Author Topic: Cannibalism  (Read 818 times)

Rubecorks

Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2017, 12:01:36 PM »
I want to remind the jokers that this is a section for "serious-academic discussion". Can we keep the rule?

Given that neither administrator had a problem with those posts, I'll thank you to not mini-mod here.

A reminder is non mini-moding. However, my reminder is apparently wrong here, as it is clear now that a serious academic discussion includes popping in to make jokes. That is new to me, but it is your forum. Personally, I find it detracts from the gravity and focus of a serious discussion.

 

Rubecorks

Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2017, 12:09:10 PM »
You really need to find something early to defend the passing sentence you found in the 1958 book to prove it is traditional.

On the contrary, you have yet to demonstrate McHugh and Callan is not traditional, as -- once again -- this excerpt from St. Thomas...

[ . . . ] thus some take pleasure in eating earth and coals (Ethic. v.) and the like; or on the part of the soul; thus from custom some take pleasure in cannibalism or in the unnatural intercourse of man and beast, or other suchlike things, which are not in accord with human nature. "

...does not clearly show that the cannibalism St. Thomas treats in passing is the same as that discussed in McHugh and Callan.  St. Thomas treats the topic as "from custom," and the practitioners "take pleasure" in it, whereas McHugh and Callan say it is lawful only in "extreme necessity," and emphasize "it is not lawful to kill human beings in order to eat them," in obvious contrast to those who consume human flesh "from custom."  There is no contradiction between these two sources to anyone here but you.

A true merging of the 1958 statement with the quote by St. Thomas comes out to be, 'It seems okay to sometimes do something that is not in accord with human nature.'

That I find to be a contradiction of Catholic principle.

 

Mithrandylan

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Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2017, 12:29:33 PM »
I dispute that what Saint Thomas is talking about the same thing. 

"Cannibalism" typically refers to the killing of other people for the purposes of consuming them.  That is the most common usage of the term.  And it is not the usage we are concerned with.  I don't know what St. Thomas has in mind when he discursively mentions Cannibalism in I, II, Q31, a7.  But the context seems to strongly suggest that he is discussing the word according to its common usage.  The actual question is whether or not any pleasure is unnatural, and he (as tmw pointed out) speaks of custom, which is clearly distinguishable from what we're discussing.

In other words, I do not read St. Thomas to be saying "the consumption of human flesh, no matter how it is procured and no matter how the person came to die, is, under every imaginable circumstance, immoral." 

The reason that it seems at least not obviously what he's saying is simply owed to what is meant in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition by "natural."  It is not natural for man to kill, despite his propensity toward it, and despite the "human condition."  It is not natural to kill because "natural" simply refers to that which facilitates the flourishing of a thing, given the type of thing it is.  So it's natural for trees to soak up water, for monkeys to eat bananas, and so on, because in doing so they become better instances of the types of things they are.  It is unnatural for man to kill because it does not facilitate the type of thing he is.  On the other hand, it is entirely natural for man to eat, so much so that in dire circumstances he would eat things that he normally wouldn't-- roots, leaves, etc. 
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TKGS

Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2017, 02:11:14 PM »
I dispute that what Saint Thomas is talking about the same thing. 

"Cannibalism" typically refers to the killing of other people for the purposes of consuming them. 

Indeed, an "-ism" is, by definition, "A distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement." [Oxford English Dictionary]

The "cannibalism" described in the opening post was not this type of "-ism" as it was not discussing a practice, system, or philosophy.  Rather, it was discussing the consumption of human flesh-meat in order to survive during some extraordinary conditions.

I'm still not sure I agree with McHugh and Callan, but I am convinced that they are not talking about the same thing as St. Thomas and that St. Thomas did not address the actual issue that is being discussed in this topic in the quotes cited so far.
 
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Nick

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Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2017, 04:42:25 PM »
I want to remind the jokers that this is a section for "serious-academic discussion". Can we keep the rule?

Given that neither administrator had a problem with those posts, I'll thank you to not mini-mod here.

A reminder is non mini-moding. However, my reminder is apparently wrong here, as it is clear now that a serious academic discussion includes popping in to make jokes. That is new to me, but it is your forum. Personally, I find it detracts from the gravity and focus of a serious discussion.


LOL, tis a weighty And a meaty subject;
But you'll feast at the table alone if you expect all the dinner guests to
Sink their teeth into such a ( ? juicy ) subject
With the appropriate degree of gusto And gravity.
 :party:
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 04:45:58 PM by Nick »
"Now when [a pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric.".      St. Francis de Sales.
 
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Rubecorks

Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2017, 06:36:23 PM »
I dispute that what Saint Thomas is talking about the same thing. 

