Although T.L.S. Sprigge described idealist philosophy as the stage beyond religion, his pantheistic idealism, while not itself a religion, offers a conception of God that seeks to meet the aspiration of human beings to understand their own place in the universe. While he shared with most mid twentieth century British philosophers a basic assumption of the primacy of experience, Sprigge took this strong empiricist assumption in a Berkeleyian rather than a Humean direction. This enabled him to find a place for (...) the phenomenon of religious consciousness, which he saw as the source of a yearning that can be met by absolute idealism's conception of a ‘Whole’ that encompasses ourselves and all aspects of our world. He describes this recognition as the faltering adumbration of a truth – one that is sometimes encountered in aesthetic experience, and sometimes more directly in the lives of mystics. The metaphysical basis for this form of absolute idealism is provided by a concept of time in which each fleeting ‘now’ has a fixed and permanent place, and by a theory of identity according to which personal individuality is dissolved in a unitary ‘Whole’. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall be concerned to show: that Winch believes that there can be different conceptions of ‘agreement with reality’; that Wittgenstein agrees with this, but emphasizes the difficulty of understanding such conceptions; that Winch realizes this difficulty, and yet still tries to gain understanding of primitive social institutions in terms of their sense of the significance of human life, in terms of the limiting notions of birth, death and sexual relations; that such a notion of the significance (...) of human life cannot be made sense of without an understanding of the concept of agreement with reality which undergirds it; that Winch's position is internally incoherent. (shrink)
Brenda Almond throws down a timely challenge to liberal consensus about personal relationships. She maintains that the traditional family is fragmenting in Western societies, causing serious social problems. She urges that we reconsider our attitudes to sex and reproduction in order to strengthen our most important social institution, the family.
This concise overview of the perception of Islam in eight of the most important German thinkers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries allows a new and fascinating investigation of how these thinkers, within their own bodies of work, often espoused contradicting ideas about Islam and their nearest Muslim neighbors. Exploring a variety of 'neat compartmentalizations' at work in the representations of Islam, as well as distinct vocabularies employed by these key intellectuals, Ian Almond parses these vocabularies to examine the (...) importance of Islam in the very history of German thought. Almond further demonstrates the ways in which German philosophers such as Hegel, Kant, and Marx repeatedly ignored information about the Muslim world that did not harmonize with the particular landscapes they were trying to paint – a fact which in turn makes us reflect on what it means when a society possesses 'knowledge' of a foreign culture. (shrink)
: The status of Ibn 'Arabi and Derrida as thinkers is examined: their disagreements with rational/metaphysical thought on the basis of différance and what Ibn 'Arabi calls al-haqq or the Real. Advantage is taken of the fact that both writers speak of emancipatory projects in their work-the freeing of writing from the shackles of logocentric thought and of the unthinkably Divine (the Real) from the constructs of philosophers and theologians. Just as Ibn 'Arabi believes that no thinker can provide ''a (...) definition of the Real [al haqq],'' Derrida insists that no thinker can escape the history of metaphysics. In the work of both, the reaffirmation of something vital, inconstant, and elusive that defeats all attempts to discuss it plays a common role and evolves according to a common structure. If différance and the Real do seem uncannily analogous-sharing, for example, features like namelessness, radical otherness, intangibility/invisibility/unthinkability, and atemporality, not to mention their paradoxically generative functions-there are also a number of significant differences. (shrink)
Those who would defend liberal democracy in today?s changing world face a new toleration debate. While we still want to help our children grow up to see the world from other perspectives than their own, we are no longer as sure as we were that we know what toleration means or what it entails. Where education is concerned, it seems the focus is on tolerance as an attitude?encouraging people to be tolerant?but where the public debate is concerned, the focus is (...) narrower. It becomes a question of what should be tolerated and what the law should allow or proscribe. But however interpreted, the underlying unclarity remains and it inevitably affects educational choices. Must we approve as well as permit? Must we refrain from judgement? Is tolerance something that is due to people themselves or does it include their views and opinions? And how should we respond if it should turn out to be impossible to tolerate one group or view without discriminating against another? In this paper I discuss two particular aspects of the new toleration debate, both of which involve presuppositions about personal and family life and religious and cultural identity. These are: (1) the moral and political issues prompted by the presence of newcomers in societies with different religious and cultural traditions from their own; and (2) a new and combative form of secularism within those societies. (shrink)
This book examines a series of common metaphors in the works of Derrida and the Sufism of Muhyddin Ibn 'Arabi, considered to be of the most influential figures in Islamic thought. The author addresses the significant absence of attention on the relationship between Islam and Derrida and also provides a deconstructive perspective on Ibn 'Arabi.
In response to Lawrence Blum?s critique of my paper ?Education for tolerance?, I argue that the state should not use its control of schools and the content of teaching to impose a new and controversial interpretation of parenthood, nor to preempt parents? right to an education for their children that is consistent with their own religious and moral convictions.
