FILOSOPHÍA Y TEOLOGÍA
- Nombre y apellido del alumno Bert Amsing
- Fecha June 8, 2016
- Título del texto leído Leo Strauss in Sobre Heidegger (Cinco voces judías)
Introducción al existencialismo de Heidegger
- ¿De qué trata el artículo o capítulo leído?
Leo Strauss, in his chapter Introducción al existencialismo de Heidegger, provides us with an overview of Heidegger and his existentialist thought from Strauss’ particular perspective as a political philosopher who roots his thought in the classics (in contrast to Heidegger).
- ¿Cuál es la idea central del autor?
The central idea of the author is that Heidegger has instituted a revolution in contemporary thought and that he is the greatest German philosopher of our time. Although much of Strauss own philosophy has been developed in contrast to Heidegger, he believes that no philosophy can gain a hearing today without dealing with the subjective/relativistic existentialist philosophy of Heidegger.
On a personal level, as a Jew who had to flee Nazi Germany to America, he has every reason to suspect the political leanings of a well-known Nazi sympathizer, especially since Strauss himself is concerned with political philosophy.
Still, he believes that “el existencialismo debe su imponente relevancia a un solo hombre: Heidegger (p. 41).”
And even further, that “Heidegger por sí mismo puso en marcha una transformación tan radical del pensamiento filosófico que está revolucionando todo el pensamiento…(p. 41, 42).”
But that doesn’t mean that he agrees with Heidegger, just that, “he aquí la gran desgracia: el único gran pensador de nuestro tiempo es Heidegger (p.44).”
Strauss is well-known for believing that Heidegger’s thought must be “understood and confronted” before any well-thought out political philosophy can be developed.
And this is what, in fact, Strauss has dedicated his life to doing. In that sense, even as an adversary, he provides a brilliant counterpoint and context for understanding the existentialism of Heidegger.
- ¿De qué nos quiere convencer?
Strauss hardly needs to convince anyone that Heidegger is a philosopher of the first level but he does spend some time discussing the difference between “el pensador” and “el estudioso” (of which he includes himself). Heidegger is obviously a “pensador” and therefore needs to be taken seriously. It is almost as if Strauss, with his self-avowed criticisms of Heidegger, needs to convince us that his introduction to Heidegger is warranted even from an opponent since no one can argue that Heidegger has deeply affected the philosophy of our age. He even questions whether anyone other than another great “pensador” can really provide a worthwhile analysis of another great “pensador.” He also suggests that time and history will give us a better perspective of how and why Heidegger’s existentialist philosophy came about and affected such a revolution in our time of history.
He compares Heidegger with Max Weber, Werner Jaeger, Cassirer and, even, Edmund Husserl and suggests that Heidegger and his impact on society is to be compared with that of Hegel. So great is the revolution in thinking that “no hay ya sistemas filosóficos. Todos los sistemas filosóficos racionales y liberales han perdido su significado y su poder (p. 43).” Of course, this analysis leaves aside “neotomismo” since it isn’t rational and “marxismo” since it isn’t liberal. But the point is well-taken. Heidegger’s subjective/relativistic existentialism has taken the world by storm and is therefore worthy of study, even if you ultimately disagree with him.
- ¿Cuáles son los puntos fuertes y los puntos débiles del texto?
Strauss begins his analysis of Heidegger by stating his effect on modern society as a revolution in how we think. His opening sentence tells us that “el existencialismo ha recordado a muchos que el pensamiento es incompleto y defectuoso si el ser que piensa, el individuo que piensa, se olvida a sí mismo en pos de aquello que es (p. 41).” On a basic level, existentialism devalued reason and praised decision-making and the resolute man in the face of death. This inevitably leads us to an experience of anxiety (Angst) in a world without meaning or foundation which yet demands of us to make decisions, and wrestle meaning out of mere existence.
Still, there is within man a sort of irrational “faith in progress” (however unjustified in the end) that keeps us moving forward. That faith in progress used to be based on the promise of science to “revelarnos el verdadero carácter del universo y la verdad acerca del hombre (p. 47)” but that has failed. In its place is the power of science and technology to change the world for good (advances in curing diseases, communication etc) or evil (nuclear war, environmental disasters etc). Strauss reminds us that “todo conocen la afirmación de que los juicios de valor no le están permitidos al científico en general y al científico social en particular (p. 47).”
But that now creates a major problem. Strauss agrees when he states that “ciertamente, esto significa que la ciencia, al tiempo que ha acrecentado el poder del hombre en una medida inimaginable para la humanidad pasada, es absolutamente incapaz de decir al hombre cómo usar ese poder (p. 47).” If you try to say that science and reason are the highest value or the best version of man´s efforts to understand and dominate his world, then you are making a value judgment which science itself must reject. All opinions are valid. Every point of view has value and this is now the basis of a pluralistic society founded on rational liberalism. Tolerance now becomes the highest value and we are now able to move forward again. Scientific progress without value judgments must be married to moral progress based on the egalitarianism of meaninglessness, hence our experience of “angst.” It is now more accurate to talk not about “progress” (which is, in itself, a value statement at least in comparison with the past) but rather “change.”
But this is also problematic. Why should one choose “change” for change’s sake? We, inevitably, make a value judgment about that change and that is not justified rationally. To choose for science and reason or to choose for myth and belief. Both are irrational. Both are equally un founded and therefore equally valid. And there is no point in going back to “necesidades evidentes (p. 48)” since they are “hipótesis fundamentales que nunca serán más que hipótesis (p. 48).” This choice without foundation opens up “un abismo (p.49).” The freedom of choice without reason is the abyss of existentialism. This freedom of choice, according to Strauss, “es la única cosa no hipotética; todo el resto reposa sobre esa libertad fundamental (p. 49).” But Strauss (nor Heidegger) gives no argumentation for this new self-evident truth called human freedom. The freedom of the will has been an article of debate since classical times and now has become the foundation (without reason) for existentialism. If we also fall into some form of determinism (Freud, Skinner etc), what is left to Dasein (ser-en-el-mundo) in its interaction with the world? Existentialism must defend this foundation or find its castle overrun with ultimate despair.
