The philosophical work of Jean-Luc Marion has opened new ways of speaking about religious convictions and experiences. In this exploration of Marion’s philosophy and theology, Christina M. Gschwandtner presents a comprehensive and critical analysis of the ideas of saturated phenomena and the phenomenology of givenness. She claims that these phenomena do not always appear in the excessive mode that Marion describes and suggests instead that we consider degrees of saturation. Gschwandtner covers major themes in Marion’s work—the historical (...) event, art, nature, love, gift and sacrifice, prayer, and the Eucharist. She works within the phenomenology of givenness, but suggests that Marion himself has not considered important aspects of his philosophy. (shrink)
The work of French philosopher and theologian Jean-Luc Marion has been recognized as among the most suggestive and productive in the philosophy of religion today. In Reading Marion, Christina M. Gschwandtner provides the first comprehensive introduction to Marion's large and conceptually dense corpus. Gschwandtner gives particular attention to Marion's early work on Descartes and follows thematic threads through to his most recent publications on charity and eroticism. She explores in detail three prominent topics in Marion's thought: the (...) desire to overcome metaphysics, his reflections on the divine, and his reconsideration of the relation of the self to the other in love. Gschwandtner reveals Marion's thought as a unified whole and provides context for his theological and phenomenological writings. Readers at all levels will find insight into the work of one of the world's most provocative thinkers. (shrink)
Being and God: A Systematic Approach in Confrontation with Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Luc Marion , by Lorenz B. Puntel Content Type Journal Article Pages 164-165 Authors Christina M. Gschwandtner, University of Scranton Journal Comparative and Continental Philosophy Online ISSN 1757-0646 Print ISSN 1757-0638 Journal Volume Volume 4 Journal Issue Volume 4, Number 1 / 2012.
This contribution explores the question to what extent religious narratives can move the adherents of religious communities to violence or teach wisdom and compassion, drawing on Ricoeur’s work on narrative, ethics, and biblical interpretation. It lays out Ricoeur’s account of narrative identity, urging him to connect his account of phronesis more fully with his analysis of threefold mimesis in his earlier work. It considers his biblical hermeneutics in light of this work on identity and moral action and suggests that bringing (...) these various dimensions of his work together more fully than he himself does would provide a more substantive account of how identity is shaped in religious contexts. It might on the one hand help us to understand more fully a turn to fundamentalism or religious violence and on the other hand draw more clearly on the phronetic resources within religious traditions, especially as they are expressed in ritual behavior, to combat violence and teach wisdom and compassion. (shrink)
This book provides an introduction to the emerging field of Continental philosophy of religion by treating the philosophical thought of its most important representatives, including its appropriations by several thinkers in the US. Part I provides a context to the field by looking at the religious aspects of the thought of Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Lévinas, and Jacques Derrida. It contends that although the work of these thinkers is not apologetic in nature, it prepares the ground for the more religiously motivated (...) work of more recent thinkers by giving religious language and ideas some legitimacy in philosophical discussions. Part II devotes a chapter to each of the contemporary French thinkers who articulate a phenomenology of religious experience: Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, Michel Henry, Jean-Louis Chrétien, Jean-Yves Lacoste and Emmanuel Falque. This part argues that their respective philosophies can be read as an apologetics of sort, namely as making arguments for the coherence of thought about God and the viability of religious experience, though each does so in a different fashion and to a different degree. Part III considers the three major thinkers who have popularized and extended this phenomenology in the US context: Merold Westphal, John D. Caputo, and Richard Kearney. The book thus both provides an introduction to important contemporary thinkers many of whom have not yet received much treatment in English and also argues that their philosophies can be read as providing an argument for Christian faith. (shrink)
