2018-01Editorial
The Certainty Principle

Preview: Heisenberg’s general idea of uncertainty has become a trope of every science, social science, and casual knowledge claim. It seeped down from theoretical physics through the social sciences, as “the problem of the observer”, then to popular culture and finally into the daily vocabularies of the developed world. The effort simultaneously to know…

2018-01Thematic Section
Why We Are Not “Persons”

Abstract: To the question “What are we?”, the common-sense answer is “human beings”; but many philosophers prefer to say we are “persons”. This paper argues that the philosophical use of “person” (to mean, roughly, a conscious, rational agent) is problematic. It takes us away from the sound Aristotelian idea that our biological nature is essential…

2018-01Thematic Section
Finding Our Way Back to the Personal through Etymology

Abstract: Modernity has made “person” a problematic term. By tracing the etymology of several common words whose origin pre-dates the scientific revolution – “intend,” “know,” “moment,” “deliberate,” and “true” – we can discern some of the sensibilities upon which a systematic recovery of the personal might best be based. DOWNLOAD PDF Keywords: etymology, person,…

2018-01Thematic Section
From Mythology to Ethics: Seeking an Escape from Ontology in the Eschatologies of Berdyaev and Lévinas

Abstract: The radical reformulation of Western philosophy proposed by Emmanuel Lévinas is the move beyond knowledge and being to ethics as metaphysics. For Lévinas this is accomplished as an escape, an evasion of being. Lévinas saw the story of Western philosophy as a tale that Being emanated, created, etc. an illusory pluralism that…

2018-01Thematic Section
Reflective Judgment and Symbolic Functions: On the Possibility of a Phenomenology of Person

Abstract: The following paper seeks to examine whether, from the standpoint of a transcendental idealist, it is possible to have a phenomenology that can adequately disclose the nature and activity of person. First I establish that symbols are intuitive concretizations of the activity of person/Geist, and thus symbols are available to phenom- enological description. Then I raise…

2018-01Thematic Section
Syntheses Solution: Untangling Bergson’s and Husserl’s Temporal Ontologies

Abstract: It seems uncontroversial that persons have a particular ontology, and a temporal ontology at that. Yet attempting to “unpack” the intimate relation between the being of a person and time often leaves one frustrated and perplexed. Both Edmund Husserl and Henri Bergson are explicitly concerned with the manner in which persons experience and…

2018-01Thematic Section
John Macmurray on the “Personal” as Involving a “Practical Contradiction” and Why It Matters

Abstract: Macmurray replaces the traditional philosophical standpoint of subject-as-thinker with self-as-agent, and only persons are agents. The unit of the personal is “I-and-you”; I become “I” when I distinguish myself from “not-I”, namely, “you”. Awareness of the negative begins in babyhood, as I learns I am dependent on a relationship with an Other who can…

2018-01Thematic Section
Scheler and the Very Existence of the Impersonal

Abstract: Usually philosophers worry about the existence of mind, or consciousness, or persons, or other difficult-to-explain phenomena. Having posited matter or nature, or fields, they wonder where can person or consciousness originate? This kind of thinking is backward. Only persons ask such questions. Persons exist. I turn the tables on the…

2018-01Forum
Reason and Faith

Abstract: The claim of this paper is that theism and atheism as beliefs about the nature of the universe are equally distant from any sort of proper justification by reasoning, but that faith cannot be reduced to any sort of belief (although it induces beliefs). This claim is illustrated by a survey of several…

2018-01Forum
Utopia as the Gift of Ethical Genius: Ernst Cassirer’s Theory of Utopia

Abstract: In this essay, I explore Cassirer’s brief discussion of utopia in An Essay on Man, as likely built upon Kant’s theory of genius as from the Critique of Judgment. This exploration of Cassirer’s theory of utopia lays the groundwork to argue that a utopia is the dynamic product (work) of the “ethical genius,” a work…