Philosophy against Misosophy


Francis Canavan, S.J.



Essays by Me

Essays by Others




On Fordham University stationery, Francis Canavan, S.J., replies to my letter. The essay he refers to therein is posted here.

Anthony Flood

August 3, 2011


April 6, 1994

Fordham University

Political Science

Bronx, N. Y. 10458

Dear Mr. Flood,

Thank you for letter in reply to my piece on knowing the good.   Rather than try to answer all your questions in detail, I enclose an essay I wrote ten years ago. It still may not answer your questions, but it is the best I can do.

I would add only one point to it by way of clarification.  It is that all things, animate or inanimate, tend to be instead of to not-be.  Nature and natures are dynamic, not static, and what they tend toward is their natural good. That is why the universe exists at all, for if things had no tendency to exist rather than not exist, the universe would have gone out of existence long ago, if indeed it had ever come into existence.

If good is not the object of natural tendency, then it seems to me that it will be reduced to pleasure or felt satisfaction.  Not that the achievement of natural good is not accom-panied by pleasure, but the pleasure is conse-quent on the good, and does not constitute it.  One can go down the road of reducing the good to the pleasure that accompanies it, of course, but our liberal culture has already gone down it and I don't see it as getting anywhere.

By the way, I called you a young man because you looked young,  Besides, when one gets to my age, 40 is young.

Sincerely yours,

Francis Canavan, S.J.


The Jesuit University of New York City 

Canavan Page