Ruchkin et al. make a strong claim about the neural substrates of active information. Some qualifications on that conclusion are: (1) Long-term memories and neural substrates activated for perception of information are not the same thing; (2) humans are capable of retaining novel information in working memory, which is not long-term memory; (3) the content of working memory, a dynamically bound representation, is a quantity above and beyond the long-term memories activated, or the activity in perceptual substrates.
The religiously inclined have always rejected materialism. The thesis of this study is that there may have been good reasons for them to do so until comparatively recent times but that the same reasons no longer exist. Our knowledge of matter has not only increased, it has also been altered so completely that there is no more justification for disapproving of materialism on religious grounds.
How does worship work? How exactly does liturgical formation shape us? What are the dynamics of such transformation? In the second of James K. A. Smith's three-volume theology of culture, the author expands and deepens the analysis of cultural liturgies and Christian worship he developed in his well-recieved Desiring the Kingdom. He helps us understand and appreciate the bodily basis of habit formation and how liturgical formation - both "secular" and Christian - affects our fundamental orientation to the world. (...) Worship "works" by leveraging our bodies to transform our imagination, and it does this through stories we understand on a register that is closer to body than mind. This has critical implications for how we think about Christian formation. (shrink)
This important contribution to the ground-breaking Radical Orthodoxy series revisits the works of Husserl, Heidegger, Augustine and Derrida to reconsider the challenge of speaking of God through predication, silence, confession and praise. James K. A. Smith argues for God's own refusal to avoid speaking as well as for our urgent need of words to make Him visible to us. This leads to a radical new "incarnational phenomenology" in which God's love endows imperfect signs with the means to indicate true (...) states of infinitude, and in which we may ultimately discover a new theology of the arts. (shrink)
The past several decades have seen a renaissance in Christian philosophy, led by the work of Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, William Alston, Eleonore Stump, and others. In the spirit of Plantinga s famous manifesto, Advice to Christian Philosophers, James K. A. Smith here offers not only advice to Pentecostal philosophers but also some Pentecostal advice to Christian philosophers. In this inaugural Pentecostal Manifestos volume Smith begins from the conviction that implicit in Pentecostal and charismatic spirituality is a tacit worldview (...) or social imaginary. Thinking in Tongues unpacks and articulates the key elements of this Pentecostal worldview and then explores their implications for philosophical reflection on ontology, epistemology, aesthetics, language, science, and philosophy of religion. In each case, Smith demonstrates how the implicit wisdom of Pentecostal spirituality makes unique contributions to current conversations in Christian philosophy. (shrink)
This article focuses on the response of Africanisation to Western theological education in Africa, which has for centuries become a theological problem for the African context. In this 21st century, Africanisation is at the centre of the African discourse and focuses on the realities of our African context. Therefore, theological education in Africa should be Africanised in order to seriously engage the aspects of Africanisation. The struggle against colonial education was to ensure that Africa is liberated from unjust educational oppression, (...) socio-economic oppression, poverty, racism, political oppression and gender injustice. In this regard, Africanisation is an agent to address the introduced Western theological education in Africa. Yet the two concepts, namely commercialisation and commodification, have an influence on theological education in Africa. (shrink)
Given the enchanted worldview of pentecost-alism, what possibility is there for a uniquely pentecostal intervention in the science-theology dialogue? By asserting the centrality of the miraculous and the fantastic, and being fundamentally committed to a universe open to surprise, does not pentecostalism forfeit admission to the conversation? I argue for a distinctly pentecostal contribution to the dialogue that is critical of regnant naturalistic paradigms but also of a naive supernaturalism. I argue that implicit in the pentecostal social imaginary is a (...) distinct conception of nature that is amenable to science but in conflict with naturalism. (shrink)
