In what follows, I analyze Ralph Strode's treatise on obligations. I have used a hitherto unpublished edition of the text (based on 14 manuscripts) made by Prof. E.J. Ashworth. I first give a brief description of Strode's text, which is all the more necessary given that it is not available to the average reader; I also offer a reconstruction of the rules proposed by Strode, following the style of reconstruction used in my analysis of Burley's and Swyneshed's rules elsewhere—that (...) is, essentially based on the idea that obligationes can be viewed as logical games. In the second part, I address Strode's explicit arguments contra Swyneshed. In the third part, I discuss Strode's epistemic and pragmatic approach to obligationes. (shrink)
Drawing upon Nel Noddings’ contention that, if children are to be happy in schools, their teachers should also be happy, this paper tries to explore a way in which the obviously intimate but seemingly conflicting connections between students’ and teachers’ happiness can be understood from the viewpoint of Stanley Cavell’s reading of J. S. Mill. Mill’s conceptions of desire and pleasure are examined as a means of liberating the above connection from existing prioritization: that is, teachers’ or students’ happiness comes (...) first. The pursuit of happiness for both teachers and students is discussed, in the hopes of illuminating alternative images of teacher education. (shrink)
In Heidegger’s Being and Time certain concepts are discussed which are central to the ontological constitution of Dasein. This paper demonstrates the interesting manner in which some of these concepts can be used in a reading of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A comparative analysis is performed, explicating the relevant Heideggerian terms and then relating them to Eliot’s poem. In this way strong parallels are revealed between the two men’s respective thoughts and distinct modernist sensibilities. Prufrock, (...) the protagonist of the poem, and the world he inhabits illustrate poetically concepts such as authenticity, inauthenticity, the ‘they’, idle talk and angst, which Heidegger develops in Being and Time. (shrink)
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
"O'Meara masterfully situates Pryzwara in relation to the traditional and contemporary theological, philosophical, ecclesial, cultural, and social contexts within which he wrote." --_William P. Loewe, professor of religious studies, Catholic University of America_ Erich Przywara, S.J. is one of the important Catholic intellectuals of the twentieth century. Yet, in the English-speaking world Przywara remains largely unknown. Few of his sixty books or six hundred articles have been translated. In this engaging new book, Thomas O'Meara offers a comprehensive study of the (...) German Jesuit Erich Przywara and his philosophical theology. Przywara's scholarly contributions were remarkable. He was one of three theologians who introduced the writings of John Henry Cardinal Newman into Germany. From his position at the Jesuit journal in Munich, _Stimmen der Zeit_, he offered an open and broad Catholic perspective on the cultural, philosophical, and theological currents of his time. As one of the first Catholic intellectuals to employ the phenomenologies of Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler, he was also responsible for giving an influential, more theological interpretation of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. Przywara was also deeply engaged in the ideas and authors of his times. He was the first Catholic dialogue partner of Karl Barth and Paul Tillich. Edmund Husserl was counted among Przywara's friends, and Edith Stein was a close personal and intellectual companion. Through his interactions with important figures of his age and his writings, ranging from speculative systems to liturgical hymns, Przywara was of marked importance in furthering a varied dialogue between German Catholicism and modern culture. Following a foreword by Michael Fahey, S.J., O'Meara presents a chapter on Pryzwara's life and a chronology of his writings. O'Meara then discusses Pryzwara's philosophical theology, his lecture-courses at German universities on Augustine and Aquinas, his philosophy of religion, and his influence on important intellectual contemporaries. O'Meara concludes with an in-depth analysis of Pryzwara's theology, focusing particularly on his Catholic views of person, liturgy, and church. (shrink)
Is the existence of God a question of fact? To the majority of theists, both now and in the past, I think it has seemed clear that, if the phrase ‘God exists’ is to be meaningful, then it is a fact, either that God exists or that he does not. This assertion may even seem trivially true; and yet it has evidently been denied, in recent years, by many theologians. The reasons for such a denial are, in part, to be (...) found in the general reaction against metaphysical philosophy, which was characteristic of the early years of this century, and which is, in Britain, epitomised by A. J. Ayer's stipulation that no proposition can be factually significant unless it is verifiable; unless, in principle at least, some series of observations could conceivably show it to be true. By restricting ‘observation’ to the senses of the physical body, and by emphasising the fact that God, as transcendent by definition, was not a possible object of the senses, some philosophically sensitive theologians were startled into denying that ‘God’ was, even in principle, verifiable; and consequently into denying that propositions purporting to assert his existence were factual. (shrink)