But that doesn’t mean that science (or positivism) would give up without a fight but it is a losing battle. Where is the rational philosophy that can give us the truth about our world and our existence? That can provide a rationale for behavior (ethics) and guide us into a good, meaningful life with identity, purpose and significance? Leaving aside neo-Thomism (and other Christian belief systems based on the Reformation), or Marxism (vulgar or sophisticated which both undermine the value of the individual in favor of the State), there is nothing out there to work with.
Strauss, himself, went back to the ancient philosophers and affirmed the irresolvable (but necessary) tension between Athens and Jerusalem, and even studied the development of this tension within Islam and Judaism as well as Christianity. He rejected Heidegger’s existentialism and relativism and re-affirmed (with the ancients) the necessity of both freedom and virtue (which are neither mutually exclusive nor inclusive). Christianity (especially Evangelical Christianity) based on the revelation of God in the Bible (Jerusalem) tells us that faith (belief in something that is actually, objectively true) in God through Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit is what makes “freedom without chaos” possible in a world that is in rebellion against their Creator. But now we are on the side of irrationality.
Even Strauss still uses the categories of rational and irrational in his discussion of the tension between Athens and Jerusalem without exploring whether or not that fundamental dichotomy is really legitimate. In general, he would say that both are irrational, which allows him to consider the sociological impact of a religious world view on the needs of society to work together in a dangerous and difficult world. He would even accept that the populous needed to actually believe that their religious worldview was true (in the pre-scientific sense). This is the “noble lie.” This would appear to be a vindication of Nietzsche’s view that the only way out of the dilemma is to choose “life giving delusion” instead of “deadly truth.” In other words, we must “fabricate a myth” in order to survive our own self-destruction by our own “freedom at any cost” philosophy.
Of course, Heidegger believed that nihilism was itself a myth based on a faulty idea of “being” that he traced all the way back to Plato with his distinction between essence and existence. But how would he know? Existentialsim is “el abandono de la idea de verdad en el sentido en que la filosofía racional siempre la ha comprendido (p. 50).” If that is true, then Heidegger’s belief that nihilism was itself a myth has no more validity than any other opinion. You can choose for yourself what you want to believe (even if you have no rational reason for your choice). This is “al abismo de la libertad (p. 50).”
There seems to be general agreement on the problem but not on the solution. In that sense, once again, Existentialism has won the day with their description of the human condition (angst) and the problem of values (freedom to choose).
Some people try to suggest that society is the bases of our shared values. Immanuel Kant built his entire philosophy on the concept of the ethical community of non-biased people (an elite?) who would choose for the general populous what was good and what was bad for society. But still, the question remains, on what basis will they make their choices? Pragmatism? Utilitarianism? or will their political agenda (whether good or bad) guide their thoughts and actions. Does this not lead either to the tyranny of the majority or fascism or something worse? Who guides them? Is there no absolute standard that will guide human behavior individually and corporately? No, society (or even a social contract) cannot be the foundation of the ethics/morality of the people.
In fact, even from an existential point of view it doesn’t work. Strauss points out the “al hecho de que cada uno debe hacer su propia elección, significa huir del propio sí mismo (p. 51).” In other words, if the essence of authentic being is choice, then we cannot allow anyone or any other authority to choose for us without losing the essence of who we are as “ser-en-el mundo.”
Still, the problem of ethics remains. As Socrates asked so many years ago, “What is good for both the city and man?” Of course, no one seems to want to hear God’s interpretation of our situation because they reject it out of hand as having no basis in rational thought. God talks about sin (rebellion against Him) and the effects of sin on our ability to use rational thought to understand the true nature of the world and our place in it. Without God as the ultimate ground of our being and a relationship with him as the fulfillment of our sense of awe and dependency, there is only relativism. Strauss comments that “el existencialismo admite la verdad del relativismo pero comprende que el relativismo, lejos de ser una solución o quizás un alivio, es funesto (p. 51).” In other words, relativism in rational thought and value judgments brings “angst.” He even says that “el existencialismo es la reacción de personas a su propio relativismo (p. 51).”
Of course, he, himself, goes in another direction precisely for that reason but his analysis of existentialism is to the point. He says it in another way later on. “El existencialismo comienza, entonces, con la toma de conciencia de que en el fundamento de todo conocimiento objetivo y racional descubrimos un abismo. Toda verdad, todo significado es visto en última instancia como fundado en la libertad del hombre y en ninguna otra cosa (p. 51).” And this leads to nihilism which is the “ausencia de significado, la nada (p. 51).”
But that isn’t the end of the story. Apparently, we don’t like “meaninglessness” and something within man rebels at the thought that that is all there is. We are not “disinterested” observers of our own existence. We must live it out one way or the other and since we are free to choose, that freedom becomes our salvation (at least in part, within history in our finite experience). Strauss says, “el hombre da libremente origen al significado; le da origen al horizonte, a la presuposición absoluta, al ideal, al proyecto dentro del cual la comprensión y la vida son posibles. El hombre es el hombre en virtud de un proyecto que forma un horizonte, de un proyecto no fundado, de un proyecto yecto (p. 51).” Mankind is “lost” to the extent that he accepts the world as it is and can only be “saved” if he makes his life mean something at least to himself.
Strauss would like to postulate that since mankind is a social being, there might be some utilitarian or pragmatic existential ethic that focuses on how we can be authentic with one another, but Heidegger did not believe that any “ethic” or objective value judgment could be made. Here Strauss reveals his own bias toward political philosophy and his return to the classics to find a solution to the “freedom without chaos” dilemma. But Heidegger rejects all concern about objective certainty. In fact, as Strauss points out, “la preocupación por la certeza objetiva restringe necesariamente el horizonte (p. 52).” And that isn’t good. In fact, by building an inauthentic, unfounded, pre-scientific concept of objective certainty, you would indeed hide the “abyss” but you would also no longer be human. “Vivir peligrosamente significa pensar arriesgando (p. 52).”
