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61. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Ken Foldes The Meaning of the Present Age: The Final Stage of Mankind’s Education — From Nihilism to Kingdom Come
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I give reasons to believe that our present situation is not as bleak as some would have it. I show how the historical process can be understood in terms of a Premodernity (Aquinas), Modernity (Hegel), and Postmodernity (Nietzsche) division of human history. I argue that both Hegel and Nietzsche were fully aware that Modernity was over and that a negative Postmodern condition was to necessarily precede a consummatory positive one. Also since history may be taken to have reached its goal at the end of Modernity (with Reasons grasp of Christianity’s principle), Postmodernity can best be understood in terms of its central task of elevating all humanity into absolute knowing (the knowing of the God within)—an elevation via Reason and Faith achievable only by the abolition of the God outside, i.e., by a negative followed by a positive period of history, which Schelling refers to as the Church of John, a synthesis of Catholicism and Protestantism, the perfected Church.
62. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Theodore M. Drange Nonbelief as Support for Atheism
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The Canadian philosopher J.L. Schellenberg has recently put forward an argument for atheism based on the idea that God is supposed to be perfectly loving and so would not permit people to be deprived of awareness of his existence. If such a deity were to exist, then, he would do something to reveal his existence clearly to people, thereby causing them to become theists. Thus, the fact that there are so many non-theists in the world becomes good reason to deny the existence of God conceived of in the given way. I first raise objections to Schellenberg’s formulation of the argument and then suggest some improvements. My main improvement is to include among the divine attributes the property of strongly desiring humanity’s love. Since to love God requires at least believing that he exists, if God were to exist, he must want widespread theistic belief. The fact that so many people lack such belief becomes a good argument for atheism with respect to God conceived of in the given way. Some objections to this line of reasoning are considered, in particular the claim that God refrains from revealing himself to people in order to avoid interfering with their free will or to avoid eliciting inappropriate responses from them or some other (unknown) purpose. An attempt is made to refute each of these objections.
63. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Oskar Gruenwald Philosophy Redivivus?: Science, Ethics, and Faith
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Curiously, in the late twentieth century, even agnostic cosmologists like Stephen Hawking—who is often compared with Einstein—pose metascientific questions concerning a Creator and the cosmos, which science per se is unable to answer. Modern science of the brain, e.g. Roger Penrose's Shadows of the Mind (1994), is only beginning to explore the relationship between the brain and the mind-the physiological and the epistemic. Galileo thought that God's two books-Nature and the Word-cannot be in conflict, since both have a common author: God. This entails, inter alia, that science and faith are to two roads to the Creator-God. David Granby recalls that once upon a time, science and religion were perceived as complementary enterprises, with each scientific advance confirming the grandeur of a Superior Intelligence-God. Are we then at the threshold of a new era of fruitful dialogue between science and religion, one that is mediated by philosophy in the classical sense? In this paper I explore this question in greater detail.
64. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Jerome I. Gellman Re-Identifying God in Experience
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If an alleged experience of God can constitute evidence for God’s existence, then it must be possible for God to be a perceptual particular, that is, a substantive, enduring object of perception. Furthermore, if several such experiences are to be cumulative evidence for God’s existence, then it must be possible to reidentify God from experience to experience. I examine both a "conceptual" and an "epistemological" argument against these possibilities that is derived from the work of Richard Gale. I argue that neither of these arguments is successful. For God to be a perceptual particular, he must have an inner life; for God to be reidentified across experiences, he need not exist in dimensions analogous to the spatiotemporal.
65. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Lewis S. Ford The Active Future as Divine
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Normally, activity is regarded as discernible, but according to relativity theory whatever is discernible lies in the past of the discernible. Only the present subjective immediacy is properly active. Subjectivity is properly understood as present becoming; objectivity as past being (so Whitehead). I propose that we extend the domain of subjective immediacy to include the future as well as the present. This future universal activity is pluralized in the present in terms of the many actualities coming into being. Subjectivity is the individualization of becoming, and so can apply to the future as a whole as well as to particular present subjects. The future as divine grows out of Whitehead's revisions of traditional notions of omnipotence and omniscience. But he separates creativity (best understood in terms of Hindu and Buddhist thought) from the God of Western theism. This separation can be overcome if God is future creativity individualized in its own realm, which is the source of the creativity within each of us.
66. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Hendrik Hart Philosophy’s Prejudice Towards Religion
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Religion acquired a bad press in philosophical modernity after a rivalry developed between philosophy and theology, originating in philosophy’s adopting the role of our culture’s superjudge in all of morality and knowledge, and in faith’s coming to be seen as belief, that is, as assent to propositional content. Religion, no longer trust in the face of mystery, became a belief system. Reason as judge of propositional belief set up religion’s decline. But spirituality is on the rise, and favors trust over reason. Philosophy could make space for the spiritual by acknowledging a difference between belief as propositional assent and religious faith as trust, a distinction lost with the mixing of Greek philosophy and Christian faith. Artistic or religious truth disappeared as authentic forms of knowing. But Michael Polanyi reintroduced knowledge as more than can be thought. Also postmodern and feminist thought urge us to abandon autonomous reason as sole limit to knowledge. We have space again for philosophy to look at openness to the spiritual. If spirituality confronts us with the mystery of the existential boundary conditions, religion may be a form of relating to the mystery that confronts us from beyond the bounds of reason. That mystery demands our attention if we are to be fully in touch with perennial issues of human meaning.
67. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Marian Hillar The Philosophical Legacy of the 16th and 17th Century Socinians: Their Rationality
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The doctrines of the Socinians represent a rational reaction to a medieval theology based on submission to the Church’s authority. Though they retained Scripture as something supra rationem, the Socinians analyzed it rationally and believed that nothing should be accepted contra rationem. Their social and political thought underwent a significant evolutionary process from a very utopian pacifistic trend condemning participation in war and holding public and judicial office to a moderate and realistic stance based on mutual love, support of the secular power of the state, active participation in social and political life, and the defense of social equality. They spoke out against the enserfment of peasants, and were the first Christians to postulate the separation of Church and state. The spirit of absolute religious freedom expressed in their practice and writings, ‘determined, more or less immediately, all the subsequent revolutions in favor of religious liberty.’(1) The precursor ideas of the Socinians on religious freedom later were expanded, perfected, and popularized by Locke and Pierre Bayle. Locke’s ideas were transplanted to America by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson who implemented them in American legislation. The rationality of the Socinians set the trend for the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment and determined the future development of many modern intellectual endeavors.
68. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Ivan Kaltchev The Statute of the Man in the Modern Catholic Anthropology
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In what follows, I examine the renaissance of the idea of freedom as a fundamental measure of humanity in the work of Karol Voitila (Pope John Paul II). I examine as well Karol Voitila's concept of the human person as found in his work "Love and Responsibility" as well as the encyclical Evangelium vitae, which affirms the incomparable value of the human person. I also consider the celestial predestination of the human person as discussed in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.
69. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Gary E. Kessler A Neglected Argument
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Charles S. Peirce sketches "a nest of three arguments for the Reality of God" in his article "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God." I provide careful analysis and explication of Peirce's argument, along with consideration of some objections. I argue that (1) there are significant differences between Peirce's neglected argument and the traditional arguments for God's existence; (2) Peirce's analysis of the neglected argument into three arguments is misleading; (3) there are two distinct levels of argument that Peirce does not recognize; and (4) it is doubtful whether the argument meets all the criteria set by Peirce himself.
70. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Jyrki Kivelä Is Kierkegaard’s Absolute Paradox Hume’s Miracle?
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I clarify Hume's concept of miracle with Kierkegaard's concept of absolute paradox. I argue that absolute paradox is like that miracle which, according to Hume, allows a human being to believe Christianity against the principles of his understanding. I draw such a conclusion on the basis that Kierkegaard does not think Christianity is a doctrine with a truth value and, furthermore, he holds that all historical events (such as miracles) are doubtful. Kierkegaard emphasizes the absolute paradox as the condition of faith in such a way that it becomes close to Hume's idea of personal miracle which causes the subversion of the believer's principles of understanding. Hence, the absolute paradox cannot be a possible supporting event (Hume's first miracle) for the credibility of Christianity. Absolute paradox more closely approximates Hume's second miracle insofar as it makes persons believe contrary to their custom and experience.
71. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Timothy A. Mahoney Contextualism, Decontextualism, and Perennialism: Suggestions for Expanding the Common Ground of the World’s Mystical Traditions
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This paper addresses religious epistemology in that it concerns the assessment of the credibility of certain claims arising out of religious experience. Developments this century have made the world’s rich religious heritage accessible to more people than ever. But the conflicting religious claims tend to undermine each religion’s central claim to be a vehicle for opening persons to ultimate reality. One attempt to overcome this problem is provided by "perennial philosophy," which claims that there is a kind of mystical experience common to all religious traditions, an experience which is an immediate contact with an absolute principle. Perennialism has been attacked by "contextualists" such as Steven Katz who argue that particular mystical experiences are so tied to a particular tradition that there are no common mystical experiences across traditions. In turn, Robert Forman and the "decontextualists" have argued that a certain kind of mystical experience and process are found in diverse traditions, thereby supporting one of the key elements of perennialism. I review the contextualist-decontextualist debate and suggest a research project that would pursue the question of whether the common ground of the world’s mystical traditions could be expanded beyond what has been established by the decontextualists. The extension of this common ground would add credibility to the claims arising out of mystical experience.
72. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Sander H. Lee Notions of Selflessness in Sartrean Existentialism and Theravadin Buddhism
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In this essay I examine the relationship between Sartre's phenomenological description of the "self" as expressed in his early work (especially Being and Nothingness) and elements to be found in some approaches to Buddhism. The vast enormity of this task will be obvious to anyone who is aware of the numerous schools and traditions through which the religion of Buddhism has manifested itself. In order to be brief, I have decided to select specific aspects of what is commonly called the Theravadin tradition as being representative of Buddhist philosophy. By choosing to look primarily at the Theravadin tradition, I am by necessity ignoring a vast number of other Buddhist approaches. However, in my view, the Theravadin sect presents a consistent Buddhist philosophy which is representative of many of the major trends within Buddhism.
73. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Ronald A. Kuipers Toward a Peaceable Mosaic of Worldviews and Religions: Incommensurability, Pluralism, and the Philosophy of Religion
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I defend the uniqueness and irreducibility of religious forms of life from rationalistic criticisms. I argue that such a defense of religion affirms the fact of incommensurability between differing forms of life. Put differently, such a defense tacitly affirms ineradicable pluralism as well as cultural diversity. I contend that the defender of religion who argues from the incommensurability of this form of life must also give up all traces of "worldview exclusivism," the dogmatic claim to possess the one truth about the world. Finally, I argue that if we are to move into a future of peace, we must acknowledge that various forms of life are lived on a level playing field. That is, all forms have important contributions to make, and none have revelatory advantages over another. A critical discussion of differing forms of life will be concerned with cultural desirability of these forms.
74. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Geeta S. Mehta The Integral Humanism of Mahatma
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Humanism as a theistic, pragmatic theory was first conceived around 2000 BCE in India. It is a this-worldly, human-centered, secular philosophical outlook. Gandhi understands religion as connoting the individual’s integrity and society’s solidarity. Free-will for him is freedom of the "rational self." Morality is not a matter of outward conformity, but of inward fulfillment. His integral humanism is indicated by his enumerated seven social sins: (1) politics without principles; (2) wealth without work; (3) commerce without morality; (4) knowledge without character; (5) pleasure without conscience; (6) science without morality; and (7) worship without sacrifice. The eleven vows recited in his Ášrama prayer began with Truth and Non-Violence as foundational for the integration of moral, social, political and economic values. Non-Violence should be a creed rather than a policy. Gandhi’s Truth meant freedom of self-actualization for societal development. He fulfilled these two principal themes of humanism in the civic function of religion and religious tolerance which aimed at evolving moral individuals in moral societies. "The twenty-first century should bring a synthesis of science and spirituality, socialism with human rights, social-change with nonviolence. And this is Gandhi."
75. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Robert E. Maydole Aquinas’ Third Way Modalized
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The Third Way is the most interesting and insightful of Aquinas' five arguments for the existence of God, even though it is invalid and has some false premises. With the help of a somewhat weak modal logic, however, the Third Way can be transformed into a argument which is certainly valid and plausibly sound. Much of what Aquinas asserted in the Third Way is possibly true even if it is not actually true. Instead of assuming, for example, that things which are contingent fail to exist at some time, we need only assume that contingent things possibly fail to exist at some time. Likewise, we can replace the assumption that if all things fail to exist at some time then there is a time when nothing exists, with the corresponding assumption that if all things possibly fail to exist at some time then possibly there is a time when nothing exists. These and other similar replacements suffice to produce a cogent cosmological argument.
76. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Isaac M.T. Mwase Kuona, An African Perspective on Religions: J.N.K. Mugambi’s Contribution
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Kuona is a Shona (one of Zimbabwe’s major languages) verb meaning "to see." In poetic constructions, it is often used as an ocular metaphor meaning insight or understanding. This ocular metaphor can be used to describe Mugambi’s assessment of the exclusivistic claims one often encounters in the Abrahamic religions. Such claims often arise from a strongly held belief that the adherent is one of God’s chosen. Mugambi has emerged as one of the most articulate philosophical theologians in the African continent. His reflections, ubiquitous in classrooms on the continent, deserve a much broader audience. My paper seeks to introduce Mugambi’s perspective on religion. Part of Mugambi’s project has been to make an assessment of this notion of chosenness in the Abrahamic religions. He does so particularly with reference to the relationship between Christianity and the African religious heritage.
77. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Eugene S. Poliakov Religion and Science in the Parable of the Unjust Steward
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The Parable of the Unjust Steward should be interpreted allegorically, its literal interpretation shown to be impossible. Certain facts make this parable unique: a lord as the Lord; divine possessions; the symbolism of the house interpreted as a human being; the material principles of the world understood as the governor of a human being; the Lord’s debtors as spiritual teachers of various kinds; theological doctrines with their own theogonic and cosmogonic views, all claiming to know the truth in its wholeness. Their debts consist of their misunderstandings and errors which have caused the difference between them and truth. Examples of the part of the material principles of the world in correcting theological doctrines are adduced. Two different kinds of debt are considered. I conclude that ‘make to yourselves friends of the riches of unrighteousness’ means that the material reasons of the world, the wisdom of this age, must be used for the good of spiritual teachings.
78. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
William Lad Sessions “Author! Author! Some Reflections on Design in and beyond Hume’s Dialogues”
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Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) may be read in the way Cleanthes (and Philo as well) reads Nature, as analogous to human artifice and contrivance. The Dialogues and Nature then are both texts, with an intelligent author or Author, and analogies may be started from these five facts of Hume's text: the independence of Hume's characters; the non-straightforwardness of the characters' discourse; the way the characters interact and live; the entanglements of Pamphilus as an internal author; and the ways in which a reader is also involved in making a dialogue. These and other analogies should reflect upon the Author of Nature as they do upon Hume's authorship: They do not prove the existence of their respective authors, but may well shed some light on the nature of these disparate beings.
79. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Henry Simoni-Wastila Inclusive Infinity and Radical Particularity: Hartshorne, Hegel and Nishida
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God, or in Nishida’s case Buddha-nature, is frequently conceptualized as relating to the world by including it within the Infinite. Particular elements within the world are not seen as existing in absolute differentiation or total negation from Spirit, God, or Absolute Non-Being. The Many are not excluded but are, on the contrary, included within the One. The logic by which the One includes the Many is a logic of manifold unity, or, as Hegel quite confidently puts it, true infinity as opposed to spurious infinity. I will argue that such a logic of inclusive infinity is operative in Hartshorne, Hegel and Nishida. Each uses different terminology and writes with different systemic emphases, but as applied to God or the Ultimate, the function and consequences of the logic of inclusivity are strikingly similar for all three philosophers. Although infinite inclusivity provides a way of unifying the chaotic diversity of existence into a rational totality, there are central questions that have remained unanswered in the three metaphysicians. Primary among them is the question that sums up within itself many of the others: the problem of radical particularity. The particular elements of the world which are claimed to be included within the parameters of the Ultimate are just that: particular fragments of reality. I argue that their particular nature makes it impossible for the Infinite to incorporate them within its purview without raising serious difficulties.
80. The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 36
Aharon Shear-Yashuv Jewish Philosophers on Reason and Revelation
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Are reason and revelation different sources of truth? Do they contradict or complement each other? The present article tries to give an answer to these ancient questions from a Jewish pluralistic point of view. I describe the essential views of the most important representatives of the two main schools of Jewish thought: the rationalists Maimonides, Moses Mendelssohn, and Hermann Cohen, and the antirationalists Judah Halevi and Solomon Levi Steinheim. I show that even the antirationalists use the tools of rationalism, by which Talmudic-rabbinic thought is characterized, in an attempt to show that they are not irrationalists. The comparison of this attitude with the general philosophic tradition shows that Aristotle’s notion of potential knowledge is closer to Jewish thought than Plato’s view of recollection.