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Monday, August 22, 2011

0187: Philosophy of Actus Essendi -- One Universally Valid Philosophy Recommended by Fides et Ratio (XII)

Entry 0187: The Philosophy of the Actus Essendi -- The One Universally Valid Philosophy Recommended by Fides et Ratio (XII)

Thomas J. White writes:

Do we lack foundations or necessarily binding starting points through which natural reason might convey a universally compelling vision of the tasks of human thought?

Perhaps, in our frail and fallen state, it is only under the stimulating and strengthening effects of grace that weakened reason is healed.

It does not follow that there are no such things as essentially necessary rational arguments, but only that in the openness to a philosophical argument more is at work than the operation of a mere neutral rationality.

For I am more likely to consider arguments that I have a soul if at the same time I am otherwise seeing, through the eyes of faith, that the spiritual person who I am needs his soul to be saved.

The opposite is true as well, however: Even if by faith I believe in the reality of the soul, if I cannot see the rationality of the belief, the faith remains something extrinsic to reason and therefore inherently unstable for me, and potentially painful to embrace.

For without recourse to the explicit practice of philosophical study in its own right, Christians are unable to receive from the tradition they espouse its own classical practices of thought.

Ignorance of philosophy sterilizes the intellectual reception of the Christian tradition. [1]

[1] Thomas J. White, “Whether Faith Needs Philosophy,” in First Things August/September, 2011, pp. 47-51.