Monday, 8 October 2012

Killing is OK. Or not. Or both. Or neither.

From Karl Steel (with thanks for the First Fail Post!):

The second chapter of my How to Make a Human opens with this unfortunate sentence:

To the question of “Whether it is unlawful to kill any living thing” (Summa Theologica 2a2ae q. 64, a. 1), Aquinas unsurprisingly answers yes, explaining that in the natural worldly order “animals use plants, and men use animals, for food” (61). 

Try to get your head around that "yes." Yes it's unlawful to kill any living thing? That's definitely not the Aquinas we know. How about answering "no"? No it's not unlawful to kill any living thing? That's not much of an improvement. I feel into a weird syntactical trap and just couldn't get out. Thank goodness that it's in print forever. I blame scholasticism.


  1. OUCH. It hurts to read this. Glad to get it off my chest, sort of.

  2. I hope to see you in very good company, very soon. I've got plenty of my own, but will let others speak first. -- Asa

  3. How snarky would it be to point out the typo in the very first post to this blog? Or did Karl already go all meta on us, sneaking a fail right in from the outset? I incline to think e latter...