Theistic philosophers often tend to assume an inferiority complex attitude of defensiveness in the face of antitheistic argument. They know that their own traditions of argumentation can easily fall into a repetitive rut by failing to incorporate the new insights or adjust to the new challenges of ongoing contemporary philosophy. But they tend to take it for granted that antitheistic argumentation will almost by definition be up-to-date, alert, freshly minted, using the best tools of the latest thought. I would like (...) to submit that antitheistic traditions too can fall into a traditional rut of out-of-date, already discredited, or no longer relevant arguments. They too can become turned in on themselves and self-repetitive, tilting at long dead, if ever existent, adversaries. (shrink)
Plotinus’ account of matter in Ennead III 6 11-15 serves two purposes. The terms, evil and ugly, present the negative side of matter’s causality, providing for the change characteristic of the sensible world and the possibility of ontological evil and privation as well as of moral evil among human beings. The receptacle and other images from Plato’s Timaeus present the positive side of this causality, matter as allowing for the presence of forms in the bodies of the sensible world. Plotinus (...) explicitly articulates the linguistic problem surrounding the nature of matter, since language is derived from the corporeal and thus needs constant correction when applied to matter as incorporeal. His use of language, thus, always has two phases, first, capturing the nature of matter as aptly as possible, and second, highlighting the difference between matter and the image, analogy, or metaphor used to help explain it. (shrink)
In examining Ennead VI 4, we find Plotinus in conflict with modern, i.e., Cartesian or Kantian, assumptions about the relation of soul and body and the identification of the self with the subject. Curiously, his images and exposition are more in tune with Twentieth Century notions such as wave and field. With these as keys, we are in a position to unlock the subtlety of Plotinus' analysis of the way soul and body are present together, with sensation structured through the (...) body and judgment coming from the soul. The problem of the self concerns not only the unity of the self in terms of body and soul, but also how the self is constituted in relation to other selves, both keeping its individuality and sharing its experiences at the same time. (shrink)
Fourteen essays are here collected from a number of periodicals. Six deal with the relations between language and the world, two with rules, one with possibility, two with causation, one with time, and two with the "problem of induction." In an appendix, Prof. Black notes various objections that have been made to his views. Though some of the essays are rather slight, a number of valuable points are made, and the volume on the whole is quite useful. --J. B. S.
Schleiermacher's Copernican revolution in theology is effected through his presentation of the Christian mythos in terms of a phenomenological anthropology of self-consciousness. Moreover, as Niebuhr shows in this apt study of some features of Schleiermacher's theological thinking, the principles which determine the shape of that revolution can be deduced neither from a biblical dogmatics allegedly purified of philosophical presuppositions nor from a philosophy uninformed by theological experience. In the first part of the book, Niebuhr discusses Schleiermacher's little-known work The Christmas (...) Eve: A Dialogue, affording us a picture of the author's starting-point in the experience of a salvation or potentiated self-consciousness which is historically and socially mediated. The subsequent analysis of the lectures on hermeneutics and ethics discloses the object of Schleiermacher's inquiry to be not the supernatural being that posits the cosmos, but the creative Logos indwelling the individual and all men by means of the common, organic media of human existence in which the self both comes to be and comes to create history and culture. Finally, The Christian Faith is reviewed by Niebuhr in terms of the expression it gives to the mature Schleiermacher's theology and christology. The primordial consciousness of being-in-relation reveals the historical, societal, worldly context of the self and the various polarities of the self's existence such that religion emerges as a phenomenon coterminous with man's affective response to the relationships in which the whole of human nature is bound, and theology, the "daughter of religion," becomes the methodology by which the articulation of an affective determination of self-consciousness is achieved. The rigorously pursued explicitation [[sic]] of the forms and determinations of self-consciousness is interpreted by Niebuhr with a penetration and a sympathy at once acute and comprehensive. By giving us a series of insights into Schleiermacher's "thinking in motion," Niebuhr has contributed a cogent testimony to the nineteenth-century theologian's central importance in the fields of hermeneutical theory, philosophical ethics, philosophy of religion and culture, and theology. One would have welcomed a more critical appraisal of Schleiermacher's view of the formal and material compatibility of philosophy and theology, understanding and feeling, inasmuch as the scope of theological inquiry appears to be limited by the boundaries of reason set forth in the ethics, and philosophical anthropology is apparently reduced to a rather sophisticated phenomenology of religious experience. In any case, Niebuhr's scholarly treatment of the material should lead the reader to an informed examination of Schleiermacher's text.--J. M. S. (shrink)
This work contains three essays which were delivered at a Symposium in 1966 at the Free University in Brussels, convened to pay homage to Martin Buber. The first essay, by Gabriel Marcel, attempts to edify the reader on Buber's philosophical anthropology, his philosophy of dialogue, political philosophy, and his philosophy of religion. There are frequent comparisons between Marcel's point of view and Buber's. The essay is particularly strong where Marcel analyzes Buber's notion of the "we." His perceptive examination of this (...) subject points up the affinity between his own and the Jewish philosopher's thought. The essay by Emmanuel Levinas, "La Pensée de Martin Buber et le Judaïsme Contemporain," sketches current Jewish thought and finds that it was Buber who gave it direction. Levinas provides also an account of the enormous work which Buber did in establishing Hassidism as an important stage in Hebraic thought. The last essay, by André Lacocque, deals with Protestant theology and the possible application of Buber's ideas to it. There is an extended comparison between the views of Kierkegaard and those of Buber on man's relationship with God and the author concludes that Buber's point of view is more compatible with modern Christianity than was Kierkegaard's.--S. J. B. (shrink)
Even though since 1965 the Great Cultural Revolution was basically an internal struggle in Mainland China, it coincided with a high tide of criticism toward Russian revisionism and therefore constituted a struggle for defining the ideological line of the Chinese Communist Party. As an internal struggle, the Great Cultural Revolution subjected all phases of cultural activity and personnel to a severe political grinding down so that a more uniform political consciousness of Maoism was generated as the guiding principle of the (...) nation; as an attempt to repudiate Russian revisionism and to assert the ideological identity of Maoism, the Great Cultural Revolution has helped in practice to provide a model of continuing revolution for a genuinely pursued Marxist society. In his long article, Chou Yang, who himself later became a target and victim of the Great Cultural Revolution, spelled out the latter message and hinted at the former possibility. What is even more significant is that he stressed repeatedly the importance of the role philosophy workers and social science workers must play in waging an ideological struggle against both Marxist revisionism and capitalism, on the one hand, and the importance of political leadership in the studies and works of philosophy and the social sciences, on the other. (shrink)