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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 16, Issue 1, Spring 2011
Truth, Reality and Religion New Perspectives In Metaphysics

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1. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Louis Caruana, S.J. Introduction
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2. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Heinrich Watzka, S.J. A new realistic spirit: the analytical and the existential approaches to ontology
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I shall distinguish between two periods of analytic ontology, one semi-idealistic, the other post-idealistic. The former fostered the very idea of a conceptual scheme within which questions of ontology could be formulated and answered in the first place; the latter rejected this idea in favour of the view that ontological inquiry neither presupposes a framework, nor provides the framework for science or everyday speech. Since then, ontology is what it always have been, the systematic study of the most fundamental categories of being, not of thought. Unfortunately, such a category theory becomes aporetic in its search for a solutionof the problem of the ‘temporary intrinsics’ (D. Lewis). Experience cannot tell us, whether entities persist by ‘perduring’ or by ‘enduring.’ One can take an alternative route and seek to broaden the conceptual basis of ontology by focussing on ‘Being’ (Sein) in contrast to entities, or being (Seiendes). The controversy on perdurantism and endurantism emerges as a dispute over two conflicting ways of being in time, not of Being itself.
3. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Paul Gilbert, S.J. Voilà pourquoi je ne suis pas ‘ontologue’
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The word ‘ontology’ has no meaning outside the context in which it was created. When it was invented, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, theword ‘metaphysics’ already existed. So the creation of ‘ontology’ had to express a distance with respect to tradition. ‘Metaphysics’ had its roots in Aristotle and his search, his impossible search, for a first principle. This project is taken up again by ‘ontology’ but this time by limiting the Aristotelian intention to the area of univocal formality, while Aristotle had situated himself within the order of dialectical investigation. Current phenomenology tries to re-actualize the Aristotelian intention by emphasizing ontological difference and analogy, while analytic philosophy remains firmly within the tradition of modern ontology.
4. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Paul Favraux, S.J. La pertinence de l’ontologie pour la théologie
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Ontology is still relevant for the reception of Christian revelation. Transcendental subjectivity, whose main role is to constitute, calls out for a deeper foundation. It is this deeper foundation that supplies an ontology of participation of all beings in Being and in God, as found in St Thomas and in some interpretations of his work (those of E. Gilson, A. Chapelle, A. Léonard). God’s immanence in humanity and in creation, and human participation in Being and ultimately in God, enable us to conceive of a causal action upon the whole of humanity and upon the whole of creation, a causal action issuing from the death-resurrection of Christ. In the context of contemporary philosophy, marked too unilaterally by finitude and historicity, this ontology needs to be supplemented by an anthropological reflection on liberty – liberty donated to itself (C. Bruaire) rather than liberty uniquely devoted to an indefinite search of itself. This is the main point behind A. Chapelle’s anthropology. Moreover, it is this sense of liberty that underlies at the same time a genuine pathway to ethics.
5. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Eric Charmetant, S.J. Contemporary Naturalism and Human Ontology: Towards a Different Essentialism
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Contemporary naturalism, especially through ethology, neuroscience and cognitive science, challenges the traditional ontological points of referencefor determining the specificity of human beings. After illustrating the full measure of this upheaval, I will show the inadequacy of a return to traditional essentialismand will then defend the relevance of a different type of essentialism: an approach to human specificity in terms of a homeostatic property cluster.
6. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Józef Bremer, S.J. Aristotle on touch
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According Aristotle’s On the Soul, the first and most important form of sensation which we human beings share with other animals is a sense of touch.Without touch animals cannot exist. The first part of my article presents Aristotle’s teaching about the internal connection between the soul and the sensory powers, especially as regards the sense of touch. The second part consists of a collection of the classical considerations about this subject. The third part then deals with the actuality of some Aristotle’s thesis about touch with reference to current research in neurophysiology on kinesthesia and haptic perception.
7. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Terrance Walsh, S.J. Bonum est causa mali: a problem and an opportunity for metaphysics in the thought of Thomas Aquinas and Hegel
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How to explain the existence of evil if being by its very nature is good? My paper examines an interesting and perhaps significant parallel between twoexponents of the metaphysical tradition usually thought to stand widely apart, Thomas Aquinas and Hegel. I argue that Hegel’s system shares certain features ofAquinas’ convertibility thesis (S.T. I, 5, 1), that upon closer inspection will yield a set of interesting reflections not only about the problem of evil, but also aboutthe limits and possibilities of metaphysical method. I discuss Aquinas’ thesis of the convertibility of being and good and how it determines his treatment of evil.I then construct a Hegelian version of convertibility and argue that Hegel’s system fails for similar reasons to provide a satisfactory account of the problem of evil.This leads to my central question: should the inadequacy of traditional approaches to evil call for a reversal or abandonment of metaphysics, or invite a deeperreflection about reality that would not subsume the world’s darkness under what Hans Blumenberg once called “metaphysics of light”?
8. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Anthony J. Carroll Disenchantment, rationality and the modernity of Max Weber
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Following Aristotle’s distinction between theoretical and practical rationality, Max Weber holds that beliefs about the world and actions within the world must follow procedures consistently and be appropriately formed if they are to count as rational. Here, I argue that Weber’s account of theoretical and practicalrationality, as disclosed through his conception of the disenchantment of the world, displays a confessional architecture consistently structured by a nineteenthcentury German Protestant outlook. I develop this thesis through a review of the concepts of rationality and disenchantment in Weber’s major works and concludethat this conceptual framework depicts a Protestant account of modernity.
9. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
George Karuvelil, S.J. Religious experience: reframing the question
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It is thought that Schleiermacher used religious experience as a new kind of argument to safeguard Christian faith when he was faced with the failure oftraditional arguments for the existence of God. This paper argues that such a view does not do justice to the newness of his approach in constructing a propaedeutic to Christian theology. It is further argued that, irrespective of whether one agrees with what Schleiermacher was trying to do, if religious experience is to become a contemporary preambula fidei to Christian theology, the focus should be on communicating a positive experience rather than on arguing for God’s existence.
10. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Louis Caruana, S.J. Universal claims
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Claims are universal when they are not dependent on when and where they are made. Mathematics and the natural sciences are the typical disciplinesthat allow such claims to be made. Is the striving for universal claims in other disciplines justified? Those who attempt to answer this question in the affirmativeoften argue that it is justified when mathematics and the natural sciences are taken as the model for other disciplines. In this paper I challenge this position andanalyze the issue by looking at it from a new angle, a perspective that involves two key concepts: violence and loyalty. The result of this analysis throws light on thebroader question concerning what the search for truth might mean in a pluralistic world.