In philosophy /ontology/ as well as in physics one deals with various kinds of ESSE. Quantum objects do not obey the Bell inequalities, which are natural for macroscopic objects. Some beings may be real but not actual. Actual beings are those which show up NOW. For a physicist this seems to correspond to a reduction of the wave packet. Existence in an atractor.
In this text, the word “anima” is the synonym of the notion of “conscious observer”. The paper discusses subjects from the field of physics and metaphysics in which there is a need to introduce such an observer, according to some authors.
For much of the past two centuries, religion has been understood as a universal phenomenon, a part of the “natural” human experience that is essentially the same across cultures and throughout history. Individual religions may vary through time and geographically, but there is an element, religion, that is to be found in all cultures during all time periods. Taking apart this assumption, Brent Nongbri shows that the idea of religion as a sphere of life distinct from (...) politics, economics, or science is a recent development in European history—a development that has been projected outward in space and backward in time with the result that religion now appears to be a natural and necessary part of our world. Examining a wide array of ancient writings, Nongbri demonstrates that in antiquity, there was no conceptual arena that could be designated as “religious” as opposed to “secular.” Surveying representative episodes from a two-thousand-year period, while constantly attending to the concrete social, political, and colonial contexts that shaped relevant works of philosophers, legal theorists, missionaries, and others, Nongbri offers a concise and readable account of the emergence of the concept of religion. (shrink)
Masterfully interweaving political, religious, and historical themes, _Not by Reason Alone_ creates a new interpretation of early modern political thought. Where most accounts assume that modern thought followed a decisive break with Christianity, Joshua Mitchell reveals that the line between the age of faith and that of reason is not quite so clear. Instead, he shows that the ideas of Luther, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau draw on history, rather than reason alone, for a sense of political authority. This erudite (...) and ambitious work crosses disciplinary boundaries to expose unsuspected connections between political theory, religion, and history. In doing so, it offers a view of modern political thought undistorted by conventional distinctions between the ancient and the modern, and between the religious and the political. "Original.... A delight to read a political philosopher who takes the theologies of Hobbes and Locke seriously." —J. M. Porter, _Canadian Journal of History_ "Mitchell's argument both illuminates and fascinates.... An arresting, even stunning, contribution to our study of modern political thought."—William R. Stevenson, Jr., _Christian Scholar's Review_. (shrink)
Different religious traditions offer apparently very different pictures of the world. How are we to make sense of this radical diversity of religious belief? In this book, Professor Godlove argues that religions are alternative conceptual frameworks, the categories of which organise experience in diverse ways. He traces the history of this idea from Kant to Durkheim, and then proceeds to discuss two constraints on the diversity of all human judgment and belief: first that human experience is made possible by (...) shared, a priori rules, and second, that as language-users we must presuppose that we hold the vast bulk of our beliefs in common. Given these unavoidable constraints, it is clear how religions may offer encompassing symbolic systems that often diverge dramatically from one another. 'An original and brilliant critique of Durkheim and Kant from within the framework of Davidson's semantic theory. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the academic study of religion, and the problems of relativism and the diversity of belief.' -- Hans H. Penner, Dartmouth CollegeDifferent religious traditions offer apparently very different pictures of the world. How are we to make sense of this radical diversity of religious belief? In this book, Professor Godlove argues that religions are alternative conceptual frameworks, the categories of which organise experience in diverse ways. He traces the history of this idea from Kant to Durkheim, and then proceeds to discuss two constraints on the diversity of all human judgment and belief: first that human experience is made possible by shared, a priori rules, and second, that as language-users we must presuppose that we hold the vast bulk of our beliefs in common. Given these unavoidable constraints, it is clear how religions may offer encompassing symbolic systems that often diverge dramatically from one another. 'An original and brilliant critique of Durkheim and Kant from within the framework of Davidson's semantic theory. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the academic study of religion, and the problems of relativism and the diversity of belief.' -- Hans H. Penner, Dartmouth College. (shrink)
v. 1. Ancient philosophy of religion -- v. 2. Medieval philosophy of religion -- v. 3. Early modern philosophy of religion -- v. 4. Nineteenth-century philosophy of religion -- v. 5. Twentieth-century philosophy of religion.