"Cannibalism" typically refers to the killing of other people for the purposes of consuming them.  That is the most common usage of the term.  And it is not the usage we are concerned with. 

If you look in a dictionary, rather than just rely on your memories of novels or movies, you will see that cannibalism has no essential connection to killing.


I don't know what St. Thomas has in mind when he discursively mentions Cannibalism in I, II, Q31, a7.  But the context seems to strongly suggest that he is discussing the word according to its common usage. 

I don't know why you are saying this. There is not the slightest hint in St. Thomas' words that the eating of the human flesh is from a murdered person.


The actual question is whether or not any pleasure is unnatural, and he (as tmw pointed out) speaks of custom, which is clearly distinguishable from what we're discussing.

Yes, the main point of the article is about how one can have an agreeable taste for what is unnatural, because normally what is unatural to eat is not agreeable to the palate. Once explained why it could become agreeable (such as by custom), St. Thomas reiterates that the act is nevertheless unnatural. In Thomism, an act which is unnatural is a sin.


In other words, I do not read St. Thomas to be saying "the consumption of human flesh, no matter how it is procured and no matter how the person came to die, is, under every imaginable circumstance, immoral." 

The reason that it seems at least not obviously what he's saying is simply owed to what is meant in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition by "natural."  It is not natural for man to kill, despite his propensity toward it, and despite the "human condition."  It is not natural to kill because "natural" simply refers to that which facilitates the flourishing of a thing, given the type of thing it is.  So it's natural for trees to soak up water, for monkeys to eat bananas, and so on, because in doing so they become better instances of the types of things they are.  It is unnatural for man to kill because it does not facilitate the type of thing he is.  On the other hand, it is entirely natural for man to eat, so much so that in dire circumstances he would eat things that he normally wouldn't-- roots, leaves, etc.

Murder is a sin. Just killing is in accord with justice and nature. This is no argument.


 

Rubecorks

Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2017, 06:46:14 PM »
I dispute that what Saint Thomas is talking about the same thing. 

"Cannibalism" typically refers to the killing of other people for the purposes of consuming them. 

Indeed, an "-ism" is, by definition, "A distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement." [Oxford English Dictionary]

The "cannibalism" described in the opening post was not this type of "-ism" as it was not discussing a practice, system, or philosophy.  Rather, it was discussing the consumption of human flesh-meat in order to survive during some extraordinary conditions.

I'm still not sure I agree with McHugh and Callan, but I am convinced that they are not talking about the same thing as St. Thomas and that St. Thomas did not address the actual issue that is being discussed in this topic in the quotes cited so far.

My dictionary starts off mentioning it as an "action".  Using a dictionary, in this case, will not clinch it.

By the way, St. Thomas didn't use the word cannibalism. That word didn't exist until centuries later. In Latin it is,  "comedendo homines", which more plainly speaks of eating people.
 
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Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2017, 07:27:13 AM »
I'm mostly inclined to agree with McHugh and Callan but I'm not sold. I don't have the time or inclination to search myself but if anyone does I would love to see more sources (McHugh/Callan and St. Thomas seem to have been expended at this stage of the discussion).
 

Mithrandylan

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Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2017, 03:24:31 PM »
I've done quite a bit of digging and found nothing at all except for what's been presented so far.  I've gone through old volumes of The Casuist and also conducted a variety of different searches through the advanced search of Google Books.  I think that unless someone has actually looked into this already and found something else, little else will be revealed.  I did post this on Dr. Feser's blog, though, and I hope he sees it, as I think he might be able to provide some direction on St. Thomas' understanding at least.

Good topic!
I wear it for a memorable honor,
For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.
 

Anonimus

Re: Cannibalism
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2017, 09:34:53 PM »
Here is the principle:
"Not even God, the Supreme Legislator, is bound in the state of necessity ."That is why Christ Himself excuses David, who in grave danger ate the breads of proposition which the laity were forbidden to eat by Divine Law."5 According to this principle, not only do human laws cease to oblige in a state of necessity, but even divine-positive and affirmative divine-natural law cease (e.g., "Honor thy father and mother"; "Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day"). The only law binding in the state of necessity is negative divine-natural law {e.g., "Thou shalt not kill," etc.) . This is because negative divine-natural law prohibits actions that are intrinsically evil and hence forbidden because they are evil, as opposed to actions which are evil only because they are forbidden, such as the consecration of bishops without pontifical mandate."
http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/SiSiNoNo/1999_September/The_1988_Consecrations.htm

Application:
Since cannibalism is not a violation of the negative divine-natural law (i.e., God never said "thou shalt not...") it would be permissible in extreme physical necessity.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 09:58:23 PM by Anonimus »