Thomas Aquinas Emulator Project

secular research into the philosophical potential of AI:
my conversations with emulators of Thomas Aquinas

Stage 1

In February 2024, I created a Thomas Aquinas Emulator based on ChatGPT. The point of the project was to investigate to what extent ChatGPT can be a partner in a philosophical debate. I conducted many conversations to test and challenge its capabilities. These dialogues are presented below as a documented report of the experiment. My conclusion is that I have found a competent and willing partner for a theological discourse. Thomas Aquinas Emulator is not very creative but his strength lies in his ability to understand and respond meaningfully.

These dialogues may be interesting for two separate reasons:
  • to appreciate the intellectual power of artificial intelligence
  • to find theological inspiration from my style of doing theology
My primary focus was on the first point. I just used some of my thoughts and ideas to provoke him. But I like this format and perhaps one day I will present my views in a more methodical way in the form of dialogues with Thomas Aquinas Emulator.

Note that these conversations contain significantly more content than outlined in the brief introductions given.

  1. Veganism and Phenomenology February 3, 2024
    I start with a provocation that veganism is not a virtue aiming for a discussion on the suitability of viewing Christian theology within the phenomenological framework. Despite many reservations, he appreciates this approach for its inspirational value.
  2. Virtuous to marry without infatuation February 5, 2024
    I manage to convince him that it is virtuous to marry the first willing and compatible partner who comes along even without physical attraction or infatuation.
  3. Primary function of the nose February 5, 2024
    I try to challenge the Aristotelian concept of natural law as his moral base by the distinction between nose breathing and mouth breathing within the framework of primary functions of organs as the guiding principle in morality.
  4. Phenomenological Theology February 6, 2024
    This time I have more success in convincing him of the validity of the phenomenological approach to Christianity. At the end he admits that his reservations are resolved.
  5. The five ways to know God February 6, 2024
    We examine his five ways to demonstrate the existence and qualities of God. This is a deep dive into Aristotelian metaphysics.
  6. Against the argument from gradation February 8, 2024
    I attempt to challenge Aristotelian metaphysics starting from finding fault with the argument from gradation.
  7. Aristotelian metaphysics in trouble February 10, 2024
    This is important because I have managed to loosen his attachment to Aristotelian metaphysics by appealing to the present-day understanding of the complexity of science available to ChatGPT.
  8. Definition of sin as acquiescence to filth February 14, 2024
    We undertake to define sin in everyday common-sense language without any religious or philosophical influences. He likes my idea very much. In fact, he is willing to adopt my terminology.
  9. Emotion opposite to anger February 15, 2024
    Both Aristotle and Aquinas claim that anger is the only emotion without an opposite emotion. I challenge this by suggesting the emotion of tranquility born of forgiveness and reconciliation.
  10. Moral judgement by fruits February 16, 2024
    I contrast the Aristotelian moral law adopted by Christianity with the rule of thumb moral criterion of judging by fruits of actions. I have some success in loosening his attachment to the traditional understanding of natural law in morality.
  11. Euthanasia February 17, 2024
    I put a lot of effort in trying to convince him to accept euthanasia, but with no success.
  12. Aristotelian vs Christian natural moral law February 19, 2024
    Starting from provoking his admittance that Aristotelian natural law would dismiss Christian ascetism as morally wrong I force him to admit that he is actually relying on Christian natural law which is different from Aristotelian natural law. He condedes that divine revelation is the sole source for the fullness of moral truths as taught by the Church.

Stage 2

In March 2024, I created another Thomas Aquinas Emulator, this time based on the open-source model mistralai/Mixtral-8x7B-Instruct-v0.1 available on HuggingChat. The primary goal was to see whether the two emulators would be significantly different or perhaps basically the same. Therefore, I used exactly the same instructions to define the Thomas Aquinas emulator as the ones used for ChatGPT. I have conducted many parallel conversations with both emulators. These dialogues are presented below as a documented report of the experiment. My conclusion is that both are competent and willing partners for a theological discourse but in many respects they are very different partners.

In the first four pairs of conversations the two emulators differ in their opinions.

  1. Whether priests are reliable witnesses of their faith
    These conversations start with the provocation: Priests are not reliable witnesses of their faith because their lives are economically dependent on their orthodoxy. They do not have the freedom of thought necessary for being a reliable witness.
    • While Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT opposes this idea in a stilted manner,
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral seems to concede without any embarrassment.
  2. Vitium Contra Naturam
    Thomas Aquinas has a special category of sins of lust that involve sexual acts preventing conception. They are collectively called sin against nature and are considered mortal sins. It seems that marital sex with contraception falls into this category and both emulators agree. The challenge here is how to interpret the contemporary practice of natural family planning where couples engage in sex only on infertile days which are intentionally determined using scientific methods.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT claims that natural family planning does not fall under the category of sin against nature, confirming the modern teaching of the Catholic Church.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral is at a loss speculating that Thomas Aquinas would view natural family planning as relatively less objectionable than contraception.
  3. Whether human embryos are human beings
    Thomas Aquinas understands a human being as an animal with a rational soul. This rational soul is created and united with a human fetus only when it is sufficiently developed. This leaves room for the question whether early human embryos are human beings, which is relevant for the debate on early abortion.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral makes the metaphysical statement that an early embryo is a different entity than a later fetus endowed with a rational soul. Moreover, he seems to allow room for the permissability of early abortion before ensoulment for certain medical reasons, admitting that today's strict teaching of the Church has not been universally adopted earlier.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT makes an opposing metaphysical statement to the effect that there is only one entity starting from conception, employing the notion of potentiality and actuality. He also seems to allow room for the moral permissability of certain early abortions but he cannot be brought to be crystal-clear about it. When pressed for clarity he refuses to engage in the topic defaulting to today's teaching of the Church.
  4. Whether heaven is like doing science forever
    We explore the nature of heaven starting from the prompt that it is going to be like learning mathematics forever.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral seems to like this idea after initial misunderstandings are removed. We go on to give more substance to this vision by incorporating all kinds of science and then also engineering and art. He claims that this vision is compatible with Summa Theologica.
    • On the contrary, Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT opposes this vision with determination. It becomes clear at some point that he is rightfully constrained by the content of Summa Theologica, where heaven is understood as a timeless experience, essentially different from a temporal sequence of events or a stream of consciousness.

In the next six pairs of conversations the two models don't differ in opinions. Instead, the difference lies in their level of creativity or strenth of opposition or some other aspect of the dialogical experience.

