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The genius of Zhu Xi

Zhu Xi or Chu Hsi (Chinese Neo-Confucian philosopher, Song Dynasty, 1130–1200). Considered the greatest of the Neo-Confucian scholars, Zhu Xi’s thought initially represented a challenge to orthodox Neo-Confucianism. His commentaries on “The Four Books”, however, would eventually form the basis for all civil service examinations conducted in China for the next 400 years, until that system was abolished in 1905.

Life magazine ranked Zhu Xi as the 45th most important person in the last millennium.

Zhu Xi Poem in Monument House Utrecht

Feeling on reading a book

Zhu Xi Poem in Monument House Utrecht
1. My half a mu square pond is like a mirror in an open box

2. The sunlight and shadow of clouds linger in the mirror together;

3. I ask the pond how it gets the water so limpid (clear),

4. That is because running water is coming from the source.

Big thanks to Anne Ku

Zhu Xi’s views on human nature

Zhu Xi (reads Chu Hsi in the Wade-Giles system, 1130-1200) was a late Song scholar who synthesized the earlier Song scholars of Zhou Dunyi, Cheng Hao, Cheng Yi, and Zhang Zai, and edited the Four Books. It was he who gave what was later accepted as the standard interpretation of Confucian learning in the imperial examinations, completing a second wave of canonizing Confucian learning after the Confucian scholar Dong Zhongshu succeeded in having the emperor Han Wudi accept Confucian learning as the state ethic in the Han Dynasty.

The Cheng-Zhu school of Confucian learning (named after the Cheng brothers and Zhu Xi) absorbed many elements from Daoist and Buddhist teachings but combated the other worldly tendencies of both teachings. It became Confucian orthodoxy for 500-600 hundred years before challenged by Confucian scholars who wanted to go back to the Confucian classics before they were abridged into the Four Books.

In the 20th century, Neo-Confucian learning saw its revival in East Asia and what one could call the Chinese diaspora: areas where large Chinese communities reside, including southeast Asia and Chinese communities in America.

In Zhu Xi’s struggles with Daoism and Buddhism, like his predecessors, he integrates elements of both into his writings. In what follows I will examine first the Daoist influence on him, then the Buddhist influence, and how he reinterpreted Confucian learning in light of both.

1. Influence of Daoism:

Linking primordial chaos with civilization through seeing nature as constant movement, generating the myriad things on its own: Like Zhou Dunyi (see notes or early part of chap.20 of de Bary), Zhu Xi attempted to bridge Daoism and Confucian this-worldliness. Seeing the primordial state of nature that the Daoists longed to return to not as a quiet pristine scene, but a site of constant movement generated from within itself, Zhu Xi borrowed from Zhou Dunyi the idea of the Supreme Ultimate Polarity to describe this constant self-generated movement and the moments when it stops: when the movement goes on, it has a force called yang, and when it momentarily stops, the stillness is called yin. The different combinations of the yin and yang lead to the myriad things in this world. (de Bary, 699-700)


The Confucian Way and the workings of the Supreme Ultimate: Having argued that the primordial chaos of the Daoists and the Confucian civilized world were in a continuum, the former naturally generating the latter, Zhu Xi built a greater linkage between the Confucian and the Daoist worlds by arguing that the Confucian principles (li) were directly embedded in the primordial chaos: it was they that generated the force called yang, leading to the changes which led to civilization and the myriad things. (701-702) In another place, Zhu Xi more specifically describes how the myriad things were created, emphasizing that it was the material force [directed by the Confucian principles which caused the ying-yang movements] that created the universe. (702-703)

2. Influence of Buddhism

Differentiation between the material and spiritual worlds on the basis of purity/impurity: As we know, the Buddhist belief that human perceptions are false is based on their belief in the impurity of the world (meaning the world is made up of composites). Only purity is permanent and the impure composites disintegrate over time. In his attempt to fight against the other-worldly tendencies of Buddhism, Zhu Xi emphasized the authenticity of the material world.


