Five essays of which two deserve special mention: Edward Ballard's survey and interpretation of the problem of intersubjectivity in Husserl, showing Husserl's place in the heritage of Kant, and a critical presentation by Andrew Reck of the social philosophy of Elijah Jordan. The other essays are: "The Impact of Science on Society," by James K. Feibleman; "The Social Import of Empiricism," by Paul G. Morison; and "The Case for Sociocracy," by Robert C. Whittemore. Careless printing proves distracting.--C. D.
This particular volume differs from other members of the series, in that it is historically as well as dialectically oriented, and is also less encyclopedic than the others. The first part develops six different theories of happiness and the second presents different controversies about happiness. In the first chapter, the author proposes Aristotle's eudemonism [[sic]] as the most complete and most influential of all theories of happiness, and he uses it as a matrix for most of the discussions in the (...) second part. Chapters following this initial exposition of Aristotle treat Plato's "mixed" eudemonism [[sic]], Stoic suppression of desire, concepts of transcendent happiness in Plotinus, Augustine and Aquinas, Kant's valorization of duty and Hegel's critique thereof, and Bentham's and Mill's utilitarianism. Moral issues discussed in the second part include: self-realization, happiness vs. performance of duty, fulfillment vs. prudence, and eudemonism [[sic]] vs. hedonism. The last thirty pages focus on contemporary pursuits of the good life, centered around the issue of self-actualization. This section is predominantly psychological, and treats very briefly some theories of Kurt Goldstein, G. W. Allport, Robert W. White, A. H. Maslow, Marie Jahoda, Carl Rogers, and Fromm. Although the author take sides, he does stimulate reflection about the good life through expositions which avoid more difficult philosophical problems but which definitely evoke practical individual and social overtones.--C. M. R. (shrink)
Essentially a history of religion in the twentieth century, this erudite work puts more emphasis on religion than on change and more faith in Christianity than in other traditions. Alive to the importance of the ecumenical movement and the Second Vatican Council, Edwards argues that no other religious groups in our time have the sophistication of the major Christian denominations in responding to the challenges of a scientifically based culture and an industrialized economy. He relates the major movements in modern (...) theology to a context informed by Marx and Freud, biology and technology, Eastern spirituality and Western revivalism. But he evades the challenge to revise our concept of God or demonstrate the meaningfulness of the traditional concept, with the plea that today's theologians have to be more humble than their predecessors in making dogmatic claims. From his vantage-point in England he judiciously assesses currents of thought in Europe and the United States, while showing more sensitivity to the views of British humanists than to the crises of faith and morals arising in contemporary political and social life. Despite his familiarity with the "new" morality and literary celebrations of the "death" of God, he ends with a relatively unperturbed affirmation of the biblical message concerning Jesus' death and resurrection. The result is a highly competent survey of how things stand at present for Western churchmen and theologians. The book has a few typographical and other errors, notably the placing of the last line first on page 260 and the footnote references to Sir Humphrey rather than Hamilton Gibb and to Robert rather than Richard Robinson.--C. P. S. (shrink)
C. S. Peirce claimed that the pragmatic method of clarifying ideas is "nothing but a particular application of an older logical rule, 'By their fruits ye shall know them.'"1 While Jesus spoke about discriminating between true and false religious teachers, Peirce was concerned with clarifying our intellectual concepts. Peirce's pragmatism asserts that we clearly understand the meaning of a concept if we can state the potentially practical and empirical consequences that would follow from the truth of a proposition involving that (...) concept. Robert C. Neville's semiotic and pragmatic theory of religious truth unites Jesus's and Peirce's concerns, proposing that religious truth consists in an adaptedness or fit between... (shrink)
I have been arguing, for almost thirty years now, that emotions have been unduly neglected in philosophy. Back in the seventies, it was an argument that attracted little sympathy. I have also been arguing that emotions are a ripe for philosophical analysis, a view that, as evidenced by the Manchester 2001 conference and a large number of excellent publications, has now become mainstream. My own analysis of emotion, first published in 1973, challenged the sharp divide between emotions and rationality, insisted (...) that we reject the established notion that the emotions are involuntary, and argued, in a brief slogan, that ‘emotions are judgments.’ Since then, although the specific term ‘judgment’ has come under considerable fire and my voluntarist thesis continues to attract incredulousness the general approach I took to emotions has been widely accepted in both philosophy and the social sciences. When Paul Griffiths took on what he misleadingly characterized as ‘propositional attitude’ theories of emotion as the enemy of all that was true and scientifically worthy, I knew that we had made it. Such ferocious abuse is surely a sign that we had shifted, in Kuhnian terms, from being revolutionary to becoming the ‘normal’ paradigm. The current counter-revolution of affect programmes and neuro-reductionism says a lot about who we are and how far we have come. (shrink)