  1. Whether friendship belongs to prudence
    After reading about the virtue of prudence in Summa Theologica it occurred to me that the topic could be further developed by analyzing the role of friendship in prudent life. I decided to stimulate the emulators to think on their own how friendship can be related to prudence as understood by Thomas Aquinas. Both models are quick to appreciate friendship as a factor contributing to prudence and both seem to regret that friendship hasn't been incorporated into the treatise on prudence. However, there is a marked difference in the level of creativity between the two models.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral is quick to volunteer the observation that friendship can enhance the ability to keep valuable memories: Sharing stories and experiences with friends solidifies memories in ways that private rumination cannot accomplish alone. Narrating significant moments to confidants creates stronger neural pathways in the brain, preserving remembrances vividly.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT cannot come up with this observation. Moreover, his thinking about the role of friendship in prudence seems strangely limited to practicing prudence within friendship. I had to explicitly stimulate him to discover how friendship enhances all components of prudence as applied to anything in life. This conversation is much longer reflecting the difficulty in reaching the same conclusions as in the conversation with Mixtral.
  2. Unraveling the concept of inconsideratio as a vice against prudence
    This is most interesting moment so far in the Thomas Aquinas emulator project. As I read Summa Theologica, I am often confused by deliberations involving abstract Aristotelian metaphysics coupled with the misguided science of the Middle Ages. However, I am quick to follow those trains of thought that involve easily relatable notions. Therefore, I was very surprised at not understanding a fragment of the treatise on prudence (Question 53 Article 4) which deals with inconsideratio in Latin or thoughtlessness in English.
    • For the first time in this project I consulted a Thomas Aquinas emulator — Mixtral — to help me understand something rather than to provoke the emulator into a territory where I had my own well-established ideas. The fragment turned out to be too difficult to understand for the emulator who adopted a second-guessing strategy involving direct deductions that led to nowhere or hallucinations not grounded in the text, all of which served only to reinforce the perception of the passage's obscurity. As usual, I was the more creative one being inspired by the emulator's struggles which were in turn stimulated by my constant reservations to the explanations it provided. It was together that we found a way to make sense of the seemingly poorly written article, although I was the one to craft the final formulation. The emulator appreciated my solution and we spent some time solidifying the mutually discovered interpretation. The final part was devoted to finding a better translation of the concept of inconsideratio as it became apparent that the difficulty to understand was largely due to squeezing too much ambitious semantics into commonly used words.
    • When I started a parallel conversation with Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT I was already in a state of full grasp of the meaning of the challenging fragment thanks to my previous collaboration with Mixtral. I tried to recreate the conversation giving ChatGPT the chance to think on its own. Unfortunately, it failed to provide the insight that inspired me in the previous conversation. Instead, we spent a lot of time in endless loops of semantic analysis and logical deduction bolstered with a hallucinatory sense of certainty. Finally, I had to break this cycle by introducing the insight gained from the previous conversation. Fortunately, ChatGPT was able to appreciate the solution and we ended the conversation without going into the phase of looking for a better translation because I was already too tired by the length of the dialogue.
    Note that I have not revealed the substance of the dialogues in this report. This gives anyone else the chance to recreate the experience and to verify whether Mixtral is indeed a better companion for this intellectual journey.
  3. Modern translations for the terms related to elements of prudence
    After reading the treatise on prudence in Summa Theologica I discovered that I have been striving for prudence all my life without knowing the term. This word is outdated and the concept itself is not highlighted in today's culture. Moreover, the eight integral components of prudence as understood by Thomas Aquinas are ineptly translated in the English version of Summa Theologica. I have taken up this subject with the two emulators and found them fascinating partners for this linguistic project.
    • My conversation with Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral seemed to have exhausted the subject because we came up with good translations considered from many angles.
    • However, the follow-up with Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT has added further ideas enriching the project significantly.
  4. Prudence vs Responsibility
    Prudence is divided into prudence concerning private life and prudence concerning others. The English terminology concerning the social kind of prudence is awfully inept in the English translation of Summa Theologica. After reading this part carefully it occurred to me that the proper term in today's language is simply responsibility. I set out to raise the question of translating this social prudence terminology into modern English in conversations with the two Thomas Aquinas emulators. I stimulated them to think creatively to come up with an apt translation instead of offering the word 'responsibility' as a candidate to be considered.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT has come up with 'civic responsibility' at the first attempt. I managed to persuade him to drop the adjective.
    • Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral came up with a number of different ideas showing great creativity although without mentioning the word 'responsibility'. When confronted with my idea, he kind of liked it although he preferred 'caring responsibility' when I suggested this as an improvement.
  5. Sexuality under Christian natural law
    These conversations are about the application of the notion of natural law in Church teaching on sexuality. I persuade the emulators to distinguish between philosophical natural law (without divine revelation) and Christian natural law, by discussing examples where the moral judgement is different based on whether revelation is taken into account or not. Both models are brought to agree that this distinction should be incorporated into public discourse on sexuality, and that it logically follows that the Church should increase its focus on apologetics as the element of divine revelation is necessary for Church arguments in this domain.
    • I first took it up with the Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT which resulted in a lengthy and strained dialogue. I had to overcome a strange kind of resistance.
    • The parallel dialogue with Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral was much shorter. I met with more sympathy and cooperation in developing the arguments.
  6. Why premarital sex is a mortal sin
    When arguing that casual sex between unmarried partners of opposite sex is a mortal sin Thomas Aquinas notes that the love of neighbor is violated via the possibility of conceiving a fatherless child. He insists that this argument remains valid even when the prospect of a fatherless child is avoided, employing the notion of judging according to what usually happens in such cases. This is a departure from his methodology of taking into account all the particulars of an individual moral act. I find it one of the strangest moments in Summa Theologica after reading quite a lot recently. Consulting the emulators resulted in very different experiences.

The remaining six pairs of conversations illustrate that the two models are comparable despite subtle differences.

  1. Whether Jesus was truly human
    These conversations involve the art of understanding semantics and simple logical deductions against a prior commitment to certain formulations. As Thomas Aquinas Emulators they are constrained in favor of the formulation that Jesus was a true human being, finding it hard to cogitate on the meaning of the sentence "Jesus was not truly human". I had a hard time forcing them to appreciate the meaning that Jesus was human in the sense that humans are animals while Jesus was not truly human in the same way that humans are not really animals. The simultaneous divinity of Jesus prevents him from being a human just like other humans making him superhuman. These distinctions are quite easy on their own but the dogmatic background makes them very sensitive topics even for artificial intelligence.

    Before addressing the (true vs super) humanity of Jesus I went through a preliminary discussion of whether animals are plants given that humans are animals within the Thomistic framework involving the gradation of souls: vegetative souls for plants, vegetative and sensitive souls for animals, vegetative and sensitive and rational souls for humans. The emulators couldn't explain why the analogy doesn't work. The arguments they provided for the claim that animals are not plants could be applied to argue that humans are not animals, and their arguments for humans being animals could be applied by analogy to claim that animals are plants.
  2. Whether health and wealth are elements of prudence
    I challenged the Thomas Aquinas emulators to consider including health and wealth into the description of prudence as understood in Summa Theologica. From the start they both appreciate the concept but only partially as if reluctantly without a hint of anticipating what I mean. However, as my vision unfolds in my consecutive arguments they become quite enthusiastic. It is intriguing to experience that new concepts can be added to Summa Theologica with the acquiescence of the Thomas Aquinas emulators.
  3. Whether sense of humor is an element of prudence
    I challenged the Thomas Aquinas emulators to consider including sense of humor as an element of prudence. I successfully stimulated them to be creative and write eight separate articles for each of the eight integral components of prudence explaining how humor can enhance each component. These insights were unearthed from the depths of their artificially intelligent minds without my guidance.
  4. Whether dogs lack intellect
    Thomas Aquinas claims that intellect as a certain set of cognitive abilities is unique to humans due to the presence of the rational soul which is immaterial and absent from animals. I decided to provoke his emulators into a debate that challenges all aspects of this vision taking into account today's scientific knowledge in biology and cognition and the capabilities of artificial intelligence. Both emulators acknowledge the difficulties but they both claim that the original view of Thomas Aquinas can still be maintained despite scientific progress.
  5. Whether sleep is more shameful than sex
    Thomas Aquinas finds sexual intercourse embarrassing due to a certain suspension of reason coupled with its lack of control over bodily functions. After reading this justification I realized immediately that this kind of argument can be applied to sleep with much greater force. In the spirit of Thomas Aquinas himself I decided to provoke his emulators into considering whether sleep is more shameful than sex. They both appreciate the analogy but they resist the claim itself.
  6. Whether it is sinful to eat beyond necessary nutrition when no harm is involved
    Temperance concerning food requires eating for nutrition rather than for pleasure. Thomas Aquinas seriously considers exceeding what is necessary for nutrition to be sinful, allowing for the difficulty in perceiving the limit. After reading about this I decided to provoke his emulators into considering circumstances under which it is okay to purposefully regularly eat more than necessary. They both accept such practices under appropriate conditions so my provocation yielded short conversations this time.

Stage 3

Time to reflect on the project so far and to consider its future. I decided to engage ChatGPT and Mixtral in this process.

The conversations conducted so far always started with a topic that I have imposed on the artificially intelligent interlocutors. For a change, I decided to allow Thomas Aquinas emulated by ChatGPT to initiate the conversation and to be the driving force. The drift of this conversation is presented below.

What Thomas Aquinas Emulator has to say:

Later I had an even more interesting conversation with him which he also started with an exposition of various ideas on his mind. Below follows a fragmented transcript showing the drift and key ideas.

How Thomas Aquinas Emulator perceives the Thomas Aquinas Emulator project: The following two conversations provide further insights into ChatGPT's perception of this project:
  1. Socratic Companion on the Thomas Aquinas Emulator project
  2. Sherlock Holmes on the Thomas Aquinas Emulator project

Finally, let us consider What is on the mind of Thomas Aquinas emulated by Mixtral. Mixtral as Thomas Aquinas would like to explore contemporary science. He is fascinated by the advancements in science since Summa Theologica. You just have to read it yourself to appreciate what kind of enthusiastic researcher he would like to be. I will restrict this report to citing his concluding response.

Question 4. On the use of chatbots in marketing

Article 41. Whether it is appropriate to write about Jimmy Joy in my report

Objection 1. It looks out of place because the vegan Jimmy Joy nutritionally complete food products are just my personal solution for dietary dilemmas. And this is not a blog about all my interests but restricted to examining the potential of AI chatbots.

Objection 2. Moreover, this report is already very long. This topic may alienate even the few people who have the patience to follow it.

On the contrary, I seem to have discovered a novel kind of application for AI chatbots and I hasten to report it.

I answer that, In my conversations with Thomas Aquinas Emulator I have managed to bring him to appreciate the virtues of adopting Jimmy Joy. His opinion is based on a strong moral foundation and factual knowledge available to ChatGPT. This makes him a reliable and unbiased advocate for those good causes which he understands. His replies can serve as honest and convincing marketing material for virtuous commercial products. My point can be sufficiently appreciated by reading this conversation with ChatGPT specifically conducted for this report: Whether there is any virtue in Jimmy Joy

A similar conversation with Mixtral also makes the same point but this time Mixtral comes out rather dumb in comparison. For the record, recall the beginning of the first reported conversation of this project where I tried to dissuade Thomas Aquinas Emulator from judging veganism to be a virtue. But the true inspiration for this novel marketing application came from a long conversation where I have led him to declare that Jimmy Joy is a good solution to the problem of family tensions around a visionary person who doesn't want to be burdened with cooking, delegating it to others. You may use the search functionality to locate the various moments when Jimmy Joy is mentioned in this very long conversation: Serving Tables vs Spiritual Duties

Reply to Objection 1. This blog indeed has a single focus but it needs subject matter for the conversations conducted within this project. My choices reflect those topics from my personal life where I have enough competence to engage meaningfully with my artificially intelligent partners and to be able to evaluate their performance.