Referred to as the "bible of American lawyers," Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England shaped the principles of law in both England and America when its first volume appeared in 1765. For the next century that law remained what Blackstone made of it. Daniel J. Boorstin examines why Commentaries became the most essential knowledge that any lawyer needed to acquire. Set against the intellectual values of the eighteenth century-and the notions of Reason, Nature, and the Sublime-- Commentaries is at (...) last fitted into its social setting. Boorstin has provided a concise intellectual history of the time, illustrating all the elegance, social values, and internal contradictions of the Age of Reason. (shrink)
This essay seeks to clarify the relationship between history and religion in the modern age. It proceeds in three steps. First, it draws attention to the radical asymmetry between first-person and third-person statements that Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations rescued from the metaphysical exile to which it had been condemned by Descartes’s definition of the self as a thing. Second, it argues that religion is designed to alleviate the peculiarly human kind of suffering arising from this asymmetry. Third, it (...) maintains that history relies on the same means as religion in order to achieve the same results. The turn to historical evidence performed by historians and their readers is more than just a path to knowledge. It is a religious ritual designed to make participants at home in their natural and social environments. Quite like the ritual representation of the death and resurrection of Christ in the Mass, the historical representation of the past underwrites the faith in human liberty and the hope in redemption from suffering. It helps human beings to find their bearings in the modern age without having to go to pre-industrial churches and pray in old agrarian ways. History does not conflict with the historical religions merely because it reveals them to have been founded on beliefs that cannot be supported by the evidence. History conflicts with the historical religions because it is a rival religion. (shrink)
[from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and Johan De (...) Smedt examine the cognitive origins of arguments in natural theology. They find that although natural theological arguments can be very sophisticated, they are rooted in everyday intuitions about purpose, causation, agency, and morality. Using evidence and theories from disciplines including the cognitive science of religion, evolutionary ethics, evolutionary aesthetics, and the cognitive science of testimony, they show that these intuitions emerge early in development and are a stable part of human cognition. -/- De Cruz and De Smedt analyze the cognitive underpinnings of five well-known arguments for the existence of God: the argument from design, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the argument from beauty, and the argument from miracles. Finally, they consider whether the cognitive origins of these natural theological arguments should affect their rationality. (shrink)
This ambitious study, by a professor of rhetoric, proposes itself as "intellectual history in a traditional sense" and not as philosophical discourse. Though philosophy does not appear in its title, however, much of its content will appear to philosophers as pertaining to their discipline, and the thesis it develops surely commends itself to philosophical critique. The author's aim, at least in part, is to challenge "the commonly held view" that the scientific revolution created or intensified the modern division between (...) the humanities and the sciences. In the early Renaissance, she argues, rhetoric and philosophy were seen as "pursuing different goals by different means," with rhetoric assigned to the humanities and concerned with opinion and probability and science assigned to philosophy and concerned with truth and certainty. Such a dichotomy was broken down at the onset of the modern period, she holds, particularly in seventeenth-century England, where a sceptical approach to knowledge made for common ground between humanists and scientists. The weakening of knowledge claims in the probabilistic empiricism of the period is thus, for her, the key to understanding its intellectual life and the climate of opinion in which it flourished. To make the point she devotes successive chapters to natural philosophy and empirical science; religion; history; law; witchcraft; and language, communication, and literature. The presentation is scholarly throughout and well documented in an abundance of notes at the end of the volume. Considering the difficulty of her thesis and its extremely broad range the author argues her case well; yet there are problems with it that make one wonder whether her generalization can claim validity in anything more than a trivial sense. (shrink)
