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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Michael Bowler, Mirela Oliva Introduction
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Mark K. Spencer The Many Phenomenological Reductions and Catholic Metaphysical Anti-Reductionism
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While all phenomenologists aim to grasp the “things themselves,” they disagree about the best method for doing this and about what the “things themselves” are. Many metaphysicians, especially Catholic realists, reject phenomenology altogether. I show that many phenomenological methods are useful for reaching the goals of both phenomenology and realist metaphysics. First, I present a history of phenomenological methods, including those used by Scheler, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, Marion, Kearney, Rocha, and others. Next, I consider two sets of challenges raised to some of these methods. Finally, I outline how to join these methods with each other and with the methods of realist metaphysics, ultimately arriving at an aesthetic method, inspired by the work of von Balthasar, for considering fundamental phenomena.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Joseph G. Trabbic Jean-Luc Marion and the Phénoménologie de la Donation as First Philosophy
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Jean-Luc Marion proposes what he calls the “phenomenology of givenness” (phénoménologie de la donation) as the true “first philosophy.” In this paper I consider his critique of previous first philosophies and his argument for the phenomenology of givenness as their replacement. I note several problems with the phenomenology of givenness and conclude that it does not seem ready yet to assume the title of “first philosophy.”
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Richard Colledge Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenological Realism: Toward a Renewed Engagement
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This paper looks to make a small contribution to the critical engagement between philosophical Thomism and phenomenology, inspired by the recent work of the German phenomenologist and hermeneutic thinker Günter Figal. My suggestion is that Figal’s proposal for a broad-based hermeneutical philosophy rooted in a renewed realism concerning things in their externality and “objectivity” provides great potential for a renewed encounter with Thomist realism. The paper takes up this issue through a brief examination of some of the more problematic idealistic features of Kantian and Husserlian thought, before turning to consider how these aspects of the tradition are reframed within Figal’s phenomenological realism. The Thomist position concerning the relation between things and their understanding (including the complex matter of the verbum mentis) is then raised, drawing both on Aquinas’s own texts and the interpretations of Jacques Maritain. Some striking emerging affinities between this tradition and Figal’s hermeneutic phenomenology are noted.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Daniel Dahlstrom Experiencing Others: Stein’s Critique of Scheler
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“Experiencing others” in this paper stands for apprehending fellow human beings insofar as they express themselves and thus are or have been—on some level—alive and conscious. Contemporary scholars have increasingly paid attention to phenomenological approaches to explaining this phenomenon, whether under the rubric of knowing other minds, intersubjectivity, or empathy. In this connection, Max Scheler’s studies of sympathy and Edith Stein’s dissertation on empathy have stood out. Yet scholars often treat their views in tandem, paying little attention to their differences. This neglect is unfortunate since their disagreement harbors—at least prima facie—two radically different points of departure for understanding how we experience one another. The main objective of this paper is to identify their disagreement and to probe the possibility and necessity of resolving it.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
George Heffernan Stein’s Critique of Husserl’s Transcendental Idealism
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Stein claims that Husserl’s transcendental idealism makes it impossible to clarify the transcendence of the world because it posits that consciousness constitutes being. Inspired by Aquinas, Stein counters that making thinking the measure of being deprives what is of its epistemological and ontological independence from and primacy over what thinks. She contends that this approach inverts the natural relationship between the mind and the world. Given the complicated relationship between them, however, the question is whether Stein’s argument that Husserl lacked an adequate understanding of and appreciation for the phenomenon of transcendence is sound. In fact, Husserl’s treatments of “limit problems of phenomenology” in his manuscripts from 1908 to 1937, which were only recently published in Husserliana XLII (2014), show that he undertook extensive investigations of metaphysical, metaethical, and religious and theological questions. Tragically, Stein was prevented from gaining an even remotely complete picture of Husserl’s work. In this paper, therefore, I examine Stein’s critique of Husserl’s transcendental idealism in light of the fuller evidence.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Chad Engelland Amo, Ergo Cogito: Phenomenology’s Non-Cartesian Augustinianism
