Lecture 16

Francis Bacon pointed out the necessity of divesting ourselves of the power of traditional thinking so we can see the facts.

A scientist doesn’t collect facts so easily. It is impossible to be traditionless.

facts objective – there to be observed, the net illustration indicates that there is a measure of human subjectivity.

Word from God.
Nature of Law – not merely a general fact.
Place of Philosophy – in Comte’s positivism philosophy is just another special science.

The other special sciences come up with their results; the task of philosophy is to take those results and try to find some kind of ordering in the larger picture. He placed emphasis on logic as an ordering procedure.

The positivists thus see all the other special sciences can be engaged in without philosophy – they don’t involve taking a philosophical position. It is a very prevalent view in North America.

Become clear that in everyone of the special sciences there are philosophical positions assumed or presupposed. Despite this has become more and more clear positivism is still the dominant position in North America.

A very good book by a Polish philosopher who was a Marxist and fled Poland

Lesa Chomlakowski I? of Reason Doubleday Anchor 1968

Now come to the third round of lectures.

Round 1 – some general picture of 2000 year old philosophising.
Treatment of accommodation/ synthesis.
Round 2 – two modern movements Empiricism (John Locke) and Comte’s positivism.
Round 3 – more systematic thinking to get Christian thinking. Look at another movement. The general structure of Thomas Aquinas

In Comtion positivism philosophy reduced to a special science. philosophy is not like other sciences. We will look at an other but opposite error – philosophy is made too large.

Many philosophers are first generation apostates. Philosophy becomes a substitute for religion.

man are religious beings – religion has more than a cultic element – before we do something we are something – what we are before God determines our directions.

Man’s ground of origin is not in himself – he is not an independent being.

[end of tape 13 ½ A – nothing on second side]

Our human condition is that we are creatures before God, servants of God, aware before him of our situation.

Journey through modern thought

In rationalistic humanism the individual person and the rational soul/ mind was taken to be something in its self – a mental substance, ‘windowless monads’ of Leibniz.

The individual on the couch the psychiatrist tries to penetrate into a person’s mind. More recently, man’s inbuilt dependence upon others has been emphasised, hence, group therapy.

No man exists in isolation (I – thou relationship). This recent change from individual to group has come about by a growing recognition of the way in which man exists in the world.

In the nineteenth century Schliermacher (1798-1834), one of the great theologians of the nineteenth century, his influence has been enormous. R. Richard Niehbuhr is a Scliermacher expert.

Schliermacher was well aware that the mode of our existing involved:

‘a complex of mutually implicated moments of reaction toward another and of being determined by another’ and we have relative freedom and relative dependence imply each other, but he also freely distinguished, though he did not separate, from this complex of (world or societal) relations, what he called einshlechinengpenigeist

a feeling of absolute dependence

‘a felt relation of dependence that accompanies or pervades the total felt consciousness working from the immediate self-consciousness into the self in the totality of its connection to and within the world.’

Being in relation and then in this relation of absolute dependence appears as the fundamental phenomenon of our self-consciousness.

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One Comment on “Lecture 16”


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