In 1883 Friedrich Nietzsche published parts I and II of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Prologue contains the famous—or infamous—assertion that “when Zarathustra was alone, he spoke thus to his heart: ‘Could it be possible! This old saint has not yet heard in his forest that God is dead!’”1 Fourteen years later, Bram Stoker, in Dracula, has the mate of the cargo ship, Demeter, write in its log: “we are now off in the North Sea, and only God can guide us (...) in the fog, which seems to move with us; and God seems to have deserted us.”2 Much later in the novel, Jonathan Harker expresses his anxiety over his wife, Mina, in terms of faith but also of drift: “Surely God will not permit the world to be the poorer by the loss of .. (shrink)
This book is a devastating and anomalous critique of analytic philosophy. It is devastating, because of its detailed exposition of analytic philosophy as a failed project. It is anomalous, because the exposition involves writing a detailed history of the analytic movement, an activity that analysts have scrupulously avoided. According to Capaldi, while analytic philosophy pretends to express a timeless explanation about everything, the movement has always sought to justify its existence by ultimate appeal to a progressive historical account, and rests (...) on the presumption that science is the final historical form of a timeless truth, thereby subsuming the history of…. (shrink)
In this paper, I take for granted that, today, something is radically wrong metaphysically with Western culture. I maintain that this problem arises, as Marcelsays, from the very depths of our being. This paper’s purpose is to consider some aspects of Marcel’s metaphysical teaching, especially about our need tostart philosophizing in the concrete, not the abstract, situation, to battle against the spirit of abstraction, and use these reflections for the practical purpose ofconsidering what sorts of steps we need to take (...) at the present moment to recover philosophical practice in the postmodern age. Within the context of this paper,I argue that Marcel is a realist humanist in the tradition of Plato and Aquinas whose battle against the spirit of abstraction is fundamentally a fight againstnominalism and sophistry. (shrink)
Modern philosophy assumes that tolerance is part of modernity's essence. It views tolerance as humanity's voice of conscience, nature's moral law, through which the human spirit progresses. As such, tolerance is one of modernity's sacred cows, a conflated metaphysical and moral principle. Weissberg is an arch-defender of thoughtful tolerance, who finds intolerable the growing misunderstanding of tolerance. His general thesis is that, properly understood, tolerance is a political, not an attitudinal concept. He contends that, increasingly during this century, Americans have (...) replaced political tolerance with a Utopian ideal of tolerance as the psychological acceptance of endless differences. He maintains that…. (shrink)
ExcerptThe new world “order” is a complicated, emerging political “disorder” with remote historical roots in Cartesian and Enlightenment sophistry and secularized Protestant theology, not in philosophy.1 Because the “new world order” is complicated, understanding justice in the new world order is also complicated. Proximately, the new world order began as the brainchild of some well-meaning Western intellectuals just after the end of World War II, as a means to heal what at least one leading Catholic philosopher of the time, Jacques (...) Maritain, described to be a “world broken by postwar distress and the weight of rival economic, political, and ideological…. (shrink)
In an article in Utilitas Theo van Willigenburg has argued that moral valuation is distinguished from other forms of valuation by the Kantian concept of respect. He criticizes, from that standpoint, an account I put forward, which builds on the connections between moral wrongdoing, blame and withdrawal of recognition. I examine the difference between these two approaches and defend my own.
The central question of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Theo-Logic is how the infinite truth of God can be manifested in the finite structures of the created world. In the course of answering this question, Balthasar presents a philosophical understanding of expressive form and a theology of Christ as the expression of divine truth in the world. The philosophical discussion of truth provides support for the intelligibility of the theological claim that God’s truth has been manifested in the world in (...) Christ. The fullest expression of divine truth and the highest realization of worldly truth are found together in Christ, whom Balthasar calls the “truth of God.” Balthasar’s philosophical and theological understanding of expression, as set forth in the Theo-Logic, provides helpful insights for comparing his thought to that of Karl Rahner. (shrink)
Theo AF Kuipers THE THREEFOLD EVALUATION OF THEORIES A SYNOPSIS OF FROM INSTRUMENTALISM TO CONSTRUCTIVE REALISM. ON SOME RELATIONS BETWEEN CONFIRMATION, EMPIRICAL PROGRESS, AND TRUTH APPROXIMATION (2000) ABSTRACT.
