1041 Chapters
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1. The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism

Edited by Daniel HowardSnyder Indiana University Press ePub

WILLIAM L. ROWE

This chapter is concerned with three interrelated questions. The first is: Is there an argument for atheism based on the existence of evil that may rationally justify someone in being an atheist? To this first question I give an affirmative answer and try to support that answer by setting forth a strong argument for atheism based on the existence of evil.1 The second question is: How can the theist best defend his position against the argument for atheism based on the existence of evil? In response to this question I try to describe what may be an adequate rational defense for theism against any argument for atheism based on the existence of evil. The final question is: What position should the informed atheist take concerning the rationality of theistic belief? Three different answers an atheist may give to this question serve to distinguish three varieties of atheism: unfriendly atheism, indifferent atheism, and friendly atheism. In the final part of the paper I discuss and defend the position of friendly atheism.

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9. Creation and the Moral Order

Hugh J. McCann Indiana University Press ePub

 

The account of the creator we have been developing is one of a God whose activity in making the universe is completely free and spontaneous, constrained by nothing and distinguished by total mastery over all that he creates. If such an account is correct, we should also expect that God will turn out to be the source of morality—of the rightness of what is right and the wrongness of what is wrong. If he is not—that is, if right and wrong have standing independent of God's will—his sovereignty will be diminished and our earlier argument for divine impeccability will be ruined. For if moral principles have standing independent of God's will, then presumably he, as a rational being, is bound by them just as we are, so that his conduct is subject to strictures not of his own making. Only if God's creative fiat is the source of the moral order can this result be avoided. That God should be the source of morality is also in keeping with the account of sin developed in chapter 6, according to which the crucial defining feature of wrongdoing is rebellion against God, from whose dictates the moral law takes its origin. This account would lose much of its force if it turned out that in issuing moral injunctions to us, God is only passing along information from some other source. Our rebellion in sinning would then be far less of a personal affront to God. It would finally be directed not against our creator, but only against an ideal—which, whatever its provenance and however important it may be, can never be more than an abstraction. Finally, if the principles that define right and wrong can be shown to issue from God, there may be an additional bonus: perhaps we will get help in dealing with the thorny problems that have plagued moral epistemology throughout the modern era.

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4. Queernaturecultures

Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands Indiana University Press ePub

DAVID BELL

In this chapter, I want to think about what Jeffrey Weeks (1991, 86) calls “the nature of our sexual natures” by considering three particular articulations of the nature of sex and the sex of nature: eco-porn, queer animals, and naturism. In so doing, my aim is to use these lenses to think through the broader articulations of sex and nature, or “nature loving,” that the chosen examples simultaneously reaffirm and unsettle, drawing on Donna Haraway’s (2003) discussion of “naturecultures”—of the impossibility of uncoupling “nature” from “culture,” and of the need to find new ways to think about and talk about the multiple and heterogeneous associations and “queer confederacies” that are produced here through attempts to lay claim on nature as an uncontestable realm of sexual truth.

In so doing, my aim is to make a modest contribution to the interdisciplinary endeavor that as yet bears no coherent name, but that is captured in this book’s title, and others such as Giffney and Hird’s (2008) Queering the Non/Human. This work marks an important intervention in queer theory, science studies, environmentalism, philosophy, and ethics and, as Giffney and Hird note, brings together the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Now, this is going to always be an uneasy coming-together, since the intellectual heritages of these different sites of knowledge production have shown increasing differentiation from each other. I should know: I work in a school of geography, where my natural science colleagues would largely scoff at the notion of queer ecologies while working hard on projects concerned with ecological science. It frequently seems to me that the traffic between these disciplines could be a lot more vigorous, and I hope that this chapter, like others in the book, is suggestive of the productive potential for thinking a subject like nature in as many different ways as possible. In what follows, I will discuss my three chosen sites for such nature-talk, and then stitch together some common threads in a discussion.