Of course, that statement (like all of the others) is a value statement based on the self-evident truth of human freedom that has no rational foundation and therefore no reason to be accepted. But, then again, if there is no God, we could not even have a rational discussion about there not being a God. After all, existentialism agrees with the Kantian concept of the “unknowability” of things in and of themselves. Strauss points out that “en el existencialismo no se da ley objetiva ni existe un más allá (p. 52).” But they fail to apply that to their own certainty that “angst” is the fundamental human condition for the Dasein and that “freedom” is the self-evident foundation of our being in the world that allows us (and obliges us) to choose for ourselves what our meaning is. They also fail to recognize that all thought, all discussion, would cease since there is no grounds for accepting or rejecting existentialism. It is merely a statement of an interpretation of the world that you are free to choose or not, to agree with or not, to act on or not, as you will. Existentialism becomes a mere tautology, nothing else.
To some degree, even Heidegger recognizes the need to go deeper and give an “analítica existenciaria (p. 53)” that might better answer the question, “What is human existence?” Heidegger needs to find some foundation for his certainty that human freedom is a fundamental self-evident truth of existence. He must have “un ideal específico de existencia (p. 53).” There is no neutrality here. A decision must be made (without a rational basis) for his decision. Heidegger finds his foundation in the concept of the “ser finitio” over and against the classical conception of the “ser siempre.” He joins the concepts of existence and essence (separated in classical philosophy) to talk about essence as existence; “es decir, ser en el modo en que el hombre es: el ser en el sentido más elevado está constituido por la mortalidad (p. 53).” After all, if essence is limited to our temporal existence, in this body, at this time and place, then time becomes our master and mortality our inheritance. Any other conception of essence outside of our present existence is metaphysics (and speculation) and deserves no part in the discussion.
On the one hand, this means that “el hombre es un ser finito e incapaz de conocimiento absoluto; su propio conocimiento de su finitud es finito (p. 53).” On the other hand, that is exactly what is needed to confront our mortality with a decision to authentic being. Only in the face of our mortality can we become authentic through decision rather than through other external influences (e.g. mass consumerism). In any event, rational philosophy was based upon the objective/subjective (or truth/opinion) distinction but existential philosophy is based on subjective relativism which has been revealed as “profundo, asertórico – con la advertencia de que no es apodíctico (p. 53).”
Strauss points out that this is, indeed, a coherent exposition of the human condition starting not from essence but from existence but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some problems with the overall approach. We have already mentioned some of them earlier in this summary but here Strauss mentions them again. First, Heidegger cannot completely separate his analysis of the human condition from his Judeo-Christian roots. There are too many points of connection. Secondly, his ideal of human existence founded on the freedom to decide for ourselves what is meaningful is arbitrary. Third, his concept of the highest knowledge being “el conocimiento finito de la finitud,” begs the question of how one can understand “finitud” without some concept of “infinitud.”
Somehow we cannot escape Metaphysics no matter how hard we try. For Heidegger there is no return to the metaphysical. He suggests that we need to re-state or re-interpret metaphysical questions from a purely secular point of view. But the secularization of philosophy is within the context of modern subjectivity. On the one hand, existentialism claims to be the ultimate expression of philosophy, the final intuition about the nature of existence, of man firmly established within the context of his own historical situation. But on the other hand, they leave no room for future truth or insight or development of philosophy while at the same time denying that history is now at an end, and no more thinking needs to be done since the final word has been given.
Strauss gives us a taste of that historical context when he claims that “el existencialismo pertenece a la decadencia de Europa (p. 55).” He goes on to give us a taste of his political philosophical abilities by analyzing Marx and Nietzsche and “el hombre de la sociedad mundial (p. 56).” How are individual freedoms (the goal of liberalism) maintained in a pluralistic society? How do we accomplish freedom without chaos? Here is where the discussion gets interesting. On the one hand, we have the two world wars where global domination with a unified Europe at its head was the goal of Germany. On the other hand, we have others who fought tooth and nail to stop that very thing and did so “fundamentalmente, porque hay algo en el hombre que no puede ser satisfecho por la sociedad mundial: el deseo de lo que es genuino, noble, grande (p. 58).”
According to Strauss, these ideals up to now have not been able to help mankind manage his own incredible power through technology and science but in fact they have weakened him. The argumentation here is weak and Strauss passes over neo-Thomism and other forms of reformed Christianity even though he gives a thorough analysis of Marxism. He describes the problem this way, “una sociedad mundial puede ser humana sólo si hay una cultura mundial, una cultura que realmente una a todos los hombres (p. 58).” The problem is that you would need “un base religiosa (p. 58)” to make that happen and mankind is not able, according to Strauss, to build a worldwide religion.
The problem is real especially for those who lived through the two world wars of the past century. Mankind is threatened by extinction by our own technology which is the fruit of our rationalism, which has its roots in Greek philosophy. Greek philosophy tried to understand the totality of the world and our experience in it but it failed. There are clearly aspects to our existence that lie outside of our rationality. To call this our “irrational” side is still to miss the point that rationality is, in itself, a value statement about truth versus opinion. But, as Strauss points out, to “trascender los límites del racionalismo requiere descubrir los límites del racionalismo (p. 59).” In fact, he goes on to say that “el racionalismo mismo se funda en presupuestos no racionales, no evidentes; pese a su poder aparentemente ilimitado, el racionalismo es vacio; se funda él mismo en algo que no puede dominar (p. 60).” Strauss then tries to find a solution in Oriental philosophy, in “el ser elusivo o ser un misterio (p. 60).” He looks to China for a solution but laments that China is also succumbing to the allure of Western technology and rational liberalism.
Heidegger understood the problem of a world society but had no final solution. Perhaps in some combination of the Western with the Eastern philosophies but, in general, there are problems that cannot be overcome primarily because the Eastern conception of life does not wish to dominate nature but to remove themselves from it and therefore a point of contact in common is difficult to find.
