Henry More (1614–1687), the most influential of the so-called Cambridge Platonists, and arguably the leading philosophically-inclined theologian in late seventeenth-century England, has come in for renewed attention lately. He was the subject of a detailed intellectual biography in 2003 by Robert Crocker, and in 2012 Jasper Reid published a philosophically penetrating and enlightening study of More’s metaphysics (Crocker 2003; Reid 2012). David Leech’s study of More’s idiosyncratic concept of immaterial spirit—and the role that it plays in his philosophy and (...) theology—is as detailed and penetrating as Reid’s study of his metaphysics, but perhaps more far-reaching in its ambitions. As the sub-title of this new book suggests, More’s philosophical theology is presented here as leading to the unintended consequence of promoting the incipient atheism of the early modern period.Leech’s study is clearly and helpfully structured in three parts and ten chapters. The first part, “Atheism and Spir .. (shrink)
If by personal immortality one means that the soul is naturally eternal and passes as a substance through physical death to another life, then the answer to this question is a firm No . Both Alfred North Whitehead and his most famous student Charles Hartshorne disavowed such personal immortality as philosophically incompatible with the basic tenets of process thought. For Whitehead, and all philosophers who claim to follow him, process is the ultimate metaphysical generality describing how actual entities instantiate themselves (...) from the causality of entities in their past to then become objectified as they influence successor actual entities. To claim that there are multiple exceptions to the sway of universal process in the form of eternal souls introduces a radical and unacceptable philosophical incoherence into the Whiteheadian metaphysical system. Hartshorne held that a belief in eternal souls was not only incompatible with process thought but also compromised the philosophy of Berkeley, Descartes and Kant. In addition, he considered such belief bad religion and argued forcibly against it. (shrink)
Although Henry Lee is often recognized to be an important early critic of Locke's 'way of ideas', his Anti-Scepticism (1702) has hardly received the scholarly attention it deserves. This paper seeks to fill that lacuna. It argues that Lee's criticism of Locke's alleged representationalism was original, and that it was quite different from the more familiar kind of criticism that was launched against Locke's theory of ideas by such thinkers as John Sergeant and Thomas Reid. In addition, the paper (...) offers an interpretation of Lee’s claim that, pace Locke, attempts to prove the veridicality of our cognitive apparatus are fundamentally misguided. (shrink)
What makes it possible to affect one another, to move and be moved by another person? Why do some of our encounters transform us? The experience of moving one another points to the inter-affective in intersubjectivity. Inter-affection is hard to account for under a cognitivist banner, and has not received much attention in embodied work on intersubjectivity. I propose that understanding inter-affection needs a combination of insights into self-affection, embodiment, and interaction processes. I start from Michel Henry's radically immanent (...) idea of self-affection, and bring it into a contrastive dialogue with the enactive concepts of autonomy and (participatory) sense-making. I suggest that the latter ideas can open up Henry's idea of self-affection to inter-affection (something he aimed to do, but did not quite manage) and that, in turn, Henry's work can provide insights into underexplored elements of intersubjectivity, such as its ineffable and mysterious aspects, and erotic encounters. (shrink)
There are two general routes that Augustine suggests in De Trinitate, XV, 14-16, 23-25, for a psychological account of the Father's intellectual generation of the Word. Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, in their own ways, follow the first route; John Duns Scotus follows the second. Aquinas, Henry, and Scotus's psychological accounts entail different theological opinions. For example, Aquinas (but neither Henry nor Scotus) thinks that the Father needs the Word to know the divine essence. If we (...) compare the theological views entailed by their psychologies we find a trajectory from Aquinas, through Henry, and ending with Scotus. This theological trajectory falsifies a judgment that every Augustinian psychology of the divine persons amounts to a pre-Nicene functional Trinitarianism. This study makes clear how one's awareness of the theological views entailed by these psychologies enables one to assess more thoroughly psychological accounts of the identity and distinction of the divine persons. (shrink)
