Cover of The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy
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Displaying: 21-35 of 35 documents


21. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Timothy A. Mahoney Contextualism, Decontextualism, and Perennialism: Suggestions for Expanding the Common Ground of the World’s Mystical Traditions
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This paper addresses religious epistemology in that it concerns the assessment of the credibility of certain claims arising out of religious experience. Developments this century have made the world’s rich religious heritage accessible to more people than ever. But the conflicting religious claims tend to undermine each religion’s central claim to be a vehicle for opening persons to ultimate reality. One attempt to overcome this problem is provided by "perennial philosophy," which claims that there is a kind of mystical experience common to all religious traditions, an experience which is an immediate contact with an absolute principle. Perennialism has been attacked by "contextualists" such as Steven Katz who argue that particular mystical experiences are so tied to a particular tradition that there are no common mystical experiences across traditions. In turn, Robert Forman and the "decontextualists" have argued that a certain kind of mystical experience and process are found in diverse traditions, thereby supporting one of the key elements of perennialism. I review the contextualist-decontextualist debate and suggest a research project that would pursue the question of whether the common ground of the world’s mystical traditions could be expanded beyond what has been established by the decontextualists. The extension of this common ground would add credibility to the claims arising out of mystical experience.
22. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Robert E. Maydole Aquinas’ Third Way Modalized
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The Third Way is the most interesting and insightful of Aquinas' five arguments for the existence of God, even though it is invalid and has some false premises. With the help of a somewhat weak modal logic, however, the Third Way can be transformed into a argument which is certainly valid and plausibly sound. Much of what Aquinas asserted in the Third Way is possibly true even if it is not actually true. Instead of assuming, for example, that things which are contingent fail to exist at some time, we need only assume that contingent things possibly fail to exist at some time. Likewise, we can replace the assumption that if all things fail to exist at some time then there is a time when nothing exists, with the corresponding assumption that if all things possibly fail to exist at some time then possibly there is a time when nothing exists. These and other similar replacements suffice to produce a cogent cosmological argument.
23. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Geeta S. Mehta The Integral Humanism of Mahatma
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Humanism as a theistic, pragmatic theory was first conceived around 2000 BCE in India. It is a this-worldly, human-centered, secular philosophical outlook. Gandhi understands religion as connoting the individual’s integrity and society’s solidarity. Free-will for him is freedom of the "rational self." Morality is not a matter of outward conformity, but of inward fulfillment. His integral humanism is indicated by his enumerated seven social sins: (1) politics without principles; (2) wealth without work; (3) commerce without morality; (4) knowledge without character; (5) pleasure without conscience; (6) science without morality; and (7) worship without sacrifice. The eleven vows recited in his Ášrama prayer began with Truth and Non-Violence as foundational for the integration of moral, social, political and economic values. Non-Violence should be a creed rather than a policy. Gandhi’s Truth meant freedom of self-actualization for societal development. He fulfilled these two principal themes of humanism in the civic function of religion and religious tolerance which aimed at evolving moral individuals in moral societies. "The twenty-first century should bring a synthesis of science and spirituality, socialism with human rights, social-change with nonviolence. And this is Gandhi."
24. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Isaac M.T. Mwase Kuona, An African Perspective on Religions: J.N.K. Mugambi’s Contribution
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Kuona is a Shona (one of Zimbabwe’s major languages) verb meaning "to see." In poetic constructions, it is often used as an ocular metaphor meaning insight or understanding. This ocular metaphor can be used to describe Mugambi’s assessment of the exclusivistic claims one often encounters in the Abrahamic religions. Such claims often arise from a strongly held belief that the adherent is one of God’s chosen. Mugambi has emerged as one of the most articulate philosophical theologians in the African continent. His reflections, ubiquitous in classrooms on the continent, deserve a much broader audience. My paper seeks to introduce Mugambi’s perspective on religion. Part of Mugambi’s project has been to make an assessment of this notion of chosenness in the Abrahamic religions. He does so particularly with reference to the relationship between Christianity and the African religious heritage.
25. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Eugene S. Poliakov Religion and Science in the Parable of the Unjust Steward
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The Parable of the Unjust Steward should be interpreted allegorically, its literal interpretation shown to be impossible. Certain facts make this parable unique: a lord as the Lord; divine possessions; the symbolism of the house interpreted as a human being; the material principles of the world understood as the governor of a human being; the Lord’s debtors as spiritual teachers of various kinds; theological doctrines with their own theogonic and cosmogonic views, all claiming to know the truth in its wholeness. Their debts consist of their misunderstandings and errors which have caused the difference between them and truth. Examples of the part of the material principles of the world in correcting theological doctrines are adduced. Two different kinds of debt are considered. I conclude that ‘make to yourselves friends of the riches of unrighteousness’ means that the material reasons of the world, the wisdom of this age, must be used for the good of spiritual teachings.
26. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Josefa Rojo La Virtud en los Paganos Segun San Agustin
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This paper attempts to demonstrate that the reason why Augustine rejected the idea that pagans have virtues is not because he conceived of true virtue only in a supernatural way—that is to say, that pagans do not have the grace of God-but because they lack the right intentions in their acting. In fact, it is not that they are not capable of virtues because they do not have faith, but rather it is because they are not loyal to the natural law of God; they do not follow the right order of nature. It follows theoretically that pagans who have right intentions are capable of true virtues, as everyone else; and also, that every person who misses right intentions, although having faith, is not capable of true virtues.
27. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
William Lad Sessions “Author! Author! Some Reflections on Design in and beyond Hume’s Dialogues”
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Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) may be read in the way Cleanthes (and Philo as well) reads Nature, as analogous to human artifice and contrivance. The Dialogues and Nature then are both texts, with an intelligent author or Author, and analogies may be started from these five facts of Hume's text: the independence of Hume's characters; the non-straightforwardness of the characters' discourse; the way the characters interact and live; the entanglements of Pamphilus as an internal author; and the ways in which a reader is also involved in making a dialogue. These and other analogies should reflect upon the Author of Nature as they do upon Hume's authorship: They do not prove the existence of their respective authors, but may well shed some light on the nature of these disparate beings.
28. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Aharon Shear-Yashuv Jewish Philosophers on Reason and Revelation
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Are reason and revelation different sources of truth? Do they contradict or complement each other? The present article tries to give an answer to these ancient questions from a Jewish pluralistic point of view. I describe the essential views of the most important representatives of the two main schools of Jewish thought: the rationalists Maimonides, Moses Mendelssohn, and Hermann Cohen, and the antirationalists Judah Halevi and Solomon Levi Steinheim. I show that even the antirationalists use the tools of rationalism, by which Talmudic-rabbinic thought is characterized, in an attempt to show that they are not irrationalists. The comparison of this attitude with the general philosophic tradition shows that Aristotle’s notion of potential knowledge is closer to Jewish thought than Plato’s view of recollection.
29. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Henry Simoni-Wastila Inclusive Infinity and Radical Particularity: Hartshorne, Hegel and Nishida
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God, or in Nishida’s case Buddha-nature, is frequently conceptualized as relating to the world by including it within the Infinite. Particular elements within the world are not seen as existing in absolute differentiation or total negation from Spirit, God, or Absolute Non-Being. The Many are not excluded but are, on the contrary, included within the One. The logic by which the One includes the Many is a logic of manifold unity, or, as Hegel quite confidently puts it, true infinity as opposed to spurious infinity. I will argue that such a logic of inclusive infinity is operative in Hartshorne, Hegel and Nishida. Each uses different terminology and writes with different systemic emphases, but as applied to God or the Ultimate, the function and consequences of the logic of inclusivity are strikingly similar for all three philosophers. Although infinite inclusivity provides a way of unifying the chaotic diversity of existence into a rational totality, there are central questions that have remained unanswered in the three metaphysicians. Primary among them is the question that sums up within itself many of the others: the problem of radical particularity. The particular elements of the world which are claimed to be included within the parameters of the Ultimate are just that: particular fragments of reality. I argue that their particular nature makes it impossible for the Infinite to incorporate them within its purview without raising serious difficulties.
30. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Frederick Sontag Hearing the Word
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That is the crucial question: Did God intend direct and final communication with us? There is little evidence that Jesus' appearance cleared anything up or gave us God directly. Wittgenstein, who wanted language to be clear, knew well enough that neither the Hebrew nor the Christian God's words could fall within his constructed linguistic net.
31. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
William F. Vallicella Classical Theism and Global Supervenience Physicalism
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Could a classical theist be a physicalist? Although a negative answer to this question may seem obvious, it turns out that a case can be made for the consistency of a variant of classical theism and global supervenience physicalism. Although intriguing, the case ultimately fails due to the weakness of global supervenience as an account of the dependence of mental on physical properties.
32. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Walter Van Herck The Role of Tacit Knowledge in Religion
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Clarity concerning what kind of knowledge a religious person possesses is of the utmost importance. For one thing, J. Whittaker remarks that believers must have some knowledge that enables them to make the distinction between literal and non-literal descriptions of God. (1) In the believer's perception 'God is a rock', but not really a rock. God however really is love. Whittaker suggests that making this distinction requires knowledge that cannot be metaphysical or experiential, but a more basic form which he terms 'practical' knowledge. Without going into his discussion of the metaphysical and experiential view, I would like to elaborate on this notion of knowledge in three steps. Firstly, I want to consider a short passage in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (A 132-3 / B 171-2) on judgment. This passage points out that we necessarily know more than we can say or state. Secondly, Michael Polanyi's account of tacit knowledge will be introduced to see what 'religious tacit knowledge' could mean to be. Thirdly, analysis of a text from Meister Eckhart's Reden der Unterweisung will aim to show the relevance of this notion of practical (or tacit) knowledge in religious contexts.
33. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Daryl J. Wennemann The Role of Love in the Thought of Kant and Kierkegaard
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Following Ronald Green's suggestion concerning Kierkegaard's dependence upon Kant, I show how Kierkegaard drew upon Kant's The Metaphysics of Morals in order to develop his own doctrine of divine love. Where Kant saw only a peripheral role for love in the moral life, we will see how Kierkegaard places love at the center of human life in Works of Love. The leap of faith requires that every aspect of life be informed by love in response to God's love for us.
34. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
David E. White The Elimination of Natural Theology
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The dispute between fideists and rationalists seems intractable since those who argue for faith alone claim that they are offended by the use of reason in religion. The advocates of reason claim that they are equally offended by the appeal to faith. This dispute may be resolved by showing that those who rely on faith may be seen as engaging in an experiment of living, so they can become part of a rational experiment without having to alter their practice; in contrast, those who use reason to justify religion can be seen as addressing a spiritual need. From an evangelical point of view, it would be wrong to disparage the mathematician’s use of the mathematical proof of God’s existence (such as Gödel’s). Wittgensteinian objections to natural theology can be met by showing that the use of reason in religion is distinct from the general kind of philosophical speculation to which Wittgenstein rightly objected. Those who claim that one must already have faith in order to seek understanding successfully can be answered by showing that their claim can be tested empirically only when there is a robust practice of natural theology among those who do and do not have a prior faith. There is reason for thinking religion should be subjected to a more rigorous scrutiny than used in secular matters.
35. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Andrew Woznicki Philosophical Theantropy as the Principle of Religious Ecumenism
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One universal constituent element of human consciousness is belief in the existence of a divine reality that is experienced by persons as the most intimate and essential part of human life. Belief in transcendent reality, which is an immanent part of human nature, constitutes an awe-inspiring mystery (mysterium fascinans et tremens) — that is, a theantropy. Strictly speaking, ‘theantropy’ is a theological term which is used to express the "union of the divine and human natures in Christ" (as defined by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). The novum of my understanding of theantropy consists in the application of the concept to the phenomenological experience of the religious consciousness of humanity. Henceforth, I designate theantropy to mean an ontic union and an inherent disposition of the ‘human’ and ‘divine’ constituents in/of every human being. I will examine and reflect on theantropy as the philosophical principle of religious ecumenism as well as compare various solutions of theantropy not only with regard to a particular system of beliefs, but as it is experienced in each and every human being by following Augustine’s principle: "In interiorem hominem redi: ibi habitat Deus" (or in "intimor intimo meo").