On the other hand, the Judeo-Christian religion is rooted in Eastern tradition and therefore holds some hope. Strauss says, “el pensamiento bíblico es una forma de pensamiento oriental (p. 60)” but is also deeply embedded in Western civilization and thought. But there is a problem according to Strauss. If you take the Biblical worldview as an absolute, it will become an obstacle to other Eastern ways of thinking that may also be useful. On the one hand, the Bible “es el Oriente dentro de nosotros, los occidentales (p. 60)” but on the other hand, he means “no la Biblia en cuanto Biblia sino la Biblia en cuanto Oriente puede ayudarnos a superar el racionalismo griego (p. 60).” It is the specific concept of “being” that matters from the Bible, nothing more.
Of course, much of this discussion is no longer about Heidegger but about Strauss and his political philosophy. He has much to say in other places about the unresolved tensions between Athens and Jerusalem which would be useful to bring into this discussion but his overall point of separating the fundamental concept of “being” in the Biblical revelation from the rest of the Biblical content is dubious at best. It begs the question whether the absolute, objective truth of the Bible and its worldview is not the historical context for the Biblical concept of “being.” If it is so (and the Bible claims that it is so), then no such surgery as Strauss proposes would ever be successful.
But he seems to be on the right track when he states that “el fundamento de los fundamentos que se halla indicado en la palabra “ser” será el fundamento no sólo de la religión sino también de todo Dios posible. A partir de aquí se puede comenzar a comprender la posibilidad de una religión mundial (p. 60).” Still, there are problems. Strauss still seems to give priority to rationalism as the filter through which the “problematic” concept of being in the East would be filtered.
This is not faith seeking understanding but reason interpreting faith. It doesn’t work. The dilemma is real because governments and politicians cannot force faith on people, it cannot make faith happen, it cannot legislate faith. Worse still, if faith has a specific content or worldview and other competing worldviews exist, how does one “encourage” a conversion to another faith without losing the value of their culture and ethnic history.
Of course, like always, the answers usually lie in the presuppositions with which we came to the discussion in the first place. Perhaps if we started with faith and used reason within the boundaries of that faith by re-interpreting rationality more modestly within the bounds of religion, we could get on the right track. But then we might discover that God exists, that he has his own agenda, that a world society is a Babel that he is bound and determined to destroy (or allow it to destroy itself), that this world is both the context for redemption and therefore valuable and worth saving from a temporal point of view but is also under the curse of God and will be destroyed and renewed at the same time from an eternal point of view, that human arrogance and sin (which is rebellion against God) is the heart of the problem of “freedom without chaos” and that the solution of God is “relational based” not “knowledge based.”
If the divine interpretation of man’s existence is heeded, then we would acknowledge that we are our own worst enemies and that faith in God through Jesus Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit is the only solution individually and corporately but that this world is at war and that ultimate peace is not possible until all things are brought to an end. In other words, God has a different analysis of the human condition, a different solution and a different agenda.
The real question is whether or not the “Caesars” of the modern political elite will see Christianity as a threat to their dream of worldwide domination for the good of all based on one rational religion that is tolerant of all beliefs or whether they will accept that only Christianity, as a light in the darkness, as a city on a hill, can keep society from falling into chaos long enough to get the message out to the entire world that there is another way, that there is a salvation that goes beyond this world, that human freedom to choose our own destiny, our own morality, our own meaning is, indeed, the abyss and we must step away from it or be thrown into it to suffer the everlasting “angst” of those who want a life without God, without identity, without purpose, without significance beyond what they themselves can fashion.
As Strauss points out at the end of his chapter, everything ends up back at metaphysics. Strauss says, “parece que no se puede evitar preguntar a qué se ha debido el surgimiento del hombre y del Sein, qué lo extrajo de la nada, dado que ex nihilo nihil fit (de la nada nada llega a ser) (p. 63).” This is a big problem for Heidegger as well but he still claims that “no hay lugar para Dios creador (p.63).” He is willing to say “ex nihilo omne ens qua ens (de la nada todo ente llega a su ser) (p. 63)” but without any biblical content to back it up. This appears to be nothing more than a predisposition against the supernatural but it is consistent with his ultimately “rational” basis for existentialism. But what is his alternative? What is this source of all being in the world? Strauss tells us that “Esse, como Heidegger lo concibió….es una síntesis de las ideas platónicas y del Dios bíblico: es impersonal como las ideas platónicas y elusivo como el Dios bíblico (p. 63).”
So where does that leave us? There is no rationale, no argumentation, just a statement of value (or non-value) covered in the cloak of factibility. The interesting thing is that metaphysics apparently is indispensable no matter how you look at it and the ultimate questions of life can only be understood in the context of that kind of discussion. No matter that Heidegger redefines metaphysics in secular terms. It isn’t that much different from the conclusions of natural theology. It isn’t really the God of the Bible but it does recognize that some sort of Being exists, necessarily, to make everything work. Otherwise, we are left without even the ability to discuss the issue. At the end of the day, God will have the final word.
- ¿Qué aspectos no entendí?
Strauss pointed out a couple of times that Heidegger had problems with his own conception of existentialism. He mentions at one point “la crítica heideggeriana al existencialismo…(p. 55).” It would be helpful to have a clearer idea of Heidegger’s own criticisms of existentialism in general.
- ¿Cómo se puede aplicar el contenido a la tarea filosófico-teológico?
When faced with the task of trying to understand the relationship between philosophy and theology, Heidegger is certainly interesting. As was pointed out in the summary, Heidegger himself could not entirely escape his own Judeo-Christian worldview since much of what he sees as the ultimate human condition is very much in line with the Biblical interpretation of the problem. The difference is that he idolizes mankind’s ability to make free choices to determine his own destiny and meaning whereas the bible deplores this estrangement of mankind from his Creator God who wishes to save him from himself.
It also needs to be said that if Strauss is correct and all philosophical discussion ultimately leads back to metaphysics (however you interpret it), then there is an inevitable link between philosophy and theology that cannot be ignored.
Master’s Program – FIET
Creo que hay muy buen posibilidades por una nueva enfoque de “natural theology” usando el arte, literatura y la experiencia humana (especialmente en el area de relaciones humanas y su analogia en la Trinidad).
