This paper provides an account of what it is to have faith in a proposition p, in both religious and mundane contexts. It is argued that faith in p doesn’t require adopting a degree of belief that isn’t supported by one’s evidence but rather it requires terminating one’s search for further evidence and acting on the supposition that p. It is then shown, by responding to a formal result due to I.J. Good, that doing so can be rational (...) in a number of circumstances. If expected utility theory is the correct account of practical rationality, then having faith can be both epistemically and practically rational if the costs associated with gathering further evidence or postponing the decision are high. If a more permissive framework is adopted, then having faith can be rational even when there are no costs associated with gathering further evidence. (shrink)
History and literature provide striking examples of people who are morally admirable, in part, because they have some form of faith in people’s decency – figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, and Alyosha Karamazov. Nevertheless, moral philosophers have largely ignored this trait. And I suspect that many philosophers would view such faith with suspicion, dismissing it as a form of naïvete, or some other objectionable form of epistemic irrationality. I argue that such suspicion is misplaced, and (...) that having a certain form of faith in people’s decency, which I call faith in humanity, is a centrally important moral virtue. To make this view intuitively more plausible, I discuss two moral exemplars – one historical and the other literary – whose lives vividly exhibit such faith. Then I offer a rationale for the view that having faith in humanity is morally admirable. (shrink)
In this paper I evaluate Zamulinski’s recent attempt to rebut an argument to the conclusion that having any kind of religious faith violates a moral duty. I agree with Zamulinski that the argument is unsound, but I disagree on where it goes wrong. I criticize Zamulinski’s alternative construal of Christian faith as existential commitment to fundamental assumptions. It does not follow that we should accept the moral argument against religious faith, for at least two reasons. First, Zamulinski’s (...) Cliffordian ethics of belief is defective in several regards. Second, the truth of doxastic involuntarism and the possibility of doxastic excuse conditions can be used to demonstrate that the argument is unconvincing. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne argues that belief is a necessary but not sufficient condition for faith, and he also argues that, while faith is voluntary, belief is involuntary. This essay is concerned with the tension arising from the involuntary aspect of faith, the Christian doctrine that human beings have an obligation to exercise faith, and the moral claim that people are only responsible for actions where they have the ability to do otherwise. Put more concisely, the problem concerns (...) the coherence of the following claims: (1) one cannot have faith, (2) one has an obligation to have faith, and (3) ought implies can. To solve this dilemma, I offer three solutions that I believe have the philosophical resources to demonstrate the consistency of these claims. Thus, I defend the claim that it is logically possible for a person to be culpable for an involuntary failure to have faith in God. (shrink)
Initial sketch of a concept of faith -- Facets of faith -- Faith and knowledge -- Faith and scientific knowledge -- Faith and morality -- Secular forms of faith -- Crises of faith -- My personal journey of faith.
Reprinted in Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology, Wadsworth 2013, 6th edition, with an additional section entitled, "Reasons for the Common View," eds Michael Rea and Louis Pojman. What is propositional faith? At a first approximation, we might answer that it is the psychological attitude picked out by standard uses of the English locution “S has faith that p,” where p takes declarative sentences as instances, as in “He has faith that they’ll win”. Although correct, this answer is (...) not nearly as informative as we might like. Many people say that there is a more informative answer. They say that, at the very least, propositional faith requires propositional belief. More precisely, they say that faith that p requires belief that p or that it must be partly constituted by belief that p. This view is common enough; call it the Common View. I have two main aims in this paper: (i) to exhibit the falsity of the Common View and the paucity of reasons for it, and (ii) to sketch a more accurate and comprehensive account of what propositional faith is. (shrink)