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Introduction

Espen Dahl Indiana University Press ePub

 

 

 

“Why are the most unlikely people, including myself, suddenly talking about God?” Terry Eagleton asks, referring to the return of religion among intellectuals, in affirmation as well as criticism of it.1 Stanley Cavell also has quite a bit to say about God, as attested by the very existence of this book. But since religion is notably not one of the topics on which Cavell’s fame as a thinker rests, it seems reasonable to count Cavell among the “unlikely people” Eagleton has in mind. Nonetheless, such a characteristic would be misleading. Cavell has not “suddenly” or recently started “talking about God”; beginning with his very first publication, religious themes have continued to find their way into his thinking and writing. Admittedly, Cavell often merely alludes to such themes rather than treats them explicitly; scattered observations and comments are frequently composed as parenthetical remarks or offered as examples en passant, “as if,” one of Cavell’s finest commentators puts it, “being overlooked was the condition to which they aspired.”2

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10. Heidegger and Kierkegaard on Death: The Existentiell and the Existential

Indiana University Press ePub

10.

The jury is still out on the nature and extent of Kierkegaard’s influence on the early Heidegger, including his magnum opus Being and Time (1927) as well as his lectures and writings prior to that work. In the “Foreword” to the 1972 edition of his “Early Writings” in German, Heidegger speaks of those “exciting years between 1910 and 1914” when, together with the work of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, he read translations of the writings of Kierkegaard.1 However, it is not evident how much of Kierkegaard seeped into Heidegger’s thought or precisely which texts influenced his own. Theodore Kisiel suggests that “there is no archival evidence to indicate that Heidegger really studied [central works of Kierkegaard’s] before he wrote [Being and Time].”2 We do know that by the 1920s he had developed an aversion to what he called “Kierkegaardism,” but it is also clear that his antipathy is directed not so much against Kierkegaard as against “the modishness of ‘Kierkegaardism’” then current among students.3 So there is every reason to suppose that Heidegger greatly admired and learned from Kierkegaard while trying to avoid sinking into “Kierkegaardism.”

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2. The Natural Contract and the Archimedean Worldview

Dorothea E. Olkowski Indiana University Press ePub

In The Natural Contract, Michel Serres makes a case for the juridical nature of knowledge in the natural sciences. “The sciences proceed by contracts. Scientific certainty and truth depend, in fact, as much on such judgments as such judgments do on them.”1 How does this occur? The claim is that science engages in a dialectics or dialogue that results in a contract between scientists and the world of things, a synthesis of human verdicts and the realm of objects.2 This arises, according to Serres, from a fundamental situation in which two subjects find themselves in violent contradiction with one another yet bound by a legal contract that affirms that their war is a legal state in the theater of war that defines nature. The social contract guarantees that the combatants share a common language, that of the contract, and oppose a common enemy, which is anything, any noise, that would jam or shut down their voices.3 Through the centuries, the violence of the combatants escalates, as the means for destroying one another becomes technologically more sophisticated and more devastating. But each time the combatants contradict one another, their confrontation results in a new synthesis, an objective state of violence.

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6 A Homeric Inheritance

Shane Montgomery Ewegen Indiana University Press ePub

In the foregoing chapter we saw that the technological view of language—that view initially held by Hermogenes and traced back, by Socrates, to the sophist Protagoras—has shown itself to be nothing other than the tragic view of language. It could not be more appropriate, then, that Socrates now turns to the tragic poet Homer.1 In his treatment of Homer, Socrates will offer a series of etymologies involving the most famous tragic family of Ancient Greece, the House of Atreus. Through the development of these etymologies, and the etymologies of certain gods’ names, Socrates will further show the disruption of inheritance that was previously foreshadowed. What will be seen above all is the manner in which the Homeric clue to the correctness of names calls the very possibility of inheritance into question, thereby further disrupting the natural relationship between names and beings, as well as between the human and the divine.

Proceeding with the inquiry, Socrates reiterates that he does not himself say that there is a correctness of names, but is happy to investigate (σκεψοίμην) along with Hermogenes (391a). He then summarizes the findings of the inquiry so far, stating that “names hold [ἔχον] a certain correctness by nature [φύσει], and not everyone knows how to set [θέσθαι] the names beautifully” (391a; my translation). Socrates then says that their present task is to attempt to discover what sort (ἥτις) of correctness belongs to names, if Hermogenes desires (ἐπιθυμες) to know about it (391b), to which Hermogenes replies decisively, “of course I desire [ἐπιθυμ] to know” (391b; my translation). In indicating that he desires to be moved upward toward the knowledge of the correctness of names, Hermogenes exhibits his erotic comportment toward the matter at hand, thereby displaying a certain kinship with the erotic and vertically oriented Hermes. Whether and to what extent Hermogenes will continue to demonstrate such kinship, thereby proving himself to indeed be the son of Hermes (and thus proving himself to be correctly named), remains to be seen.