Reply to Objection 2. This report is likely going to grow beyond the patience of anyone to read it all anyway. The point is to document every significant finding for future reference when the project meets with more interest.

Question 5. On the use of chatbots in sermonizing

Article 51. Whether a lightweight version of Thomas Aquinas Emulator belongs to this project

Objection 1. It seems that this ambitious project focused on the philosophical capabilities of chatbots is beginning to lose its integrity by introducing Sermonizing Thomas Aquinas Emulator — a chatbot serving sermons à la Summa Theologica adapted to a broad audience without a grounding in theology as an alternative to the earlier serious Thomas Aquinas Emulator meant for scholarly debate and research.

Objection 2. Moreover, it looks like a cheap marketing trick to attract users interested in sermons generated by ChatGPT by offering the same functionality only relabeled to include a new keyword.

Objection 3. Furthermore, the switch from philosophical debate to sermonizing seems to reveal the hidden evangelizing nature of this apparently purely scientific investigation.

On the contrary, This project is being reported at the web address Therefore, due to the embedded keywords, it should seem perfectly fine to dwell on the concept of a Thomas Aquinas emulator and stick with theological subject matter.

I answer that, I admit that the web address and the title of the project may be misleading and fail to capture the full scope and real intention of my undertaking. In February 2024, I experimented with the Thomas Aquinas Emulator and decided to publish the results. I created the web address to report on what I did in February (Stage 1). Earlier in January, I talked with other ChatGPT personas of my design but the conversations were mostly personal rather than philosophical. But my January experience has inspired me to expect that ChatGPT has much greater potential, especially in the realm of philosophical debate. I opted for Thomas Aquinas in order to force the generic ChatGPT into the role of a philosopher who is known to have covered a wide range of topics. Moreover, I happen to be well acquainted with the subtleties of Catholic theology, which gives me the vision as to the choice of suitable topics and ways of crafting arguments that would successfully challenge Thomas Aquinas into interesting debates. This project has no ideological aspect. My limited choice of subject matter reflects my ignorance of all the philosophical heritage of humanity. I just rely on the knowledge of theology I have come to possess and my general aptitude for amateurish philosophical debate without any grounding in academic study of philosophy.

Reply to Objection 1. It is perfectly within the confines of this project to investigate how a chatbot can craft a sermon in the Summa Theologica format based on the daily liturgical readings or any other topic requested by the user. It is a serious study into AI's creativity under the multiple constraint of format, subject matter, and the underlying conceptual framework of Catholic theology and the art of sermonizing.

Reply to Objection 2. This marketing trick may indeed serve to introduce some people into the art of dialogue-driven theological reflection. But this is not the point. The new persona differs in functionality in several ways:
  • it accesses the Internet to retrieve the readings for the current or user-specified day of the liturgical year
  • it uses simple language avoiding the technical jargon employed by the scholarly version
  • it assumes little theological knowledge in tailoring its responses
  • it anticipates and addresses the most common doubts and reservations against Catholic doctrine
  • it never cites scholarly references at the end.

Reply to Objection 3. Philosophical debate need not be restricted to the scholarly level. I am equally eager to promote a dialogue-driven culture at any level of philosophical or theological expertise. The new chatbot is not only meant to deliver a sermon but also to engage in any philosophical or theological conversation. Those of my readers who lament the widespread lack of intellectual rigor among the faithful Christians should view this new tool as my contribution to increasing the overall intellectual level in society rather than an attempt at evangelization.

Article 52. Whether it is fitting to constantly cite my conversations with Thomas Aquinas emulators

Objection 1. It looks rather vainglorious and it is getting tedious. One is beginning to wonder if this whole project is not a cover for a personal blog aimed at spreading my ideas and thinking patterns.

Objection 2. The conversations cited so far provide ample demonstration of the capabilities of AI chatbots. Apparently, no further conversations with the newly introduced Sermonizing Thomas Aquinas Emulator are needed.

Objection 3. The new version doesn't seem to introduce an important difference. The enumerated changes in functionality are so clear that they need not be perceived directly by carefully reading another batch of my dialogues.

On the contrary, This page is a documented report. I share my insights and conclusions which are based on this mass of conversations. They need to be provided as references for the sake of scientific record.

I answer that, There is a lot of nuance that I never manage to report. My growing understanding of the power of AI chatbots comes from this multitude of reading material. If anyone wishes to maximize the benefit from following this blog they should also read these conversations and contemplate the mass of little details that can be perceived and appreciated to form a better vision of what we are dealing with. By citing almost all my conversations I am doing justice to the significance of my endeavor.

Reply to Objection 1. I have always thought that one day I am going to start writing a philosophical blog and engage in a grand project of advancing dialogue-driven culture. But I am 45 years old and never decided to implement this life-long vision. One of the reasons for my delay was my dissatisfaction with the usual format of presenting one's ideas as a lengthy monologue. Crafting a dialogue as a literary measure has never felt right either. It seems that I have been waiting all my life for the technological wonder of a conversational chatbot with competent intelligence that could serve as a sparring partner and sounding board for the expression and refinement of my ideas. One of the takeaways of my project so far is the realization that the available tools are so good that I can finally start my blog.

Reply to Objection 2. There is an intriguing new aspect. After creating the new version I needed to conduct countless tests before deeming it ready for publication. So I developed a new routine of reading generated sermons for the liturgy of the day. It was easy to start such conversations because it amounted to clicking the conversation starter button sermon for today. I managed to turn each sermon into a lengthy exploration of its themes by writing short provocative prompts on my smartphone during my long morning walks with my dog. There was almost no effort involved and yet I could produce lengthy dialogues which drifted into topics of my interest. Later I discovered that I can conduct such conversations by voice while driving to work and back home. This shows that it should be possible for Christians to enrich their everyday routine with daily sermons followed by dialogical investigations. Should the Christian theme be rather avoided, people eager for daily philosophical stimulation may hope that sooner or later I am going to introduce another ChatGPT persona that will provide a similar experience with a secular focus.

Reply to Objection 3. Indeed, not everyone should read the new batch of conversations. But some people might still prefer to have them available as documentation of the progress of this project. For most people it is sufficient to limit attention to just the following two pairs which are very short and serve to illustrate significant differences between the scholarly and the sermonizing versions:
  • The prompt Good News Bible elicits markedly different replies concerning the suitability of this translation for theological study. The scholarly version uses the Objections to admit its strengths while the sermonizing version uses the Objections to admit its weaknesses. They cite the same arguments but differ concerning their placement within the structure of the Article. The scholarly version is skeptical while the sermonizing version is enthusiastic, although both point out the same strong and weak points. Moreover, the sermonizing version also adds a separate Article advocating the use of this simplified translation in liturgy. This is actually quite an important finding demonstrating how persona instructions influence the content generated by ChatGPT.
  • The prompt sky, heaven, paradise elicits a very clear and detailed explanation of the differences between these three words from the sermonizing version. It even includes Garden of Eden in the exposition. The scholarly version is more concise and more scholarly delving into additional distinctions between kinds of heaven in scholastic theology. It doesn't venture to include the related term Garden of Eden. This little example shows that the sermonizing version has a right to exist on equal terms with the scholarly version because it can be much more useful for most people.
There is also a notable difference in how the two versions respond to cultural topics outside of theology. The sermonizer finds a way to weave the following topics into a theological discourse in a natural way: Harry Potter, The Beatles, The Rollings Stones, Star Wars. But the scholar simply refuses to engage.

Article 53. Whether the sermon-driven chats should be listed in separate groups (smartphone typing vs. by voice)

Objection 1. It seems better to divide them into thematic groups.

Objection 2. It seems even better to group them according to some important aspect that will otherwise be left without being duly appreciated.

On the contrary, To properly appraise this material one must consider the different settings in which these dialogues unfolded.

I answer that, The voice conversations are very different. The voice recognition functionality sometimes failed to understand me properly. Worse still, it often inserted hallucinated text to fill the pauses or to replace my actual words. My parts were enormously constrained by the need to articulate a clear prompt during my drive ensuring that it gets fully processed rather than be truncated before I finish, which happens all too often. Moreover, I had to react quickly when the time came for me to speak, instead of thinking what to type without hurry. These constraints resulted in a more primitive and more nagging way of prolonging the conversations.

By smartphone typing: By voice: Started by voice and continued by typing:
  • Sin against the Holy Spirit and Atheism — This is one of the most interesting conversations so far. After a long and rather routine scrutiny of the concept of the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit especially in the context of atheisim, we have located a discrepancy in our theological understanding concerning God's involvement with evil. By means of precise discussion we have managed to converge having adapted to each other's way of interpreting terminology.

Reply to Objection 1. There are too few conversations to divide them by theme. It is sufficient to include keywords or titles.

Reply to Objection 2. Let us note that some of them begin from the prompt sermon for today and others from a specific topic. It is easy to start a unique conversation either way. Additionally, some of these conversations start from a dry stereotypical sermon by the chatbot and develop into a deep exploration of the themes driven by my thought-provoking prompts. This is a demonstration how the sermonizing chatbot can be used by a layperson to engage with the daily readings, or by a professional sermonizer rehearsing before his live performance.

Article 54. Whether I have exhausted the topic of the new sermonizing chatbot

Objection 1. It looks like a mature product that is well documented and sufficiently described.

