Contemporary conversations about religion and culture are framed by two reductive definitions of secularity. In one, multiple faiths and nonfaiths coexist free from a dominant belief in God. In the other, we deny the sacred altogether and exclude religion from rational thought and behavior. But is there a third way for those who wish to rediscover the sacred in a skeptical society? What kind of faith, if any, can be proclaimed after the ravages of the Holocaust and the many religion-based (...) terrors since? Richard Kearney explores these questions with a host of philosophers known for their inclusive, forward-thinking work on the intersection of secularism, politics, and religion. An interreligious dialogue that refuses to paper over religious difference, these conversations locate the sacred within secular society and affirm a positive role for religion in human reflection and action. Drawing on his own philosophical formulations, literary analysis, and personal interreligious experiences, Kearney develops through these engagements a basic gesture of hospitality for approaching the question of God. His work facilitates a fresh encounter with our best-known voices in continental philosophy and their views on issues of importance to all spiritually minded individuals and skeptics: how to reconcile God's goodness with human evil, how to believe in both God and natural science, how to talk about God without indulging in fundamentalist rhetoric, and how to balance God's sovereignty with God's love. (shrink)
Confusion has long reigned over the circumstances in which this early work by Sartre was published, as well as its place among other, better-known texts. In 1927, Sartre completed a thesis for his diplôme d’études supérieures, entitled, “L’Image dans la vie psychologique: Role et nature.” In 1936, he submitted a revised and expanded version of that thesis, simply titled L’Image, for publication in a series called Nouvelle Encyclopedie philosophique. That work consisted of a propaedeutic first half, an analysis of various (...) philosophical and psychological theories about the imagination, and a phenomenological second half, an investigation into the various forms of imaginative consciousness. Sartre’s publisher, F. Alcan, rejected the second half and opted to publish only the first half, as L’Imagination (1936). It wasn’t until 1940 that the second half of the text appeared, as L’Imaginaire.Whether or not this has been clear to those who read Sartre in French, those who rely on English tran. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 306 - 326 In recent years David Christian and others have promoted “Big History” as an innovative approach to the study of the past. The present paper juxtaposes to Big History an old Big History, namely, the tradition of “universal history” that flourished in Europe from the mid-sixteenth century until well into the nineteenth century. The claim to universality of works in that tradition depended on the assumed truth of Christianity, a fact that (...) was fully acknowledged by the tradition’s adherents. The claim of the new Big History to universality likewise depends on prior assumptions. Simply stated, in its various manifestations the “new” Big History is rooted either in a continuing theology, or in a form of materialism that is assumed to be determinative of human history, or in a somewhat contradictory amalgam of the two. The present paper suggests that “largest-scale history” as exemplified in the old and new Big Histories is less a contribution to historical knowledge than it is a narrativization of one or another worldview. Distinguishing between largest-scale history and history that is “merely” large-scale, the paper also suggests that a better approach to meeting the desire for large scale in historical writing is through more modest endeavors, such as large-scale comparative history, network and exchange history, thematic history, and history of modernization. (shrink)
This paper takes up the somewhat neglected work of one of the earliest pioneers of modern European aesthetic theory, Jean-Baptiste Du Bos. It aims to correct views in which Du Bos is pigeon-holed as a ‘sentimentalist’, dismissed as a radical subjectivist, or, at best, acknowledged as an influence on the more important work of David Hume. Instead, it presents Du Bos as an original thinker whose highly intuitive approach to the arts is still relevant to contemporary concerns, and can be (...) favourably contrasted with the tradition of disinterested, universalist aesthetics that rose to such strong prominence in the century following his work. It highlights several of his ideas that have not received sufficient attention, including his emphasis on boredom as a motivation for turning to artifice, his notion of the ‘artificial emotions’ that can result from such encounters, his community-based conception of taste, his faith in the general public as legitimate judges of artwork, and the importance he places on different forms of interest when thinking about art. In the course of this discussion, Du Bos’s work is presented as presciently questioning clear cut distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ cultural spheres, as well as exploring contemporary questions about the constitution of ‘the public’ and the legitimacy of its judgement. It also argues that the vocabulary of ‘artificial emotion’ can be as helpfully applied to the increasingly sophisticated world of mass entertainment as it can be to the world of contemporary art. (shrink)