I would like to defend a conception of life that many of us in philosophy practice but few of us preach, and with it a set of virtues that have often been ignored in ethics. In short, I would like to defend what philosopher Sam Keen, among many others, has called the passionate life. It is neither exotic nor unfamiliar. It is a life defined by emotions, by impassioned engagement and belief, by one or more quests, grand projects, embracing affections. (...) It is also sometimes characterized in terms of frenzy, vaulting ambition, essentially insatiable goals, impossible affections. I want to contrast this conception of life with ordinary morality and “being a good person,” although for obvious reasons I do not want to say that one must give up the latter in pursuing the former. This is a mistake that Nietzsche often suggests with his “immor-alist” posturing and warrior metaphors, but I am convinced—on a solid textual basis—that he intended no such result. Nor do I want to dogmatically assert any superiority of a passionate, engaged life over a life that is more calm and routine. On the other hand, I do want to raise the question whether mere proper living, obedience to the law, utilitarian “rational choice” calculations, respect for others' rights and for contracts, and a bit of self-righteousness is all there is to a good life, even if one “fills in” the nonmoral spaces with permissible pleasures and accomplishments. Even a greatly enriched version of Kant, in other words, such as that recently defended by Barbara Herman, unfairly denigrates a kind of life that many of us deem desirable. (shrink)
Give style to your character, a great and rare art. Nietzsche Gay Science What are we to make of Nietzsche? There has been an explosion of scholarship over the past twenty years, much of it revealing and insightful, a good deal of it controversial if not polemical. The controversy and polemics are for the most part straight from Nietzsche, of course, and the scholarly disputes over what he ‘really’ meant are rather innocuous and often academic compared with what Nietzsche meant (...) with his conscientiously inflammatory rhetoric and hyperbole. We have been treated to extended debates about Nietzsche's politics, his attacks on Christianity and morality, his famed notion of the übermensch and his less lampooned doctrine of the ‘eternal recurrence’. We have recently heard Nietzsche reinterpreted as an analytic philosopher, as a deconstructionist, as a feminist, even as a closet Christian and a liberal. Stephen Aschheim suggests in his recent book that Nietzsche provides us with something like a Rorschach test, inviting readers with amazingly different commitments and ideologies to ‘make their own Nietzsche’. But there is another approach to Nietzsche, something quite different from interpreting him in terms of his various ‘theses’ and positions, unpacking his ‘system’ or repeating unhelpfully that he displayed no such coherence and consistency, something more than finding out ‘who’ Nietzsche is as opposed to what we have made out of him. The simplest way of getting at this alternative approach might be to ask, what Nietzsche would make of us? I grant that this is a bit cryptic, and it invites a variety of unflattering answers. But I think it is very much in the spirit of what he are all about. It is an intimately personal approach to Nietzsche, an approach that will, no doubt, be somewhat different for each and every one of us. But that, too, of course, is just what Nietzsche would have demanded. (shrink)
Must no one at all, then, be called happy while he lives; must we, as Solon says, see the end? Even if we are to lay down this doctrine, is it also the case that a man is happy when he is dead ? Or is not this quite absurd, especially for us who say that happiness is an activity? But if we do not call the dead man happy, and if Solon does not mean this, but that one can (...) then safely call a man blessed, as being at last beyond evils and misfortunes, this also affords matter for discussion; for both evil and good are thought to exist for a dead man, as much as for one who is alive but not aware of them; e.g. honours and dishonours and the good or bad fortunes of children, and in general of descendants. And this also presents a problem; for though a man has lived happily until old age and has had a death worthy of his life, many reverses may befall his descendants—some of them may be good and attain the life they deserve, while with others the opposite may be the case; and clearly too the degrees of relationship between them and their ancestors may vary indefinitely. It would be odd, then, if the dead man were to share in these changes and become at one time happy, at another wretched; while it would also be odd if the fortunes of the descendants did not for some time have some effect on the happiness of their ancestors. (shrink)
Charles S. Peirce’s semeiotic—his theory about signs, reference, interpretation, meaning, and communication—is applicable with illuminating results to innumerable processes of semeiosis or sign interpretation. Robert C. Neville is the first deep student of Peirce’s semeiotic to have systematically applied that theory to the analysis and theory of theological signs, interpretation, and truth—hereafter, theological semeiotic. The result is easily the deepest and richest theological semeiotic currently available. Being the best, it is also most worthy of critique. In this essay, I (...) argue that Neville misinterprets Peirce’s concept of an index, conceiving an index in terms of the interpreter-object rather than... (shrink)
Robert C. Solomon saw spirituality and emotion as interpenetrating themes. I will summarize his views on spirituality and then introduce the articles in the special issue in his honor. Relating emotional integrity to spirituality, Bob argues that it is precisely through engagement - throwing ourselves into relationships and endeavors - that we come to recognize ourselves as part of something much larger than ourselves. Spirituality is an on-going adventure according to Bob, and it recommends itself in the way that (...) all adventures do. It is exciting and fun, a matter of an overflowing passionate life. (shrink)
