This book breaks new ground in the study of Judaism, in philosophy, and in comparative ethics. It demonstrates that the assumption that Judaism has no natural law theory to speak of, held by the vast majority of scholars, is simply wrong. The book shows how natural law theory, using a variety of different terms for itself throughout the ages, has been a constant element in Jewish thought. The book sorts out the varieties of Jewish natural law theory, illuminating their strengths (...) and weaknesses. It also presents a case for utilising natural law theory in order to deal with current theological and philosophical questions in Judaism's ongoing reflection on its own meaning and its meaning for the wider world. David Novak combines great erudition in the Jewish tradition, the history of philosophy and law, and the imagination to argue for Judaism in the context of current debates, both theoretical and practical. (shrink)
Many studies written about the Jewish-Christian relationship are primarily historical overviews that focus on the Jewish background of Christianity, the separation of Christianity from Judiasm, or the medieval disputations between the two faiths. This book is one of the first studies to examine the relationship from a philosophical and theological viewpoint. Carefully drawing on Jewish classical sources, Novak argues that there is actual justification for the new relationship between Judaism and Christianity from within Jewish religious tradition. He demonstrates that this (...) new relationship is possible between religiously committed Jews and Christians without the two major impediments to dialogue: triumphalism and relativism. One of the very few books on this topic written by a Jewish theologian who speaks specifically to modern Christian concerns, it will provide the groundwork for a more serious development of Jewish-Christian dialogue in our day. (shrink)
Leading contemporary Jewish thinker David Novak has here compiled ten of his essays on a variety of issues in Jewish ethics. Drawing constantly on classical Jewish tradition, Novak also looks at a wide range of modern critical scholarship on the ancient sources. He aims to point out certain common features of Jewish and Christian ethics and the normative implications of this overlapping of traditions; he assumes the reality of a "Judeo-Christian ethic," while refusing to minimize the doctrinal differences between the (...) two traditions. The essays address such major normative issues in social justice as ecology, war and peace, the treatment of minorities, and the approach to AIDS patients. This combination of theoretical reflection and practical application, along with careful and detailed analysis of classical Jewish texts, makes the book a welcome contribution to contemporary ethical theory and normative ethics as well as a work of original Jewish theology. (shrink)
This article originally appeared in The Commonweal (October 5, 1962): 31–3. Michael Novak, a graduate student at the time, met Marcel while he was at Harvard University to deliver the William James lectures in the fall of 1961. Those lectures were subsequently printed in the volume, The Existential Background ofHuman Dignity (1963). The article is reprinted here with the kind permission of Michael Novak and the Commonweal magazine.
This paper is an attempt to develop the many-valued first-order fuzzy logic. The set of its truth, values is supposed to be either a finite chain or the interval 0, 1 of reals. These are special cases of a residuated lattice L, , , , , 1, 0. It has been previously proved that the fuzzy propositional logic based on the same sets of truth values is semantically complete. In this paper the syntax and semantics of the first-order fuzzy logic (...) is developed. Except for the basic connectives and quantifiers, its language may contain also additional n-ary connectives and quantifiers. Many propositions analogous to those in the classical logic are proved. The notion of the fuzzy theory in the first-order fuzzy logic is introduced and its canonical model is constructed. Finally, the extensions of Gödel's completeness theorems are proved which confirm that the first-order fuzzy logic is also semantically complete. (shrink)
Jewish ethics like Judaism itself has often been charged with being "particularistic," and in modernity it has been unfavorably compared with the universality of secular ethics. This charge has become acute philosophically when the comparison is made with the ethics of Kant. However, at this level, much of the ethical rejection of Jewish particularism, especially its being beholden to a God who is above the universe to whom this God prescribes moral norms and judges according to them, is also a (...) rejection of Christian (or any other monotheistic) ethics, no matter how otherwise universal. Yet this essay argues that Jewish ethics that prescribes norms for all humans, and that is knowable by all humans, actually constitutes a wider moral universe than does Kantian ethics, because it can include non-rational human objects and even non-human objects altogether. This essay also argues that a totally egalitarian moral universe, encompassing all human relations, becomes an infinite, totalizing universe, which can easily become the ideological justification (ratio essendi) of a totalitarian regime. (shrink)
