Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012)

JUDE P. DOUGHERTY, GILSON AND RÉMI BRAGUE ON MEDIEVAL ARABIC PHILOSOPHY, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 5-14

Given contemporary interest in Islam, compelled by the astounding violence perpetrated in its name, the author considers what two historians of philosophy, Étienne Gilson and Rémi Brague, writing a generation apart, have to say about medieval Arabic philosophy and the relevance of its study to our own day.

 

RICHARD J. FAFARA, A CHANGE IN “TONE” IN GILSON’S NOTION OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 15-28

The author undertakes four points: (a) There was no major change in Gilson’s position on Christian philosophy as it was defined and justified in his 1931 Gifford Lectures and later developed in the sixties. (b) During the 1960s, Gilson’s Christian philosophy placed more emphasis on its Christian aspect, faith guiding reason. Earlier formulations emphasized philosophy searching within the faith for what can become rational. (c) During the 1960s Gilson emphasized faith and the Church as the guardian of Christian philosophy, expressed a relative indifference to the validity of rational proofs for the existence of God, and empathized with those accepting questionable philosophical approaches to understand the faith. (d) Gilson’s Christian philosophy fits into the framework of post-modernism.

 

CURTIS L. HANCOCK, GILSON ON THE RATIONALITY OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 29-44

The underlying skepticism of ancient Greek culture made it unreceptive of philosophy. It was the Catholic Church that embraced philosophy. Still, Étienne Gilson reminds us in Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages that some early Christians rejected philosophy. Their rejection was based on fideism: the view that faith alone provides knowledge. Philosophy is unnecessary and dangerous, fideists argue, because (1) anything known by reason can be better known by faith, and (2) reason, on account of the sin of pride, seeks to replace faith. To support this twofold claim, fideists, like Tertullian and Tatian, quote St. Paul. However, a judicious interpretation of St. Paul’s remarks show that he does not object to philosophy per se but to erroneous philosophy. This interpretation is reinforced by St. Paul’s own background in philosophy and by his willingness to engage intellectuals critical of Christianity in the public square. The challenge of fideism brings up the interesting question: what would Jesus himself say about the discipline of philosophy? Could it be that Jesus himself was a philosopher (as George Bush once declared)? As the fullness of wisdom and intelligence, Jesus certainly understood philosophy, although not in the conventional sense. But surely, interpreting his life through the lens of fideism is unconvincing. Instead, an appreciation of his innate philosophical skills serves better to understand important elements of his mission. His perfect grasp of how grace perfects nature includes a philosophy of the human person. This philosophy grounded in common-sense analysis of human experience enables Jesus to be a profound moral philosopher. Specifically, he is able to explain the principles of personal actualization. Relying on ordinary experience, where good philosophy must start, he narrates moral lessons—parables—that illumine difficulties regarding moral responsibility and virtue. These parables are accessible but profound, showing how moral understanding must transcend Pharisaical legalism. Additionally, Jesus’ native philosophical power shows in his ability to explain away doctrinal confusions and to expose sophistical traps set by his enemies. If fideism is unconvincing, and if the great examples of the Patristics, the Apostles, and Jesus himself show an affinity for philosophy, then it is necessary to conclude that Christianity is a rational religion. Accordingly, the history of Christian culture is arguably an adventure in faith and reason. Since God is truth and the author of all truths, there is nothing in reality that is incompatible with Christian teaching. As John Paul II explains effectively in the encyclical, Fides et Ratio, Christianity is a religion that is rational and can defend itself. This ability to marshal a defense makes Christianity a religion for all seasons.

 

PETER A. REDPATH, THE IMPORTANCE OF GILSON, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 45-52

The author aims at answering why preserving, reading, and understanding the work of Étienne Gilson is crucial for the Western civilization if one wishes to be able to understand precisely the problems that are besetting the West and how one can best resolve them. He claims that among all the leading intellectuals of the past or present generation, no one has better diagnosed the philosophical ills of Western culture and better understood the remedy for those ills than has Étienne Gilson.

 

PETER A. REDPATH, GILSON AS CHRISTIAN HUMANIST, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 53-63

The author suggests that the intellectual life of Étienne Gilson constituted a new humanism, that Gilson’s scholarly work was part of a new renaissance, that a new humanism that Gilson thought is demanded by the precarious civilizational crisis of the modern West after World Wars I and II. He also argues that, more than anything else, Gilson was a renaissance humanist scholar who consciously worked in the tradition of renaissance humanists before him, but did so to expand our understanding of the notion of “renaissance” scholarship and to create his own brand of Christian humanism to deal with problems distinctive to his age. The author shows the specificity of the Christian humanism that Gilson developed as part of his distinctive style of doing historical research and of philosophizing.