The problem in the philosophy of science which interests me beyond all others is that of constructing an abstract deductive system isomorphic with the theory of the natural sciences. Clearly, this task must be the work of many years and many minds. Some portions of it have already been accomplished; but a great deal remains to be done, and the difficulties of the problems yet unsolved impress me as formidable. I believe, however, that it would be hard to overestimate the (...) benefits which might follow from the construction of such an abstract theory, always provided that that theory met certain conditions. Not only must the system in question measure up to the standards of rigor and precision set by the logicians, but it must also be cast in such form that a working scientist could learn to understand at least that part of it applicable to his own specialty without being forced to drop his professional work and devote the labor of years to mastering the subject. (shrink)
Philosophers of science have largely taken little interest in developments in contemporary medicine. There is a familiar, if largely unspoken and undefended, picture of medical research that seems to put it at the periphery of science proper. On this view, medicine is akin to other applied disciplines whose primary aim is to solve particular problems. Scientific research would then be important to medicine only in so far as it sets one kind of constraint on the problem solving process. A second (...) kind of constraint would be set by considerations of value, because the choice, ultimately, is of a course of action, a means to achieving a particular goal. Both the goals that are sought, and the means selected for getting there, are open to evaluation. This normative constraint is, then, added as a kind of second filter, operating on the already given scientific understanding of the parts and processes involved. This view of the relationship between medicine and biology emphasizes a strong discontinuity in explanatory style with the introduction of this separate normative frame. ;A second view might be called an assimilationist view. This view suggests that medical explanations are simply a kind of biological explanation, suggesting that both are value-neutral and that it is a mistake to see a normative frame playing any role in medical explanations. I argue against both of these positions, and defend an account of the relationship between biological explanations and medical explanations that emphasizes their continuity. ;I argue that both medicine and biology rely on a similar understanding of the nature of living creatures. A proper understanding of this underlying picture reveals that medical and biological explanations are extensions of an essentially similar explanatory style. Further, in order for both kinds of explanations to be genuinely explanatory, they require reference to broader contexts that are often unavoidably value-laden. (shrink)
Our tendency is not to read Romantic poetry as alluding to the texts it reminds us of. We think of the Augustans as the author of what Reuben Brower calls "the poetry of allusion."5 We envision Romantic poets carrying on their work in reaction to these Augustans and in mysterious awe, whether fearful or admiring, of most other poets—sometimes even of each other. No self-respecting Romantic, it is usually assumed, will deliberately send his reader elsewhere for a meaning to complement (...) the effect of his own words. If a reader's mind wanders to an earlier poem, that is not the Romantic poet's fault but a matter of accident or perhaps of cruel destiny. The Romantic wants to keep the poem an intimate affair—just the two of us—and does what he can to keep his reader's attention on himself.[…]What follows is an effort to test the applicability of Wasserman's Augustan hypothesis to the poetic mode of high Romanticism. This effort should not be taken to imply either that the Romantics simply continue in the allusive mode of the Augustans or that the assumptions that lead Bloom and others to read Romantic poetry as they do are utterly mistaken. I will in fact be arguing quite otherwise. Nor must there be any confusion about Wasserman's conception of the Augustan mode. Some of the language of his summary, for example where he speaks of "the rich interplay between the author's text and the full contexts it allusively arouses," might lead one to liken his work to the criticism now associated with the notion of "intertextuality." For the practitioners of this criticism, as Jonathan Culler explains, "to read is to place a work in a discursive space, relating it to other texts and to other codes of that space, and writing is a similar activity."8 Writing and reading a poem are in this account both acts of "intertextual location," if you will, but the reader of the poem need not concern himself with the aims and circumstances of its writer's "similar activity." The decisive difference between this view and the one Wasserman offers for the Augustans is that Wasserman's is intentionalist and historicist. This shows plainly in his exegetical commentary on the Rape, where his characteristic claim follows the formula: "Pope [expects, invites, prods, wants] his reader to [discover, exercise his wit on, recognize, see] X in his allusion to such-and-such a text." And to support his claim he repeatedly brings his historicist scholarship to bear on questions about "the kind of ready knowledge Pope demands of his reader" and what "facts [were] known to any serious reader" of the time.95. See Reuben Brower, Alexander Pope: The Poetry of Allusion , esp. pp. 1-14.8. Jonathan Culler, "Presupposition and Intertextuality," MLN 91 : 1382-3; Culler refers primarily to the work of Roland Barthes and Julia Kristeva but notes that Bloom himself occasionally sounds curiously like an intertextualist critic.9. Wasserman, "Limits of Allusion," pp. 427, 429. For a response to Wasserman less sympathetic than mine, see Irvin Ehrenpreis, Literary Meaning and Augustan Values , pp. 12-15.James K. Chandler, an assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago, has published work on Wordsworth's poetry and politics and is currently completing a book on the subject. (shrink)
