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articles
1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Gaven Kerr Essentially Ordered Series Reconsidered
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Herein I offer a model for understanding the traditional distinction between essentially and accidentally ordered causal series and their function in traditional proofs for the existence of God. I argue that, like the traditional proofs, my model of the causal series in question permits an infinite regress of the accidentally ordered series but not of the essentially ordered series. Furthermore, I argue that on the basis of this model one can avoid Edwards’s criticism that no matter how we conceive of the causal series (as accidental or essential) we still have to deal with the suggestion that arriving at a first cause does not mean that we have an uncaused first cause. Finally, I end with a short speculation on what a successful proof for an uncaused first cause might lead to.
2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Kody W. Cooper The Prolife Leviathan: The Hobbesian Case Against Abortion
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Thomas Hobbes’s innovative anthropology and novel doctrines of natural right, natural law, and positive law have been taken to inaugurate a tradition that grows into modern United States abortion jurisprudence. In this essay I argue that a careful rereading of Hobbes reveals that the characterization of Hobbes as the philosophical and jurisprudential forefather of abortion rights is false. While Hobbes never directly addressed the question of abortion, I argue that we can reconstruct his position from his philosophical texts. First, I reconstruct the Hobbesian philosophical case against abortion via a rereading of his notions of family, hominization, and natural law. Second, I apply these principles along with Hobbes’s theories of equity and sovereignty to formulate a Hobbesian jurisprudential case against the Roe-Casey order of permissive abortion law.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Robert Piercey Learning to Swim with Hegel and Kierkegaard
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In two of their major works, Hegel and Kierkegaard seek philosophical instruction in the very same example: that of trying to learn to swim before one has entered the water. But they reach diametrically opposed conclusions about what this example shows. It might seem troubling that an example can teach two incompatible lessons. I argue that we will be troubled only if we make an implausible assumption about examples: that the lessons they teach are theory-neutral facts equally available to all. Drawing on work by Onora O’Neill, I argue against this assumption. I try to show that philosophical examples can be quite mysterious: both free and rule-governed, both determinate and indeterminate—or, better, determinately indeterminate. In this respect, they may be fruitfully compared to Kantian judgments of taste.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Bogdan Ivaşcu Experiences of Order and Reason and Their Modern Ideological Destruction in Voegelin’s Work
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The present study aims to provide a critical analysis of the account of modernity and modern thinkers done by the Austrian philosopher Eric Voegelin, arguably one of the most important political thinkers of the twentieth century. Eric Voegelin is a leading figure among those who considered it pertinent to speak about a crisis of modernity, primarily seen as a crisis of the spirit. The present study stresses Voegelin’s original analysis of “the ideological soul” of modern thinkers, his effort to go beyond a merely descriptive approach, and to define ideological thinking as a spiritually diseased pattern of thought rooted in an existential attitude. At the same time, I critically discuss some problematic consequences of Voegelin’s position, the possible flaws in his treatment of modern philosophers, perhaps too harshly seen as “intellectual swindlers” whose main concern was the distortion of fundamental experiences.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
David McPherson To What Extent Must We Go Beyond Neo-Aristotelian Ethical Naturalism?
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In this essay I discuss the limits of recent attempts to develop a neo-Aristotelian virtue ethic on the basis of a commitment to ‘ethical naturalism.’ By ‘ethical naturalism’ I mean the view that ethics can be founded on claims about what it is for human beings to flourish qua member of the human species, which is analogous to what it is for plants and other animals to flourish qua member of their particular species. Drawing on Charles Taylor’s account of ‘strong evaluation,’ I argue that there are important features of our ethical life that can only be properly understood from a first-personal or phenomenological standpoint as contrasted with the third-personal standpoint of ethical naturalism: viz., (1) the sense of ‘nobility’ in performing virtuous actions for their own sake as a constitutive part of the good life; (2) the nature and extent of other-regarding concern; and (3) the issue of ‘the meaning of life,’ which also raises the issue of the place of ‘transcendence’ in an account of the good life. While I emphasize the need for a deeper engagement with our first-personal evaluative experience, I also discuss the interdependence of the first-personal and third-personal perspectives in the ethical life.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Matthew B. O’Brien, Robert C. Koons Objects of Intention: A Hylomorphic Critique of the New Natural Law Theory
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The “New Natural Law” Theory (NNL) of Grisez, Finnis, Boyle, and their collaborators offers a distinctive account of intentional action, which underlies a moral theory that aims to justify many aspects of traditional morality and Catholic doctrine. In fact, we show that the NNL is committed to premises that entail the permissibility of many actions that are irreconcilable with traditional morality and Catholic doctrine, such as elective abortions. These consequences follow principally from the NNL’s planning theory of intention coupled with an implicitly Cartesian conception of human behavior, in which behavior chosen by an agent has no intrinsic “intentionalness” apart from what he confers upon it as part of his plan. Pace the NNL collaborators, we sketch an alternative hylomorphic conception of intentional action that avoids untoward moral implications by grounding human agency in the exercise of basic powers that are either essential to human nature or acquired through participation in social practices.
review article
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Christopher M. Cullen, S.J. The Natural Desire for God and Pure Nature: A Debate Renewed
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Beginning in 1946 Henri de Lubac, S.J., sparked controversy by arguing against the Scholastic doctrine of “pure nature,” according to which God could have created man with a purely natural end rather than the supernatural end of the beatific vision. Although de Lubac’s view prevailed after his 1965 book, The Mystery of the Supernatural, the debate over the natural desire for God and pure nature has recently been renewed. This essay discusses the current state of the debate with particular attention to four recent books, a collection of essays edited by Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P., and monographs by Lawrence Feingold, Steven A. Long, and John Milbank.
book reviews
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Fr. David Burrell, CSC Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil. By Brian Davies.
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9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
LLoyd A. Newton The Earliest Syriac Translation of Aristotle’s Categories: Text, Translation, and Commentary. Translated by Daniel King.
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10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Alice Ramos Ultimate Normative Foundations: The Case for Aquinas’s Personalist Natural Law. By Rose Mary Hayden Lemmons.
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