Saturday, June 18, 2011 Reflections on Ralph McInerny

Which reminds me, I should contact St. Augustine Press.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Was looking at the program for this year's New Wine, New Wineskins Conference and this caught my eye: Michael J. Martocchio, “The Ethics of Sustainability”

I assume this is he, listed as a member of the adjunct faculty at Duquesne.

Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church
Richard Heinberg, Five Axioms of Sustainability
Kirkpatrick Sale, The Four Pillars of Sustainability
Thriving Beyond Sustainability: Pathways to a Resilient Society by Andrés R. Edwards

Idealism, subjectivity, and Divine Revelation

Kyle R. Cupp: Patriarchy, Theology and Doctrine, More on Power, Patriarchy and Truth, and Am I a Dissenter?

In combating controversy, the Church has refrained from declaring certain philosophical systems or statements or positions as erroneous, except when they manifestly contradict her teachings. Is there a new form of Modernism afoot, which is an attack not on supernatural knowledge directly, but indirectly through questioning of natural human knowledge (and communication, which is dependent upon language). How can a false understanding of human knowledge not lead to some form of neo-Modernism? The Church may need to declare certain propositions concerning human knowledge to be errors in order to safeguard Revelation, the authority of the Church, and Apostolic Succession, if such errors ever gain prominence, instead of being the speculation of academics lacking a solid preparation in philosophy. If the object of the intellect is not the thing but an idea or concept, then how is the idea connected to the thing? How can one possibly know that the idea represents reality?

Epistemology, knowledge, truth: what is the relationship between what one believes about human knowledge and Divine revelation here? Communication or teaching is meditated through human language, which is grounded upon human knowledge. But language is also grounded upon custom; hence part of education lies in untangling the two. Belief or faith doesn't require that the proposition is evident for one to assent to it; in fact, belief or faith is only possible when the proposition is not evident. Nonetheless, that the mind can have opinions is an indication that the mind transcends the material (and sensation)? So how does the modern distinguish between nous, episteme and doxa?

Not all are careful enough to define their terms in their arguments, and so "interpretation" comes into play, especially if there is no acceptable tradition providing definitions for those terms. But with respect to human knowledge (philosophy or science), one does not learn from words alone, but by checking those propositions against reality and what one already knows.

Regardig "realism" -- Aristotelian-Thomism is sometimes said to be "moderate" realism, while Platonism is "radical" or "extreme" realism. Plato does not deny that we have true knowledge, but the things that are the object of our knowledge are the Forms, not the material world. But the realism to which I refer is not with regards to universals, but to our knowledge; the contrast between realism and idealism. Can there be such a melding of realism and idealism so that it is still realism, a la "phenomenological realism"? If we have knowledge of ideas and things, then what makes the connection, and how do we know that such relation is true?

Are some mistaking the way we transition from confusion to knowledge through refining of definitions for something else? Our understanding of things can grow, but our starting point must be the thing, and not an idea of that thing. A "philosophy of hermeneutics" might be plausible if one was dealing with just opinions, and not reality. No wonder scientists scorn philosophers.

SEP: hermeneutics, phenomenology, epistemology

Enrico Maria Radaelli on Vatican 2

Sandro Magister, A "Disappointed Great" Breaks His Silence. With an Appeal to the Pope

(via Rorate Caeli)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fr. Augustine Thompson: Current Status of the Dominican Rite: A Summary
Questions and Answers on the Dominican Rite

Dr. John Cuddeback on Friendship

True Friends
The How-Tos and Joys of Christian Friendship
by Joseph Pronechen

There is a FB page for Dr. Cuddeback's book, True Friendship.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Public Discourse: The Family: What Is to Be Done?
by Scott Yenor
June 15, 2011
Marital love implies dependence on another instead of autonomy, and it shows that certain goods (sex and procreation, love and marriage, marriage and parenthood) are connected. We must recover the language of self-giving. The second in a two-part series.

I still have to finish that post on love as self-giving. The first part of Mr. Yenor's essay. From the second part:

Unable to find the permanence we need in anatomy, it is necessary to turn to moral philosophy to show how nature, as it manifests itself in marriage and family life, is connected to the permanent human good of betrothed love. For this, we must recover the logic of marital unity and put the necessities that are implicated in marriage and family life in their proper place. This is the logic of marital unity. When marriage concerns serious ends, it makes demands on the time and resources of the couple; the more serious the ends, the more serious the demands. The more time- and resource-intensive the demands, the more members of the family are likely to practice some form of the division of labor to meet those demands. Married couples strive for ends, in other words, that exist in time and space or in life—so they implicate “necessities” within a larger context of meaning.

