Currently the Enlightenment tradition is under such intense attack that Richard Bernstein calls the present mood a “rage against the enlightenment.” The purpose of this essay is to defend the deep spirit of the Enlightenment, the position that no idea, proposition, or principle should be beyond critical assessment. The defense involves an examination of and a response to two criticisms of the Enlightenment: first that the Enlightenment disdainfully rejects religion, particularly Christianity, and second that Enlightenment thinkers had a misguided confidence (...) in the powers of a-historical reason, i. e. the notion that humans have a rational capacity, unaffected by context or historical circumstance, to arrive at truth. (shrink)
Brumbaugh divides Western philosophic systems into four families: Platonist, Aristotelian, Democritean, and Anaxagorean. He plots these on a graph with the X-axis designating the method of the system and the Y-axis the direction. Method refers to the system's tendency to employ either dialectical thinking in emphasizing the whole or analysis in emphasizing the parts out of which the whole is constructed. He uses Richard McKeon's terms "holoscopic" for the former, and "meroscopic" for the latter. Direction refers to the system's emphasis (...) on form or matter. The four possible combinations are graphed by Brumbaugh. Both axes are needed, "for the forms of the formalists may be hierarchical and continuous, as Plato's are, or actual only for a discrete set, as are Aristotle's. And the 'matter' of the y direction can be either the hard, insulated particles of Democritus' atomic theory or the continuous flow of Heraclitean process". (shrink)
MORALITY, JUSTICE AND THE LAW is a co-edited volume pulling together selections on theories of the moral underpinnings of law, morality and lawyering (including the religious lawyering movement), civil disobedience, capital punishment and immigration. The book was published by Prometheus Books in 2007.