Faith and Criticism addresses a central problem in the church today--the tension between traditionalists and progressives. Traditionalists want above all to hold fast to traditional foundations in belief and ensure that nothing of value is lost, even at the risk of a clash with "modern knowledge." Progressives are concerned above all to proclaim a faith that is credible today, even at the risk of sacrificing some elements of traditional doctrine. They are often locked in uncomprehending conflict. Basil Mitchell (...) argues that, not only in theology but in any other serious intellectual pursuit, faith and criticism are interdependent. A tradition which is not open to criticism will eventually ossify; and without faith in some established tradition criticism has nothing to fasten upon. This interdependence of faith and criticism has implications for society at large. Religious education can be Christian without ceasing to be critical, and a liberal society can espouse Christian values. (shrink)
In Part One Paul Helm provides a general discussion of these themes, seeking both to contextualize the debate and to engage with contemporary philosophical discussion of the relation between faith, reason and understanding. Part Two contains five case studies that illustrate the work of seminal figures in the tradition. They include treatments of Augustine on time and creation, Anselm on the ontological argument and the necessity of the atonement, Jonathan Edwards on the nature of personal identity and John Calvin (...) and the ’sensus divinitatis’, focusing on the way in which Calvin has been appealed to by contemporary reformed epistemology. (shrink)
The article begins at the intellectual fissure between many statements coming from neuroscience and the language of faith and theology. First I show that some conclusions drawn from neuroscientific research are not as firm as they seem: neuroscientific data leave room for the interpretation that mind matters. I then take a philosophical-theological look at the notions of soul, self, and freedom, also in the light of modern scientific research (self-organization, neuronal networks), and present a view in which these theologically (...) important notions are seen in relation both to matter (brain) and to God. I show that religious insights expressed with soul and free will bear a remarkable resemblance to certain insights from neuroscience and the science of complex, self-organizing systems, including emphasis on corporeality and emphasis on organization as a form of that corporeality, and that they also show an interesting parallel --- albeit described in different terms --- concerning the crucial role of a valuation principle that generates attraction. With that, the common-sense idea that freedom simply is the same as indeterminism is refuted: freedom primarily means self-determination. I bring to the fore that the self is not a static thing but a “longing.‘ Such longing springs from something, and it is the relationship to this source that constitutes the self. The main concern is to point out the crucial role of attraction with respect to being and to life, and to draw attention not only to the astonishing parallel on this point between Thomas Aquinas and Alfred North Whitehead but also to a surprising --- albeit more implicit --- analogy between these philosophical-theological views and scientific theories of self-organization (such as those concerning neuronal networks). In short, being attracted toward what appears as “good‘ is what constitutes us as selves and what thereby signifies the primary meaning of our freedom. (shrink)
This paper assesses J. L. Schellenberg’s account of propositional faith and, in light of that assessment, sketches an alternative that avoids certain objections and coheres better with Schellenberg’s aims.
Freud's account of repression retains vestiges of the Cartesian model of the mind. Sartre's argument against Freud is essentially an objection to this Cartesian aspect, which Sartre's own theory of bad faith dispenses with.
At one time or another, most Contemporary Continental philosophers of religion make reference to Nietzsche’s announcement that “God is dead.” However, their interpretation and treatment of that announcement owes nothing to Nietzsche. Instead, they see the death of God as Hegel did, as a moment in a transition to a new way of talking and thinking about God or the Absolute. Their faith in God or the Absolute is not in doubt in the end. We argue that if one (...) hears and thinks Nietzsche’s word “God is dead”—along with Heidegger’s critique of onto-theo-logy-then faith in the end is in doubt. Any affirmation or profession of faith is questionable; there is no promise that all conflicts will be resolved and that all will be saved and forgiven. Nietzsche’s saying that “God is dead” calls for thinking and questioning; it calls not for faith, but faith in doubt. (shrink)
In Scepticism and Animal Faith, Santayana pursues two projects: the development of a philosophy of animal faith and the presentation of an ontology. The two projects are not easily reconciled and Santayana appears not to have distinguished them or recognized that they pull in different directions. The hypothesis that he has two projects explains a variety of the anomalous features of Santayana's philosophy, including the account of matter concerning which Kerr-Lawson and I have long disagreed.
