In this book, Abraham argues that a theological imagination can expand the contours of postcolonial theory through a reexamination of notions of subjectivity, gender, and violence in a dialogical model with Karl Rahner. She raises the question of whether postcolonial theory, with its disavowal of religious agency, can provide an invigorating occasion for Catholic theology.
The thesis of this paper encapsulates the deep suspicion postcolonial theory has of privileged identity claims while ignoring the manner in which identity is negotiated in a postcolonial context. The limits of identity claims with regard to theology and ethics is analyzed through Rahner’s presentation of “Indifferent Freedom” and its impact on gendered subalterns. A feminist postcolonial theological anthropology rejects the dehumanizing consequences of Rahner’s move to condone violence in the face of force in the world. What is needed rather, (...) is a non-violent and embodied response in the face of violence, initiated by the gendered subaltern, which simultaneously captures Rahner’s original intention of linking spirituality to ethics. Gayatri C. Spivak’s notion of the caress to interrupt the dehumanized discourses of exploitation and unequal power is forwarded as the way to being human in the postcolonial context, in order to make Rahner’s theology and spirituality more concrete for postcolonial societies. (shrink)
In our recent book (Abraham and Roy 2010) we have repurposed a mathematical model for the quantum vacuum as a model of consciousness. In this model, discrete space and time are derived from a discrete cellular dynamical network. As our model is essentially atomistic, we included in our book a short support chapter on atomism. In this aticle we expand on the few pages of that chapter devoted to the history of atomism, to place the current revival of atomism (...) in a larger context. (shrink)
Mabel Cooper and Gloria Ferris lived in St Lawrence's Hospital one of the large learning disability institutions which were built round the edges of London. In this paper, Mabel and Gloria share their memories of three nurses at St Lawrence's, supported by Jane Abraham and in this process reveal a number of ethical issues that remain relevant today.
Philosophers have in the past had difficulty in determining how to define ethical terms. here they are defined as open-context terms with a loosely limited range of substitution instances, in conformity with actual language usage. ethical terms are in themselves meaningless. it is a misuse to say, "x is wrong in itself." ethical terms then reduce to empirical terms concerning wants, likes, knowledge of cause and effect and consequences, knowledge of how ethical terms themselves work. ethical commands reduce to if-then (...) statements. blame may possibly never make sense. (shrink)
The individual soul is an ageless idea, attested in prehistoric times by the oral traditions of all cultures. But as far as we know, it enters history in ancient Egypt. I will begin with the individual soul in ancient Egypt, then recount the birth of the world soul in the Pythagorean community of ancient Greece, and trace it through the Western Esoteric Tradition until its demise in Kepler's writings, along with the rise of modern science, around 1600 CE. Then I (...) tell of the rebirth of the world soul recently, in new branches of mathematics. (shrink)
Any model of ZFC + GCH has a generic extension (made with a poset of size ℵ 2 ) in which the following hold: MA + 2 ℵ 0 = ℵ 2 +there exists a Δ 2 1 -well ordering of the reals. The proof consists in iterating posets designed to change at will the guessing properties of ladder systems on ω 1 . Therefore, the study of such ladders is a main concern of this article.
