Volume 14, Issue 3, July 1997
Adriaan Theodoor Peperzak
Since the modern faith in Reason has died, the way is reopened for a thorough discussion of the relations between philosophy and theology. Being metaphilosophical as well as meta theological, such a discussion presupposes solid acquaintance with the concrete praxis of philosophy and theology as existentially rooted enterprises developed in the history of particular cultures and individual persons. This article defends the thesis that philosophy in the modern sense of the word never has been and cannot be autarkic because it cannot demonstrate the truth of the faith from which it draws its basic stance and orientation. If this faith is the faith of a Christian, it is impossible to draw a sharp distinction between the philosophical and the theological activities of such a philosopher. The stubborn attempt to restrict one’s thought to autonomous philosophy wounds and paralyzes the thinking of Christians and destroys most of its relevance. The old synthetic conception of philosophia, upheld by Plato and the Stoics no less than by the Fathers of the Church, deserves a reevaluation. Despite the profound differences between unscientific premodernity and modern scientificity, that old conception is a more adequate description of the philosophical practice performed in real human lives.