The logical treatment of the nature of religious belief (here I will concentrate on belief in Christianity) has been distorted by the acceptance of a false dilemma. On the one hand, many (e.g., Braithwaite, Hare) have placed the significance of religious belief entirely outside the realm of intellectual cognition. According to this view, religious statements do not express factual propositions: they are not made true or false by the ways things are. Religious belief consists in a certain attitude toward the (...) world, life, or other human beings, or in what sorts of things one values. On the other hand, others (such as Swinburne, 1981, Chapers 1 and 4) have taken religious belief to include (at least) being certain of the truth of particular factual religious propositions. The strength of a person's religious belief is identified with his degree of confidence in the truth of those propositions, measured by the "subjective probability" which those propositions have for that person. I propose a third alternative, according to which, (1) contrary to the first view, religious belief does involve a relation to factual religious propositions, such as that God exists, that Jesus was God and man, etc., -- propositions which are made true or false by the way things actually are -- but, (2) contrary to the second view, the strength of religious belief is measured, not by the degree of one's confidence1 in the truth of these propositions, but rather by the way in which the value or desirability to oneself of the various ways the world could be is affected by their including or not including the truth of these religious propositions. Thus, religious belief does consist in what one values or prizes, not in what.. (shrink)
This book stands in the tradition of philosophers who advance the rationality of faith. Yet, this book goes beyond their accounts, for it not only defends the view that faith can be termed rational, but it also considers the different senses in which faith can be termed rational. While this book advances the idea that faith as a general category can be termed rational, it does not investigate in a detailed way whether there are arguments for (...) the rationality of particular faiths which would go beyond the arguments for the rationality of faith as a general category. Besides discussing whether betting on God in Pascal’s wager and believing in miracles are forms of the rationality of faith, I will provide unique solutions to the problem of evil and the paradoxes of omnipotence and omniscience. (publisher). (shrink)
In this book, renowned philosopher Anthony Kenny focuses on one of the central questions in the philosophy of religion: is the belief in God and faith in the divine word rational? Surveying what has been said on the topic by such major recent thinkers as Wittgenstein and Platinga, Kenny contructs his own account of what he calls "the intellectual virtue of reasonable belief which stands between skepticism and credulity," which he then applies to the Christian doctrine of faith. (...) Kenny also addresses related questions such as the existence and nature of God and the problem of evil in a world created by an omnipotent being. A fascinating exploration of a subject presented in clear, accessible language, What is Faith? is essential reading for anyone who hopes to understand a debate that has now raged for two thousand years. (shrink)
The book re-examines some notable pre-modern accounts of the relation of passion, reason and faith, and from there goes on to overturn the widely-held presumption that it was the Enlightenment that was responsible for creating a gulf ...
Mystic-activists; an introduction -- The just shall live by faith -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer; "the view from below" -- A worldview from the margins -- Malcolm X; "recognizing every human being as a human being" -- An identity rooted in humanity -- Aung San Suu Kyi; "a revolution of the spirit" -- The ethics of revolution -- A lived faith.
Faith and Reason displays in historical perspective some of the rich dialogue between religion and philosophy over two millennia, beginning with Greek reflections about God and the gods and ending with twentieth-century debate about faith in a world which tends to reserve its reverence for science. Paul Helm uses as a case study the question of whether the world is eternal or whether it was created out of nothing, following this theme from Plato through medieval thought to modern (...) scientific speculation about the beginnings of the universe. This Oxford Reader also includes discussion of many other fundamental issues raised by the juxtaposition of faith and reason, including arguments for and against the existence of God, the relationship between religion and ethics, the contrast between reason and revelation as sources of knowledge, and the implications of religious belief for freedom of the will. (shrink)
This collection of essays is dedicated to William Rowe, with great affection, respect, and admiration. The philosophy of religion, once considered a deviation from an otherwise analytically rigorous discipline, has flourished over the past two decades. This collection of new essays by twelve distinguished philosophers of religion explores three broad themes: religious attitudes of faith, belief, acceptance, and love; human and divine freedom; and the rationality of religious belief. Contributors include: William Alston, Robert Audi, Jan Cover, Martin Curd, Peter (...) van Inwagen, Norman Kretzmann, George Nakhnikian, John Hawthorne, Philip Quinn, James Ross, Eleonore Stump, and William Wainwright. (shrink)
Krishek's original and compelling interpretation of the Works of Love in the light of Kierkegaard's famous analysis of the paradoxicality of faith in Fear and Trembling shows that preferential love, and in particular romantic love, plays a ...