Both male ornamentation and male combat result in increased male mortality. Because population sizes are limited by a carrying capacity, increased age-specific adult male mortality will result in decreased age-specific adult female mortality, as well as decreased juvenile mortality. As intersexual competition is one form of intraspecific competition, through choosing to mate with ornamented and/or combative males, females in polygamous systems reduce intraspecific competition. Because average male fitness must exactly equal average female fitness, male fitness will paradoxically rise with increasing (...) male mortality. This theory also offers new perspectives on peripheral problems to sexual theory, such as mate location, resource guarding, leks, harems, and others. (shrink)
In this volume comprised of sixteen essays and rebuttals, author and professor of philosophy Susan Haack responds to her fellow philosophers and her critics on a wide range of topics that involve much more than the esoteric nature of contemporary philosophy. Instead, as is Haack's forte, she asserts her views on important current issues such as how scientists conduct their work, the ethics of affirmative action and the pitfalls of preferential hiring, and how the distorted reality the postmodern thinkers (...) have presented has corrupted legal thinking. Her charge is to bring clarity, precision, integrity, and most of all, practicality to her field of study. (shrink)
Archetypal psychology suggests the possibility of a leadership archetype representing the unconscious preferences of human beings as a species about the appropriate relationships between leaders and followers. Mythological analysis compared God’s leadership in the Abraham myth with modern visionary, ethical and situational leadership to find similarities reflecting continuities in human thinking about leadership over as long as 3600 years. God’s leadership behavior is very modern except that God is generally more relationship oriented. The leadership archetype that emerges is of (...) a leader that develops his/her follower by reliably maintaining a vision, behaving according to firm ethical values even when it weakens the leader’s authority, accepting suffering when the follower is unreliable, and always forgiving even when the follower behaves with hubris in an attempt to overthrow the leader. If God’s leadership principles were mandatory in management, many dysfunctional leaders would be disqualified and many of the negative consequences of poor leadership might be averted. (shrink)
Reviewing "The Ethics of Gender, Feminism and Christian Ethics," and "The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology," the author suggests that Susan Parsons responds to questions postmodernism has posed to both feminism and Christian ethics by using insights gained from various accounts of the moral subject found in feminist philosophy, ethics, and theology. Hesitant to embrace postmodernism's critique of the possibility of ethics, Parsons redefines ethics by establishing a moral point of view within discursive communities. Yet in her brief treatment (...) of Emmanuel Levinas, Parsons does not explore the postmodern option he offers feminists: an understanding of moral responsibility that can be critical of ethics. Parsons also ignores some feminist perspectives in the physical and natural sciences, thereby missing valuable insights of feminists who insist upon the materiality of the body. (shrink)
[Susan Hurley] I argue that the aim to neutralize the influence of luck on distribution cannot provide a basis for egalitarianism: it can neither specify nor justify an egalitarian distribution. Luck and responsibility can play a role in determining what justice requires to be redistributed, but from this we cannot derive how to distribute: we cannot derive a pattern of distribution from the 'currency' of distributive justice. I argue that the contrary view faces a dilemma, according to whether it (...) understands luck in interpersonal or counterfactual terms. /// [Richard J. Arneson] Does it make sense to hold that, if it is bad that some people are worse off than others, it is worse if those who are worse off come to be so through sheer bad luck that it is beyond their power to control? In her contribution to this symposium, Susan Hurley cautions against a closely related fallacy: from the fact that people have come to an unequal condition through unchosen bad luck, it does not follow that, if we aim to undo the influence of unchosen luck, we ought to institute equality of condition. Forswearing the fallacy that Hurley analyses is compatible with answering the question affirmatively, and more generally with holding that principles of distributive justice should be sensitive to the distinction between chosen and unchosen bad luck. This essay explores how this might be done. (shrink)
In this paper I lay out what I take to be the crucial insights in Susan Bordo's "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy" and point out some additional difficulties with the skeptical position. I call attention to an ambiguity in the nature or content of the "maleness" of philosophy that Bordo identifies. Finally, I point out that, unlike some feminist skeptics, Bordo never loses sight in her work of women's lived experiences.
