Jacques Derrida's extensive early writings devoted considerable attention to "being as presence," the reality underlying the history of metaphysics. In Derrida on Being as Presence: Questions and Quests, David A. White develops the intricate conceptual structure of this notion by close exegetical readings drawn from these writings. White discusses cardinal concepts in Derrida's revamping of theoretical considerations pertaining to language--signification, context, negation, iterability--as these considerations depend on the structure of being as presence and also as they ground "deconstructive" reading. White's (...) appraisal raises questions invoking a range of problems. He deploys these questions in conjunction with thematically related quests that arise given Derrida's conviction that the history of metaphysics, as variations on being as presence, has concealed and skewed vital elements of reality. White inflects this critical apparatus concerning being as presence with texts drawn from that history--e.g., by Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Hume, Kant, Whitehead. The essay concludes with a speculative ensemble of provisional categories, or zones of specificity. Implementing these categories will ground the possibility that philosophy in general and metaphysics in particular can be pursued in ways which acknowledge the relevance of Derrida's thought when integrated with the philosophical enterprise as traditionally understood. (shrink)
Over the past fifty years, a number of approaches to the recovery of the multiple pasts of Hinduism have held the field. These include that of the discipline of History of Religions as it is constituted in North America as well as those of the Hindu nationalists, the col and post-colonial historians, and the Subaltern Studies School. None of these approaches have proven satisfactory because, for methodological or ideological reasons, none have adequately addressed human agency or historical change in their (...) accounts of the pasts out of which modern-day Hinduism has emerged. The Hindu nationalist historians hark back to an extended Vedic golden age in which religious practice remained unchanged until the corruptions spawned by the Turkish invasions of the eleventh century. Many Western indologists and historians of religion specializing in Hinduism never leave the unalterable ideal worlds of the scriptures they interpret to investigate the changing real-world contexts out of which those texts emerged. The colonial and postcolonial historians focus on the past two hundred years as the period in which all of the categories through which India continues to interpret itself—including Hinduism—were imposed upon it from without. Adducing examples of Hindu practitioners and thinkers from the colonial period, subaltern theorists and others argue that historical thought is itself alien to the authentic Indian mind. This article suggests a number of interpretive strategies for retrieving the multiple Hinduisms of the past and of the medieval period in particular as that time out of which most modern-day practices of Hinduism emerged. These include an increased emphasis on non-scriptural sources and a focus on regional traditions. (shrink)
This study intends principally to isolate and describe the function of myth in the Phaedo in order to show its effect on the complex metaphysics developed throughout the dialogue. It further illustrates how these metaphysical concepts structure the dialogue's concluding eschatological myth.
In lieu of an abstract, here is the chapter's first paragraph: MOST OF BERTRAND RUSSELL'S BIOGRAPHERS do not even mention Horace Liveright, yet Liveright was a key player in the development of Russell as a popular philosopher and public intellectual. In particular, it was on a commission from Liveright that Russell wrote three of his best-selling books, books that are still in print and that many people have found helpful.
Heidegger’s thought, particularly in the middle and late periods, is often characterized—and criticized—as historicist. The strands of reflection constituting Heidegger’s historicism lead to the core of his most profound contributions to fundamental questions concerning the structure of Being. We should expect therefore that understanding this historicism will be as complicated as it is important, and that suitable criticism of his position should be attempted only when this understanding has been approximated, if not achieved.
In this paper, I reconstruct the problem of evil as an argument to the conclusion, "No one can claim to be a theist without abandoning the ethics of belief that would ordinarily be required for a civil way of life." Most theistic replies to this argument reduce theism to a "Sunday truth," i.e., a sincere belief that has no direct relevance to ordinary life. Bishop Butler's position - that this world is best understood as a probationary state - is presented (...) and defended. Nevertheless, Butler's argument that one follow the ethics of belief is consistent with being led to doubt God's existence. (shrink)
The Brahmayāmalatantra or Picumata, vol. 1: Chapters 1–2, 39–40, & 83: Revelation, Ritual, and Material Culture in an Early Śaiva Tantra. By Shaman Hatley. Collection Indologie, vol. 133; Early Tantra Series, vol. 5. Pondicherry: institut français de pondiChéry/éCole française d’extrêMe-orient/asien-afrika-institut, universität haMburg, 2018. Pp. xiv + 695. Rs 1600.
Derrida on Formal Logic: An Interpretive Essay develops the dominant themes in Jacques Derrida's texts on the principles of formal logic, especially identity and contradiction, as these themes emerged from Derrida's discussion of Joyce's Ulysses. For students of Derrida and his place as a critic of western metaphysics, the work provides a clear account and critical evaluation of implications drawn from Derrida's conclusions concerning the strength of formal logic.