Athens or Jerusalem? By Tertullian.--Philosophy the handmaid of theology, by Clement of Alexandria.--Faith in search of understanding, by St. Augustine.--Revelation and analogy, by St. Thomas Aquinas.--The mystic way, by M. Eckhart.--The darkened intellect, by J. Calvin.--The reasons of the heart, by B. Pascal.--Faith, reason, and enthusiasm, by J. Locke.--Miracles and the skeptic, by D. Hume.--The limits of reason, by I. Kant.--Truth and subjectivity, by S. Kierkegaard.--In justification of faith, by W. James.--Religion as poetry, by G. Santayana.--Faith (...) and symbols, by P. Tillich.--Three parables on falsification, by A. Flew, R. M. Hare, and B. Mitchell.--For further reading (p. 233-235). (shrink)
Introduction: "Know yourself" -- The revelation of God's wisdom -- Credo ut intellegam -- Intellego ut credam -- The relationship between faith and reason -- The interventions of the Magisterium in philosophical matters -- The interaction between philosophy and theology -- Current requirements and tasks -- Conclusion.
Faith and reason in the Church Magisterium from Pius IX to Fides et ratio -- Pius IX (1846-1878) between the Qui pluribus and the syllabus -- Faith and reason in the First Vatican Council -- From the syllabus to the First Vatican Council -- Constitution Dei filius -- Leo XIII and the Aeterni patris -- Faith and reason in the light of Fides et ratio -- Fides et ratio after Dei filius and Aeterni patris: faith and (...) reason -- Truth, foundation and metaphysics -- Historical reconstruction of Chapter IV -- Patristic and Medieval period -- Faith and reason in the modern age -- For a comprehensive review -- Difference and reciprocity of faith and reason -- Stressing difference: S. Kierkegaard -- Stressing reciprocity and circularity -- Crisis of reason and of the relationship reason-truth -- Post-modernity as the name of contemporary times. a brief analysis -- Going beyond the reductionism of post-modern reason -- Faith and reason: a necessary encounter, if both are "loyal" to themselves. (shrink)
Introduction: Foundations of faith described -- Christian history : a brief overview -- The Apostolic Age (ca. A.D. 30-100 -- The Patristic Age (ca. A.D. 100-500) -- The Medieval Age (ca. A.D. 500-1500) -- The Reformation/counter-Reformation Age -- The Modern Age (ca. A.D. 1600-1950) -- The Postmodern Age (ca. A.D. 1950-present) -- Mormon and evangelical theology : a comparison -- Scripture and revelation -- God and humanity -- Church and temple -- Salvation and the afterlife -- Moral and social (...) standards -- Mormonism and Christianity -- Sociological foundations of faith -- Question 9: Who was or is the greatest influence on your religious beliefs? -- Question 10: What were the religious beliefs of your family when you were growing up? -- Question 13: How much do you associate with people that hold to other religious beliefs? -- Question 15: What would be the social consequences for you if you converted to another religion? -- Sociological foundations of faith : conclusion -- Spiritual foundations of faith -- Question 4: To what extent has spiritual or religious -- Question 6: Mormons and Evangelicals claim to have the witness of the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit in their hearts confirming the Mormons and Evangelicals -- Truth of their faith : how do you know that the assurance you have in your heart is from God? -- Question 8: What do you think of the religious experiences of people outside your religion, especially those which seem to confirm their religious beliefs to them? -- Rational foundations of faith -- Question 16: To what extent do you have faith because you think that Mormonism/Evangelicalism is reasonable? -- Question 18: What do you consider to be the best proof or evidence for Mormonism/Evangelicalism? -- Question 19: Would you believe that Mormonism/Evangelicalism is true even if most of the evidence were against it? -- Question 20: How has your assurance changed over time? -- Question 21: What has caused your faith to become stronger or weaker over time? -- Question 22: To what extent do you ever doubt that Mormonism/Evangelicalism is true? -- Question 23: If you sometimes doubt that your beliefs are true, what causes you to doubt? -- Question 24: How do you respond to or deal -- Conversion stories -- Conclusion: Foundations of faith prescribed. (shrink)
There are two connected illusions which have become very common today. The first consists in marking a very sharp distinction between reason and faith—even to the point of defining faith as believing without good reason! The second is to take as a model of rationality what we might call “disengaged” reason. One illusion exaggerates the capacities of “reason alone” (allusion to Kant intended); the second sees reason as essentially “dispassionate.” Moreover, the two are closely linked. This paper argues (...) against both, while exploring the link. (shrink)
The concept of faith is central in the philosophy of religion, and the concept of virtue is central in ethics. Both can be clarified by exploring their relationshipswith each other and their connection with conduct, reasons for action, and the good. One important question is whether faith is a virtue. Answering this requires at least a partial account of what constitutes faith and of what makes a characteristic a virtue. The answer also depends on whether we are (...) speaking of religious faith or of faith in general, and on what “content” the faith in question has. This paper approaches the question by contrasting faith with faithfulness, connecting both with trust, and exploring conditions under which each may count as a virtue. (shrink)
This book, first published by Yale University Press, is a summary of Dewey's late philosophy of religion. The book is a standard work in the field for many scholars, and has been continuously in print since the time of its first publication. Dewey defends a naturalism, and this work is an interesting and important contrast to the later religious thought of William James.
