Far from being left mute by the linguistic turn in philosophy, Transcendental Thomism is uniquely capable of profitable dialogue with it, as exemplified in this juxtaposition of the work of Karl Rahner and Ludwig Wittgenstein. The key insight of Transcendental Thomism is not to concentrate upon the affirmations which our concepts might produce about God, but rather the recognition that language itself, the ability to grasp even the provisional essence in a known object, is only possible because that object reveals (...) itself against an infinite horizon. Conversely, Wittgenstein’s insight that meaning is not a rider to language but rather a function of language helps to explain the necessity of categorical revelation in the thought of Rahner. (shrink)
Given the cultural dominance of the empirical sciences, it is perhaps inevitable that theology should seek a self-understanding that emulates them. Yet post-modern thinkers concur in rejecting Enlightenment canons of knowledge as too restrictive for any discipline seeking to fathom our own humanity, a pursuit that theology shares with literature. In both fields, language, as an engagement with symbols, is not the pursuit of an object of knowledge so much as an act ofself expression and an opening to communion. This (...) is illustrated by an examination of the life and work of Virginia Woolf, as she is revivified in Michael Cunningham’s novel, The Hours. Its explication is drawn from the writing of the German Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner, who insisted that St. Thomas Aquinas viewed all of reality as essentially self expressive, and the human person as that spot in creation, ordered toward all that is and achieving self-constitutionthrough symbolic intercourse with others. (shrink)
The philosophy of language pioneered by Ludwig Wittgenstein, far from being inimical to the metaphysical concerns of philosophy, can be understood as complementing and perhaps even deepening the approach to metaphysics first employed by the Belgian Jesuit philosopher Joseph Marèchal: a ‘metaphysics of knowledge’ illuminating the deeper‐than‐conceptualist movement in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. The relationship of words and reality was radically reconfigured in the linguistic turn inaugurated in the work of Wittgenstein, but that work itself still presupposes what might (...) be called the existential act of judgement, which was the foundation of Marèchal's Thomistic retrieval. (shrink)
What is the meaning of the word `grace'? Terrance W. Klein suggests that Wittgenstein's maxim that the meaning of a word is its usage can help to explicate the claims that Christians have made about grace. Klein proposes that grace is not an occult object but a noetic event, the moment when we perceive God to be active on our behalf.