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201. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Oksana Nazarova Peter Ehlen’s Christian Reading of Frank’s Russian Religious Philosophy
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This paper analyzes the problem of Western perceptions of one of the most original branches of the Russian Philosophical Renaissance that occurred atthe beginning of the 20ᵗʰ century: namely, the so called Russian Religious Philosophy. This problem still possesses contemporary relevance, owing to the fact thatRussian philosophy continues to be engaged in a search for self-identification in respect of Western philosophical contexts. The paper shows that “Russian Religious Philosophy” is perceived by Western thinkers not only as “an exotic cultural phenomenon,” but also as an equal partner in a dialogue: it is considered asignificant philosophical achievement, meeting all generally accepted criteria of philosophical creativity. The German Catholic philosopher Peter Ehlen’s monograph on the subject of the religious philosophy of Semyon Lyudvigovich Frank will furnish us, here, with an example of just such an approach. The author of the monograph approaches his subject as something which he himself stands in an essential connection to—something which he, as a researcher, is in a peculiar spiritual communion with. A common spiritual experience of the religious perception of reality determines both Ehlen’s interest in Frank and the specificcharacter of the research undertaken by him. The position of researcher, expected to maintain a certain distance from his or her subject matter, is replaced by thatof a co-thinker, engaged in co-experiencing and understanding in depth the ideas of the particular philosopher under examination. The result of this approach is a new synthesis created by Ehlen on the basis of Frank’s philosophy.
202. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Svetlana M. Klimova, Elena S. Molostova “Scientific Atheism” in Action: Soviet Sociology of Religion as an Agent of Marxist-Atheist Propaganda from the 1960s to the 1980s
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This paper discusses the methodological challenges of Soviet sociology of religion in the period between 1960 and 1989, when it was charged with the contradictory task of investigating the actual standing of religion in Soviet society and, at the same time, with proposing methods through which the official“scientific atheism,” deeply rooted in Marxism, could be imposed upon the very populations that were the subject of its inquiries. The authors propose an insight into the actual practices of the researchers, based on little-known archival materials from the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History. The materialsadduced by the authors show the various ways in which Soviet believers were surveyed and in which questionnaires were constructed, illustrating the modes ofargumentation used in atheist propaganda conducted alongside such surveys, and giving a rare glimpse into the methodological discussions that were taking place at conferences organized by the Institute of Scientific Atheism. The authors track also the sociological conceptions and typologies adopted by Soviet sociology.
203. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Tomasz Dekert Freedom and Kenosis: A Reading of Nicolas Berdyaev’s Philosophy of Freedom
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This article proposes to look at the concept of freedom formulated by Nicholas Berdyaev in his early work, Philosophy of Freedom, through the prism of kenotic Christology. The kenotic nature of the Incarnation of the Son of God, as it was described in the St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians and developed later by theChristian tradition, was connected with His renunciation of his own infinitude—adopting the “form of a servant” and embracing the limits of the human body. It was an absolutely free act of the divine Person, who revealed to man his own divine model and opened up for him the possibility of its implementation, i.e., the way to becoming a person. For Berdyaev, this possibility is conditioned by the ability to engage in a free act of kenosis, involving the renunciation of the compulsions of reason that have entangled us in natural forms of necessity and that reduce us to mere cogs in the machinery of nature. According to Berdyaev, this way of human kenosis is faith. The act of faith, understood as a rejection of the tendency to seek security through compelling evidence, constitutes a person in his / her uniqueness, and performatively realizes the similarity to God potentially present in every human.
204. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Aleksey Kamenskikh The Tragedy of Cosmogonic Objectivation in the Valentinian Gnosis and Russian Philosophy: Vladimir Solovyov, Lev Karsavin, Nikolay Berdyaev
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The subject of this paper is a specific form of cosmogony—the conception of cosmogonic objectivation, interpreted as a tragedy or cosmogonic fall. This conception is examined on the basis of the evidence furnished by two sets of materials: firstly, the original texts and paraphrases of the Valentinian Gnostics of the 2ⁿᵈ and 3ʳᵈ centuries AD (Irenaeus Adversus haereses, 1.1.1–1.1.10; Excerpta ex Theodoto, compiled by Clement of Alexandria; and The Gospel of Truth from theNag Hammadi Library), and secondly, the writings of the Russian philosophers Vladimir Solovyov, Lev Karsavin and Nikolay Berdyaev. The research reveals aseries of specific features common to both of these: in particular, the conception of cosmogonic objectivation appears to be connected with the doctrine of theabsolute person’s fall, and with the motive of self-alienation.
205. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Katharina Breckner Semyon Frank: An Apotheosis of Democracy in the Name of Personal Service
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This essay introduces Semyon Lyudvigovich Frank as a philosopher who deservedly may be called a revolutionary thinker: he introduced a remarkablesocial ontology that foregrounds service. His oeuvre presents service as the supreme principle of personal and hence social life. The singular personality isseen as being there to creatively serve itself: his view of man focuses on the human soul as being there to bring forth creative action—to serve those who willcome after, the community, society, and the Christian Churches. Service, then, is the source for freedom as a derivative principle. Consequently, and in oppositionto the fundamental idea of the “Charter of Human Rights,” freedom in Frank has no absolute value, but only a functional one. It is justified by the ontologicalprinciple of service. All governmental organization is, ideally, the organization of freedom, the planned, systematic formation of free, spontaneous cooperation.Spontaneous cooperation makes up part of his concept of sobornost’, the empirical substrate of social culture. Frank would have agreed with Karl Popper’s notion of the “open society,” yet he would have certainly added that accessibility and transparency, be they spiritual or social, emanate from the principle of the universality of service. The true ontological meaning and the true source of democracy is, in his eyes, not the rule of all, but the service of all.
206. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Sarah Scott An Unending Sphere of Relation: Martin Buber’s Conception of Personhood
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I reconstruct Buber’s conception of personhood and identify in his work four criteria for personhood—(i) uniqueness, (ii) wholeness, (iii) goodness, and (iv) a drive to relation—and an account of three basic degrees of personhood, stretching, as a kind of “chain of being,” from plants and animals, through humans, to God as the absolute person. I show that Buber’s “new” conception of personhood is rooted in older Neoplatonic notions, such the goodness of all being and the principle of plenitude. While other philosophers have used reason and memory to distinguish persons, I find that Buber instead takes these to be specific to humanity, and I explore Buber’s account of a “fall” from a state of nature into a historical mode, such that our humanity threatens our personhood.
207. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
J. Edward Hackett Reviving Scheler’s Phenomenological Account of the Person for the 21ˢᵗ Century
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In the following article, I discuss the root of Scheler’s account of the person, its origin in phenomenology and the larger impact that view has as an alternative to other conceptions of the person. My thesis in this article intends to show why we should start with Scheler’s phenomenology over other approaches to the person. First, I take a look at what theoretical resources Scheler’s phenomenology has to offer us, and secondly, I outline the cultural conditions as to why the value of the person must be affirmed in light of the 20ᵗʰ century and past philosophical mistakes in ethics. I, then, end on affirming the reasons why we ought to revive Scheler’s account of the person.
208. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Grzegorz Hołub Wojtyła on Persons and Consciousness
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Karol Wojtyła developed an interesting model of human consciousness. He also demonstrated how vital the role is that consciousness plays in the process of becoming a person. His project encompasses such theses as the following: that consciousness is not a semi-autonomous subject, that it is not an intentional power, that it has both a receptive and an experiencing / interiorizing character, and that it must be distinguished from knowledge and self-knowledge. In this paper, I try to show how all these claims fit together. I also examine some of his more controversial theses—especially his claim about the non-intentionalityof consciousness.
209. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Arkadiusz Gudaniec The Foundations of Mieczysław Albert Krąpiec’s Metaphysical Personalism
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This paper discusses the cardinal points of Krąpiec’s metaphysical personalism, in the context of a synthetic reading of his most important works in philosophical anthropology. A new vision of Krąpiec’s thought is proposed, via a discussion of the metaphysical foundations of his anthropology and by emphasizing his notion of the three stages or phases in which personhood reveals itself. Each of these emerges as an integral element when outlining a conception of persons and when demonstrating the overriding importance of the issue of personhood for philosophical anthropology. Firstly, personhood manifests itself in the inner experience of one’s own subjectivity as something universally shared by human beings. Next, this fact is itself shown to be grounded metaphysically in the soul as an immaterial principle organizing the body. As a result, persons emerge as substantial rational beings. An examination of the potentialities of such beings then reveals the transcendence of persons in respect of nature and society, together with their self-fulfillment in intellectual and moral acts, in interpersonal relations, and—ultimately—in their relatedness to the Person of the Absolute. Krąpiec’s personalism relies upon classical Thomistic metaphysics, and presents a person’s life in universal terms as a process culminating in the actively experienced moment of death.
210. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Charles Hogg Reflections on Epictetus’ Notion of Personhood
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Epictetus’ discussion of the death of spouse and child in Encheiridion 3 raises interesting problems on the meaning of “person” in his Stoic philosophy. The author uses Epictetus’ discussion as a window into his notion of person, and weighs the strengths and weaknesses of that notion. The Stoic view of personrepresents an advance over pre-Stoic views. It offers us a better way to look at significant others throughout life, and helps us better to deal with their loss. Yet it falls short of being a fully satisfactory notion of person, because it does not address the fact that I am constituted as person only in relationship to others who are themselves persons.
211. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Marcin Podbielski The Face of the Soul, the Face of God
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This paper offers a comprehensive examination of the language of “prosōpon” in Maximus the Confessor. It emerges that “prosōpon” almost never has an autonomous meaning in Maximus’ Christology and anthropology. While “person” is either a synonym for “hypostasis” or a term expressing heretical Christologicaldoctrines, it may be used in its own right when Maximus emphasizes the fact that human actions make each of us recognizable as a unique individual. Thisusage cannot be separated from the colloquial meanings of “face” and “character,” or from instances of “prosōpon” in Maximian Biblical exegesis. “The face of the intellect,” identified with “the face of Christ” within us and reflected in our actions as “the face of the soul,” is the perfect image of the eternal Divine logoi of virtues, impressed by grace in the intellect of saints and reflected in their actions. Possessing one’s own “persona” or “face,” and building one’s uniqueness through one’s own decisions, is of less interest to Maximus than assimilation of oneself to Christ.
212. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Mark S. McLeod-Harrison Christian Feminism, Gender, and Human Essences: Toward a Solution of the Sameness and Difference Dilemma
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Christian feminist theory faces many stresses, some due directly to the apparent nature of Christianity and its seeming patriarchy. But feminism can also be thought inherent in Christianity. All people are made in God’s image. Christians should view women and men as equals, just as they should see peopleof all races as equals. The basic question discussed, within a biblical and philosophical framework, is if it possible for Christian feminist theory to hold thatthere is an essence to being a woman, being a man or being human all the while recognizing vast differences among women, among men and among human persons? I propose a beginning solution to this problem.
213. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Travis Dumsday Can Causal Chains Extend Back Infinitely? Entailment, Determinism, and a Cosmological Argument
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I develop a new argument to the effect that past causal chains cannot extend back infinitely, but must instead terminate in a first uncaused cause (or causes). It has the advantage of sidestepping a historically prominent objection to cosmological arguments of this general type, one leveled by Aquinas and various other Scholastics.
214. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Jonathan S. Marko Above Reason Propositions and Contradiction in the Religious Thought of Robert Boyle
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In this essay, I argue that Robert Boyle does not hold that true religion requires us to believe doctrines that are in violation of the law of noncontradictionor that it yields logical contradictions. Rather, due to the epistemological limitations of human reason, we are sometimes called to believe doctrines orpropositions that are at first blush contradictory but, upon further inspection, not definitively so. This holds for doctrines considered singly or together and is animportant qualifier to the traditional line of scholarship’s flat claim that Boyle’s limits of belief are logical contradictions. My conclusions here are at odds withJan W. Wojcik’s claim, in her important, revisionist work on the famous natural philosopher, that he teaches that sometimes we are required to believe religiousdoctrines that violate the law of noncontradiction.
215. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Mikael Leidenhag Is Panentheism Naturalistic? How Panentheistic Conceptions of Divine Action Imply Dualism
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This paper will argue that panentheism fails to avoid ontological dualism, and that the naturalistic assumption being employed in panentheism underminesthe idea of God acting in physical reality. Moreover, given panentheism’s lack of success with respect to avoiding dualism, it becomes unclear to what extent panentheism represents a naturalistic approach in the dialogue between science and religion.
216. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Sotiris Mitralexis Maximus the Confessor’s “Intelligible Creation”: Solving Contradictions on Imperishability and Corruptibility
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Saint Maximus the Confessor’s voluminous corpus constitutes a coherent and lucid philosophical and theological system, notwithstanding the existence of obscure, difficult, and at times even contradictory passages. A question stemming from Maximus’ work is whether the “intelligible creation” (noēte ktisis) is imperishable or corruptible, which would have important implications for a number of other issues like the created / uncreated distinction, Maximus’ relationshipto Neoplatonism, et al. However, Maximus provides us with contradictory passages concerning this subject, characterizing the noēte ktisis as both corruptibleand imperishable. While in certain passages of the Ambigua ad Ioannem he states that created intelligible beings move “according to corruption,” excludingthe possibility of natural incorruptibility for them, in other passages he states that the noēte ktisis possesses imperishability by nature, and not merely by grace. Inthis paper I will attempt to examine this apparent inconsistency on the basis of these two examples and to discuss which of both positions should be consideredas Maximus’ “primary” position.
217. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 2
Stanisław Ziemiański SJ Some Remarks on the Criticism of the Proofs for the Existence of God Presented in Religion. If There Is no God by L. Kołakowski
218. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 2
Bogdan Lisiak SJ Pojęcie prawdy w Adventures of Ideas Alfreda Northa Whiteheada
219. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 2
J. C. Nyíri Individualismus und Elite im Informationszeitalter
220. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 2
Ks. Stanislaw Kowalczyk Relacja państwo-Kościół w ujęciu Jacquesa Maritaina