The goal of this article is to explain how the concept of Illumination came to be a source of skepticism in the modern West. In ancient and medieval Christian thought it was essentially tied not only to Plato’s philosophy, but especially to Augustine’s invention of the notion that the soul is an inner chamber containing all his knowledge, but also the locus of his encounter with God. The concept of the soul or mind as an inner chamber re-emerged in early modern western philosophy, but it was no longer open to illumination, John Locke having made revelation into an entirely distinct category of knowledge. The set of ocular metaphors of which illumination is a part still has an important place in ordinary language, but can no longer provide for a philosophical theory of knowledge. Thus, different complex metaphors need to be employed. Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of human reason begins with social practices, and can be described as an extensive thesis reflecting the metaphor Knowing as Doing. With his incorporation of Thomas Aquinas into his account of tradition-constituted rationality, it is suggested that interesting parallels might be found with the work of Mulla Sadra.
The skeptical theist declines to accept a premise of some such argument, professing ignorance, for example, about whether God is justified in permitting certain evils or about the conditional probability that the world contains as much evil as it does, or evils of a particular sort, on the hypothesis that God exists. Skeptical theists are thus not supposed to be skeptical about theism; rather, they are theists who are skeptical about something else. But that raises the question of exactly what else. In particular, does skepticism with respect to some claims about God and evil lead to a more pervasive skepticism? More precisely, is skeptical theism committed to additional skepticism about God? Is skeptical theism committed to global skepticism, including skepticism about ordinary, commonplace beliefs? Or is skeptical theism at the very least committed to a broader skepticism about matters of morality? This paper takes up these questions.
Much recent discussion of the epistemology of religious belief has focused on justification of belief in the existence of God. Religious belief, however, includes much more than belief in God. In this paper, it is argued that the justification of belief in God is best seen in the context of other interrelated religious beliefs and practices. Philosophers of religion argue about whether religious belief requires evidence and on the sorts of arguments that have been presented. In this paper, a dialectical approach to the justification of religious belief is suggested that draws upon Hegel, Peirce, and W. E. Hocking. Rational reflection on the nature of experience that provides the solution to the problems of skepticism and solipsism in the Hegelian tradition, a tradition self-consciously developed by both Peirce and Hocking. If reason itself is only manifest in social exchanges, then the rationality of religious belief cannot be a private affair restricted to the subject of experience; rather it is the process of communicative interactions in accord with the overlapping norms of those who participate in them. Finally, some implications of this approach for the problem of religious diversity are sketched.
The relationship between faith and reason can be discussed at two different levels. One is called Rreligious Eepistemology which deals with the rationality of faith, and while the second level deals with the relation of a set of data available to the human mind because of revelation and what is available to human mind throthough his reason.. In this paper I argue that the prominent way of justifying faith in contemporary Shi‘ite t Thought is the argument from the data of reason. Regarding to the relation of the data of revelation and the data of reason, we must consider three forms of it separaetely. In the case of a contradiction of revelation and the reason, they usually give the priority to reason and use the method of interpretation (ta’vil) for making them cohernt with each other.. In such cases whereich reason and revelation have the same assertion or revelation says and reveals what is beyond reason without the contradiction between the two, they usally accept revelation as the source of knowledge.
After briefly recounting a strange, quasi-mystical experience I had while first reading Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason , I devote most of this article to exploring various similarities between theories Kant developed and ideas more commonly associated with Paul Tillich. Hints are drawn from Chris Firestone’s book, Kant and Theology at the Boundaries of Reason , which argues that my interpretation of Kant echoes themes in Tillich’s ontology. Among the themes whose Kantian roots I explore are Tillich’s theories of: God as the Ground of Being; faith as ultimate concern; courage as the proper life-choice in the face of the anxiety that naturally arises out of an honest response to the human situation, given our fundamental alienation from the divine; the crucial role of cultural symbols in bringing faith into historically realistic expressions; political forms as ideally self-negating; and love as a gift that we must express with power and justice in order to be efficacious. After considering whether Kant influenced Tillich more than Tillich ever admitted, I conclude by wondering if my own effort to develop an “affirmative” interpretation of Kant’s theory of religion may have itself had a hidden influence from my prior reading of Tillich.
