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By Peter M. Collins

A Twentieth-Century Collision explores highbrow tradition within the usa through the 20th century, a subject matter which can't be understood with no cognizance to the sluggish narrowing of the scope of (academic) philosophy and its diminishing impact. This "narrowing" indicates a transforming into indifference to, and removing of, certainly metaphysical and prescriptively moral questions, in addition to the bifurcation of religion and reason.

American Catholic universities, it truly is contended during this publication, can render a seriously-needed contribution to battling the unwanted effects of this historic improvement, considered one of that's the separation of questions in regards to the final which means of existence from rational inquiry. This thesis is pursued through 1) reviewing a hugely selective―but additionally hugely representative―sample of pertinent mainstream philosophical ideas, and a pair of) evaluating them with rules of Pope John Paul II present in 3 records within which he elaborates his perspectives at the nature and function of philosophy (and its courting to theology) in Catholic larger schooling. This venture isn't really unrelated to fresh, power feedback that American Catholic universities have forfeited their identity―and therefore their certain contribution to American cultural pluralism.

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First, there is the responsibility to transcend the particular and concrete in order to demonstrate the universality of faith. The unity of the family and children of God must be preserved regardless of the diversity of places and customs. Citing St. Thomas Aquinas (De Caelo), John Paul II says that “what matters is ‘not what people think, but the nature of truth itself’” (FR, 69). On the other hand, various cultures represent diverse paths to truth and must be respected, and their development must be promoted.

Perhaps, the simplest way to explain this intellectual posture in terms of its lowest common denominator is to raise two (oversimplified) questions. 1) Is there some ultimate reality (that is, beyond space and time) which serves as a criterion for judging good and evil, the proper direction of one’s life, etc.? 2) Or, do all things (at least, knowable things) constantly change, rendering good and evil, and all value judgments, radically relative? The ultimate reality referred in question #1 could be an abstract principle, such as the Good of Plato or the First Cause of Aristotle.

After World War II attention was directed primarily to carefully defined and isolated questions of meaning in scientific and ordinary 20 Chapter One language within logic and epistemology by philosophers who had become known as logical positivists and linguistic analysts. I. Lewis in 1929), its prominence does represent a new level of the narrowing and secularizing trend of the earlier twentieth century. In regard to the narrowing, it is evident that the shift to the exclusively empirical, which provided a basis for Dewey’s position called “beyond agnosticism,” was overshadowed by the movement in which philosophy was carried to a position “beyond world perspectives,” as just described.

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