Religious faith is often critiqued as irrational either because its beliefs do not rise to the level of knowledge as defined by some philosophical theory or because it rests on emotion rather than knowledge. Or both. Kierkegaard helps us to see how these arguments rest on a misunderstanding of all three terms: faith, reason, and emotion.
Louis Pojman has argued that Christian faith does not entail belief, or even assigning a probability of 1/2 to the claims of Christianity. However, this conclusion fails in many cases because of its ethical consequences. A Christian is committed by his faith to acting in accordance with Christian teaching. However, there are circumstances when it is morally impermissible to act in accordance to beliefs to which one assigns epistemic probability smaller than 1/2, namely when the action is prohibited (...) by ethical claims that one takes to be more probable. It is argued that in most cases such considerations preclude a person who assigns a probability of less 1/2 from being both committed both to Christianity and to the moral life. Matters are particularly clear in the paradigmatic faith-action of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac: this action would clearly be immoral if Abraham assigned a probability less than 1/2, or in fact any probability not very close to 1, to the existence of God. A moral version of Pascal’s wager is also discussed. (shrink)
The paper begins by challenging a received view of Descartes as preoccupied with scepticism and setting out entirely on his own to build up everything from scratch. In reality, his procedure in the Meditations presupposes trust in the mind’s reliable powers of rational intuition. God, the source of those powers, is never fully eclipsed by the darkness of doubt. The second section establishes some common links between the approach taken by Descartes in the Meditations and the ‘faith seeking understanding’ (...) tradition. So far from insisting on the autonomy and independence of human inquiry, Descartes sees the meditator as finding freedom in spontaneous submission to both the natural light of reason and also the supernatural light of faith. The approach to God which lies at the heart of the Meditations in some ways resembles a direct cognitive encounter as much as a formal demonstrative proof. The paper’s final section deals with Descartes’ ‘incarnational’ theodicy of the passions. Lacking the clarity and transparency of intellectual perceptions, the passions can often lead to confusion and error. Nevertheless they are part of the (divinely bestowed) endowment of our human nature, which is not a pure intellect plugged into a machine, but a genuine psycho-physical unity. The passions can serve as valued auxiliaries of reason in the search for goodness and truth. (shrink)
One issue in the debate about faith concerns the stance a religious person is committed to take on “God exists.” I argue that this stance is best understood as an assumption that God exists for the purpose of pursuing a good relationship with God. The notion of an “assumption for practical purpose” is distinguished from notions such as “belief” and “hope.” This stance is contrasted with others found in discussions of faith, and its ramifications for the problem of (...) whether it is rational to have faith are discussed. (shrink)
For many religious people there is a problem of doubting various credal statements contained in their religions. Often propositional beliefs are looked upon as necessary conditions for salvation. This causes great anxiety in doubters and raises the question of the importance of belief in religion and in life in general. It is a question that has been neglected in philosophy of religion and theology. In this paper I shall explore the question of the importance of belief as a religious attitude (...) and suggest that there is at least one other attitude which may be adequate for religious faith even in the absence of belief. (shrink)
The essay is about the “Preliminary Expectoration” of Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling. It argues that “the absurd” there refers primarily to the practical paradox that in faith (so it is claimed) one must simultaneously renounce and gladly accept a loved object. In other words it is about a problem of detachment as a feature of religious life. The paper goes on to interpret, and discuss critically, the views expressed in the book about both renunciation (infinite resignation) and the nature (...) of faith. (shrink)
In this paper, I attempt to develop the account of intellectual virtues offered by Aristotle and St. Thomas in a way which recognizes faith as a good intellectual habit. I go on to argue that, as a practical matter, this virtue is needed not only in theology, where it provides the basis of further intellectual work, but also in the natural sciences, where it is required given the complexity of the subject matter and the cooperative nature of the enterprise.