While he did not want to separate ideas from the material world for fear that would destroy the Confucian belief in human innate rationality, he wanted to distinguish between ideas/principles and the material world. so he chose to use the binary of pure/impure to describe the difference: on the one hand, principles were inherent in the material world [just as moral ideas were inherent in the human mind, as Confucians argued], on the other hand, principles were pure, while the material world was impure.(699-700)

This way, Zhu Xi managed to state the slight superiority of principles over the material world while not separating them into two different worlds. Zhu Xi hastened to add that however, principles would not work without material force. Here the material force referred to the five phases or elements, and principles the Confucian ones including humaneness, rightness, ritual decorum, and wisdom. (700)

Principle and material force were inseparable: As a good Confucian who focused on practical results, Zhu Xi pointed out that the principles could not function without material force, thus with death and disintegration the spirit within the human being was gone because the spirit could not function without the body.(701)

It was a rebuttal to the Buddhist argument of the transmigration of souls, showing that rationality or spirituality do not exist aside from individual humans, emphasizing rationality as an instrument for this worldly activities. Zhu follows a similar logic in his piece “Spiritual Beings,” although he leaves room for ancestral worship: the worship of the spirit of the ancestors because their material bodies decayed gradually, helping the spirit to linger on for a while after death.
(703-704)

Because of the centrality of the issue of human innate rationality, Zhu Xi argued for the integration of principles and material force in many places. In “The Mind-and-Heart,” he compared them to candle flames (spirit), which could not burn without the candle (material force).

He argued that the mind could access the whole universe, since they shared the same principles, and controlled the universe instead of being controlled by it. (708-709) This was a rebuttal to the Buddhist argument that human perceptions are illusions and truth was separate from human experience in this world.

The thing is, by creating this all powerful mind that could access the whole universe, Zhu Xi himself was perilously close to the argument that thinking could be separate from human experience, something he desperately tried to combat.


Human nature: Just as in the Consciousness-Only Buddhist schools of thought, where human knowledge is divided into pure or true knowledge stored in the alaya, and contaminated knowledge as transmitted through the six senses, so Zhu Xi used this binary of purity versus contamination to describe what he termed the original human nature of perfection and its operation, during which evil arises.

He describes this original human nature not yet put in practice as identical with the Confucian principles, the same principles that led to the ying-yang forces to create the myriad things in the universe.(704-705)

Even though human thinking and the material world shared the same principles, Zhu Xi tried to differentiate between the human and material world, not qualitatively, but only through degrees. Thus like his contemporaries, he equated the universe with the moral universe:

Thus consciousness and movement proceed from material force, while humaneness, rightness, decorum, and wisdom proceed from principle. Both human beings and things are capable of consciousness and movement, but though things possess humaneness, rightness, decorum, and wisdom, they cannot have them completely….(706)


Avoiding vagueness in defining human nature: Perhaps more than any earlier Confucian, Zhu Xi was extremely conscious of the difference between principle and practice. When Confucius was asked to define humaneness, as recorded in the Analects, he only pointed out which aspects of humaneness his individual students were lacking in.

When Zhu Xi tried to define humaneness, he pondered about whether to define it as a principle or a practice. His concern was it should not be too vague or too specific, and yet it should have enough substance to serve as a guideline for action. Defining it as a principle, “to talk about ren in general terms of the unity of things and the self will lead people to be vague, confused, neglected, and make no effort to be alert.” (712)

Therefore Zhu Xi confined the definition of humaneness to a function, or a sub-principle to a larger principle called impartiality, which he said should be in place before humaneness could be developed. (712)

After limiting humaneness to the framework of impartiality, which basically means other-regarding, in contrast to partiality, which in this context means concerned primarily of one’s self-interests, Zhu Xi further defined humaneness as a principle of which empathy and love are functions.(712-713)

Love, what made humaneness specific and practicable, on the other hand, could not be specifically defined because to “talk about love in specific terms of consciousness will lead people to be nervous, irascible, and devoid of any quality of depth;” (713) in general it would just be too restricting to people and deprive them of the freer exercise of their (moral) nature. In his definition of humaneness, therefore, one can see that Zhu Xi wanted to achieve both the effect of universal principles clearly defined and to adhere to the traditional Confucian goal of making all principles practicable.

