John E. Smith has contributed to contemporary philosophy in primarily four distinct capacities; first, as a philosopher of religion and God; second, as an indefatigable defender of philosophical reflection in its classical sense ( a sense inclusive of, but not limited to, metaphysics); third, as a participant in the reconstruction of experience and reason so boldly inaugurated by Hegel then redically transformed by the classical American pragmatists, and significantly augmented by such thinkers as Josiah Royce, william Earnest Hocking, and (...) Alfred North Whitehead; fourth, as an interpreter of philosophical texts and traditions (Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche no less than Charles Peirce, WIlliam James and John Dewey; German idealism as well as American; the Augustinian tradition no less than the pragmatic). Reason, Experience, and God provides an important and comprehensive look at the work of John E. Smith by collected essays which each address aspects of his life-long work. A response by John E. Smith himself draws a line of continuity between the pieces. (shrink)
The popular belief that religion is the same everywhere or that all religions are ‘at bottom’ identical in essentials is a widespread falsehood that is saved from being completely worthless by the fact that religion does exhibit a universal or common structure wherever it appears. This structure is intimately related to the structure of human life in the world. The enduring pattern that enables us to understand religions widely separated in both time and space depends largely on the fact that (...) man and the process of human life in the world have their own structures which remain, despite the undeniable variety introduced by vast differences of culture, ethnic features, geographical location, climate etc. Structure means pattern or form; it is reality significantly organised. It can be grasped as that which endures above and beyond changing historical details. Because human life has a structure, we are able to understand the wrath of Achilles or sympathise with the love of Abélard for Héloïse although we are separated from both by centuries of time. (shrink)
Despite the title, I do not intend to launch another expedition into the domain of epistemology. I wish instead to call attention to some problems which have arisen for philosophical theologians and philosophers of religion, as a result of two facts about the development of modern philosophy and its bearing on the analysis and interpretation of religious insight. Following these considerations, I shall propose in brief compass a programme for the future which I believe will prove fruitful for the philosophical (...) treatment of religious concerns. (shrink)
Writing in the foreword to Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and speaking of his upbringing in Chicago between the wars Saul Bellow attests that …as a Midwesterner, the son of immigrant parents, I recognized at an early stage that I was called upon to decide for myself to what extent my Jewish origins, my surroundings [‘the accidental circumstances of Chicago’], my schooling, were to be allowed to determine the course of my life. I did not intend to (...) be wholly dependent upon history and culture. Full dependency must mean that I was done for. The commonest teaching of the civilized world in our time can be stated simply: ‘Tell me where you come from and I'll tell you what you are’. (shrink)
Mill's feminism has been attacked as being logically incoherent. The general verdict has been that Mill can easily be defended from the charge. However, both sides in the debate have ignored the fact that his feminism is part of a broader theory of liberal empiricism. Placing The Subjection of Women in this context re–opens the question of its logical credentials and reveals a basic weakness in Millian feminism.
John L. Austin believed that in the illocution he had discovered a fundamental element of our speech, the understanding of which would disclose the significance of all kinds of linguistic action: not only proposing marriage and finding guilt, but also stating, reporting, conjecturing, and all the rest of the things men can do linguistically. 2 We claim that the illocution, the full-fledged speech-act, is central to religious utterances as well, and that it provides a perspicuity in understanding them not elsewhere (...) provided in the work of recent philosophy of religion. In particular we hold that understanding religious talk through the illocution shows the way in which the representative and affective elements are connected to one another and to the utterance as a whole. There may, further, be features in such an analysis which can be extended to other forms of discourse than religious. (shrink)
Normal 0 21 This text develops some philosophical analyses on the complex and rich relationship between skepticism and dogmatism, and has as its starting point Plínio Smith's view expressed in his paper "Dogmatic Skepticism and Dogmatism without Dogmas", which critically discussed some texts I wrote on that subject. My main aim he re is to reconsider a problem noted by him in his paper, and, based on this, to advance some new ideas for a critical position on skepticism.