After identifying contrasting formulations of the practical postulates of reason in Kant's second critique, I analyse the context of each formulation, showing both how the postulate of the of God is consistent with Kant's understanding of a significant transition arising from practical needs as well as how the postulate of the existence of God can be seen as a acting out a . My goal is to re-examine Kant's view of the relation between the practical and theoretical employments of reason (...) in order to distinguish clearly between what Kant sees as required of the moral believer as opposed to permitted. (shrink)
Introduction: Reading Kierkegaard -- Either or and the first upbuilding discourses -- Repetition, fear, and trembling, and more discourses -- Philosophical fragments, the concept of anxiety, and discourses -- Concluding unscientific postscript and two ages -- Works of love, discourses, and other writings -- The sickness unto death and discourses -- Practice in Christianity, discourses, and the attack -- Looking back and looking ahead.
Levinas himself raises the question: "why would I feel responsible in the presence of the Face" since "we are separate ontological beings?" This questions the character of our response to the other--both in terms of agency and motivation. While the general reception of Levinas's thought has focused on his description of us as "hostage"--that is, on the moment of assignation (or assignment) by the other--I suggest that Levinas himself also, though not as directly, addresses (as he needs to) the correlative (...) moment, the moment of response. My essay reconstructs Levinas's implicit understanding of the character of our initiative in the light of his concept of Desire. I explore the different dimensions of Desire as appetite and generosity, and I argue that the "transition to moral consciousness" that Levinas wants to "justify" is one from complacent happiness to "non-complacent happiness" and can be illuminated by the notion of "passion seeking its downfall.". (shrink)
Levinas's ethics of other-centered service has been criticized at the theoretical level for failing to offer a conception of moral agency adequate to ground its imperative and at the practical level for encouraging self-hatred. Levinas's explicit resistance to the incorporation of the phrase "as yourself" in the Judaeo-Christian love command might seem to validate the critics' complaints. The author argues, on the contrary, that Levinas does offer a strong and compelling conception of moral agency and that his ethics, properly understood, (...) does not entail self-abnegation. Levinas's attempt to counter excessive and manipulative self-concern and self-inflation by insisting on the dependent and situational position of the self has been wrongly overinterpreted as an abandonment of the self and its just claims. The author seeks to establish a more balanced understanding by focusing attention on the "ethics of welcome," on Levinas's distinctive conception of passivity, and on the role of "the third" in all human relations. (shrink)
Kierkegaard's "Works of Love" provocatively presses for a reconsideration of impartiality, partiality, and equality. Past readings of this text have typically (1) criticized its focus on the abstract category of "human being," ignoring its attention to distinctiveness and difference; (2) defended it from the charge of abstraction by accenting its treatment of distinctiveness and difference, playing down its assumptions about the "essentially" human; (3) acknowledged its emphases on both essence and difference, arguing that they are incompatible and irreconcilable; or (4) (...) acknowledged both emphases, assuming they are compatible without exploring or accounting for the apparent incompatibility. As a means of resolving this seeming inconsistency, I will focus on Kierkegaard's recommendation of moral blindness and its implications for moral vision, and I will argue that "Works of Love" contains resources for an understanding of impartiality that allows moral attention to concrete difference. (shrink)
Søren Kierkegaard (in the Climacus writings) and John Henry Newman have starkly opposed formulations of the relation between faith and reason. In this essay I focus on a possible convergence in their respective understandings of the transition to religious belief or faith, as embodied in metaphors they use for a qualitative transition. I explore the ways in which attention to the legitimate dimension of discontinuity highlighted by the Climacan metaphor of the 'leap' can illuminate Newman's use of the (...) metaphor of a 'polygon inscribed in a circle', as well as the ways in which Newman's metaphor can illuminate the dimension of continuity operative in the Climacan appreciation of qualitative transition. (shrink)
Charting the development of the British tradition of naturalism from the 17th to the 19th century, this book provides fascinating insight into a wide range of thinkers, both Catholic and Protestant, who explored the themes of proof, practice, and the role of common sense. Reappraising what these thinkers can teach us about the relations between belief, action, and skepticism, Ferreira contributes to the philosophical study of naturalist replies to skepticism, as well as to a deeper appreciation of this particular segment (...) of British intellectual history. (shrink)