Both the universality and the practicability of humaneness thus defined were to combat the vagueness of Buddhist teachings about this world and the Buddhist views of the universe (as empty or illusive).


from http://www.iun.edu/~hisdcl/h425/zhuxi.htm

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September 24, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_LITERATURE, OTHER_Philosophy, Zhu Xi, _OTHER, _POETRY | Leave a comment

Noam Chomsky speaks about American Foreign Interference and other big issues!

Interesting recent piece from Stuart Alan Becker in bangkokpost where the great Noam Chomsky speaks about America’s role in the many fucked-up situations in SE Asia – the worst now being the evil repressive Burma junta situation – and considers other “big questions”!
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‘Resonant and unwavering’

Noam Chomsky talks to the ‘Bangkok Post’ about the Vietnam War, Burma and the future of the human race

Story by STUART ALAN BECKER

He opposed the Vietnam War long before it was fashionable to do so. He revolutionised the field of linguistics and helped spark the cognitive revolution in psychology. He changed the way scientists approach the study of the human mind.

His “Chomsky Hierarchy” is taught in basic computer science because it offers insight into the nature of how languages are structured. His theories of Generative and Universal Grammar indicate that the human mind comes hard-wired with default settings that enable infants to quickly learn any language spoken around them.

When the US dropped the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Chomsky walked off into the woods to be alone and contemplate what he later called “one of the most unspeakable crimes in history”.

For the last 50 years Avram Noam Chomsky, now in his 80th year, has been a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was voted No. 1 in the 2005 Global Intellectuals Poll, a list of the 100 most important living public intellectuals, compiled in November, 2005 by Prospect Magazine of the UK and Foreign Policy of the US on the basis of a readers’ ballot consisting of more than 20,000 votes.

Chomsky was followed by, in order, Unberto Eco, Richard Dawkins, Vaclav Havel, Christopher Hitchens, Paul Krugman, Jurgen Habermas, Amartya Sen, Jared Diamond and Salman Rushdie. Further evidence of the quality and resonance of his work comes from the 1992 Arts and Humanities Citation Index, which noted Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar from the 1980 to 1992 period, and was the eighth-most cited scholar during any period.

Because of his universal appeal and academic accolades, Chomsky is highly desired as a lecturer and speaker almost everywhere in the world, giving him a unique ability like few people have to cut across all political lines and be welcome and desired everywhere, if for no other reason than you can’t help but respect somebody whose convictions are resonant and unwavering, even if you disagree with them.

Chomsky took the time to answer questions for the Bangkok Post, providing some fascinating answers about the Vietnam War and the current situation in Burma.

You opposed the Vietnam War long before it was fashionable. When and why did you make that decision? Do you feel you made a difference?

I opposed the Vietnam war from the mid-1940s, when the French invaded, a few years later receiving direct US support. But I did not do much beyond signing statements and the like until 1962, when the back pages of the New York Times casually reported that the US Air Force was flying a large proportion of the bombing missions against South Vietnam, with the planes disguised with SVN markings. At that point I realised that I had better learn more about this, began to look into it more carefully, and had to make a hard decision. I had enough experience with political activism to know that if I became involved, it would soon grow to be a major undertaking, with few limits, and I would have to give up a lot that meant a great deal to me. I decided to plunge in, not without reluctance. It took years of hard and painful work of protest and resistance before a real anti-war movement developed. There is no doubt that it made a difference. One illustration comes from the Pentagon Papers, the final section, dealing with the immediate reaction to the Tet revolt; in imperial terminology, it is called the “Tet offensive”, on the tacit assumption that a revolt against our military occupation is aggression. The government considered sending several hundred thousand more troops to South Vietnam, but decided not to because of concern that they would need the troops for civil disorder control at home in the likely event of a mass uprising of unprecedented proportions. We also know that by then 70 per cent of the US population felt that the war was “fundamentally wrong and immoral”, not “a mistake” – while intellectual elites debated whether Washington’s “bungling efforts to do good” were a “mistake” that was becoming too costly to us (Anthony Lewis of the New York Times, at the outer limits of dissidence within the mainstream).