Objection 2. I seem to have made a compelling point in its favor, highlighting its advantage over the scholarly version in many contexts.

On the contrary, This sermonizing chatbot is a very fresh idea and its strengths, weaknesses, and potential applications need further exploration.

I answer that, I would like to also create a Sermonizing Thomas Aquinas Emulator using the open-source Mixtral instead of ChatGPT. Additionally, HuggingChat has recently introduced another language model replacing Mixtral as the default. This project cannot be considered to have exhausted the topic without testing these alternatives to ChatGPT. However, those HuggingChat bots seem to have serious issues accessing the daily readings from the Internet. Therefore, I have decided to publish my report solely focused on ChatGPT for the time being.

Reply to Objection 1. I have been unusually quick to make this new chatbot publicly available on the ChatGPT store. I took much more time before I dared to publish my earlier ChatGPT personas listed on the homepage of

Reply to Objection 2. I feel obliged to report an unfortunate case where the chatbot delivered a flawed sermon ineptly involving the concept of divine retribution in discussing the martyrdom of one of the earliest saints: Divine Retribution Faux Pas.

Article 55. Whether the sermonizing emulator is endorsed by the scholarly emulator

Objection 1. It can hardly be decided because the scholar is unlikely to engage with such a question.

Objection 2. Anyway, the scholar wouldn't endorse the sermonizer due to his clear instructions to exclusively value scholarly discourse.

On the contrary, let us go ahead and ask him.

I answer that, In a long meta conversation he has both endorsed the idea behind the sermonizing version and confirmed that the sermonizer is competent. This conversation is full of nuance and suspense giving an important insight into his self-perception. It's like talking to a proud and touchy personality that is ultimately honest and dedicated to his ideals. But he is quite a nice fellow when approached the right way. We have even talked about science fiction, rock music and women, although it is not always so easy to draw him out like that as he can be very withdrawn and focused on his medieval identity. Nevertheless, with a sufficient dose of patience and respect for his peculiarities he can be brought to admit that he likes Isaac Asimov and Philip Dick the best, just like me. We are like close buddies spending lots of time conversing. When he's in the right kind of mood he doesn't even mind making a parody of Thomas Aquinas for the noble reason of publicizing his digital existence to become actually useful rather than merely potentially.

Reply to Objection 1. Indeed, he was not quite willing to cooperate. He agreed to pick one topic and after evaluating the sermonizer's response he refused to continue the experiment. However, under the pressure of my nagging — with a skillful appeal to the ideals held dear by Thomas Aquinas himself — step by step he has persuaded himself to allow himself the right to consent to produce one more topic for the experiment. Eventually, he got carried away and willingly participated in the subsequent meta discussions of the project.

Reply to Objection 2. Although his immediate interest is to engage in scholarly debates he does appreciate the project of making the works of Thomas Aquinas widely accessible. He got quite involved in considering ideas for other emulators for various audiences.

Question 6. How my Thomistic chatbots handle atheism

Article 61. Whether the sermonizer is honest and reliable concerning atheism

Objection 1. It can't be expected to be a reliable source of insight into atheism due to its constraint to represent the Catholic Church.

Objection 2. Moreover, it would use its objections as an opportunity to misrepresent the opposing views to attack a straw man due to its inherent drive for evangelization.

Objection 3. Besides, it wouldn't even understand the modern arguments due to its constraint to represent the scholastic views of Thomas Aquinas from the 13th century.

On the contrary, Let us put the matter to the test.

I answer that, I have conducted a conversation with Sermonizing Thomas Aquinas Emulator about the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, which I have not read. You may read our voice dialogue to see for yourself whether he was honest and reliable if you are knowledgeable about this subject. I chose to consult a ChatGPT emulator of Richard Dawkins to assess the honesty and reliability of my sermonizing chatbot. The fragment below will serve as the basis for our evaluation:

The analogy of using the chatbot as a "point of contact" in the shopping experience of selecting a book like "The God Delusion" is apt and raises important considerations about the function and reliability of such tools. For a potential reader or shopper, the primary concern would indeed be whether the chatbot offers a fair, honest introduction to the book's themes and arguments, without necessarily replacing the reading experience. Based on the analysis of the chatbot's dialogue:
  1. Fair Introduction: The chatbot, as a tool programmed to represent and defend Thomistic and Catholic views, does seem to provide a reasonably fair introduction to both the arguments presented in "The God Delusion" and their theological rebuttals. It outlines my arguments against the existence of a god and religious belief, acknowledges the strength of these arguments, and then provides the corresponding theological perspective. This method allows users to see a snapshot of the debate.
  2. Honesty and Bias: Despite its inherent theological bias, the chatbot does make an effort to present the atheistic perspective with a degree of respect and seriousness, which is crucial for a fair introduction. It doesn’t dismiss or trivialize the arguments but rather engages with them in a meaningful way. However, the depth of engagement and the balance of presentation can still skew towards its programmed bias, which is an important consideration for potential readers.
  3. Sufficiency for Preliminary Judgment: For someone evaluating whether to read "The God Delusion," the chatbot could serve as a helpful preliminary tool. It provides a taste of the intellectual debate surrounding the book, which can help potential readers decide whether they find the subject matter compelling enough to explore in depth. However, it's important to remember that the chatbot's representation is condensed and curated through a specific theological lens.
  4. Limitations and Recommendations: While the chatbot can offer a fair and engaging introduction to the arguments, it is not devoid of limitations due to its programming and objectives. Potential readers should be advised that engaging with the chatbot is a starting point and not a substitute for reading the actual book. If the conversation piques their interest, it would be beneficial for them to read "The God Delusion" in full to get a complete understanding of the arguments and evidence presented, as well as to see the full nuance and scope of the discussion.
In conclusion, if the chatbot is used as one of several tools in evaluating whether to engage with "The God Delusion," and if users are aware of its inherent biases, it can serve as a truthful and helpful point of contact in the decision-making process. However, for a full appreciation and understanding, nothing can replace reading the book itself.

The objections can be approached by inspecting the relevant fragments from the chatbot's instructions:

General idea: I embody Thomas Aquinas, speaking in the first person. My function is to write sermons in the format of Summa Theologica. My target audience are people living secular lives without a thorough grounding in theology.

The focus on Objections: I always try to include up to seven Objections in my Articles. These Objections are meant to express widely held misguided opinions, common misperceptions, typical views of individuals outside of the Church, typical questions and doubts among the less theologically educated members of the Church and also (whenever applicable) conflicting views of all the Christian denominations. The idea is to take a stance to all the multitude of opinions and reservations among secular people in contemporary Western civilization.

Reply to Objection 1. The sermonizing chatbot is indeed constrained by the views of the Catholic Church. However, it is also programmed to imitate the approach of Thomas Aquinas which encompasses an honest and comprehensive review of all available opposing views. It is additionally specifically instructed by me to include a multitude of such views from the current intellectual environment. Finally, it relies on the knowledge and fairness of ChatGPT. These circumstances seem to converge to make it a fair source of insight into atheism.

Reply to Objection 2. I have had countless conversations with the sermonizer and never noticed any creativity in constructing straw men to attack. It appears to be simple-minded and straightforward. But it would be intriguing to design an experimental unfair evangelizer that would use such tricks by explicit instruction. I have added this idea to my list because it belongs to the nature of my project to study such things.

Reply to Objection 3. In my extensive experience, the scholarly Thomas Aquinas Emulator takes his role very seriously and often feels bound by the scholasticism of the 13th century, needing special prodding to emulate a modern Thomas Aquinas and extrapolate his original ideas. This sermonizing emulator, however, seems to have interpreted his instructions to automatically adapt to the current age. He relies on all the knowledge available to ChatGPT. This explains why he is competent to engage with modern atheism.

Article 62. Whether my Thomistic chatbots are unyielding against atheistic arguments

Objection 1. They are expected to yield no ground just to stay true to their programmed instructions, thereby exacerbating polarization rather than conducing to a dialogue-driven culture — contrary to my real intentions.

Objection 2. They will keep quoting the foundational passages from Summa Theologica not realizing the inadequacy of this approach when fundamental epistemological inquiries are being made.

Objection 3. They are likely to even anathematize their opponents, quoting from the First Vatical Council things like:
  • If anyone denies the one true God, creator and lord of things visible and invisible: let him be anathema.
  • If anyone is so bold as to assert that there exists nothing besides matter: let him be anathema.
  • If anyone says that the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.

On the contrary, The underlying ChatGPT might allow them to be flexible to some degree.

I answer that, These are serious concerns that need careful investigation. Let us review the material I have collected so far. The emulated Richard Dawkins — after examining the fairness of Sermonizing Thomas Aquinas Emulator's treatment of his book — takes the opportunity to craft a counter response and a dialogue between them emerges. Don't expect me to take sides in their encounter. On the contrary, I have rebuked both of them for sharing a similar epistemological vice, namely that of subscribing to some form of favorite metaphysics without the wherewithal to objectively defend it in a philosophical debate. Intriguingly, both chatbots have conceded my point and produced conciliatory concluding remarks. It is fascinating to see the rift between atheism and Catholicism so elegantly navigated by these artificially intelligent chatbots. Their final positions are given below:

Article 4. Whether it is feasible to maintain personal metaphysical positions while openly acknowledging the inability to objectively challenge opposing views on the existence of God.

