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1. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Robert E. Wood The Catholic Philosopher: Dancing at Arms’ Length with One’s Theological Mistress
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The article reflects on the need for an independent philosophy in relation to faith. After the assimilation of Plato and Aristotle, the official Church tended to attack attempts at independent philosophy as modes of unbelief. But it was precisely independent developments in modern thought that led to the transformation of the ordinary magisterium on certain key questions. Following von Balthasar, the article attempts to make Heidegger’s project our own: to think the ground of metaphysics, and thus of intellect and will, in “the heart” by making use of the seed parables in the Gospels. Taking its point of departure from an analysis of the basic structural features of the field of experience, the text argues for a sympathetic study of the philosophical classics in order to establish a set of critical epicenters in oneself. This furnishes the basis for a dialogical pluralism that will aid in ecumenical dialogue and in the development of the ordinary magisterium.
2. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Dale Jacquette Descartes’ Lumen Naturale and the Cartesian Circle
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The author argues that Descartes is not trapped inside the Cartesian circle. The essay rehearses Descartes’ argument against the “evil demon” hypothesis. The so-called Cartesian circle is described and some of the most prominent discussions of the problem are evaluated. Such arguments tend either to leave Descartes in the circle, or themselves depend upon distinctions that in the end lead to Descartes claiming something less than metaphysical certainty for his system. The author argues that Descartes’ real Archimedian point is the light of nature, and that his project is to extend the certainty of the light of nature to those ideas which are clear and distinct. Using this interpretation of Descartes, the author returns to the accounts of the critics to account for their mischaracterization of Descartes’ reasoning as circular.
3. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Fred Ablondi Causality and Human Freedom in Malebranche
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In that it holds God to be the only true efficient cause, Malebranche’s occasionalism would seem to deny human freedom and to make God responsible for our sins. I argue that Malebranche’s occasionalism must be considered within its Cartesian framework; once one understands what it is to be an occasional cause in this context, Malebranche can be seen as saving a place for human freedom, and he can consistently hold that we are morally responsible for our actions.
4. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Elizabeth C. Galbraith Kant and Richard Schaeffler’s Catholic Theology of Hope
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This essay follows Richard Schaeffler in identifying Kant’s moral philosophy as a possible framework for a Catholic theology of hope. Whereas Ernst Bloch criticized Kant for failing to sever his theory of hope from its religious ties, Jürgen Moltmann criticizes Kant for failing to appreciate the true meaning of Christian hope for the kingdom of God. The present essay argues that Moltmann neglects, as much as Bloch did, the significance of God to Kant’s account of the kingdom. A Catholic theology of hope would have to lie somewhere in-between the atheist utopianism of Bloch and the evangelical certainty of Moltmann, and that is precisely what Kant’s concept of hope does.
5. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Daniel E. Shannon Hegel: On Modern Philosophy versus Faith
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This paper considers Hegel’s treatment of the dispute between modern philosophy and faith in his Phenomenology of Spirit. The paper shows that Hegel is concerned with this dispute as part of his systematic program to advance the true philosophical concept of self and world, but, by so doing, he supports ahumanistic reconciliation between Christianity and the secular values of the Enlightenment. The paper contains extensive discussions of Hegel’s views on the French philosophes, and it shows how he used their writings in his criticism of the popular notions within denominational religion. It also shows why Hegel did not fully support the philosophes’ assumptions, but, instead, he was willing to accept Christian notions of the incarnation and redemption.
6. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Philip J. Chmielewski Toward an Ethics of Production: Vico and Analogy, Ricoeur and Imagination
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This essay offers a constructive proposal for an ethics of production using key elements from the thinking of Giambattista Vico. It seeks to move toward a social ethic that is both congruent with theological concerns and pertinent to the economic issues in a complex, rapidly changing society. The approach sets out the ethics of production in three operations: the analogy between production and the formation of the person; the cultural prerequisites for the realization of this analogy; and the exercise of imagination through social dynamics in understanding how persons make cultures. Paul Ricoeur’s work is used to offer a contemporary interpretation of Vico’s sensus communis concept in the service of an ethic which maintains both individual practice and social imagination.
review symposium on john milbank’s theology and social theory
7. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Anthony J. Godzieba I. Fear and Loathing in Modernity: The Voyages of Capt. John Milbank
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For the inaugural session of the Consultation on Mysticism and Politics at the 1995 convention of the College Theology Society, the consultation’s conveners, David Hammond and Kris Willumsen (both of Wheeling Jesuit College) organized a panel presentation on John Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason. The panelists were John Berkman (then of Sacred Heart University, now of the Catholic University of America), Anthony Godzieba (VillanovaUniversity), Paul Lakeland (Fairfield University), and William Loewe (Catholic University of America).The choice of text was a fortunate one as panelists and audience members alike recognized something emphasized by previous reviewers of the book: no matter how one evaluates Milbank’s proposal, he makes a major contribution to contemporary theology by plunging theology into the thick of the contemporary debates over the status of modernity and postmodernity. In doing so, Milbank avoids employing any of the means normally used in these debates, such as the correlationmethod. Rather, his deeply reflective analysis reaches back into the Christian theological tradition in order to retrieve its Augustinian moment for the post-Nietzschean present. From his dialogue with contemporary Western culture and the social and political theories which undergird it, Milbank pointedly proposes a provocation: not only an alternative theological reading of the history and status of modernity/postmodernity, but also nothing less than a truly theological reconstruction of the contemporary.This review symposium presents the panelists’ contributions, which have been revised for this publication.
8. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
John Berkman, Frederick C. Bauerschmidt II. Absolutely Fabulous and Civil: John Milbank’s Postmodern Critical Augustinianism
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After responding to several misreadings of Milbank’s project in Theology and Social Theory—e. g., that it dispenses with “truth” or “reality”, is sectarian, reads a social theory off the Bible, is ecclesially absolutist—the authors highlight several strands of Milbank’s argument to stress the resolutely theological character of this work. In Milbank’s narrative, modernity is defined as a theological problem in which forms of modern secular thought have usurped theology as the “ultimate organizing logic”; his theological response to this involves a broadly Augustinian account of the relationship between nature and grace which requires a theology which can only be true if it is enacted: it is necessary for the Church to make an actual historical difference in the world.
9. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
William P. Loewe III. Beyond Secular Reason?: Reflections in Response to John Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory
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Milbank’s correlation of modern rationality with a myth of chaos and an ontology of violence can preclude a naive theological reception of the social sciences, but while Milbank suggests a critique that would trace modernity’s truncation of reason and its nihilistic outcome to the post-Thomist reification of the supernatural and to Scotus’ conceptualism, his option for Augustine’s supernaturalism appears regressive. Irony attends both the violence of Milbank’s performance on behalf of an ontology of peace and his non-analogical, typically Protestant construal of the faith/reason relationship. Nonetheless, he also suggests resources for a positive move beyond the discourse of paradox and contradiction.
10. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Paul Lakeland IV. Mysticism and Politics: The Work of John Milbank
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Milbank employs a static notion of otherness and a dynamic understanding of difference, i.e., he seeks the erasure of difference and the simultaneous recognition of the perduring reality of otherness. Otherness we will always have with us, but difference is to be overcome. This is illustrated by reference toMilbank’s treatment of “the problem of other religions” in his 1992 article “The End of Dialogue.” A contrast to Milbank’s position is found in panentheistic views (e.g., McFague, Hodgson) which seek the erasure of otherness and the recognition of difference as an existential but perduring quality of human life. A foundational otherness is simply not there; difference is a constant factor in human life, in creation, in the God-world relation and in the life of Godself. This view finds support in post-modern natural science: which affirms the radical interdependence of all beings and all lifeforms. Otherness is an error and difference is purely epiphenomenal. We are all connected. There is no other.
11. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Philip Rossi Editor’s Page
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index
12. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 3/4
Index to Volume 9
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articles
13. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1/2
Gene Fendt God Is Love, Therefore There Is Evil
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This paper attempts to explicate the philosophical and theological premisses involved in Fr. Paneloux’s second sermon in Camus’ The Plague. In that sermon Fr. Paneloux says that the suffering of children is our bread of affliction. The article shows where one must start in order to get to that point, and what follows from it. Whether or not the argument given should be called a theodicy or a reductio ad absurdum of religious belief is an open question for a philosopher, but the argument is shown to cohere with the traditional belief in God’s omnipotent goodness.
14. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1/2
Susan C. Selner-Wright The Order of Charity in Thomas Aquinas
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Thomas articulates the proper priority among charity’s objects based on his understanding of charity as rooted in the fellowship of eternal happiness. God, as the source of the happiness, is our principal “fellow” in it and so first in the order of charity. The individual’s fellowship with himself or herself, with the “inner man,” is most intimate, and so the individual comes next in the order. Then come our neighbors, all of whom are our fellows now and may be our fellows for eternity. Finally, the body is itself properly an object of charity, for it is by means of the acts we perform in the body that we may come to share in the fellowship of eternal happiness.
15. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1/2
Michael Purcell The Natural Desire for the Beatific Vision: Desiring the Other in Levinas and “La Nouvelle Théologie”
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The understanding of the human person as a natural desire for the beatific vision prompted fierce and convoluted debate between those who, like de Lubac, espoused la nouvelle théologie, and those who sought to maintain the standard view of the nature-grace relationship. This paper attempts to draw attention to the criticisms which Rahner addressed towards la nouvelle théologie, and to suggest that the distinction which Emmanuel Levinas makes between need (besoin) and desire (désir) offers a useful way of progressing the debate and articulating the understanding of the person as desiderium naturale beyond the language of logical and ontological coherence, and in the language of proximity, ethical summons, and responsibility.
16. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1/2
Jack Bonsor Truth and History: The Question
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This essay argues for postmodern, non-metaphysical, non-foundational perspectives within Roman Catholic theological discourse. It was originally presented, along with the following article by Thomas Guarino, to the “Theology in the Seminary Context” seminar at the Catholic Theological Society of America convention in June, 1995.
17. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1/2
Thomas Guarino Philosophy Within Theology in Light of the Foundationalism Debate
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My paper proceeds in three stages: 1) the traditional relationship between philosophy and theology; 2) how the “foundationalist” issue affects this debate; 3) some final reflections. This essay, along with the previous one by Jack Bonsor, was originally presented to the “Theology in the Seminary Context” seminar at the Catholic Theological Society of America convention in June, 1995.
18. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1/2
Philip Rossi Editor’s Page
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19. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1/2
Robert Masson Introducing the Annual Rahner Papers
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20. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 9 > Issue: 1/2
Robert A. Krieg A Fortieth-Anniversary Reappraisal of `Chalcedon: End or Beginning?’
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This essay shows why Karl Rahner’s “Chalcedon: End or Beginning?,” also titled “Current Problems in Christology” (1954), stands as a breakthrough in contemporary Catholic Christology. After describing the Neo-Thomism and Neo-Scholasticism of the early twentieth century, it examines one instance of this body of thought: Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s “Christ the Savior” (1946). Then, the essay reviews the argument of “Chalcedon: End or Beginning?” Finally, it contrasts Garrigou-Lagrange’s literal Thomism and Rahner’s transcendental Thomism.