Aquinas’s reflection on the relationship between faith and science took place amidst serious controversy about the acceptability of the very form of science Aquinas had adopted. Aquinas uses the Aristotelian conception of science and his own view of the place of theology and faith, to produce arguments for the compatibility of reason and science. I examine the arguments he presents in the Summa Contra Gentiles, and I criticize details of his arguments, but I endorse what I see as (...) his general strategy. (shrink)
That the life of Christian faith needs to understand itself as dwelling in the realm of mystery, of that which exceeds and overwhelms any languageand concepts with which we seek to understand it, is suggested at three sites in continental philosophy of religion: Heidegger’s critique of ontotheology,Marcel’s distinction between problems and mysteries, and Marion’s distinction between idol and icon, along with his account of the saturatedphenomenon. All three see the category of mystery as much wider than its religious usage (...) but as crucial for a proper understanding and practice ofChristian faith. (shrink)
This short book is a lively dialogue between a religious believer and a skeptic. It covers all the main issues including different ideas of God, the good and bad in religion, religious experience and neuroscience, pain and suffering, death and life after death, and includes interesting autobiographical revelations.
The aim of this paper is to throw light on Kierkegaard’s neglected distinction between love and its works, and by doing so to resolve the ambivalence in his position with regard to preferential love in Works of Love. In this text Kierkegaard seems to fail to reconcile his insistence on neighbourly love’s demand for equality and self-denial, with his wish to affirm the centrality of preferential love to human existence. My claim is that neighbourly love and preferential love are two (...) distinct works of love that share the double structure of faith. This paradoxical structure, presented and discussed by Kierkegaard in Fear and Trembling, allows the two loves to be realized together, without requiring any compromise regarding their respective demands. (shrink)
A Kantian beginning : Georg Hermes -- A Catholic Hegel? Anton Günther -- The response of fideism : Louis Bautain -- Magisterial interventions : Gregory XVI and Pius IX -- Return to the schoolmen : Joseph Kleutgen and Leo XIII -- Embodying the Leonine project : Etienne Gilson -- The philosophy of action : Maurice Blondel -- The dispute over apologetics : from Blondel to Balthasar -- A synthetic outcome? John Paul II's letter Fides et ratio -- From Cracow to (...) Regensburg : Benedict XVI. (shrink)
This paper is a critical study of Kant’s antinomy of saving faith. In the first section, I sketch aspects of Kant’s philosophical account of sin and atonement that help explain why he finds saving faith problematic from the moral point of view. I proceed in the next section to give a detailed exposition of Kant’s remarkable antinomy and of his proposal for resolving it theoretically. In the third and final section, I argue that alternative ways of resolving the (...) antimony both respond to the deepest of Kant’s moral concerns and comport better with the traditional Christian conviction that saving faith can have for its object the historical individual Jesus Christ. (shrink)
This essay considers and rejects both the irrationalist and the supra-rationalist interpretations of Kierkegaard, arguing that a new category---Kierkegaard as “anti-rationalist”---is needed. The irrationalist reading overemphasizes the subjectivism of Kierkegaard’s thought, while the suprarationalist reading underemphasizes the degree of tension between human reason (as corrupted by the will’s desire to be autonomous and self-sustaining) and Christian faith. An anti-rationalist reading, I argue, is both faithful to Kierkegaard’s metaphysical and alethiological realism, on the one hand, and his emphasis on the (...) continuing opposition between reason and faith, on the other, as manifested in the ongoing possibility of offense (reason’s rejection of the Christian message) in the life of the Christian. (shrink)
God is good : the harmony between Judaism and enlightenment philosophy -- Philosophy and law : shaping Judaism for the modern world -- Either/or : Jacobi's attack on the moderate enlightenment -- Enlightenment reoriented : Mendelssohn's pragmatic religious idealism.