D'un philosophe comme de l'autre, on peut dire qu'ils sont tous deux, dans l'horizon contemporain, des penseurs de l'amour. Tous deux s'inscrivent en faux contre la réduction de ce dernier à la sexualité, mais, tout autant, contre sa réduction inverse, plus ancienne, à une forme de mystique éthérée de type platonico-chrétien qui a pu se formuler sous le terme d'agapè. Nous nous proposons dans cette contribution d'étudier la pensée de J.-L. Marion en adoptant l'hypothèse d'une « unité théo-phénoménologique » de (...) son questionnement. Nous faisons usage du terme « théo-phénoménologie » en référence à l'approche de l'œuvre du philosophe et théologien grec Christos Yannaras, et souhaitons ce faisant rendre justice à l'avancée de J.-L. Marion en situant son geste philosophique singulier à la lumière de la théologie orthodoxe du Christianisme grec oriental telle qu'elle est elle-même renouvelée philosophiquement par C. Yannaras. Jean-Luc Marion and Christos Yannaras are both well-known as contemporary love-thinkers. Both refuse the reduction of love to sexuality as much as its older opposite reduction to a form of platonic christian mystics sometimes named agapè. In the following contribution I wish to examine Jean-Luc Marion's approach while making the hypothesis of its « theo-phenomenological » unity. Since the expression « theo-phenomenology » is used in reference to the work of the contemporary Greek philosopher and theologian Christos Yannaras, I aim at doing justice to Marion's philosophical thrust by putting his conception of love in the light of the Orthodox theology of the Eastern Church as it is nowadays philosophically renewed by Yannaras. (shrink)
Using an analogy between moths and men, in 1916, Richard Goldschmidt proposed that homosexuality was a case of genetic intersexuality. As he strove to create a unified theory of sex determination that would encompass animals ranging from moths to men, Goldschmidt's doubts grew concerning the association of homosexuality with intersexuality until, in 1931, he dropped homosexuality from his theory of intersexuality. Despite Goldschmidt's explicit rejection of his theory of homosexuality, Theo Lang, a researcher in the Genealogical-Demographic Department of the (...) Institute for Psychiatric Research in Munich, revived it, maintained Goldschmidt's association with it, and argued on its behalf in publications from 1936 to 1960. Lang's appropriation of Goldschmidt's theory did not depend on his resolution of the difficulties Goldschmidt had found with his own theory. Lang and Goldschmidt, I argue, had fundamentally different scientific and social commitments that allowed one to reject this theory of homosexuality and the other to accept it. (shrink)
From the perspective of Christian theology, divine freedom is the paradigm of human freedom, but it is also completely unlike ours in its infinity. This is the paradox of the analogy of being: in its infinity, the Archetype of our being is also completely other. In contrast, likeness between contingent beings is limited in that each being is individuated yet similar to those of like species. No matter how alike beings are, “unlikeness” increases with generic distance. At the asymptotic limit, (...) the Archetype is infinitely unlike us, but remains the ultimate blueprint for each being. If as Archetype, God’s infinite freedom is qualitative of infinite being, then all finite beings must possess freedom to some finite degree. Herein lies the problem treated in this paper: how can both animate and inanimate being possess freedom? To answer this question, the author draws upon the first volume of part two of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s sixteen volume trilogy, Theo-logic: The Truth of the World. (shrink)
The essay surveys Newman's work in literary drama, from an early essay on Aristotle's Poetics to his adaptation of Roman comedies for production at the Oratory School, in order to approach his affinities with Hans Urs von Balthasar's theological dramatic theory. Newman does not find a Balthasarian theo-drama via literary drama – perhaps because he was not properly exposed to medieval religious drama – but scattered dramatic analogies in his history writing suggest that he undertakes a theo-drama in (...) that genre. Von Balthasar and Newman employ dramatic analogies to reject chiliastic apocalyptic and foster ‘keromatic’ apocalyptic. (shrink)
The issues of just what laws of nature are and what makes statements law-like have been more discussed than advanced. After exploring the general area and uncovering some difficulties which, I suspect, make the case even knottier than generally imagined, I argue that certain resources available only to the theist---in particular, counterfactuals of God’s freedom---may provide the materials needed for constructing solutions.
