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1. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Mark Sultana Editorial Note
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2. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Wojciech Szczerba The Concept of Imago Dei as a Symbol of Religious Inclusion and Human Dignity
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This article aims to examine how the concept of Imago Dei can serve as a symbol for the broadly understood idea of religious inclusion and human dignity. The article explores the concept of Imago Dei primarily from a protological perspective, analyzing its usage in biblical writings, theological tradition and modern philosophy. The substantial, relational and functional—which three usages of the concept can be found in the inclusive theology of Gregory of Nyssa—are analyzed in this article. Arguably, in the context of religious inclusion, the rela­tional angle of Imago Dei seems to be the most important. Similarly contemporary Protestant theologian, Jürgen Moltmann states in his book, God in the Creation, that the “relational” concept of Imago Dei underscores the fundamental dignity of every person. In his book, God for Secular Society, Moltmann states that properly understood human rights should include democratic relationships between people, cooperation between societies, concern for the environment in which people live, and responsibility for future generations. From these perspectives, the concept of Imago Dei can be utilized as a symbol indicating the dignity of every person and human community, but also a symbol against any types of racism, nationalism or xenophobia.
3. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Tyrone Grima To Personalise or not to Personalise: Simone Weil’s Struggle in her Understanding of God
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This paper focuses on the theology of the philosopher Simone Weil, analysing the inherent struggle between the notion of the impersonal and the personal God, strongly present in her writings. The first part of the paper focuses on Weil’s point de départ, in which she maintained that the relationship between humanity and God should not be a personal one. This premise is rooted in Weil’s apophatic spirituality. It proceeds by giving an analysis of the dynamics in the notion of the impersonal God, juxtaposing it against the mystical experiences of Simone Weil herself. Weil’s spiritual journey led her to integrating the two polarities. The second part of the paper focuses on an integrative model that can be derived from Weil’s writings through her “spirituality of contradiction.” In the face of the struggle, Weil believed in the importance of staying in the uncomfortable space of the unknown, without rejecting either polarity. The paper concludes by demonstrating the relevance of this integrative model to contemporary society as a vehicle of integrity in the path towards wholeness.
4. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Neal DeRoo Phenomenological Spirituality and its Relationship to Religion
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This paper develops a phenomenological account of spirituality that can help us think more broadly and deeply about religion and its role in our lives. It begins by explaining spirituality as a supra-subjective force that shapes a sub­ject’s intuitive engagement with the world (Section I). Then, it shows that such a spirituality is affective in (and affected by) cultural expression (Section II), by way of historically situated institutions or traditions [Stiftungen] (Section III). The last step of the paper will be to connect this account of spirituality to our understanding of religion by articulating four distinct levels of phenomenological analysis that will have emerged in the discussion of spirituality and showing that each of these levels must be accounted for in a distinct way if we want to offer a full-fledged philosophy of religion (Section IV). In so doing, we will see that this account of spirituality potentially helps us see a broader range of things that could count as “religious,” in part by helping us see that religion is a particular mode of expressing the spirituality that operates as the deepest motivating impulse driving our lives.
5. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Robert Farrugia Phenomenology of Interior Life and the Trinity: Analysing Michel Henry’s phenomenological schism between Life and World in light of the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity
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Michel Henry radicalises phenomenology by putting forward the idea of a double manifestation: the “Truth of Life” and “truth of the world.” For Henry, the world turns out to be empty of Life. To find its essence, the self must dive completely inward, away from the exterior movements of intentionality. Hence, Life, or God, for Henry, lies in non-intentional, immanent self-experience, which is felt and yet remains invisible, in an absolutist sense, as an a priori condition of all conscious experience. In Christian theology, the doctrine of the Trinity illuminates the distinction between the immanent Trinity (God’s self-relation) and the economic workings of the Trinity (God-world relation). However, the mystery of God’s inmost being and the economy of salvation are here understood as inseparable. In light of this, the paper aims to: 1) elucidate the significance of Henry’s engagement with the phenomenological tradition and his proposal of a phenomenology of Life which advocates an immanent auto-affection, radically separate from the ek-static nature of intentionality, and 2) confront the division between Life and world in Henry’s Christian phenomenology and its discordancy with the doctrine of the Trinity, as the latter attests to the harmonious unity that subsists between inner life and the world.
6. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Zuzana Svobodová Forms and Movements of Life: Existential and Metaphysical Responsibility in the Work of Jan Patočka
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Based on an analysis of the theory of the movement of existence, this paper answers the following question: Where can one see the most important connections of philosophical and religious language in the most re-thought part of Jan Patočkaʼs thinking? The third movement of life is seen as a form of the true philosophical life, but also as a form with metaphysical responsibility. The movement of breakthrough, or actual self-comprehension, is the most important, because it leads to care for the soul—and, according to Patočkaʼs analyses of inter­pretations of the Faust legend, it leads to care for the true immortality of soul. In the third movement of life, one lives an unsheltered life in openness to all which is not given and cannot be given, which is beyond all objective identification, and yet determines this world. In response to the mission in time (kairos), on the way to “asubjective” openness of the soul, in a dialogue which searches for truth and resists temptation, one can still find metaphysical responsibility and freedom.
7. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Alex R Gillham How Problematic is an Unpopulated Hell?
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The Problem of Suffering (PoS) claims that there is a tension between the existence of a perfect God and suffering. The Problem of Hell (PoH) is a version of PoS which claims that a perfect God would lack morally sufficient reasons to allow individuals to be eternally damned to Hell. A few traditional solutions have been developed to PoH, but each of them is problematic. As such, if there is a solu­tion to PoH that is resistant to these problems, then it deserves our attention. In this paper, I develop precisely such a solution. I call this the Unpopulated Hell View (UHV), which claims that Hell exists as a place where eternal damnation could take place, although it never does. First, I explain how UHV solves PoH. Next, I develop four objections against UHV and defend UHV against them. I argue that, although some of these objections do more damage to UHV than others, UHV has satisfying responses to all of them. Ultimately, I conclude that UHV merits consideration as a novel solution to PoH because it is less problematic than the traditional ones.
8. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Luca Siniscalco Antaios: A Mythical and Symbolic Hermeneutics
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The aim of my research is to define the religious hermeneutics that can be identified as the specific core of Antaios (1959–71), the German journal directed by the historian of religions Mircea Eliade and by the writer and philosopher Ernst Jünger. Drawing on their insights, we will focus on the philosophical-religious interpretation of Antaios contents: the so-called “mythical-symbolic hermeneutics” is probably the most interesting theoretical theme connected to the Weltanschauung of Antaios. This cultural journal could embody a counter-philosophical perspec­tive that is at the same time intrinsic to Western speculation. This position has repeatedly emerged in many phases of our cultural history. I refer here to mythical-symbolic thought, characterized by an analogical interpretation of the world, whose structure is considered a stratification of truth levels that are complementary ontological levels of reality. This tradition sees reality as a specific kind of totality that allows human perception to take place through the structures of myth and symbols. The theoretical unity of the project is rooted in the mythical-symbolic tradition that, starting from the religious and esoteric pre-philosophical medita­tions, spans Platonic thought, the various neoplatonisms, passes through medieval mysticism and alchemy, reappears in Romanticism and is revealed in the twentieth century by the reflections of the “thinkers of Tradition.” With this paper I would like to highlight the main topics that can be identified from this hermeneutics: speculations about symbol, myth, coincidentia oppositorum (coincidence of opposites), archetypes, and ontological pluralism. These are at the core of this paradigm.
9. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Andrei G. Zavaliy Religious Convictions and Moral Motivation
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Adherence to certain religious beliefs is often cited as both an efficient deterrent to immoral behavior and as an effective trigger of morally praiseworthy actions. I assume the truth of the externalist theory of motivation, emphasizing emotions as the most important non-cognitive elements that causally contribute to behavioral choices. While religious convictions may foster an array of complex emotions in a believer, three emotive states are singled out for a closer analysis: fear, guilt and gratitude. The results of recent empirical studies are examined to evaluate the relative motivational efficiency of all three emotions, as well as the likely negative psychological side-effects of these affective states, such as aggres­sion and depression. While an action motivated by fear of punishment can be seen as a merely prudential strategy, the reparatory incentive of a guilty subject and a desire to reciprocate of the one blessed by undeserved favors are more plausible candidates for the class of genuine moral reactions. The available evidence, how­ever, does not warrant a conclusion that a sense of guilt before God or as a sense of gratefulness to wards God, may produce a statistically significant increase in the frequency of prosocial actions aimed at other humans.
10. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Calvin D. Ullrich Theopoetics to Theopraxis: Toward a Critchlean Supplement to Caputo’s Radical Political Theology
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The theological turn in continental philosophy has beckoned several new possibilities for theoretical discourse. More recently, the question of the absence of a political theology has been raised: Can an ethics of alterity offer a more substantive politics? In pursuing this question, the article considers the late work of Jacques Derrida and John D. Caputo. It argues that, contrary to caricatures of Caputo’s “theology of event,” his notion of theopoetics evinces a “materialist turn” in his mature thought that can be considered the beginning of a “radical political theology.” This position is not without its challenges, however, raising concerns over deconstruction’s ability to navigate the immanent but necessary dangers of politics. In order to attempt to speak of a form of “radical political theology”—i.e. a movement from theopoetics to theopraxis—the article turns to some of the political writing of Simon Critchley. It is argued that a much desired “political viscerality” for a radical political theology is supplied by Critchley’s anarchic re­alism. The latter is neither conceived as utopian nor defeatist, but as a sustained program of inventive and creative political interventions, which act as responses to the singularity of the situation.
book reviews
11. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Anja Weiberg Ilse Somavilla, Carl Humphries, Bożena Sieradzka-Baziur, eds. Wittgensteins Denkbewegungen (Tagebücher 1930–1932/1936–1937) aus interdisziplinärer Sicht. Wittgenstein’s Denkbewegungen (diaries 1930–1932/1936–1937): Interdisciplinary Perspectives
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12. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Brian Besong Graham James McAleer. Erich Przywara and Postmodern Natural Law: A History of the Metaphysics of Morals
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13. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Philemon Ayibo Kazimierz M. Wolsza, ed. Stanisław Kamiński. The Polish Christian Philosophy in the 20th Century
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14. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Note about Forum Philosophicum
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15. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Paul Dumouchel Intelligence, Artificial and Otherwise
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The idea of artificial intelligence implies the existence of a form of intelligence that is “natural,” or at least not artificial. The problem is that intelligence, whether “natural” or “artificial,” is not well defined: it is hard to say what, exactly, is or constitutes intelligence. This difficulty makes it impossible to measure human intelligence against artificial intelligence on a unique scale. It does not, however, prevent us from comparing them; rather, it changes the sense and meaning of such comparisons. Comparing artificial intelligence with human intelligence could allow us to understand both forms better. This paper thus aims to compare and distinguish these two forms of intelligence, focusing on three issues: forms of embodiment, autonomy and judgment. Doing so, I argue, should enable us to have a better view of the promises and limitations of present-day artificial intelligence, along with its benefits and dangers and the place we should make for it in our culture and society.
16. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Ted Peters Artificial Intelligence versus Agape Love: Spirituality in a Posthuman Age
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As Artificial Intelligence researchers attempt to emulate human intelligence and transhumanists work toward superintelligence, philosophers and theologians confront a dilemma: we must either, on the one horn, (1) abandon the view that the defining feature of humanity is rationality and propose an account of spirituality that dissociates it from reason; or, on the other horn, (2) find a way to invalidate the growing faith in a posthuman future shaped by the enhancements of Intelligence Amplification (IA) or the progress of Artificial Intelligence (AI). I grasp both horns of the dilemma and offer three recommendations. First, it is love understood as agape, not rational intelligence, which tells us how to live a godly life. Love tells us how to be truly human. Second, the transhumanist vision of a posthuman superintelligence is not only unrealistic, it portends the kind of tragedy we expect from a false messiah. Third, if as a byproduct of AI and IA research combined with H+ zeal the wellbeing of the human species and our planet is enhanced, we should be grateful.
17. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Graham McAleer, Christopher M. Wojtulewicz Why Technoscience Cannot Reproduce Human Desire According to Lacanian Thomism
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Being born into a family structure—being born of a mother—is key to being human. It is, for Jacques Lacan, essential to the formation of human desire. It is also part of the structure of analogy in the Thomistic thought of Erich Przywara. AI may well increase exponentially in sophistication, and even achieve human-like qualities; but it will only ever form an imaginary mirroring of genuine human persons—an imitation that is in fact morbid and dehumanising. Taking Lacan and Przywara at a point of convergence on this topic offers important insight into human exceptionalism.
18. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Inti Yanes-Fernandez David I. Dubrovsky and Merab Mamardashvili: Adam’s Second Fall and the Advent of the Cyber-Leviathan
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In his speech “The European Responsibility,” the Georgian philosopher Merab Mamardashvili summarizes his utopia of a fulfilled humanity by presenting it as an integration of two main traditions: the Graeco-Roman and Judeo-Christian ones. In contrast, David Dubrovsky launches a new perspective for present and future human evolution: the cyber-superman, i.e. the perfect merging of human mind and digital brain—or the bio-digital interface. “Intelligence” here is not just an artificial by-product of a highly organized technological structure, but the re­production of mental operations through the techno-replication of the bio-brain as material substrate: the Dubrovskyan avatar. In the present article, I focus on Dubrovsky’s and Mamardashvili’s anthropological paradigms, and their relationship to the phenomena of cyberbeing and cyberculture. I examine the phenomenon of cyberbeing as a “built-in” feature of a bio-electronic, transhuman ontology that impacts and transforms personhood into “cyborghood” in the context of an interactive digital framework of fictional transcendences, body-deconstruction and bio-technological interplays. My aim is to develop a critical approach to Dubrovsky’s cybernetic anthropology and avatar-theory, along with its meaning and implications for our world-epoch, in contrast to Mamardashvili’s ontology, which proves essentially incompatible with the moment of technological singularity—i.e. with the creation of a transhuman bio-digital avatar as envisioned and prophesized by Dubrovsky.
19. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Roberto Paura A Rapture of the Nerds?: A Comparison between Transhumanist Eschatology and Christian Parousia
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Transhumanism is one of the main “ideologies of the future” that has emerged in recent decades. Its program for the enhancement of the human species during this century pursues the ultimate goal of immortality, through the creation of human brain emulations. Therefore, transhumanism offers its followers an explicit eschatology, a vision of the ultimate future of our civilization that in some cases coincides with the ultimate future of the universe, as in Frank Tipler’s Omega Point theory. The essay aims to analyze the points of comparison and opposition between transhumanist and Christian eschatologies, in particular considering the “incarnationist” view of Parousia. After an introduction concern­ing the problems posed by new scientific and cosmological theories to traditional Christian eschatology, causing the debate between “incarnationists” and “eschatologists,” the article analyzes the transhumanist idea of mind-uploading through the possibility of making emulations of the human brain and perfect simulations of the reality we live in. In the last section the problems raised by these theories are analyzed from the point of Christian theology, in particular the proposal of a transhuman species through the emulation of the body and mind of human beings. The possibility of a transhumanist eschatology in line with the incarnationist view of Parousia is refused.
20. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Alcibiades Malapi-Nelson Transhumanism, Posthumanism, and the Catholic Church
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In this essay, I engage the foreseeable consequences for the future of humanity triggered by Emerging Technologies and their underpinning philosophy, transhumanism. The transhumanist stance is compared with the default view currently held in many academic institutions of higher education: posthumanism. It is maintained that the transhumanist view is less inimical to the fostering of human dignity than the posthuman one. After this is established, I suggest that the Catholic Church may find an ally in a transhumanist ethos in a two-fold manner. On the one hand, by anchoring and promoting the defense of “the human” already present in transhumanism. On the other, rethinking the effectiveness of the delivery of sacraments in a humanity heavily altered by these technologies.