The burden of this piece is to draw together into a coherent whole the somewhat diverse strands of Israel Scheffler's thought on the philosophy of religion. Extrapolating from personal discussions with Professor Scheffler, various of his books, articles, and other unpublished materials authored and kindly provided by him, I contend that he adumbrates a post-empiricist rendering of religious belief which masterfully avoids some philosophical problems, while unwittingly giving rise to others. Committed to the view that the methodology of science â (...) in one or other of its more acceptable guises â provides the most reliable measure of the content and structure of reality. Scheffler is bound conceptually to redefine Jewish belief in such a way that the traditional conflict between religion and science never emerges. Consistent with this end, he is concerned to divest traditional Judaism of its metaphysical garb, so that what remains are simply the matters of living to which religion ought properly on his view address itself. The Bible is thus reconceptualized as a piece of rich literature, of no real difference in logical kind to any other piece of rich literature, except that it defines uniquely, along with the Torah and other relevant Jewish literature, the history of the particular community whose perception of human values and meaningfulness forms the core of what it is to be Jewish. (shrink)
Of the various loci of systematic theology that call for sustained philosophical investigation, the doctrine of sanctification stands out as a prime candidate. In response to that call, William Alston developed three models of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit: the fiat model, the interpersonal model, and the sharing model. In response to Alston’s argument for the sharing model, this paper offers grounds for a reconsideration of the interpersonal model. We close with a discussion of some of the implications (...) of one’s understanding of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit for practical Christian spirituality. (shrink)
Kristeller's article ‘The Modern System of the Arts: A Study in the History of Aesthetics’ is a classic statement of the view, now widely adopted but rarely examined, that aesthetics became possible only in the eighteenth-century with the emergence of the fine arts. I wish to contest this view, for three reasons. Firstly, Kristeller's historical account can be questioned; alternative and equally plausible accounts are available. Secondly, ‘the modern system of the arts’ appears to have been neither a system nor (...) an agreed upon entity, but only a historical construct of Kristeller's own making that matches up with no known historical reality. Thirdly, while the concept of the fine arts existed in the eighteenth century, the assumption that it had an impact on the rise of aesthetic theory remains unproven and unnecessary. A more satisfactory account of aesthetic thought in antiquity can be given, once the ‘fine-arts’ objection has been cleared away. (shrink)
This paper examines Aquinas's contention that the virtues are necessarily connected, in such a way that anyone who fully possesses one of them, necessarily possesses them all. It is argued that this claim, as Aquinas develops it in the "Summa Theologiae", is more complex, interesting, and plausible than it is often taken to be. On his view, the cardinal virtues can be said to be connected in two senses, corresponding to the two senses in which certain virtues can be said (...) to be cardinal, namely, as general qualifications of all virtuous action and as particular normative ideals having a specific content. This distinction suggests, in turn, that Aquinas's claim that the virtues are connected should be understood as a psychological thesis about what is characteristic of the virtuous person's distinctive way of acting, as well as a thesis about the interrelationships among the different cardinal virtues considered as discrete normative ideals. So understood, Aquinas's claim that the virtues are connected is seen to be a necessary implication of his metaphysically grounded theory of human action. At the same time, it enables him to offer an interpretation of the complexities of moral discourse that is illuminating and at least prima facie plausible, taken on its own merits. (shrink)
Wolterstorff ’s Justice: Rights and Wrongs is a bold and welcome theological defense of human rights, carrying radical implications for moral and legal philosophy. However, Wolterstorff’s concept of the scope of human rights is too comprehensive and thereby paradoxically weakens the force of the human rights claims he rightly champions. Rights claims are not coterminous with obligations generally but represent very distinctive claims, notably the power of individuals to demand specific kinds of forbearance or treatment from specifiable others; Tierney has (...) identified such claims as the ‘subjective natural rights’ uncovered by late medieval thinkers. Our obligations towards one another incorporate a wide and heterogeneous variety of considerations, which do not lend themselves to any kind of neat, formulaic summary but which are specified only in the process of forming practical judgements in concrete cases. (shrink)