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16. Promptuarium of Analytical Geometry

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF

16

Promptuarium of Analytical

Geometry c. 1890

Houghton Library

Let P1 and P2 be any two points.

P1

P2

Now consider this expression l P1 ϩ (1 Ϫ l ) P2 where l is a number. P1 and P2 are not numbers, and therefore the binomial cannot be understood exactly as in ordinary algebra; but we are to seek some meaning for it which shall be somewhat analogous to that of algebra. If l ϭ 0, it becomes

0 P1 ϩ 1 P 2 and this we may take as equal to P2, making 0 P1 ϭ 0 and 1 P2 ϭ P2.

Then if l ϭ 1, the expression will become equal to P1. When l has any other value, we may assume that the expression denotes some other point, and as l varies continuously we may assume that this point moves continuously. As l passes through the whole series of real values, the point will describe a line; and the simplest assumption to make is that this line is straight. That we will assume; but at present we make no further assumption as to the position of the point on the line when l has values other than 0 and 1. We may write l P1 ϩ (1 Ϫ l ) P2 ϭ P3.

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2 The Event of Truth

Donatella Di Cesare Indiana University Press ePub

 

 

 

2 The Event of Truth

What the tool of method does not achieve must—and really can—be achieved by a discipline of questioning and inquiring, a discipline that guarantees truth. (TM 491/GW1 494)

 

1. Against Method?

What does Truth and Method mean? The significance of the conjunction “and” has almost turned this title into an enigma. If “method” has a negative value in the title, then the “and” does not connect, but rather represents an alternative. The title could be revised accordingly as Truth or Method.1 In an even more radical version, one could think of the formulation: Truth against Method.2 If “method” is taken as a model and metaphor for the natural sciences, then truth occurs outside method. Thus it is possible to speak of “extramethodical” experiences of truth.

Yet it is necessary to address a misinterpretation. Certainly Gadamer no longer understands hermeneutics in a traditional sense as a doctrine of interpretation, and thus he aims to free it from the burden of methodology. But he does not want to put method as such into question altogether. The title implicitly contains a tension between “method” and “truth.” When he considers this tension later in greater detail, Gadamer admits that he had sharpened it in a polemical sense (RHT 317/GW2 238). This was indispensable to show the limits of science to an age in which the faith in science borders on superstition. In the “Afterword to the Third Edition” of Truth and Method, Gadamer writes: “Ultimately, as Descartes himself realized, it belongs to the special structure of straightening something crooked that it needs to be bent in the opposite direction. But what was crooked in this case was not so much the methodology of the sciences as their reflexive self-consciousness” (TM 555/GW2 453). If philosophical hermeneutics highlights the tension between truth and method, its aim is not to enter into conflict with science and its method, but to offer an occasion for critical reflection on the truth implied by science. The “and” in the title points to this critical reflection. Hence the epistemological relevance of hermeneutics, according to Gadamer, should be seen as an attempt “to mediate between philosophy and the sciences” (TM 552/GW2 450).3 The polemical tension in the title should be read neither as an antithesis nor as a hiatus: “It was, of course, a flat misunderstanding when people accused the expression ‘truth and method’ of failing to recognize the methodical rigor of modern science” (TM 551/GW2 449). It is not that hermeneutics disallows or dismisses method. It would be absurd not to recognize the need for a method when, for example, a mathematical problem is being solved, a skyscraper is being built or a vaccination against a disease must be found. Yet hermeneutics does not allow the imposition of a method—because of its fascinating and enormous results—in a mechanical way everywhere. A method presupposes that the object can be definable and the subject can define it objectively with a scientific demonstration; it proceeds from an instrumental conception of knowledge in which the subject is confident that it can dispose of the object. But if the method is adequate for scientific projects it cannot be for all others; on the contrary, it may bring a reduction or even a distortion of the experience of truth.

