Editorial preface vol. 70.2 Content Type Journal Article Category Editorial Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s11153-011-9321-6 Authors Ronald L. Hall, Department of Philosophy, Stetson University, DeLand, FL, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
On his deathbed, Wittgenstein is reported to have said, upon hearing that his friends were coming for a visit, “Tell them I've had a wonderful life.” Malcolm found this puzzling, given that Wittgenstein seemed to be fiercely unhappy. I find my way into these words against the backdrop of the Hollywood film It's a Wonderful Life and Wittgenstein's famous remark, to wit, “Man has to awaken to wonder . . . Science is a way of sending him to sleep again.” (...) Along the way I discuss Plato's praise of wonder, Nietzsche's attack on science, and Kierkegaard's remark about finding the sublime in the pedestrian. I conclude that Wittgenstein did have a wonderful life insofar as he was fully awake to wonder, what I call the wonder of our words. (shrink)
The focus of these remarks is on the impact that Personal Knowledge and Philosophical Investigations had in shaping Bill Poteat’s philosophical voice. Of the two works, I claim that, for good or ill, it was Personal Knowledge that had the more profound influence on Poteat. Of course, both sources had profound influence. What makes Personal Knowledge more profound is that his use of it, at least in those early years, was more indirect than his direct and explicit use of Wittgenstein’s (...) ideas. Following Bill’s lead, there is much thatPolanyians can learn from Wittgenstein and vice versa. (shrink)
Polanyi’s claim that a wholly tacit knowledge is possible is contested. Polanyi’s praise for the tacit, and his critique of the ideal of total explicitness, harbors a threat of Romanticism, which, in turn, may become a threat to the value of the explicit itself, and ultimately a political threat, something that Heidegger’s anti-Enlightenment philosophy and political life manifested all too dramatically. Polanyians must not lose sight of the primacy of the explicit for personal existence, something that Polanyi’s work need not (...) undermine, and indeed, that has the resources to affirm and support. (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)
This paper is a critique of the theory of meaning in art and religion that Michael Polanyi developed in his last work entitled Meaning. After giving a brief summary of Polanyi’s theory of art, I raise two serious difficulties, not with the theory itself, but with the claims Polanyi makes about the relation of meaning in art to science and religion. Regarding the first difficulty, I argue that Polanyi betrays an earlier insight when in Meaning he attempts to dissociate meaning (...) in art from meaning in science; instead I argue that both science and art are aesthetic enterprises. Regarding the second, I argue that Polanyi’s account of religion is an aesthetic reduction, that meaning in religion, at least in the Western tradition, is not so much an aesthetic as it is an existential matter. (shrink)