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Displaying: 1-20 of 53 documents

1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Eric D. Perl Announcing the Divine Silence
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Christian Schäfer The Anonymous Naming of Names: Pseudonymity and Philosophical Program in Dionysius the Areopagite
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The key to understanding Dionysius is the methodical acceptance of the literary fiction involved in reading an author who tries to recreate the immediateness of the first encounter of pagan wisdom and Christian doctrine. Dionysius’s method consists of the presentation of a Platonic ontology by way of biblical theonyms. These theonyms express whatever we can grasp of God by His self-communication toward us, yet they ultimately cannot reveal Him as He is. It is rewarding to compare biblical theonym and author’s allonym at this point: the allonym “Dionysius Areopagita” expresses how the author wants to be read and received but not who he really is. Th us the Dionysian writings present themselves as if they were the communication of an early Christian author whose objective it is to proclaim the “unknown God” to philosophically educated Greeks, naming Him with the biblical theonyms and explaining them in a Platonic way.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Enrica Ruaro God and the Worm: The Twofold Otherness in Pseudo-Dionysius’s Theory of Dissimilar Images
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The aim of my paper is to call attention to Dionysius’s kataphatic theology and, in particular, to an aspect which is not commonly discussed: the dissimilarimages applied to God. More precisely, I will focus on the image of the worm, which Dionysius considers the vilest and most dissimilar image applied to the divineThearchy. I will try to show that the worm, with its multiple and contradictory attributes, is indeed the best example for Dionysius’s “absurd theology” of the dissimilar images, since it perfectly fits the complex and paradoxical Dionysian view of the relationship/non-relationship between God and the world.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Ben Schomakers The Nature of Distance: Neoplatonic and Dionysian Versions of Negative Theology
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In their attempts to come know the first principle of reality, the One, the Neoplatonic philosophers employ a negative theological approach. In the case ofPlotinus, this approach can be described as a “taking away” (aphairesis): as the One is in its purity present to the soul, the task of the soul consists in taking away—that is, removing—all positive approaches. The case of Proclus is different as he departs from a different metaphysical presupposition: taking away will not work, because the One as it is remains distant from the soul. Instead he pleads for an approach by means of negations (apophaseis), which ought to awaken our awareness of the totally different character of the trace of the One in us, but can never lead to an experience of the One as it is. The two approaches function in different metaphysical contexts. Hence it may be surprising that Pseudo-Dionysius, a keen reader not only of Proclus but also of Plotinus, invokes both approaches and thinks them reconcilable. This essay attempts to describe the nature of this compatibility and to reconstruct the metaphysical context that it presupposes.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Timothy D. Knepper Not Not: The Method and Logic of Dionysian Negation
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This paper examines the basic differences between Dionysius’s two principal terms for negation, aphairesis and apophasis, expounding most of the passagesin which these terms appear in order to support the claim that aphairesis functions as Dionysius’s method of hymning the hyper-being God through the removal of“beings” (by means of narrow-scope predicate-term negation), while apophasis constitutes Dionysius’s logic of interpreting these removed beings excessively rather than privatively. It then argues that, although aphairesis “removes” and apophasis “exceeds,” these two types of negation function cohesively in the Dionysian corpus, although in doing so they suggest a different overall picture of Dionysian negation from that which is commonly attributed to Dionysius. It is not the case that Dionysius’s negation of predicate terms should be read propositionally, that is to say, as It is not the case that God is p. Rather, when interpreted apophatically, Dionysius’s not-p signifies more-p-than-most-p.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
L. Michael Harrington Recent Attempts to Define a Dionysian Political Theory
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The Dionysian corpus makes virtually no statement about the authority of kings or the structure of nations, but it has nevertheless repeatedly been the subjectof political analysis. Several scholars have recently sketched out a Dionysian politics by drawing analogies between the Dionysian church and the city, and between the Dionysian bishop and the emperor. These analogies are of limited usefulness. They show that Dionysius does employ Platonic political language to describe the ecclesiastical hierarchy, but they risk overlooking or downplaying the hierarchy’s non-temporal, and therefore non-political, activity. A more fruitful ground for developing a Dionysian politics may be found in his brief discussion of the legal hierarchy, which provides practical instruction for action in the temporal realm without direct reference to the contemplative activity of the church.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
John D. Jones The Divine Names in John Sarracen’s Translation: Misconstruing Dionysius’s Language about God?
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I draw on earlier research to develop contrasts between interpreting the conception of God in the Divine Names in terms of Neoplatonic, Latin Scholastic(specifically Albertinian and Thomistic), and Byzantine / Eastern Christian frameworks. Based on these contrasts, I then explore whether Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas were influenced, and possibly led astray, by John Sarracen’s translation of key terms and phrases in the Divine Names such as (Greek), (Greek)and its cognates, (Greek), (Greek), and (Greek). I conclude that Sarracen’s mistranslation of (Greek) by essentia clearly reinforces an essentialist interpretation of God in the Divine Names—that is, the view that God is an absolutely simple being identical to its essence. It is not clear that his translations of the other terms do the same, although they are most often read in an essentialist fashion by Albert and Aquinas.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Wayne J. Hankey Misrepresenting Neoplatonism in Contemporary Christian Dionysian Polemic: Eriugena and Nicholas of Cusa versus Vladimir Lossky and Jean-Luc Marion
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This paper contrasts the reception of Dionysius in relation to non-Christian philosophy during the Latin Middle Ages with his reception in twentieth-centuryChristian thought. The medievals, including Eriugena, Thomas Aquinas, Nicholas of Cusa, and many others, as a rule refuse to divide religion from philosophy and they distinguish or unite thinkers by their teaching rather than by their confessional adherence. Hence they see no need to set Dionysius in opposition to non-Christian philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Proclus, or to repudiate the latter in favor of the former. By contrast, Vladimir Lossky and Jean-Luc Marion, with their shared background in Etienne Gilson, celebrate Dionysius in opposition to the non-Christian Neoplatonists, whom they polemically misrepresent as reducing God to conceptual categories. These twentieth-century figures evince a sectarian religious narrowness that blinds them to the textual and philosophical community of Dionysius with his non-Christian sources.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
John Panteleimon Manoussakis The Revelation of the Phenomena and the Phenomenon of Revelation: An Apology for Dionysius’s Phenomenological Appropriation
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The present essay is apologetic in as much as it aims to justify as well as to explain the philosophical appropriation of Dionysian metaphysics by contemporaryFrench phenomenology, especially by the work of Jean-Luc Marion. It should be noted that Dionysius serves as the inspiration, direct or indirect, of many authors in the contemporary French school, among whom the most notable are Jacques Derrida, Jean-Louis Chretien, and Jean-Yves Lacoste. The present essaywill focus particularly on the convergence between Dionysius’s theology and Marion’s phenomenology.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Books Received
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11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 4
Contents of Volume 82
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12. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
M. V. Dougherty Ghazālī and Metaphorical Predication in the Third Discussion of the Tahāfut al-Falāsifa
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Ghazālī’s The Incoherence of the Philosophers is an unusual philosophical work for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the author’s explicit disavowalof any of the conclusions contained within it. The present essay examines some of the hermeneutical challenges that face readers of the work and offers anexegetical account of the much-neglected Third Discussion, which examines a key point of Neoplatonic metaphysics. The paper argues that Ghazālī’s maintaining of the incompatibility of metaphysical creationism and Neoplatonic emanationism should not be viewed as simply a rhetorical or dialectical argument, but rather is best understood, to use Ghazālī’s words, as a philosophical “proof.” Essential to this proof in the solution to the argument of the Third Discussion is an implicit theory of metaphorical predication that can be pieced together from several of Ghazālī’s remarks as well as a reductio ad absurdum argument about the very possibility of ethical discourse.
13. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
Steven J. Jensen Of Gnome and Gnomes: The Virtue of Higher Discernment and the Production of Monsters
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The virtue of higher discernment (gnome) is able to discern when a particular rule must be set aside for some higher principle. Aquinas compares the failure of a particular principle to the production of monsters or defective animals. Most of those who treat of the exceptions to rules ignore this analogy, yet it provides important insights into the virtue of gnome and exceptions to rules. A defective animal is a monster only in relation to the particular cause of the power of reproduction; in relation to a higher cause it is proper and well ordered. Similarly, an exception to a general rule is a kind of monster in relation to that rule, but inrelation to a higher principle it is a well-ordered act.
14. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
Stephen J. Laumakis The Sensus Communis Reconsidered
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Although some philosophers accept an atomistic view of sense impressions, most acknowledge that we are aware not merely of isolated disparate sense data, but of concrete sensible wholes. One of many philosophical problems faced by these philosophers, however, is to explain how these distinct simultaneously presented sensible aspects are subjectively and objectively cognized as belonging to the same particular object. The traditional Thomistic solution is the sensus communis. Recently, however, the validity of that response has been called into question. As a result, the purpose of this paper is to sketch the positions involved in the debate, present St. Thomas’s account of the sensus communis, and argue that both the commentary tradition and a recent critic have overlooked an important aspect of that account.
15. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
Frank Schalow Essence and Ape: Heidegger and the Question of Evolutionary Theory
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This paper develops the question of Heidegger’s stance toward evolutionary theory. It shows that evolutionary theory harbors its own set of presuppositions,which in turn can be explicated through Heidegger’s hermeneutic strategy of “formal indication.” The paper concludes that Heidegger’s account of animal lifediverges from that of evolutionary theory, not simply due to the naturalistic claims of the latter, but rather because the former places the openness of inquiry aheadof any theoretical concerns. As a result, Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology stakes out a unique territory which stands apart from either a traditionally religious or secular viewpoint, each of which risks falling into the trap of dogmatism.
16. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
Robert Piercey How Paul Ricoeur Changed the World
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Like Husserl and Heidegger, Ricoeur offers a powerful and original account of what the “world” is and how it conditions our thinking. But it is difficult to recognize Ricoeur’s contributions unless we view them in relation to another aspect of his work: his post-Hegelian Kantianism. Ricoeur tries to steer a middle course between Kant’s and Hegel’s views on this topic. He thinks the idea of the world plays a crucial role in regulating experience, but he tries to understand this idea in a way that is concrete without being totalizing. Ricoeur’s theory of narrative does exactly this. It describes how narratives open up worlds for their readers:sets of specific existential possibilities that may be incorporated into readers’ lives. When Ricoeur’s account of narrative is viewed in relation to Kant and Hegel, itsheds valuable new light on many aspects of his work.
17. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
David B. Hershenov A Hylomorphic Account of Thought Experiments Concerning Personal Identity
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Hylomorphism offers a third way between animalist approaches to personal identity, which maintain that psychology is irrelevant to our persistence, andneo-Lockean accounts, which deny that humans are animals. This paper provides a Thomistic account that explains the intuitive responses to thought experiments involving brain transplants and the transformation of organic bodies into inorganic ones. This account does not have to follow the animalist in abandoning the claim that it is our identity which matters in survival, or countenance the puzzles of spatially coincident entities that plague the neo-Lockean. The key is to understand the human being as only contingently an animal. This approach to our animality is one that Catholics have additional reason to hold given certain views about purgatory, our uniqueness as free and rational creatures, and our having once existed as zygotes.
18. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
Bernard G. Prusak The Problem with the Problem of the Embryo
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This paper seeks to explain why the debate over the personhood of the embryo goes nowhere and is more likely to generate confusion than conviction. The paper presents two arguments. The first aims to establish that the question of the personhood of the embryo cannot be resolved by turning to science, althoughthe debate about the embryo has largely been a debate about the scientific facts. It is claimed that the rough facts on which the parties to the debate agree admit ofmultiple more refined accounts, among which science is powerless to adjudicate. So what happens is that the arguments go round and round, neither party convincing the other, both infuriating each another. The second argument concerns the implications of this claim for the many controversies involving the embryo. Here the question is how people who do not know what to make of the embryo might go about deciding how it should be treated.
book reviews
19. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
Josh Michael Hayes The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition
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20. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 3
Walter Redmond The Philosophy of Edith Stein
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