That the young may love the truth. . . .
TBlurb for Thursday (wed night) goes here
We welcome Gilbert Germain to VoegelinView. etc., mpt “ quote from,” Ja. This week read Part 1 of “Th Scientism etc.”
“In the Beginning All the World was America”
Eric Voegelin concludes his consideration of the English movement toward materialism by looking at John Locke, his coattail follower John Toland, and the emergence of fake primitivism, freethinking and scientism: “Locke’s spiritual gifts and intellectual abilities were no match for the problems he tried to solve, and his ethos as a thinker was deplorably weak.” Read part 5 of “The English Quest for the Concrete.”
Moving Beyond the Dichotomy of Reason and Revelation
Juergen Gebhardt concludes his consideration of Eric Voegelin and Leo Strauss, observing: “The question ‘quid sit deus’ [ What is God? ] was never far from Strauss’s mind and, in the search for an answer that his hermeneutics denied him, he untiringly returned to Plato’s Socrates and to the Socrates of Aristophanes and of Xenophon.” Read part 3 of “The Timely Legacy of Voegelin and Strauss.”
Suffering as the Basis for Community
Richard Avramenko and Jingcai Ying offer their portrayal of three women in Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, and find in the characters a redemptive meaning for suffering: “Love is compassion, the willingness to suffer with others . . . . By sharing others’ suffering and self-sacrificing, individuals can forge a communal bond that leads to salvation.” This week read Part 2 of “Dostoevsky’s Heroines, or, on the Compassion of the Russian Woman.”
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Scientism Unbound: Baudrillard and the Critique of Technology –Part 1
By Gil Germain
Gil Germain is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Prince Edward Island. His books include Spirits in the Material World: The Challenge of Technology (Lexington) and A Discourse on Disenchantment: Reflections on Politics and Technology (SUNY).
“The damage of scientism is done.”1 So said Eric Voegelin in 1948, amidst the afterglow of the allied defeat of fascism on the continent. The damage he spoke of was a spiritual closing, prompted by an obsession with “the utilitarian segment of existence,” which turned, as he put it, on “the interlocking of science and social power.”
It was the conflation of modern science with the ‘one true way’ of understanding reality that accounted for modern science’s social prestige and the stature of the technological order it spawned. Voegelin challenged the presumption that the scientific method could serve as the model of inquiry for the whole of what is. Yet he realized the extent to which this presupposition informed what had become a planetary worldview. So, for Voegelin, the damage done by scientism was total in two senses. One, the scientization of society is premised on the assumption that there exists one path to a true understanding of reality, a path that for Voegelin is inadequate to the task of providing a full account of reality. Two, this totalizing vision of the real has become a de facto global outlook.
from The Collected Works
The English Quest for the Concrete
— Part 5
This excerpt is taken from the The History of Political Ideas, Volume VI (CW vol 24) and is presented here in five parts. Part 1 may be read HERE.
We may resume now the problem of “primitivization.” Locke’s civilizational destruction is not idiosyncratic or arbitrary. It is not incidental to his ecclesiastical politics but an instrumental part in his program of restoring spiritual authority.
The question now arises as to whether the spiritual authority of Christianity can be restored by the Lockean method. And if, as we think, the means is not adequate for reaching the end, what is the end that actually will be reached if this means is brought into play?
In reflecting on these questions we must, first of all, be clear that the authority of the spirit does not disappear from the world if its institutionalization in a historical society breaks down. The spirit bloweth where it listeth, and if it does not blow through the soul of men in community it may still blow through the soul in solitude.
The Timely Legacy of Voegelin and Strauss–Part 3
by Juergen Gebhardt
Dr. Gebhardt is emeritus professor at the Insitute for Political Science at the University of Erlangen-Nürenberg. He is the editor of the final volume of the Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Selected Correspondence, 1924–1949. The following essay is taken from the Festschrift honoring Barry Cooper, Hunting and Weaving: Empiricism and Political Philosophy (St. Augustine’s Press, 2013), and appears here with permission. This is offered in three parts. Part 1 may be read HERE.
Faith and Philosophy
Throughout his life, Strauss recurred to the irresolvable conflict between philosophical knowledge and biblical faith.
“No justifiable purpose is served by obscuring this contradiction, by the postulating of the tertium from there.”60
Strauss would only grant
But prophets predict the coming of a messianic age, while Socrates merely holds that the perfect society is possible [per Strauss].61
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