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81. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Robert Masson Introducing the Annual Rahmer Papers
82. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
John E. Thiel Faith, Reason, and the Specter of the Enlightenment: A Nonfoundationalist Reading of John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio
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A nonfoundationalist reading of Fides et Ratio, both in its negative regard for Enlightenment reasoning and its implicit understanding of the philosophical task of justifying belief, enables an appreciation of the encyclical as a particular kind of post-Enlightenment Roman Catholic stance. A nonfoundationalist perspective, understood as a philosophical position on the justification of belief, can be instructive in the encyclical’s articulation of Credo ut intelligam. Fides et Ratio offers a contextualized understanding of justification in its treatment of universality that can only be recognized, affirmed and confessed within the particularity of faith.
83. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Victoria S. Harrison Holiness, Theology and Philosophy: von Balthasar’s Construal of Their Relationship and Its Development
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Hans Urs von Balthasar calls for a revival of what he sees as the original relationship between human holiness and Christian theology. He suggests that modern theologians should imitate their patristic forebears to the extent that they combine holy living with an objective stance corresponding to the intellectual rigor proper to theology. The article summarizes von Balthasar’s analysis of the development and current state of what he portrays as the problem of separation between theology and human holiness, considers the role of philosophy in shaping the relationship between them, and indicates the way forward for theology, given a Balthasarian analysis. Finally, the article considers how far von Balthasar’s approach can alleviate the crisis which theology is currently facing.
84. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Dennis O’Brien Sex before God: The Body of Prayer
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In a comment on concupscentia, Rahner says that while we may properly draw a distinction between “the spiritual and the sensitive as between two really distinct powers of man,” we must recognize that no human power can be conceived as a “thing.” Given that caution, what would Rahner think of the Freudian “Id”—a word which Freud chose to characterize the nonhuman “it” (thing) at the base of human motivation? Not surprisingly, Rahner says that with the strength of faith we can see in the unconscious “the power of the Holy Ghost.”The essay at hand turns, then, to a significant anti-Freudian theorist, Julia Kristeva, who has developed an extended analysis of the meaningful structures of the psyche prior to the development of self-consciousness in the standard Freudian Oedipal scenario. In contrast to the law of the “castrating” Father who establishes the world of consciousness, of self and other: abstract self-consciousness and abstract signigcation, Kristeva holds out the realm of the Mother in which self andother are “one.” The paradigm of the realm of the Mother is not separation of self and other, but the fusion of self and other in the event of pregnancy. Kristeva’s metaphor of pregnancy is used as a comparison to the relation of God and the human. Prior to the thematic, self-conscious sense of self, there is an ontological relation of God and the human which is the foundation of self.Kristeva’ s realm of the mother constitutes a world of “body language.” The essay concludes with a discussion of the “positivity” of sexuality as body language. In so far as sex leads one back into the body, into “the sensitive” it opens up a realm of meaning that is fatally absent from the abstract self-consciousness produced by the Law of the Father
85. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Lieven Boeve The Swan or the Dove?: Two Keys for Reading Fides et Ratio
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This study elaborates, illustrates and evaluates two different reading trajectories for approaching Fides et Ratio starting from the ambiguity which is apparent in the encyclical. The first trajectory, points foremost to the continuity between reason and faith. According to this first trajectory the encyclical presents a pre-modern model of philosophy, which has left the modern philosopher shocked and the theologian vexed. It also suffers from a confusion of philosophical and theological discourse. The second trajectory, from the perspective of an inner-theological reading, understands the encyclical’s aspirations as fides quaerens intellectum. In developing a sacramental concept of truth, the encyclical bears within itself the deconstruction of the defensive, anti-modern position of the first trajectory, precisely by accentuating the discontinuity between reason and faith. A theology, which takes account of the actual, post-modern critical consciousness may find in Fides et Ratio a basis for further reflection.
86. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Paul G. Crowley Rahner, Doctrine and Ecclesial Pluralism
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Karl Rahner’s “world church” turns out to be a church of significant theological and cultural pluralism in which doctrine can sometimes strain to unify disparate elements. This article examines this problem in light of Rahner’s theory of doctrinal development. First, it examines the notion of doctrine itself, suggesting a pliable model inspired by usages of “dogma” in the early church which reflect both teaching and confession of faith. Second, Rahner’s theory of doctrinal development is discussed in light of Newman’s theory. Rahner’s theory shares Newman’s emphasis on “mind” or “faith consciousness.” Although both attend to the historical mediations of revelation, the truth of doctrine remains at an ideational level, an expression of abstract truth. William Lynch’s notion of the imagination of faith and dogma as a poetic embodiment of truth offers an alternative model that accommodates fundamental insights of both Rahner and Newman. Finally, this article discusses how we can find a foundation for coherence amidst a pluralism of interpretations. The ancient regula fidei is invoked. Here, Rahner’s suggestion of short creedal formulae provides a possible modern equivalent. It is also itself an example of doctrinal development appropriate for situations within the world church in which Catholics now find themselves.
87. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Nicholas Okrent Leibniz on Substance and God in “That a Most Perfect Being Is Possible”
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Leibniz used Descartes’ strict notion of substance in “That a Most Perfect being is Possible” to characterize God but did not intend to undermine his own philosophical views by denying that there are created substances. The metaphysical view of substance in this passage is Cartesian. A discussion of radical substance without any sort of denial in the possibility of other substances does not indicate Spinozism. If this interpretation is correct, then the passage is neither anomalous nor mysterious. There is reason to believe that the passage expresses just the beliefs that we should expect Leibniz to hold in his De Summa Rerum period. Furthermore, this interpretation indicates that while Leibniz’s metaphysics during this stage of his career is suggestively similar to Spinoza’s, there is no evidence that Leibniz accepted Spinoza’s pantheistic conclusion.
88. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Jeannine Hill Fletcher Reason, Holiness and Diversity: Fides et Ratio through the Lens of Religious Pluralism
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What are the implications of Fides et Ratio for religious pluralism? The constructed context of this encyclical is a world characterized by diversity, and so the text argues for universal reason that can bridge this diversity. Yet the subtext reveals a singular truth associated with holiness that functions to limit diversity in a problematic way. This paper will explore both text and subtext in the multiple layers of this encyclical to illuminate its construction of religious pluralism. The conclusion of this paper aims to highlight discussions of religious pluralism that recognize multiple rationalities and holiness embodied in practice.
89. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Nicholas Rescher God’s Place in Philosophy (Non in philosophia recurrere est ad deum)
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(1) Diametrically opposed standpoints can be maintained regarding God’s place in philosophy, namely that God has a central place here and, contrariwise, that philosophers should do their explanatory work without recourse to God. (2) The distinction between theistic and naturalistic issues is crucial here, because (3) the naturalistic sphere is substantially secular in orientation and is, in general, explanatorily closed. (4) A recourse to theistic considerations is not in order in the naturalistic domain insofar as the issues are local in character. (5) And since this in generally the case, the vast majority of philosophical issues admit of purely secular treatment. After all, philosophical theology is but a small part of philosophy. (6) Such localism is assured by considerations of explanatory economy. (7) What is at issue is not a matter of odium theologicum but simply of the rational procedure of beings whom God himself would surely want to make the fullest possible use of their God-given reason.
90. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Lee C. Rice Homosexualization and Collectivism
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I examine the new analysis of gay community and liberation offered by Dennis Altman in The Homosexualization of America. Three distinctive theoretical constructs are analyzed and criticized: (1) a new view of psychosocial development; (2) a new concept of gay identity; and (3) A set of causal hypotheses designed to explain the new direction of the gay subculture.
91. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Russell Vannoy The Structure of Sexual Perversity
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Sexual perversity has traditionally been defined in terms of violating externally imposed criteria for natural or normal sex. The theory proposed here views sexual desires in terms of their own internal structure, such that perverse desires are those which are self-defeating because they are contradictory. Sadism, masochism, and certain private acts between consenting heterosexual and homosexual adults are shown to be perverse in illustrating the use of this hopefully nonideological method.
92. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Anthony Beavers Passion and Sexual Desire in Descartes
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Following a general outline of Descartes’ theory of passions as he presents it in the Passions of the Soul, I offer a critical analysis of his paradigms for love and sexual attraction. This provides the basis (in the third section) for schematizing a general theory of sexuality in Descartes. In closing, I examine the problem of descriptive and prescriptive accounts of love/sex, and some of the issues which relate to the integration of Descartes’ account into his general theory of human nature and knowledge.
93. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Philip Rossi After Fides et Ratio: New Models for a New Millennium
94. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Kevin Timpe Toward a Process Philosophy of Petitionary Prayer
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Prayer is one of the central tenets of the major theistic religions, and philosophers of religion have struggled to give a philosophically acceptable account of it. Process philosophies of prayer, in particular, have been criticized for being religiously unfulfilling. In this paper, I critically evaluate previous attempts by Ford, Mason, Cooper and Suchocki to articulate a process philosophy of petitionary prayer. All of these attempts are unsuccessful because they either fail to preserve the importance and uniqueness of prayer or because they reduce prayer to simply a change in the praying subject. After reviewing the previous attempts, I show how one could construct a process philosophy of petitionary prayer out of resources found in Whitehead’s Adventures of Ideas that avoids these problems and is thus more religiously satisfactory to the theist.
95. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
James M. McLachlan The Mystery of Evil and Freedom: Gabriel Marcel’s Reading of Schelling’s Of Human Freedom
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In 1971 the French publishing house Aubier-Montaigne published Gabriel Marcel’s previously unpublished 1909 study “The Metaphysical Ideas of Coleridge and their Connection with the Philosophy of Schelling” under the title, Coleridge et Schelling. Marcel’s interest in Schelling is a neglected but very important part of Marcel’s philosophical development. There are several striking similarities between Marcel and Schelling, but I will confine the major thrust of this paper to one issue: the unique way that Marcel and Schelling deal with the relation of freedom and human suffering. This essay focuses on Schelling’s writings that are closestto Marcel’s thought on freedom and suffering, these cover the period from 1809 to around 1815 and include, most importantly for Marcel, Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom and Related Matters (Hereafter referred as Of Human Freedom), and two works Schelling left unpublished the “Stuttgart Seminars,” and first draft of The Ages of the World.
96. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Rolf Johnson The Meaning of ‘Love’
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I discuss the meaning of the concept “love” arguing that it denotes neither a single, uniform phenomenon nor a hodgepodge of unrelated feelings, attitudes, etc., but three distinct phenomena that nonetheless share several common features. These three phenomena I designate “care-love,” “end-love,” and “union-love.” After a brief discussion of each of these kinds of love, I argue that while these three loves have over-lapping features, they may also sometimes conflict with one another or lead to conflicting courses of action.
97. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Lee C. Rice Guest Editor’s Page
98. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Bassam Romaya The Psychical Aesthetic Distance of Pornographic Apprehension
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The status of pornography is commonly disputed strictly in moralistic or legalistic terms. Although these approaches are vastly significant for promulgating and instituting public policy, they ignore serious aesthetic values of pornographic productions. I argue that an aesthetic approach clearly reveals some fundamental difficulties and categorizational flaws that policy makers often make. By incorporating the methodology of aesthetic distance theories, this study addresses pornographic perception from the realm of psychical aesthetic confrontation. In making these comparisons with another type of aesthetic experience, namely artworks, we find that we cannot specifically discern any clearly defined boundary which empirically determines where the experience of art ends and pornography begins. In developing and supporting theses psychical concepts, I introduce the problem of the indeterminate psychical aesthetic distance. In sum, our deliberation upon any human creation must be conscientiously investigated from every perspective that philosophical analysis has to offer; doing so will undoubtedly supplement and enrich our understanding of complex philosophical concerns. Thus, this study is an imperative prerequisite for anyone thinking about the status of pornography from any serious philosophical perspective.
99. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Kipton E. Jensen Making Room for Reason: Hegel, Kant, and the Corpse of Faith and Knowledge
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The following essay aims at a revisionist reading of Hegel’s “Faith and Knowledge.” Whereas Kant found it necessary to limit [aufheben] reason in order to make room for faith, a principle adopted though significantly revised by Jacobi (and Schleiermacher) and Fichte, Hegel reverses this religious dictum. Ostensibly critical of the theological truce of the times, between a brand of reason no longer worthy of the name and a faith no longer worth the bother, Hegel’s 1802 essay constitutes his first sustained effort to reflect himself out of—or beyond—the limits of reflectivity itself.
100. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Philip Rossi Editor’s Page