This paper employs Ricoeur’s hermeneutic approach to examine how fundamentalist religious communities shape personal and social identity. His biblical hermeneutics is used to analyze how narrative texts of various genres open a ‘fundamentalist’ world, while also challenging his monolithic emphasis on written texts. I argue that a wider variety of texts as well as rituals and other media must be examined, which all inform and display the fundamentalist world in important ways. Second, I employ his analysis of the formation of (...) identity and action to understand how identity is framed and prescribed by fundamentalist communities for their members. Finally, I draw on Ricoeur’s account of symbolism and move from first to second naïveté to provide an account of how fundamentalist communities respond to modernity and the threat of Enlightenment rationality. I argue that, contra what Ricoeur proposes, earlier mythic language was highly polyphonic and not understood literally. Fundamentalist communities move to more literalist understandings in response to modernity. Thus, while Ricoeur’s hermeneutic approach is richly useful for a philosophical approach to religious fundamentalism, the close examination of this phenomenon enables a broadening of Ricoeur’s work on religion, symbolism and identity. (shrink)
In this paper I consider Ricœur’s negotiation of the boundary or relationship between philosophy and religion in light of the larger debate in contemporary French philosophy. I suggest that contrasting his way of dealing with the intersection of the two discourses to that of two other French thinkers (Jean-Luc Marion and Michel Henry) illuminates his stance more fully. I begin with a brief outline of Ricœur’s claims about the distinction or relation between the discourses, then reflect on those of Marion (...) and Henry, who although they do not relate them in the same way still together form a significant contrast to Ricœur’s perspective, and conclude with a fuller consideration of Ricœur’s methodology in light of this comparison. I suggest that it is in particular his hermeneutic commitments that lead him both to more rigorous distinctions between discourses and ironically to greater mediation. (shrink)
This chapter considers conceptions of the self in three early phenomenological thinkers: Hedwig Conrad-Martius, Edith Stein, and Gerda Walther. Although colleagues or students of Husserl and influenced by his phenomenology, they developed their own phenomenology of the human person in explicit opposition to Husserl’s more “idealist” turn. They remain, however, virtually unknown today in philosophical circles. This chapter seeks to retrieve their philosophies of the human being and suggests that their particular phenomenological approach still has much to teach us, especially (...) in the context of the conversation about the “self after the subject” and the question of inter-subjectivity. (shrink)
This paper takes its departure from Michel Henry’s criticism of a technological view that “extends its reign to the whole planet, sowing desolation and ruin everywhere” ( I am the Truth , 271). It argues that although Henry’s critique of technology is helpful and important, it does not go far enough, inasmuch as it excludes all non-human beings from the Truth of “Life” he advocates against the destructive truths of technology and therefore cannot fully articulate the way in which technology (...) does in fact cause “desolation and ruin” on the entire planet. At the same time I suggest that this strict division between human and non-human life is not essential to Henry’s project, which may well have resources for a more environmentally friendly proposal. The first part of the paper lays out Henry’s critique of technology in some detail, highlighting the ways in which it contains important insights for our contemporary situation. The second part of the paper explores the stark division Henry draws between human generation from the divine life and the creation of everything else, including his rejection of any identification of humans with “protozoa and honey bees,” which would seem to suggest a complete lack of concern for non-human life. The final part of the paper seeks to find a way beyond this dichotomy by showing how non-human life may be included in Henry’s proposal in a way that extends his critique of technology in environmentally conscious ways without losing his phenomenological insights about the human condition. (shrink)
In this article I examine Jean-Luc Marion's two-fold criticism of Emmanuel Levinas’ philosophy of other and self, namely that Levinas remains unable to overcome ontological difference in Totality and Infinity and does so successfully only with the notion of the appeal in Otherwise than Being and that his account of alterity is ambiguous in failing to distinguish clearly between human and divine other. I outline Levinas’ response to this criticism and then critically examine Marion's own account of subjectivity that attempts (...) to go beyond Levinas in its emphasis on a pure or anonymous appeal. I criticize this move as rather problematic and turn instead back to Levinas for a more convincing account of the relations between self, human other, and God. In this context, I also show that Levinas in fact draws quite careful distinctions between human and divine others. (shrink)
