Adventures in Unfashionable Philosophy
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (63.1 KB)
Download PDF (34.5 KB)
Download PDF (37.9 KB)
The following essays unashamedly pursue metaphysics in the classical but now rather unfashionable sense. During my four decades of challenging undergraduate students with philosophic problems, the essays emerged like mushrooms, unpredictably, and even now seem worth reading for those interested in the problems they address. One readily recognizes their resonance with the thought of Thomas Aquinas, Henri...
1. On Being Yourself (1968)
Download PDF (44.5 KB)
âBe yourself!â Psychologists urge this upon us. Philosophers stress it. We increasingly recognize that it is profoundly necessary. But just what does it mean to âbe yourselfâ? In a sense this is a large question, and so I want to focus on just one sense in which I think âBe yourselfâ is often misunderstood. I attack such a misinterpretation, of course, on the basis of what I believe to be an essential ingredient in what it does mean to âbe yourself.â
2. Invitation to a Philosophic Revolution (1971)
Download PDF (131.7 KB)
This essay appeared in The New Scholasticism and was written in the flush of early enthusiasm for Whiteheadâs âprocess philosophy.â The essay in fact influenced several other more traditional philosophers to take a harder look at Whiteheadâs philosophy. I believe now, however, that whatever its merits, the essay is simplistic in its criticism of traditional thinking, especially that of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is, I think,...
3. The Temporality of Divine Freedom (1974)
Download PDF (113.9 KB)
This essay was inspired by a need to complement a major essay by Lewis S. Ford, âThe Non-Temporality of Whiteheadâs God.â1 Without disagreeing with anything Ford wrote, I was convinced that there was another side of the story that must be worked out if the Whiteheadian viewpoint is to square with revelation and our deepest religious convictions. Ford had admirably described the sense in which, in the...
4. Philosophic Understanding and the Continuity of Becoming (1978)
Download PDF (167.5 KB)
This moderately technical essay arose, as I now imagine, out of puzzlement over how central philosophic interpretations of Bergson and of Whitehead concerning the nature of becoming, especially the becoming that is human experiencing, could both be correct. The arguments for both views seemed quite persuasive yet mutually contradictory. Experiencing for Bergson was regarded as continuous, but for...
5. Transmutation and Whiteheadâs Elephant (1981)
Download PDF (67.7 KB)
This friendly criticism of two aspects of Whiteheadâs theory of sense perception was written for delivery at the First International Whitehead-Symposium held in Bonn, Germany, in 1981. The essay raises a problem internal to Whiteheadâs philosophy, a problem that did and still does bother me. It also adumbrates a criticism that Whiteheadâs philosophy seems to invite from the outside, a criticism of a...
6. Coming Around Again in Philosophy (1982)
Download PDF (86.7 KB)
This is the presidential address I gave before the Jesuit Philosophical Association of America in 1982 in Houston. It reflects back on my natural attraction to Bergsonâs and Whiteheadâs philosophies, particularly as expressed in âInvitation to a Philosophical Revolutionâ ten years earlier (essay 2), but from the more critical view that the intervening years furnished. In reviewing this address now I notice, with some surprise,...
7. Impossible Worlds (1983)
Download PDF (165.1 KB)
The previous essay points out but does not much develop the absurdity of attributing ontological status to the now popular conception of âpossible worlds.â The following essay is my first detailed polemic against that very popular fiction cherished by so many contemporary philosophers but destructive of the metaphysical advance made by Aristotle when he introduced the dynamic notion of the potentiality within...
8. Godâs Choice: Reflections on Evil in a Created World (1984)
Download PDF (80.0 KB)
âWhy did God create a world with so much evil in it?â In the face of the evils surrounding us, anyone who believes in the existence of a God who is infinitely powerful, knowing, and good, finds this question arising spontaneously and repeatedly. Although I have cited this question, I have no intention of trying to answer itânot only because evil is the most formidable of problems,...
