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1. Philotheos: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
L. Scott Smith

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While central to the Christian religion, the act of faith has been notoriously difficult to define. This essay is an attempt to illuminate, with the aid of insights from cognitive science and process philosophy, what it means for a Christian to have faith, specifically in God. In doing so, the apriori and aposteriori aspects of faith are explored, along with its connections to science and empirical evidence, revelation, knowledge, doubt, morality, and additional Christian beliefs.

2. Philotheos: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Bogdan Lubardić

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This study demonstrates how and with what aim philosophy is received into the missionary activities of the apostles Paul and Luke as regards the Areopagitica in Acts 17. By an ingenious utilization of Greco-Roman learning and paideia, generally, and philosophy, particularly, Lukan Paul offers a context oriented cross-cultural model of preaching the kerygmatic word as of evangelization. A model for the inculturation of the power and meanings of the Gospel message is offered. In this a significant function is allocated to disciplined mindful reasoning, viz. philosophy. The author demonstrates the special ways in which contact-points are made, and common ground established, between the apostle Paul and Athenian philosophers. This allows him to observe that philosophy is endorsed by the primordial Church: both (a) as a dialectical (critical analytical) and rhetorical (per­suasive oratorical) science-skill of addressing significant intellectual others and (b) as a faith-friendly mode of the Christian’s practice of philosophy. The author infers a number of conclusions regarding the substantial role that philosophy acquires within the early Church. Moreover, the Christian endorsement of philosophy as a missionary tool has its grounding in the apostolic Church and, consequentially, it has its grounding in the New Testament. In this way philosophy, utilized and re-functionalized by the apostles Paul and Luke themselves, in its special way, participates in the “authoritative establishment of tradition by means of apostolic origin”. The missionary model laid-out in Acts 17:16-34 has lasting value and needs to be continuously re-actualized: the same follows suit for a faith-conducive practice of philosophy.

3. Philotheos: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Dionysios Skliris

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The paper examines the status of ambiguity in the thought of Plotinus (c. 204/205-270). Even though ambiguity should be regarded as the enemy of the philosopher and as pertaining rather to the rhetorical tradition and not the philosophical one as it was especially established by Plato and Aristotle, one can argue that the particularly Neoplatonist philosophical project permitted an important place to it due to some fundamental inherent aspects that it contained. Most importantly, the ambiguity in the generation of the Intellect from the One is examined in this paper as related to the dialectic between existence and being. In such a perspective, ambiguity is initiated by the fact that being is both one in order to exist and not one in order to be a being. Thus, it can be explained only in dialectic with an ontological reality beyond it, namely an absolute One. This means that, in turn, its generation as Intellect from the latter is necessarily a two-fold movement: Both a distribution of existence by procession and a reverting contemplative act for acquisition of substantial definition. This dialectic does not only concern the highest ontological level of the relation of the Being to the One, but is a permanent ontological vacillation in the system of Plotinus. The paper observes this valorization of ambiguity as an original and dynamic feature of Plotinian ontology that arguably paved the way for Modernity.

4. Philotheos: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey Dirk Wilson

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St. Thomas’s Third Way to prove the existence of God, “Of Possibility and Necessity” (ST 1, q.2, art. 3, response) is one of the most controverted passages in the entire Thomistic corpus. The central point of dispute is that if there were only possible beings, each at some time would cease to exist and, therefore, at some point in time nothing would exist, and because something cannot come from nothing, in such an eventuality, nothing would exist now—a reductio ad absurdum conclusion. Therefore, at least one necessary being must exist. Generations of critics and defenders have contended over St. Thomas’s proof. This article argues that the principle of pros hen analogy is implicit in the Third Way and that once identified explains the ontological dependency of possible beings, as secondary analogates, on the first necessary being, as primary analogate. Thus, without the necessary being as primary analogate, possible beings simply could not exist. The fact that they do exist is evidence for the existence of the necessary being. St. Thomas makes synthesizes the principle of pros hen analogy, as found in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, with the Neoplatonic principle of participation. Aristotle develops pros hen analogy in contradistinction to univocal and equivocal predication as well as to genus in Metaphysics 4.2, 11.3, 12.3-5. Since Scotus and re-enforced by modern analytic logic, philosophers have almost universally regarded any kind of analogical predication as a sub-category of equivocal predication and, thus, implicitly occlude the possibility of considering pros hen analogy in their readings of the Third Way. Distinction of per se and per accidens infinite regress and of radical and natural contingency are also central to understanding the Third Way. While resolving apparent problems in the Third Way, the article also seeks to rehabilitate the doctrine of pros hen analogy as a basic principle in Thomistic and, indeed, Aristotelian metaphysics.

5. Philotheos: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Werner Theobald

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Sören Kierkegaard gilt als „Vater der Existenzphilosophie“. Durch Schwermut bzw. Melancholie „zuinnerst in die Frage nach sich selber geworfen“ (Wilhelm Weischedel), habe er das Thema der Existenz philosophisch entdeckt. Tatsächlich, dies versucht der vorliegende Artikel zu zeigen, war Kierkegaard traumatisiert. Ein Trauma ist, anders als Schwermut oder Melancholie (modern gesprochen: Depression), keine psychische Erkrankung, sondern eine „gesunde Reaktion auf eine kranke Situation“, die die Verarbeitungsmöglichkeiten des Individuums überfordert. Das Selbst wird dabei gefährdet oder gar zerstört. Der Versuch, „für sich selbst durchsichtig zu werden“ ( Joakim Garff ), auf den Kierkegaards Denken hinauslief, kann entsprechend als philosophische Traumabewältigung gelten – jedoch nicht so, dass dabei ein psychisches Problem, sondern Existenzielles verarbeitet wird. Denn: Im Trauma erfährt man die „Abgründigkeit des Seins“, es führt „direkt in die Tiefenstruktur der Existenz“ (A. Längle). Dass Kierkegaard dabei Halt in der Transzendenz gefunden hat, erweist sich als immanent konsequent.

6. Philotheos: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Predrag Čičovački

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Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) was one of the greatest artists of all time, but also one of the harshest critics of the contemporary art. In the conclusion of his controversial book, What is Art?, Tolstoy claimed: “The purpose of art in our time consists in transferring from the realm of reason to the realm of feeling the truth that people’s well-being lies in being united among themselves and in establishing, in place of the violence that now reins, that Kingdom of God – that is, of love – which we all regard as the highest aim of human nature.” In my paper I want to examine what Tolstoy means by that, and also how his understating of the purpose of art applies to his own works of art, as well as how it applies to some other contemporary works of art.

7. Philotheos: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Ivana Noble, Zdenko Širka

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This article focuses on the work of Czech Jesuit Cardinal Tomáš Špidlík (1919-2010), continued in his pupils, both in Rome, where he taught for most of his life, and in the Czech Republic. It explores in particular how studies of hesychasm marked their understanding of deification. It asks in which sense their work can be seen as a Western attempt to rehabilitate the doctrine of deification in its experiential and theological complexity, where they contribute to the renewal of the communication between the Christian East and the Christian West, and what are the complications present in their attempt expressed against the background of uniatism.