Historical Cognitive Science I am lucky to strike three reviewers who extract so clearly my book's spirit as well as its substance. They all both accept and act on my central methodological assumption; that detailed historical research, and consideration of difficult contemporary questions about cognition and culture, can be mutually illuminating. It's gratifying to find many themes which recur in different contexts throughout _Philosophy and Memory_ _Traces_ so well articulated here. The reviews catch my desires to interweave discussion of cognitive (...) theories of memory with moral questions of psychological control and self-mastery, to evoke the virtues and the pleasures of strange, baroque beliefs about fickle 'animal spirits' coursing through the nerves and the brain, to demonstrate that mechanistic explanation (even in its blunt old Cartesian form) can acknowledge complexity, and to develop scientific conceptions of dynamic memory traces and representations which can survive uncharitable philosophical criticism. The book's insistent interdisciplinarity is just an inchoate quest to acknowledge the daunting variety of the phenomena: remembering is both natural and cultural, and is studied by narrative theorists as well as neurobiologists, by physicists as well as psychologists. By fusing the rangy detail of a history of early modern neurophysiology with the committed, even gullible fervor of a defence of 'new connectionist' cognitive science, I wanted to pull out the carpet from all those who are happy to let 'scientific' and 'cultural' approaches to the mind run along independently. Once this general project is given space, as it is by all three reviewers, we can get down to specifics. (shrink)
Does Descartes belong to metaphysics? What do we mean when we say "metaphysics"? These questions form the point of departure for Jean-Luc Marion's groundbreaking study of Cartesian thought. Analyses of Descartes' notion of the ego and his idea of God show that if Descartes represents the fullest example of metaphysics, he no less transgresses its limits. Writing as philosopher and historian of philosophy, Marion uses Heidegger's concept of metaphysics to interpret the Cartesian corpus--an interpretation strangely omitted from Heidegger's own history (...) of philosophy. This interpretation complicates and deepens the Heideggerian concept of metaphysics, a concept that has dominated twentieth-century philosophy. Examinations of Descartes' predecessors (Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and Suarez) and his successors (Leibniz, Spinoza, and Hegel) clarify the meaning of the Cartesian revolution in philosophy. Expertly translated by Jeffrey Kosky, this work will appeal to historians of philosophy, students of religion, and anyone interested in the genealogy of contemporary thought and its contradictions. (shrink)
Today dominative power operates apart from, and exterior to, those state governmentalities that the "body politics" of Stanley Hauerwas disavows as "constantinian" entanglements such as military service, governmental office, and conspicuous expressions of civil religion. This is especially true with respect to those biopolitical modalities David Theo Goldberg names as "racelessness," by which material inequalities are racially correlated, thereby allowing whiteness to mediate life and ration death. If, as Hauerwas contends, radical ecclesiology is indeed a theopolitical alternative to the (...) nation–state's politics of violence, then it must prove itself resistant to such racialized violence. However, inasmuch as the (largely) uncontested fact of ecclesial segregation recapitulates these broader stratifications and exclusions, the church functions as a passive civil religion and itself participates in the politics of "nonviolent violence." Thus, Hauerwas must do something that he has been reluctant to do. He must talk about race and racism more directly, specifying how his ecclesiological theopolitics resists such forms of violence; more importantly, he must demonstrate how actual ecclesial congregations instantiate such resistance. In short, to be truly nonviolent, Hauerwas's body politics must become a politics of bodies. (shrink)
A Great Plains land ethic is shaped by an intimate knowledge of and appreciation for the evolution, ecology, and aesthetics of the plains landscape. The landscape evokes a sense of wonder and mystery suggested by the word "sacrament." The biblical concept of "covenant" points to God as a community-forming power, a creative process that has evolved into the earth community to which we humans belong. In contrast to an anthropocentric ethic which emphasizes human dominion over nature, a Theo-centric land (...) ethic seeks a balance, reflected in Genesis 1–3, between humans who are members of the earth community and moral agents accountable to God for the earth. A land ethic identifies concrete practices of metanoia and healing: agricultural practices to address the loss and degradation of soil; conservation and protection of water sources; utilization of wind and solar energy; and prescribed burning to restore processes vital to the prairie ecosystem. The concept of subsidiarity suggests that practices of metanoia and healing are a combination of wise public policy balanced by personal, family, church, business, and community responsibility. (shrink)