Asi que, puede ser que hay todavia una Analogia de Ser (neo-thomismo) que sirve pero sin el proposito de ser como El Ser Divino ontologicamente atravez del conocimiento pero ser como El Ser Divino primero relacionalmente atravez de la reconciliacion que viene de la cruz como su hijos creado para que podemos conocerlo y gozarlo como corresponde en una relacion de amor, fe y esperanza.
Creo que para Aquinas el proposito de la teologia natural era originalmente para el proceso de sanctificacion dentro el contexto de la fe pero era demasiado facil de pensarlo como una manera de llegar a Dios (igual empezando con algunas presupposiciones biblicas) filosoficamente como una metodo apologetica (hasta evangelistica) para tener una puente entre el Cristianismo y el paganismo (o mejor al justificar el Cristianismo al paganismo atravez de la filosofia). Con el fracaso de la teologia natural de punto de vista racional, tambien fracaso su proposito apologetica/evangelistica (pero no necesiariamente de la sanctificacion).
Con la nueva direccion de la teologica natural, podemos recuperar el proposito sanctificado del Analogia del Ser atravez de la renovacion de la mente y atado a los fundamentos biblicos de la reconciliacion en vez de una apologetica basada en la teologia filosofica seperado de la testimonio de las escrituras.
Hablando de la experiencia humana, tambien lo hago este pensimiento sobre la relacion entre Filosofia y Teologia en el contexto de una Theodicy (evil, suffering and death) que es el contexto real del ser humano que ataca el valor humano y individual que todo nosotros sentimos por ser un persona consciente de su mismo.
En este contexto podemos empezar filosoficamente con The Secular Problem of Evil y buscar soluciones Filosoficas basada en el autonomia rational pero hasta ahora no hay una sistema filosofica que nos hace una repuesta satisfactoria y completa menos la Cristianidad. Creo, yo, que es un problema del fondo con la rationalidad como el unico autoridad de discubrir la verdad sobre nuestra existencia.
Hay algo en el ser humano que no es tan rational que justamente nos hace humano – como el amor, fe y esperanza (categorias relacionales) y la rationalidad (vs. rationalismo), la necesidad de ser significante (especialmente al frente del maldad) y el miedo de no ser nada (la muerte).
Precisamente porque el hombre tiene tanto valor, esta viviendo un existencia “abnormal” que el sospecho que es “absurdo”. Por eso busca una repuesta filosofical y teological….pero la filosofia no puede dar repuesta rational a las necesidades “irrationales” que mejor represente la experiencia humana y que significa ser humano.
Lo mejor que la filosofia puede decir es que venimos de algo impersonal (evolucion) y que estamos aca por accidente y que el tiempo es nuestra amo y no hay otra repuesta que acceptar la realidad como es.
Obviamente no es suficiente la repuesta filosofica porque el problema es relacional (con uno mismo) en terminos de valor y relacional (con uno mismo y otros) en terminos de la maldad y sufrimiento hasta con la naturaleza (incluyendo nuestro propio cuerpo) en terminos de la muerte.
Es la dilemma de nuestra existencia – tener una relacion precaria con la naturaleza donde la necesitamos pero es peligroso a nuestra valor y sobrevivencia. Encima es “amoral” en el sentido que no nos ama, y no hay negociacion o comunicacion con la naturaleza para cambiar su “mente” en como nos trata.
Es verdad que mucha maldad en la naturaleza tiene origen humano pero igual – en terminos del espacio y tiempo – la naturaleza (incluyendo nuestros propios cuerpos) es peligroso, pero igual la necesitamos para sobrevivir en este mundo. Interesante que la repuesta Cristiana tiene que ver con una relacion primordial que nos han abandonado (ver Frued) con nuestro Creador y Padre Divino (pero un Padre real que existe, no simplemente una analogia del “autoridad” o consiencia).
En dia de hoy, embrazamos la “irracionalidad” de la vida pero sin limites, sin ancla ninguno. Todo vale pero no todo sirve. El ser humano tiene que “creer” el la repuesta para que la repuesta tiene poder en su vida. No es fe en fe solamente.
Hay contenido y este contenido tiene que ver con la auto revelacion de Dios en la historia, y su comunicacion atravez las escrituras para llegar a nosotros hoy y tener un impacto “irracional” en nuestras vidas (pero razonable segun el contexto y las presupposiciones del principio de una experiencia de Dios en la historia y interpretado para nosotros por los testigos originales y sus discipulos).
Tanto como el amor entre dos personas no tiene explicacion satisfactoria completa y los que nunca han experimentado este amor no tiene idea de que es asi tambien la experiencia del amor divino (ver “reformed epistemology”) que se verifique por su propio existencia.
Pero tenemos que “creer” que es verdad, que corresponde a la realidad (especialmente despues de la muerte pero en este vida tambien) por eso la “ancla” de nuestra “irracionalidad” tiene que ser “razonable” (dentro sus presupposiciones y contexto) basada en la verificacion (cuando es posible) historico y linguistico (porque las testigas usaron la lengua humana para interpretar y transmitir sus experiencias de la auto-revelacion de Dios especialmente en las actas historicas y persona historico de Cristo).
Este “ancla” en la conocimiento compartido de la ciencia de la verificacion historico y la evaluacion linguistico y la testimonia del poder de cambio y creencia en las vidas de los otros cristianos (especialmente cuando estan enfrentando la maldad, el sufrimiento y el muerto) es necesario para realmente creer.
Es fe buscando entenderse pero para entenderse tiene que ser razonable (dentro el contexto y presupposiciones de la fe).
No hay divorcio completo entre la “racionalidad” de ciencia y la “irracionalidad” de la vida humana y el ser humano en su profundidad. Hay un puente (una ancla) entre los dos, pero empieza del lado “irracional” de la experiencia de fe, esperanza y amor que uno encuentra en una experiencia de la revelacion (ver Barth pero con contenido historico y linguistico) de Dios cuando enfrentamos las buenas noticias de las escrituras.