I extract several common assumptions in the Classical Theory of Mind (CTM) - mainly of Locke and Descartes - and work out a partial formalisation of the logic implicit in CTM. I then define the modal (logical) properties and relations of propositions, including the modality of conditional propositions and the validity of argument, according to the principles of CTM: that is, in terms of clear and distinct ideas, and without any reference to either possible worlds, or deducibility in an axiomatic (...) system, or linguistic convention. (shrink)
The article analyzes Anselm of Canterbury’s development of three meanings of “nothing” in the Monologion, and a fourth in three later works: De casu diaboli, one of his letters, and his Incomplete Work. By focusing exclusively on the points where the meaning of nothing is first presented and then successively redefined, we can see that Anselm rejects the idea of creation ex nihilo by arguing that the things created by God had some form of existence before they were created, and (...) that creation refers not to coming into existence but to coming into being. In the three later works Anselm extends the meaning of nothing to show that it has a surprisingly positive content, since it is a term of negation that has meaning only in terms of what it excludes or negates. Anselm’s analysis of nothing seems to presage many modern discussions this subject. (shrink)
In his 2001 book, With the Grain of the Universe, Stanley Hauerwas has made an extended case for Karl Barth as the model for how to do Christian ethics, and for Reinhold Niebuhr as the model for how not to do it. Though Barth's closer and deeper theological connection to the Christian tradition appeals to a Jewish traditionalist by analogy, nevertheless, Niebuhr's approach to social ethics, based as it is on a version of natural law, is of greater appeal. That (...) is because it is more philosophically arguable in a secular society and culture, and because it is more politically effective there. It is what made Niebuhr a more effective opponent of Nazism than was Barth. Also, Niebuhr's version of natural law is not a christianized version of Stoic natural law teaching but, rather, a profound use of the biblical prohibition of idolatry, having heretofore unnoticed affinities with rabbinic developments of that prohibition. (shrink)
In his learned and insightful reading of the eighteenth-century German–Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Gideon Freudenthal clearly wants to rescue him from total irrelevance. For Freudenthal claims that “Mendelssohn’s philosophy of Judaism—and of religion in general—can be defended and, in fact, still deserves contemporary interest” (12). But does Mendelssohn’s philosophy deserve the interest of philosophers who are interested in what is still significant in the present first for themselves and then for everybody else; or perhaps it deserves the interest only of (...) historians of ideas who are interested only in what was significant in the past for those who lived then? (Let it be assumed that a philosopher .. (shrink)
Barth and Niebuhr seemed to be wary of natural law because each of them thought that the “natural” in natural law means that natural law has to be rooted in natural theology. However, natural law today is more cogently formulated without any natural theology at all. “Natural law” means that law can be derived from the twofold character or nature of human personhood: the capacity for a communal relationship with other humans, and the capacity for a covenantal relationship with God, (...) both of which continually overlap in human life. The natural or external world only provides the backdrop for these human capacities; it does not determine them. (shrink)
De univocatione doctrina ScotisticaIn hac dissertatione scotistica de univocatione doctrina explicatur. Huic doctrinae innixi hi auctores analogiam illam, quae medium quoddam inter univocationem et puram aequivocationem esse putabatur, reiciebant. Quia conceptuum univocatio in eorum perfecta unitate consistit, unitas vero perfectam abstractionem consequitur, notio abstractionis perfectae (quam „per praecisionem“ vocare veteres solebant) in dissertatione daclaratur eiusque ab abstractione imperfecta („per confusionem“ ), qua secundum Thomistas conceptus analogi oriuntur, differentia illustratur.The Scotist Theory of UnivocityThe article explains the notion of univocity in line (...) with the mature Scotistic doctrine, which plays so crucial a role in the Scotistic rejection of analogy as a middle ground between univocity and pure equivocity. Since univocity of a concept is found to consist in its perfect unity, and the perfect unity of a concept is achieved by means of perfect abstraction, the notion of this so-called abstraction by precision is made clear and contrasted with the so-called abstraction by confusion, by means of which analogical concepts are supposed to be formed by the Thomists. (shrink)
Behaviorists accept, but go beyond, Williams' notion that there is an evolutionary origin to some unlearned pain behaviors. A behavior-analytic developmental model is a better fit for explaining the totality of pain behaviors. This model focuses on respondent-operant interactions and views much pain behavior as “mands” (i.e., demands). Behaviorally based explanations from the crying and social referencing literature support this model.
