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181. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Louis Caruana, S.J. Introduction
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182. 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.
183. 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.
184. 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.
185. 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.
186. 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.
187. 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”?
188. 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.
189. 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.
190. 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.
191. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Joshua Seigal Skeptical Theism, Moral Skepticism, and Divine Deception
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Skeptical theism – a strategy for dealing with so-called ‘evidential arguments from evil’ – is often held to lead to moral skepticism. In this paper I look at some of the responses open to the skeptical theist to the contention that her position leads to moral skepticism, and argue that they are ultimately unsuccessful, since they leave the skeptical theist with no grounds for ruling out the possibility of maximal divine deception. I then go on to argue that the situation is particularly bleak for the skeptical theist, since the most prominent ways of dealing with this pervasive type of skepticism are not available to her. Furthermore, since this pervasive type of skepticism entails moral skepticism, it follows that moral skepticism will after all have found a way in ‘through the back door’. In order to solidify my case, I go on to outline and deal with three potential objections.
192. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Dino Galetti Finding a Systematic Base for Derrida’s Work
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Derrida became increasingly overt in later years in suggesting that his work displays a rigour, and even a ‘logic’. Further, it is becoming accepted thatdeconstruction arose in dialogue with Husserl. In support of these views, this article points out that in 1990 Derrida told us that his first work of 1954 revealsa ‘law’ which guides his career, and that some responses had already arisen there. The work of 1954 is examined, and an interrelated ‘system’ developed by which the responses relate to the law, to help find a common, early and systematic base to apply to Derrida’s oeuvre as it develops. Brief examples will be pointed to in closing to show that this basis subsists, at least in part, in later work.
193. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
David J. Zehnder The Hermeneutical Keys to William James’s Philosophy of Religion: Protestant Impulses, Vital Belief
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This essay argues that the American psychologist and philosopher William James should be viewed in the Lutheran Reformation’s tradition because this viewpoint offers the hermeneutical key to his philosophy of religion. Though James obviously didn’t ascribe to biblical authority, he expressed the followingreligious sensibilities made possible by Martin Luther and his contemporaries: 1) challenge of prevailing systems, 2) anti-rationalism, 3) being pro-religiousexperience and dynamic belief, 4) need for a personal, caring God, and also 5) a gospel of religious comfort. This essay asks, in one specific form, how religiousconcerns can hold steady over time but cause very different expressions of faith.
194. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Raymond Aaron Younis These Ultimate Springs and Principles: Science, Religion and the Limits of Reason
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The question of the limits of reason, not just within philosophy but also in the modern sciences, is arguably more important than ever given numerousrecent commentaries on “life”, “reality”, meaning, purpose, pointlessness and so on, emanating not from philosophers or metaphysicians, but rather from physicists and biologists such as Steven Weinberg and Richard Dawkins. It will be argued that such commentaries concerning the “pointlessness” of the universe, or the purpose of “life’, and other such things, are flawed and unconvincing, not least because they seem to overlook or forget a number of well known and significant philosophical contributions on the question of limits, particularly by Kant, but also by Hume, Russell and Sir A J Ayer.
195. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Xunwu Chen God and Toleration
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The enduring debate on the question of whether an omnipotent, omniscient God exists amid the existence of evils in the world is crucial to understandingreligions. Much recent discussion has taken an approach in which the focal question is whether we can cognitively—for example, logically, evidentially, andthe like—and rationally justify that God’s full power and full goodness cannot be doubted amid the existence of evils. In this paper I argue that we can reasonablyassume that God exists in an evil-afflicted world if he chooses to do so and if he tolerates evils. We can reasonably argue that he does exist in an evil-afflictedworld because he chooses to tolerate evils for whatever reasons. I would like to make a stronger claim: he tolerates evils in order to give humankind a chance togrow in knowledge of good and evils by combating evils, which implies that his toleration of evils imposes a task on humankind to combat evils.
196. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Michael Polyard Philosophical Implications of Naturalizing Religion
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This paper deals with Daniel Dennett’s argument regarding the nature of belief in contrast to belief in belief. The idea that the value of the first orderbelief in the existence of a precept is entirely irrelevant because it is indistinguishable from the second-order belief; that the belief in something is a good thing. That is to say it doesn’t matter if I believe something inasmuch as if I believe that the belief is a good thing (i.e.: beneficial to the individual, etc). Dennett’s approach particularly regards an analysis of religion from this point, and suggests that it is entirely impossible to determine if an individual believes in God, or simply believes that the belief in God is a good thing. More importantly, Dennett argues that the individual themselves cannot make this distinction.
197. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Janusz Salamon The Universal and Particular Dimensions of the Holocaust Story and the Emergence of Global Ethics
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In this paper I want to look at the Holocaust story as an example of a value-laden story which might become one of the foundation stones of the emergentglobal ethics, indispensable for bridging ideological divides that so often prevent a global society from living in peace and solidarity. My key suggestion willbe that the stories that have the potential of becoming truly ‘global stories’, will in reality become carriers of global values only after undergoing interpretativetransformation which will enable all citizens of the global village to identify with ethically positive aspects of the story, so that they will perceive this story as theirown.
198. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
James Conlon Against Ineffability
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It is a commonplace assumption that there are realities and types of experience words are just not able to handle. I find the recourse to ineffability to bean evasive tactic and argue that there is inherently nothing beyond words and that this fact has ethical implications. I offer three theoretical considerations in support of my claim. The first two deal with the infinite nature of language itself, as understood first in Chomsky and then Derrida. The third deals with the linguistically structured nature of human experience. Expanding on Heidegger, I then draw some ethical implications from language’s inexhaustibility.
199. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Tereza-Brindusa Palade Why Thinking in Faith? A Reappraisal of Edith Stein’s View of Reason
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This paper intends to question the conventional wisdom that philosophy should limit its endeavours to the horizon of modern transcendentalism, thusrejecting the presuppositions of faith. By reappraising Edith Stein’s views of faith and reason, which are also shared by the magisterial document of John Paul II,Fides et ratio, an argument for the possibility of “thinking in faith” is put forward. But why would it be important nowadays to engage in rational research in philosophy in a quest for truth which also draws its inspiration from faith? First of all, as I shall argue, because the two great modern transcendental projects, namely the Kantian and the Husserlian one, which were both in tune with Spinoza’s project to liberate philosophical reason from theology, have failed. Secondly, because “faith” (fides) is not based on “irrational sentiments”, but is ”intellectual understanding”, as Edith Stein argues. Third, because the natural light of the created intellect is, as was shown by St. Thomas Aquinas, a participated likeness of the supernatural light of the uncreated divine intellect. Therefore, even the natural philosopher gets their own light from the eternal Truth of faith. Finally, by following another Thomistic stance, one may argue that the end of human life is an intelligible one: the contemplation of God. In order to attain this end, the human being should endeavour to attain as much as is possible, in an intelligible way, the thing desired. Even if the philosophical inquiry has its own limits, it may however sustain such progress towards the end of human life.
200. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Teresa Obolevitch All-Unity according to V. Soloviev and S. Frank. A Comparative Analysis
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In this article I will present and analyze the concept of all-unity of the two most famous Russian philosophers – Vladimir Soloviev (1853-1900) and Semyon Frank (1877-1958). As will be argued, the concept of all-unity is part of an old philosophical tradition. At the same time, it is an original idea of the Russian thought of the Silver Age (the end of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries).