Sunday, January 28, 2007

Thomas Aquinas on Cheese Standing

HT: Berres. You wannabe Thomists should enjoy this:

Does the cheese stand alone?

It seems that the cheese does not stand alone:

Objection 1: There are many dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cream, half and half and the like. In the natural world, all stand together with the cheese in the dairy isle and freezer section, therefore the cheese does not stand alone.

Objection 2: The tradition handed down by the FDA has always grouped cheese with other dairy products and as leading to your daily dairy intake. As such, the cheese does not stand alone.

Objection 3: It is not in the nature of cheese to stand as it has no legs or any other standing apparatus and since, as the Philosopher says, “nature is a source or cause of being moved and of being at rest” (Physics I, ii), nothing can do what is not in its nature. Thus the cheese does not stand alone because it cannot stand at all.

Objection 4: It is said that “milk does a body good” and therefore is great. Therefore the cheese does not stand alone, but with the milk.

Objection 5: In the Holy Land per se, also known as Wisconsin or Land that is inherently Holy, cheese is not the only object of fame. For Wisconsin is also known for polka, toilets, tamales, fireworks, and bubblers. The cheese must, then, stand with all of these and not alone.

On the contrary:

The Poet says, “Hi-ho the derry-o, the cheese stands alone.”

I answer that: The cheese stands alone in two ways. Firstly, among dairy products it is the most pungent and therefore the most easily identifiable by smell and taste. It is also the most carefully crafted of all dairy products as well as the most diverse in kind. As what is most important is given the most attention, the cheese is unique among dairy products and stands alone as one.Secondly, cheese by its very nature is holy. Some cheeses have a greater actuality of their holiness, such as Edamer or Swiss. (Note that this is why the Swiss Guards are only allowed into the Vatican after consuming exorbitant amounts of Swiss cheese.) Other cheeses have a lesser actuality, such as Cheddar or Brie. Nevertheless, this holiness is possessed by each cheese essentially regardless of its actuality. As such, cheese is necessarily holy, unlike other foods, and therefore stands alone.

Reply Objection 1: The word ‘alone’ can be used in two different senses; the first existing individually and in solitude, the second existing in a class of its own above all else to which it is compared. The Poet uses ‘alone’ in the latter sense while the objection applies to the former.

Reply Objection 2: There are two types of grouping, metaphysical and effectual. Metaphysical groups mark out something regarding what it is while effectual groups mark out something according to the result it produces. The FDA’s grouping is an effectual one as it means that all those in its group result in a healthy body. However, thee cheese stands alone metaphysically.Moreover, there are two types of tradition, for tradition depends upon authority. A contingent tradition is dependent on a temporal authority, while a universal tradition does not. The FDA is a temporal authority, has a contingent tradition, and therefore can not speak on the metaphysical matters at hand.

Reply Objection 3: The word ‘stand’ can not only be used properly, i.e. by the means of legs, but also analogically, i.e. “I should stand up to him” or “Stand proud”. Regarding the cheese, stand is used analogically and therefore does not require legs or any physical organ of standing.

Reply Objection 4: It is also said, “Behold the power of cheese.” Cheese has a power that strikes fear into the hearts of men. As fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit, cheese has a greater power than milk and stands above it and alone.

Reply Objection 5: Cheese is not native to Wisconsin, nor is it found only in Wisconsin as it is commonly found in France, Italy and the like. As such, it is not associated with Wisconsin per se but per accidens. Hence it is only accidentally associated with bubblers, polka, etc. So it does not stand with them per se but per accidens. Thus, the cheese stands alone per se.

Original: Becket of the Holy Whapping.

Not mentioned by TA: the Poet also says "The Casein Goes Rolling Along."

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