Is there an ethics of creativity? Though this question appears innocent enough, it proves surprisingly difficult to answer. A survey of the literature on the topic reveals that process ethics has variously been categorized as or seen as compatible with: moral interest theory, ecological virtue ethics, utilitarianism, Confucian virtue ethics, and even deontology. What can account for such divergent and even contradictory conclusions? On one level we might blame Whitehead, whose sporadic comments on morality may appear to be more suggestive (...) than systematic. While, as I argue elsewhere,3 there is a greater coherence to Whitehead’s statements about morality than is initially apparent, it is undeniable that he never attempted to develop a theory of morality. Yet it is unlikely that the state of the texts should shoulder all of the blame for the lack of consensus on the basic nature of process ethics. It would seem that there is a more fundamental problem lurking beneath the surface. Indeed, I suggest that there are at least five basic confusions — four substantive and one methodological — that have vitiated attempts to understand and develop a process approach to morality. Until these confusions are recognized and resolved, we will have no hope of understanding the promise or realizing the potential of the ethics of creativity. (shrink)
This paper is based on the author's presentation at the Church Renewal Consultations of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) in 2009. It suggests three preliminary hermeneutical steps on the way to a Protestant ecclesiology in touch with the latest renewal processes in the churches. The first step is to focus the Protestant church concept on the Reformers' notion of discovering the hidden nature of the church within its worldly situation. The second step goes beyond the dogmatic fundamentals (...) of the church by exploring different contexts (ethical, ecumenical etc.) in which that hidden church can be discovered. The third step is to consider worship as the heart of the church's life and at the same time as its most obvious contribution to life in public – a good starting-point for church renewal. (shrink)
This study explores the relevance which the adoption of children has gained in the German and in the English speaking theological ethical discourse and proposes that a combination of normative and hermeneutical factors will contribute to an ethical assessment of adoption. A core objective of the study is to implement openness as a Protestant value into the practice of adoption placement. It is argued that theories of enablement serve as a theoretical framework for an ethics of adoption.
ZUSAMMENFASSUNGDer Ökumenediskurs des 20. Jh. ist wesentlich durch das Konzept der Konsensökumene geprägt worden; nach der Jahrtausendwende ist jedoch verstärkt von einer Ökumene der Profile die Rede. Der vorliegende Aufsatz fragt daher, was Konsens »nach« der Konsensökumene, d.h. sowohl in zeitlichem als auch inhaltlichem Anschluss an die Konsensökumene bedeutet . Zu diesem Zweck wird mit der Charta Oecumenica eines der kennzeichnendsten Dokumente der ökumenehermeneutischen Wende eingehend analysiert , woraus sich fünf unterschiedliche Bedeutungen des Begriffs Konsens ergeben .SUMMARYIn the 20th century, (...) ecumenical encounter has been dominated by the hermeneutics of consensus. However, after the turn of the millennium a change seems to have taken place in that the churches seem to prefer to stress their own unmistakable profile. What then does consensus mean after the hermeneutics of consensus ? In order to answer this question, the present essay analyses in detail the Charta Oecumenica , which is one of the most characteristic examples of the above-mentioned change , and comes up with five different meanings of the term consensus. (shrink)
"Notes toward a metaphysic of wonder" is the outcome of a "Reciprocal Inquiry" in which Leoni Henning and I participated. In our correspondence, we moved very fast: I thought each of us surprised the other. As a result, I found myself writing about astonishment more elaborately than I'd intended to. Before long I was involved not only with wondering but with awe and bewilderment and amazement, and eager to connect it all with philosophy in Latin America. So these "Notes..." (...) are just a foretaste of what I hope will someday be a more extensive article, but which is only hinted at in the present version. Leoni Maria Padillha Henning’s thoughtful and informative paper, “Pragmatism in Matthew Lipman and its influence in Latin America” is singularly helpful in showing the relevance of Philosophy for Children to Latin-American education. Indeed, the intellectual momentum it generates is a powerful invitation to other educators and scholars to take up the issues where she leaves off. I’d like to take up just one of these issues, one that, on the surface at least, seems to be particularly unpromising. I’m referring to the near-unanimity that exists among scholars with regard to the tradition, descended from Aristotle, that philosophy begins in wonder. My intention is not to attempt to refute this claim, but to show its complicity in defending the traditional non-reflective paradigm of education, which has sturdily resisted the introduction of philosophy into the schools, just as it resists the conversion of the classroom into a community of inquiry. With the proper pedagogy, philosophy can readily be taught to children, and the teaching of philosophy for children can readily be taught to teachers. It is not essential that wonder precede philosophy: it can just as well follow it. (shrink)
Abstract: Thought experiments about the self seem to lead to deeply conflicting intuitions about the self. Cases imagined from the 3rd person perspective seem to provoke different responses than cases imagined from the 1st person perspective. This paper argues that recent cognitive theories of the imagination, coupled with standard views about indexical concepts, help explain our reactions in the 1st person cases. The explanation helps identify intuitions that should not be trusted as a guide to the metaphysics of the self.
Thinking with Whitehead and the American Pragmatists is a volume whose topic is so obvious and fertile that I was sure someone must have already collected essays illustrating the many ways these two lines of inquiry challenge and reinforce one another. And, indeed, there exists the 1994 collection Process Pragmatism: Essays on a Quiet Philosophical Revolution, which was edited by Guy Debrock and contains essays by Sandra Rosenthal, Carl Hausman, and others. The revolution cited in that title must have been (...) exceedingly quiet, since twenty-one years later the timely and well-executed Thinking with Whitehead and the American Pragmatists finds it necessary, once again, to knock down ill-conceived barriers separating... (shrink)
In this article a particular approach is presented to the problem of the human I. The starting-point is an 'interdisciplinary' question: I wonder whether nowadays we can - imbued as we are with post-cartesian criticism of the I - still be interested in mystical descriptions of the 'way inward', in particular those of Jan van Ruusbroec. I then try to develop a positive answer in three steps. First, it is shown that we do well now to get acquainted with Descartes' (...) original experience of I think, therefore I am. As M. Henry has pointed out, this primary intuition should be taken into account as a fundamental element of modern philosophical reflexion on the I. Secondly, we come to see that the first cartesian insight in the proper reality of the I does not lay itself bare to the usual post-cartesian criticism. The reason for that immunity is rather obvious: the main targets - that the human I is a self-founding reality, that it is a substrat-substance and requires a 'robust' dualism - do not appear in Descartes' original self-experience. These three points are being elucidated by regular flash-backs on Augustine's self-analysis: the affinity between the original cartesian intuition and the augustinian view of 'interior man' is unmistakable indeed. By so looking back on Augustine we get, in the third place, a foretaste of the 'turning inwards', inkeeren presented by Jan van Ruusbroec. Of course, there are quite some differences between the inner exploration of the Latin thinker and the Flemish mystic's 'introversion' - caused by the divine 'touch', gherinen in his 'ground' - but that does not alter the fact of their being akin on those points that today embarrass us most. If then we allow ourselves to take some distance from the cartesianism we are acquainted with, Ruusbroec may well - and even more strongly than Augustine - appear as a valuable interlocutor. Maybe this medieval mystic is at least able to question our modern questioning of the reality of the I? (shrink)