Certainty: a contemporary question -- Beginnings: questions and debates in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries -- Abba Father: the certainty of salvation -- The spiritual man judges all things: the certainty of exegetical authority -- Are you alone wise?: the Catholic response -- Experientia: the great age of the Spirit -- Unmasking the angel of light: the discernment of the spirits -- Men should be what they seem: appearances and reality.
According to St. Thomas, animals (both rational and non-rational) perceive objects in terms of goal-directed interactions. Repeated interactions give riseto consuetudo (translated custom or practice), a habit of sense memory that enables one to act skillfully. The interactive component of perception enables animals and humans to communicate. In humans, these perceptions are instrumental to the formation of concepts pertaining to life in society (such as law and liturgy) as well as to the understanding of human nature. But perception is able (...) to perform this role only because it has been elevated by rational appetite. This elevation occurs in the context of practical reasoning, through which a kind of sortal awareness called “experience” (experientia or experimentum) is generated. Experience serves as the basis not only for our formation of concepts of things pertaining to life in society and human nature, but of other entities as well. In this way, the perceptual awareness of objects in terms of goal-directed interactions serves as the basis for the formation of all concepts. (shrink)
Not only did Paracelsus (1493-1541) censure the logic of the Aristotelians, but also their "Godless" approach to questioning nature. He declared that Aristotle was “a heathen whose work had rightly been condemned repeatedly in church councils." In this essay I elucidate some of the more salient features of Paracelsus’s "epistemology," and draw parallels between his notion of experientia (Erfahrung) and that of Hans-Georg Gadamer. I also discuss Paracelsus’s educational metaphor, his creation myth, and the mysterious doctrine of signatures en (...) route to uncovering his peculiar understanding of the relationship between theory, practice, and experience. (shrink)
In the mid XIXth century, an illustrated intellectual minority questioned the colonial mentality of the system of Spanish domination revealing in its writings an attempt at construction of the sign of woman based on liberal, progressive and post independence ideologies. Within this minority we find the Colombian writer Soledad Acosta de Samper, whose concern for the social condition of women is revealed in her work in the image of an educated woman. Using the text La mujer en la sociedad moderna (...) [Woman in Modern Society] and the novel Una holandesa en América [A Dutch Woman in America], this article analyzes two aspects of the image of women in Acosta: that of woman as a moralizer and that of religiosity. The analysis of these two themes shows Acosta’s use of the normative discourses of the period in her project of giving woman a more important social role and they become strategies to tone down the potential for transgression of the new situation for women that she desires. (shrink)