Aesthetics is a central topic in the works of Jean-Luc Marion and Michel Henry. While Henry focuses on abstract art (especially Kandinsky), Marion’s writings range over the history of art, including analyses of Courbet, Rothko, and Klee. This article examines their strikingly similar aesthetic theories and shows how they are grounded in a phenomenological claim about the relation between invisible and visible, hence about phenomenality itself. The artist becomes a paradigm for phenomenological receptivity in both thinkers, and art is assigned (...) a quasi-salvific function. This raises several important questions about their theories of art. (shrink)
This paper suggests that Ricoeur’s language about God can be read as a “symbol that gives rise to thought,” or even specifically as a symbol for “hope.” It examines the tensions found in Ricoeur’s hermeneutics in four layers of such symbolic language: First, the language of faith, for Ricoeur, is essentially circular, is poetic language, a language of manifestation and not of adequation. Second, the biblical discourse is composed of several kinds of languages, a polyphony of discourses that provide different (...) (though individually always incomplete) paths toward God. Third, these discourses are characterized by limit-expressions that introduce extravagance and excess into God-language and open paths to new possibilities. Finally, Ricoeur’s theological language emphasizes paradox, perplexity, enigmas; it stays open toward any thinking about God that gives rise to new thoughts. (shrink)
This paper suggests that Ricoeur’s language about God can be read as a “symbol that gives rise to thought,” or even specifically as a symbol for “hope.” It examines the tensions found in Ricoeur’s hermeneutics in four layers of such symbolic language: First, the language of faith, for Ricoeur, is essentially circular, is poetic language, a language of manifestation and not of adequation. Second, the biblical discourse is composed of several kinds of languages, a polyphony of discourses that provide different (...) paths toward God. Third, these discourses are characterized by limit-expressions that introduce extravagance and excess into God-language and open paths to new possibilities. Finally, Ricoeur’s theological language emphasizes paradox, perplexity, enigmas; it stays open toward any thinking about God that gives rise to new thoughts. (shrink)
This article tries to grapple with the difficulty of hearing the call of the other and recognizing it as a call that obligates us to ethical response, especially when such a “call” is not issued by a human other but by other species or environmental precarity more broadly. I briefly review how ethical responsibility is articulated by Emmanuel Lévinas and then consider some of the ways in which his philosophy has been applied to environmental questions. I suggest that while some (...) calls might be obvious and obligate by the blatant need almost impossible to ignore, in many cases a hermeneutic context and predisposition is required in order to “hear” a call and understand it as ethically obligating. I conclude with one example of how it might be possible to inculcate such dispositions that would attune us to more careful hearing and might cause us to recognize ethical obligation. (shrink)
This paper examines the extent to which certain aspects of the philosophies of Emmanuel Lévinas and Jean-Luc Marion are directed toward the divine, especially in regard to how they employ religious imagery or even explicitly biblical metaphors, namely those of the face of the neighbor, the glory of the Infinite, the response of the witness, and the breaking or sharing of bread. This will show important parallels and connections between their respective works, but it will also highlight where they diverge (...) from each other. In respect to all four symbols or (biblical) images, I suggest that while it is indeed one (or even the primary) goal of Marion’s work to open phenomenological discourse to enable talk about the divine, Lévinas is instead interested in emptying biblical language of its theological import for purely philosophical (or ethical) purposes. (shrink)
This book's thirty essays explore philosophically the nature and morality of sexual perversion, cybersex, masturbation, homosexuality, contraception, same-sex marriage, promiscuity, pedophilia, date rape, sexual objectification, teacher-student relationships, pornography, and prostitution. Authors include Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Nagel, Alan Goldman, John Finnis, Sallie Tisdale, Robin West, Alan Wertheimer, John Corvino, Cheshire Calhoun, Jerome Neu, and Alan Soble, among others. A valuable resource for sex researchers as well as undergraduate courses in the philosophy of sex.