An advanced constitution is proposed to allow the age-old conflict of religion and reason to evolve and progress as have other human institutions. No specific resolution is imposed, but rather all sides are prohibited from dismissing in the disputation that which they have already accepted in practice. We work back from points at issue to the common ground, and then work forward using forms of inference accepted by all in practice. This method has the appearance of an argumentum ad hominem, (...) but the intent is to subsume all parties under the same principles. We are left with those who reject all reason as such, the insane, the frivolous, the fanatic, and the coercive. Our constitution is able to bring in even this troublesome and disruptive population by using an aesthetic appeal that meets them where they are and shows that even their madness can be turned toward the good. (shrink)
Joseph Butler was an Anglican priest and later a bishop who wrote about ethics, religion, and other philosophical themes. He is not well known today. During his lifetime and into the early part of the twentieth century he was better known especially for his major work the Analogy of Religion (1736). Today he is known mostly for his sermons which are interpreted as essays on ethics and for his essay on identity. Butler had a profound effect on J. H. Newman, (...) Matthew Arnold, and W. E. Gladstone and some effect on many other popular, academic, and professional readers. This book is as much about Butler’s sources and his reception as it is about the way he arranged and presented the evidence in the first half of the 18th century. He was a good man and is recognized by the Anglican church as a divine. We have no interest in taking a nostalgic look at a quaint figure in English church history. To those who claim Butler is unknown, that he was “blown out of the water” by John Wesley or Karl Barth, or Cornelius van Til, we can only say Butler is not as well known in the 20th and 21st centuries as in the 19th, but he is certainly not unknown to those who have taken any interest in philosophy, religion, or ethics. Today there has been a revival of interest in Bishop Butler. Our concern is to build and maintain a bridge that will help to keep this momentum. He offers an ethic that is universal and clearly Christian, yet it is based on the nature of man. Kant had a similar project, but in our opinion, Butler makes more compelling arguments. What is of interest to the Christian apologist is Butler’s work in this area. The purpose of this book is to present Butler’s ideas. We believe that his ethics have a universality that is applicable to people of all religious faiths and those that have none. It is common sense way of looking at ethics for everyday interaction. This book is a narrative argument presenting in detail how Butler’s creative arrangement of the evidence served as a bridge between the ancients as known in the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew originals, and the moderns, mostly Anglophone, who constituted Butler’s work environment and his reception in the latter day down to the present. We can hardly expect everyone to agree with Butler on all points, we certainly do not. The point at issue is rather whether he merits a seat at the present-day round table of deliberation on matters pertaining to philosophy, religion, and ethics. (shrink)
Plato's dialogue "The Statesman" has often been found structurally puzzling because of its apparent diffuseness and disjointed transitions. This book interprets the dialogue in ways which account for this problematic structure, and which also connect the primary themes of the dialogue with two subsequent dialogues "The Philebus" and "The Laws.".
The assumptions that literary criticism and philosophy are closely linked—and that both disciplines can learn much from each other—lead David White to examine key passages in James Joyce’s novels both as a philosopher and as literary critic. In so doing, he develops a thesis that Joyce’s attempt to capture the mysterious process whereby perception and consciousness are translated into language entails a fundamental challenge to everyday notions of reality. Joyce’s stylistic brilliance and virtuosity, his destruction of normal syntax and meaning, (...) “shock one into a new reality.” In the book’s final section, White examines the subtle relation between literary language and human consciousness and traces parallels between Joyce’s stylistic experimentation and Wittgenstein’s and Husserl’s ideas about language. (shrink)
Five medieval Sanskrit-language descriptions of a fabulous technique for extracting mercury from the “wells” in which it naturally resides are shown to be remarkably similar to accounts preserved in Chinese and Syriac. Whereas the Sanskrit and Chinese versions date from no earlier than the thirteenth century C.E., the Syriac version dates from no later than the tenth century. The present article first compares and contrasts these three alchemical narratives, and then suggests that all three are perhaps related to a broader (...) and far more ancient Indo-European mythic tradition of a deity associated with the phenomenon of “Fire in Water,” as attested in Vedic, Avestan, Roman, Irish, and Greek sources. All eight of these witnesses appear to attest to ancient religious and scientific traditions relative to geothermal phenomena. (shrink)
There is a very interesting phenomenon which takes place in philosophy. Theories which appeared ten or fifteen years ago in the literature of, say, the philosophy of language or the philosophy of mind, often make a reappearance in current discussions of problems in the philosophy of religion. As Yogi Berra once remarked, ‘It's déjà vu all over again’. However, there is always a possibility that the transition from the earlier context to the later one will be less than smooth. For (...) sometimes the theory reappears in a slightly distorted form, and, as a result, its bearing on the current discussion is somewhat misconceived. In this paper, an example of this phenomenon, and its potential problems, will be considered. Our purpose is not, of course, to discourage such intra-disciplinary dialogue in philosophy of religion, but rather to recommend that it be undertaken with a considerable measure of care. (shrink)