For a biological anthropologist interested in the prehistory of religion, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen's book is welcome and resonant. Van Huyssteen's central thesis is that humans' capacity for spirituality emerges from a transformation of cognition and emotions that takes place in the symbolic realm, within Homo sapiens and apart from biology. To his thesis I bring to bear three areas of response: the abundant cognitive and emotional capacities of living apes and extinct hominids; the role of symbolic ritual in the (...) evolutionary history of Homo sapiens; and the closely intertwined nature of biology and culture in the workings of evolutionary change. (shrink)
In his last papers about deontic logic, von Wright sustained that there is no genuine logic of norms. We argue in this paper that this striking statement by the father of deontic logic should not be understood as a death sentence to the subject. Rather, it indicates a profound change in von Wright's understanding about the epistemic and ontological role of logic in the field of norms. Instead of a logical constructivism of deontic systems revealing a necessary structure of prescriptive (...) discourse, which marked his earlier efforts, he adopted the view that such systems should be seem as mere objects of comparison, i.e. as providing practical standards of rationality for normgiving activity. Within such view he proposed an interpretation of standard deontic logic in such a way to free deontic logicians from the philosophical difficulties related to the so-called Jørgensen's dilemma and deontic paradoxes. This effort, as we claim in the present paper, is an application of Wittgenstein's therapeutic method to dissolve philosophical difficulties caused by the use of logical tools to model relations between norms. (shrink)
Dr. J. van Ginneken S.J., whose death occurred on the 20th of October 1945, was the author of the well-known "Principes de Linguistique psychologique". In the above article the writer commemorates Dr. van Ginneken particularly as a significist. During the years 1919-1924 the writer was privileged -- together with his friends L. E. J. Brouwer and Fred. van Eeden -- to collaborate with Dr. van Ginneken on the subject of significs. This collaboration has always been a precious memory to him. (...) It proved moreover, that profound differences in conception about life and world need not prevent a fertile exchange of thoughts, provided the participants are actuated by the serious will to fathom to the depth each other's mentality. (shrink)
This paper explores the extreme but well-argued-for thesis that the indirect object of an aesthetic experience of serious art is the human soul of the person having the experience. The author of the thesis was Fr. Arthur Little S.J. a mid twentieth-century Irishman, professional philosopher and philosophical popularizer. The paper treats Little’s thesis seriously: comparisons are drawn with Kant, which may be of interest even to those hostile to Little’s central assertion. Little makes a brilliant analysis of a ‘free-beauty’, making (...) the sharpest contrast between this and the most serious art, tragedy. Tragedy, Little holds Kant not able to cope with. One agrees. (shrink)
When the Japanese invaded Joseon at the end of the sixteenth century, a Spanish Jesuit priest, Gregorio de Céspedes, S.J. , stayed in the Japanese fortress in Ungcheon with Japanese soldiers. While Céspedes is celebrated as the first European who allegedly came with an evangelical vision of proselytizing the native Koreans, previous scholarship has inadequately acknowledged Céspedes’ role without consideration of his concrete actions in the Japanese fortress and of the broader context of sixteenth–century Spanish colonial expansion. An examination of (...) the Jesuit mission to sixteenth-century Japan, the role of the Spanish chaplains and their activities in foreign expeditions, and Céspedes’ activities in Joseon indicate that Céspedes was not a missionary sent to Korea, but rather an active chaplain who played a role in the larger development of church and state collaboration under Spanish colonialism. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the target article “From Objects to Processes: A Proposal to Rewrite Radical Constructivism” by Siegfried J. Schmidt. Upshot: The subtitle of “An Austrian Contribution” emphasizes a basic distinction between German and Austrian traditions in the philosophy of fields of science. In S. J. Schmidt’s genuinely German way of writing, one can observe a high emphasis on terminology and a specific arena of heavy philosophical problems that have to be solved in a strictly philosophical manner, whereas the (...) Austrian tradition places its importance on scientific progress, especially in the natural sciences, and on the clarifying, mediating, and self-reflecting role of philosophy within the overall context of scientific evolution. (shrink)