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6 Meanings and Translations

John Llewelyn Indiana University Press ePub

In Speech and Phenomena one reads that “Bedeutung is reserved [by Husserl] for the content in the ideal sense of verbal expression, spoken language. . . .”1 This may not mean, as it is taken to mean by J. Claude Evans in Strategies, that “Bedeutung is used to characterize speech” by Husserl as opposed to characterizing something else.2 What it says is that “Bedeutung” is used to characterize the content in the ideal sense of verbal expression, whereas “Sinn” is not limited to that.

Further, the statement in Speech and Phenomena that “for Husserl, the expressiveness of expression—which always supposes the ideality of a Bedeutung—has an irreducible tie to the possibility of spoken language (Rede)”3 is compatible with the statement in Strategies that Husserl does not “reserve the power of expression . . . for spoken language.” Assuming that the phrase “for Husserl” in the sentence from Speech and Phenomena signals that Derrida is here stating Husserl’s express intentions and not what Husserl is committed to perhaps against his will, the expressiveness of expression could have an irreducible tie to the possibility of spoken language without the power of expression being reserved for spoken language. The expressiveness of written expression could have for Husserl an irreducible tie to the possibility of spoken language.

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6. The Quest for Clarity

Marius Timmann Mjaaland Indiana University Press ePub

One of Luther’s most portentous debates was his controversy with Pope Leo X. After the Ninety-five Theses and subsequent articles had been condemned by the pope in Exurge Domine, Luther wrote an apology in the form of forty-one theses with extended explanations in the pamphlet called Assertio (1520). It was published only a few weeks before Luther was finally excluded from the Roman Catholic Church on January 3, 1521. It is written by a man who is already more outside than inside the community of the holy and the orthodox. Thus almost excommunicated he communicates back in, to those who represent the authority of the tradition and the cornerstone of the church.

This polemical situation forced Luther to elaborate on his theory of scripture, with emphasis on its theological authority. I venture a double reading of Luther, as a non-dogmatic repetition of his text: On the one hand, I discuss Luther’s approach to scripture, and thus introduce some theological theories of hermeneutics (such as by Ebeling, Jüngel, Beisser), which argue that we should continue reading and interpreting the biblical texts by following Luther’s procedure for the interpretation of scripture: sola scriptura. On the other hand, I question three of the basic premises of their hermeneutical theory: the univocal authority of the text (the single reading), their emphasis on the true sense of the text (and consequently the rejection of non-sense), and the dialectical exclusion of hiddenness, including the most problematic topos of the text. All three methodological presuppositions correspond to the philosophical hermeneutics of Gadamer, and may thus be considered ontological presuppositions within the hermeneutical paradigm of dialectical understanding. Rather than presenting an alternative theory here, I will discuss alternative readings of Luther, since I think that there are certain traits of his theology that resist the kind of hermeneutic synthesis that has dominated the (traditional as well as liberal) polemics on Luther, and on Protestant theology, in the twentieth century. Hence, I focus on a few simple strategies of his textual theory and analyze them as examples of scripture with lower-case letters, that is, according to a more generic theory of scripture as writing. This is explicitly an invitation to further controversy on the issue.

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1. God, Perhaps: The Fear of One Small Word

John D. Caputo Indiana University Press ePub

 

“Peut-être—il faut toujours dire peut-être pour…” 1

“See, I am sending you out like sheep
into the midst of wolves;
so be as wise as serpents
and innocent as doves.

                           —MATTHEW 10:16

I dream of learning how to say “perhaps.” I have the same dream, night after night, of a tolle, lege experience, in which I open a book—I cannot make out the title—always to the same sentence, “Peut-être—il faut toujours dire Peut-être pour…” In the morning I cannot remember the rest of the sentence.

I am dreaming of a new species of theologians, of theologians to come, theologians of the “perhaps,” a new society of friends of a dangerous “perhaps.” I would like to think we are, perhaps, already a little like these theologians we see coming and that they will be a little like us.2 But, of course, since we cannot see them coming and do not know what they will be like, we can only call, “come.”