I argue that there is a hitherto unrecognized connection between Henry of Ghent’s general theory of real relations and his Trinitarian theology, namely the notion of numerical sameness without identity. A real relation (relatio) is numerically the same thing (res) as its absolute (non-relative) foundation, without being identical to its foundation. This not only holds for creaturely real relations but also for the divine persons’ distinguishing real relations. A divine person who is constituted by a real relation (relatio) and (...) the divine essence is numerically the same thing (res) as the divine essence without being identical to it. Further, I compare Mark Henninger’s and Jos Decorte’s interpretations of Henry’s general theory of real relations and show that Henninger’s is to be preferred and how it is consistent with my interpretation. I argue that the difficulty with Decorte’s interpretation stems, in part, from his misrepresentation of Henry’s Trinitarian theology. Subsequently, I fill in some missing pieces to Decorte’s presentation of Henry’s Trinitarian theology, and this in turn shows why Henninger’s interpretation in conjunction with mine is to be preferred. (shrink)
Although Henry David Thoreau stands outside the Christian canon, his outlook on the relations among spirituality, ecology, and economy highlights how Christian theologians can develop a theological work ethic in our era of economic and ecological precarity. He can furthermore help theologians counter the pro-work bias in much Christian thought. In Walden, Thoreau shows that the best work is an ascetic practice that reveals and reaps the abundance of nature and connects the person to the immanent divine and thereby (...) glimpsing eternity. Thoreau thus offers the outline of a transformed theology of work even as he challenges Protestant vocationalism in the early industrial era. He is therefore a fitting if challenging guide for formulating a theology of the self as agent and product of work, at a moment when the postindustrial ideal of work that is both meaningful and remunerative seems ever more unattainable while the negative impact of our work on nonhuman nature is ever more apparent. (shrink)
Henry Sidgwick's Practical Ethics offers a novel approach to practical moral issues. In this article, I defend Sidgwick's approach against recent objections advanced by Sissela Bok, Karen Hanson, Michael S. Pritchard, and Michael Davis. In the first section, I provide some context within which to situate Sidgwick's view. In the second, I outline the main features of Sidgwick's methodology and the powerful rationale that lies behind it. I emphasize elements of the view that help to defend it, noting some (...) affinities it has with those of the later Rawls. In the third section, I indicate how it promises to help alleviate some difficulties facing modern practical ethics. In the fourth, I respond to Bok's objections. I argue that her own work on practical ethics has some similarities to Sidgwick's which should make them friends, not enemies. In the fifth section, I respond to Hanson, Pritchard and Davis. (shrink)
Henry Nelson Wieman and Reinhold Niebuhr were theologically poles apart—Wieman a “new naturalist” and Niebuhr a “new super naturalist”—according to Wieman's nomenclature. Wieman devoted more time and attention to Niebuhr than Niebuhr did to him. The reason for this was the result of Wieman's sustained attack on the “new supernaturalism” with which he identified Niebuhr as one of the major American representatives. This article traces the background to Wieman's view of Niebuhr—Wieman's own views on science, on religion, and on (...) Christianity—then proceeds to Wieman's analysis of Niebuhr's theology and his relation to the “new supernaturalism,” concluding with Niebuhr's reply to Wieman. (shrink)
Este trabajo estudia los desarrollos de M. Henry y J.-L. Marion a propósito de los principios de la fenomenología, su número y su función. Para ello revisa los argumentos que llevan a replantear su vinculación y sostienen la propuesta de estos autores de elevar su número. Finalmente, analiza la máxima “a las cosas mismas”, como quintaesencia fenomenológica, a los efectos de relevar las claves que ofrece para el planteamiento de una fenomenología de lo inaparente y su consecuente ampliación del (...) entorno de fenómenos aludidos. (shrink)
This paper provides an introduction and overview of Michel Henry's work, with particular emphasis on his understanding of auto-affectivity. It concludes by pointing to some objections or questions sympathetic phenomenologists may have for his work.