This essay represents a critical reading, appreciation and assessment of responses written by SusanAbraham, Conrad T. Gromada, and Michael Barnes to my book On Being Human: U.S Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives (Orbis Books, 2001). The essay addresses the following three themes: 1) Rahner’s Ignatian heritage and its relation to the U.S. Hispanic appropriation of the preferential option for the poor and marginalized, 2) Rahner’s understanding of one mediator and many human mediations, and 3) Rahner’s transcendental theological approach (...) in relation to the experience of contemporary manifestations of atheism in the U.S. These themes highlight aspects of my book that Abraham, Gromada, and Barnes found fertile ground for engaging in theological conversation. First, with respect to Rahner’s Ignatian spirituality, I argue that the Ignatian understanding of indiferencia can be correlated with the preferential option for the poor and marginalized. Second, with respect to Rahner’s understanding of one mediator and many mediations, I explore other ways in which my book could contextualize Rahner’s approach. Finally, I underscore the historical moment in Rahner’s transcendental theological approach (the mystery of God encountered in, with, and under historical realities) and point to a contemporary implication of this understanding (e.g., practical atheism). (shrink)
Consider Susan Hurley's depiction of mainstream views of the mind: "The mind is a kind of sandwich, and cognition is the filling" (p. 401). This particular sandwich (with perception as the bottom loaf and action as the top loaf) tastes foul to Hurley, who devotes most of "Consciousness in Action" to a systematic and sometimes extraordinarily detailed critique of what has otherwise been dubbed "classical" models of the mind. This critique then provides the basis for her alternative proposal, in (...) which perception, action and environment are deeply intertwined. (shrink)
Susan Wolf, Meaning in Life and Why it Matters Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9321-8 Authors Simon Derpmann, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Philosophisches Seminar, Domplatz 23, 48143 Münster, Germany Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
Why do we admire Abraham1 so much? The standard answer is that Abraham’s faith in God is very great. Now in the context of Genesis, “faith in God” does not mean “belief in God’s existence.” Polytheism, not atheism, is the adversary in Genesis. Nor does “faith in God” mean “believing in order that we may come to understand God”2 or “believing because we cannot fully understand God”3 or “believing despite what we understand about God.”4 To minimize anachronism and controversy (...) I shall work with a minimalist reading of “faith in God,” a meaning shared by all interpretations. On every plausible conception of faith, if Abraham has faith in God, then he trusts God’s word. In Genesis “faith in God” means at least, “trusting that God will keep His promises.”5 But Abraham does not display this sort of faith. I shall argue that Abraham actually displays a lack of trust in God throughout his whole life. To show this I shall review the events of Abraham’s life, assessing his level of faith in God at each point. (shrink)
Susan Haack presents a striking and appealing figure in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. In spite of British birth and education, she appears to bridge the gap between analytic philosophy and American pragmatism, with its more diverse influences and sources. Well known for her writings in the philosophy of logic and epistemology, she fuses something of the hard-headed debunking style of a Bertrand Russell with a lively interest in Peirce, James and Dewey.
Susan Stebbing’s paper “Logical Positivism and Analysis” (March 1933) was unusually critical of Wittgenstein. It put up a sharp opposition between Cambridge analytic philosophy of Moore and Russell and the positivist philosophy of the Vienna Circle to which she included Wittgenstein from 1929–32. Above all, positivists were interested in analyzing language, analytic philosophers in analyzing facts. Moreover, whereas analytic philosophers were engaged in directional analysis which seeks to illuminate the multiplicity of the analyzed facts, positivists aimed at final analysis (...) which “proves” that there are simples. Stebbing’s paper urged Wittgenstein to recast his philosophy and 1933 abandon those components of it that linked him to the Vienna Circle. (shrink)
All of the ingredients for what has become known as Anselmian perfect being theology were present already in the thought of St. Augustine. This paper develops that thesis by calling attention to various claims Augustine makes. It then asks whether there are principled reasons for determining which properties the greatest possible being has and whether an account of what contributes to greatness can settle the question whether the greatest possible being is the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac, (...) and Jacob. The paper develops Augustine’s answer to the first question by extracting several principles he endorses that generate a hierarchy of greatness. It addresses the second question by discussing the requirements of worship and of creation. (shrink)
The explicit topic of Fear and Trembling's third Problema (the longest single section, accounting for a third of the book's total length), the theme of Abraham's silence stands not far in the background in every other section, and its importance is flagged by the pseudonym—Johannes de silentio—under which Kierkegaard had the book published. Here I aim to defend an interpretation of the meaning of the third Problema's central claim—that Abraham cannot explain himself, 'cannot speak'—and to argue on its (...) basis for an interpretation of the work as a whole. (shrink)
A significant challenge faces any ethic that endorses the view that divine commands are sufficient to impose moral obligations; in this paper, I focus on Kierkegaard's ethic, in particular. The challenge to be addressed is the "modernized" problem of Abraham, popularized especially by Fear and Trembling: the dilemma that an agent faces when a being claiming to be God issues a command to the agent that, by the agent's own lights, seems not to be the kind of command that (...) a loving God would issue. Against a solution to this problem proposed by C. Stephen Evans in Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love, I argue that Kierkegaard regards this scenario as never actually resulting in a fully responsible agent's performance of some horrendous action on account of her non-culpable misinterpretation of God's will and/or failure to discern correctly whether a perceived moral imperative truly is divine in origin. (shrink)
Forthright and wryly humorous, philosopher Susan Haack deploys her penetrating analytic skills on some of the most highly charged cultural and social debates of recent years. Relativism, multiculturalism, feminism, affirmative action, pragmatisms old and new, science, literature, the future of the academy and of philosophy itself—all come under her keen scrutiny in Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate.
