Washington Metro Objectivism Discussion (WMOD)

                 Saturday, September 18, 2004
               Aristotle’s impact on Maimonides 

                    By Michelle Fram Cohen 

Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) is considered to be 'the Jewish Aquinas' 
who attempted to reconcile Judaism with the philosophy of Aristotle. 
Furthermore, Thomas Aquinas himself acknowledged his debt to Maimonides
in his attempt to reconcile Aristotle with Christianity.  Maimonides
on his part was influenced by Averose, the Arab philosopher who
attempted to reconcile Aristotle with Islam. Thus, Averose, Maimonides
and Aquinas created an alliance between the three major religions and
Aristotle and utlimately, between their respective religions, treating
other faiths with respect and tolerance. Maimonides regarded the
chosen status of the Jewish people as a matter of degree, not of kind,
and was known for saying: "Accept the truth, whatever its source."
A physician by profession and the author of outstanding medical books,
Maimonides embraced Aristotle's focus on the natural world and his
scientific approach to philosophy.  Advocating the Aristotelian "golden
mean" in human conduct, Maimonides criticized asceticism.  Dismissing
blind faith as subhuman, he demanded that faith be based on intellectual
understanding and set up to justify intellectually the 613 commandments
of the Jewish Law.  Maimonides's attempt to reconcile religious faith
with reason was the diametric opposite of Kant's attempt 700 years later:
rather than delimit reason in order to make room for faith, he intended
to delimit faith in order to make room for reason. The greatest challenge
Maimonides faced was how to reconcile the Aristotelian claim that the
world is eternal with the Biblical claim that the world was created in
seven days.  Another challenge was to reconcile the miracles performed
in the Old Testament with the laws of Nature.
Michelle Fram Cohen has an M.A. in Comparative Literature from SUNY at
Binghamton. She studied the philosophy of Maimonides at Baltimore Hebrew
University. Michelle is a columnist for The Atlasphere and a contributor
to Navigator, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, and The Free Radical."


Please join WMOD on Saturday, September 18.  Anyone who is
interested in rational discussion of Ayn Rand's ideas is welcome.
There will be a $2 charge for the talk if you are not having 
dinner. Note that our meeting location is Metro accessible.  You can
either join us for drinks at 5:30 or for dinner at 6:00 PM or for
the talk at 7:00 PM at the Hunan Palace in Rosslyn, VA
just across the Key Bridge from Georgetown.  The street address is
1812 North Moore Street.  If you come by Metro, get off at the
Rosslyn Metro Exit and the Hunan Palace is only a few feet away.
Take the street exit on N. Moore Street (across street from Roy
Rogers/Burger King), go out of Metro and take a left, and the
Palace is a few feet down N. Moore Street.  If you drive, there is
a parking garage (Allstate) next door to the Palace that is free
weekends, or weekdays after 6:00 PM.  There will be a $15 fixed price
dinner (including tax and tip), or you can order from the menu. 
Please RSVP to WMOD at (703) 820-7696 before noon on the day of
the meeting so that we can tell the restaurant how many tables to
set up and how many to expect for dinner.  For more information,
call the Hunan Palace at (703) 528-8188, or call David Saum
at (703) 820-7696 (W) or (703) 671-5119 (H).  

                  FUTURE MEETINGS

WMOD meetings are generally held on the third Wednesday of each
month.  We are always looking for new stimulating meeting topics
related to Objectivism.  Please contact WMOD if you have
suggestions for meeting topics and locations, or if you can
volunteer some time to arrange meetings.

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Weekly on Thursdays: Objectivist discussion group meeting  at
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corner of Route # 7 and Columbia Pike next to Borders Books.
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Every Monday: Socrates Cafe philosophic discussion group meeting,
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               WMOD Contact Information

  Dave Saum
  PO Box 8202
  Falls Church, VA 22041
    Email: DSaum AT infiltec DOT com
    Phone: (703) 820-7696
    Fax: (703) 671-9350
    Web: http://www.infiltec.com/wmod.htm

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