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1. Philosophy, the Cross, and Human Being

Brian Gregor Indiana University Press ePub

Sustained by philosophy, religion receives its justification from thinking consciousness.

—G. W. F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion

Justifying religious faith through thinking consciousness: this is arguably the highest aspiration of the philosophy of religion. Whether this aspiration is itself justifiable, however, is another question. Can religious faith be grasped and grounded, so that its content is justified by the necessity of the philosophical concept? Does religious faith have its telos in philosophical consummation? Or does there remain some residual opacity that philosophy cannot penetrate, some otherness that philosophy cannot reconcile within its own conceptual scheme? How should philosophy approach a reality that claims to be an irresolvable scandal for philosophical thinking?

This book explores that question with regard to a specific problematic—namely, whether philosophy can think the cross of Jesus Christ, which is central to Christian faith as both a historical event and a fundamental figure of Christian discourse. The cross poses a unique challenge—according to the apostle Paul, a scandal—for philosophical wisdom, and during the course of this study we will encounter several cases of philosophical engagement with the cross: in Hegel, for whom the cross is pivotal in the historical development of Spirit; in Nietzsche, who sees the cross as nihilistic, as a curse on human life, strength, and flourishing; in Heidegger, for whom the cross provides an ontic model for the Destruktion of the history of metaphysics; and in Ricoeur, who interprets the death of Jesus on the cross as a triumph of life and love over death, as an ethical transfer of love to the lives of his followers. The question, however, is whether these philosophical interpretations preserve the true scandal and offense of the cross, or whether something crucial is lost in them. Our task will be to consider how philosophical thinking can face the cross honestly, so that it is transformed by the cross rather than transforming the cross in order to fit its philosophical agenda. We are investigating, in order words, the possibility of an authentically cruciform philosophy.

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2. Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists

Edited by Daniel HowardSnyder Indiana University Press ePub


Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists

I will argue in this paper that our knowledge about pain and pleasure creates an epistemic problem for theists. The problem is not that some proposition about pain and pleasure can be shown to be both true and logically inconsistent with theism. Rather, the problem is evidential. A statement reporting the observations and testimony upon which our knowledge about pain and pleasure is based bears a certain significant negative evidential relation to theism.1 And because of this, we have a prima facie good epistemic reason to reject theism—that is, a reason that is sufficient for rejecting theism unless overridden by other reasons for not rejecting theism.

By “theism” I mean the following statement:

There exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect person who created the Universe.

I will use the word “God” as a title rather than as a proper name, and I will stipulate that necessary and sufficient conditions for bearing this title are that one be an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect person who created the Universe. Given this (probably technical) use of the term “God,” theism is the statement that God exists.

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Medium 9780253372086

54. Review of Ridgeway’s The Origin of Metallic Currency

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


Review of Ridgeway’s

The Origin of Metallic Currency

23 June 1892

Houghton Library

The Origin of Metallic Currency and Weight Standards. By William Ridgeway, Professor of Greek in Queen’s College, Cork.

Cambridge (Eng.) University Press: New York: Macmillan. 1892.

Compound arithmetic can certainly make itself very disagreeable.

From the urchin writhing in the agonies of a long sum in long measure, up to Belshazzar, watching the hand write upon the wall those distressful words, “Pounds, pounds, ounces, drams,” that suggested there was an account to settle with God, mortals have doubtless undergone more misery, first and last, from this branch of mathematics than from any other. On the other hand, to accompany a learned and ingenious essayist in his explorations of ancient metrology, to cut the rope that ties us to the here and now, to mount the heights of speculation, borne up by a beautiful and globular theory, to cleave the thin air of ancient texts, and trust to our guide to get us back to terra firma, this is a most delightful and entertaining pastime. Alas! we have blown our last parting kiss to the theorists of our boyhood, Boeckh, Queipo, Hultsch, and the rest.