During the last twenty-five years or so there has been a remarkable growth in the interdisciplinary field bordering on cognitive psychology, linguistics, neurobiology, artificial intelligence, and the philosophy of mind. The book under review makes a belated but significant contribution to the literature of cognitive science, since it provides the first detailed comparison of the views of two of the field's most influential figures, Noam Chomsky and Jean Piaget. The text is based on a conference which was held in October (...) of 1975 at the Abbaye de Royaumont near Paris. Besides Chomsky and Piaget, the participants at the conference included such notables as Jacques Monod and Gregory Bateson, the philosophers Jerry Fodor and Stephen Toulmin, psychologists Norbert Bischof, David Premack and Bärbel Inhelder, as well as distinguished representatives from the fields of biology, anthropology, and artificial intelligence. The major focus of the discussion concerned the differences between Chomsky's and Piaget's views on the nature/nurture question in psychology. (shrink)
Interviewed by Christian Sheppard about Richard Kearney’s book The God Who May Be (2001), and speaking also of Kearney’s On Stories (2002) and Strangers, Gods and Monsters (2002), David Tracy remarks on Kearney’s development of the possible as a major philosophical and theological category. Showing the importance of the idea of the infinite, he speaks of the need for a hermeneutical moment to follow the initial encounter, and of a call for general criteria of judgment of the Other. He discusses, (...) too, the dangers and the rewards of doing both theology and philosophy at the same time. To him the category of the Impossible enters into the possible and is not only positive but desired. In a conversation that ranges widely - Derrida and Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, Angelus Silesius, Kierkegaard, Nicholas of Cusa, Heidegger and Ricoeur, and, in the call for plurality, William James - the two speakers discuss both poetic sensibility and the call for justice. Reflecting on fragmentation, Tracy speaks of the need to focus on suffering and the importance of attaining a sense of ‘the entire story, all of the metaphors’. (shrink)
This classic edition presents the correspondence of one of the great thinkers of the 18th century, and offers a rich picture of the man and his age. This first volume contains David Hume's letters from 1727 to 1765. Hume's correspondents include such famous public figures as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, James Boswell, and Benjamin Franklin.
This classic edition presents the correspondence of one of the great thinkers of the 18th century, and offers a rich picture of the man and his age. This second volume contains David Hume's letters from 1766 to 1776. Hume's correspondents include such famous public figures as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, James Boswell, and Benjamin Franklin.
In this paper I attempt to both look beyond our general contempt for torture to investigate the processes and procedures that must be in place for torture to even occur and show how our contempt actually serves to support these processes and procedures. The idea that the torturer is not simply someone who performs a particular activity but rather someone who, through his activity, becomes something alien and nightmarish to us has become so ingrained in our understanding of torture that (...) it is rather difficult to remember that, regardless of how we might feel about it, the torturer is still a person performing an activity. Yet if we begin to take this simple fact more seriously and try to understand how particular people came to perform these particular activities then perhaps we can achieve a more realistic depiction of torture that is not just victim versus torturer, but instead something far more complicated. By looking at what torturers have said - in interviews, testimonies, and memoirs - rather than only what has been said about them, we can find that many of the concepts that have been applied to victims of torture can be usefully applied to the perpetrators as well, thus requiring that we pay more attention to the context in which torture takes place and less attention to merely our outrage over the fact that torture does take place. (shrink)
The purpose of the present work is twofold. On the one hand, it attempts to provide a critical exposition of the ethical theory of Jean-Paul Sartre. On the other hand, it strives to explain, and in a limited way to defend, the central thesis of that theory, namely, that freedom is the "highest," or most important, value. ;The study begins with an extensive discussion of Sartre's theory of freedom. Sartre's arguments for the freedom of consciousness are identified and presented, and (...) a number of widespread misunderstandings of Sartre's conception of the nature of freedom are corrected. Specifically, it is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Sartre distinguishes between different senses of freedom, insists that freedom is always limited, and remains substantially consistent, throughout his intellectual career, in his understanding of the nature of freedom. ;The study next takes up Sartre's theory of values. Here the well-known strain of ethical subjectivism in Sartre's thought is presented and criticized, with the main instrument of criticism being a distinction, overlooked by Sartre, between subjectivism as a meta-ethical theory about the status of moral judgments, and subjectivism as an ontological doctrine regarding the existence of moral values. ;The study concludes with an explanation and defense of the theory that freedom is the highest value. Here the presentation of Sartre's ethical theory is brought to completion through a discussion of its neglected objectivist elements, and through a development in regard to ethics of Sartre's general theory of knowledge. It is then shown that the notion of freedom as a value underlies both the subjectivist and the objectivist phases of Sartre's ethical thought, and it is suggested that these two phases can be reconciled in a conception of ethics as a dialectic of invention and discovery. This conception is defended by way of a brief discussion of its advantages over rival ethical theories, which neglect one or the other of the stages of this dialectic. (shrink)