William Abraham’s “canonical theism” calls into question standard strategies in philosophy of religion which strain out the particularities of Christian faith, distilling a “mere theism” and position Christian faith within a broader, “general” epistemology. I evaluate Abraham’s call for a philosophical approach that honors the thick particularity of Christian faith and makes room for the unique epistemological status of revelation. I conclude that Abraham’s promising project could be extended to more radically call into question the “intellectualism” that characterizes contemporary philosophy (...) of religion. (shrink)
After identifying points of agreement between Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar on topics raised by Dr. Sain’s essay, this response raises questions about the deeper foundations of the substantial differences between them. It suggests that the appeal to contrast in their starting-points (Goethe versus Kant) as an explanation is not adequate and suggests lines of further inquiry which might be pursued further.
Over the past decade there has been a burgeoning of work in philosophy of religion that has drawn upon and been oriented by “continental” sources in philosophy—associated with figures such as Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, Gilles Deleuze, and others. This is a significant development and one that should be welcomed by the community of Christian philosophers. However, in this dialogue piece I take stock of the field of “continental philosophy of religion” and suggest that the field (...) is developing some un-healthy patterns and habits. The burden of the paper is to suggest a prescription for the future health of this important field by articulating six key practices that should characterize further scholarship in continental philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Neither income nor wealth should be too highly unequal. But there is a fundamental distinction between pay for work and the ownership of capital assets. The reasons to moderate these inequalities therefore differ, and the arguments are best considered separately.
Eric Gregory's Politics and the Order of Love takes up an audacious project: enlisting Saint Augustine in order to "help imagine a better liberalism." This article first provides a summary of Gregory's argument, focusing on his emphasis on love as a "motivation" for neighborly care, and hence democratic participation. This involves tracing the theme of motivation in the book, which is tied to his articulation of liberal perfectionism and an emphasis on civic virtue. In conclusion I raise the question of (...) whether his project has ignored a key aspect of Augustine's account of love, namely, the role of the Holy Spirit, thereby demarcating the limits of Gregory's "rational reconstruction" of Augustine. (shrink)
Biologists, historians, lawyers, art historians, and literary critics all voice arguments in the critical dialogue about what constitutes evidence in research and scholarship. They examine not only the constitution and "blurring" of disciplinary boundaries, but also the configuration of the fact-evidence distinctions made in different disciplines and historical moments the relative function of such concepts as "self-evidence," "experience," "test," "testimony," and "textuality" in varied academic discourses and the way "rules of evidence" are themselves products of historical developments. The essays and (...) rejoinders are by Terry Castle, Lorraine Daston, Carlo Ginzburg, Ian Hacking, Mark Kelman, R. C. Lewontin, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Mary Poovey, Donald Preziosi, Simon Schaffer, Joan W. Scott, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Barbara Herrnstein Smith. The critical responses are by Lauren Berlant, James Chandler, Jean Comaroff, Arnold I. Davidson, Harry D. harootunian, Elizabeth Helsinger, Thomas C. Holt, Francoise Meltzer, Robert J. Richards, Lawrence Rothfield, Joel Snyder, Cass R. Sunstein, and William Wimsatt. (shrink)
In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein proposes a bold new systematic strategy for developing social ontology. He explores the history and current state of the art and provides pointed critiques of leading theories in the field. His framework, incompassing frames that provide principles for grounding social facts, is developed in some detail across a variety of social practices and applied to revealing real world as well as hyporthetical examples. If Epstein's account holds, it should provide new directions and standards of (...) inquiry in both social sciecne and social philiosophy. (shrink)