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21. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Bernard Cooke History as Revelation
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In this article, a sequel to “Prophetic Experience as Revelation,” I argue that history is the symbolic agency through which revelation occurs. Four issues are central to this claim: the action of God in history, the notion of universal history as revelation, the concept of Christian history as revelation, and the function of history as a symbol in the process of revelation itself.
22. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Alan Soble The Unity of Romantic Love
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Romantic love is analyzed as including concern, admiration, the desire for reciprocity, exclusivity, and the passion for union. I argue that the passion for union is its central element. An analysis of “x admires y” which recognizes the intentionality of admiration is used to explain how romantic love practices turn out to be sexist . The analysis also shows that idealization is a special case of admiration, and is therefore not an essential part of romantic love.
23. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
George H. Tavard Justification: The Problem of the Twentieth Century
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Developments among Lutherans and Catholics since the Reformation have had positive as well as negative effects, as secularism has offered the same challenge to both. In their answers to this challenge, both have renovated their reading of the Scriptures and they have taken a new look at their specific traditions. But Catholic spirituality has accented aspects of anthropology and of ecclesiology which Lutherans find particularly hazardous. The ecumenical agreements arrived at over the last twenty years, on baptism, eucharist, ministry, and the Petrine office, have led to a recent agreement on justification. This has overcome in principle the dilemma of the 16th century. It remains to draw its implications for the piety of the faithful as well as for the Church’s life and theology in general. This is the second in a two-part study of justification, the earlier part of which was published in Vol. 1#3.
24. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Hendrik Hart Kai Nielsen’s Philosophy & Atheism
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Kai Nielsen’s recent book Philosophy and Atheism is discussed here. The main point is that Nielsen’s arguments against Christianity can be turned against his own rationalist atheism with similar results, namely that the position seems incoherent from its own point of view. Christianity is unempirical and irrational by certain arguments, but the position assumed underneath those arguments does not survive treatment by those same arguments. Nielsen’s dependence on arguments that undermine the position assumed in these arguments should make him open to the suggestion that these arguments may not be relevant to the assessment of the validity of a religious position.
25. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Andrew Tallon Editor’s Page
26. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 1 > Issue: 4
Tiina Allik Narrative Approaches to Human Personhood: Agency, Grace, and Innocent Suffering
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The essay argues that narrative approaches to human personhood which conceptualize the goal of human personhood in terms of the fulfillment of a capacity for self-constitution by means of deliberate choices tend to make inordinate and inhuman claims for human agency. The narrative approaches of the psychoanalyst and psychoanalytic theorist, Roy Schafter, and of the theologian and ethicist, Stanley Hauerwas, illustrate this. Both thinkers implicitly deny the permanent vulnerability of human agency in the area of the appropriation of narratives. In the case of Hauerwas, this also implies a denial of theneed for God’s grace in the area of the appropriation of narratives. The work of the philosopher, Paul Ricoeur, serves as a contrast to Schafer and Hauerwas and demonstrates that a narrative approach to human persons does not need to make inordinate claims for an autonomous human capacity for self-constituion. The last part of the essay shows how the rejection of the need for God’s grace in the area of the appropriation of narratives is connected to a rejection of the idea of innocent suffering.
27. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Philip Rossi Editor’s Page
28. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Timothy E. O’Connell The Question of Grundentscheidung
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John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor lists several objections to the theological concept of fundamental option. This article summarizes that concept, primarily as presented by Josef Fuchs. It then locates the concept, as Fuchs did, in the overarching theological anthropology of Karl Rahner, which is discussed at length. The objections of the encyclical are then engaged. In some cases, it is shown, the encyclical misunderstands fundamental option. In other cases, its rejection of the idea seems to entail rejection also of traditional Catholic doctrines. All this leads to concluding reflections in which fundamental option is evaluated in terms of its cogency, adequacy, usefulness, and necessity for a contemporary Christian anthropology.
29. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Michael Levine Bayesian Analyses of Hume’s Argument Concerning Miracles
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Bayesian analyses are prominent among recent and allegedly novel interpretations of Hume’s argument against the justified belief in miracles. However, since there is no consensus on just what Hume’s argument is any Bayesian analysis will beg crucial issues of interpretation. Apart from independent philosophical arguments—arguments that would undermine the relevance of a Bayesian analysis to the question of the credibility of reports of the miraculous—no such analysis can, in principle, prove that no testimony can (or cannot) establish the credibility of a miracle. Bayesian analyses of Hume’s argument are not analyses of Hume’s argument at all—but superfluous representations of it.
30. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Patricia A. Johnson II. A Practical Philosophy of Religion: A Response to Terrence Tilley’s The Wisdom of Religious Commitment
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While sympathetic to Tilley’s call for a practical philosophy of religion, I raise three questions: Does Tilley think that one can do philosophy of religion from a position other than that of a committed believer? Does Tilley’s description of the ordinary believer disburden most people from doubt and answerability? Does Tilley’s description of the role of the theologian place too much trust in the theologian? I suggest that some insights from contemporary phenomenology and hermeneutics would lead to a clearer understanding of the role that philosophy of religion can play in the development of a practical philosophy of religion.
31. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Anthony J. Godzieba III. God and Self in Terrence Tilley’s, The Wisdom of Religious Commitment
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Tilley has provided a novel retrieval of the Pascalian wager within a postmodern context. He is to be especially commended for his critique of mainstream philosophy of religion, his approach to religious traditions as a set of practices, and his insistence that religious commitment is an act of phronesis within a social-traditional context. Two issues remain problematic, however, in Tilley’s treatment of religious commitment: 1. His conception of religion pays inadequate attention to the establishment of the plausibility of the transcendent referent of religious commitment; 2.In his account there is a fundamental ambiguity regarding the role of the individual and an unresolved tension between the self and the social context.
32. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Robert Masson Introducing the Annual Rahner Papers
33. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Ignacio Ellacuría, T. Michael McNulty What Is the Point of Philosophy?
34. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Timothy P. Muldoon Germain Grisez on Karl Rahner’s Theory of Fundamental Option
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This article seeks to explore the challeges raised by Germain Grisez to Karl Rahner’s theory of fundamental option. Dr. Grisez holds that Fr. Rahner misunderstood the Tridentine teaching on justification, and posited the inaccessability of fundamental option to reflection. After reviewing Dr. Grisez’ position and the Tridentine doctrine of justification, the article will explore Fr. Rahner’s writings on fundamental option, and form conclusions regarding the conversation between Karl Rahner and Germain Grisez.
35. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Pamela Kirk Reflections On Luise Rinser’s Gratwanderung
36. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
John K. Downey I. A Conversation on The Wisdom of Religious Commitment by Terrence W. Tilley
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Tilley argues that since religions are not summaries of bloodless beliefs but embodied communal practices, the heuristic for the justification of beliefs must shift. Although some of the lines of this shift to practical wisdom remain vague, Tilley has taken philosophy of religion in an excellent direction. Attention to these questions would sharpen his sketch: Why abandon linguistic philosophy with no attention to the help one might receive from the embodied linguistic practice of the later Wittgenstein? What grounds the wisdom we seek to practice? Can community outsiders argue with insiders? Do these embodied philosophical arguments differ from theological arguments?
37. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Terrence W. Tilley IV. A Response to My Critics
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First, in response to Johnson, I note that my rejection of the “discourse practice” of philosophy of religion does not have a primarily pedagogical concern; instead, it is a concern with a discipline which has shaped itself to work consistently on the ground staked out by skeptics. Second, in response to questions raised by all three critics, while I do not think that only committed religious believers can contribute to philosophy of religion I do think that the philosopher’s commitments play a role in her or his engaging in the practice of doing philosophy of religion. Third, in response to Johnson and Godzieba, I indicate why I think the “ordinary believer,” as described, can be called prudent. Fourth, I note that we do not need to add a hermeneutics of suspicion to the practical philosophy of religion as I have described it because it is already there in practice for most believers. Finally, I note that the quest for wisdom is not abstract but is embodied and shared.
38. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Brian F. Linnane Categorical and Transcendental Experience in Rahner’s Theology: Implications for Ethics
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Karl Rahner’s theory of fundamental option has been criticized in recent years due to a perceived discontinuity between categorical actions in history and their transcendental implications. Jean Porter, for example, argues that such a discontinuity undermines any usefulness of the theory for the moral life because it is unable to generate a substantive account of the life of virtue. This essay disputes such claims, arguing that Rahner’s reluctance to definitively connect particular actions with a positive or negative fundamental option is simply in keeping with the Roman Catholic tradition of being tentative with regard to subjective judgments about the relationship between particular actions and the state of one’s soul. Further, it is argued that an examination of Rahner’s understanding of the unity of love of God and love of neighbor will serve to generate paradigmatic behaviors which are potential “sites” for a fundamental option. In this regard, the essay focuses on Rahner’s discussions of conscience and Ignatian discernment as well as on the relationship of fundamental option to “dying with Christ” or Christian witness.
39. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Benedict M. Ashley Fundamental Option and/or Commitment to Ultimate End
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The Post-Vatican revision of moral theology aimed to reduce legalism and take better account of the subjective factors in moral decision. Karl Rahner contributed to this effort by his “formal existential ethics” which featured a replacement of the classical “ultimate end” by the concept of the “fundamental ultimate option” as an exercise of transcendental freedom through concrete categorical acts. Diverse interpretations of this principle resulted in the system of “proportionalism” and the thesis of a category of “serious” sins intermediate between mortal and venial has been rejected in Veritatis splendor. Rahner himself seems to have held neither of these positions. The wide acceptance of the “fundamental option” (often with little acquaintance with its philosophical basis) is probably due to its supposed pastoral advantages. I argue that a proper application of the classical notions of ultimate end and the distinction between objective and subjective morality are pastorally more practical and avoids the many philosophical obscurities connected with the idealism of transcendental Thomism.
40. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Jean Porter Moral Language and the Language of Grace: The Fundamental Option and the Virtue of Charity
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From the standpoint of the moral theologian, perhaps the most influential aspect of Karl Rahner’s theology is the thesis of the fundamental option, that is, the claim that the individual’s status before God is determined by a basic, freely chosen and prethematic orientation of openness towards, or rejection of God which takes place at the level of core or transcendental freedom. This paper argues that this notion of the fundamental option is problematic because it is not concrete enough to provide an adequate interpretation of our actual experience. Yet this problem cannot be addressed through reviving the traditional account of mortal and venial sins, which are equally problematic, albeit in a somewhat different way. The second half of the paper explores the alternative offered by Aquinas’s account of charity, which, it is argued, does provide us with an account of grace sufficiently rich and concrete to illuminate human experience. However, this alternative is likewise problematic, most notably in its commitment to the view that charity is lost through one mortal sin. Yet Aquinas’s account of charity provides resources for an internal critique and revision on this point, as can be seen through a consideration of cases of “sinful saints.”