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book reviews
1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Brendan Sweetman Homo Viator: Introduction to the Metaphysic of Hope. By Gabriel Marcel. Translated by Emma Craufurd and Paul Seaton.
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
John P. Hittinger A Cosmopolitan Hermit: Modernity and Tradition in the Philosophy of Josef Pieper. Edited by Bernard N. Schumacher.
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3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Mathew Lu, Rachel Lu The Nature of Love. By Dietrich von Hildebrand. Translated by John F. Crosby with John Henry Crosby.
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4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Jerome C. Foss Why Political Liberalism?: On John Rawls’s Political Turn. By Paul Weithman
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5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Books Received
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6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 4
Contents of Volume 86 (2012)
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7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Takashi Shogimen Editor’s Introduction
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8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Gyula Klima Ontological Reduction by Logical Analysis and the Primitive Vocabulary of Mentalese
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This paper confronts a certain modern view of the relation between semantics and ontology with that of the late-medieval nominalist philosophers, William Ockham and John Buridan. The modern view in question is characterized in terms of what is called here “the thesis of onto-semantic parallelism,” which states that the primitive (indefinable) categorematic concepts of our semantics mark out the primary entities in reality. The paper argues that, despite some apparently plausible misinterpretations to the contrary, the late-medieval nominalist program of “ontological reduction” was not driven by considerations that try to “read off” ontology from semantic analysis or those that try to identify semantic primitives in their search for ontological primitives. The medieval authors presented a much more flexible, dynamic view of “Aristotelian naturalism,” which challenges both of the unappealing modern alternatives of “conceptual tribalism” and “conceptual imperialism.”
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Catarina Dutilh Novaes Ockham on Supposition Theory, Mental Language, and Angelic Communication
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In my previous work on Ockham’s theory of supposition, I have argued that it is best understood as a theory of sentential meaning, i.e., as an apparatus for the interpretation of sentences. In this paper, I address the challenge posed to this interpretation of Ockham’s theory by the (presumed) existence of different kinds of supposition in mental language through the lenses of Ockham’s theory of angelic communication. I identify two potentially problematic implications of Ockham’s account of mental language as allowing for different kinds of supposition: the existence of non-significative supposition in mental language; and the possibility of ambiguous mental sentences. I then turn to angelic communication and examine these two issues from that point of view, concluding that there cannot be non-significative supposition in mental language, but also that there may still be room for sentential ambiguity in mental language.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Thomas M. Osborne, Jr. William of Ockham on the Freedom of the Will and Happiness
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When viewed in its historical context, Ockham’s moral psychology is distinctive and novel. First, Ockham thinks that the will is free to will for or against any object, and can choose something that is in some sense not even apparently good. The will is free from the intellect’s dictates and from natural inclinations. Second, he emphasizes the will’s independence not only with respect to passions and habits, but also with respect to knowledge, the effects of original sin, grace, and God. Third, Ockham consequently argues that someone is even able to will to be unhappy, and can will another’s happiness more than or even instead of his own.
11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Ian Christopher Levy Authentic Tradition and the Right to Dissent: William of Ockham and the Eucharist
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As a young bachelor of theology William of Ockham found himself under attack for—among other things—views he had expressed regarding the Aristotelian accident of quantity and the related question of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. This essay focuses on Ockham’s conception of academic freedom as it was articulated in defense of his own position. Against fellow schoolmen who mistake their own magisterial opinions for settled Catholic dogma, Ockham insists on the latitude that is afforded scholars in matters that have not yet been definitively determined by the Roman Church. Hence when it comes to the precise alignment of the eucharistic accidents, until such time as the Roman Pontiff hands down an official determination, Ockham contends that he is under no obligation to yield to the pressures of envious academics. The younger Ockham, who pointedly refrains from accusing his opponents of heresy, simply asks that they would exhibit the same restraint.
12. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Isabel Iribarren “The Eyes of the Church”: William of Ockham and John XXII on the Theologians’ Doctrinal Authority
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This article revisits certain aspects of the discussion originated by dissident Franciscans over the two keys conferred by Christ to Peter, bringing it into connection with the value that Ockham and John XXII accord respectively to knowledge and power in the definition of doctrine. Rather than an extraneous element in the debate, as it has often been perceived, the two-keys argument is pivotal to the proper understanding of Ockham’s ecclesiology and the pope’s own, as it serves to articulate the twin notions they both advance of “authority to inquire” and “authority to determine” on a question of faith. By focusing away from the usual template of the competing claims of infallibility and sovereignty, this article hopes to bring to light the profound similarities in their respective views on doctrinal authority and the value accorded to the theological enterprise.
13. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Virpi Mäkinen Moral Psychological Aspects in William of Ockham’s Theory of Natural Rights
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Ockham’s theory of natural rights was based on a careful definition of the basic juridical terms dominium and ius utendi, as well as on the idea of human agency and morality. By defining a right as a licit power of action in accordance with right reason (recta ratio), Ockham placed rights firmly in the agent. A right was a subjective power of action. Ockham’s theory of natural rights was influential for later natural rights theories. Its advocates included leading thinkers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whose views on the right to life, its relation to the right to property, and the state of nature resembled those ideas already developed by Ockham approximately three hundred years earlier.
14. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
A. S. McGrade The Ontology and Scope of Human Rights: Forward with Ockham
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Ockham is sometimes regarded as the chief source for a view of rights as arbitrary powers of radically isolated individuals. In fact he provides a quintessentially “reasonable” conception of natural or human rights, one which suggests a promising answer to the question of what such rights are, namely, capacities for reasonable activity. This view of personal rights is complemented by Ockham’s equally reasonable and suggestive account of what is naturally “right” for human communities in different human conditions. The unusual situation in which Ockham developed these ideas—as a theologian attacking the doctrinal pronouncements of a reigning pope—raises problems for extracting a systematic philosophical theory from his voluminous output, but the polemical setting of his political writings also gives them a certain relevance to current disputes about the place of secular thought in religious contexts.
15. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 3
Books Received
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16. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 2
Matthew Schaeffer Thomistic Personalism: A Vocation for the Twenty-First Century
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In a posthumously published paper, Fr. W. Norris Clarke, S.J., declares that Thomistic personalism is the most creative and fruitful development in twenty-first century Thomism. I agree with Clarke, and I would also add that Thomistic personalism is the most creative and fruitful development in twenty-first centurymoral and political philosophy. Thus, in this paper—focusing on clarification and exhortation—I (i) identify the main commitments of personalism; (ii) identifyweak, moderate, and strong versions of Thomistic personalism; and (iii) suggest that Thomistic personalism is a vocation for the twenty-first century that requirescollaboration between specialists from diverse backgrounds.
17. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 2
Kyle P. Hubbard Augustine on Human Love for God: Agape, Eros, or Philia?
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Augustine believes that loving God is the proper end of human life. But what does it mean to love God? Following Anders Nygren’s influential critique, the common interpretation is that the central thrust of Augustine’s account of love for God is Platonic eros. However, I will argue that the main element of human love for God is not eros but philia, the desire for friendship with the beloved. Understanding Platonic eros as one element among others of human love for God allows us to reconcile the erotic aspects of Augustine’s account with the many texts in which he speaks of human love for God in self-forgetful, agapeistic terms. I will argue that we need to understand the erotic and agapeistic elements of Augustine’s position as essential but subservient to the major focus of our love for God, the desire for friendship with God.
18. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 2
Katherin A. Rogers Christ Our Brother: Family Unity in Anselm’s Theory of the Atonement
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If Christ, a single member of the human race, can pay the debt of sin for all of us, then there must be some principle uniting all humanity. Some scholarssuggest that, in Anselm’s theory of the atonement, the unity in question is similar to that of a corporation or that it derives from our shared participation in humannature. Neither of these proposals can be supported from Anselm’s text. Rather, there is considerable evidence that Anselm held that all the “children of Adam”belong to the same literal, biological family, and it is this which grounds the unity required for the efficacy of Christ’s work. If we understand family to be a naturalhuman institution, the concept of family unity is persuasive.
19. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 2
Catalina M. Cubillos Nicholas of Cusa Between the Middle Ages and Modernity: The Historiographical Positions Behind the Discussion
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From the outset of scholarly research on Cusanus, the question concerning the historical status of his original philosophy has been a constant issue in thesecondary literature. One continuously encounters the question of whether he is a medieval or a modern thinker, with a number of conflicting interpretations. These viewpoints are, in many cases, less related to concrete historical arguments than to general considerations regarding what it is meant by “medieval” or “modern” from a theoretical point of view. Accordingly, scholarship on Cusanus’s position in the history of ideas has been strongly influenced by the unconscious historiographical attitude of his interpreters.
20. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 86 > Issue: 2
Joshua W. Schulz Kierkegaard’s Comic and Tragic Lovers
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This essay examines a dialogue between Kierkegaard and the Aristotelian tradition on the topic of love and friendship. At stake in the dispute is whetherphilia or agape is the highest form of love and how we should understand the relation between the two loves. The essay contributes to the conversation by analyzing two kinds of deceptive love identified in Kierkegaard’s Works of Love, viewing each through the lens of a Shakespearian persona. Against the Aristotelian tradition, Kierkegaard defends the idiosyncratic view that Hamlet’s Ophelia is a villain and King Lear’s Cordelia is happy. Central to Kierkegaard’s argument is the contention that agape requires an epistemic attitude of charitable presumption towards one’s neighbor despite the possibility of error, an attitude found in Cordelia but not in Ophelia. The essay contrasts this Thomistic attitude with its Cartesian counterpart as well as their consequences for moral and religious life.