The Foundations of Wisdom Volume II: Nature (Textbook)

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How did God create the world around us so that we can understand Him?

God created the universe so that the human mind could naturally come to a knowledge of Him by observing our surroundings. But how exactly does this happen? How can we be sure that there is a spiritual reality underlying everything or that one even exists at all?

Following upon the first volume, Logic, which teaches the student how to think well, Philosophy of Nature seeks to help man understand how to view the material universe that surrounds him and to see the order that God has instilled in it. The basic concepts of matter, form, and motion are addressed so that the modern attacks upon each one’s existence can be repelled. Nearly every philosophical error of modernity stems from a misunderstanding of the material world; this bad philosophy of nature has led to catastrophic conclusions that deny the spiritual world and prevent a right view of things according to the mind of the saints, the Church, and God Himself.

Understand the Church’s explanation of how the material world around us exists according to the philosophy of Saint Thomas, and deepen your understanding of the “first book” that God wrote—the material universe—so that we can see His mark in every aspect of creation.

Fr. Sebastian Walshe, OPraem
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1 Review

  • 5
    Volume II: Philosophy of Nature

    Posted by Carol P. on May 24th 2023

    TAN Books new series, The Foundations of Wisdom: An Introduction to the Perennial Philosophy by Fr. Sebastian Walshe, O. Praem., is a high school level philosophy course outlining a beautiful, rigorous framework for understanding natural philosophy, which is the foundation of the natural sciences. A student completing this course would be able to integrate scientific knowledge into his or her study of the natural world and metaphysics, enabling a deeper understanding of the natural sciences and how it fits into the whole picture of human knowledge. Volume II begins with a consideration of the place of natural philosophy among the various arts and sciences, noting definitions, distinctions, and logical foundations. It goes on to consider natural things including matter, motion, and existence. It asks such questions as: What is the order among the ultimate causes of reality?ù Why do we need to know the method in a science before beginning the science?ù How is a measure different from a cause?ù What is matter?ù What is motion?ù Ultimately, this leads to rigorous thinking with proper ordering of knowledge, and finally, to an understanding of the limits of scientific knowledge. Here are some practical considerations to implement this course: The Volume I: Logic course is a prerequisite for this Volume II: Philosophy of Nature course. Each of these two courses would take a semester of study. The author suggests 15-20 hours for reading the text and 45-60 hours for class time instruction and discussion for each course. The companion study guide is essential, and as the study guide points out, a philosophy instructor is also needed. I think it would be ideal to have a team-taught effort with both a philosopher and a scientist working with a small group of motivated students to provide instruction, examples, and discussion of these challenging topics. I would have liked to see an answer key for the study guide, but if teachers have the proper credentials, this would not be necessary. The book and study guide are both succinctîthe book is only 122 pages, including fifteen chapters and one appendix. The book provides excellent examples and concrete applications to illustrate concepts. The material is challenging and requires deep thinking, not just memorization of terms. I think this is where the suggested discussion component would be helpful. Given the prevailing materialism and denial of metaphysical reality in modern science textbooks, this series provides a much-needed remedy to the fragmented, memorization-driven approach in current science education methods. The course will not be an easy solution for students, but it is a worthwhile endeavor for students who are willing to expend the energy to go deeper in their understanding. I applaud Fr. Walshe and TAN Books efforts with this new series. I write this as a scientist, a physicist to be exact.