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4. Nature

Figal, Günter Indiana University Press ePub

When Kant states that art is only beautiful insofar as it appears at the same time to be like nature, he is referring to the irregularity of the beautiful formation. To be sure, a “product of art” must be made according to rules of its craft, such that it can attain “all exactitude in the accordance with rules”; a composer should have mastered composition, a painter should know how to mix colors, a poet who wishes to write a sonnet must know its form. But “exactitude” means that precision in regularity must be “without strain,” that is, as Kant says, without “the taught form showing through”; the “product” must not show any “trace” that “the rule hovered before the artist’s eyes and constrained the faculties of his mind.”1 An artwork must appear to be spontaneous; even though it is made, everything about it must exist as if by its own impetus. In this way, it is like nature.

This notion should be intelligible, both with respect to art and with respect to nature. A work is only an artwork if it is ordered in a decentered way, not reducible to a “rule.” It appears in its decentered order, and its appearance as such is never created or effected, but at most only occasioned. That which appears shows itself. It is not pointed to, not even in the sense of setting-in-place; it is not reducible to its being produced. It shows itself as that which it is—as image, poem, or piece of music, by standing in view or being heard. The imagistic aspect of an artwork, as well as its text and its rhythmic play, are set into the work. But the work stands forth on its own; it shows itself. Precisely this “on its own,” the spontaneous, is what is named with the term “nature.” Natura, from nasci, “being born,” has the fundamental meaning of “birth.” φύσις comes from φύειν, “to grow,” such that it designates “growth.” But even when an artwork appears as if it has been grown, it has not. Yet it shows itself in the way that something grown shows itself. In its spontaneous self-showing that is not compelled by anything, it is like nature without being nature.

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1. Read's Theory of Logic

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF

Read's Theory of Logic, 1879

1

Read's Theory of Logic1

P 148: Nation 28 (3 April 1879): 234-35

This work is the fruit of a travelling scholarship. But in all his travels the author seems never to have come across any modern logic, except in English. Three views, he observes, have been taken of logic; which, if limited to England, is true. Some writers consider it as a study of the operations of the understanding, thus bringing it into close relations with psychology. Others regard it as an analysis of the conditions which must be conformed to in the transformations of verbal expressions in order to avoid the introduction of falsehood.

While others again—our author among them—think the propositions of logic are facts concerning the things reasoned about.

There is certainly this to be said in favor of the last opinion, namely, that the question of the validity of any kind of reasoning is the question how frequently a conclusion of a certain sort will be true when premises of a certain sort are true; and this is a question of fact, of how things are, not of how we think. But, granted that the principles of logic are facts, how do they differ from other facts? For facts, in this view, should separate themselves into two classes, those of which logic itself takes cognizance and those which, if needed, have to be set up in the premises. It is just as if we were to insist that the principles of law were facts; in that case we should have to distinguish between the facts which the court would lay down and those which must be brought out in the testimony. What, then, are the facts which logic permits us to dispense with stating in our premises? Clearly those which may always be taken for granted: namely, those which we cannot consistently doubt, if reasoning is to go on at all; for example, all that is implied in the existence of doubt and of belief, and of the passage from one to the other, of truth and of falsehood,

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The Existence of the World as a Logical Problem (1915) (on Bertrand Russell)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

Of the two parts of this paper the first is a study in formal analysis. It attempts to show that there is no problem, logically speaking, of the existence of an external world. Its point is to show that the very attempt to state the problem involves a self-contradiction: that the terms cannot be stated so as to generate a problem without assuming what is professedly brought into question. The second part is a summary endeavor to state the actual question which has given rise to the unreal problem and the conditions which have led to its being misconstrued. So far as subject-matter is concerned, it supplements the first part; but the argument of the first part in no way depends upon anything said in the second. The latter may be false and its falsity have no implications for the first.

I

There are many ways of stating the problem of the existence of an external world. I shall make that of Mr. Bertrand Russell the basis of my examinations, as it is set forth in his recent book Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy. I do this both because his statement is one recently made in a book of commanding importance, and because it seems to me to be a more careful statement than most of those in vogue. If my point can be made out for his statement, it will apply, a fortiori, to other statements. Even if there be those to whom this does not seem to be the case, it will be admitted that my analysis must begin somewhere. I cannot take the space to repeat the analysis in application to differing modes of statement with a view to showing that the method employed will yield like results in all cases. But I take the liberty of throwing the burden upon the reader and asking him to show cause why it does not so apply.

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