Following an ardent debate in the 1930s on the question over whether something like a “Christian philosophy” exists, as Etienne Gilson, Jacques Maritain, and others held, the term was used by many thinkers and rejected by many others, not only by Heidegger who called it a contradiction in terms, an “iron wood,” but also by Thomists who wanted to see philosophy and Christian faith strictly separated. Seifert analyses five understandings of the term “Christian philosophy” which have never been expounded with such clarity and which he rejects for different, partly for opposite, reasons. He presents these senses of Christian philosophy, and his reasons for rejecting them, in clear, straight-forward language. He presents for the first time a series of eleven wholly different and thoroughly positive and fruitful ways of understanding the (rather misleading) term “Christian philosophy.” Identifying and distinguishing these legitimate ways to speak of “Christian philosophy” shed light on the manifold fruitful relations between reason and faith. In a second part of the book, Seifert gives an example of Christian philosophy in the sense of a philosophy of religion that shows the absolute presupposedness and necessity of the existence of human, divine, and angelic free will to make any sense of divine revelation and of Christian (but also of Muslim and Jewish) religion. In a third part, he presents a penetrating analysis of seven indubitable evidences that demonstrate the nature and real existence of human free will (in a so-called “libertarian” sense that rejects the thesis of the compatibility between free will and determinism). The book is introduced by the eminent Thomist philosopher, John Finnis.
Interpretations is a collection of essays produced by the distinguished philosopher Jude Dougherty over the past decade, written to inform or to provide commentary on contemporary issues. In probing the past to interpret the present they draw upon a perspective that one may call classical, the perspective of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and their followers across the ages, notably Thomas Aquinas, and his modern disciples, such as Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain.
The first part of Interpretations is an attempt to understand modernity’s break with the past, the repudiation of Scholasticism and the classical tradition. Dougherty does this by referencing the dominant preoccupations of the Middle Ages, of the Renaissance, of the Reformation, of eighteenth-century British empiricism, and of nineteenth-century German philosophy, drawing upon the readings of Remi Brague, Pierre Manent, and others. What unifies these reflections is the role of religion (both in Christianity and Islam) in society and its impact on the culture, as well as looking at what is called “modernity” where this role becomes reduced or absent.
The second part of the volume examines selected addresses by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI from a philosophical point of view. Benedict, like others through the course of history, has recognized the role of religion in producing cultural unity. These essays are an appreciation primarily of the subtlety of the former pontiff’s thought.
The third part of Interpretations collects essays and addresses on the practice and nature of philosophy that Dean Dougherty has given throughout his career at The Catholic University of America, and reflects the trajectory of his career and the development of his thought.
Well known for the important role he played in the American Restoration Movement, Alexander Campbell was one of the most respected and influential religious figures of 19th-century America. Although Campbell’s legacy as a religious leader and theologian has been widely acknowledged and documented, his contributions as a philosopher of religion have been largely neglected. The Philosophy of Religion of Alexander Campbell reintroduces readers to Campbell as a philosopher of religion and explores the philosophical basis for the views underlying his religious movement. It begins with a highly readable discussion of Campbell’s role in antebellum American religion and proceeds to an exploration of his philosophical influences. J. Caleb Clanton then reconstructs, explains, and evaluates Campbell’s philosophy of religion. He critically examines Campbell’s unique, revealed-idea argument for the existence of God—that is, if God did not exist, we could not form the distinct idea of God. Clanton goes on to explore Campbell’s defense of miracles, including the resurrection of Christ, and his responses to the problem of evil and the problem of divine hiddenness. The final and most speculative chapter collects and synthesizes from scattered writings Campbell’s view on morality and religion— namely that there is no morality without God—which has proven difficult to defend on philosophical grounds.
With this book, the author makes a unique and important contribution to the literature of the Stone-Campbell movement. Clanton presents Campbell’s views strictly in philosophical terms and evaluates them from a philosophical perspective without regard to religious apologetics. In doing so, he illuminates previously unexplored dimensions of Campbell and his work, both historically and theologically, and clearly validates Campbell’s inclusion in contemporary discussions of the philosophy of religion.
J. Caleb Clanton is Associate Professor of Philosophy and University Research Professor at Lipscomb University in Nashville.
In Poetics of the Flesh Mayra Rivera offers poetic reflections on how we understand our carnal relationship to the world, at once spiritual, organic, and social. She connects conversations about corporeality in theology, political theory, and continental philosophy to show the relationship between the ways ancient Christian thinkers and modern Western philosophers conceive of the "body" and "flesh.” Her readings of the biblical writings of John and Paul as well as the work of Tertullian illustrate how Christian ideas of flesh influenced the works of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Michel Foucault, and inform her readings of Judith Butler, Frantz Fanon, and others. Rivera also furthers developments in new materialism by exploring the intersections among bodies, material elements, social arrangements, and discourses through body and flesh. By painting a complex picture of bodies, and by developing an account of how the social materializes in flesh, Rivera provides a new way to understand gender and race.