Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Philosophical Abstracts

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Philosophical Abstracts

Article excerpt


Postmodernism and the Catholic Tradition (A Reply to Kenneth L. Schmitz, World Congress, 8/11/98), THOMAS R. FLYNN

Schmitz claims that the concept of fundamental inquiry characterizes philosophy in general "even as it has shifted its thematic content from being to number to event to word." After recommending that the order of word and event be reversed to capture the advent of "postmodern" thought, I propose three theses for discussion: that the postmodern be seen as a response to what Lyotard terms the "sign of history," namely, "the fission of meaning" or what I call a crisis of criteria; that the "logic of difference" operative in the comparativist thought of so many postmodern thinkers suggests that postmodernism is more a corrective to modernist exclusivities than its simple replacement; and that as we face the problematic task of redefining "rationality, we respect postmodern reflection on the concept of "event," not as the unique and nonrepeatable happening of modernist thought but as a necessary condition for historical thinking of any kind.


In Defence of "The Supernatural": A Response to Peter Forrest, MARK WYNN

The paper has two parts. In the first part, I examine what Forrest means by an anti-supernatural theism and his reasons for favouring this view, drawing on his work God Without the Supernatural (Cornell, 1996). In the second part, I propose that his position on a range of other issues may imply a more favourable assessment of supernaturalism. For instance, I argue that his endorsement of divine ineffability and his understanding of emergent phenomena point towards a modest supernaturalism in relation to God's nature and activity. On this basis, I defend a negative form of supernaturalism, one which acknowledges striking differences between God an creatures, but stops short of trying to provide any positive characterisation of these differences.

Ought There Be a "Catholic" Philosophy? JAMES SWINDAL

Given the recent decline in what was traditionally considered Catholic philosophy, questions arise as to whether this tradition should continue and, if so, in what form. In response, I present a two-fold argument for the continuance of a kind of Catholic philosophy. First, the justification of a Catholic philosophy is founded on the inherent link between core Catholic beliefs and certain metaphysical questions. These metaphysical questions emanate from the "question of being." Second, the content of this question of being is specified by its internal connection to three key philosophical topics: the philosophy of God, natural law theory, and philosophical anthropology. I conclude that Catholic philosophy concerned with these aspects of the question of being is integral to the discipline of philosophy.

Evolution and Complexity, T. MICHAEL MCNULTY, S.J.

Michael Behe has offered an argument in Darwin's Black Box against the adequacy of natural selection to account for the biological complexity. Behe claims that many biochemical systems are irreducibly complex: they can only function as integrated wholes. This implies that these systems cannot have arisen by incremental modification of precursor systems. He concludes these systems must derive from an intelligent designer. His inference to the existence of a designer fails because it either postulates a designer who is part of the natural world and therefore itself in need of explanation, or an ineffable designer for whom no mechanism for translating the design into reality is conceivable. Behe's criticism of natural selection, however, is logically independent and can be examined on its own merits.

The Relation of Divine Thinking to Human Thought in Aristotle, ROOPEN MAJITHIA

I am concerned in this paper to understand Aristotle's conception of God as Thought Thinking Thought. …

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