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Medium 9780253007407

Twelve: Heidegger and the Question of the “Essence” of Language

Edited by Jeffrey Powell Indiana University Press ePub


Heidegger and the Question of the “Essence” of Language

Françoise Dastur

Logik als Frage nach dem Wesen der Sprache: such is the title of Heidegger’s lecture-course from the summer semester 1934,1 in which Wesen should be understood in the new meaning that Heidegger gave to it in the mid-1930s. As he explained in 1936–1938 in Contributions to Philosophy, this word should no longer be taken in the generic meaning of koinon or genos but understood rather as “the happening of the truth of Being” (Geschehnis der Wahrheit des Seins),2 and as he emphasized once more in his 1953 lectures on The Question of Technology and Science and Meditation, the word Wesen should now be understood on the basis of the old verb wesen, which is the same word as währen, to last.3 Wesen should therefore no longer be considered as the expression of the permanence or invariability of an eidos and be taken in a nominal sense as the “essence” or “quiddity” of something, but in the sense of the old verb wesen, as the temporal unfolding of the being of something.

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Medium 9780856832574


Arthur Farndell Shepheard-Walwyn ePub
Medium 9780253372086

26. The Law of Mind [Excursus on the Idea of Time]

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


The Law of Mind

[Excursus on the Idea of Time] early May 1892

Houghton Library

Events seem to flow in time. Before inquiring how far this seeming is true, we have to analyze the idea of time it presents.

Time is a system among certain relations. Anything that dures has its time-relations not completely determined in one way; that is to say, for example, Monday is in part a whole day subsequent to Sunday noon and in part not. But every space of time is separated from others by two instants, or temporal individuals; and every instant is wholly determinate in its time-relations to every other. The properties of time may conveniently be stated as properties of instants, as follows:

1. There is a determinate general relation of time between any two different instants, this relation being distinct from its converse. Of two different instants, the one is previous to the other, the latter subsequent to the former; and no instant is both previous and subsequent to the same instant.

2. This general temporal relation is a transitive one. Any instant previous to a second instant that is previous to a third is itself previous to that third.

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Medium 9780253018168

9. Deus Absconditus

Marius Timmann Mjaaland Indiana University Press ePub

On one point Erasmus of Rotterdam and Martin Luther perfectly agree: There are too many myths circulating in society, church, and academia, and too much superstition, ignorance, and mysticism surrounding the notion of God. Malicious tongues would probably comment that things haven’t changed a lot over the five centuries that have passed. For the discussion on the hidden and mysterious god, deus absconditus, this general estimation of beliefs and superstitions turns out to be significant. Erasmus claims that the very notion of ‘deus absconditus’ contributes to the confusion and the speculations concerning the nature of God and distracts from the central question, namely, how to lead a good and virtuous life and enjoy the pleasures of serious intellectual debates. Hence, he accuses his opponents (not only Luther but also Müntzer and Karlstadt) of obscurantism and obfuscation, and warns with reference to an old Greek myth against trying to penetrate into the secrets of God, while fumbling in the dark.2 Indeed, not many concepts are more liable to abuse and confusion than the concept of God, and in particular the hidden God. Hence, Luther agrees with his opponent on this point, with solemn assertion, before he concludes with an old adage from the Greeks: Quae supra nos, nihil ad nos.3

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Medium 9780253211859

Whitehead’s Philosophy (1937) (on Alfred North Whitehead)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

Mr. Whitehead’s philosophy is so comprehensive that it invites discussion from a number of points of view. One may consider one of the many special topics he has treated with so much illumination or one may choose for discussion his basic method. Since the latter point is basic and since it seems to me to present his enduring contribution to philosophy, I shall confine myself to it.

Mr. Whitehead says that the task of philosophy is to frame “descriptive generalizations of experience.” In this, an empiricist should agree without reservation. Descriptive generalization of experience is the goal of any intelligent empiricism. Agreement upon this special point is the more emphatic because Mr. Whitehead is not afraid to use the term “immediate experience.” Although he calls the method of philosophy that of Rationalism, this term need not give the empiricist pause. For the historic school that goes by the name of Rationalism (with which empiricism is at odds) is concerned not with descriptive generalization, but ultimately with a priori generalities from which the matter of experience can itself be derived. The contrast between this position and Mr. Whitehead’s stands out conspicuously in his emphasis upon immediately existent actual entities. “These actual entities,” he says, “are the final real things of which the world is made up. There is no going behind actual entities. They are the only reasons for anything.” The divergence is further emphasized in the fact that Whitehead holds that there is in every real occasion a demonstrative or denotative element that can only be pointed to: namely, the element referred to in such words as ‘this, here, now, that, there, then’; elements that cannot be derived from anything more general and that form, indeed, the subject-matter of one of the main generalizations, that of real occasions itself.2

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2 - A Political Paradigm

Jean Godefroy Bidima Indiana University Press ePub

IF CONFLICT CANNOT be eliminated, how can we live together with it? How should we contemplate a form of consensus that does not revert to the demand for unanimity found in so many totalitarian regimes? How to make consensus and pluralism cohabit in a single public space? As an uninterrupted dialogue, palabre embodies dissensus in a peaceful social space. It establishes the limits between the tolerable and intolerable, allowing one to evaluate and strengthen the connections between them.