This cogently argued and richly illustrated book rejects the dichotomy between the God of Abraham and the God of the philosophers to argue that the two are one. In God of Abraham, one of our leading philosophers of religion shows how human values can illuminate our idea of God and how the monotheistic idea of God in turn illuminates our moral, social, cultural, aesthetic, and even ritual understanding. Throughout Goodman draws on a wealth of traditional, philosophical, historical, and (...) anthropological materials, and particularly on a wide range of Jewish sources. He demonstrates how an adequate understanding of the interplay of values with monotheism dissolves many of the longstanding problems of natural theology and ethics and guides us toward a genuinely humanistic moral and social philosophy. (shrink)
Susan James, in her recent work Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon 1997), prefaces her investigation of emotions in the seventeenth century with a series of remarks about the earlier career of the emotions, in particular their treatment in the Middle Ages. In brief, she takes the ‘new’ analyses of the passions put forward in the seventeenth century to be a philosophical sideshow to the main event: the dethronement of Aristotelian natural philosophy and metaphysics (22). (...) She describes the consequences for psychology as follows.. (shrink)
Abraham ibn Ezra the Spaniard (d. 1167) was one of the foremost transmitters of Arabic science to the West. His astrological and astronomical works, written in Hebrew and later translated into Latin, were considered authoritative by many medieval Jewish and Christian scholars. Some of the works he translated from Arabic are no longer extant in their original form, and on occasion his treatises provide information about earlier sources that is otherwise poorly preserved, if at all. Ibn Ezra seems to (...) be the earliest scholar to record one of the seven methods for setting up the astrological houses, and this method was subsequently used by Levi ben Gerson (d. 1344) in southern France. (shrink)
In a way that is rarely even attempted, and even more rarely actually pulled off, Susan Hurley, in her book Consciousness in Action, brings scientific ideas into contact with mainstream philosophy. It is not at all unusual for empirical results from cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience to be raised in discussion of issues in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind--Dennett and the Churchlands, for example, have been doing so for years. But Hurley attempts to draw empirical results even (...) closer to the center of philosophy, using them to make points about metaphysics and epistemology more broadly, especially PutnamÂ’s Twin Earth cases. We are very fond of Hurley's book, and we agree with nearly all of her conclusions. We do think, though, that there are two important cases where Hurley has misunderstood scientific work. First, we think she misunderstand dynamical systems theory; second, we think her criticism of ecological psychology is misplaced. In neither case do these misunderstandings derail HurleyÂ’s overall project--indeed, the former of them makes her conclusions all the more plausible. We consider them in order. (shrink)
This paper recasts the normative shape of "Fear and Trembling" by presenting an 'ethical reading' based on an ethic of care. It will be argued that Abraham's response represents a commitment to sustain and deepen his fundamental relationship with God, to make absolute his relation to the Absolute. Since most readers tend to focus myopically on 'the trial' itself, apart from the context and history of the God-relationship, the proffered interpretations tend inevitably to distort the nature and significance of (...)Abraham's form of life. By remembering the pattern of attachment between God and Abraham, I think that a different normative picture will emerge, one which can be expressed in the grammar of care. (shrink)
A century after his landmark report Medical Education in the United States and Canada (1910), Abraham Flexner remains an icon in the history of American medical education. Working for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, he visited each of the 155 medical schools then in existence in the United States and Canada, after which he published a blistering, muckraking report. This report helped bring about the destruction of the proprietary medical school, put forth the Johns Hopkins School (...) of Medicine as the ideal of what a medical school should look like, and established Flexner as the unchallenged arbiter of educational reform in American medicine. Two years after the report, he became assistant .. (shrink)