W. Norris Clarke's metaphysics of the universe as a journey rests on six major positions: the unrestricted dynamism of the mind, the primacy of the act of existence, the participation structure of reality, and the person, considered as both the starting point of philosophy and the source of the categories needed for a flexible contemporary metaphysics. Reflecting on his conscious life and the universe around him, the finite person mounts by a two-fold path to its Infinite source, who, though immutable (...) in His natural being, is mutable in the intentional being of His personal knowledge and love. The personal God is the efficient cause from whom the universe comes and the final cause to whom it returns.Less optimistic than Norris Clarke, John Caputo wonders about his metaphysics of the person. In a hermeneutical interpretation of the human face, the person through whom Being "sounds" discloses an ambiguous Being that both reveals and conceals itself. Far from grounding a casual ascent to God, hermeneutical phenomenology allows us no more than the right to interpret the world and its transcendent source through our own free decision.Although impressed by Norris Clarke's attempt to introduce mutability into God, Lewis Ford still finds Clarke's Thomistic God unacceptable. As a Whiteheadian, he proposes in place of Thomas' God, whose perfection consists in static unity, a God whose perfection consists in a never-ending process of unification. John Smith argues against the traditional dichotomy made between the ontological and cosmological arguments. Rather than opposed methods of proving God's existence, they should be taken as complementary journeys to the divine presence which discloses itself, although diversely, in the soul and in the world. There are parallels between Smith's historical study of two arguments and Clarke's two-fold path to God. Yet Smith is critical of Thomas' cosmological journey to God and does not share Clarke's confidence in its validity. Significant studies in their own right, the three essays as a group challenge Clarke's whole metaphysics of the universe as a journey. Meeting the challenge, Clarke clarifies and refines his own thought.An account of Clarke's philosophy by Gerald A. McCool, S.J. preceds this unified and stimulating philosophical discussion. (shrink)
J. L. Schellenberg’s Philosophy of Religion argues for a specific brand of sceptical religion that takes ‘Ultimism’ – the proposition that there is a metaphysically, axiologically, and soteriologically ultimate reality – to be the object to which the sceptical religionist should assent. In this article I shall argue that Ietsism – the proposition that there is merely something transcendental worth committing ourselves to religiously – is a preferable object of assent. This is for two primary reasons. First, Ietsism is far (...) more modest than Ultimism; Ietsism, in fact, is open to the truth of Ultimism, while the converse does not hold. Second, Ietsism can fulfil the same criteria that compel Schellenberg to argue for Ultimism. (shrink)
This study of Ralph Pred’s Onflow (MIT Press, 2005) expands on Pred’s arguments and raises doubts about the viability of phenomenology. Showing that Pred’s method is indeed phenomenological, I validate his interpretations of William James as phenomenologist and his critique of John Searle in light of James, which documents the extent to which the role of habit in the constitution of experience is neglected by philosophers. In explaining habit, however, Pred himself reverts to non-phenomenological models drawn from James’ postulate (...) of psycho-physical parallelism. Habit, like causation, poses an unmet challenge to phenomenological methods. In his critique of Gerald Edelman, Pred notes that Edelman falls prey to a metaphysical bias inherent in modern Indo-European languages. But Pred’s acuity in exposing a latent linguistic bias in phenomenological data is a two-edged sword. Revealing an invisible dependence of appearance on language, it casts doubt on the project of getting beyond language to "appearances-in-themselves.". (shrink)
This essay examines the intellectual origins of Tocqueville's thoughts on political economy. It argues that Tocqueville believed political economy was crucial to what he called the ‘new science of politics’, and it explores his first forays into the discipline by examining his studies of J.-B. Say and T.R. Malthus. The essay shows how Tocqueville was initially attracted to Say's approach as it provided him with a rigorous analytical framework with which to examine American democracy. Though he incorporated important aspects of (...) Say's work in Democracy in America , he was troubled by elements of it. He was unable to articulate clearly these doubts until he began studying Malthus. What he learned from Malthus caused him to move away from the more formalised approach to political economy advocated by Say and his disciples and move towards an approach advocated by Christian political economists, such as Alban Villeneuve-Bargemont. This shift would have important consequences for the composition of Democracy in America. (shrink)
