A Twentieth-Century Collision: American Intellectual Culture by Peter M. Collins

By Peter M. Collins

A Twentieth-Century Collision explores highbrow tradition within the usa throughout the 20th century, a subject matter which can't be understood with no recognition to the slow narrowing of the scope of (academic) philosophy and its diminishing impression. This "narrowing" indicates a turning out to be indifference to, and removal of, surely metaphysical and prescriptively moral questions, in addition to the bifurcation of religion and reason.

American Catholic universities, it really is contended during this ebook, can render a seriously-needed contribution to scuffling with the unwanted effects of this ancient improvement, one in all that is the separation of questions about the final that means of lifestyles from rational inquiry. This thesis is pursued by way of 1) reviewing a hugely selective―but additionally hugely representative―sample of pertinent mainstream philosophical rules, and a couple of) evaluating them with rules of Pope John Paul II present in 3 files within which he elaborates his perspectives at the nature and position 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 hence their specified contribution to American cultural pluralism.

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Identification of some of those specific problems will establish the climate for the second section of the paper, concerning the teaching of philosophy in Catholic higher education. In the elaboration of the philosophical revolution of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and its aftermath, it becomes evident that sufficient (but cautious) generalization reveals two phases or levels of philosophical development since the turn of the century. The reactions against nineteenth century idealism in the forms of pragmatism, realism, and naturalism (occurring within the first three decades of this century) emphasize logic and epistemology, and are seen to exude a scientistic and empiricist spirit; they represent a narrowing and secularizing trend relative to the earlier lifeoriented, religious philosophies.

According to John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the inspiration for everyone in this academic community in all activities is the truth, and the key to the truth is the “spirit of Christ,” the basis for recognizing the dignity of the human person. The search for truth should be ingrained in each member of the community as a lifelong endeavor. “Animated by a spirit of freedom and charity” (ECE, I, 21), this community should combine humanistic and cultural development with liberal, technical, and professional learning.

I. W. Bridgman who developed strikingly similar principles independently of the University of Vienna philosophers. (See p. ) 77. , 33–34. 78. , 34. Of course, this mode of philosophy also raised questions which had been seriously neglected previously. 79. , 36. 80. Ibid. 81. , 36–37. 82. , 36. 83. Smith, 200. 84. Paul Weiss, “The Philosophic Quest,” Mid-Twentieth Century American Philosophy . . , ed. Bertocci, 240. 85. Ibid. 86. Smith, 200. 87. , 200–03. 88. , 204. 89. , 209. Despite the gloomy overall picture, Smith finds some hope for a change of philosophical venue on three bases: 1) a renewed interest in speculative philosophy rooted in an awareness of the inevitability of raising fundamental questions such as the nature and meaning of freedom and responsibility, the idea of American Philosophy in the Twentieth Century 27 history, and the concept of God; 2) a growing concern among college-age students for the broader speculative questions and problems of ethics and religion; and 3) a revival of interest in problems, such as those of religion, with clear philosophical bearings.

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