The late Susan Moller Okin was a leading political theorist whose scholarship integrated political philosophy and issues of gender, the family, and culture. Okin argued that liberalism, properly understood as a theory opposed to social hierarchies and supportive of individual freedom and equality, provided the tools for criticizing the substantial and systematic inequalities between men and women. Her thought was deeply informed by a feminist view that theories of justice must apply equally to women as men, and she was (...) deeply engaged in showing how many past and present political theories failed to do this. She sought to rehabilitate political theories--particularly that of liberal egalitarianism, in such a way as to accommodate the equality of the sexes, and with an eye toward improving the condition of women and families in a world of massive gender inequalities. In her lifetime Okin was widely respected as a scholar whose engagement went well beyond the world of theory, and her premature death in 2004 was considered by many a major blow to progressive political thought and women's interests around the world. -/- This volume stems from a conference on Okin, and contains articles by some of the top feminist and political philosophers working today. They are organized around a set of themes central to Okin's work, namely liberal theory, gender and the family, feminist and cultural differences, and global justice. Included are major figures such as Joshua Cohen, David Miller, Cass Sunstein, Alison Jaggar, and Iris Marion Young, among others. Their aim is not to celebrate Okin's work, but to constructively engage with it and further its goals. (shrink)
Would the Jewish tradition agree with Søren Kierkegaard's claim that the biblical episode of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac represents a fearful "teleological suspension of the ethical"? After surveying a variety of classical Jewish sources, the author concludes that Kierkegaard's interpretation has almost no resonance within the Jewish tradition. Rather than involving a suspension of the ethical, this episode is viewed by Jewish writers as involving a moment of supreme moral responsibility on the part of both God and man. This (...) treatment of the biblical episode points up a central fact about the Jewish tradition: although Judaism is unquestionably an ethical tradition based on the divine command, it is also a tradition of human autonomy and reason. If Jews have regarded God's commands as absolute, they have also found it unthinkable that these commands should ultimately defy our human sense of right and wrong. (shrink)
This paper recasts the normative shape of Fear and Trembling by presenting an ‘ethical reading’ based on an ethic of care. It will be argued that Abraham's response represents a commitment to sustain and deepen his fundamental relationship with God, to make absolute his relation to the Absolute. Since most readers tend to focus myopically on ‘the trial’ itself, apart from the context and history of the God-relationship, the proffered interpretations tend inevitably to distort the nature and significance of (...)Abraham's form of life. By remembering the pattern of attachment between God and Abraham, I think that a different normative picture will emerge, one which can be expressed in the grammar of care. (shrink)
Temor y Temblor, de Kierkegaard, escrito bajo el seudónimo de Johannes de silentio, nos ofrece una recreaciónpoética de la historia bíblica de Abraham. Johannes alaba a Abraham como el más eminente caballero de la fe, pero nuestro análisis encuentra que las caracterizaciones que hace de Abraham, como decidido y al mismo tiempo angustiado por el sacrificio de Isaac, entran en conflicto y se mantienen sin resolver. Esto, sumado a la reconocida ignorancia de Johannes en cuestiones de fe, (...) hace que la representación de la fe en Temor y Temblor no sea convincente. Sólo en sus obras tardías Kierkegaard concilia estas dificultades introduciendo una condición "metaestable" de la fe. (shrink)
Unlike the other prominent patriarchs of Israel, whose names also function as tribal or local designations, the Abraham who stands at the beginning of the patriarchal traditions appears to have been a historical individual before he became the subject of tradition and legend.