Palabre can generally be defined as a movement that brings violence to a halt after heated debate. It leads conflicting individuals toward consensus. In palabre—according to this perspective—one exorcises disagreement in order to foster unity, and create a people united and indivisible. Palabre would therefore give a society the opportunity to achieve a symbolic order and “develop” into a new state.1 The authoritative article on this notion is by Benoît Atangana, entitled “Actualité de la palabre?”2 This article views palabre as a contradictory process inexorably leading to the restoration of harmony. The important thing is not so much the opening created by discussion as the final benefit: reconciliation. Atangana asserts that “the deliberation of whites aims at establishing a system of justice, while that of blacks seeks to reestablish harmony and unity.”3 And yet such emphasis on consensus harbors three illusions: that of transparency, of unity, and of power or ability.

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9. The Bronze Age Revisited: The Aesthetics of Sun Tanning

PEG Z BRAND Indiana University Press ePub


In an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “The Eye of the Beholder,” a woman has plastic surgery to become “beautiful.”1 Yet, when she is unwrapped, her classically symmetrical face appalls the other characters. This society believes that asymmetrical faces are beautiful. When asked which kind of face they prefer, the characters always select the lopsided; they even undergo surgery to achieve unevenness. The television audience finds this evaluation odd, at best. We want to know if there was some utilitarian, religious, or other nonaesthetic basis for these judgments, since the aesthetic preference for symmetry is universal, and is not in the eye of the beholder.2

The preference for women with pale skin is also universal. Anthropologist Peter Frost surveyed over seventy cultures in his book Fair Women, Dark Men: The Forgotten Roots of Color Prejudice, and discovered that in every culture, in every era, in every ethnic group, women’s beauty is linked with the lightest complexion found within the group.3 This is true except for one bizarre culture: European and American Caucasian culture of the past one hundred years, in which there has been a strong preference for women with tanned skin. This is just as unexpected a preference as one for crookedness, so why do these particular people prefer women with browner skin rather than coloring that occurs without sun exposure?

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Evolution and Ethics (1898)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

To a strictly logical mind the method of the development of thought must be a perplexing, even irritating matter. Its course is not so much like the simple curve described by a bullet as it speeds its way to a mark, as it is like the devious tacking of a sail boat upon a heavy sea with changeable winds. It would be difficult to find a single problem during the whole record of reflective thought which has been pursued consistently until some definite result was reached. It generally happens that just as the problem becomes defined, and the order of battle is drawn, with contestants determined on each side, the whole scene changes; interest is transferred to another phase of the question, and the old problem is left apparently suspended in mid-air. It is left, not because any satisfactory solution has been reached; but interest is exhausted. Another question which seems more important has claimed attention. If one, after a generation or a century, reviews the controversy and finds that some consensus of judgment has finally been reached, he discovers that this has come about, not so much through exhaustive logical discussion, as through a change in men’s points of view. The solution is psychologically, rather than logically, justified.

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Medium 9781771870849


Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub


WHEN BALLPOINT PENS FIRST APPEARED in the Laird School, our principal regarded them as abominations, and swiftly decreed their banishment: “Pen and ink here on Monday!” — it wasn’t a suggestion but a commandment. And however we underlings liked to defy him then, I concede that fountain pens are more elegant than ballpoints: for fountain pleases the eardrum, and the nib scratches satisfyingly on the paper. Back in the fourth grade, there was always a bottle of Quink or Waterman’s under the desktop; and when it dwindled, Don’s Store had another one; and when his shelf was bare, the train from Saskatoon replenished it on Thursday — the inkwell, so far as I know, never ran dry.

I believe we readers and writers are engaged in reversing our incarnations. We restore the world to word. But why?

