Vol. 20, No. 1 (Spring 2016)
VARIETIES OF CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
Guest Editors: John Caruana and Mark Cauchi
JOHN CARUANA & MARK CAUCHI, Introduction
JOHN CARUANA & MARK CAUCHI, The Insistence of Religion in Philosophy: An Interview with John D. Caputo
RONALD A. KUIPERS, Cross-Pressured Authenticity: Charles Taylor on the Contemporary Challenges to Religious Identity in A Secular Age [abstract]
Taylor’s landmark work, A Secular Age, tells a complex story about the fate of religion in the West over the past 500 years. Taking issue with an overly-simplistic secularization theory, Taylor portrays a cultural landscape that, rather than speeding the withering of religion, has instead proliferated a dizzying array of spiritual options. This pluralistic reality places “cross-pressure” on those who inhabit these spiritual positions, fragilizing them through exposure to other lived possibilities. The widely adopted modern value of authenticity increases this pressure, encouraging people to carve out their own unique spiritual path and to eschew traditional, ‘spoon-fed’ answers to life’s existential questions. Yet what remains throughout these modern challenges to religion, says Taylor, is the quintessentially human quest for meaning, and the struggle against a modern nihilism that threatens to deny it. In this contested space, he suggests, humanity’s religious past is being called into an as yet unimagined future.
NIKOLAS KOMPRIDIS, Can Public Reason be Secular and Democratic? [abstract]
Habermas’s recent demand that religious reasons must be translated into secular reasons if they are to play a justificatory role in the political public sphere is a demand that presupposes an undercomplex view of translation and metaphysical view of the unity of reason. Eschewing Habermasian assumptions about the “unity of reason” I present an alternative that makes room for multiple and heterogeneous languages of public reason, which places the stress on language learning rather than on language translation.
MORNY JOY, Ricoeur from Fallibility to Fragility and Ethics [abstract]
In the last decades of his life, Ricoeur was dismayed by the undiminishing amount of violence that humans inflicted on one another. He felt impelled to address this unjustified suffering. He moved from theoretical philosophical discussions to develop an ethical project directed toward a just society. I trace Ricoeur’s development, starting from Fallible Man and Freedom and Nature, by way of The Symbolism of Evil, Oneself as Another, and The Course of Recognition, as he delineates his project. In this journey, Ricoeur emerges from the strict Protestant training of his youth to a more pluralist and inclusive ideal. During his elaboration of the ethical, as well as political and social conditions where human beings can flourish, Ricoeur does not appeal directly to religious terminology. Nonetheless, his work remains imbued with a deep love of humankind and wisdom, the roots of which remain entangled in his Christian background.
ROBERT SINNERBRINK, “Love Everything”: Cinema and Belief in Malick’s The Tree of Life [abstract]
One of the questions that Gilles Deleuze explores is the relationship between cinema and belief: can cinema restore the broken link between us and the world? Does modern cinema have the power to give us ‘reasons to believe in this world’? My case study for exploring the question of belief in cinema, or what I call a Bazinian cinephilia, is Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011); a film whose sublime aesthetics and unorthodox religiosity have provoked polarized critical responses, but whose ambition is to create a mythology—personal, historical, and cosmological—capable of reanimating belief in cinema and in the world. At once a religiousmetaphysical work and a meditation on the origins and ends of life, The Tree of Life expresses a philosophical version of cinephilia: a love of existence, an aesthetic response to nihilism, affirming the world’s dialectic of nature and grace via cinema’s revelatory powers.
RUSSELL FORD, Against Negativity: Deleuze, Wahl, and Postwar Phenomenology
Attentive readings of Deleuze’s works alongside the projects of his teachers show that they often share a common problem or set of problems. One of the most innovative and influential of these projects is the work of Jean Wahl. Wahl’s analysis of French existential phenomenology, here approached through a representative essay published in 1950, focuses on the problem of the pre-personal, presubjective elements of thinking and worldly existence. Deleuze’s philosophical project, already visible in his early essays on Bergson, is a critique of the phenomenological presuppositions that determine this problem in terms of negation.
JORDAN GLASS, The Question of the Teacher: Levinas and the Hypocrisy of Education [abstract]
The following paper traces the relevance of teaching and pedagogy in Levinas’s philosophy of transcendence and ethics. By turning to his philosophy of language—including his posthumously published lectures on the phenomenology of sound and the voice—this paper addresses some difficulties with the attempt to develop a philosophy of education departing from his work. Education appears to be the uniquely well-suited site for an ethical philosophy, and yet any claims about education and attempts to teach ethics risk hypocrisy as a structural possibility of transcendence and teaching.
LAMBERT ZUIDERVAART, Propositional and Existential Truth in Edmund Husserl’s Logical Investigations [abstract]
This essay explores questions first posed by Ernst Tugendhat: Can Edmund Husserl’s conception of truth help philosophers connect the concept of propositional truth with a more comprehensive and life-oriented idea of truth? Can it do so without short-circuiting either side? If so, to what extent? I focus on the conception of truth in Husserl’s path breaking Logical Investigations, originally published in 1900-01. First, I review critical interpretations of Husserl by three influential post-Heideggerian philosophers: Emmanuel Levinas, Theodor Adorno, and Jacques Derrida. Next, I examine selected passages in the Logical Investigations. Finally, I initiate a critical retrieval of early Husserl’s conception of truth, one that not only evaluates his contribution in light of influential assessments by Levinas, Adorno, and Derrida but also proposes revisions to it.
JAMES MENSCH, The Spatiality of Subjectivity [abstract]
This article describes how the spatiality of our existence determines the temporal relations that inform the contents of our consciousness. It argues that the extension of time—the fact the moments that compose it do not collapse into each other—can only be explained in terms of the dependence of time on space. Such dependence causes us to rethink the concept of subjectivity according to a multi-dimensional spatial paradigm, one that crosses the traditional divide between minds and bodies.
BABETTE BABICH, Vers une éthique de l’assistance [abstract]
Si Nietzsche, se référant à la philosophie morale de Kant, put invoquer ceux « qui promettent sans en avoir les moyens » et dérider le « menteur qui trahit sa parole dans le moment même où il l’a sur les lèvres », un examen de l’éthique de l’assistance de Heidegger souligne, de son côté, que nous nous trouvons toujours déjà dans l’assistance envers les autres, même si ce n’est que de manière négative ou défectueuse. En parcourant le chemin qui nous mène vers l’éthique de l’assistance chez Heidegger, nous aurons à discuter de la condition humaine chez Heidegger, de l’amitié, et aussi de lacets de soulier, de football, des anges, et du désire – et, pourquoi pas, du café.
ALEXANDER SCHNELL, Beyond Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty: The Phenomenology of Marc Richir [abstract]
In this article, I aim to introduce Marc Richir’s refoundation of transcendantal phenomenology. Starting from the double—“symbolic” and properly “phenomenological”—constitution of the concept of phenomenon, I present the key concepts of Richir’s “phenomenology nova methodo”: hyperbolical phenomenological epoché, schematism, affectivity, phantasy, and so on. Beneath the distinction between theory of knowledge and ontology, I seek to understand both the sense of what he calls the “endogenization” of the phenomenological field and, “beyond Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty,” the role of temporality in the phenomenalization of the phenomenon.
IULIAN APOSTOLESCU, The Things Themselves in the Light of the New Phenomenology: An Interview with Hermann Schmitz