How much any one individual contributed to the radical change of consciousness and understanding, and the willingness to do something about state crimes, it is hard to say.

You have said the US played a significant role in actions that led to the installation of the Burmese junta back in 1962. What’s the subtext, the background we’re not understanding: What are the consequences of the enormous UK investment in Burma, of earlier US weapons sales, of recent Israeli weapons sales to the junta – and of Chevron Oil’s continued supply of millions and millions of dollars in oil money to the junta?

Burma had one of the few elected governments in the region in the 1950s, and was intent on pursuing a neutralist course. The Eisenhower administration was carrying out vigorous efforts to enlist the governments in the region into its Cold War crusades. As part of this broad campaign of subversion and violence, Washington installed thousands of heavily armed Chinese Nationalist troops in northern Burma to carry out cross-border operations into China. Burma vigorously objected, but in vain. The China forces began arming and supporting insurgent minorities in that turbulent region. In reaction, power within Burma began to shift to the military, leading finally to the 1962 coup. The matter is discussed by Audrey and George Kahin, Subversion as Foreign Policy. George Kahin was one of the leading Southeast Asian scholars, virtually the founder of the academic discipline in the US. The consequences of the US-UK-Israeli operations you describe are, of course, to strengthen the military junta. These matters are unreported and unknown in the US, apart from specialists and activists, because they interfere too dramatically with the doctrine that “we are good” and “they are evil”, the foundation of virtually every state propaganda system.

Do you think there’s any chance of a popular uprising being successful in Burma, or do you think those who rise up will only be slaughtered because there’s no advantage for the generals to give up their power?

I do not know enough to be able to answer with any confidence, but I suspect that now it would be a slaughter. On the other hand, the military leaders are ageing, and there may be popular forces developing that can erode their power from within.

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Was the Kingdom of Thailand morally justified to host US military bases during the Vietnam War? What lasting effects did the Vietnam War have for Thailand and the region? Is that part of why Thailand is an island of relative easy life, compared to neighbours with more severe problems?

Thailand’s involvement in the US wars in Indochina was a disgrace. I presume Thais, at least some of them, made profit from their participation in the destruction of Indochina. I know that Japan and particularly South Korea gained very substantially. It helped spur their “economic miracles”. To evaluate the lasting effects we have to imagine what Southeast Asia would have been without the sadistic Western (mostly US) interventions of the postwar period – not to speak of what happened before. That’s a topic for a carefully researched book, not a brief discussion – and it would still be highly speculative, by necessity.

Do you find George W. Bush and his wife Laura calling for change in Burma insincere? Do you think the US president’s action on behalf of the suffering and the marginalised in Burma in the wake of Cyclone Nargis would be more justifiable on moral grounds than the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan?

Bush likes to posture as a deeply religious Christian. Perhaps he has even looked at the Gospels. If so, he knows that the famous definition of the hypocrite in the Gospels could have been written with him in mind. One can think of all kinds of ways in which the Bush couple could show their sincerity, were it to exist.

If Saddam Hussein had given some money to hungry children it would have been more justifiable on moral grounds than his gassing of Kurds in Halabja. The same principles hold in the case of Negris vs Iraq-Afghanistan.

What do you think China’s reaction would be if an internal uprising in Burma was successful?

China would likely tolerate, maybe even welcome, the overthrowing of the junta. There was, of course, a significant US role in actions that elicited the military coup that installed the still-ruling tyranny. But I don’t know how much that bears on the present situation either.

Can you offer any insight into the behaviour of the Burmese generals, their motivations and how things are likely to work out for the people of Burma?

