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Displaying: 1-20 of 26 documents


1. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Ken A. Bryson Christian Metaphysics and Human Death
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The realist belief in the primacy of the world and its underlying structure answers the question ‘why is there something rather than nothing.’ The world, and all things contained in it exists because of God’s creative act. Personal death in Christian philosophy continues the gift of human existence by shifting that temporal existence into eternal life. The death and resurrection of Christ lays the foundation for the possibility of eternal life, while the will of God provides an answer to the why of human existence. The aim of this paper is to examine the effects of the death and resurrection of Christ on the metaphysical strings of human existence. The phenomenon of human death takes place on the arms of consciousness and being’s unconcealment. The subjective correlate of human death is the irreversible loss of consciousness, while the objective correlate of human death presents as the infolding of the gift of existence, namely, of being’s unconcealment from consciousness. These correlates function as a dynamic unit to explain human death and resurrection. The attempt to justify a belief in the existence of life after death from the point of view of consciousness alone is dualistic and leads to several absurdities and confusions about the nature of the afterlife state. The explanation of the resurrection of Christ as a continuation of the dialogue between being and consciousness begun on earth avoids those absurdities while maintaining personal identity.
2. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Juuso Loikkanen William A. Dembski’s Argument for Detecting Design through Specified Complexity
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This paper analyzes William A. Dembski’s theory of intelligent design. According to Dembski, it is possible to empirically detect signs of intelligence in the world by examining properties of observed events. In order to detect design, Dembski has developed the criterion of specified complexity, by means of which he claims to be able to distinguish events that are designed from those that are caused by necessity or chance. Five problems regarding Dembski’s theory are identified and discussed. It is revealed that Dembski’s theory is not rigorously enough defined to be deemed to be a scientific theory.
3. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Jeffery L. Johnson Religion as a Natural Kind: The Biological and Semantic Search for a Definition
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Anthropologists tell us that every known culture has had something that we would recognize as religion, and that this has been true for at least 50,000 years. The best explanation for this is a genetic predisposition for religious sympathy and practice, hard-wired into the human brain by the forces of natural selection; it is part of our basic human nature. We can therefore treat religion as a natural kind--similar to gold or water--and attempt to articulate this neurobiological essence in everyday language. Such an articulation would yield an empirically driven definition of religion.
4. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Jane Duran Christine de Pisan and the Development of a Philosophical View
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The work of Quilligan, Kelley, Gardner and others is alluded to in an effort to argue that Christine de Pisan’s Book of the City of Ladies is an early example of a philosophically feminist view. The importance of allegory as a literary construct is discussed, and it is concluded that Christine stands midway between the preceding medievals and the women thinkers of the seventeenth century. In addition, it is concluded that the importance of de Pisan’s work as a bridge between the two eras cannot be overlooked, and that only recently has substantive scholarship on her begun to emerge that would point a clear way to her standing.
5. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Andrew Jacob Cuff Duns Scotus and Jacques de Thérines on Free Will and the Word’s Assumption of Human Nature: Two Quodlibeta from Advent 1306
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The close proximity and topical confluence of two early fourteenth-century quodlibetal disputations, those of John Duns Scotus and Jacques de Thérines, has drawn the attention of several scholars. Antonie Vos argues that Thérines’s quodlibet exhibits the influence of Scotus’s, yet no solid evidence has yet been provided for the chronology of their delivery or publication. Most scholars agree that they likely delivered their quodlibets in the same year: 1306. The following article gives a full exposition of corresponding topics in the two texts, closely analyzing them for clues as to which influenced the other.
6. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Liran Shia Gordon On Truth, the Truth of Existence, and the Existence of Truth: A Dialogue with the Thought of Duns Scotus
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In order to make sense of Scotus’s claim that rationality is perfected only by the will, a Scotistic doctrine of truth is developed in a speculative way. It is claimed that synthetic a priori truths are truths of the will, which are existential truths. This insight holds profound theological implications and is used on the one hand to criticize Kant's conception of existence, and on the other hand, to offer another explanation of the sense according to which the existence of things is grasped.
7. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Timo Airaksinen In the Upper Room: Metaphysics and Theology in Berkeley's Ethics
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This paper describes Berkeley’s ethics and analyses its metaphysical presuppositions. His ethical though is based on the theological idea of virtue that means obedience to God’s will and, hence, all ethically relevant concepts contain a reference to God. Berkeley also says that happiness in this vale of tears is God’s gift to us and a reward of virtue in heaven. Happiness is a sign and criterion of virtuous conduct. Obviously this kind of supernatural ethics can work only if its metaphysical foundation is so obvious that all decent people can figure it out. This is to say that revealed religion must be replaced by natural religion. According to Berkeley, the existence of God, his goodness, the reality of heaven, and its supreme happiness can be proved philosophically and in terms of natural religion. The main part of the paper describes and evaluates Berkeley’s logic, especially analogical reasoning and his inferences from conclusions to premises, or effects to causes. Another major theme is the mutual independence of revealed and natural theology. Berkeley’s minor writings are in a major role here. Due to the unsystematic nature of its sources the conclusions of this paper are open-ended and speculative.
8. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
James B. South Editor's Page
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rahner papers
9. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Catherine E. Clifford Christian Unity: A Real Possibility in the 21st Century?
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Can the 1985 proposal for the unification of the Christian churches co-authored by Karl Rahner and Heinrich Fries in Unity of the Churches: An Actual Possibility still provide a realistic basis for the unification of the churches? This paper considers the proposal as an application of the ecumenical principle that no greater burden than necessary be imposed as a requisite for full ecclesial communion, and of the hierarchy of truths. It explores the basic presuppositions of the proposal in light of Rahner’s reflections on the role of the creed within the context of theological pluralism. Finally, it considers the changing contours of global Christianity and the potential of Rahner’s thought to hold together in creative tension the at times competing currents of those who would locate the ultimate basis of unity in a maximalist theological orthodoxy and those who would find it in an almost exclusive emphasis on orthopraxy.
10. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Richard Lennan Truth, Context, and Unity: Karl Rahner’s Ecumenical Theology
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Ecumenical theology was integral to the ecclesiology of Karl Rahner. The highpoint of that theology in Rahner’s corpus was Unity of the Churches: An Actual Possibility, which he co-authored with Heinrich Fries and which was published shortly before Rahner’s death. Although the reception of Unity of the Churches was generally positive, one prominent critic of the book claimed that it promoted unity over “truth.” In identifying ten principles that underpinned Rahner’s ecumenical theology, this article explores Rahner’s interpretation of “truth.” The particular focus of the article is on Rahner’s conviction that “truth” in relation to Christian unity could not be separated from the “context” of the divided churches. The final section of the paper discusses Rahner’s proposals for the future of ecumenism.
11. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Jill Raitt Is Church Unity Possible Today?
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Thirty years after the publication of Unity of the Churches: An Actual Possibility by Karl Rahner and Heinrich Fries, our panel was asked whether we consider the unity of the churches an actual possibility today. I sketch an answer to this question with the help of Michael Kinnamon, past Executive Secretary of the World Council of Churches and from 2007–2011 the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the USA, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity from March 2001 through June 2010. In response to Cardinal Kasper’s caveats, I address three points: 1) the word of God and the Eucharist, 2) transubstantiation, and 3) the sacrifice of the Mass, The fourth point is my concluding answer to the question of Christian unity.
12. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Brandon R. Peterson Karl Rahner on Patristic Theology and Spirituality
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A great amount of scholarly attention has been devoted to Karl Rahner’s early philosophical writings, but his theological work from the same time period remains only marginally known. While his dissertation in philosophy, Spirit in the World, has been published in multiple editions and in many languages, his dissertation in theology, E latere Christi, was only available in archives until it was published in the third volume (1999) of his collected works, Sämtliche Werke. Exploring the content of this third volume which contains Rahner’s early writing on the spirituality and theology of the Church Fathers, this article illuminates a neglected part of Rahner’s career: his fascination with patristic thought during his early, formative years. It also identifies themes in these early writings which reappear in his more well known mature writings on the theology of das Symbol, soteriology, mystery, and the importance of historical theology for the activity of today’s theologian.
13. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Matthew Petrusek The Relevance of Karl Rahner’s View of Human Dignity for the Catholic Social Thought Tradition
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This article examines and seeks to define Karl Rahner’s distinctive view of human dignity. Despite the relative infrequency of the words “dignity” or “image of God” in Rahner’s work, the inherent and realized worth of the individual holds a central place in his overall moral theology, especially as it appears in Foundations of Christian Faith. In particular, the article seeks to demonstrate that Rahner’s view of the (in)vulnerability of human dignity serves as a synthetic moral principle unifying his conceptions of freedom, the supernatural existential, the categorical, and the fundamental option. This article concludes by suggesting how Rahner’s conception of dignity may be helpful for the development of a comprehensive definition of dignity within the Catholic Social Thought Tradition.
14. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Richard Penaskovic Rahner Papers Editor's Page
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15. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Vladimir de Beer The Cosmic Role of the Logos, as Conceived from Heraclitus until Eriugena
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In this article the cosmological and metaphysical dimensions of the Logos concept in the Hellenic and Patristic traditions are explored. Heraclitus initially depicted the logos as the ontological link between the One and the many, with the logos thus serving as the foundation of both rational discourse and natural law. This concept was elaborated and modified by a number of eminent Hellenic and Christian thinkers. Among them count Plato, Philo of Alexandria, the New Testament authors John and Paul, Plotinus, Athenagoras, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor and John Scottus Eriugena.
16. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Jean-Pierre Fortin Critical Theology, Committed Philosophy: Discovering Anew the Faith-Reason Dynamics with Origen of Alexandria and Augustine of Hippo
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This article analyzes the faith-reason relationship articulated in the works of two Church Fathers, Origen of Alexandria (185-254 CE) and Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE). Within the perspective of Origen and Augustine, faith is rational and reason faithful. Faith does not hinder, but rather enhances the power of human understanding to decipher the truth. Faith is the only means by which human reason can come to know truth in Jesus Christ. Faith and reason are thus interrelated and mutually dependent. While faith empowers reason to fathom the divine mysteries, reason perfects faith, enabling responsible assent to truth.
17. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Edward R. Moad Between Divine Simplicity and the Eternity of the World: Ghazali on the Necessity of the Necessary Existent in the Incoherence of the Philosophers
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In the Incoherence of the Philosophers, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111) leveled a critique against twenty propositions of the Muslim peripatetic philosophers, represented chiefly by al-Farabi (872-951) and Ibn Sina (980-1037). In the Fourth Discussion of this work, he rejects their claim to having proven the existence of God. The proof to which he objects is none other than the famous ‘argument from contingency.’ So why did the eminent theologian of Islamic orthodoxy reject an argument for God’s existence that ultimately became so historically influential? I will show that the real targets of Ghazali’s objection are the philosophers’ doctrine of the pre-eternity of the world, and their denial of divine attributes. These two issues are linked in such a way that, only if the philosophers’ argument regarding the divine essence is sound, would they be able to prove that He exists while holding to the doctrine of the world’s pre-eternity.
18. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Cyril Orji Does Lonergan Know C. S. Peirce?
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This article revisits ideas of Charles Peirce, who wrote at the turn of the nineteenth century, and Bernard Lonergan, who wrote at the turn of the twentieth, with the purpose of connecting important dots in their thinking. The goal of this comparison is to show how the two ground metaphysics in the practices of the sciences and common sense. The article argues that the metaphysical framework the two scholars developed in opposition to nominalism can be used to overcome the reductionism that hinders modern efforts to think metaphysically as well to as promote fruitful dialogue between theology and philosophy.
19. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Joshua R. Farris Substance Dualism and Theological Anthropology: A Theological Argument for a Simple View of Persons
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Currently, there remains an aversion for substance dualism in both philosophical and theological literature. However, there has been a renewed interest in substance dualism within philosophical literature. In the present article, I advance substance dualism as a viable position that persuasively accounts for the Scriptural and theological data within Christian thought. I make a specific argument in favor of a metaphysically simple substance. Along the way, I note the overlap between the philosophical and theological literature and suggest that a simple soul as substance is a metaphysical presupposition grounding the data.
20. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Jessica M. Murdoch Contesting Foundations: Karl Rahner and Francis Schüssler Fiorenza's Nonfoundationalist Critique
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One particularly serious criticism of Karl Rahner’s fundamental theology on postmodern grounds has been articulated by Francis Schüssler Fiorenza. Specifically, Fiorenza criticizes the mystagogical or “maieutic” aspect of Rahner’s method, its alleged progression from implicit experience to explicit historical concretions. This characteristic, in Fiorenza’s estimation, legitimates those who level a claim of tautology against the transcendental method. Furthermore, Fiorenza argues that the maieutic character of Rahner’s transcendental method undercuts truly historical questions. The key problem with assessing Fiorenza’s critique of Rahner is primarily Fiorenza’s imprecision with his use of terms. Two questions in particular remain unresolved. First, which foundationalism is the supposed foundationalism present in Rahner’s method? Second, whose conception of hermeneutics is included under the rubric of “hermeneutics"? In this paper I argue that Rahner executes a truly hermeneutical theological method that escapes Fiorenza’s foundationalist critique.