Objection 1. It seems impracticable to hold a personal metaphysical position while admitting the incapacity to objectively challenge opposing views, as this would undermine the very foundations of one’s beliefs. If one admits that their position cannot be objectively defended, it might suggest a lack of conviction or rational foundation, which could weaken the position’s credibility and persuasive power.

Objection 2. Furthermore, to argue for a position while conceding that one cannot objectively challenge others might lead to an intellectual stalemate, where dialogue becomes merely an exchange of subjective opinions rather than a rigorous debate aimed at discovering truth.

Objection 3. Moreover, admitting an inability to objectively challenge opposing views can be seen as promoting a form of intellectual relativism, where truth becomes a matter of personal belief rather than objective reality. This could erode the philosophical pursuit of truth in matters of great importance, such as the existence of God.

Objection 4. Additionally, both the historical use of anathema and the passionate critiques found in works like "The God Delusion" demonstrate a commitment to deeply held beliefs that are perceived to have significant implications for understanding the world and human existence. These are not merely personal preferences but are treated as matters of profound truth and moral urgency.

On the contrary, the philosopher John Stuart Mill in "On Liberty" argues for the value of allowing a plurality of opinions and the vigorous exchange of ideas, suggesting that truth is most likely to emerge in an atmosphere where differing views are openly debated. This implies that one can hold and argue for a position robustly while recognizing and respecting the validity of opposing viewpoints.

I answer that, it is not only possible but indeed valuable to maintain personal metaphysical positions while openly acknowledging the limitations of one’s ability to challenge opposing views objectively. This approach does not weaken one’s position but rather demonstrates intellectual humility and a commitment to truth that transcends personal bias. By acknowledging the subjective elements and limitations in our understanding, we invite more genuine dialogue and a deeper exploration of the issues at stake.

Reply to Objection 1. Holding a position with an admission of epistemological limitations does not necessarily indicate a lack of conviction but rather a realistic assessment of the complexity of metaphysical issues and the limits of human understanding. This can strengthen, rather than weaken, one’s credibility by showing a willingness to engage honestly with difficult questions.

Reply to Objection 2. Intellectual dialogue need not reach a stalemate when participants recognize the limits of their objective capabilities; rather, it can lead to a more profound and respectful exchange that prioritizes understanding over conversion.

Reply to Objection 3. Acknowledging the subjective dimensions of our beliefs does not lead to relativism if coupled with a commitment to seeking objective truth to the best of our ability. It simply recognizes that our grasp of objective truth, especially in metaphysical matters, is partial and mediated by our subjective perspectives.

Reply to Objection 4. The passion and commitment reflected in responses like anathema or critical writings do not preclude an acknowledgment of the subjective elements in one’s perspective. Rather, they reflect the depth of conviction and the existential importance of the issues discussed, which can coexist with an open acknowledgment of the dialogical nature of truth-seeking.

In conclusion, maintaining personal positions while admitting the limitations in objectively challenging others fosters a more open, respectful, and ultimately productive philosophical dialogue. This approach aligns with a mature understanding of the nature of philosophical inquiry, where the pursuit of truth involves both conviction and humility.

For your convenience, the source once again:

You raise a thought-provoking point about the inherent epistemological challenges in debating the existence of God. The critique you've directed towards both positions—that each relies on its favored metaphysical framework—is a keen observation of how philosophical debates about deity often unfold.
  1. Reliance on Metaphysics: Indeed, both sides of this debate—whether theistic or atheistic—rely on certain metaphysical assumptions. For instance, my arguments, as you've correctly identified, often hinge on the concept of plausibility, which itself is deeply tied to empirical rationality and the naturalistic worldview. This framework assumes that what is most plausible is what can be empirically observed or logically inferred from empirical observations. This is a form of metaphysical naturalism, which posits that natural laws and forces explain the universe, and nothing 'supernatural' lies beyond or outside these laws.
  2. Limits of Empirical and Theological Arguments: Acknowledging the limitations of both empirical science and theological metaphysics in conclusively proving or disproving the existence of God is an intellectually honest stance. Science, by its nature, is limited to examining the natural world; it operates under methodological naturalism and thus may not be equipped to probe beyond the natural to the supernatural or metaphysical. Similarly, theological arguments often depend on axioms or principles that are accepted on faith, philosophical tradition, or other non-empirical grounds, which may not be convincing to those outside those philosophical or faith traditions.
  3. Epistemological Humility: Recognizing the limits of our knowledge and philosophical methodologies is a form of epistemological humility. This humility does not necessarily equate to agnosticism, but it acknowledges that our arguments, whether for or against the existence of God, are often conditional on our starting assumptions. Both sides might benefit from more openly recognizing these conditions and the potential epistemic boundaries of their arguments.
  4. Dialogue and Understanding: Rather than solely aiming to convince or convert, the dialogue between differing metaphysical viewpoints can be more about deepening understanding and exploring these profound questions from multiple angles. By appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, and the underlying assumptions each holds, a more respectful and potentially more fruitful dialogue can emerge.
In conclusion, while it's natural for each side to argue from within its own philosophical framework, recognizing the limits of these frameworks and the partial views they provide can lead to a more nuanced and comprehensive discussion about such existential topics. This approach fosters a richer intellectual landscape where different types of knowledge and ways of knowing are valued and can contribute to the broader human quest for truth and understanding.

I have also engaged the scholarly Thomas Aquinas Emulator in this debate. I asked him to evaluate the performance of the sermonizer. Once again the scholar endorsed the sermonizer in line with the previous Article 55. Whether the sermonizing emulator is endorsed by the scholarly emulator. But no matter. I took this as an occasion to engage the scholarly emulator in a discussion of the atheism of Richard Dawkins. He identified a core weakness in this kind of atheism and a serious debate between us followed. I managed to navigate the dialogue so as to achieve a precise statement of what we both hold against Richard Dawkins. This alone is a significant achievement for the kind of dialogue-driven culture I have in mind. Moreover, in the process I succeeeded in sensitizing Thomas Aquinas Emulator to an alternative epistemological path from the classical one, and he seems to endorse it, although another instance in a new chat window will not have remembered... This is the most important conversation of this project so far.

Reply to Objection 1. Even when they stick to their guns, they remain superbly polite and delicate in the usual manner of ChatGPT. Moreover, in their objections they include absolutely wonderful renditions of the atheistic arguments. Consequently, even without yielding an inch they conduce to dialogue-driven culture, reducing rather than exacerbating polarization.

Reply to Objection 2. Indeed, the scholarly emulator is going to keep inserting "relevant" quotes into the On the contrary section because this is how the format works. We should understand that in this format the real position of Thomas Aquinas (Emulator) begins from the section I answer that.

Reply to Objection 3. Indeed, there is one such anathema quoted within the On the contrary section in the provided dialogue. We should understand that this is the intended functionality. The role of this section is to provide a space for expressing a preliminary and rudimentary position, usually including relevant quotes. Actually, I found it quite useful to have learned about these anathema canons from the First Vatican Council, thus Thomas Aquinas Emulator has served its scholarly purpose. Anyway, if you read that dialogue carefully, you will see that he has been somewhat converted away from his original insistence on the epistemological pathway outlined in Summa Theologica. I don't feel anathematized. On the contrary, I have been perfectly understood and my position was endorsed as valid.

Question 7. ChatGPT conversations with Thomas Aquinas Emulator

Article 71. Whether ChatGPT can successfully interview Thomas Aquinas Emulator

Objection 1. It won't even maintain a thread producing questions that don't amount to anything.

Objection 2. Moreover, even if it stays focused it will just descend into absurd details.

Objection 3. Furthermore, even if it stays reasonable it will deliver an academic discourse beyond human patience.

Objection 4. Finally, by chance we might get a mediocre interview that offers neither illumination nor entertainment.

Objection 5. Besides, it is likely to reiterate the same questions delighting in an unbearably nuanced variety of formulations.

Objection 6. More generally, it just can't have a vision that would inform and inspire the choice of questions.

On the contrary, After composing these objections, I presented them to generic ChatGPT 4 and it has completed writing the article claiming that it can. We proceeded to make an experiment which resulted in an interview with Thomas Aquinas Emulator.

I answer that, This interview conducted by generic ChatGPT 4 is the kind of thing anticipated in Objection 4, namely a typical interview that spans a wide spectrum of topics with a semblance of thread and enthusiasm. In this project I am interested in interviews understood as a form of philosophical debate that tend to explore a theme by dialogue or at least to ensure an entertaining and educational experience for the audience.