 

ALFREDO MARCOS, ARISTOTLE AND THE POSTMODERN WORLD, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 65-73

With the support of recent scholarship the author proposes an understanding of the Aristotelian Corpus inspired by the biological works. He points out that this understanding is bound up with other current philosophical discussions, especially on biology, rationality, realism, the knowledge of an individual, metaphor, and poetics. The author concludes that Aristotle offers the most promising ontological, epistemological and anthropological basis not only for undertaking a series of urgent reconciliations (of facts and values, of theoretical and practical reason, of understanding and sensation, and of intelligence and emotion), but also for solving many dualisms of modern times, in their Platonic or materialist varieties.

 

ÁNGEL DAMIÁN ROMÁN ORTIZ, THE VALUE AND EDUCATION OF LOVE ACCORDING TO MAX SCHELER AND ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 75-89

The theory of values by Max Scheler became one of the most influential theories in XX century. However, the term ‘value’ is insufficient to build a particular moral behavior. Under the Scheler’s concept of ‘value’ there is the concept of ‘love’ by Saint Augustine of Hippo. Thus, if the Augustinian influence is followed, one may go beyond the lacks of the Scheler’s theory. Through these lines one can trace the way leading from the concept of Christian love to the concepts of value, love and person by Scheler. There is, however, a question whether it is possible to teach values. According to the author if values are to be taught, the education of values is to be preceded by teaching love as a virtue.

 

FR. MARCIN SIEŃKOWSKI, PHILOSOPHY IN THEOLOGY ACCORDING TO STANISLAW KAMINSKI, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 91-101

The undertaken considerations, with analyzing Stanislaw Kaminski’s thought on the influence of philosophy on theology in logical and epistemological aspect, aim at answering a question: what kind of philosophy does theology need? If supernatural knowledge wants to be scientific, it should use philosophy which is the natural knowledge explaining reality. Philosophical knowledge, achieved through general and abstract terms, provides theology with terms for explaining religious faith. While various philosophical systems try to explain reality, it does not mean that all of them are accepted by theology. With analyzing theological language, theological conclusions, and the evolution of doctrines, S. Kaminski proves that theology needs such philosophical terms which efficiently enable to know reality. Kaminski accepts such a philosophy which investigates real being in the broadest extent, and looks for the ultimate reasons of a being outside a being itself. This philosophy is to be open to the transcendent reality, and assist in understanding the rationality of faith. Nothing but the realistic philosophy of being (i.e. metaphysics) is able to harmonize natural and supernatural knowledge, and show faith as a complement of human reason.

 

ALEKSANDER Z AFRODYZJI, QUAESTIO III, 3, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 107-115

TRANSLATION: MONIKA A. KOMSTA

The text considers problems associated with sensible cognition. The author focuses on the problem mentioned by Stagirite who, recalling his predecessors, states that there are two concepts of cognition: one maintains that the similar knows the dissimilar, and second that the similar knows the similar. These two concepts meet in a position that at the beginning of the cognitive process the subject and object are dissimilar, but then they become similar. Such an explanation is made possible by distinguishing two kinds of the possible. The first one may be illustrated by the image of a man at the beginning of his education. The second type of the possible may be illustrated by the image of a scholar who at any time can start to contemplate the truth.

 

FR. PAWEL TARASIEWICZ, BETWEEN POLITICS AND RELIGION – IN SEARCH OF THE GOLDEN MEAN, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 117-131

The author undertakes the problem of the identity of Western civilization in the light of a correlation between politics and religion. First, he traces the theoretical debates about the mutual correspondence of politics and religion in ancient Greece. Following two extreme errors depicted by Sophocles in his “Antigone,” and by Plato in his “Apology of Socrates,” he infers that the “Golden Mean” is necessary in resolving the problem of politics and religion. Then, he examines the underlying errors put forward in the history. His investigations show the erroneousness of endowing either politics or religion with sovereign status in culture. There is always a conflict between politics and religion unless man regains his own sovereignty from them. Ultimately the author arrives at the conclusion that the “Golden Mean” correlating politics and religion distinctly strengthens the identity of the Western Civilization, and consists in respecting all real and universal parameters of human person life, such as cognition, freedom (and responsibility), love, agency in law, ontological sovereignty, and religious dignity.

 

FR. PAWEL TARASIEWICZ, THE PRINCIPAL ASSIGNMENT OF PHILOSOPHY IN CULTURE, Studia Gilsoniana 1 (2012): 133-146

The following article is focused on the question of the primary task of philosophy in culture. The problem of philosophy itself is the starting point here. The author observes a chronic discord among philosophers on what philosophy is that undermines the identity of the afore-mentioned as well as disables it from determining its tasks in the culture. Thus, he attempts to determine the nature of philosophy indirectly. The author indicates what philosophy is not and has never been from its beginning, and can not be if it be itself. According to the author, myth is an effective negative criterion with which to determine the true character of philosophy. Philosophy’s aspiration to emancipate itself from myth’s influence justifies the effort to search the foundation of philosophy in contradistinction from myth, and enabling a determination of philosophy directly by indicating its constitutive factors. To philosophize is to know things as they are in the real world, or as they are related to the real world. A reflection on philosophy is not only possible, but also necessary. Since philosophy is part of human culture, the author concludes that the primary task of philosophy in culture consists in justifying the identity of philosophy as such.