Philip Hefner identifies three settings in which to assess the future of science and religion: the academy, the public sphere, and the faith community. This essay argues that the discourse of science and religion could improve its standing within the secular academy in America by shifting the focus from theology to history. In the public sphere, the science-and-religion discourse could play an important role of promoting tolerance and respect toward the religious Other. For a given faith (...) community (for example, Judaism) the discourse of science and religion can ensure future intellectual depth by virtue of study and ongoing interpretation. The essay challenges the suggestion to adopt irony as a desirable posture for science-and-religion discourse. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau: Three Versions of the Civil Religion Project: 1. Rousseau's problem; 2. The Machiavellian solution: paganization of Christianity; 3. Moses and Mohammed as founder-princes or legislators; 4. Re-founding and 'filiacide': Machiavelli's debt to Christianity; 5. The Hobbesian solution: Judaicization of Christianity; 6. Behemoth: Hobbesian 'theocracy' versus the real thing; 7. Geneva Manuscript: the apparent availability of a Rousseauian solution; 8. Social Contract: the ultimate unavailability of a Rousseauian solution; Part II. Responses (...) to (and Partial Incorporations of) Civil Religion within the Liberal Tradition: 9. Baruch Spinoza: from civil religion to liberalism; 10. Philosophy and piety: problems in Spinoza's case for liberalism (owing to a partial reversion to civil religion); 11. Spinoza's interpretation of the Commonwealth of the Hebrews, and why civil religion is a continuing presence in his version of liberalism; 12. John Locke: the liberal paradigm; 13. 'The gods of the philosophers' I: Locke and John Toland; 14. Bayle's republic of atheists; 15. Montesquieu's pluralized civil religion; 16. The Straussian rejection of the enlightenment as applied to Bayle and Montesquieu; 17. 'The gods of the philosophers' II: Rousseau and Kant; 18. Hume as a successor to Bayle; 19. Adam Smith's sequal to Hume (and Hobbes); 20. Christianity as civil religion: Tocqueville's response to Rousseau; 21. John Stuart Mill's project to turn atheism into a religion; 22. Mill's critics; 23. John Rawls's genealogy of liberalism; 24. Prosaic liberalism: Montesquieu versus Machiavelli, Rousseau, Nietzsche; Part III. Theocratic Responses to Liberalism: 25. Joseph de Maistre: the theocratic paradigm; 26. Maistrean politics; 27. Maistre and Rousseau: theocracy versus civil religion; 28. Carl Schmitt's 'theocratic' critique of Hobbes; Part IV. Post-Modern 'Theism': Nietzsche and Heidegger's Continuing Revolt Against Liberalism: 29. Nietzsche, Weber, Freud: the twentieth century confronts the death of God; 30. Nietzsche's civil religion; 31. Heidegger's sequel to Nietzsche: the longing for new gods; 32. Conclusion. (shrink)
Hume's 'Natural History of Religion' offers a naturalized account of the causes of religious thought, an investigation into its 'origins' rather than its 'foundation in reason'. Hume thinks that if we consider only the causes of religious belief, we are provided with a reason to suspend the belief. I seek to explain why this is so, and what role the argument plays in Hume's wider campaign against the rational acceptability of religious belief. In particular, I argue that the (...) work threatens a form of fideism which maintains that it is rationally permissible to maintain religious belief in the absence of evidence or of arguments in its favour. I also discuss the 'argument from common consent', and the relative superiority of Hume's account of the origins of religious belief. (shrink)
David Hume is the greatest and also one of the most provocative philosophers to have written in the English language. No philosopher is more important for his careful, critical, and deeply perceptive examination of the grounds for belief in divine powers and for his sceptical accounts of the causes and consequences of religious belief, expressed most powerfully in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion. The Dialogues ask if belief in God can be (...) inferred from the nature of the universe or whether it is even consistent with what we know about the universe. The Natural History of Religion investigates the origins of belief, and follows its development from harmless polytheism to dogmatic monotheism. Together they constitute the most formidable attack upon the rationality of religious belief ever mounted by a philosopher. This edition also includes Section XI of The Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and a letter concerning the Dialogues, as well as particularly helpful critical apparatus and abstracts of the main texts, enabling the reader to locate or relocate key topics. (shrink)
An interdisciplinary reappraisal of Lynn White, Jr.’s “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis” reopens several issues, including the suggestion by Peter Harrison that White’s thesis was historical and that it is a mistake to regard it as theological. It also facilitates a comparison between “Roots” and White’s earlier book Medieval Technology and Social Change. In “Roots,” White discarded or de-emphasized numerous qualifications and nuances present in his earlier work so as to heighten the effect of certain rhetorical aphorisms and (...) to generalize their scope and bearing well beyond what the evidence could bear. The meaning of Genesis and other biblical books proves to be just as important in White’s thesis as their historical reception. In “Roots,” White presents, alongside other contentions, the claims that Christian doctrines have all along been both anthropocentric and despotic, especially in the West, and that this is where the real roots of the problems are to be found. These claims, however, conflict with most of the relevant evidence. An adequate reappraisal of White’s work needs to recognize that there is a cultural determinism parallel to the technological determinisms alleged by R. H. Hilton and P. H. Sawyer, to endorse Elspeth Whitney’s “single-cause” critique of links between religion and technological change in the Middle Ages, and to treat sympathetically Whitney’s claim that White and some of his eco-theological critics have in common both their valorizing of individual beliefs and values and their neglect of economic and institutional factors. Nevertheless, our ecological problems need to be understood through explanations turning on beliefs and values as well as on economics and institutions. (shrink)