A sign seen in the Philosophy Department of the University of Uppsala reads: A philosopher is one who will deliver a paper on the Hangman's Paradox at a conference on capital punishment. I might take as a supporting example of this tendency to focus on the irrelevant or the inappropriate a real paper to a medico-legal conference on organ transplants which argued that it would be morally justifiable to remove a heart from a healthy would-be heart donor. There are also (...) many amusing and intelligent papers on the ‘survival lottery’—a hypothetical arrangement which would allow individuals to be seized and cannibalised for their organs. These articles are light-hearted exercises in argumentative ingenuity, harmless in themselves, but they are offered in a world in which street children in Brazil are snatched for their kidneys, Chinese political dissidents have their organs seized officially at their place of execution, and poor peasants in Turkey and India sell their own kidneys or those of their relatives, for money. At the same time, the most frequently cited paper on the fraught topic of abortion is one in which pregnancy is compared to the plight of one unwillingly or unintentionally connected to a violinist who temporarily needs the link in order to survive. (shrink)
The present century has witnessed human crimes on an unprecedented scale. It has also seen the decline of ethics as a major element in higher education and as an academic study forming an important aspect of philosophy.
After an initial consideration of the three main positions discernible within the current literature on the question of the relationship between mystical experience and its interpretation, attention is focused on a new model of this relationship. by utilizing wittgenstein's notion of "seeing-as" in conjunction with a more complex theory of the nexus between experience and interpretation, it is argued that there are varieties of mystical experience. on the other hand, it is maintained that there is a limiting case of mystical (...) experience, the essence of which is its undifferentiated or contentless nature. it is suggested that the contemplative method, while producing a variety of content-filled mystical experiences, nonetheless is most conducive to the attainment of this "pure" contentless mystical state. (shrink)
There is a need to bring ethics and medical practice closer together, despite the risk and problems this may involve. Deontological ethics may promote sanctity of life considerations against the quality of life considerations favoured by consequentialists or utilitarians; while talk of respect for life and the value of life may point to more qualified ethical positions. This paper argues for a respect-for-life position, dismissing a utilitarian cost-benefit outlook as too simplistic; but an unqualified fixed principles approach is also ruled (...) out, both because of its unacceptable consequences in individual cases and also because of its reliance on the slippery slope argument which, it is argued, is logically and psychologically deficient. The case of genetic engineering provides an example in which the notion of respect may operate, but in which broad general principles also apply. A cautious conservatism towards accepted principles is recommended in the development of medical technologies. (shrink)
One of the explanations frequently offered for current social problems is the breakdown of the family as an institution and the decline of values such as trust and responsibility that were until recently associated with it. While the philosophical position of many commentators in this area is rooted in a broadly utilitarian social philosophy, there is a case for an alternative?i.e. non-utilitarian?philosophical point of view. The essential requirement for such an alternative approach is that it accords a place to certain (...) moral absolutes: promises, principles, obligations, and the rights accruing to others as a result of those obligations. Currently procreation, marriage, and family life are being subjected to unprecedented shifts in both meaning and practice, and this is a situation in which a Kantian approach, especially the Kantian dictum that persons should not be treated solely as means to other people's ends, can find new contemporary applications. An unqualified utilitarian spirit has led us into a world where parenthood and child-raising have been split from each other and where money changes hands for the elements of child-making and for the labour of gestation. The pressure for the new constructivist consensus is strong, but so is the case against a trivial or unnecessary extension of choice in procreation and against the increasing commercialisation of human conception. In these circumstances, Kantian ethics has a distinctive role to play in assessing the values at issue in today's ?new families? debate. (shrink)
Although T.L.S. Sprigge described idealist philosophy as the stage beyond religion, his pantheistic idealism, while not itself a religion, offers a conception of God that seeks to meet the aspiration of human beings to understand their own place in the universe. While he shared with most mid twentieth century British philosophers a basic assumption of the primacy of experience, Sprigge took this strong empiricist assumption in a Berkeleyian rather than a Humean direction. This enabled him to find a place for (...) the phenomenon of religious consciousness, which he saw as the source of a yearning that can be met by absolute idealism's conception of a 'Whole' that encompasses ourselves and all aspects of our world. He describes this recognition as the faltering adumbration of a truth - one that is sometimes encountered in aesthetic experience, and sometimes more directly in the lives of mystics.The metaphysical basis for this form of absolute idealism is provided by a concept of time in which each fleeting 'now' has a fixed and permanent place, and by a theory of identity according to which personal individuality is dissolved in a unitary 'Whole'. (shrink)
This article re‐examines a familiar essay of Benjamin’s, ‘The Task of the Translator’, from a Neoplatonic point of view. Beginning with a brief survey of various other Neoplatonic moments in Benjamin’s work , ‘The Task of the Translator’ is considered as a collection of metaphors on the act of translation – the translation as the ghost of the original, or its blossom, or its mantle. Drawing on varied examples from a diverse canon of Neoplatonists – Plotinus, Pseudo‐Dionysius, Eckhart, Nicholas of (...) Cusa, Ibn ‘Arabi – the article shows not just how each of Benjamin’s metaphors has an unexpectedly esoteric genealogy, but also how they conflict with one another to produce a surprisingly apophatic conclusion on the difficulty of translation. (shrink)
I employ these words, I admit, with a glance towards the operations of childbearing–but also with a glance towards those who, in a society from which I do not exclude myself, turn their eyes away when faced by the as yet unnameable which is proclaiming itself and which can do so …only under the species of the nonspecies, in the formless, mute, infant and terrifying form of monstrosity.The question of writing could be opened only if the book was closed. The (...) joyous wandering of the graphein then became wandering without return. (shrink)