This paper offers critical reflection on the contemporary tendency to approach health care in instrumentalist terms. Instrumentalism is means-ends rationality. In contemporary society, the instrumentalist attitude is exemplified by the relationship between individual consumer and a provider of goods and services. The problematic nature of this attitude is illustrated by Michael Oakeshott’s conceptions of enterprise association and civil association. Enterprise association is instrumental; civil association is association in terms of an ethically delineated realm of practices. The latter offers a richer (...) ethical conception of the relation between person and society than instrumentalism does. Oakeshott’s conception is further illustrated by reflection on the connection between morality and religion that he explores in an early essay concerning “religious sensibility”. Religious sensibility turns on the acknowledgement of the vulnerability of the self to the vicissitudes of life. This vulnerability cannot be bargained over instrumentally without imperilling the self. Religious sensibility is thus a valuable resource for criticising instrumentalist attitudes. It allows for the cultivation of ethical self-understanding that is essential to comprehending the conditions in virtue of which genuine civil life is possible. These conditions need to be taken into account in health care. Health care is not simply about substantive wants. It also necessarily concerns the universal and constant condition of being prey to illness that is the common lot of all citizens. (shrink)
Introduction: The sanctity of life and its discontents -- Our morality : selfish genes and cultural clout -- The Judeo-Christian idea : transcending our selfish genes -- The Judeo-Christian idea against genocide -- The Judeo-Christian idea against slavery -- Falling backwards : the abandonment of the Judeo-Christian idea and the return of genocide and slavery -- The rising : the Judeo-Christian idea in the post-war world -- The myth of biblical immorality -- The myth ofJudeo-Christian atrocities -- The myth of (...) enlightenment perfection -- Conclusion: Hubris and humility. (shrink)
I argue here that Kierkegaardian faith is essentially, albeit paradoxically, worldly---that Kierkegaardian faith is a form of world-affirmation. A correlate of this claim is that faithlessness of any kind is ultimately a form of aesthetic resignation grounded in a deep seated world-alienation. The paradox of faith’s worldliness is found in the fact that, for Kierkegaard, faith both excludes and includes resignation in itself. I make sense of this paradox by appealing to Kierkegaard’s idea of “an annulled (...) possibility,” and conclude that faith’s love of the world is an affirmation via a double negation. (shrink)
I argue for a re-appropriation of the religious/philosophical concept of ‘anxiety’ regarding human finitude and fallibility as an ‘epistemic virtue’ thatshould frame the relationship between personal (including religious) belief and political participation and procedures. I contend that moral justificationsof liberal norms based on ‘respect for persons’ and ‘tolerance’ are insufficient without relation to such a (complementary) epistemic basis. Furthermore, Iargue that a careful examination of the internal logic of religious belief, per se, undermines traditional understandings of ‘faith’ (as being (...) categoricallyopposed to ‘doubt’) and reveals support for liberal norms as an necessary implication thereof. (shrink)
Introduction: The ontological condition -- The problem of philosophical theology -- Interlude 1, on political boundaries and profit: The path of theology : a study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer -- The path of phenomenology : a study of Edmund Husserl -- Interlude 2, on translations: Phenomenology turned theology -- Interlude 3, on bibliolatry: Otherwise than overcoming -- Postlude: on the feminine and ontotheology.
In this paper I discuss an issue concerning how faith ought to be held. Traditionally there have been those who contended that faith should be held with full certainty, with great firmness. John Calvin is an example. John Locke offered both epistemological and pragmatic considerations in favor of the view that faith should be held with distinctly less than maximal firmness. He proposed a Principle of Proportionality. I assess the tenability of Locke’s proposal-while also suggesting that Calvin’s (...) position is different from whaton first reading it would appear to be. It is not straightforwardly in conflict with Locke’s position. (shrink)
Self-portrait -- The early Washington, D.C. Baha'i community -- Conversion -- Race amity -- Pilgrimage -- Harlem Renaissance and Baha'i service -- Estrangement and rededication -- Baha'i essays -- Alain Locke's philosophy of democracy : America, race, and world peace.
If we assume that Christian faith involves a propositional component whose content is historical, then the question arises as to whether Christian faith must be based on historical evidence, at least in part. One of Kierkegaard’s pseudonyms, Johannes Climacus, argues in Philosophical Fragments that though faith does indeed have such an historical component, it does not depend on evidence, but rather on a first-hand experience of Jesus for which historical records serve only as an occasion. I argue (...) that Climacus’ accountis coherent, and that on such a view historical evidence is not sufficient for faith for anyone. However, in contrast to Climacus, I argue that evidence might still be valuable and even necessary for some people. The resulting danger that the decision about faith might become a question for scholarship is best met, not by insulating faith from historical scholarship, but by recognizing the ability of faith to supply a context in which the evidence available is sufficient. (shrink)