The theological turn in French phenomenology has been of great interest to scholars working in contemporary continental thought, but according to J. Aaron Simmons, not enough has been done to bring these debates into conversation with more mainstream philosophy. Building on the work of Kierkegaard, Levinas, Marion, and Derrida, among others, Simmons suggests how continental philosophy of religion can intersect with political philosophy, environmental philosophy, and theories of knowledge. By productively engaging philosophical "God-talk," Simmons proposes a robust model of postmodern (...) religious belief and ethical existence. (shrink)
In this essay I offer a reading of "Fear and Trembling" that responds to critiques of Kierkegaardian ethics as being, as Brand Blanshard claims, "morally nihilistic," as Emmanuel Levinas contends, ethically violent, and, as Alasdair MacIntyre charges, simply irrational. I argue that by focusing on Isaac's singularity as the very condition for Abraham's "ordeal," the book presents a story about responsible subjectivity. Rather than standing in competition with the relation to God, the relation to other people is, thus, inscribed into (...) this very relation. "Fear and Trembling", I contend, advocates a bidirectional responsibility that is constitutive of subjectivity itself and, as such, actually resonates with certain aspects of Levinasian ethics. I conclude by suggesting that Abraham's ordeal is not due to the conflict between a nonreligious duty and the duty to God, but instead reflects a tension that is internal to the life of faith itself. (shrink)
By carefully considering Galileo’s letters to Castelli and Christina, we argue that his position regarding the relationship between Scripture and science is not only of historical importance, but continues to stand as a perspective worth taking seriously in the context of contemporary philosophical debates. In particular, we contend that there are at least five areas of contemporary concern where Galileo’s arguments are especially relevant: (1) the supposed conflict between science and religion, (2) the status and stakes of evidence, (3) the (...) question of biblical infallibility in light of scientific progress, (4) metaphorical approaches to biblical hermeneutics, and (5) possible dialogical constraints on public discourse. (shrink)
Abstract Epistemic infinitism is certainly not a majority view in contemporary epistemology. While there are some examples of infinitism in the history of philosophy, more work needs to be done mining this history in order to provide a richer understanding of how infinitism might be formulated internal to different philosophical frameworks. Accordingly, we argue that the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas can be read as operating according to an ?impure? model of epistemic infinitism. The infinite obligation inaugurated by the ?face to (...) face encounter? with the Other yields an approach to the ethics of belief that accords with infinitism. This reading of Levinas brings his ethical thought into dialogue with contemporary epistemology as well as provides an historical example of infinitism within the current debates. (shrink)
In this essay, I provide an introduction to the so-called 'theological turn' in recent French, 'new' phenomenology. I begin by articulating the stakes of excluding God from phenomenology (as advocated by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger) and then move on to a brief consideration of why Dominique Janicaud contends that, by inquiring into the 'inapparent', new phenomenology is no longer phenomenological. I then consider the general trajectories of this recent movement and argue that there are five main themes that unite (...) the work of such varied thinkers as Levinas, Derrida, Marion, Henry, Chrétien, Lacoste, and Ricœur. I conclude by outlining points of overlap between new phenomenology and contemporary analytic philosophy of religion and suggest that the two stand as important resources for each other. (shrink)
There is much within contemporary continental philosophy that might give the indication that it is really just disguised Christian theology. However, in line with Hent de Vries and in contrast to Dominique Janicaud, I contend that there are reasons for taking continental God-talk seriously on purely philosophical grounds. On this basis, I then go on to advocate a specific form of God-talk-that dealing with kenosis-as being deeply relevant to contemporary politics because of the way in which it provides an argument (...) for democracy as the political system best opened to the critical function of charity. (shrink)
Though academic debate over gender-inclusive God-talk seems to have fizzled, the issue is a pressing one within many Christiandenominations today—both within and outside the Church—and for that reason deserves to be briefly revisited. Accordingly, althoughin this essay we approach the issue as professional philosophers, our focus is on the life of the Church—more specifically, those no doubt sizable segments of the Church for which a personal God and Satan exist and evangelism matters. Running an elimination argument, we contend that if (...) a certain sort of feminist concern about traditional God-talk is well-directed, the best response is to speak of not only God but also Satan in both masculine and feminine terms. And in closing, we address the possible worry that this response to the God-talk problem would not be Christian enough. (shrink)
Helping more than “a little”: recent books on Kierkegaard and philosophy of religion Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s11153-012-9345-6 Authors J. Aaron Simmons, Department of Philosophy, Furman University, 3300 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29613, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
Alfred North Whitehead and Emmanuel Levinas are not often considered together in the contemporary philosophical literature. There are clearly sensible reasons for this. While Whitehead is a systematic thinker who explicitly engages in metaphysical philosophy within the tradition of process thought and whodoes not focus primarily on ethics, Levinas is resistant to systematic metaphysics and works within the phenomenological tradition in order to argue that ethicsis first philosophy. Despite these significant points of contrast between Whitehead and Levinas, in this paper (...) we argue that the two might stand as resources for each other in various ways. Since this paper is meant to be explorative and suggestive rather than comprehensive and conclusive, we argue for just two possible points of resonance between these important philosophers: Both Levinas and Whitehead develop an account of selfhood that is intrinsically relational and concerned with responsibility—we term this account “Ethical Subjectivity;” and Both Levinas and Whitehead operate according to what we call a “Hermeneutics of the Other” that stresses epistemic humility and dialogical openness. (shrink)
By carefully considering Galileo’s letters to Castelli and Christina, we argue that his position regarding the relationship between Scripture and science is not only of historical importance, but continues to stand as a perspective worth taking seriously in the context of contemporary philosophical debates. In particular, we contend that there are at least five areas of contemporary concern where Galileo’s arguments are especially relevant: the supposed conflict between science and religion, the status and stakes of evidence, the question of biblical (...) infallibility in light of scientific progress, metaphorical approaches to biblical hermeneutics, and possible dialogical constraints on public discourse. (shrink)
Two 2016 events highlighted the rise of nationalism: the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, and Brexit, the UK vote to withdraw from the European Union. We as scholars and teachers and our students as global citizens entering the workforce were and are experiencing increased political and social tensions in both hemispheres and amplified uncertainty. In this presentation, we sought to open a dialogue on the language we use in business and society research and teaching as well (...) as the underlying, often unmentioned, assumptions underlying our studies and pedagogy. (shrink)
This review of Kevin Schilbrack’s—Philosophy and the study of religions: a manifesto—is part of a review symposium featuring reviews by Andrew Irvine, J. Aaron Simmons, and James McLaughlin and a reply by Kevin Schilbrack.
The contributors consider the idea of Christian philosophy in light of current debates in such areas as philosophy of religion, moral theory, epistemology, and metaphysics in order to show that these important historical questions continue to press upon us today.
Recent discussions in the philosophy of religion, ethics, and personal political philosophy have been deeply marked by the influence of two philosophers who are often thought to be in opposition to each other, Søren Kierkegaard and Emmanuel Levinas. Devoted expressly to the relationship between Levinas and Kierkegaard, this volume sets forth a more rigorous comparison and sustained engagement between them. Established and newer scholars representing varied philosophical traditions bring these two thinkers into dialogue in 12 sparkling essays. They consider similarities (...) and differences in how each elaborated a unique philosophy of religion, and they present themes such as time, obligation, love, politics, God, transcendence, and subjectivity. This conversation between neighbors is certain to inspire further inquiry and ignite philosophical debate. (shrink)