The necessities of nature gain their dignity by their relation to the ends of marriage. While it is easy for feminists, for instance, to depict the mundane tasks of motherhood and housekeeping as Sisyphean tasks, such necessitous household activities contribute to the building of a home, which is, at least in part, a home of love. In the context of love, the household management of a mother takes on greater dignity and receives higher meaning. Dusting or washing are acts of self-giving that contribute to an environment of nurturing that can best take place in the intense order of family life. There are certainly contractual appearances to this relationship—the husband and wife say “I do” and they agree on how to divide household labors. The contractual appearance, however, is only a moment in the experience of marriage and family life. Marriage may, as Hegel, that oracle of clarity, tells us, “begin from the point of view of contract,” but it does so “in order to supersede it.” This supersession is love, and love is a permanent human good that defines the order of the family.

As we hear so often today, love makes the family. What is love? Most refrain from raising this more significant question, for fear that such a question would give rise to endless controversy or hopeless subjectivity. Here, again, I would suggest that nature or anatomy must be understood in the light of love, the permanent attribute that lends meaning to the natural. Nature points up, toward the love that defines marriage and family life. We see this in sex, which reflects a human search for completion by joining with another, and which cannot be consummated without another. Though sex does not really satisfy that desire for another and sexual desire is soon extinguished when satisfied, this does not mean that one is alone. Sex happens on the level of the passions and the body, but points to something higher than itself. Genuine love integrates and subordinates the moment of sex within this larger unified framework. A relationship based on sex is not a proper marital relationship—though sex is part of a marital relationship—because it does not put sex in its proper place.

Betrothed love also grows from two becoming one in the procreation of children. A couple practices a form of self-giving in their life together, providing a fertile ground for the self-giving of parenthood. Parenthood is a picture of marital unity. A couple’s unified love is literally present in the person of the child, which explains why parents so often love their children more than their children love them: children are living embodiments of marital unity. Married couples are more than parents, yet parenthood points to the betrothed love that makes parents, in part, more than parents.

Modern thinkers, with partial exceptions, initiated a revolution in marriage at the level of betrothed love. They questioned whether self-giving was healthy, possible, safe, or consistent with human liberty and equality. Love implies dependence on another instead of autonomy, and it shows that certain goods (sex and procreation, love and marriage, marriage and parenthood) are connected. When the self-giving of betrothed love is no longer the end of marriage, the preparation ground for parenthood erodes; divorce seems more tenable as partners hold something back; more individualistic principles fill in to justify or define marriage; and sex and procreation, no longer pointing beyond themselves toward a higher good, come to be seen as individual goods or burdens instead of as common goods.
Buzzwords in contemporary [Catholic] moral philosophy (personalism?): "dignity" and "meaning."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Robert George, A visit to Italy to discuss civic values
I have just returned from Italy, where I gave the graduation adddress for the Master of Civic Education program at the Ethica Institute in the charming city of Asti. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage some of Italy's most gifted and promising young intellectuals. Ethica is performing a great service to the Italian nation by promoting the rigorous and appreciative study of civic values that must be in place if a regime of republican liberty is to be sustained. Scholars representing a spectrum of political viewpoints are assisting in the project. Students at Ethica have the great advantage of hearing the best arguments that can be made on different sides of questions that are at the center of Italian politics today. It is often lamented by public spirited Italians that civic discourse in their nation has degenerated into the rankest forms of partisanship. They say that political discussions frequently amount to exchanges of insults and other forms of verbal abuse. Ethica is doing something to change that. Its efforts deserve praise and support.

What would believers in consolidationism have to say about civic values and republicanism? Would Robert George or mainstream Italians be willing to repudiate that project? When the scale of a polity is too great, how can political discourse not degenerate as mass man, who has been unshackled from tradition and the bounds of community, is incorporated into it?

Ethica forum di riflesione sui temi dell'etica e della morale
Maurizio Viroli
CUA Press: The Ultimate Why Question
Why Is There Anything at All Rather than Nothing Whatsoever?
Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy, Vol. 54

John P. Wippel , editor

Monday, June 13, 2011

Zenit:  Benedict XVI's Pentecost Homily
"God Is Reason, God Is Will, God Is Love, God Is Beauty" 

On the Church's Baptism Day
"The Breath of the Holy Spirit Fills the Universe"

Pope Benedict XVI conducts the holy mass of Pentecost Sunday in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 12, 2011. (Reuters/Daylife)
Op-StJoseph: You are a Priest forever"
Ordinations to the Priesthood

"You are a Priest forever" from Province of Saint Joseph on Vimeo.

CUA: CUA President Appoints John McCarthy Dean of Philosophy School