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Preface: Responding to the Call of Faith and Reason A little less than a year ago John Paul II issued his encyclical on the relationship between faith and reason, reminding us that philosophy is "one of the noblest of human tasks," and calling on philosophers to address a range of difficult problems, including daunting metaphysical problems. This issue of Logos features a set of philosophical essays that address some of die problems the Pope had in mind. Philosophy's commitment to governance by reason fits it to play an essential role in contemporary discussions of religion; this issue of Logos is not the last to offer readers a spread of philosophical papers that respond to the Pope's call. In "Death of the (Hand)maiden: Contemporary Philosophy in Faith and Reason," J. L. A. Garcia comments on the Pope's dismissal of the traditional image of philosophy as the handmaiden of theology and his insistence that philosophy, important in its own right, has an autonomy that must be preserved. Garcia notes that although philosophy must remain committed to its own principles, principles of reason rather than revelation, faith has aids to offer philosophy , including confidence in reality and being, confidence that logos 2:3 summer 1999 LOGOS we can understand the world, and caution against a presumption that obscures truth. Garcia ends his essay—as John Paul ends his encyclical —with reference to Mary, "a lucid image of true philosophy," in the Pope's words. Philosophers these days may be taken aback by the picture; it is still not uncommon for rationality, a defining virtue of the philosopher, to be regarded as distinctively masculine.As Garcia indicates, however, philosophy needs the discipline of virtues especially associated with Mary: "receptivity to truth and being, submission of mind to the greater reality beyond and about it, and obedience of will in following the truth where it leads, however uncomfortable, however humbling."These Marian virtues help produce strength, perseverance, and courage in the philosopher's quest for truth. The annunciation is paradigmatic for understanding receptivity to truth, submission of mind to a greater reality, and humble obedience to truth; and thus we choose it for our cover image. Philosophy may no longer be (merely) a handmaiden to theology, but Christian philosophers are ultimately servants of the God who has placed in our hearts a desire to understand truth, and given us the faculty of reason, with which we may approach truth. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord," Mary says to the angel Gabriel. We're pleased to offer readers a debate on theories of truth between two leading philosophers, Richard Rorty and John Searle in "Rorty v. Searle, At Last: A Debate." Theories of truth—theories about what it means to say that some statement is true or false— have been a part of philosophy since its inception, and are closely tied to some of the metaphysical problems John Paul cites as particularly urgent. Searle defends the "correspondence theory of truth,"which holds that to state the truth is to say of that which is that it is, and of that which is not that it is not, as Aristotle, one of the theory's early advocates, put it. This may seem tautologous, but one who endorses the correspondence theory of truth holds that the apparent tau- PREFACE tology is theoretically interesting. Rorty rejects the correspondence theory, defending instead a"pragmatist" account of truth, an account with roots going back to Protagoras, whose proponents include the American philosophersWilliam James and John Dewey. Pragmatists focus on the fact that true beliefs are useful; they take the characteristic of usefulness to display the nature of truth. Woven throughout Rorty and Searle's interchange are intriguing reflections on cultural pluralism, postmodernism, the NEH, the purpose of a university, and the state of the academy; their observations on these topics alone make the debate worth reading. But what difference does it make, in the end, which account of truth one accepts? Interestingly, Rorty and Searle don't agree on the significance of the main issue they debate. Rorty thinks the debate over truth has little relevance to larger cultural issues. The question of whether the correspondence theory...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-791X
Print ISSN
1091-6687
Pages
pp. 5-10
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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