This paper discusses Spinoza's critique of religion as a visible moment of a radically occluded materialist Judeo-Arabic Aristotelian philosophical tradition. While the prevailing tradition begins with the familiar gesture to metaphysics as first philosophy, Spinoza's thought takes politics as its point of departure with its concrete emphasis on a critique of dogma. This paper will show-by way of differing readings of Spinoza-how this materialist tradition becomes occluded by the prevailing tradition, even in the work of such careful materialist Spinoza (...) commentators as Etienne Balibar. (shrink)
Intellectual history, philosophy, and science’s own self-understanding undermine the claim that science entails or need even tend toward atheism. By definition a radically transcendent creator-God is inaccessible to empirical investigation. Denials of the possibility or actual occurrence of miracles depend not on science itself, but on naturalist assumptions that derive originally from a univocal metaphysics with its historical roots in medieval nominalism, which in turn have deeply influenced philosophy and science since the seventeenth century. The metaphysical postulate of naturalism (...) and its correlative empiricist epistemology constitute methodological self-limitations of science -- only an unjustified move from postulate to assertion permits ideological scientism and atheism. It is entirely possible that religious claims consistent with the empirical findings of the natural and social sciences might be true. Therefore, historians of religion not only need not assume that atheism i. (shrink)
" "Each of these essays contains insights which will be fruitful and challenging for professional students of religion, but at the same time they all retain the kind of cultural relevance and clarity of style which makes them accessible to ...
David Hume’s critique of religion reveals what seems to be a vacillation in his commitment to an argument-based paradigm of legitimate believing. On the one hand, Hume assumes such a traditional model of rational justification of beliefs in order to point to the weakness of some classical arguments for religious belief, to chastise the believer for extrapolating to a conclusion which outstrips its evidential warrant. On the other hand, Hume, ‘mitigated’ or naturalist skeptic that he is, at other times (...) rejects an argumentbased paradigm of certainty and truth, and so sees as irrelevant the traditional or ‘regular’ model of rational justification; he places a premium on instinctive belief, as both unavoidable and more reliable than reasoning. On this view, a forceful critique of religion would have to fault it, not for failing to meet criteria of rational argument, but for failing to be the right sort of instinct. (shrink)
The rejection of confessional commitments in the study of religion in favor of social-scientific or humanistic theories of religion has produced not unbiased accounts, but reductionist explanations of religious belief and practice with embedded secular biases that preclude the understanding of religious believer-practitioners. These biases derive from assumptions of undemonstrable, dogmatic, metaphysical naturalism or its functional equivalent, an epistemological skepticism about all truth claims of revealed religions. Because such assumptions are so widespread among scholars today, they are not (...) often explicitly articulated. They were overtly asserted by Emile Durkheim in his Elementary Forms of Religious Life, however, and are implicit in the claims of two other thinkers influential in the study of early modern Christianity in recent years, namely Clifford Geertz and Michel Foucault. The use of such theories in the history of religion yields secular confessional history, parallel to traditional religious confessional history only with different embedded metaphysical beliefs. If scholars want to understand religious persons such that the latter would recognize themselves in what is said about them, rather than impose their own metaphysical convictions on them, then they should reject metaphysically biased reductionist theories of religion no less than confessional religious assumptions in the practice of their scholarship. Instead, a study of religion guided not by theories but by the question, “What did it mean to them?” and which is particularized in metaphysically neutral ways offers a third alternative that avoids confessional history, whether religious or secular. When carried out consistently for multiple traditions, such an approach can reconstruct disagreements that point beyond description to historical explanation of change over time. (shrink)