torsdag, maj 31, 2012

Obama´s theological resources for counterterrorism

Aides say Mr. Obama has several reasons for becoming so immersed in lethal counterterrorism operations. A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.
Missa inte artikeln i NY Times om Obamas "kill list".

måndag, maj 28, 2012

Om förutsättningarna för ett post-sekulärt samtal ...

If the social scientist understands "religion" as an  irrational response to fear, and if the religionist understands "social science" as premised on an arbitrary set of presuppositions, then little dialogue is possible. By contrast, if the social scientist understands religion as a rational interpretation of telos and cosmos, and the religionist understands social science as a search for the best society, then the two can walk hand in hand.
Philip S. Gorski, et al. The Post-Secular in Question. New York University Press, p.11

söndag, maj 27, 2012

Om vetenskapens gränser

Science by definition can provide, in principle at least, complete nomological explanations for those items that lie within its domain. But most things that require explanation lie outside the competency of science, including axiological explanations, such as why the First World War happened, why rape is wrong, why I think this painting is beautiful and you don’t, and why the economy is in such a mess. Nor will science ever explain why something exists rather than nothing, because its scope is to investigate “somethings” once they exist, be they quantum fluctuations, mathematical relationships, laws of nature, or elementary particles. The ability to provide explanations regarding things that exist is not the same as explaining why anything exists rather than nothing. 
There is nothing that science should not try to explain, provided that it seems reasonable to suppose that what needs explaining lies within the domain of science. Unfortunately, not all scientists have made that distinction, leading to a waste of time and public money, in addition bringing embarrassment to the scientific community. Care should also be taken in distinguishing between science and scientism, the idea that the scientific explanation is the only one that counts. In practice, complex systems require explanations at many different levels, only some of which count as scientific explanations. A scientific explanation of the workings of my brain cannot provide, in principle, an exhaustive explanation. The “I” language of personal agency is complementary to the “it” language of the neuroscientist, providing its own explanations for things based on qualia and conscious experience. It is the explanatory, non-science “I” language of our personal biographies that we care most deeply about.
- Denis Alexander in The New Statesman (via I Think I Believe)

torsdag, maj 24, 2012

William Connolly om sekularismen och metafysiken

By eschewing reference to controversial metaphysical assumptions in their own forays into public life, secularists hope to discourage a variety of enthusiastic Christians from doing so in turn. Sometimes, indeed, such an agnostic stance folds the admirable virtue of forbearance into public debate. But the cost of elevating this disposition to restraint into the cardinal virtue of metaphysical denial is also high. First, such a stance makes it difficult for its partisans to engage a variety of issues of the day, such as the legitimate variety of sexual orientations, the organization of gender, the question of doctor-assisted death, the practice of abortion, and the extent to which a uniform set of public virtues is needed. It is difficult because most participants in these discussions explicitly draw metaphysical and religious perspectives into them, and because the claim to take a position on these issues without invoking controversial metaphysical ideas is soon seen to be a facade by others. Academic secularists are almost the only partisans today who consistently purport to leave their religious and metaphysical baggage at home. So the claim to being postmetaphysical opens you to charges of hypocrisy or false consciousness: "You secularists quietly bring a lot of your own metaphysical baggage into public discourse even as you tell the rest of us to leave ours in the closet".

William Connolly. Why I am not a secularist. University of Minnesota Press, 1999.  s.37

fredag, maj 18, 2012

Blond on secular knowledge

Anyone who wishes to hold on to a finite account of cognition, in short anyone who would hold to a secular epistemology, will recognise, to use the Hegel of Glauben und Wissen, ‘something higher above itself from which it is self-excluded’. This situation (whether acknowledged or not) has produced in all subsequent secular thought a relationship with the higher which can perhaps only be described as sublime.
Philip Blond, Post-secular Philosophy: Between Philosophy and Theology. Routledge,  s.8

torsdag, maj 17, 2012

Zizek on tolerance and struggle

The conflict about multiculturalism already is one about Leitkultur: it is not a conflict between cultures, but between different visions of how different cultures can and should co-exist, about the rules and practices these cultures have to share if they are to co-exist. 
One should thus avoid getting caught in the liberal game of "how much tolerance can we afford": should we tolerate it if they prevent their children going to state schools? If they force their women to dress in a certain way? If they arrange marriages or brutalise gay people? At this level, of course, we are never tolerant enough, or we are already too tolerant, neglecting the rights of women, gay people etc. 
The only way to break out of this deadlock is to propose and fight for a positive universal project shared by all participants. Struggles where "there are neither men nor women, neither Jews nor Greeks" are many, from ecology to the economy.

Slavoj Zizek - Europe must move beyond mere tolerance

onsdag, maj 16, 2012

'The Avoidance Cycle'

tisdag, maj 15, 2012

Terry Eagleton on having faith and an i-pod

Missa inte Terry Eagleton´s föreläsning Jesus and Tragedy där han bland annat avhandlar radikaliteten i kristen tro, samt pekar på det besynnerliga i att beteckna kristna som "troende".
The tortured, mutilated body of a political criminal who was done to death because he spoke out for love and justice, that this is what it all comes down to, this is it and no mistake. This is the single stark signifier of human history; all the rest is delusion, idolatry, false idealism, cheap sentimentalism. Those who can see this are commonly known as “having faith,” a terrible way of talking. It sounds like ‘having an i-pod.’

fredag, maj 11, 2012

Hauerwas on American preaching

Preaching does not aspire to truthful proclamation in America. Preaching becomes an edifying narration of examples, a ready recital of the preachers own religious experience, which are not of course assigned any positive binding character. I always say, any time you hear a methodist minister say "... as I just learned from my twelve year old", you can be sure you up for some bullshit.
Burke Lecture - Stanley Hauerwas

torsdag, maj 10, 2012

Desmond om det gränslösas terror

“Imagine there’s no heaven, the song sings, imagine there is no religion, imagine no countries, no boundaries. And then the singing stops, the screaming begins and, mirabile dictu, death is loosed in the boundless whole, and on it. Politics is the necessary art of intermediary boundaries in the porosity. Without this art, and the moderation of an ethical discipline, and the finesse of religion, the porosity can be turned to a formlessness of chaos, where the idiotic sources of human selving release a madness – not a divine but a murderous madness."
William Desmond. “Neither Servility nor Sovereignty: Between Metaphysics and Politics.” Theology and the Political. Ed. Davis, Milbank & Zizek. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005, p. 180.

tisdag, maj 08, 2012

The curse of proficiency

There are some things that are corrupted by proficiency. The expert lover, the slick preacher, the professional childcare provider – these are not honest things, because good honest preaching and childrearing and lovemaking require some element of awkwardness and ineptitude and surprise, something tenderly human that resists the cold logic of technical mastery. 
Ben Myers bloggar om sin kärlek till cykleln samt sitt förakt för tävlingscyklister.