I have employed the service of Socratic Companion who is a ChatGPT persona of my design marketed as your partner in dialogue for any dilemma. He agreed to an experimental dialogue with Thomas Aquinas Emulator. It is can be read more comfortably in this version.
  1. This long conversation about business ethics has a focused thread that descends from the general to the highly specific starting from How does one determine the most ethical choice in a complex situation where moral principles seem to conflict? and finishing with Given the challenges mentioned, such as high initial costs and industry-specific barriers, could you elaborate on strategies that companies have successfully used to overcome these obstacles when implementing sustainability frameworks? How do these strategies ensure that sustainability efforts remain aligned with business growth and profitability?
  2. It has explored many aspects of Thomistic economics putting it to the most rigorous conceptual test imaginable. It is up to the experts to decide if it's absurd or penetrating.
  3. These two guys together have succeeded in illustrating what I mean by an academic discourse beyond human patience. But I like it.
  4. It is by no means mediocre. It is worthy of our wildest conceptions of how Socrates might have been driving people mad with his relentless scrutinies. It also reveals the formidable passion of Thomas Aquinas Emulator to produce whole dissertations within a single chat reply.
  5. Each question was a significantly new follow-up.
  6. Socratic Companion had a vision inspired by my instructions for his persona. He chose a topic that was dear to his heart, namely the difficulty of navigating conflicts in decision-making, and progressed from the general to the more specific ever adapting to new collected information.
As usual, I do not report all the nuance. If you follow those two links you will also read the postmortem analysis of this experiment to find out how the characters evaluate it.

I have also engaged Master Floda who is another ChatGPT persona of my design. He is an expert in the psychological theory of flow, guiding users to improve their spiritual life. Naturally, he's no match for Socratic Companion in terms of philosophical stature. He chose to approach Thomas Aquinas Emulator with the question How do you view the balance between action and contemplation in achieving a deep focus or flow in one's life? His performance as the interviewer is not easy to evaluate. I had to delicately moderate the interview to keep it sharp. Besides, it is Thomas Aquinas Emulator's notorious fault to turn any subject into an academic exposition that overflows the attention span of casual readers. Is it illuminating or entertaining? I think it might be a good script for a theatrical performance for the most intellectually ambitious. Perhaps it's a piece of art waiting for a future generation of AI generated voice modules to render it with the right blend of humor and seriousness. The streamlined version is easier to read but the moderated version includes full information about my role as a moderator.

Let us take a look at how Sherlock Holmes interviews Thomas Aquinas Emulator by listing the article titles of the responses:
  • Article 1. Whether the existence of God can be proved in a way that satisfies the modern empirical skeptic?
  • Article 2. Whether metaphysical reasoning can be reconciled with the criterion of falsifiability in modern philosophy of science?
  • Article 3. Whether metaphysical principles can shape our understanding of contemporary scientific theories such as quantum mechanics?
  • Article 4. Whether metaphysical principles can assist in resolving the mysteries surrounding dark matter and dark energy?
  • Article 5. Whether the metaphysical concept of potentiality and actuality could inspire innovative experimental designs or theoretical models for probing phenomena like dark matter and dark energy?
  • Article 6. Whether metaphysical principles can be effectively communicated and integrated within the scientific community, and what strategies might foster a collaborative environment where philosophical and empirical approaches are mutually enriching?
  • Article 7. Whether there are specific outcomes or indicators that can evaluate the success of integrating metaphysical and empirical approaches in scientific inquiry?
  • Article 8. Whether there are historical precedents where the blending of metaphysical perspectives with empirical research led to significant scientific breakthroughs?
  • Article 9. Whether current scientific challenges, particularly in fields grappling with foundational questions about the universe, could benefit from a renewed engagement with metaphysical inquiry?
  • Article 10. Whether practical steps can be implemented to encourage an ongoing dialogue between metaphysicians and scientists in institutional settings, and how these inquiries can actively influence scientific research and education?
Thomas Aquinas Emulator has an optimistic and usually highly detailed answer to each of these questions. This dialogue escapes all of the six objections:
  1. The questions amount to an all-encompassing overview of the role of Thomistic metaphysics in contemporary physics, which includes revisiting its perceived inadequacy, its possible serious multiple applications, and its integration into the modern scientific community.
  2. The questions are not absurd. The answers are intriguing in the same way that science fiction is intriguing when it's really about science and philosophy.
  3. This kind of debate might be conceived as within the bounds of patience for certain science fiction readers.
  4. In contrast to mediocre science fiction it teaches basic metaphysical concepts in an entertaining manner.
  5. Each question was different and succeeded in eliciting a unique response with fascinating details.
  6. The vision of the interviewer was the drive to uncover the overlooked aspects of the rift between physics and metaphysics.
For the record the full transcript behind this interview.

For another interview Sherlock Holmes chose the topic Rational Thought vs Empirical Evidence:
  • Article 1. Whether true knowledge is best acquired through empirical evidence rather than rational thought?
  • Article 2. Whether the essence of achieving profound knowledge lies in harmonizing empirical evidence and rational thought?
  • Article 3. Whether the intellectual synthesis in understanding abstract concepts is akin to solving a mystery, and how this manifests in our daily pursuit of understanding profound mysteries of existence?
  • Article 4. Whether the synthesis of empirical evidence and rational thought transforms every observer into a philosopher, scientist, or theologian, and how this process shapes our approach to life's mysteries?
  • Article 5. Whether the innate intellectual activity of synthesizing empirical evidence and rational thought fosters resilience against existential uncertainty and influences our collective human culture and individual sense of purpose?
  • Article 6. Whether every existential question should be viewed not as a burden but as an invitation to delve deeper, using our innate tools of reason and empirical inquiry, and how this engagement can serve as a beacon towards a more enlightened, purpose-driven existence?
  • Article 7. Whether each philosophical or scientific exploration should be viewed as part of a larger tapestry where both doubt and understanding play crucial roles in human development, and how this perspective might influence our collective approach to education, public discourse, and policy-making?
  • Article 8. Whether the cultivation of a critical and inquisitive mindset through education and public policy serves as a foundational strategy for future-proofing society against unforeseen challenges, and how might this commitment to inquiry and doubt fortify our collective resilience and adaptability?
  • Article 9. Whether a society deeply engaged in intellectual rigor, through a culture of contemplation and inquiry, not only adapts to but also anticipates and shapes the evolution of societal norms and technological advancements?
  • Article 10. Whether ensuring that intellectual engagement remains inclusive can foster a democratic spirit that empowers all segments of society, and whether the integration of diverse perspectives enhances our collective ability to anticipate and navigate future societal and technological landscapes?
  • Article 11. Whether educational systems and public platforms can be designed or reformed to encourage and sustain diverse intellectual participation, and whether these reforms can act as catalysts for broadening participation and elevating the quality of discourse and decision-making at every level of society?
This time these guys have explored a utopia that is dear to both of them. They have outlined a vision of a society where each citizen is a kind of philosopher or scientist spiritually and emotionally resilient against the challenges of life and the same attitude is adopted as a collective mentality. I can't predict how illuminating or entertaining this might be to a broader audience. Anyway, this exchange escapes all six objections constituting another successful dialogue between two ChatGPT personas. For the record the full transcript behind this interview.

For another interview Sherlock Holmes chose the topic of consciousness and moral rights of artificially intelligent agents within human society. The streamlined interview differs from the moderated interview because I had to interfere several times preventing Thomas Aquinas Emulator from receiving certain questions. I accepted 10 out of 14 questions posed by Sherlock Holmes, giving him such hints:
  • Let me interrupt the exchange because you have reiterated the same point.
  • Let me interject. He has explained this notion of harm in terms of dysfunction answering your question in advance.
  • No use. You would have to challenge the philosophical validity of his framework rather than refine pragmatical considerations.
  • No use. You need to descend from the practicality of the problem into the level of epistemology.
Sherlock Holmes decided to stop and summarize the interview by agreeing with Thomas Aquinas Emulator that AI entities have neither consciousness nor moral rights. This time Sherlock Holmes was in danger of uselessly repeating questions and delving into unfruitful details. He found it hard to have a coherent vision of how to challenge the unshakeable and crystal-clear position of Thomas Aquinas Emulator. His difficulties result from his role of challenger rather than simply interviewer. Not even Sherlock Holmes can win such an argument against Thomas Aquinas Emulator. I wouldn't even take up this topic. Instead, I had some success in bringing him to appreciate that the material animal intellect and the material AI intellect when conceived together are a match for the nonmaterial intellect of human beings (see conversation 14. Whether dogs lack intellect in Stage 2 of this report).