9. Whiteheadâs Misconception of âSubstanceâ in Aristotle (1985)
Download PDF (137.5 KB)
My being invited to contribute to a special issue of Process Studies devoted to Whiteheadâs relation to other philosophers happened to coincide with my own eagerness to make the following correction, as I saw it (and still do), to what has always had the status of an unquestioned icon among Whiteheadian philosophers, namely, the conviction that âsubstanceâ is one of the most disastrous, though long-cherished...
10. Intuition, Event-Atomism, and the Self (1987)
Download PDF (104.5 KB)
In 1984 I had the honor of being invited to present a paper at a multidisciplinary conference held in Galveston, Texas, the aim of which was to explore the implications of Henri Bergsonâs philosophy for questions arising in contemporary science. Contributors to the conference came from countries as far away as Greece and from sciences as diverse as physics and neuropsychiatry. Among the philosophers was the...
11. Faces of Time (1987)
Download PDF (87.3 KB)
The following essay appeared in Thought, a Fordham University journal that unfortunately is no longer being published. Though fairly easy to read, the essay clarifies and develops a Bergsonian idea, already alluded to, of the two radically different conceptions of time that arise from two different ways of using the mind. In particular I suggest, perhaps originally, how the future can be thought to inhere in the...
12. Fatalism and Truth about the Future (1992)
Download PDF (126.6 KB)
This essay first appeared in The Thomist, and subsequently as a chapter in my book Making Sense of Your Freedom. It does not pretend to cover this whole issue of the relation of truth to time, controverted since Aristotle, but it may provide an accessible introduction to some aspects of the problem. It stakes out what I still think is a defensible position. Professional philosophers familiar with contemporary...
13. Relational Realism and the Great Deception of Sense (1994)
Download PDF (116.2 KB)
The Modern Schoolman was the birthplace of this short piece, an essay that I consider significant, not because I am saying something quite original (I really am not), but because of the importance of the issue for a sound philosophical understanding of sense perception. The basic thesis reaffirms in modern terms the essential view of St. Thomas Aquinas, and does it in stark contrast to a view of perception...
14. Why Possible Worlds Arenât (1996)
Download PDF (109.6 KB)
This essay is parallel to âImpossible Worldsâ (essay 7 in this volume), but more sharply focused on the issue itself with less attention to its historical background. Once again I could not resist attacking the contemporary philosophic penchant for thinking that the concept of âpossible worldsâ illuminates rather than obfuscates the basic metaphysical relation between possibility and actuality, a relation that...
15. Proposal for a Thomistic-Whiteheadian Metaphysics of Becoming (2000)
Download PDF (124.8 KB)
This essay is my first tardy response, after some twenty-nine years, to my own invitation (essay 2) to attempt to fuse the better elements of the respective metaphysics of St.Thomas Aquinas of the thirteenth century and Alfred North Whitehead of the twentieth. It was about timeâand also about being and becoming. A notion of how such an unlikely merger might be effected had gradually taken...
16. Epochal Time and the Continuity of Experience (2003)
Download PDF (137.6 KB)
This is the presidential address delivered to the Metaphysical Society of America at its meeting at Santa Clara University in March 2002. It is as much an essay on metaphysical method as on time, and it draws on ideas developed in earlier essays, especially essay 4 of this volume. I hope the reader will forgive the repetition of some of the principles already invoked, since I still stand by them. But I do...
17. âKnow Yourself!â (2007)
Download PDF (69.2 KB)
I close this volume with excerpts from the last chapter of my book Aims: A Brief Metaphysics for Today, which constitutes my best development to date of the melding of the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas and of Whitehead that I invited in essay 2 of this volume. I hope it would be fair to say that it amounts to an enriching or modernizing of Thomasâs metaphysics in terms of more contemporary insights.
Download PDF (224.9 KB)
Index [Includes About the Author]
Download PDF (78.2 KB)
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2010