This essay explores the practical significance of Michel Henry’s “material phenomenology.” Commencing with an exposition of his most basic philosophical intuition, i.e., his insight that transcendental affectivity is the primordial mode of revelation of our selfhood, the essay then brings to light how this intuition also establishes our relation to both the world and others. Animated by a radical form of the phenomenological reduction, Henry’s material phenomenology brackets the exterior world in a bid to reach the concrete interior (...) transcendental experience at the base of all exteriority. The essay argues that this “counter reduction,” designed as a practical orientation to the world, suspends all traditional parameters of onto(theo)logical individuation in order to rethink subjectivity in terms of its transcendental corporeality, i.e., in terms of the invisible display of “affective flesh.” The development of this “metaphysics of the individual” anchors his “practical philosophy” as he developed it—under shifting accents—throughout his oeuvre. In particular, the essay brings into focus Henry’s reflections on modernity, the industry of mass culture and their “barbaric” movements. The essay briefly puts these cultural and political areas of Henry’s of thinking into contact with his late “theological turn,” i.e., his Christological account of Life and the (inter)subjective self-realization to which it gives rise. (shrink)
El artículo se propone determinar el límite entre fenomenología y gnosis en la filosofía del cristianismo de M. Henry. Para ello analiza la cuestión del Archi-hijo en Soy yo la verdad, la de Archi-carne en Encarnación y la de la legitimación de las palabras que Cristo pronuncia sobre sí mismo en Palabras de Cristo. El análisis muestra, en primer lugar, en qué medida el tratamiento de estas tres cuestiones supera el límite estrictamente fenomenológico del pensamiento y remite a una (...) gnosis o experiencia de fe particular. En segundo lugar, explicita cómo, independientemente de esta gnosis, la intuición henryana acerca de la esencia de la vida abre un acceso fenomenológico genuino a la relación religiosa. (shrink)
A scholarly edition of letters by Anne, Viscountess Conway, Henry More, and their friends. The edition presents an authoritative text, together with an introduction, commentary notes, and scholarly apparatus.
A partir de la duplicidad del aparecer, principio básico de la fenomenología radical elaborada por Michel Henry en continuidad y ruptura con el proyecto husserliano, se pueden plantear ciertas notas para una antropología filosófica. Esta fenomenología propone la vida como fenómeno originario y, al definirla como autoafección, postula la necesidad de reconocer en ella, por principio, la presencia de una ipseidad, de modo que no hay vida sin viviente ni viviente sin vida. Determinar cuáles sean las notas que definen (...) la condición de dicho viviente sería la tarea de la antropología fenomenológica correspondiente. En atención a la enunciada duplicidad, dicho viviente —que es el hombre— ha de ser comprendido como pasividad radical respecto de la vida y como actividad constituyente respecto del mundo. (shrink)
Historically labor has been central to human interactions with the environment, yet environmentalists pay it scant attention. Indeed, they have been critical of those who foreground labor in their politics, socialists in particular. However, environmentalists have found the nineteenth-century socialist William Morris appealing despite the fact that he wrote extensively on labor. This paper considers the place of labor in the relationship between humanity and the natural world in the work of Morris and two of his contemporaries, the eminent scientist (...) Thomas Henry Huxley, and the Fabian socialist Herbert George Wells. I suggest that Morris's conception of labor has much to recommend it to environmentalists who are also interested in issues of social justice. (shrink)
According to a well-known interpretation, Henry of Ghent holds that possible but non-existent essences – items merely with what Henry labels ‘ esse essentiae ’ – have some reality external to the divine mind, but short of actual existence ( esse existentiae ). I argue that this reading of Henry is mistaken. Furthermore, Henry identifies any essence, considered independently of its existence as a universal concept or as instantiated in a particular as an item that has (...) some kind of reality in the divine intellect, and that constitutes an object of thought for that intellect. This object is distinguished from the universal concepts of creaturely cognition. (shrink)
According to Henry of Ghent (d. 1293), it is impossible for the second person of the Trinity to assume into unity of person an irrational nature (e.g., a stone nature), or to assume a rational nature that does not enjoy the beatific vision. He argues that the assumption of a nature to a divine person entails both that the nature has the sort of powers that could exercise supernatural activities and that these powers are exercised. Henry’s Franciscan opponents (...) argue against this. Existent irrational natures (like existent rational natures) are not necessarily subsistent and belonging to a kind does not require the opportunity to exercise the causal powers associated with that kind. (shrink)
Given the pragmatic tum recently taken by argumentation studies, we owe renewed attention to Henry Johnstone's views on the primacy of process over product. In particular, Johnstone's decidedly non-cooperative model is a refreshing alternative to the current dialogic theories of arguing, one which opens the way for specifically rhetorical lines of inquiry.
