Approaching Plato is a comprehensive research guide to all (fifteen) of Plato’s early and middle dialogues. Each of the dialogues is covered with a short outline, a detailed outline (including some Greek text), and an interpretive essay. Also included (among other things) is an essay distinguishing Plato’s idea of eudaimonia from our contemporary notion of happiness and brief descriptions of the dialogues’ main characters.
Eric Osborn's book presents a major study of Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, who attacked Gnostic theosophy with positive ideas as well as negative critiques. Irenaeus's combination of argument and imagery, logic and aesthetic, was directed to the bible. Dominated by a Socratic love of truth and a classical love of beauty, he was a founder of Western humanism. Erasmus, who edited the first printed edition of Irenaeus, praised him for his freshness and vigour. He is today valued for his (...) splendid aphorisms, his optimism, love of the created world, evolutionary view of history, theology of beauty and humour. Why have two millennia of European culture been so creative? Irenaeus points to Greek ways of thinking and the Christian Bible. Irenaeus's thought is complex, yet rewarding to the critical reader, and this full study of it will be of interest to theologians, historians of ideas, classicists, scientists and students. (shrink)
In so-called Christian countries an increasing number of people openly reject Christian morality. It is a commonplace that they do this for values that can be shown to be Christian. How did this state of affairs come about? An examination of the beginning of Christian ethical thought shows that, within great personal variety, certain patterns or concepts remain constant. Righteousness, discipleship, faith and love are traced in this book from the New Testament through to Augustine. There is a necessary tension (...) between high ideals and practical performance, or between perfection and contingency. When this tension is lost, Christian ethics can easily go wrong. The amoral perfectionism of second-century Gnostics is remarkably similar to the mysticism of communal movements; the opposite threat of legalism has always been present in conservative forms of Christianity. Dr Osborn is concerned to explain rather than to defend, to look at the way conclusions are reached, and to show the rich diversity of early Christian thought. Successive chapters deal with the New Testament, Clement of Alexandria, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and Augustine. (shrink)
Humanism and the Death of God is a critical exploration of secular humanism and its discontents. Through close readings of three exemplary nineteenth-century philosophical naturalists or materialists, who perhaps more than anyone set the stage for our contemporary quandaries when it comes to questions of human nature and moral obligation, Ronald E. Osborn argues that "the death of God" ultimately tends toward the death of liberal understandings of the human as well. Any fully persuasive defense of humanistic values--including the (...) core humanistic concepts of inviolable dignity, rights, and equality attaching to each individual--requires an essentially religious vision of personhood. Osborn shows such a vision is found in an especially dramatic and historically consequential way in the scandalous particularity of the Christian narrative of God becoming a human. He does not attempt to provide logical proofs for the central claims of Christian humanism along the lines some philosophers might demand. Instead, this study demonstrates how philosophical naturalism or materialism, and secular humanisms and anti-humanisms, might be persuasively read from the perspective of a classically orthodox Christian faith. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the central issue in Heidegger’s path of thought from Being and Time to Contributions and beyond is what he will later call “the matter itself”: neither the meaning of being nor the analysis of Dasein but a transformational encounter in the margins of fundamental ontology. Heidegger’s account of temporality and transcendence from the late 1920s is a clue to the transformation, but it is not until the completion of fundamental ontology in the naming of (...) ontological difference that he arrives at a crisis which performs the transformation and announces the “overturning.” This interpretation revolves around a reading of Heidegger’s 1929 treatise “On the Essence of Ground” in which the text and subsequent marginal notes prepare the transition from Being and Time to Contributions, from Sein to Seyn, and from ontological difference to its appropriation. Thus we find that the language of Ereignis beginning in the 1930s and whatever we might call the “turn” signal the doing of justice to the original task from Being and Time. (shrink)
Bill Poteat was a member of Duke University’s Department of Religion and served a term as Chairman, during which I served with him as Director of Undergraduate Studies. I knew him as a brilliant scholar who devoted his exceptional gifts primarily to his teaching and his students. He was charming, gracious, yet we his Duke professorial colleagues never really knew him. One of our ranks suggested that the idea of Bill as a colleague was an oxymoron. Bill did not attend (...) professional meetings and only rarely had conversation of any sort with colleagues. He lived in Chapel Hill and not Durham. However, he seemed not to be at home in any of his academies - UNC Philosophy Department, Duke Divinity School, or finally the Duke Department of Religion. It was not clear what his commitments were. I knew that he had a Christian heritage and perhaps a Christian “hangover,” and had a Divinity degree from Yale. Nevertheless, his personal faith was not publically expressed. Perhaps it found expression in his zealous efforts to overcome the Cartesianism of the modern mind which he contended was inimical to the Christian understanding of the human person and his/her relationship to God. Yet, he was restless, rarely present to us and perhaps also to himself. (shrink)
Four models are outlined for describing and analysing the role of teachers in the formulation of educational policy and the resulting processes of change. The model of teachers as partners in education policy making draws on a pluralist view of political processes and an assumption of a degree of autonomy for teachers and schools. A model of teachers as implementers of change draws a sharp distinction between the processes of policy making and policy execution and excludes teachers from an involvement (...) in the former. A model of teachers as resisting change has been put forward both by those most opposed to and those most supportive of current educational policy developments. Finally, a model of teachers as policy makers in practice is proposed to describe the way in which the reality of teaching situations can lead to the independent actions of individual teachers having systematic policy effects. The applicability of these models is considered in the context of contemporary educational changes drawing on empirical research evidence, in particular that of the PACE study of the implementation of the National Curriculum at KS1 and KS2. (shrink)
Background and methods: Psychiatric research can occasionally present particular ethical dilemmas, but it is not clear what kind of problems local research ethics committees actually experience in this field. We aimed to assess the type of problems that committees encounter with psychiatric research, using a postal survey of 211 LRECs.Results: One hundred and seven of those written to replied within the time limit. Twenty eight experienced few problems with psychiatric applications. Twenty six emphasised the value of a psychiatric expert on (...) the committee. The most common issues raised were informed consent and confidentiality . The use of placebos , the validity of psychiatric questionnaires and overuse of psychiatric “jargon” in psychiatric applications also raised concern.Conclusions: Our results suggest that LRECs have specific concerns regarding methodology, consent, and confidentiality in psychiatric research, and that they find psychiatric input invaluable. (shrink)