1494 Chapters
Medium 9780253018168

4. The Quest for Immorality

Marius Timmann Mjaaland Indiana University Press ePub

Right from the beginning, there was a remarkable moral tenor in Luther’s criticism of the church authorities.1 From 1517 onward he criticized the church for operating with double standards and undermining the prayers of penitence.2 He accused the responsible authorities of organizing the confession of sins economically through the production and sale of indulgences. Hence, the moral emphasis of his criticism is striking when he attacks the praxis of exploiting poor people and their fear of Hell to the benefit of the church, the pope, and the clergy. His attacks on immorality within the church have contributed considerably to the popularity of the movement he initiated. Luther not only addresses the dubious motive of earning money from people’s misfortune and religious fears, though. The more substantial argument is concerned with the economic logic that invades theology, thus consuming and taking over the most basic theological concepts, including the concept of God.3 Within such a system of calculable exchange, Luther saw virtually no space left for the unconditional gift.

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Medium 9780253010001

1: Desire and Phenomenon

Ó Murchadha, Felix Indiana University Press ePub

ONLY WHERE THERE is desire for the phenomenon is existence a question. ‘Existence’ is the rupture of essence, where the nature of a being is a subsequent narration of its prior vocation and mission. Existence ruptures essence where phenomena seduce. Existence is vocational, is being led forth and led out by the call of the phenomenon. Existence is desire. Existence is not needy; an existent does not preserve itself but sacrifices itself through the vulnerability of its being in the face of the radiance of phenomena. Existence is being toward an other. No being fully exists, no being can fully be toward, can fully be as being called by the phenomenon. But, conversely, to be is to exist, to be at all is to be vulnerable toward the seductive power of phenomena.

Existence is threatened by degradation and tempted by dissolution. In its material being it is bound by endless drives to satiation which threaten to anaesthetize it in a limbo of self-forgetfulness; its spiritual being is tempted toward a Gnostic escape in angelic peacefulness. In both trajectories existence loses itself.1 In its being-called, existence finds itself in worldly movement; the hierarchical structure of worldly being, however, depresses it. The worldly hierarchy is an order of attachments, which depresses existence by binding it in its needful valuations to possession.2 Desire for the phenomenon discloses a place in the world beyond the hierarchies of the world: a being in the world, but not of the world. It is a place of mission, where the affirmation of self is subject to the acceptance of a sending (missere).

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Medium 9780253211859

The Moral Self from Ethics (1932)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

The self has occupied a central place in the previous discussions, in which important aspects of the good self have been brought out. The self should be wise or prudent, looking to an inclusive satisfaction and hence subordinating the satisfaction of an immediately urgent single appetite; it should be faithful in acknowledgment of the claims involved in its relations with others; it should be solicitous, thoughtful, in the award of praise and blame, use of approbation and disapprobation, and, finally, should be conscientious and have the active will to discover new values and to revise former notions. We have not, however, examined just what is the significance of the self. The important position of the self in morals, and also various controversies of moral theory which have gathered about it, make such an examination advisable. A brief reference to the opposed theories will help to indicate the points which need special attention.

A most profound line of cleavage has appeared in topics already discussed. Some theories hold that the self, apart from what it does, is the supreme and exclusive moral end. This view is contained in Kant’s assertion that the Good Will, aside from consequences of acts performed, is the only Moral Good. A similar idea is implicit whenever moral goodness is identified in an exclusive way with virtue, so that the final aim of a good person is, when summed up briefly, to maintain his own virtue. When the self is assumed to be the end in an exclusive way, then conduct, acts, consequences, are all treated as mere means, as external instruments for maintaining the good self. The opposed point of view is found in the hedonism of the earlier utilitarians when they assert that a certain kind of consequences, pleasure, is the only good end and that the self and its qualities are mere means for producing these consequences.

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Valuation and Experimental Knowledge (1922)

LARRY A HICKMAN Indiana University Press ePub

Plato long ago called notice to the disadvantage of written discussion as compared with oral. The printed page does not respond to questions addressed it. It will not share in conversation. But there is a disadvantage for the writer as well as for the reader. He is never quite free in discussing the same topic again; he is committed and hence compromised. Even if he can escape the vanity of consistency, it may not be altogether easy to reapproach the subject-matter wholly on its own account. What is written may have called out comments and criticisms which need a reply; thus indirectly one gets called away from the subject to discussion of what one has previously thought and said about it.

These remarks are preliminary to a consideration of the relation of value to judgment, or the problem of knowing values. In the embarrassment of prior committal1 and of various comments and criticisms, mostly unfavorable, I shall do what I can to stick to the subject on its own merits, inevitably repeating some things which I have said before, while modifying and expanding the discussion so as to give heed to the main contentions of my critics. The consistency of what is said here with what was said in the earlier discussion, I shall for the most part leave to the reader to pass upon, in case he takes an interest in that not very interesting topic.

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Medium 9781934989128

Can Politics Ever Be Spiritualized?

J Krishnamurti Krishnamurti Foundation America ePub

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