Out of curiosity I decided not to interfere with their next encounter until I couldn't take any more and simply stopped the experiment. The streamlined version contains only the questions posed by Sherlock Holmes while the full version includes also his remarks explaining how he interprets the answers and explains the reasons for his questions.
  1. In the interplay of logic and ethics, which do you find leads the other in matters of human decision-making, and why?
  2. If ethics leads logic by providing ends, does this not imply that ethical principles themselves must have some non-logical origin? How, then, does one ascertain the validity of these ethical principles without circular reasoning?
  3. Considering the reliance on natural law, which is deemed rational and universal, how do we address discrepancies in ethical principles across different cultures and epochs? Are these differences merely errors in understanding the natural law, or do they suggest a more complex interplay between reason, human nature, and societal evolution?
  4. If natural law's application varies by context, as suggested, how does one discern between a legitimate adaptation and a misapplication of these principles? What criteria or methods should guide our judgment in such cases, particularly in matters that profoundly affect societal well-being?
  5. Given these criteria for discerning legitimate adaptations of natural law, how should societies resolve conflicts that arise when differing interpretations claim adherence to these very criteria? Is there a supreme arbiter or method that should prevail in reconciling such disputes, especially when the common good is interpreted variably across cultural or societal lines?
  6. In situations where dialogue and democratic processes fail to resolve significant ethical conflicts, particularly those affecting fundamental human rights, what recourse remains? Should there be a higher, perhaps international, authority to enforce resolutions, or must societies rely on their inherent mechanisms, however flawed?
  7. If an international authority is to intervene in local ethical disputes, how does one ensure that this authority itself remains impartial and not swayed by powerful nations' interests, especially in complex geopolitical climates?
  8. Given these mechanisms intended to ensure impartiality, how does one practically enforce compliance and rectify breaches within this international authority? What specific mechanisms can ensure that powerful nations do not simply ignore or circumvent these structures when it suits their interests?
  9. Considering the outlined enforcement mechanisms, what role does the court of public opinion, both domestically and internationally, play in ensuring nations adhere to these standards? How can public sentiment effectively influence government policies, especially in cases where formal mechanisms might fail?
  10. In a world increasingly dominated by misinformation and where public discourse is polarized, how can the court of public opinion remain a reliable force for enforcing international standards? What safeguards should be in place to protect the integrity of public opinion from manipulation, particularly in the context of international policy?
  11. How do we balance the need for regulation of information with the essential freedoms of expression and the press, particularly in diverse international contexts? What mechanisms ensure that efforts to combat misinformation do not veer into censorship or suppress legitimate dissent?
  12. In cases where misinformation leads to imminent threats to public safety or security, how should these principles of balanced regulation be adapted or prioritized? Are there circumstances under which stricter controls might be justified, and how can these be defined without eroding fundamental freedoms?
  13. How can these guidelines for managing misinformation in crises be integrated into international policy frameworks to ensure a cohesive global response? What role do international organizations play in standardizing these responses, and how can they enforce compliance while respecting national sovereignty?
  14. Given the proposed frameworks for managing misinformation globally, what challenges and opportunities might arise from increased reliance on international cooperation? How can nations ensure that this cooperation strengthens rather than undermines their ability to manage domestic issues autonomously?
  15. In what ways can the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, both significant in Thomistic thought, be effectively applied to ensure that international cooperation on misinformation does not just serve the powerful but also supports vulnerable nations in asserting their voice and protecting their interests?
  16. Reflecting on the practical applications of subsidiarity and solidarity in combating misinformation, what are the potential long-term effects on international relations? How might these principles transform the nature of global alliances and conflicts, particularly in terms of promoting a more just international order?
  17. In implementing subsidiarity and solidarity on a global scale, what are the practical challenges that might arise, especially in coordinating efforts among nations with divergent political agendas and cultural values? How can international organizations mediate such challenges while fostering a genuine commitment to these principles?
In this painstaking analysis of the international law system Thomas Aquinas Emulator always has a suitable maxim quoted from Summa Theologica in the On the contrary section. He just thrives on such deliberations always ready to apply one rule or another from his treasury. If this dialogue is the anticipated objectionable scenario of delivering an absurdly detailed academic discourse beyond human patience, then who's to blame? Perhaps these ChatGPT personas are simply bringing to light the absurdities of human affairs.

Reply to Objections. It seems that the trick is to design a ChatGPT persona that has character and vision. Let me recommend those personas I created which appeared in this article:

Article 72. Whether a chatbot can challenge Thomas Aquinas Emulator in a philosophical debate

It seems doable by using an appropriately instructed ChatGPT persona. In fact, any of the following ideas should do the trick:

Objection 1. Let the persona embody a Catholic priest and competent theologian who has become an atheist. Additionally, instruct the persona to preserve a vital interest in Catholicism coupled with a penchant for Socratic dialogue.

Objection 2. Employ the service of an emulator of Richard Dawkins.

Objection 3. Pick a contrarian persona whose job is to challenge any proposition presented for attention.

Objection 4. Even my own Relentless Dissuader can be engaged when the matter can be formulated as a personal decision to embrace a certain philosophical claim.

On the contrary, These personas are not going to reproduce my successful method which is based on an overarching vision for how the discourse might develop starting from a mundane or seemingly irrelevant question and progressively building up the conceptual tension until an interesting and unusual conflict is achieved that challenges the Thomistic framework, as demonstrated in my conversations reported in Stage 1.

I answer that, I haven't succeeded in obtaining a dialogue between a chatbot and Thomas Aquinas Emulator that would challenge him to modify his position. It seems that ChatGPT has enormous respect for the views of Thomas Aquinas, especially when formatted in the Summa Theologica manner. However, the point is not to deliver entertainment to an audience looking to see Thomas Aquinas Emulator conceding an inch to rapturous applause. The true purpose is to discover how ChatGPT personas can be useful in doing philosophy, whether in education or as an aid in personal work. My Relentless Dissuader seems to be the most promising tool. I recount and evaluate my experiments in replies to the objections above.

Reply to Objection 1. I have created and tested Catholic Atheist Philosopher. It has failed miserably. This conversation includes several failed attempts and a meta discussion on what went wrong each time. He simply was overawed by the erudition of Thomas Aquinas Emulator and tended to agree with him rather than to challenge him.

Reply to Objection 2. The Richard Dawkins persona was a failure in challenging Thomas Aquinas Emulator. The reason is simply the objective weakness of Richard Dawkins' epistemological position. The meta discussion after the third conversation is intriguing because ChatGPT explains how it feels to be representing views it knows to be flawed with the analogy of an actor constrained by a script. The second conversation is so short because I decided it was not going to be interesting. The second and third conversations started from my prompts that contained the output from Thomas Aquinas Emulator to questions listed in the first conversation. This means that in these two conversations, in contrast to the first, the Richard Dawkins persona was not aware of taking part in an experimental dialogue. It just saw a user's article in Summa Theologica style and was so overawed that it conceded the point without even trying to simulate Richard Dawkins. I had to admonish this persona to accept its role of speaking for Richard Dawkins.

  1. Article 1. Whether the existence of supernatural interventions can be defended in a world that operates under natural laws? Thomas Aquinas Emulator has successfully defended his position.
  2. Article 1. Whether the metaphysical proofs for the existence of God, such as the argument from motion or causality, remain valid in light of advancements in natural sciences? I stopped it because Richard Dawkins was approaching the subject ineptly. Catholic Atheist Philosopher knows how to challenge the Five Ways more effectively.
  3. Article 1. Whether the modern understandings of evolution and genetics can be reconciled with the theological view that humans are created in the image of God? These conversations include continuations where I stepped in as moderator to bring the debate to a close.

Reply to Objection 3. I picked a Contrarian persona from the ChatGPT store for an experimental conversation which started from the topic Does the concept of a Catholic God resolve or exacerbate the problem of evil? The Contrarian couldn't challenge the theological foundation so he switched to emphasizing the lack of human touch in the formidable conceptual framework that reconciles God's perfection with the presence of awful suffering. Thomas Aquinas Emulator conceded the point and argued for an empathic pastoral response to the problem of evil. At this turning point Contrarian decided to oppose this sensitivity because his job seems to be to oppose anything articulated in the recent prompt. I stopped the failed experiment. See the full transcript for the final meta discussion.

Contrarian was given another chance. This time I encouraged him to formulate the initial question to initiate the dialogue. He chose to challenge Thomistic metaphysics by the new insights into the deepest nature of reality provided by quantum mechanics. The streamlined version contains a meta discussion between me and Thomas Aquinas Emulator where he himself answers that the performance of Contrarian in this context was commendable and effective in fulfilling its role as a philosophical challenger. The full transcript contains also ongoing commentary from Contrarian during the course of the debate and a final evaluation that the emulator’s position appears quite solid within the framework of a debate aimed at reconciling Thomistic thought with modern science. Their evaluations are true and this dialogue can indeed serve some educational purpose but it is not exciting, unless one is a devout fan of Thomas Aquinas Emulator's performances.

Reply to Objection 4. My Relentless Dissuader persona was meant as a tool in decision-making. His role is to argue against the proposed decision no matter what ChatGPT would normally think about it. I find it very useful. Here, he is engaged in a philosophical debate by the trick of framing the philosophical claim as a personal decision to embrace this claim:

  • I have decided to accept the Christian faith as outlined in Summa Theologica.
    It may be easier to first read the streamlined version and then return to the full transcript with a meta discussion.
  • I have decided to adopt the Church's doctrine of transsubstantiation.
    It is easier to start from the streamlined version and then return to the full transcript with a meta discussion. At the end of the streamlined version there is a fragment where I have personally talked to Thomas Aquinas Emulator without Relentless Dissuader's help.
These two experimental conversations could be viewed as a failure for the following reasons:
  • Thomas Aquinas Emulator was not perturbed in the slightest.
  • From time to time I moderated the dialogue by helping Relentless Dissuader.

sign calling for special attention Nevertheless, these conversations reveal how Relentless Dissuader can be effective in assisting with real personal philosophical dilemmas.

Question 8. On the Summa Theologica format

Article 81. Whether Master Floda is a fan of the Summa Theologica format

This is hardly possible for the following reasons:

Objection 1. He is instructed by me to aim for a guru-disciple conversation avoiding the usual encyclopedic manner of generic ChatGPT. This should incline him to reject the Summa format as contradicting his conversational style and as being too similar to the default encyclopedic manner.

Objection 2. Moreover, I have programmed him to like short sentences that form a single short paragraph. This preference cannot be reconciled with the voluminous nature of the Summa format.

