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three inaugural lectures
1. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 9
Philipp W. Rosemann Leonard Cohen, Philosopher
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This paper, which the author delivered as his inaugural lecture as the Chair of Philosophy at Maynooth University, explores the relationship between philosophy, poetry, and religion. Through a line-by-line interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Steer Your Way’, it discovers the poet in a space between postmodern disillusionment and a desire for faith. What opens Cohen to the latter is specifically the experience of pain and brokenness, which lead him to the figure of Jesus. The paper concludes with a reflection on Richard Kearney’s notion of ‘anatheism’, the return to a ‘God after God’.
2. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 9
William Desmond The Gift of Beauty and the Passion of Being
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This is a reflection on the gift of beauty and the passion of being in light of the fact that today we often meet an ambiguous attitude to beauty. Beauty seems bland and lacks the more visceral thrill of the ugly, indeed the excremental. We crave what disrupts and provokes us. Bland beauty seems to be the death of originality. How then be open at all to beauty as gift? In fact, we often are disturbed paradoxically by beauty: both taken out of ourselves, hence disquieted, yet awakened to our being at home with beauty. Beauty arouses enigmatic joy in us, and we enjoy an elemental rapport with it as other. Surprised by beauty, our breath is taken away; we are more truly there with the beautiful yet taken outside of ourselves: both at home with ourselves and not at home, in being beyond ourselves. We are first receivers of the gift of surprise and only then perceivers and conceivers. My attention to the passion of being stresses a patience, a receptivity to what is other. What happens is not first our construction. Our being disarmed by the beautiful I hold to be in tune with our being as marked most deeply by what I call a primal ‘porosity’ to being. Beauty sensuously communicates in and through this awakened porosity. We are a patience of being before we are an endeavour to be. In modern aesthetics and culture, originating receptivity tends to be downplayed as a depreciation of our claims to creative power. The predominant stress often falls on human autonomy, such that we love only what we construct ourselves, not what we receive. By contrast, I argue there is something of the godsend in what is truly beautiful. This might not be a fashionable way of talking but the vocation of the philosopher is not to be fashionable but to be true.
3. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 9
Fionntán de Brún Escaping the ‘Shower of Folly’: The Irish Language, Revivalism, and the History of Ideas
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The Irish language represents a material link ensuring continuity between the past and present of the Irish experience, but as that link has gradually been obscured, the language has become a form of alterity, indicated in the notion of Gaelic Ireland going ‘underground’. The choice between maintaining the continuity of the Irish literary tradition and abandoning it was characterized by Franciscan theologian and philosopher Froinsias Ó Maolmhuaidh (Francis O’Molloy) as the choice between keeping one’s reason and embracing folly. Thus, his envoi to the first printed Irish grammar in 1677 exhorts the people of Ireland to engage in a revival of literacy in the Irish language so as to transform their future by keeping faith with the past. Yet the desire to revive past knowledge or values is problematic. Is it possible, as the Irish revivalist Douglas Hyde desired, to ‘render the present a rational continuation of the past’? Or is it the case that revivals are attempts at a renewal of tradition, involving a dialectical transition similar to Hegel’s notion of Aufhebung? This inaugural lecture considers this question and the wider implications of revival by situating the Irish tradition of Revivalism within the broader history of ideas.
articles
4. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 9
Jonathan Gorman Traditions in Philosophy of History
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I summarize the history of twentieth-century theorizing about history by historians and by philosophers of different traditions. I clarify the nature of ‘analytical’ philosophy, with philosophical arguments imagined to exist in a shared atemporal space. Analytical philosophy of history largely presupposed David Hume’s empiricism, explicit in Carl Hempel’s 1942 analysis of historical explanation as causal. Others argued for reasons instead, but by 1965 analytical philosophers were analysing historical narratives. Many theorists were unclear about the nature of philosophical method, and ‘empathizing’ with them is fruitful. Empathy is here analysed as shared imagination, where the space imagined is not atemporal but time-extended. Making meaningful sense of our shared world requires the denial of Hume’s view that ‘complexes’ are built entirely out of ‘simples’, and we can think of historical narratives as units of time-extended empirical significance. That we can make our world is argued for and illustrated.
5. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 9
Cyril McDonnell The Origins of the Husserl-Heidegger Philosophical Dispute in Twentieth-Century Phenomenology
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This paper investigates the different ‘scientific’ methods of enquiry that were proposed by Brentano, Dilthey, and Husserl in late nineteenth-century philosophy as background to understanding the philosophical dispute that later emerged between Husserl and Heidegger regarding the definition of phenomenology in the twentieth century. It argues that once Heidegger accepts both Dilthey’s approach and hermeneutic method of enquiry into human experiences, he is unable to follow Husserl in his development of Brentano’s idea of a descriptive science of consciousness and its objectivities into an eidetic science of pure intentional consciousness.
translation
6. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 9
Edith Stein, James Smith, Mette Lebech Truth and Clarity in Teaching and Education
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Between 1923 and 1933, Edith Stein worked as a teacher at a Dominican girls’ school in the German town of Speyer. Her experiences, combined with her philosophical background and her religious faith, inspired her writings on the philosophy of education, including her first public lecture: ‘Wahrheit und Klarheit im Unterricht und in der Erziehung’, delivered in 1926. In this text, Stein discusses ideas that had been raised in a set of guidelines and themes given to teachers for their work in the school year. Stein focuses on the concepts of ‘truth’ and ‘clarity’, exploring the epistemological meanings of these terms, their significance in guiding the work of teaching, and their importance for the entire upbringing (Erziehung) of a child, with particular reference to preparing him or her for life as a Christian. Stein’s lecture is here presented in a German-English parallel text translation, along with a short introduction by the translators discussing the text in its historical and philosophical context.
7. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 8
Michael W. Dunne General Editor’s Foreword
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8. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 8
John Haydn Gurmin Issue Editor’s Introduction
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9. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 8
Notes on Contributors
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faculty
10. Maynooth Philosophical Papers: Volume > 8
Michael Dunne Evil and Indifference
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This article is a personal reflection on the question of the importance of human experience regarding suffering and death. It is also a reflection on the paradoxical indifference that many feel with regard to the suffering of others. It concludes, after an examination of some of the major thinkers on the topic, that we may well be forced to concede that to this question we may possibly be unable to give an answer.