The rulers have a good thing going for themselves, nothing to gain by yielding power and no major risks in using it violently. So that’s what they’ll probably do, until the military erodes from within. Mass non-violent protest is predicated on the humanity of the oppressor. Quite often it doesn’t work. Sometimes it does, in unexpected ways. But judgements about that would have to be based on intimate knowledge of the society and its various strands.

If a regime is so terrible that its generals loot the wealth of the country’s resources for their personal gain, carry out murders, political imprisonment and forced labour, is there a moral justification for an armed uprising of the suffering people?

There certainly is, in my view, with one qualification: An armed uprising would have to evaluate with care the likely consequences for the people who are suffering. I think it’s appropriate for people to rise up, but it’s not for me to tell people to risk mass murder. As for assassinating leaders, the question is very much like asking whether it is appropriate to kill murderers. They should be apprehended by non-violent means, if possible. If they pull a gun and start shooting, it’s legitimate to kill them in self-defence, if there is no lesser option.

Would you give any examples of what could happen if the principle of universality were applied in the world today, between nations that are in conflict?

One example is that Bush, Cheney, Blair, and a host of others would be facing Nuremberg-style tribunals. And the observation generalises very broadly.

What are the greatest dangers facing our human species in the world today and what can we most effectively do about them?

There are two dangers that could reach as far as survival of the species: Nuclear war and environmental disaster.

About nuclear war, we know exactly what to do. In fact, the World Court has ruled that it is a legal obligation of the signers of the non-proliferation treaty to live up to their obligation to eliminate all nuclear weapons. And the non-signers can be brought in as well. To give an example that is highly relevant right now, the US population is overwhelmingly in favour of establishing a nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, including Iran and Israel. The US and the UK are formally committed to this policy. When they tried to construct a thin legal cover for their invasion of Iraq, they appealed to Security Council resolution 687, which calls upon Iraq to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. The US-UK invaders claimed that it had not done so. Resolution 687 also commits the signers to establish an NWFZ in the region. If the US were a functioning democracy, in which public opinion influenced policy, the exceedingly hazardous confrontation between the US and Iran could be mitigated, perhaps terminated.

Naturally, none of this can be reported or discussed, and it is inconceivable that any viable political candidate would even hint at the stand of the overwhelming majority of the population. One may recall a remark of Gandhi’s when he was asked what he thought of Western civilisation. His response was that it might be a good idea. The same is true of “democracy promotion”, which, if sincere, would begin at home.

How to stave off the threat of severe environmental catastrophe is less clear, though some measures are obvious: Conservation, research and development of renewable energy, measures to cut back emissions sharply, and others. What is eminently clear is that the longer we delay in addressing these problems, the more grave will be the consequences for future generations.

Stuart Alan Becker, author and a longtime journalist in Asia, is working on a history of US foreign policy since World War Two, and a book containing a lively exchange of correspondence with Professor Chomsky, called ‘Letters to Chomsky’.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | Noam Chomsky, OTHER_ARTICLE, OTHER_Philosophy, _OTHER | Leave a comment

Fergus Kerr, "After Aquinas: Versions of Thomism"

After Aquinas

Fergus Kerr, “After Aquinas: Versions of Thomism”
Blackwell Publishing (2002) | English | ISBN 0631213139 | 266 pages | PDF | 2.40 MB

Interesting book on the works of the great Tommy A.!

This guide to the most interesting work that has recently appeared on Aquinas reflects the recent revival of interest in his work.

Kerr brings together a range of views that hitherto have appeared in many different books, articles, and periodicals.

This ‘revisiting,’ in Kerr’s characteristically lambent prose, makes available in one volume for students all the material necessary for a rounded understanding of Aquinas.

In addition, Kerr’s text represents a major revisionist treatment of Thomism and its significance, combining useful exposition with original, creative thinking.

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June 10, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_BOOK, OTHER_Philosophy, Thomas Aquinas, _OTHER | Leave a comment

Dorothy Coleman, "Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: And Other Writings" (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)

Hume

Dorothy Coleman, “Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: And Other Writings” (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)
Cambridge University Press (2007) | English | ISBN 0511279361 | 218 pages | PDF | 2.33 MB

I once wondered about the existence of God for a minute or two.