Robert C. Scharff has written what we might call, after Nietzsche, a timely meditation. It is timely in that it is aimed at our particular time , and it is a meditation on timeliness, on what it means to do philosophy within time and history . These two topics meet in his depiction of our time as one that is either not fully aware of or that actively suppresses its own timeliness, its own determination by its time and historical (...) context, due largely to analytic philosophy’s remaining caught in the vestigial grips of positivism and the dominance of science. We may be “After Positivism,” but we are not wholly past positivism. Scharff considers this ahistorical approach untenable because, as he informs us in the book’s second sentence, all meditations are timely: time and historical context inescapably determine how and what we meditate on, especially the attempts to escape them.Scharff identifies our place in history as “after posi .. (shrink)
As his student, colleague, and friend, my learning process with Robert Neville has experienced two stages of perplexity, which I think represent to a large extent other scholars' similar experience of engaging Neville's thought. The two stages can be described as follows. First, given their familiarity with existing divisions of human knowledge of religion within modern research universities, scholars reading Neville's work may be confused by questions concerning its disciplinary nature, or what it is all about. Is it theology, (...) philosophy, or religious studies? Second, however, after reading and thinking hard with Neville for a longer time, scholars may begin to question why we need those divisions at all.These... (shrink)
On his website, Robert Cummings Neville makes an interesting remark: My serious intellectual life began in 1944 at the age of five when a kindergarten classmate told me that God is a person. I checked with my father about this, and he said, “No, Jesus was a person but God is more like electricity or light.” This seemed reasonable and triggered in me a decisive love of God. Electricity makes things go, like my electric train, and my father explained (...) that God makes everything go, which remains my theology to the present day.1 The question I want to discuss in this paper goes back to the very early beginnings of Neville’s outstanding academic career. Over.. (shrink)
Robert Holub’s book, Nietzsche’s Jewish Problem: Between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Judaism, fundamentally concerns two topics: Was Nietzsche the man anti-Jewish? Was he somehow responsible for inspiring anti-Semites and particularly fascists and Nazis? These are different issues—one of biography, the other of reception—and Holub would have been advised not to link them in a single volume. Nonetheless, one reason for the connection is immediately evident. Holub distinguishes between anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism, separating them before discussing their interplay. He conceives the first as (...) a nationalist political movement opposed to Jews, and the second as prejudices against Jews at a personal level.... (shrink)
Robert Neville’s three-volume set, Philosophical Theology, is a work of considerable physical heft and remarkable intellectual scope, a magnum opus that redefines how we understand religion and its place in the interconnected world of today: “Religion is human engagement of ultimacy expressed in cognitive articulations, existential responses to ultimacy that give ultimate definition to the individual and community, and patterns of life and ritual in the face of ultimacy”. This new definition is necessitated by the fact that “the ultimate (...) reality of the world consists in its being created in all its spatiotemporal complexity by an ontological act of creation”. Philosophical... (shrink)
The article “The EU Top Court Rules that Married Same-Sex Couples Can Move Freely Between EU Member States as “Spouses”: Case C-673/16, Relu Adrian Coman, Robert Clabourn Hamilton, Asociaţia Accept v Inspectoratul General pentru Imigrări, Ministerul Afacerilor Interne”, written by “Alina Tryfonidou” was originally published electronically on the publisher’s internet portal on 23 April 2019 without open access.
I am grateful for Mr Bagger's thoughtful remarks, as well as those of Professors Cousins, Smith, Katz, and Gimello at a recent American Academy of Religion panel devoted to The Problem of Pure Consciousness . But I cannot help but be struck by the tone of Mr Bagger's notice. As one colleague communicated to me after reading the piece, this is one of the most gratuitously rude pieces he had ever seen! If our book is really as bad as all (...) this, it makes one wonder why Religious Studies , or Mr Bagger, would bother to give it such attention, and whether it indicates how deeply we have touched a nerve in the contemporary debate. (shrink)
In a message posted to one of the cognitive science discussion groups the author asked, to paraphrase roughly, what should be read to get an up-to-date account of research into color naming? My advice is (and was) to consider the two books under review here: C. L. Hardin and Luisa Maffis excellent collection of essays on color language research; Robert MacLaurys magnum opus on color naming and cognition.
This book is a major contribution to a growing literature in character-based or responsibilist epistemology. One point I criticize is the author's claim that intellectual virtues must be “indexed to world views” (318) which is line-drawing maneuver that would remove religious beliefs deemed basic in a given tradition from rational criticism. Still, the overall effect of the authors’ regulative epistemology is nevertheless to put religious believers and secularists, and again Christian and non-Christian faith traditions, on a far better path towards (...) mutual understanding and respect. (shrink)