Today we live in very peculiar circumstances indeed. The welfare of this world is being wrecked by the ideology of neo-liberalism, and yet its historical challengers—conservatism and socialism—are in total disarray. Socialism, in particular, appears to have been wrong-footed by the discovery that liberalism and not socialism is the bearer of “modernity” and “progress.” As the suspicion arises that perhaps modernity and progress are themselves by no means on the side of justice, then socialists today characteristically begin to suspect that (...) their own traditions, in their Marxist, Social Democratic, and Fabian forms, have been too grounded in modes of thought…. (shrink)
The following essay explores the way in which notions of truth are linked to those of secure identity and hence to certain mathematical issues, from Plato and Aristotle onward. It argues that this recognition underlies traditional resorts to notions of form or eidos as securing both particular and general identity—at once the integrity of things and the link among things. I contend that nominalism rightly saw that there were certain problems with this notion in terms of the strict application of (...) the logical law of identity and the recognition of the “artificial” character of human understanding. However, I also argue that the most extreme fulfillment of the nominalist program after Frege itself ran foul of the law of identity because of the paradoxes of set theory. In the face of this double impasse I press for a re-configured Thomistic realism, taking account of the insights of Nicholas of Cusa that would abandon the ultimacy of the law of identity as paradoxically the only way to save identity and so truth, and would admit that the passage to the recognition of universals lies through the human creative construction of universals. Realism can still be saved here because in the Divine Son or Logos, in whom human reason participates, divine ideas are at once made and seen. (shrink)
The Summer 2004 issue of the "Journal of Religious Ethics" included papers by James Wetzel, Gordon Michalson, Jennifer Herdt, and David Craig that assessed my interpretation of certain historical figures and texts. These papers also considered the place of those interpretations in my normative theology. This response spells out the relationship, as I see it, between historical inquiry and theological utterance and then addresses some of the concerns posed in those papers.
Radical Orthodoxy is a new wave of theological thinking that seeks to re-inject the modern world with theology. The group of theologians associated with Radical Orthodoxy are dissatisfied with conteporary theolgical responses to both modernity and postmodernity Radical Orthodoxy is a collection that aims to reclaim the world by situating its concerns and activities within a theological framework. By mapping the new theology against a range of areas where modernity has failed, these essays offer us way out of the impasses (...) that postmodernity represents. (shrink)
Community and Gift Despite growing uneasiness about the economic and social consequences of the free market, today socialism, like religion, exhibits merely a spectral reality. It no longer seems either plausible or rational, and it has been consigned to the realm of faith. Yet, as with Christianity, socialism still haunts the West because nothing has emerged to replace it. Just as the story of a compassionate God who became a man was seen as the “final religion,” so the hope of (...) a universal fraternity based on sharing was seen as “the final politics.” With its demise, all that seems to…. (shrink)