Then I realised the dumbness of that activity, the the dumbness of the very concept and that I was totally wasting my time.

So I immediately rushed off out to the nearest nudie bar, to meet some real Gods, Jack Daniels and Pussy!

We have read Hume’s Dialogues concerning Natural Religion before and found his work quite fascinating.

This is a new edition with lots of extras and a good intro.

David Hume‘s Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, first published in 1779, is one of the most influential works in the philosophy of religion and the most artful instance of philosophical dialogue since the dialogues of Plato.

It presents a fictional conversation between a sceptic, an orthodox Christian, and a Newtonian theist concerning evidence for the existence of an intelligent cause of nature based on observable features of the world.

This new edition presents it together with several of Hume’s other, shorter writings about religion, and with brief selections from the work of Pierre Bayle, who influenced both Hume’s views on religion and the dialectical style of the Dialogues.

The volume is completed by an introduction which sets the Dialogues in its philosophical and historical contexts.

Here’s Humie

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May 29, 2008 Posted by | David Hume, OTHER_Philosophy, Religion, _OTHER | Leave a comment

John Leslie, "Immortality Defended"

Immortality Defended

John Leslie, “Immortality Defended”
Blackwell Publishing (2007) | English | ISBN 1405162031 | 111 pages | PDF | 1.83 MB

“I intend to live forever. So far, so good.”
-Stephen Wright

“I intend to live forever, or die trying.”
-Groucho Marx

I sometimes feel immortal. That’s usually after a pint of Jack Daniels though!

Immortality is a fascinating concept however, a futile hope embedded in the human heart.

Why does the cosmos exist? Could we be parts of an infinite or divine mind, as pantheists believe? If so, might we have afterlives?

In Immortality Defended, John Leslie, renowned philosopher of religion and cosmology, defends pantheism and three distinct ways in which we could be immortal.

Combining a creation story told by Plato with the ideas of Spinoza, this book tackles the fundamental questions posed by our very existence.

It explores ‘Einsteinian immortality‘ inside an eternally existing four-dimensional whole; the nature of an infinite mind which lives the lives of everybody; and, the possibility of an afterlife inside such a mind. Its arguments are drawn from contemporary science, and from philosophy from ancient Greece onwards.

This highly original work is accessible to anyone interested in science, philosophy, cosmology or theology, or to those who are just intrigued by the wonder of our being.

Here be forever;

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May 28, 2008 Posted by | John Leslie, OTHER_BOOK, OTHER_Philosophy, Religion, _OTHER | Leave a comment

Thomas Hibbs, "Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion: Metaphysics and Practice" (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion)

Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion

Thomas Hibbs, “Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion: Metaphysics and Practice” (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion)
Indiana University Press (2007) | English | ISBN 0253348811 | 261 pages | PDF | 5.81 MB

In Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion, Thomas Hibbs recovers the notion of practice to develop a more descriptive account of human action and knowing, grounded in the venerable vocabulary of virtue and vice.

Drawing on Aquinas, who believed that all good works originate from virtue, Hibbs postulates how epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, and theology combine into a set of contemporary philosophical practices that remain open to metaphysics.

Hibbs brings Aquinas into conversation with analytic and Continental philosophy and suggests how a more nuanced appreciation of his thought enriches contemporary debates. This book offers readers a new appreciation of Aquinas and articulates a metaphysics integrally related to ethical practice.

Here’s Hibbs;

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May 28, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_BOOK, OTHER_Philosophy, _OTHER | Leave a comment

Thomas Hibbs, "Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion: Metaphysics and Practice" (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion)

Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion

Thomas Hibbs, “Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion: Metaphysics and Practice” (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion)
Indiana University Press (2007) | English | ISBN 0253348811 | 261 pages | PDF | 5.81 MB

In Aquinas, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion, Thomas Hibbs recovers the notion of practice to develop a more descriptive account of human action and knowing, grounded in the venerable vocabulary of virtue and vice.

