No one doubts that for Kierkegaard's definition of Christian faith one should look to the "Concluding Unscientific Postscript." The contention of this paper is that within the Postscript, most have looked in the wrong place. The well-known definition that is usually cited is actually a definition of Socratic or religious faith, and the definition of specifically Christian faith, given a few pages later, represents an existential intensification, which moves from an 'objective uncertainty' to an 'objective absurdity'. This latter definition is, (...) literally and philosophically, the pivot on which the whole work turns. (shrink)
For courses in the Philosophy of Religion, taught in either Philosophy or Religious Studies departments. This book provides a concise introduction to the main ideas and issues in philosophical theology. While covering a wide range of classic and contemporary perspectives, the text stresses a historical approach, focussing primarily on the development of philosophical theology in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
The book consists of readings on the central issue in philosophical theology: the existence of God. It may be used alone as a main book or as a complement to works on related issues. It presents the most influential classical and contemporary statements on problems pertaining to a belief in God, including arguments for the existence of God, the nature of faith and reason, the problem of evil, and meaning of religious languages; readings are presented chronologically, allowing for an emphasis (...) on historical continuities and connections. (shrink)
Athens or Jerusalem? By Tertullian.--Philosophy the handmaid of theology, by Clement of Alexandria.--Faith in search of understanding, by St. Augustine.--Revelation and analogy, by St. Thomas Aquinas.--The mystic way, by M. Eckhart.--The darkened intellect, by J. Calvin.--The reasons of the heart, by B. Pascal.--Faith, reason, and enthusiasm, by J. Locke.--Miracles and the skeptic, by D. Hume.--The limits of reason, by I. Kant.--Truth and subjectivity, by S. Kierkegaard.--In justification of faith, by W. James.--Religion as poetry, by G. Santayana.--Faith and symbols, by P. (...) Tillich.--Three parables on falsification, by A. Flew, R. M. Hare, and B. Mitchell.--For further reading (p. 233-235). (shrink)
This volume, originally published in 1987, is a collection of seven previously published essays, here slightly modified. Six of these were previously published in various journals over the years 1971-1984 and one was presented at a Kierkegaard conference at St. Olaf college in 1985.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Notes and Discussions PARMENIDES THE PROPHET~ The latest word on Parmenides comes from a recent and exhaustive study by Leonardo Tar~n. 1 Among other illuminating and novel interpretations, Tarhn argues that Parmenides was not, after all, guilty of the confusion between the existential and copulative senses of "to be," that he did not identify thinking with Being, and that he had no conception of atemporal reality.~ In these and (...) other respects Tar~n's volume makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of Parmenides. One might judge, however, that Tars work is unusually insensitive to the religious element in Parmenides' poem, and in this respect his analysis seems to echo Reinhardt's unfortunate judgment which calls Parmenides "einen Denker, der keinen Wunsch kennt als Erkenntnis, keine Fessel ffihlt als Logik, den Gott und Geffihl gleichgiiltig lassen." s This inadequacy of TarAn's approach to Parmenides is evident in his treatment of the poem in general, and especially the prologue. The prologue to Parmenides' poem has always been a source of debate. After exploring and rejecting the allegorical interpretation of Sextus (the main source for the proem), Tar~n then systematically examines and rejects the modern interpretations which (among others) make it out to be a shamanistic rapture (Diels, Cornford), Orphic apocalypse (Burnet), religious revelation (Jaeger, Bowra), and mystical experience (Verdenius).4 TarAn judges that Parmenides did not intend his journey to be taken as a reality in any sense, largely on the grounds (1) that Parmenides speaks of his journey as a repeated experience. To take seriously the iterative expressions of the prologue (e.g. fr. 1, lines 1, 3, 8) is incompatible with interpretations which construe it to refer to a specific occasion.6 He supports the conclusion that the proem is nothing more than a literary device with the observations (2) that symbolic interpretations are incongruous with the fact that the goddess expounds her doctrine without symbols, and (3) that the appeal is to Logos, the rational, critical faculty; (4) that the goddess remains anonymous shows that she stands for no religious figure at all ("the 'revelation' is the truth discovered by Parmenides himself"); and (5) that Parmenides could hardly expect us to take seriously the reality of the goddess and other elements in the proem, the reality of which would be entirely incompatible with the thesis of the poem, viz. that reality is One and that all multiplicity and distinction is unreal. ~ z Parmenides: A Text with Translation, Commentary, and Critical Essays (Princeton, 1965). See my review of this work in The Classical Journal, LXII (1967),232ff. aParmenides und die Geschiehtc der griechischen Philosophic (Bonn, 1916),p. 256. 4TarGn,p. 17ft.Guthrie believes that Parmenides recognized an affinity between his search for truth, and his religious activity and mystical experience, and that he reflected this in his mystical-allegorical prologue (History of Greek Philosophy [Cambridge, 1965],II, 13). Guthrie was not, apparently, aware of Ta~n's work when he wrote his second volume; and on the matter of the prologue he favors the work of Mansfeld (Offenbarung des Parmenides und die menschlichc Welt [Assen, 1964],chap. IV), and Bowra ("The Proem of Parmenides," Classical Philology, XXXII ,97ff). Tar~n, p. 30. * P. 30f.  68 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY It is probably true that interpretations which find all sorts of religious elements in the proem (and the poem as a whole) go too far. On the other hand, Tar~n gives the impression that Parmenides was nothing more than a pedantic academician, and in this respect he tends to sin in the opposite direction. First, the possible religious significance of the prologue does not depend on its being taken to refer to a literal experience; but even if it did, it need not refer to a specific event; and even if that were so, it is a little forced to exclude a specific event in view of the iterative expressions which may be no more than a function of poetic style. As for his second charge, Tar~n seems unaware that the main part of the poem hardly lends itself to symbolic expression, and afortiori the prologue, with its symbolism, sets the religious mood for... (shrink)
This popular choice for introductory philosophy courses again offers primary source readings woven into a text that is organized by key questions in philosophy. The discussion of each question is presented in a logical and historical light, showing connections, roots and influences. The clarity of the presentation and the successful student pedagogical aids provide an accessible, guided introduction to philosophy for college students.