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A Study in Applied Metaphysics1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-225-8
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The meaning of “God-talk” remains the fundamental issue facing religious thinkers today. This study concerns the analogies needed to make sense of that talk. Embracing those analogies signals the application of Austin Farrer’s cutting-edge theology. Almost fifty years after his death, Farrer remains one of the twentieth century’s last great metaphysical minds, his grasp of faith and philosophy unequalled. Having defended religious thought against both Positivist and Process reduction, he pursued his own revision of scholastic tradition, ultimately developing the vital corrective to an overweening impersonalism, one which depersonalises the divine so severs the cosmological connection. Following this course returns us to an earlier tradition, to a metaphysic of persons exemplified in the expressions of lived faith. This draws upon the logic of personal identity: what it means to be, or rather, to become, a person. Hence, journey’s end lies in a Feuerbachian anthropology of theology or ‘anthropotheism’. Like Farrer, Feuerbach used the believer’s language to relocate theology and philosophy within a framework that makes fertile use of anthropomorphic personifications to ‘think’ God. Revisiting the personalist presuppositions of metaphysics in this way throws light on the most vital questions of personal identity. To answer them is to ‘draw’ reality on a grander scale than either realism or consequentialism is capable of. Most importantly, it is locate our place within that image. Doing theology dynamically or psychologically informed – as both Farrer and Feuerbach insisted – means recognising the constitutive role such images play in self-construction. Without active participation in our ideals and aspirations, we cannot become persons at all; participation entails the enactment of our prospective selves. This returns us to the practice of piety: faith in a Godly person. Here we find the reconstruction of Feuerbach’s anthropology as applied theology and, by extension or amplification, the completion of Farrer’s personalist metaphysics.
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Almost five decades after his death, there is still ample reason to pay attention to the life and legacy of Bertrand Russell. This is true not only because of his role as one of the founders of analytic philosophy, but also because of his important place in twentieth-century history as an educator, public intellectual, critic of organized religion, humanist, and peace activist. The papers in this anthology explore Russell’s life and legacy from a wide variety of perspectives. This is altogether fitting, given the many-sided nature of Russell, his life, and his work. The first section of the book considers Russell the man, and draws lessons from Russell’s complicated personal life. The second examines Russell the philosopher, and the philosophical world within which his work was embedded. The third scrutinizes Russell the atheist and critic of organized religion, inquiring which parts of his critical stance are worth emulating today. The final section revisits Russell the political activist; it directs an eye both at Russell’s own long career of peace activism, but also at his place in a highly political family tradition of which he was justifiably proud. This book thus constitutes an invitation, if one were needed, to the world of Bertrand Russell. Those new to Russell, but with an interest in biography, philosophy, religion, or politics, will hopefully find something to learn here. This may spark an interest in learning more about Russell. But this book is not just intended for the Russell neophyte. The book sheds fresh light on a number of topics central to Russell studies—his connections to other philosophers, for example. Scholars well-versed in Russell studies will enjoy grappling with the treatment given to these topics here.
Between and Beyond Theology, Philosophy, and Society1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-169-5
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This volume seeks to explore the intersection of theology, philosophy and the public sphere not by referring the social and political to ethics and deontology as is often the case, but rather to ontology itself, to the very nature of beings. The meaning of history and historicity is most pertinent to this enquiry and is approached here both from the perspective of social reality and from the perspective of ontology. Joining together contributions focusing on theory of the public sphere and metaphysics, chapters explore subjects as diverse as the political implications of the Incarnation, the paradox between ontology and history, politically left and right appropriations of Christianity, the fecundity of Maximus the Confessor’s insights for a contemporary political philosophy, modern Orthodox political theology focusing on Christos Yannaras and numerous thematic areas that together form the mosaic of the enquiry in question.
An Introduction to Personalism1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-192-3
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Our traditional ways of thinking about politics and society are becoming obsolete. We need some new points of reference in order to re-imagine the possible character, growth, and functioning of our private and common life. Such re-imagination would imply doing away with every-man-for-himself individualism as well as consumption-makes-me-happy materialism and the-state-will-take-care-of-it passivity. There is an alternative: Personalism is a forgotten, yet golden perspective on humanity that seeks to describe what a human being is and to then draw the social consequences. Personalism builds upon the thinking of Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas, among others, and has been a source of inspiration for Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, and other important personalities in recent history. According to personalism, humans are relational and engaged and possess dignity. The person and the relationship amongst persons are the universal point of departure: Human beings have inherent dignity, and good relationships amongst humans are crucial for the good, engaged life and for a good society. Personalism has been greatly neglected in Western political thought. In this book, Jonas Norgaard Mortensen attempts to introduce personalism while simultaneously demonstrating its historical origins, acquainting the reader with its thinkers and those who have practiced it, and showing that personalism has a highly relevant contribution to make in the debate about today’s social and political developments.
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The topic of human free will has received more attention in the past several years due to the important discoveries of neuroscience but no consensus of opinion is evident in related disciplines. The traditional approach to understanding free will in philosophy employs conceptual analysis to determine whether humans have freedom of choice. Theology affirms that every person has free choice although God is somehow behind all human decisions. Evolutionary psychology points to human behavior as the product of biological processes and antecedent events. And neuroethics attempts to define what it means to be a thinking moral agent by investigating how neurons in the brain and chemical interactions combine to produce conscious actions. An assessment and evaluation of these various positions is given in light of the evidence. The issue of whether a person can be held morally responsible for their actions hinges on whether those actions originate from free will or are the result of determinism. Theology makes assumptions of the existence of an absolute deity that has a hand in human decision making, but there is no agreement regarding the nature of that intervention. Recent scientific discoveries confront traditionally held religious beliefs and necessitate the creation of a new theology and articles of faith.