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    • Pingback: John Paul II Identified the Source of Our Present Cultural Malaise | Catholic Canada

    • Tradmeister

      Sorry, but we need to be a little more thorough than this. The root cause of our cultural malaise is our ecclesiastical malaise. And the cause of that is the triumph of Second Vaticanist theology that has parted company in certain respects from the classical ideals, values, morals, and doctrine of the constant Magisterium. And our late pope was not an innocent bystander to this, as exemplified by his direct participation in pagan worship in Togo, to cite but one example.

      Leo XIII taught what he did in Immortale Dei and Satis Cognitum for a reason. 

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Wittgenstein famously told philosophers, ““Don’t think but look!”
      Again, he says that philosophers do not—or should not—supply a theory, neither do they provide explanations.  “Philosophy simply puts everything before us, nor deduces anything.—Since everything lies open to view there is nothing to explain” 

      The task od philosophy is to make clear (intellectual) vision possible

      • Sergio Guzman

        I beg to differ. It is actually in the subjective experience of phenomena and the firm grounds of the ontic where one can philosophize.

        Thought is never without imagination as that is what the subjective experience is all about (have it rationalized or not). It is perhaps in “Living” and then observing that one finds the task od of philosophy to make clear of one’s intellectual visions.

        “Ah, I see now says the reader unlived.”

        He is an IDIOT, FOOL, POPPYCOCK!

        Reader of experience would say, “Oh, I can now understand the reading.”

        The subject of real philosophy has been mystics writing for mystics. Everything else understood outside of mysticism is caca and mush. Philosophy has a task for humility. The mystic is the only realist and therefore philosopher.

      • Sergio Guzman

        Yes, I dare shit on most rationalistic philosophy. Courage after all is the subject of Love, and I dare prudently call “shit” where there is no love (or a misappropriation)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=614585641 Sergio Guzman

      It is silly to see rationalists quoting what was simply refuted in your analysis. James this was well written and beautiful articulated. I am a philosophy and psychology student moving into a systematic theology degree. I enjoyed your excellent commentary. Keep moving forward.

      It is important to know something that when Pythagoras coined philosophy he quickly dismissed the sophists and rationalists as being philosophers. This is an important criticism as to what a mathematical and very rational mind was trying to accomplish when identifying philosophy. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=614585641 Sergio Guzman

       Rahner said, “Philosophy is not for the brutes (while quoting Seneca).”

      I’d like to look at it as those who are brute of heart not so much as in intellect.

    • Pingback: St. Dominic Cultural Malaise Blessed John Paul II Presbyter | Big ☧ulpit

    • Carl

      This type of article has me scrambling for my dusty dictionary and/or googling  to find the meanings and definitions of words used.  It’s not that I disagree with any conclusions here I just think too much credit seems to go the intellectual elites on university and colleges on “Mount Olympus.”

      It’s really much more base than that.  Western Civilization has become fat and lazy with all our technological advances and the typically person is more concerned with acquiring material wealth of this world when not acting out their sensual addictions.

      Relativism, sensualism, and materialism is the modern world’s devotion and  trinity. 

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      The rise of historical theology – one thinks of Henri de Lubac, Jean Daniélou and Claude Mondésert and also Marie-Dominique Chenu, who applied the historical method to St Thomas, was a direct result of the Modernist Crisis.

      In the aftermath of Lamentabili and Pascendi, many theologians deemed it prudent to steer clear of dogmatic theology, for the safer field of history.  It did not always work, as the reaction to Henri de Lubac’s « Surnaturel » ostensibly an historical study, shows.

    • Roger Dodger

      “Post-Cartesian philosophy, with its impetus to doubt everything, to deny human experience and tradition, and to settle for nothing less than apodictic (self-grounded and self-demonstrating) “mathematical” certainty, ultimately led to a shrinking of mankind’s trust in reason and to a consequent shrinking of the horizon of human experience. If man is, as the pope claims, the creature who knows himself, then this emergence of a culture of doubt was itself dehumanizing. Persistent doubt, in turn, led not to the shelving of expired ideas but to a clearing of the field for evil ones.”

      Two notable errors in assumption: settling for nothing less than mathematical certainity led to an increase in mankind’s trust in reason, not a decrease, leading to an increase of seperating human experience into parts, the parts that could be analyzed through reason, and a decrease of metaphysical understanding of the whole: being.

      Second: Doubt can never in of itself be dehumanizing. In fact, it is the opposite. To doubt means to relish in wonder, curiosity, to deny the notion of absolute truths that reason attempts to impart. Doubt is to fully embrace being human, to acknowledge that as humans we will only ever be able to experience a subjective reality of a very minscule part of the whole. Being simply means in the context the surrending to the faith of the whole, acknowleding the limited and often dangerous scope of reason.