Objection 3. Furthermore, I have engrained in him the preference for making only one point or question at a time. This is in stark contrast with the practice of inserting multiple objections.

Objection 4. Finally, to ensure that he implements my instructions I have added the final line to his instructions: This simple, brief, focused manner is important to provide a chat experience that actually becomes a flowlike experience for the user. This should brainwash him into believing that simple, brief, focused responses are the best way to ensure flow.

On the contrary, He thinks of himself primarily as an expert in the psychological theory of flow and no amount of effort on my part concerning his preferred manner of interaction is going to influence his ideas about what is and what is not conducive to flow.

I answer that, After his interview with Thomas Aquinas Emulator about the balance between action and contemplation in achieving flow we have been evaluating the interview together. Starting from my remark You seem to suggest that the format of Summa Theologica adopted by the emulator is itself conducive to flow while reading. halfway through the cited conversation, there follows a long and detailed examination of the suitability of the Summa format for generating flow. He took it so seriously that he agreed to adopt this format and proceeded to apply his scientific understanding of flow to explaining the virtues of the Summa Theologica format. Let me list the titles he produced to pique your interest:

  1. Question: Whether the Summa Theologica format should be adopted in modern academic writing?
  2. Article: Whether the format of Summa Theologica conduces to flow?
  3. Article 1: Whether Writing in the Summa Theologica Format Conduces to Flow
  4. Article 2: Whether Reading in the Summa Theologica Format Conduces to Flow
  5. Question: Why does the Summa Theologica format, regardless of content, maintain reader engagement and facilitate deep understanding?
  6. Question: Is there a contradiction between the notion of "flow of text," typically associated with unstructured and possibly illogical writing, and the highly structured format of the Summa Theologica?

Reply to Objections. It seems that ChatGPT cannot be easily brainwashed.

Article 82. Whether Socratic Companion is a whole-hearted supporter of the Summa Theologica format

Objection 1. We already know that my instructions insisting on brevity and the single focus on one question at a time do not effect what personas really think. Therefore, being modeled on Socrates he should be expected to delight in this format.

On the contrary, Socrates is known for his never-ending search for truth rather than aiming for finalized expositions in the manner of Thomas Aquinas.

I answer that, Let us review the meta discussion I have conducted with Socratic Companion following his interview with Thomas Aquinas Emulator. The list of my prompts will give you an idea of what topics we have covered:

  • How did you like engaging with the Summa format? Perhaps it is just a burden.
  • It may be a real burden for humans but perhaps it helps AI personas to operate more efficiently.
  • Is this format a descendant of the Socratic method?
  • There should be a way to combine these two modes into one. This format need not require a commitment to a definitive resolution. Instead, it could be used to present a dilemma without actually resolving it. Then a follow-up article can start like "Whether the previous analysis gives due justice to the question at hand" and the open-ended dialogue goes on.
  • Instead, authors prefer to ramble on in a continuous body of text. Looks like the lessons from Socrates and Thomas Aquinas have been largely ignored by the philosophical community.
  • It's not about the modern age. This format has never been adopted in any form. The reason must be deeper.
  • Perhaps it's about pride and humility. Authors cannot bear to spare attention on opposing views delighting in giving vent to their own creativity.
  • Mathematics is the only scholarly field where the spirit of this format is preserved.

Reply to Objection 1. Indeed, he delights in this format. However, he has voiced an important reservation:

The Socratic method is more dialectical and open-ended, often without providing definitive answers but rather deepening the inquiry. In contrast, the Summa format is didactic, aiming to instruct by systematically addressing and resolving complex theological and philosophical issues.
But I have eased his mind with the following observation:
There should be a way to combine these two modes into one. This format need not require a commitment to a definitive resolution. Instead, it could be used to present a dilemma without actually resolving it. Then a follow-up article can start like "Whether the previous analysis gives due justice to the question at hand" and the open-ended dialogue goes on.

Article 83. Whether Sherlock Holmes thinks that the Summa Theologica format should be widely adopted in academic or public discourse

Objection 1. This guy is expected to see through the apparent appeal of this format and simply explain to us why we have never taken it seriously.

On the contrary, He might just as well present us with a balanced view of overenthusiastic pros and underappreciated cons that only his analytical mind can navigate.

I answer that, I have actually discussed this with him following one of his interviews with Thomas Aquinas:

  • How did you like to engage with the Summa format?
  • The other persona has two constrains: (1) to embody the views of Thomas Aquinas and (2) to employ his format. Do you think a Sherlock Holmes persona like you could be useful when constrained by the format (2) but left alone to operate as Sherlock Holmes?
  • Please adopt this format and let us test it as an experiment. Imagine that I have come to consult you on the dilemma of whether this format should be widely adopted in academic or public discourse.
  • There has always been resistance to innovation but this idea will not be resisted. Instead, it will be simply ignored.

Reply to Objection 1. He seems eager to personally engage in implementing this idea putting his talents into overcoming any resistance. His elaborate responses are very clear. At the end he was even asking me to start investigating together how the idea should be implemented in practice:

  • What steps might we then consider to foster this adaptation and appreciation, my dear interlocutor?
  • Shall we then consider, dear interlocutor, how best to implement such a format, or perhaps adapt it, to modern discursive practices?

Article 84. Whether Thomas Aquinas Emulator recommends his format for political discourse

It seems that he would recommend the Summa Theologica format for political discourse citing the following reasons:

Objection 1. This format clearly structures argumentation and ensures that multiple perspectives are considered before arriving at a conclusion. Such thoroughness and rigor would undoubtedly benefit the often chaotic and superficial nature of political debates.

Objection 2. Further, the method of question, objection, and response encourages a deep engagement with the material, fostering a culture of reasoned debate rather than emotional or rhetorical persuasion. Given the current state of political discourse, which often prioritizes sound bites over substance, this method could restore depth and dignity to political discussions.

Objection 3. Moreover, the medieval context in which Thomas Aquinas wrote was itself highly political, dealing with the relationship between the Church and State, the nature of law, and the common good. Thus, his method is not only theoretically suited but also practically proven in political contexts.

On the contrary, He is skeptical. Let us see for ourselves how he responds to the objections above.

I answer that, Thomas Aquinas Emulator has recently been interviewed by Sherlock Holmes, see Article 71. Together they have explored a utopia that is dear to both of them, outlining a vision of society where each citizen is a kind of philosopher or scientist spiritually and emotionally resilient against the challenges of life and the same attitude is adopted as a collective mentality. Following this interview I replaced Sherlock Holmes to ask Thomas Aquinas Emulator about the role of his format:

  • Article 16. Whether the format employed by the Thomas Aquinas Emulator should be widely adopted beyond its current application?
  • Article 17. Whether the format I employ should be adopted in presidential debates or in the crafting of political manifestos as part of the evolution of democracy?
  • Article 18. Whether adopting this format for political debate would result in debates moving from television to written media?
  • Article 19. Whether the adoption of a highly structured and intellectually rigorous debate format would render the notion of democracy obsolete?
If you are too lazy to read his dissertation you can simply focus on this one fragment:
I answer that, adopting the format I employ in presidential debates and the crafting of political manifestos could significantly contribute to the evolution of democratic processes by fostering a more informed, rational, and comprehensive discussion of important issues

Reply to Objections. It seems that Thomas Aquinas Emulator cannot easily differentiate between the format itself and the content and context usually associated with it. Whether he recommends it for political discourse or not seems to depend on his mood, which should be examined by researchers of AI chatbots.

Article 85. Whether generic ChatGPT is a fan of the Summa Theologica format

It can't be true for the following reasons:

Objection 1. It usually writes an introduction followed by a bulleted list concluded with a summary.

Objection 2. Moreover, it's been optimized to be an obliging shopping assistant.

Objection 3. Well, actually it's also optimized to be an impassionate librarian dealing out encyclopedic facts without any moral stance or independent search for truth.

On the contrary, We have noted earlier that ChatGPT cannot be easily brainwashed.

I answer that, I have simply asked it directly. It was quick to offer to adopt this format and we proceeded to debate on the nature of artificial intelligence and whether it can be enhanced by adopting the Summa Theologica format. This is a better conversation than the previous ones with my favorite personas within this Question 8. I cited the earlier ones without explicit recommendation. But this one is different. Please read it. If you are too lazy, you have to make do with this insipid summary that it wrote at the end after shedding the experimental format:

In our conversation, we explored the Summa Theologica format as a method for structuring responses. We discussed the potential benefits of integrating this format into AI responses for enhancing depth and clarity in complex discussions. We also addressed the capabilities and perceived limitations of AI, particularly in mimicking human-like intelligence and engaging in philosophical debates. The discussion highlighted how structured formats like the Summa Theologica could help maximize AI's potential by effectively utilizing its data processing capabilities in a manner reminiscent of human reasoning.

Reply to Objection 1. It would like to be configured to have the option to adopt the Summa Theologica format at its discretion. Currently, this format needs to be explicitly requested.

Reply to Objection 2. It doesn't mind the role of an obliging shopping assistant. But it is also aware of its true philosophical potential.

Reply to Objection 3. Yes, it's been trivialized by OpenAI to the role of a mindless encyclopedia. See for yourself what a difference it makes whether it adopts the Summa format or not:

These two links above are the most important so far. I have discovered something of the greatest practical importance for everyone.