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Fwd: Aquinas on Santa Claus (fwd)

Poster: Robert J Welenc <rjwelenc@erols.com>

A little seasonal philosophy.  Bright blessings to all,


>>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>At this time of year, the existence of Santa Claus is often a topic of
>>heated debate. As a public service, I am pleased to present an
>>English translation of the Latin text of Thomas Aquinas' definitive treament
>>of this question:
>>Summa Contra Scroogicum,
>>Part 1, Question 2, Article 3
>>Whether Santa Claus exists? We proceed to the third article of
>>discussion: It seems that Santa Claus does not exist.
>>Objection 1: Presents may be given to us by the good elves, and so
>>there is no need for Santa Claus.
>>Objection 2: If Santa Claus existed, there would be no chimney too
>>narrow for him. But there are chimneys too narrow for him, and
>>sometimes none at all. So Santa Claus does not exist.
>>On the contrary: Kay Starr says, "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus."
>>I answer that the existence of Santa Claus can be proved in five
>>The first and most manifest way is the argument from Christmas trees.
>>It is certain and evident to our senses that some things in this world
>>are Christmas trees. Now no fir becomes a Christmas tree unless it is
>>trimmed. But to be trimmed means that one receives an ornament. And
>>since one cannot go to infinity in the passing on of Christmas tree
>>ornaments, there must be a first Untrimmed Trimmer, and this everyone
>>understands to be Santa Claus.
>>The second way is from the motion of Christmas presents. In this
>>world we find the giving of Christmas presents. Now he who gives Christmas
>>presents either got them from someone else or made them in his
>>workshop. And since if no one makes Christmas presents in his
>>workshop, there will not be any giving of Christmas presents, there
>>must be a First Giver of Christmas presents to which everyone gives the
>>name of Santa Claus.
>>The third way is from the plastic images of Santa Claus. In all
>>department stores we see plastic things which represent Santa Claus. Now
>>things are representative either because of Santa Claus himself or because
>>of other images of Santa. But there can be no infinite regression in
>>representation, so there must be something which is like Santa Claus
>>because it is Santa Claus.
>>The fourth way is taken from degrees of Christmas spirit. We see that
>>people in this world have more or less Christmas spirit. But "more"
>>or "less" can be said only in reference to a "most." So there must be
>>someone who has the most Christmas spirit, and this person we call
>>Santa Claus.
>>The fifth way is from the conduct of children. As Christmas
>>approaches, we see children, who lack intelligence, acting for an end, which
>>shown by their always being good, or almost always. But children would not
>>be good for Christmas unless someone ensured that they are good. This
>>someone is known by everyone to be Santa Claus.
>>Reply to Objection 1: Since the good elves got the presents they give
>>from someone else, they must be at most Santa's helpers.
>>Reply to Objection 2: It is not impossible that Santa Claus use the
>>door like everyone else.

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