The work argues that the koans of Zen Buddhism have several intriguing non-accidental parallels with the short stories of Catholic author Flannery O'Connor. Both typically portray characters in a state of non-enlightenment in which they are egoistically obsessed with something which prevents them from perceiving and properly responding to the real world around them. Both present the characters with some opportunity for enlightenment, which they may or may not take up. Both come in a variety of forms, in order to (...) portray and address a rich variety of ways in which such obsessions become obstacles to human self-understanding and fulfillment. And both are ultimately presented for the sake of the listener or reader, who may recognize in the stories parallels to their own state, and perhaps take a lesson therefrom on their own journey towards what Zen calls enlightenment, or what Christians call grace. (shrink)
Žižek has argued in his books on Christianity and modernity that institutional Catholic Christianity has placed its members in a double bind by insisting on belief in a nonexistent God of Being. The laws of this God of the Symbolic are perverse in that they impose impossible requirements on all believers. By the mid-twentieth century, however, Catholicism was experiencing the revolutionary reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Dogmatic Law at this time gave way to a renewed emphasis on the community (...) of love associated in early Christianity with the Holy Spirit. This God of the Real is inherently Trinitarian: God-Father-Thing, Spirit as community of believers, and Christ as the imaginary Real gap between them. The American gothic writer Flannery O’Connor in her short story “A Temple of the Holy Ghost” provides a meditation on this Real Trinity. In O’Connor’s story a hermaphroditic circus freak becomes an emblem of the deadlock of sexual difference and a monstrous Christ-figure in the Žižekian sense. Its place is theologically incoherent and represents the passion for the Real emerging out of the perverse situation of mid-century Catholic orthodoxy. (shrink)
This chapter is a critical discussion of the third chapter of Tim O ' Connor ' s * Theism and Ultimate Explanation *. In this chapter, O ' Connor advances the & quot ; existence stage & quot ; of his cosmological argument from contingency. I argue that naturalists have good reason to think that on each of the live hypotheses -- infinite regress, brute contingency, brute necessity -- naturalism is preferable to theism.
This paper is a companion to an article that I published in *Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion*. The OSPR discusses the third chapter of Tim O'Connor's *Theism and Ultimate Explanation. This paper discusses a range of other issues that are not picked up in the OSPR discussion.
Return to Good and Evil: Flannery O'Connor's Response to Nihilism is a superb guide to the works of Flannery O'Connor; and like O'Connor's stories themselves, it is captivating, provocative, and unsettling. Edmondson organizes O'Connor's thought around her principal concern, that with the nihilistic claim that "God is dead" the traditional signposts of good and evil have been lost. Edmondson's book demonstrates that the combination of O'Connor's artistic brilliance and philosophical genius provide the best response to the nihilistic despair of the (...) modern world—a return to "good and evil" through humility and grace. (shrink)
Timothy O’Connor has recently defended a version of libertarianism that has significant advantages over similar accounts. One of these is an argument that secures indeterminism on the basis of an argument that shows how causal determinism threatens agency in virtue of the nature of the causal relation involved in free acts. In this paper, I argue that while it does turn out that free acts are not causally determined on O’Connor’s view, this fact is merely stipulative and the (...) argument that he presents for this conclusion begs the question. (shrink)
Timothy O’Connor presents a novel and powerful version of the cosmological argument from contingency. What distinguishes his argument is that it does not depend on the Principle of Sufficient Reason. This version thus avoids powerful objections facing the Principle. We present and develop the argument, strengthening it in various ways. We fill in big gaps in the argument and answer criticisms. These include the criticisms that O’Connor considers as well as new criticisms. We explain how his replies to (...) a Kantian criticism and to the demand for contrastive explanation fail, and properly answer the criticism and the demand. We develop two new criticisms, the objection from opaqueness and the objection from constitution, and explain how these objections can be answered. (shrink)
David O’Connor has criticized my arguments for the conclusion that God’s existence is compatible with genuinely gratuitous natural evil. In this reply, I show that his own arguments fail to achieve their objective; in addition, I point out several respects in which he has misstated my position.