From the writer’s side, something presses out, pushes toward expression. And if the act of writing is not itself a pretty sight (as Christopher Lehmann-Haupt observes), yet the state of having written is one of the most blissful known to humans, rivalling even sex or religious rapture. From the reader’s side, there is a search for communion: the joy of discovering that someone has voiced our experience, and we are not alone; or disappointment that life has not been well-expressed, so we read on, or try to write it ourselves. And on the divine side, it’s said, in the beginning is the Word that means God — nothing in itself until pressed-out, formulated. Word becomes flesh, and flesh re-creates words, our human pluralism tending back toward singularity, and the trinity itself, perhaps, returning to the peace of union.

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Medium 9780253007865

3 The Principles of Psychology: Consciousness as a Constitutive Stream

William J. Gavin Indiana University Press ePub

The Principles of Psychology (PP), James’s first major work, was twelve years in the making and earned for him the title “father of American psychology.” Initially, James adopted a “functional dualism” for this text, separating the domain of psychology from other domains, such as metaphysics: “Every natural science assumes certain data critically. . . . Psychology, the science of finite individual minds, assumes as its data (1) thoughts and feelings, and (2) a physical world with which they coexist and which (3) they know. Of course these data are discussible; but the discussion of them (as of other elements) is called metaphysics and falls outside the province of this book.”1 And again, “This book consequently rejects both the associational and the spiritualist theories; and in this strictly positivistic point of view consists the only feature of it for which I feel tempted to claim originality” (PP, 1: 6). This, then, is the “manifest image” presented by James to the reader. Also part of the manifest image is his radically new view of consciousness as a stream rather than an object or a substance. The latent content of his position becomes manifest when he realizes that the dualism he espouses cannot be maintained and that psychology leaks into metaphysics itself. This chapter focuses primarily on an analysis of the “stream of consciousness” and to the realization that its characteristics, as outlined by James, entail its undoing as a neutrally functioning object.

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The Internet and the African Academic World

Jean Godefroy Bidima Indiana University Press ePub

ANY PRACTICE, TECHNOLOGY, or form of expertise needs an account that can explain its basis and organization as well as its objectives. Whether the Internet is understood as a practice, or as a journey through a space that knows no borders, or whether one curses it as the latest example of human excess (hybris), its reality nevertheless raises questions about our experience of the world (experimentum mundi). By means of the Internet, we test the world's consistency and go beyond our assumptions to arrive at an exact measure of the relationship between humans and machines. With this in mind, a multicultural, multidisciplinary study was set up in the United States through the publication of Academy and the Internet, jointly edited by Helen Nissenbaum and Monroe Price.1 The book sets out to examine the relations between the Internet and economic issues, as well as the Internet and social problems of equality, politics (the question of public space), and the communicative relationship in a virtual world. Interculturally speaking, only the Chinese contribution gives the debate—which is almost tribal since it is American to the core—an off-center tone. A debate makes statements and analyses, but it also may omit and skate over other perspectives. Africa, which is absent from this debate, almost forces its way in via this paper. What is the relationship between the Internet and present-day African experience? Hardly coping as it is with the consequences of the recent introduction of writing, how is Africa experiencing this Internet adventure, in which the status of images, words, and time seems to be called into question? This brief presentation will look first at the status of technoscience—under which heading the Internet is subsumed in Africa—and then at the challenges the Internet throws up in the region. Our method will be to examine Internet capacities from the viewpoint of oral cultures that are dominated economically.

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List of Abbreviations

William J. Gavin Indiana University Press ePub

Citations of the writings of William James are included in an abbreviated format in all chapters for ease of reference. All abbreviated citations and references are to The Works of William James, published by Harvard University Press (Frederick Burkhardt, general editor, and Fredson Bowers, textual editor). The abbreviations and full references (including original publication dates) are as follows:


Essays, Comments, and Reviews (1987 [1865–1909])


Essays in Philosophy (1978 [1876–1910])


Essays in Radical Empiricism (1976 [1912])


Essays in Religion and Morality (1982 [1884–1910])


Manuscript Essays and Notes (1988 [1872–1910])


The Meaning of Truth (1975 [1909])


Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1975 [1907])


The Principles of Psychology (1981 [1890]: 2 vols.)


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