    • Roger Dodger

      It wasn’t doubt that led to the emergence of evil ideas. It was rationality that led to evil ideas. You cannot convince a nation, like Hitler did, to adopt evil without first appealing to their reason that this must be so. If anything, more doubt, not less of it, will foster humainity’s good will.

      • Susan

         Clearly you are confusing two very different meanings of the word “doubt.”  Doubting that something a politician or demagogue tells you is the good kind of doubt. Doubting whether we can ever truly know anything at all, a radical epistemological doubt (which is where the Cartesian autobahn finally ended up) is a horse of an entirely different color.

    • Tom B

      No.  Doubt is doubt, and wonder is wonder.  Further, human reason is not the scope of human rationality.  The Cartesian project of declaring only that is rational which is apodictic marks a radical depreciation of the capacity of the human intellect to move by means of both faith and reason beyond what knowledge it can absolutely dominate.  It is the self-deception of modern man to think he is rational, when in fact he has reduced reason to various instrumental functions, depriving it of its full purpose and final cause: the contemplation of Being Itself.

    • Susan

      Good article, with one caveat: never in  million years would I think to call phenomenology “Cartesian-inspired”!  It specifically stands AGAINST Enlightement thinking and Enlightenment dualities (think of Goethe, it’s true “founding father”!). A brief web post is no place to really argue, but this is just false.

      • Ford Oxaal

        So educate me: don’t both the Cartesian ”cogito” and “phenomenology” start with, what’s that other big word, “epistemology”?  I think that was the point of the author, but did I get that right?

        • Tom B

          Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology as we know it, wrote the following in his book “Cartesian Meditations”: France’s greatest thinker, René Descartes, gave transcendental phenomenology new Impulses through his Meditations; their study acted quite directly on the transformation of an already developing phenomenology into a new kind of transcendental philosophy. Accordingly one might almost call transcendental phenomenology a neo-Cartesianism, even though It Is obliged — and precisely by its radical development of Cartesian motifs — to reject nearly all the well-known doctrinal content of the Cartesian philosophy.”

          If Husserl thinks Decartes inspired phenomenology, then we probably should as well.  It seems inaccurate to say this article is “just false” then, doesn’t it?

          • Tom B

            Further, Descartes is not an Enlightenment figure.  He lived in the early-Seventeenth Century.

          • Ford Oxaal

            Checked out Husserl.  Truth is simple, Husserl is not.  Anyway, as I posted above somewhere, Descartes did come up with a premise whose denial is its affirmation, and thus is a logical certainty — basically, “I am”.  If you deny that, you have excluded yourself from further discourse.  From there, it is simple to show that experience of change requires the existence of something other than experience itself, i.e., the external world (see above somewhere).  This then, re-hinges philosophy.  In this new light, the fun subjects can be more clearly elucidated: showing what is certain, and showing what can be held with conviction.  Solipsism can be shown to at best entertain a mere notion, etc.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Descartes put forth a premise, the denial of which results in its affirmation.  Nice job!  (He was also one of the very finest swordsman of his time)  So all that is needed to build the bridge from this Cartesian epistemological certainty back to metaphysics and God is the elusive proof of the external world — which should be brief.  Here is one by my friend David Shaw:
      1. I am.  Consciousness exists.  I cannot deny that I am conscious because to deny it would be an act of consciousness hence a logical contradiction.
      2. I experience change, hence I have change of experience.  I cannot deny the existence of change.  Because I experience change, change exists.
      3. Change necessitats coming into existence.  Conversely, to come into existence necessitates change.  Thus change and coming into existence or becoming are the same.  Something cannot come from nothing, nor could nothing become something, because in either case “nothing would become” which is the same as no becoming.  If something comes into existence it must, therefore, come from something.  That something from which it comes is its “cause”.
      4.  Given a cause there must be an effect otherwise something would not become and there would be no cause.  An effect must be different from its cause otherwise something becomes the same as itself which is no becoming — no change.  Therefore, cause necessitates change.  In short, becoming or change necessitates cause.
      5. Since I experience change, which necessitates change, and since change necessitates cause, it follows that consciousness of change (as effect) necessitates the existence of something different (more) than that awareness alone as its cause.  Thereby, I know with certainty there must be something other than and external to my awareness as some part of the cause of my experience.  Existence, therefore, includes my consciousness and something external to it.

      I would add that if consciousness itself were the cause of changing experience, it would include the effects (a cause includes its effect, else part of that effect came from nothing), and if consciousness included the effects, they would ”already” be experienced — you would not experience change.