Philosophy and Theology 10 (2):303-327 (1997)
|Abstract||Although the concept of conversion is usually encountered in religious contexts, the main contention of this paper is that there is a genuine significance in the concept of philosophical conversion. The scene is set by considering the New Testament meaning of epistrepho, “to turn away from,” and the Platonic use of the term in the Republic. The underlying concept here is that one must lose the old world in order to gain it anew. Through the process of conversion, both the person and his world are transformed: but where the religious believer accepts the experience as beyond his ability to account for its power, the philosopher must always be able to account for the grounds and results of this transformation. There are some historical instances of philosophers who have gone through such a process and demand it of their readers. The two principal case studies of this are Descartes’ enterprise for a universal science and Husserl’s project in the foundation of pure phenomenology. Detailed attention is paid to a number of key texts in order to elucidate the rhetorical imagery and argumentative ‘moments’ in this process|
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