer:

“What is that which always is and has no becoming, and what is that which is always becoming and never is? That which is apprehended by intelligence and reason is always..."[read more]

January 30, 2017
Posted by Trevor Newton
In the preface to the book, Feser identifies two widespread abnormalities in Western Culture, sexual libertinism and contempt for religion, which are the result of the modern scientific worldview which has become dominant over the past 400 years. This worldview itself is the result of a philosophical "error" which is the subject of Feser's book. His purpose is to state the error, show why it is an error, what the consequences of the error are, and how correcting the error will demonstrate that it is a "certain kind of" moral and religious traditionalist who is truly rational.(p.viii)

Feser's other purpose in writing the book is that he is disgusted and distressed at the ineffective arguments being put forward by those opposed to "the antireligious and...[read more]
View the entire archive of Trevor's posts here.