While many authors have written about the undertone of violence present throughout Flannery O'Connor's short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find," little has been said about the specific references in the story to the Civil War. These references, though, serve to highlight questions concerning evil, guilt, and punishment that come to the fore especially in the culminating scene between the grandmother and The Misfit. In the end, the story seems to be suggesting, trying to determine the fittingness of (...) the evils we encounter may best be seen as a further manifestation of the pride that precipitated our original Fall; these are matters best left to God's judgment, not to ours. (shrink)
In this reply I consider David O’Connor’s article “A Variation on the Free Will Defense” in which he tries to show that natural evil is necessary for free will by showing that it is required for the possibility of “morally creditable free choice.” I argue that O’Connor’s reply to an anticipated objection was unsuccessful in showing that humans can be moral without the property he calls “p.” that an altered understanding of what “morally creditable free choice” is would (...) not help. and finally, that if God’s moral condition is fundamentally different than ours, it could not be used as an example of p being inessential for humans being moral. (shrink)
What I learned from you and what helped me in the ensuing years to find my way around in reality without selling my soul to it the way people in earlier times sold their souls to the devil is that the only thing of importance is not philosophies but the truth, that one has to live and think in the open and not in one's own little shell, no matter how comfortably furnished it is, and that necessity in whatever form (...) is only a will-o'-the-wisp that tries to lure us into playing a role instead of attempting to be a human being.On YouTube, you can find a recording of Flannery O'Connor reading "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." It is fun to hear the audience erupt in laughter when O'Connor, in her thick southern accent, has... (shrink)
In the present state of philosophy in the English-speaking world, to choose to talk about sense data may seem perverse. What could be more boring for one's audience than to attempt variations on so threadbare a theme? And worse, what could be more unfashionable in the aftermath of Wittgenstein and Austin? My reasons for selecting this unpromising topic are twofold. First, the general theme of this series of lectures is empiricism. And whatever meanings we put upon that ambiguous word, it (...) is clear that as a matter of history the problems of perception have been important problems for nearly all those philosophers who would consider themselves to be empiricists. And however unsatisfactory sense datum theories of perception may now be held to be, such theories have been central to the empiricist tradition. Secondly, it is important not to be too much impressed by the fact that a particular philosophical opinion is fashionable or unfashionable. The former certainly does not guarantee its truth nor the latter its falsity. It has often been remarked that philosophical opinions are very rarely refuted. Instead they fall out of vogue only to return some years later in another guise. It is perhaps time to take another look at the notion of sense data. The most ingenious and persistent attacks on analyses of perception in terms of sense data have been at best indecisive, as Professor Ayer showed in his reply to Austin's Sense and Sensibilia. (shrink)
Despite their differences, C.S. Lewis and Flannery O’Connor share a connection in their treatment of theological and ontological issues in their fiction and criticism. Reading their work dialectically challenges claims by their critics that these authors’ Christianity and its effect on their work consign them to the categories of “evangelist” or “propagandist” rather than “artist.” Instead, through the construction of a critical conversation between O’Connor’s “The Lame Shall Enter First” and Lewis’ Til We Have Faces, I argue that, (...) as artists, their religious identification allows them, through the use of a sacramental aesthetic, to imbue secular subjects in their literature with a sense of mystery, grace, and glory, accessible and relevant to both religious and non-religious readers. (shrink)
The recent Supreme Court decision upholding Roe v. Wade and in particular, the dissent by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, sheds new light on the issue of abortion. Let us consider any stage of a pregnancy when abortion is medically safe for the mother. If at that stage it is also medically viable to save the fetus, is an abortion performed at that stage of pregnancy morally justifiable? For example, if it is, or becomes, medically safe to perform abortions after first (...) trimester of pregnancy and at the same time saving a fetus is, or becomes, medically viable or not unusual during some stage of the second trimester, can abortions during and after that stage of pregnancy be justified? With a number of qualifications I shall argue the thesis that as a general rule, but not an absolute rule, abortion in these instances is not usually justifiable. For if it is, then one will also have to grant the moral justification for a number of other highly questionable medical practices. This thesis is not to be identified with the stronger claim that abortions of viable fetuses can never be performed. There are surely exceptions such as when the life or health of the mother is in danger. But, I shall argue, the justification for making such exceptions is on different grounds than is sometimes claimed because one must weigh the health of the mother against the life of another human being. (shrink)
Few Catholic writers are identified as immediately with a location as Flannery O’Connor is with the American South. Southern manners and grotesqueries dominate her short stories. Critical conversations have tended to take narrow this regional designation – “Southern Catholic writer” – to its most provincial interpretation, thus narrowing the possible meanings of place in O’Connor’s stories. This restriction runs counter to the author’s proclamations that Christian writers like her inhabit a “larger universe” than their secular neighbors. The purpose (...) of this essay is to examine the relationship between location, nation, and faith in O’Connor’s short fiction. Specifically, it reads the complex obligations represented in “The Displaced Person” in light of both influxes of European immigrants to the American South after World War II and O’Connor’s multi-national Catholic intellectual heritage. It seeks to locate Catholic fiction in an aesthetic of displacement and statelessness – a religious aesthetic that requires contemplating the tremendous borders that demarcate and delimit the author’s “larger universe.”. (shrink)
Return to Good and Evil: Flannery O'Connor's Response to Nihilism is a superb guide to the works of Flannery O'Connor; and like O'Connor's stories themselves, it is captivating, provocative, and unsettling. Edmondson organizes O'Connor's thought around her principal concern, that with the nihilistic claim that 'God is dead' the traditional signposts of good and evil have been lost. Edmondson's book demonstrates that the combination of O'Connor's artistic brilliance and philosophical genius provide the best response to the nihilistic despair of the (...) modern world—a return to 'good and evil' through humility and grace. (shrink)
In a pioneering book, Philosophy of Microbiology, Maureen O’Malley argues for the philosophical importance of microbes through an examination of their impact on ecosystems, evolution, biological classification, collaborative behavior, and multicellular organisms. She identifies many understudied conceptual issues in the study of microbes. If philosophers follow her lead, the philosophy of biology will be expanded and enriched.
Can one both be an Aristotelian in ethics and a negativist, whereby the latter involves subscribing to the view that the good cannot be known in our social context but that ethical guidance is nonetheless possible in virtue of a pluralist conception of the bad? Moreover, is it possible to combine Aristotelianism with a thoroughly historical outlook? I have argued that such combinations are, indeed, possible, and that we can find an example of them in Adorno's work. In this paper, (...) I reply to three critics who cast doubt on this proposal. I also reply to other concerns they raise, regarding immanent critique, negativism, the role of social theory in Adorno's work, and the danger of being co-opted. I stress the holism of Adorno's position, and, amid some more deflationary moves, insist on the distinctiveness of the Aristotelian position that results. (shrink)