The paper attempts to give a systematic survey of different strands and intentions of “narrative ethics” both in philosophy and in theology and proposes how to develop narrative ethics in the future. This proposal features three different dimensions of the term “moral vision,”, i.e. morally substantial ideas that are embedded in traditions (Moral Vision 1), the appropriation of these ideas by particular historical cultures or individuals (Moral Vision 2) and moral perception channeled by Moral Vision 2 (Moral Vision 3). Narrative ethics, the paper argues, can describe how (religious) traditions can inspire moral thinking and learning without falling prey to traditionalism. Theological ethics is about forming an ethical culture in which we remind each other of the stories that continue to inspire us and in which we tell each other of our moral world-view and commitments, our strong feelings about the good and the bad which are based in our individual and common lives and not derived from grammatical rules or ultimate principles.
In different parts of Metaphysics , Aristotle presents different (and apparently, conflicting) views on the nature and subject matter of the discipline in question. These different characterizations led to wide-ranging interpretations of the relation between metaphysics and philosophical theology. Muslim Philosophers adopted two different views. Al-Kindi and al-Farabi (in some of his works) endorsed the view that metaphysics is the same as theology as far as its subject matter is the First Cause (God) and it deals essentially with incorporeal entities. After Avicenna, however, a second view became dominant according to which metaphysics has a broader realm that embraces theology as its most noble part. The rationale behind this view is that the subject matter of metaphysics is “being qua being”, or unconditioned existent, in its broad sense so that philosophical theology can be taken as discussing some of the proper accidents of the unconditioned existent. This view requires that metaphysics cannot be a secular discipline and should be totally consistent with theology. It also provides us with a certain interpretation of what is usually called “Islamic philosophy.”
In the philosophy of action, agency manifests the capacity of the agent to act. An agent is one who acts voluntarily, consciously and intentionally. This article studies the relationship between virtues and agency to learn to what extent agency is conceptually and metaphysically dependent on moral or epistemic virtues; whether virtue is a necessary condition for action and agency, besides the belief, desire and intention? Or are virtues necessary merely for the moral or epistemic character of the agent and not his agency? If virtues are constructive elements of personal identity, can we say that virtues are necessary for action and agency? If we accept that virtues play a role in agency, the principle of “Ought Implies Can” makes us face a new challenge; which we will discuss. After explaining the concept of action and agency, I will study the relationship between agency and virtues in the field of ethics and epistemology. Ultimately, I conclude that not only in theories of virtue but also in other ethical theories, virtue is independently necessary for the actualization of agency; even if, conceptually, there might not be any relation between the two. In many cases, virtue can also have a crucial role in prudential agency.
In Avicenna’s view, the practical intellect plays a basic and foundational role in producing moral action. By investigating this notion in the framework of Avicenna’s philosophy, we find that he regards perception and cognition as the main functions of the practical intellect. However, he considers this perception as particular, introducing it as different from the particularity of imaginary and estimative cognitions (animal perceptive faculties). This difference makes the action produced by an animal essentially different from the action produced by the practical intellect. This view, however, is contrary to the views of some other philosophers and theologians who disagree with him on the perceptive function of the practical intellect and maintain just a motivational function for it. In addition, Avicenna enumerates the following as other roles of the practical intellect in producing moral action: motivational and incentive function; dominance over motivational and inclinative (to or against) faculties, etc and being served by them; serving the speculative intellect and purifying, completing and refining the speculative intellect in the realm of the practical intellect. Many other points have also been mentioned in this regard within this article. Overall, the central role of the practical intellect in producing moral action in Avicenna’s view gives rise to other discussions regarding moral action as well, in a way that those discussions are based on, or lead to it directly or indirectly.
As human beings do we at all have a common ground for dialogue and mutual understanding? Yes: what we as human beings have in common, is that we can use and understand arguments. In other words: that we are rational beings. 2. Is our capability for argumentation the only ground we have in common as the basis for dialogue and mutual understanding? There is no argumentation against argumentation. Argumentation can´t be transcended. Thus argumentation, more precisely: the capability of argumentation – i.e. reason - is the only ground we have in common as human beings. 3. Does religion play a role in this respect? Isn´t religion superfluous for a rational human being? No, not in the sense Kant has ascribed to it. To know about the boundaries of knowledge (of reason) and to humbly marvel about the miraculous existence of world, life and reason can rightly be seen as the form of religion - as the form of attitude towards the "beyond" - which is adequate (and unavoidable) for a rational being. Religion is the source of truth and ethics if it means: humble acknowledgment of the un-knowable and hence of the fact that in our search for orientation we are relegated to ourselves as fellow human beings, as brothers and sisters.