La epistomologia reformada dice que conocer algo por fe es legitima (y se verifica por si mismo) y tiene su analogias en la experiencia humana (como el amor, el fe y la esperanza).
Hay una brecha real entre la Filosofia y la Teologia (Tillich) pero con contenido y methodologia y estructuras de pensimiento en comun (la puente) justamente porque no es una cuestion primariamente “rational” o logico pero relacional y “razonable”.
Puede ser que este significa que no se puede llegar a “la certeza racional” del existencia de Dios o “la verificacion completo y racional” de la verdad de la Biblia pero este no tiene que ser el proposito de la nueva teologia natural.
En vez de la certeza racional o la verificacion completo (las dos opciones que viene del punto de vista “sin fe primero”), se puede utilizar la teologia natural y la verificacion historical parcial (pero consistente) como un testigo de que el fe es “razonable” (dentro sus presupposiciones y contexto) y no se puede descartar por razones racionales, tampoco como no se puede descartar el amor, el fe y la esperanza solamente porque muchas vezes no tiene fundamento verdadero (en terminos de las relaciones humanas).
La “ultima” verificacion cientifica y racional es posible pero solamente atravez una auto revelacion de Dios masivo y largo, sobre el tiempo (se llama el juicio final) pero va a ser demasiado tarde. Vamos a estar seguro pero igual vamos a estar perdido relacionalmente porque el gran necesidad humano no es la verificacion de la existencia de Dios o la verdad de su palabra pero fe en El y reconciliacion relational con El (no es la duda basada en la autonomia rational del ser humano pero la fe que nos salva de nuestra situacion de ser perdidos en el espacio y tiempo).
1. Philosophy is based on humanistic rationality as a method of inquiry and determination of truth.
2. Rationally unexplainable phenomena/events essential to life exists (e.g. love, cause of the Big Bang, faith etc)
3. Philosophy (just like science) cannot fully explain reality.
4. We must either accept irrationality or redefine rationality or abandon the search for a unified, comprehensive worldview through Philosophy.
To accept irrationality or abandon the search is to accept meaninglessness which renders all thinking and philosophy to a useless mind game.
The only recourse is to redefine rationality as a method of inquirey and a determiner of truth by
1) eliminating the presupposition against the supernatural (especially in light of the Kalam Cosmological Argument and Big Bang Cosmology).
2) allowing validation in human experience for theories/hypothesis appropriate to that form of validation such as those falling under relational categories.
3) modifying the application of different forms of rationality and knowledge (i.e. reformed epistemology) according to the subject matter studied.
4) allowing for levels of practical probability rather than absolute certainty (which would give new impetus to natural theology and arguments for the existence of God)
This approach allows for a redefinition of Philosophy as a method of inquiry more than as a determiner of truth. It allows for an amplification of the concept and application of rationality kwithin an alternative/closed system of beliefs founded on presuppositions that are ultimately unverifyable within our present existence or subjectively (albeit “communally”) and partially verifiable and still be considered rational or at least reasonable given certain presuppositions.
This approach, then, would specifically allow for a Christian Philosophy as well as a Philosophy of the Christian Religion that uses the methodology and procedures of rationality to determine the inner consistency and validity of the Christian belief system as a working hypothesis for explaining all (rational and irrational) aspects of human experience.
This approach may reduce the apologetic value of Christianity for those still committed to an autonomous rationality in search of certainty but it would be a much more honest (and modest) approach that would allow for a clearer and rational communication of the Christian worldview while maintaining the “entry fee” of a reasonable (vs. blind) faith that is more “reasonable” precisely because its internal consistencies and historical basis and validation in human experience was expounded first in the apologetic process (i.e. a two step approach in reverse which is really a combined, integrated approach).
I would call this approach Distinctive Apologetics because it does not seek to prove or convince but rather to “differentiate” itself over and against other worldviews and philosophical (and religious) systems of belief.
I believe that this is the present state of affairs in any event among most evangelicals but here I give it my rational justification based on the necessary inability of Philosophy to reach a satisfactory and comprehensive solution bassed on its current method of inquiry and definitions of truth.
I couldn’t sleep last night because I think I found out how to finish my last chapter in the first book of The Desert Warrior Series on philosophical apologetics. I went from the Secular Problem of Evil to the Religious Problem of Evil but I haven’t been able to write the last chapter yet. I needed a rationally sound bridge between philosophy and theology. Somehow I had to bridge the “gap” but not because philosophy didn’t have an answer but because, by nature, it couldn’t give an answer.
Now that I am taking the Masters program with FIET, we are studying philosophy and theology and I came across an idea that I want to explore further. For now, I am calling it the “God of the Gaps in Philosophy” (as over against science). The basic idea is that philosophy based on autonomous (or humanistic) rationality will always end up with “the impersonal plus time plus chance” and this is inadequate to explain the human need for the “irrationality” (on that basis) of faith, hope and love etc.
The rationality of “irrationality” has to start in art, literature and human experience and relationships (i.e. a new focus to natural theology). On p. 266 of Colin Brown’s book, Philosophy and the Christian Faith, I made a comment in the margin that “the god of the gaps but gaps are inevitable rationally since the gaps have to do with the irrationality of being human. The gaps are necessary but painful if autonomous (i.e. humanistic) rationality is our final autority (much like the single man who is a “player” in his relationships with various women who justifies his disbelief in true love as a way of validating his “player” lifestyle).
This the comment that sparked a night of tossing and turning that gave me the conclusion that I had found my last clue to help me write my last chapter. Basically, the idea is that there is something wrong with philosophy (vs. something wrong with theology per se) based on an autonomous rationality that cannot deal with the basic humanness of mankind (i.e. the very things that make us human) which is irrational (eg. love, longing for significance in the face of evil, the existence of rationality in the first place, and the fear of non-being, etc). It is because man is NOT nothing that his lostness is so horrible and philosophy inevitably sends mankind on a wild goose chase into the wilderness of his own making.