The paper seeks to demystify Nietzsche’s concept of genealogy. Genealogy tells the story of historical origins in the form of a myth that is betrayed fromwithin, while readers have naively assumed it tells a story that Nietzsche endorses—whether of history or naturalized origins. Looked at more closely, genealogy,I claim, tells the story of human consciousness and its extraordinary fallibility. It relates the conditions and limits of consciousness and how these are activelyavoided and forgotten, for the most part in vain. The (...) lessons are these: there is no human time before consciousness; no unconscious activity that is uncontaminated by consciousness or culture; no period of prehistory that isn’t already historical or historicized, hence subject to dehistoricization ; no primordial “innocence of becoming,” let alone any future condition free of these same constraints. Genealogy is the critique of the myth of knowing critique. (shrink)
This article reassesses Peter Abelard's account of moral intention, or, better, consent, in light of recent work on his own thought and on the twelfth-century background of that thought. The author argues (1) that Abelard's focus on consent as the determining factor for morality does not rule out, but, on the contrary, presupposes objective criteria for moral judgment and (2) that Abelard's real innovation does not lie in his doctrine of consent as the sole source of merit or guilt, but, (...) rather, in his exploration of the ways in which this doctrine affects our understanding of the objective criteria for moral judgment. In particular, Abelard is led by his doctrine of consent to a thoroughgoing reassessment of the moral significance of the passions, which, in turn, leads him to reject the view that actions should be evaluated in terms of the praiseworthy or vicious character of the passions they express. (shrink)
We are currently seeing a revival of interest in Aquinas's moral thought among Christian ethicists, both Protestant and Catholic. Although recent studies of his moral thought have touched on a number of topics, the majority of these have focused on his account of the virtues and their place in the Christian life. Probing the questions of the relation of virtue and law, the role of reason and will, and the place of the passions in Aquinas's moral theology, I will examine (...) recent studies by Diana Cates, Pamela Hall, Simon Harak, James Keenan, Daniel Nelson, Daniel Westberg, and Paul Waddell. In different ways these studies return us repeatedly to the vexed and unresolved question of the scope of human freedom. (shrink)
In the aftermath of the debate between Derrida and Levinas on Hebraism and Hellenism, Christian thought that retains a place for philosophy is often regarded as “Graeco‐Christian”, a monolithic system with an unfortunate history. The work of the French philosopher Stansilas Breton suggests that the reality is more complex. In Le Verbe et la croix , he examines the function of the term logos staurou in Paul, arguing that this untranslatable term stands as a question mark in a world of (...) language that could only speak “Jew” or “Greek”. Far from being a sign of Christian superiority, the cross signals an imperative for dispossession intrinsic to Christian language. In its “nothingness” the cross functions as a principle of critique that makes innovation and engagement possible. Thus while the cross involves negation it moves beyond negative theology. Drawing upon neoplatonist philosophy, Breton delineates the way in which the cross makes possible “the writing of the self in the world”. This paper draws upon Breton's understanding of the function of the cross to argue that the heritage of Athens endures and must be re‐thought, always recognizing the limits of all human language. After examining Breton's understanding of the logos staurou, it relates this notion to his broader understanding of revelation as “writing”. Finally it shows how Breton appeals to neoplatonist meonotology to speak in more universal terms of the need for a principle of dispossession at the heart of all religious language. For Christians the cross is this principle, enabling human beings to be causes of themselves who engender new being. (shrink)
L'A. s'intéresse à la question des genres en théologie en prenant l'exemple d'une Encyclique du Pape Jean-Paul II sur la femme et sa dignité, Mulieris Dignitatem. La théologie féministe a donné, en effet, une importance nouvelle à cette question. Le document pontifical contient une analyse phénoménologique des différences entre les sexes et rejoint certaines analyses féministes. L'A. en profite pour soulever le problème de l'ordination des femmes au ministère presbytéral, et pour résoudre exhaustivement ce problème avec la substance de l'Encyclique.
Bicycle helmets protect against head injury. Mandatory helmet laws likely increase their use. Although 21 states and Washington, DC have mandatory helmet laws for youth bicyclists, no U.S. state has a mandatory helmet law that applies to all ages; however, some localities have all-age helmet laws for bicyclists. This study abstracted local helmet laws applicable to all-ages to examine their elements.
A detailed outline is presented of several convergent points of view connecting the self-dual and anti-self-dual fields with their free data. This is done for the Maxwell and for linearized gravity as exemplifying the approaches. The Sparling equation provides one tool of great power and characterizes one approach. The twistor theory of Penrose yields another equally powerful point of view. The links between these two basic approaches given in this paper provide a unification that allows workers and others with interest (...) in this area to proceed more readily toward the goal of understanding the full nonlinear Einstein equations. (shrink)