Long recognised as a painting ‘about’ painting, Velázquez’s Las Meninas comes to Lacan’s aid as he explicates the object a in Seminar XIII, The Object of Psychoanalysis (1965–1966). The famous seventeenth century painting provides Lacan with a visual mapping of the ‘ghost story’ he discovers in the Cartesian cogito, insofar as it depicts the unravelling of the Cartesian representational project at the moment of its founding gesture. This article traces Lacan’s argument as he turns to art, linear perspective and topology (...) to model how the object a persistently eludes the grasp of scientific knowledge. Following a discussion of distance-point perspective in Renaissance Italy and the role this innovation played in enabling distorted depictions of objects in space, I propose Henry James’s ghost story, “The Jolly Corner,” as the sequel to Lacan’s reading of Las Meninas. In James’s tale, we obtain a narrative account of what the figures in Velasquez’s painting might ‘see’ as they return our gaze towards us. (shrink)
Hugh of Novocastro, Landolfo Caracciolo, John Baconthorpe, and some other medieval authors argued that there are real contradictions in nature. The background of this early fourteenth-century theory was the Aristotelian question of how to determine the instant of change between p and ~p. The argument was that these are simultaneously true at the temporal instant of change if it is an instant of changing. The author’s aim is to discuss the background of this view in Henry of Ghent’s theory (...) of instantaneous change from potentiality to actuality at that very instant. (shrink)
In this paper I offer a new approach to Henry of Ghent's argument for divine illumination. Normally, Henry is criticized for adhering to a theory of divine illumination and failing to accept rediscovered Aristotelian approaches to cognition and epistemology. I argue that these critiques are mistaken. On my view, Henry was a proponent of Aristotelianism. But Henry discovered a tension between Aristotle's views on teleology and the nature of knowledge, on the one hand, and various components (...) of the Christian worldview, on the other. I argue that Henry's adherence to a theory of divine illumination was an attempt to preserve various components of the Aristotelian system, not an attempt to reject Aristotelianism. (shrink)
Cette étude, dans un premier temps, apporte des preuves à la possibilité d’interpréter la pensée politique de Hannah Arendt comme un projet phénoménologique original dont le but est d’élever l’apparence de la personne au rang de mode unique de l’apparaître. Puis elle présente brièvement la phénoménologie matérielle de Michel Henry dans laquelle le Soi individuel joue un rôle tout aussi central, puisqu’il est la condition de l’apparence de la vie et le fondement de tout apparaître. En conclusion, l’étude esquisse (...) les conséquences d’une telle position privilégiée du sujet individuel pour la conception théorique de la réalité effective de l’apparaître, de même que pour les problèmes pratiques de l’action de l’homme dans le monde. (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)
Cet article cherche à rendre compte de la signification du concept d'habitus que nous retrouvons chez Michel Henry en tentant de le situer par rapport aux principaux concepts qui sont au fondement de la phénoménologie matérielle.
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)
John Henry Newman is widely acknowledged to be an important theologian. However Newman commentators suggest that his work has received little recognition by philosophers. The general consensus has been that until the latter part of the twentieth century Newman has been an isolated philosophical figure. This essay offers an historical re-evaluation of Newman's philosophical reception in order to explore whether or not his significance has been underestimated. The historical method is used in the analysis and assessment of this question. (...) The study therefore probes the general philosophical reaction to Newman's work in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In doing so the essay offers an historical investigation and re-evaluation of the claims of Newman having a negligible philosophical legacy. (shrink)
This paper aims to explain Henry of Ghent's views on what kind of language is appropriate in theology, and why. It concentrates on a number of questions of the Summa quaestionum ordinariarum , which are devoted to his take on how theologians should explain their discipline to students, and to the meaningfulness in general of theological language. The paper delves into the technical terms sensus and insinuare , and compares Henry's account with H.P. Grice's views on (speaker-)meaning and (...) his notion of `conversational implicatures', thus showing that Henry emphasises the performative features of linguistic use. (shrink)
Henry Johnstone's philosophical development was guided by a persistent need to reform the concept of validity -either by reinterpreting it or by finding a substitute for it. This project lead Johnstone into interesting confrontations with the concept of rhetoric and especiaUy with the work of Chaim Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca. The project culminated in a failed attempt to develop a formal ethics of rhetoric and argumentation, but this attempt was itself not consistent with some of Johnstone's other characterizations ofan ethics (...) of argument ation. A virtue ethics would be truer to the Johnstonian philosophical project than a formal ethics of argument. Resume. (shrink)