There is a fundamental conflict between a philosophy based on autonomous rationality and the absurdity of an abnormal existence and a retreat into the fortress of pride will serve no one in the face of evil and suffering and death which are a primordial attack on our intrinsic value.
There is NO hope for a new philosophical system to solve the problem. It is a fundamental problem with the very foundations of philosophy that forbits it to create a unified worldview that can stand in the face of evil (i.e. a theodicy).
Even if “irrationality” is embraced (as it is today in our post-modern world), without an anchor in history, language and experience, everything can be believed and the divorce between philosophy and theology (reason and empirical knowledge) is final. Irrationality without an anchor fails to be believable and lacks unity (and cogency) as a worldview. It is essential that mankind believe the “irrationality” of divine self-revelation and action and love for it to have any positive effect in fulfilling the psychic needs of mankind.
Obviously all of this is a potporri of ideas and clues and suggestions for further study but I think there is something here to work on. This is a draft, off the top of my head approach that needs a lot more study, verification and finetuning of ideas but it has some merit as a roadmap of sorts for the layman as he is faced with the myriad of ideas and approaches in modern contemporary philosophy.
I need the time to focus on developing this approach in more detail. Yes.
I am coming at all of this from the point of philosophical apologetics (vs. philosophical theology) since as an evangelical Christian, I am interested in “faith seeking understanding” which is the whole point of the exercise (i.e. the irrationality of a reasonable faith seeking to understand itself). Distinctive Apologetics claims that there is a relational breach between faith and rationalism (just like in any relationship) that cannot be overcome withou an experience of “revelation” based on (and anchored in) history, language and human testimony in the face of evil, suffering and death.
Only God by means of revelation can bridge the gap.
Karl Barth – La Humanidad de Dios
Allí habría que ver si para Barth la cuestión de Dios es una negación de la cuestión del hombre… y qué dice Barth de la filosofía o del lenguaje filosófico.
Karl Barth, en su libro La Humanidad de Dios, habla sobre la cuestión de Dios en el contexto del liberalismo de la iglesia protestante.
Por eso, dice que está en contra de una teología basada en el hombre religioso y no en un Dios divino y humano a la vez.
Hablar de la divinidad de Dios sin hablar de su humanidad es liberalismo. Hablar de la humanidad de Dios basada en su divinidad (definida como la libertad absoluta del amor) expresado en Jesucristo es ser evangélico.
Entonces la cuestión de Dios tiene primacía y es por eso que no es una negación de la cuestión del hombre.
La humanidad de Dios basada en la libertad del amor de su divinidad expresado por Jesucristo es, precisamente, el hecho que da valor al hombre.
Entonces todo ser humano es hijo de Dios y hermano de Jesucristo si se da cuenta o no y nosotros los creyentes tenemos la responsabilidad de compartir este buena noticia con cada uno de ellos.
Nuestro enfoque tiene que ser en el “humano encontrando a Dios” o en “Dios encontrando a la humanidad” y no en el hombre en si o en Dios en sí mismo.
La forma en que hablamos de este “relación” entre Dios y el ser humano tiene que ser positiva, llena de gracia y amor porque el pacto entre los dos es una reflexión de la naturaleza divina que elige ser humana.
Al final, cuando hablamos del valor del ser humano expresado en Jesucristo, siempre tenemos que hablar de la humanidad en plural. No hay un creyente individual pero solamente en relación con otros.
Por todas estas razones, la cuestión de Dios es el fundamento de la cuestión y valor del hombre en el pensamiento de Barth.
¿Y qué dice Barth de la filosofía o del lenguaje filosófico?
En primer lugar, para el pensamiento de Barth, “la humanidad de Dios y su conocimiento reclaman una determinada actitud y orientación del pensamiento y lenguaje cristiano-teológico” (p. 15).
Mas bien, porque el objeto del teología es la relación entre Dios y el hombre, “la forma fundamental de la teología es la oración y la predicación” (p.15). O sea, una forma “dialogal” que afecta a todo humanidad.
Si no es así, entonces el pensamiento y lenguaje han convertido en algo “profano.”
Sin embargo, “cuando se trata, pues, de dirigirse a los demás, bien puede emplearse ocasionalmente cierto lenguaje un tanto “no religioso” de la calle, de los periódicos, de la literatura y hasta de la filosofía en el peor de los casos.”
Para Barth, no hay mucho lugar por la filosofía en sí pero acepta el uso del lenguaje de la filosofía cuando es necesario.
Aunque Barth rechaza la filosofía en sí y particularmente la teología natural, por el otro lado acepta una correspondencia entre Dios y los hombres en la práctica. No es una “analogía” ontológica pero lingüística entre nuestra “pensamiento y lenguaje con la humanidad de Dios” (p. 12).
Cuando Barth hice su análisis sobre el argumento ontológico de Anselmo, nos han sugerido que Anselmo no intento de armar un teología natural pero más bien empezó con la fe no con la razón solamente. El contexto de su argumentos filosóficos es su frase famosa de ” “faith seeking understanding” (la fe buscando entenderse), que quería decir que un amor activo hacia Dios busca una conocimiento más profundo de Dios. Entonces, para Anselmo, según la análisis de Barth, no era teología natural basada en la razón pero mejor un argumento teológico utilizando la razón como herramienta de la fe.
Se puede concluir, entonces, que en el pensamiento de Barth, no hay lugar para la teología filosófico basada en una teología natural sin empezar con la fe (que es una relación entre Dios y el hombre expresado por Jesucristo).
Master’s Program – FIET
- Nombre y apellido del alumno Bert Amsing
- Fecha June 21, 2016
- Título del texto leído Paul Ricoeur
Existencia y Hermenéutica
- ¿De qué trata el artículo o capítulo leído?
Paul Ricoeur, in his chapter “Existencia y hermenéutica,” in his book El Conflicto de las Interpretaciones, gives us the foundation for understanding how the process of hermeneutics reveals our existence.
- ¿Cuál es la idea central del autor?
His central idea is that a linguistic philosophy, by providing a general theory of interpretation (which is what he is trying to do here), has the potential to bring the otherwise conficting interpretations/hermeneutics into a unified concept of man’s existence.