: An analysis of traditional Jewish texts yields neither the capitalist notion of medicine nor the socialist one. Neither alternative is sufficient to ground the respect for the sanctity of the human person as a being created in the image of God that is so rationally appealing. That is why the Jewish ethical tradition, which is based on this respect for the sanctity of human personhood, both individual and collective, is so attractive—if only for its insights, rather than its authority; (...) its guidance, rather than its governance. (shrink)
In the Jewish tradition there are those who simply identify divine justice with the specific divine commands, which is a theological version of legal positivism. This paper argues for another view in the Jewish tradition, viz., divine justice or divine wisdom is the rationale of the specific divine commands, thus making them more than arbitrary decrees. As the rationale of the specific divine commands, divine justice functions as a criterion of judgment that prevents irrational interpretations and unjust applications of the (...) specific divine commands. This approach is a theological version of natural law. (shrink)
The deepest moral justification for a capitalist system is not solely that, poor system that it is, it serves liberty better than any other known system; not even that is raises up the living standards of the poor higher than any other system has; nor that it better improves the state of human health and the balance between humans and the environment that either real existing socialism or the traditional Third World society has. All these things, however difficult for one (...) to admit, are empirically true. The true moral strength of capitalism, however, lies in its promotion of human creativity.New wealth can be created. Human beings themselves are the primary cause of the wealth of nations. Human creativity is nature''s primary resource. Removing the institutional repression that now stifles that creativity is the large task ahead of us. (shrink)
With the passing of disputations between Jewish and Christian thinkers as to whose tradition has a more universal ethics, the task of Jewish and Christian ethicists is to constitute a universal horizon for their respective bodies of ethics, both of which are essentially particularistic being rooted in special revelation. This parallel project must avoid relativism that is essentially anti-ethical, and triumphalism that proposes an imperialist ethos. A retrieval of the idea of natural law in each respective tradition enables the constitution (...) of some intelligent common ground for ethical cooperation in both theory and practice between the traditions. This essay also suggests how the constitution of this common ground could include Muslims as well. The constitution of this common ground enables religious ethicists to present more cogent ethical arguments in secular space, but only of course, when those who now control secular space are open to arguments from members of any religious tradition. (shrink)
To be human is to humanize; a radically empirical aesthetic, by J. J. McDermott.--Dream and nightmare; the future as revolution, by R. C. Pollock.--William James and metaphysical risk, by P. M. Van Buren.--Knowing as a passionate and personal quest; C. S. Peirce, by D. B. Burrell.--The fox alone is death; Whitehead and speculative philosophy, by A. J. Reck.--A man and a city; George Herbert Mead in Chicago, by R. M. Barry.--Royce; analyst of religion as community, by J. Collins.--Human experience and (...) God; Brightman's personalistic theism, by D. Callahan.--William James and the phenomenology of religious experience, by J. M. Edie.--Pragmatism, religion, and experienceable difference, by R. W. Sleeper.--How is religious talk justifiable, by J. W. McClendon, Jr. (shrink)
Darwin's theory of natural selection is as applicable to the analysis of the behavior of organisms as it is to their origins. Skinner's theoretical writings have guided operant psychologists in this area. The behavioral account of selection by Donahoe and Palmer (1994) is positively compared to the points on operant selection made by Hull et al. The “general account of selection” was found to be useful.
De modo, quo Leibniz et Aristotelici aporiam generis solvere possunt, doctrina de conceptibus simpliciter simplicibus non respuendaDoctrina de conceptibus simpliciter simplicibus, in quos omnes notiones ultimatim possunt resolvi, (a recentioribus “atomismus conceptualis” vocata) firmiter irradicata est in occidentali philosophica traditione. Originem suam quidem ab Aristotele trahens semper apud peripateticos adfuit, purissime tamen expressa in operibus Leibnitii invenitur. Nihilominus, ab initio haec doctrina etiam difficultate quadam patiebatur, quae “aporia generis” vulgo dicitur. Difficillime est enim explicatu, quomodo simplicitas absoluta conceptuum primitivorum (seu (...) differentiarum ultimarum) stet cum conceptuum transcendentium existentia, qui necessario in unoquoque conceptu comprehenduntur. Tractatione nostra haec difficultas examinatur et solutio praebetur. Fundamentum cuius est: datur duplex continentia unius conceptus in altero, scilicet formalis et virtualis. Conceptus transcendentales a conceptibus primitivis seu simpliciter simplicibus non formaliter, id est ut pars ipsorum definitionis, sed virtualiter tantum continentur – quod nihil aliud dicit quam illos ex his necessario sequi. Notabile est, huiusmodi sulutionis originem apud Aristotelem quoque inveniri posse.Conceptual Atomism, “Aporia Generis” and the Way Out for Leibniz and the AristoteliansConceptual atomism is a doctrine deeply rooted in the tradition of western thought. It originated with Aristotle, was present in the entire Aristotelian tradition and came to its most pure expression in the work of Leibniz. However, ab initio this doctrine suffered from certain difficulty labelled traditionally “aporia generis”, namely the problem of how it is possible to reconcile the absolute simplicity of the primitive concepts (or ultimate differentiae) with the existence of transcendental concepts, that is, concepts necessarily included in every concept. In this paper the entire problem is subject to an analysis and a solution is suggested, based on a distinction between two different kinds of conceptual containment: the primitive concepts do not contain the transcendentals formally, that is, as constituents thatcan be revealed by means of definitional analysis, but they nevertheless do contain them virtually, that is, they strictly imply them. It is noted that the germ of this solution is already present in Aristotle. (shrink)