Jürgen Habermas derives his political theory and discourse ethics from a view of language based upon “universal pragmatics.” Universal pragmatics is identified by Habermas to reveal universal conditions of possible understanding with the belief that not only syntactic and semantic characteristics of language, but also pragmatic characteristics of utterances related to speech should be reconstructed to build an undistorted communication. Nevertheless, the communicative competence, which is supposed to be related to pragmatics of language, is derived from the misinterpretation of J. (...) L. Austin’s theory of performative utterances. Linguistic as well as communicative competences have a universal core in universal pragmatics, which paves the way for the essentialist depiction of language having the Chomskyian overtones. Austin’s theory of performative utterances, on the other hand, does not have a universalistic claim. Because Habermas derives universal pragmatics from the misinterpretation of Austin’s theory of performative utterances, it is important to evaluate Austin and Habermas’s views of language by comparing and contrasting them with one another. The first part of the paper consists of the articulation of universal pragmatics. The second part of the paper focuses on Habermas’s unjustified critique of Austin. (shrink)
For several years now, Siegfried J. Schmidt’s work has provided an important complement to the field, as it bases constructivism in a philosophical and socio-cultural context. With his new book, he develops this approach, striving to overcome simplistic models that fail to specify how human constructions come into being, to challenge traditional dualistic models, and to show how social systems emerge and function… The book provides an important, prolific and strong case for constructivism as a theory of communication.
This paper is a detailed examination of some parts of J. P. Moreland's book on "the argument from consciousness". (There is a companion article that discusses the parts of the book not taken up in this critical notice.).
Ralph Johnson's Manifest Rationality (2000) is a major contribution to the field of informal logic, but the concept of argument that is central to its project suffers from a tension between the components that comprise it. This paper explores and addresses that tension by examining the implications of each of five aspects of the definition of ‘argument’.
J. H. Lambert proved important results of what we now think of as non-Euclidean geometries, and gave examples of surfaces satisfying their theorems. I use his philosophical views to explain why he did not think the certainty of Euclidean geometry was threatened by the development of what we regard as alternatives to it. Lambert holds that theories other than Euclid’s fall prey to skeptical doubt. So despite their satisfiability, for him these theories are not equal to Euclid’s in justification. Contrary (...) to recent interpretations, then, Lambert does not conceive of mathematical justification as semantic. According to Lambert, Euclid overcomes doubt by means of postulates. Euclid’s theory thus owes its justification not to the existence of the surfaces that satisfy it, but to the postulates according to which these “models” are constructed. To understand Lambert’s view of postulates and the doubt they answer, I examine his criticism of Christian Wolff’s views. I argue that Lambert’s view reflects insight into traditional mathematical practice and has value as a foil for contemporary, model-theoretic, views of justification. (shrink)
This is a response to Wesley J. Wildman’s “Behind, Between, and Beyond Anthropomorphic Models of Ultimate Reality.” While I agree with much of what Wildman writes, I raise questions concerning standards for evaluating models of ultimate reality and the plausibility of ranking such models. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.
J.S. Mill's plural voting proposal in Considerations on Representative Government presents political theorists with a puzzle: the elitist proposal that some individuals deserve a greater voice than others seems at odds with Mill's repeated arguments for the value of full participation in government. This essay looks at Mill's arguments for plural voting, arguing that, far from being motivated solely by elitism, Mill's account is actually driven by a commitment to both competence and participation. It goes on to argue that, for (...) Mill, much of the value of political participation lies in its unique ability to educate the participants. That ability to educate is not, however, a product of participation alone; rather, for Mill, the true educative benefits of participation obtain only when competence and participation work together in the political sphere. Plural voting, then, is a mechanism for allowing Mill to take advantage of the educative benefits that arise from the intersection of competence and participation. (shrink)