- ¿De qué nos quiere convencer?
Ricoeur wants to convince us that the hermeneutic of psychoanalysis reveals an architecture of being dependent on desire, the hermeneutic of the phenomenon of spirit reveals a theology of being dependent on spirit and the hermeneutic of the phenomenon of religion reveals an eschatology of being dependent on the sacred and that these three major ways of interpreting human existence are ultimately parts of a whole that is the holy grail of philosophy.
- ¿Cuáles son los puntos fuertes y los puntos débiles del texto?
Right at the beginning of this chapter, Ricoeur already starts off on the wrong foot with his interpretation of St. Augustine’s use of allegory. As was pointed out in another review, St. Augustine did not use allegory as his main (or only) hermeneutical tool but Ricoeur uses it justify all biblical interpretation as a hermeneutic in the sense of having a surface meaning and a deeper meaning. The manner in which Ricoeur uses this one concept of biblical hermeneutics to apply it to the whole of the biblical text fits his own philosophical assumptions but is not true to the biblical worldview. In fact, this is a major issue and forms one of the basic differences between a secular and a Christian approach to a general theory of interpretation. This fundamental concept of hermeneutics as revealing that which is hidden and thereby having a multiplicity of meanings is the basis of Ricoeur’s entire approach but it is not how the Bible looks at it and is in danger of being nothing more than a modern version of the gnostic heresy.
From a biblical point of view, the problem is not in the text but in man. Ricoeur is willing to admit this to an extent and in a different way later on in this same article but he still maintains that the biblical text cannot be accepted as it stands. Not only does it need to be stripped of its supernatural cultural trappings and fundamentally re-interpret its myths, but as religious language it is fundamentally symbolic language (rather than historical or scientific language) and therefore consists of a surface meaning and a hidden meaning. In fact it is the stripping away and the re-interpreting that is an integral (but not complete) part of the process of hermeneutics which is to get to the real meaning behind the words.
None of this is the biblical perspective on how interpretation works. There is a mixture of language types in the biblical text. Some of it is historical language (eg. the Gospel of Luke, Acts of the Apostles etc). Some of it is poetry (eg. Psalms) and some of it is narrative. It isn’t only symbolic language and it certainly isn’t all allegory. On the one hand, it needs to be interpreted just like any other collection of literary works within its own cultural, historical and linguistic context but it also must be understood within its own biblical history and canon of the Old Testament, the newer interpreted in the light of what came before, biblical theology and redemptive history, simply because it is one story and has one supernatural author. The OT provides the theological and conceptual/linguistic context for the New Testament while, at the same time, the New Testament provides a new and fresh revelation of the acts and words of God in human history.
Still the fundamental problem does not reside in the biblical text but rather in our ability to understand it because of the noetic effects of sin both before and after salvation (in lesser measure). Since Ricoeur rejects that interpretation of the human condition, he has reinterpreted the biblical text as a source of symbolic figures that need to be interpreted through various stages.
- ¿Qué aspectos no entendí?
The article in itself was understandable. What needs more work is the integration and distinction of this “secular” general theory of interpretation from a “religious” or, more specifically, a “Christian” general theory of interpretation. On the one hand, it is clear that “secular” does not mean “neutral” or “objective” vis a vis a “religious” or “Christian” point of view. That is evident in Ricoeur´s own bias against the supernatural, his anti-historical view of the biblical text, his existential and phenomenological presuppositions and his general misunderstanding of the biblical text (as well as his continued violation of his own rules of interpretation when it comes to dealing with the biblical text).
On the other hand, what is not clear is whether all religious hermeneutics/interpretations of reality/existence can be brought under this “secular” general theory of interpretation without doing damage to their view of the world. What is clear is that the “Christian” point of view is radically opposed to the foundational elements of this “secular” approach and reserves the right to elaborate an alternative approach that may use the general structure/approach but with a different foundation than the philosophical anthropology of Ricoeur and his existential and phenomenological assumptions.
Taking the supernatural element of Christianity at face value and the biblical text as revealed from a God-who-is-there (and therefore as authoritative and inspired) as rooted in the historical events of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, understood in its own historical/cultural/linguistic context based on the theological/conceptual context of the Old Testament, reveals an entirely different direction for a Christian philosophy of interpretation/hermeneutics that is not merely “totalitarian” or even “eschatological.”
It, at least, claims to be a pivotal event/word that is not only necessary but key to a self-understanding of man’s existence in this dark and dangerous world that holds any real hope to overcoming evil in the heart of man. Looked at as two concentric circles that intersect in the middle, one would be a secular approach and the other would be a biblical approach in terms of its foundational elements and in the middle there would be some overlap and coherence in method and approach that may need some restatement but is in basic agreement. That is the task of a Christian philosophy of hermeneutics that remains to be done.
- ¿Cómo se puede aplicar el contenido a la tarea hermenéutica?
If, by the work of hermeneutics, we mean the actual work of the exegete to understand the biblical text, very little. If we mean the development of a Christian general theory of interpretation/hermeneutic that goes beyond the rules of exegesis and provides a linguistic philosophy based on Christian presuppositions that can incorporate and re-interpret other forms of hermeneutics (eg. phsycoanalysis, other religions, philosophy itself, including a phenomenology of spirit and religion) while maintaining their integrity as a secular approach to understanding the nature of man’s existence.
This Christian approach is not merely apologetic any more than the secular approach is, but it is in dialectical opposition and as an exercise in distinctive apologetics it has much value. At the same time it must go beyond apologetics to provide a more ample biblical worldview that can truly engage with the individual and social problems that face our world and speak both judgment and hope, destruction and interpretation to use Ricoeur’s words, into each situation while maintaining God’s eternal perspective and agenda, his theodicy and his commitment to the cross of Christ as the exclusive solution to the problem of evil. It is both a judgment on the “secular” approach to meaning as well as proclamation of hope for those who abandon the “secular” approach to life and embrace the “supernatural” approach as proclaimed through the biblical text.
Master’s Program – FIET