Drawing on Aquinas, who believed that all good works originate from virtue, Hibbs postulates how epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, and theology combine into a set of contemporary philosophical practices that remain open to metaphysics.

Hibbs brings Aquinas into conversation with analytic and Continental philosophy and suggests how a more nuanced appreciation of his thought enriches contemporary debates. This book offers readers a new appreciation of Aquinas and articulates a metaphysics integrally related to ethical practice.

Here’s Hibbs;

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May 28, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_BOOK, OTHER_Philosophy, _OTHER | Leave a comment

Robert S. Corrington, "A Semiotic Theory of Theology and Philosophy"

A Semiotic Theory of Theology and Philosophy

Robert S. Corrington, “A Semiotic Theory of Theology and Philosophy”

Cambridge University Press (2003) | English | eISBN 0511009704 | 285 pages | PDF | 4.12 MB

Not a light read, but a fascinating positing of new ways to think about theology and philosophy, taking off from the philosophies of the great Benedict de Spinoza .

I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.

– Benedict de Spinoza

The concern of this work is with developing an alternative to standard categories in theology and philosophy, especially in terms of how they deal with nature.

Avoiding the polemics of much contemporary reflection on nature, it shows how we are connected to nature through the unconscious and its unique way of reading and processing signs.

Spinoza‘s key distinction between natura naturans and natura naturata serves as the governing framework for the treatise.

Suggestions are made for a post-Christian way of understanding religion.

Robert S. Corrington’s work represents the first sustained attempt to bring together the fields of semiotics, depth-psychology, pragmaticism, and a post-Monotheistic theology of nature.

Its focus is on how signification functions in human and non-human orders of infinite nature. Our connection with the infinite is described in detail, especially as it relates to the use of sign systems.

Here be philosophy;

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May 28, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_BOOK, OTHER_Philosophy, Religion, _OTHER | Leave a comment

The Dalai Lama – Stages of Meditation


Stages of Meditation
Snow Lion Publications | Pages: 210 | 2003-09-25 | ISBN: 1559391979 | 2 MB

The Dalai Lama explains the principles of meditation in a practice-oriented format especially suited for Westerners.

This one was a huge hit in China!

CHINA, GET THE FUCK OUT OF TIBET NOW!

Here’s the main man

May 27, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_BOOK, OTHER_Philosophy, Religion, The Dalai Lama, _OTHER | Leave a comment

The Dalai Lama – Stages of Meditation


Stages of Meditation
Snow Lion Publications | Pages: 210 | 2003-09-25 | ISBN: 1559391979 | 2 MB

The Dalai Lama explains the principles of meditation in a practice-oriented format especially suited for Westerners.

This one was a huge hit in China!

CHINA, GET THE FUCK OUT OF TIBET NOW!

Here’s the main man

May 27, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_BOOK, OTHER_Philosophy, Religion, The Dalai Lama, _OTHER | Leave a comment

Peter Dews “The Idea of Evil"

Peter Dews “The Idea of Evil”
Wiley-Blackwell | 2007-12-04 | ISBN: 1405117044 | 264 pages | PDF | 1,5 Mb
In the context of near daily horrific news-stories from all corners of the earth, and most recently the Austrian incest horrors, this is a very timely book by philosopher Peter Dews.

Dews explores the idea of evil, one of the most problematic terms in the contemporary moral vocabulary.

He surveys the intellectual debate on the nature of evil over the past two hundred years and engages with a broad range of discourses and thinkers, from Kant and the German Idealists, via Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, to Levinas and Adorno.

Dews suggests that the concept of moral evil touches on a neuralgic point in western culture and rgues that, despite the widespread abuse and political manipulation of the term ‘evil’, we cannot do without it.

Here be evil!
Thanks to the original poster

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_BOOK, OTHER_Philosophy, Peter Dews, _OTHER | Leave a comment