Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 78, 2004

Reckoning with the Tradition

Nicholas Rescher
Pages 1-9

Respect for Tradition (And the Catholic Philosopher Today)

The prime and paramount factor that characterizes the Catholic philosopher is a respect for the Catholic philosophical tradition. To respect a person or a tradition is to see it as a bearer of value; respect does not automatically entail agreement. The Catholic philosophical tradition is not doctrinally unified, but is defined by a mutuality of involvement in a common project: that of developing a perspective that enables reason and religion to exist in a holistic unicity that fructifies each through its interaction with the other. Catholic philosophers should respect their intellectual tradition because it is an important part of acquiring their identity as thinkers and persons. Three useful approaches to appropriating and respecting a tradition are: (1) restoration and revival; (2) preservation of issues by re-opening and re-examining its questions; and (3) revivification of its spirit.