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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
Mario von der Ruhr Editor’s Introduction
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
John H. Whittaker Self-honesty and Grammatical Appeals
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One persistent element of Wittgenstein’s philosophical work is his insistence on self-honesty as a condition for doing logical or sense-oriented philosophy.This gives his work a spiritual weight that is not often appreciated. Yet the connection between self-honesty and logical insights is unclear, and this paper attemptsto clarify it. The paper includes brief introductions to Wittgenstein’s earlier and later thought, along with some religiously relevant examples.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
Eric O. Springsted The Concept of Mystery and the Value of Philosophy in the Later Wittgenstein
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Alasdair MacIntyre has urged a project for philosophers of faith to do philosophy in such a way as to address the deeper human concerns underlyingphilosophy’s basic questions. This essay examines where Wittgenstein’s later philosophy makes a contribution to that sort of project. It notes the importance ofhis doctrine of “meaning as use” for thinking philosophically about religion; it is centered in the life-world of religious people. But it also deals with issues arisingfrom Wittgenstein’s view that philosophy should be a sort of conceptual therapy that undoes confusion and leaves everything as it is, i.e., his defactoism. It arguesthat there is an underlying sense of value. This changes from the Tractatus to the Philosophical Investigations. In the latter, he ultimately shows a commitment to aphilosophical value of openness and willingness to transform one’s mind by the discovery of what is given.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
Ronald E. Hustwit, Sr. Wittgenstein on Modernism and the Causal Point of View
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Wittgenstein expressed an antipathy to modernism from his earliest work to his latest. He connected modernism with modern science and with what hecalled “the causal point of view.” The causal point of view, which operates like a presupposition or pre-dispositional attitude, blocks a clear vision of the richnessand complexity of the world and human life, and denies access to a religious point of view and the benefits of faith. His analysis of the causal point of view lays bare the uncritically accepted place it holds in our thinking and helps to relieve the anxiety felt over the idea of causal necessity that accompanies it. Wittgenstein’sworld-view and larger philosophical tasks are often easily lost in the details of his analyses and remarks, but not here as he unpacks the reasons for his discomfiture with the assumptions of the modern world.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
H.O. Mounce The Myth of Cartesian Privacy
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Wittgenstein is often thought to have undermined the view, attributed to Descartes, that the mental is in a special sense private. In fact this idea of privacyis more plausibly attributed to the empiricists than to Descartes. Nor is Descartes’s own view one that can easily be dismissed. In particular, it can serve to correct a tendency, among Wittgenstein’s followers, to treat the mental in behavioristic terms. The point is illustrated by reference to an issue in Christian theology.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
Lars Hertzberg “It Says What It Says”
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The aim of this essay is to point to some of the problems that arise in trying to clarify the distinction frequently made between literal and non-literal ways of understanding certain religious beliefs, such as the belief in the resurrection of Christ. The disagreement is sometimes taken to concern whether the words usedin the expression of belief are to be understood in a literal or a non-literal sense. It may alternatively be taken to concern whether or not religious utterances are to be understood as factual assertions. It is argued that, in either case, the application of the relevant distinction to religious expressions is problematic. It is suggested that the disagreement should be understood as one of religious attitude rather than of the interpretation of utterances.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
John Edelman The Strangeness of An Unmoved Mover: Aquinas, Wittgenstein, and “The Sense of Life”
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This essay is a discussion of Aquinas’s argument “from motion” to the existence of God as the argument is found in his Summa Contra Gentiles. The aimof the essay is to suggest an approach to Aquinas’s argument that emphasizes its particular context, where “context” signifies not so much the assumed Aristotelian physics as Aquinas’s larger project of carrying out “the office of a wise man,” namely, “to order things.” Construing the relevant “ordering” as a making sense of things—indeed of “the whole of things”—the argument from motion is thus seen as part of an attempt to make sense of what, following Aristotle, can be called “the whole of life,” that whole within which any one of us must live out his or her particular life. Several ideas found in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus are introduced in the conviction that they may help at least some of us to see the “strangeness” of the conclusion of Aquinas’s argument, the conclusion, namely, that the first principle of the whole of being is an “unmoved mover”—the strangeness of which conclusion, it is argued, is essential to its significance.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
John Kinsey The Goodness of God and the Reality of Evil
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The later Wittgenstein’s approach to philosophical inquiry has influenced a number of philosophers who have reflected on the significance of evil for a Christianview of creation. The strengths and shortcomings of this influence are considered here, with particular attention to the work of D. Z. Phillips. Wittgenstein’s legacyemerges as a decidedly mixed blessing. On the one hand, a sensitive analysis of the religious use of language reveals the anthropomorphic confusion inherent in attempts to depict God as acting, or as failing to act, for morally sufficient reasons. On the other, a sharp distinction between the natural and the spiritual domains, and the opposition to metaphysics with which it is associated, obscure rather than assist the search for understanding. By way of contrast, the paper concludes with a discussion of Simone Weil’s (profoundly metaphysical) conception of Christ’s mediation between creature and Creator; a conception which points the way to a resolution of the intellectual tension to which evil gives rise in the order of creation.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
Stephen Mulhall Reforging Siegfried’s Sword: Wittgenstein and Anscombe, Wagner and Malory
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This paper examines the significance of Anscombe’s decision to substitute the example of Excalibur for that of Nothung in section 39 of the PhilosophicalInvestigations. It argues that the substitution significantly alters the mythological background to Wittgenstein’s discussion of naming and its philosophical subliming, in which the Theatetus conception of identity, composition, and decomposition (as exemplified by objects and their possessors) is contrasted with that of Wagner’s Ring; for Arthurian legend conceives of these matters differently again. The broader purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that these mythological worlds are not dispensable ornaments to Wittgenstein’s philosophical explorations, but rather internal to his way of guiding and reorienting our reflections on proper names, personal identity, and selfhood.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
Books Received
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11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 85 > Issue: 4
Contents of Volume 85
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