To address the theological turn in phenomenology, this paper sets out critical arguments opposing the theist phenomenology of Michel Henry and Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of the event. Henry’s phenomenology has been overlooked in recent commentaries compared with, for example, Jean-Luc Marion’s work. It will be shown here that Henry’s philosophy presents a detailed novel turn in phenomenology structured according to critical moves against positions developed from Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. This demonstration is done through a strong contrast (...) with Deleuze and a short engagement with Quentin Meillassoux. The paper presents an argument against the theological turn on the grounds that it misunderstands the form of affectivity when compared to Deleuze’s work on affect and event. It will be argued that Henry’s search for a free-standing affect deduced as a condition for any appearance underplays the way any affect is included in many causal and transcendentally determined series such that any notion of the pure affect independent of other processes is a fiction. The loss of this pure affect entails the questioning of the theological turn in Henry. (shrink)
In Quodlibet XV q.13, Henry of Ghent considers whether the Virgin Mary was immaculately conceived. He argues that she was not, but rather possessed sin only at the first instant of her existence. Because Henry’s defense of this position involves an elaborate discussion of motion and mutation, his discussion marks an important contribution to medieval discussions of Aristotelian natural philosophy. In fact, a number of scholars have identified Henry’s discussion as the source of an unusual fourteenth-century theory (...) of change referred to as “quasi-Aristotelianism” (so-called because the account purports to be Aristotelian but is not). My aim in the paper is two-fold: first, to show that Henry's position is not quasi-Aristotelian in the sense that scholars have supposed; second, to show that, even so, his discussion in q. 13 does involve a novel interpretation of Aristotle’s account of instantaneous change. (shrink)
Con el ego cogito sum, Descartes ha buscado ofrecer un suelo seguro para la edificación del conocimiento científico. Sin embargo, la problemática así instaurada ha olvidado totalmente, como señala Heidegger, elucidar el sentido de ser de ese sum. Puede decirse que toda la obra de Michel Henry constituye una tentativa profundamente original de plantear la cuestión del ego sum sobre un contexto verdaderamente ontológico. Es en esta medida que su meditación sobre la obra y el proyecto cartesiano ocupa un (...) lugar central y permanente. Henry nos descubre en L´essence de la Manifestation (1964) y en Phénoménologie du Corps un Descartes cuyo proyecto, basado irreflexivamente sobre un procedimiento intuicionista identifica verdad con evidencia y predetermina así su investigación como una imposible tentativa de exhibir el fundamento bajo la luz. Imposible, pues el fundamento, afirma Henry, el ser del ego, es invisible. Esto es lo que ha comprendido el Descartes al que nos abre Henry en su "Généalogie de la Psychanalyse" (1985): el ser del sum no es un "qué" susceptible de ser dado por un ver sino un "como" que se revela sin mediación a sí mismo como pathos: el aparecerse a si de la vida en la inmanencia de su afectividad. With the cogito ergo sum, Descartes has intended to offer a safe ground for the construction of scientific knowledge. Nevertheless, the problematic thus posed has totally forgotten, as Heidegger points out, to elucidate the sense of the being of this sum. It can be said that the whole work of Michel Henry constitutes a deeply original attempt to raise the question of the ego sum on a truthfully ontological context. Hence, his meditation on Descartes work and project takes up a central and permanent place in his work. Henry discovers to us in L´essence de la Manifestation (1964) and in Phénoménologie du Corps (1965) a Descartes whose project, based unreflectively on an intuitionist procedure, identifies truth with evidence and thus predetermines his investigation as an impossible attempt to exhibit the grounding under light, which is impossible, given that the grounding, the being of the ego - Henry states-, is invisible. This is what Descartes has understood, according to Henry's "Généalogie de la Psychanalyse" (1985): the being of the sum is not a "that" which may be given by a vision but a "how" that reveals itself without any mediation as pathos: the appearing of life to itself in the immanence of its affectivity. (shrink)
The French phenomenologist Michel Henry sees a similarity between the primordial experience of what he calls ‘Life’ and the aesthetic experience occasioned by Wassily Kandinsky’s abstract art. The triple aim of this essay is to explain and assess how Henry interprets Kandinsky’s abstract art and theory; what the consequences of his interpretation mean for the theory of the experience of abstract art; and what doubts and questions emerge from Henry’s interpretations of Kandinsky’s theory and practice. Despite its (...) containing many interesting ideas, Henry’s phenomenological approach is insufficient to describe the aesthetic experience of Kandinsky’s abstract art. For Henry, aesthetic experience is corporeal, primordial, non-intentional, and independent of knowledge and culture.By contrast, I believe that it is possible and more suitable to connect the direct, corporeal, and affective character of the aesthetic experience of abstract art with intentionality and embeddedness in culture and knowledge. (shrink)