Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 89, No. 1, Winter 2015

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 89, No. 1, Winter 2015

Article excerpt

Renewal and Tradition: Phenomenology as "Faith Seeking Understanding" in the Work of Edmund Husserl, WILLIAM E. TULLIUS

This paper seeks to understand the place of phenomenology within the Christian philosophical tradition. Contrary to common conceptions of phenomenology, and in spite of Husserl's own description of phenomenology as an "a-theistic" project, this paper will attempt to interpret the complex relationship of Husserl's understanding of phenomenology to the religious tradition ultimately as a function of that very tradition. In so doing, this paper will explore the philosophical concept of "vocation" in Husserl's usage, its application to the intended role of phenomenology as an agent of moral and religious "renewal," and the role played by the concept of tradition in Husserl's thought, which demands explicit reflection on Husserl's own relation to the tradition. This will allow the possibility of reenvisioning the overall sense of phenomenological discussion and its place within the tradition of philosophy, particularly in the relation of Husserlian phenomenology to the Anselmian project of "faith seeking understanding."

"What is Freedom?": An Instance of the Silence of St. Thomas, JAMIE ANNE SPIERING

Josef Pieper wrote about "the silence of St. Thomas"--faced with some of philosophy's toughest questions, Thomas does not give "a textbook reply." This paper notes an instance of such silence: Thomas gives no dogmatic, unequivocal answer to the question "What is freedom?", and this omission seems to have been deliberate. While his predecessors and contemporaries (such as Albert the Great and Henry of Ghent) discussed the definition of freedom formally, Thomas does not do so, nor does he offer a precise account of libertas. Why would Thomas avoid this debate? An answer is necessarily tentative, but this paper argues that Thomas wanted to simplify his treatment of the power of choice. In addition, he may be convinced that freedom is best understood as instantiated within a nature or its powers, making any abstract consideration fundamentally unfruitful.

Henry of Ghent's Argument for Divine Illumination Reconsidered, PATRICK J. CONNOLLY

This paper offers a new approach to Henry of Ghent's argument for divine illumination. Normally, Henry is criticized for adhering to a theory of divine illumination and failing to accept rediscovered Aristotelian approaches to cognition and epistemology. Here it is argued that these critiques are mistaken, and that Henry was a proponent of Aristotelianism. But Henry discovered a tension between Aristotle's views on teleology and the nature of knowledge, on the one hand, and various components of the Christian worldview, on the other. This paper argues that Henry's adherence to a theory of divine illumination was an attempt to preserve various components of the Aristotelian system, not an attempt to reject Aristotelianism.

Spinoza on Eternal Life, CLARE CARLISLE

This article argues that Spinoza's account of the eternity of the mind in part 5 of the Ethics offers a reinterpretation of the Christian doctrine of eternal life. While Spinoza rejects the orthodox Christian teaching belief in personal immortality and the resurrection of the body, he presents an alternative account of human eternity that retains certain key characteristics of the Johannine doctrine of eternal life, especially as this is articulated in the First Letter of John. The article shows how Spinoza's account of human eternity reflects two key principles of his philosophy: the ideal of union with God, and the possibility of the human being's ontological transformation through this union.

Distinguishing Desire and Parts of Happiness: A Response to Germain Grisez, BRANDON DAHM

Germain Grisez has recently argued that Aquinas's claim that God alone is our ultimate end is incompatible with other claims central to Aquinas's account of happiness. …

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