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Phenomenologists turn to Augustine to remedy the neglect of life, love, and language in the Cartesian cogito: (1) concerning life, Edmund Husserl appropriates Augustine’s analysis of distentio animi, Edith Stein of vivo, and Hannah Arendt of initium; (2) concerning love, Max Scheler appropriates Augustine’s analysis of ordo amoris, Martin Heidegger of curare, and Dietrich von Hildebrand of affectiones; (3) concerning language, Ludwig Wittgenstein appropriates Augustine’s analysis of ostendere, Hans-Georg Gadamer of verbum cordis, and Jean-Luc Marion of confessio. Phenomenology’s non-Cartesian Augustinianism can tell us something about phenomenology, namely that it is engaged in the project of recontextualizing the cogito, and something about Augustine, namely how radically different his project is than Descartes’s. Phenomenology presents an Augustine that is well positioned for the debates of our times concerning mind and world, desire and the human person, and language and embodiment.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Pol Vandevelde Charity in Interpretation: Principle or Virtue? A Return to Gregory the Great
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I defend the view that charity in interpretation is both an epistemic and a moral virtue. In the first part, I examine Donald Davidson’s version of his principle of charity and question his ascription of beliefs by raising a phenomenological objection: beliefs themselves, before being ascribed, need to be interpreted when interpreters and the subjects they try to understand do not share the same cultural and historical background. In the second section, I examine the notion of epistemic virtue as discussed in virtue epistemology and question whether an epistemic virtue can be completely separated from a moral virtue. In the third section, I show how Gregory the Great, Father of the Church and Pope in the 6th century, understands the virtue of charity in interpretation not as a motivation (in a causal process of interpretation, as in virtue epistemology) but as an attraction to the good (in a teleological process) so that the interpreter is not only a technician producing an interpretation (following a “principle” of charity, as in Davidson) but a moral agent acting in a community.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Justin Gable, OP God Without Metaphysics: Some Thomistic Reflections on Heidegger’s Onto-Theological Critique and the Future of Natural Theology
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The Heideggerian critique of onto-theology has attained a semi-canonical status for continental philosophy of religion. But is the critique itself sound, and does it actually result in a richer philosophical and theological discourse concerning God? In this paper, I argue that Heidegger’s onto-theological critique suffers from serious difficulties. First (section II) I examine the critique, summarizing and condensing the critique in its essentials. I use Westphal’s fourfold criteria as a way of giving it some precision, while presenting it in relative independence from Heidegger’s own account of Being. In section III, I examine the results of non-onto-theological discourse on God post-Heidegger, suggesting, using the examples of John Caputo and Richard Kearney, that Heidegger’s onto-theological critique has not inspired a less problematic religious discourse. In the fourth and final section, I question the legitimacy of the critique itself. While Heidegger’s critique of onto-theology has the seemingly admirable goal of rendering our discourse about God less instrumental and idolatrous, a careful analysis of the criteria themselves reveals that onto-theology either misinterprets natural theological discourse on God or subjects it to impossible requirements.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Michael Bowler The Nature of Sacred Time
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In his essay, I examine the nature of sacred time, focusing primarily though not exclusively on two aspects of sacred time: that it is “set aside” from use and that in this time human beings can be in union and communion with and in God. I argue that chronological, “clock” time and Heideggerian “datable” (in-order-to) time are incapable of being directly consecrated as sacred time. In order to understand sacred time, I investigate the Fall and how this results in an essentially instrumentalist understanding of the world and time, which has its ultimate motive in the drive for human self-sufficiency. Only against this backdrop can one properly understand the nature (physis) of human temporality and historicity with respect to sacred time as set apart from use and as that time we spend and thus share with Christ, thereby coming into union and communion with God.
11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 95 > Issue: 3
Mirela Oliva Immortality in Heidegger
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This paper argues that Heidegger’s description of death as a phenomenon of life opens a path to immortality different from the classical arguments. In the first part, I will explain why, for Heidegger, the account of immortality must start from a phenomenology of death, and I will analyze the characteristics of Being-towards-death. Then, I will discuss the relationship between immortality and death’s revelation of Being. Finally, I will examine the Christian background of Heidegger’s conception of death and immortality, and I will address some objections.