The Personalist Project

Comments (22)

Katie van Schaijik

#1, Nov 19, 2011 10:51pm

Gregory, how great to see you here!  I feel like we should bestow some kind of award on you for posting the very first member feed post.  

I wish I could take your course!

Katie van Schaijik

#2, Nov 19, 2011 10:53pm

As to your question, we'll give it more thought and get back to you soon.

Jules van Schaijik

#3, Nov 20, 2011 12:02pm

I'm looking for insights into those readings too! Please share some when they come to you.

Are you familiar with Rudolf Otto's edition of Kant's Foundations for the Metaphysics of Morals? It has some great insights into the famous personalist passage -- I think Otto calls it the Einbruchstelle -- of that work, in which Kant breaks through his normal formalism. If I remember right, Otto goes so far as to call Kant the "father of value ethics."

On the epistemology of Kant and Husserl, there is Seifert's Back To Things Themselves. But I suppose you are familiar with that book.

But there are so many insights in these authors that it would help if you could be a little more specific as to what topics you will be dealing with in the class.

Teresa Manidis

#4, Nov 20, 2011 1:17pm

Hi, Gregory, great to see you here and we all look forward to your comments and posts.  Your reading list does sound eclectic!  My big sister is the PhD in the family (philosophy).  I remember reading her dissertation while I was an undergrad; I understood every tenth word, and those were 'the' and 'and.'  I am more the passionate-lover-John-of-the-Cross-Teresa-of-Avila-Interior-Castle kind of girl myself, but I can speak your language when absolutely necessary.  

Gregory Borse

#5, Nov 20, 2011 1:46pm

Hi, Teresa.  Thanks for the response and welcome.  Yes--the reading list was rather hastily put together as I had to desirn a syllabus in about 15 minutes (graduating senior needed the course to graduate in time and Dean asked me to put something on paper for approval by the higher ups).  My hope is that it will prove fruitful.  Just this morning, I met with my RCIA class after Mass and suggested they come here to check out the discussions.  I'm still finding my way around the site and learning how to participate.  I've just finished re-reading Kant's Aesthetics and intuited an attempt on his part to bridge the gap between subject/object.  So, I started there . . . Now--I'm going over to read how it's all "Hegel's fault" to see how that might play into my reading next semester . . .

Gregory Borse

#6, Nov 20, 2011 6:29pm

Wow--I feel very welcome.  Thanks everyone.  Jules--the list of philosophers I included are part personal preference and part shot-in-the-dark (to keep me honest, in a weird way).  Kant, Heidegger, and Riceour I'm quite familiar with.  de Beauvoir, somewhat.  Levinas, a bit in grad school, and von Hildebrand, at arm's length, an ongoing influence.  I'm ashamed to say that I have not delved into von Hildebrand to the extent that I wish I had at this point--which is why I included him.  But I have found that we seem to share what the Cowans taught me was homenoia--like-mindedness.  Over Christmas I'm going to try to construct the skeleton of an anatomy--upon which to grow muscles and sinew, real flesh, over the course of the semester.  As I read and ponder, I'll share here.  And then you guys can correct my misunderstandings . . .How's that?  But to begin, Existentialism's mistake is fundamental:  "existence precedes essence" misunderstands the relationship between ontology and will.  Phenomenology, it seems to me, at its core, is catholic, but refuses to admit it--since then it would have to admit that Aquinas was right after all and we call all just stop it!  Oops.  Word limit!

Katie van Schaijik

#7, Nov 20, 2011 7:55pm

Gregory Borse, Nov. 20 at 1:46pm

Just this morning, I met with my RCIA class after Mass and suggested they come here to check out the discussions. 

Thanks so much for that!  As we came out of Mass--in Phoenix, AZ--this morning, we bumped int TWO former students' of Jules from Ave Maria.  We told them about the site too.  The more members we have, the richer the experience will be for all of us.

Gregory Borse, Nov. 20 at 1:46pm

 I'm still finding my way around the site and learning how to participate. 

That goes for us too!  The basic idea that we have a "home feed", where our "Contributors" will post regularly.  (Josef Seifert and Michael Healy have both agreed to be Contributors.) Members can comment on their posts.  Then there's the "member feed"--this one--where members can start their own discussions as well as comment on each others'.

The goal is to begin to develop a genuine sense of friendship and community, rooted in a shared interest in personalism, among our members.  

Gregory Borse

#8, Nov 20, 2011 8:59pm

Well, I think it's a good start, Katie.  I'll send out invites to family members and like-minded friends. 

Gregory Borse

#9, Nov 20, 2011 9:00pm

Oh--and I have a mind to update members here as to the development of my course--so you can take it osmostically (I think I just coined a term).

Jules van Schaijik

#10, Nov 20, 2011 10:23pm

Gregory Borse, Nov. 20 at 6:29pm

As I read and ponder, I'll share here.  And then you guys can correct my misunderstandings . . .How's that?

Sounds like a great way to learn. I know very little about the French phenomenologists in particular. As to correcting your misunderstandings: only if you'll return the favor.

Gregory Borse, Nov. 20 at 6:29pm

But to begin, Existentialism's mistake is fundamental:  "existence precedes essence" misunderstands the relationship between ontology and will.

Agreed. But are there many existentialists who hold this in the literal sense? I really don't know, but I find it hard to believe. It sounds more like a slogan to emphasize the role of self-determination in human persons.

I'm reminded of Gregory of Nyssa:

[Hu]man life is always subject to change; it needs to be born ever anew... But here birth does not come about by a foreign intervention, as is the case with bodily beings...; it is the result of a free choice. Thus we are in a certain way our own parents, creating ourselves as we will, by our own decisions. (Veritatis Splendor, #71)

Gregory Borse

#11, Nov 20, 2011 10:45pm

Probably not, Jules (as to the literal sense in re: existentialism)--but I included both Heidegger and Riceour because each seems to intuit the sacramental nature of the Word itself vis-a-vis Being as incarnation, even if neither would or does describe it in those terms.  If the will is, indeed, free and one's identity is tied up in or is the articulation of the choices one makes, then essence and existence are not so easily separable categories, it seems to me.  There is, at bottom, something fundamentally biological and grace-filled about the blossoming of the individual that is not merely a function of choice but is what I might call a free-choice-in-response-to-a-call.   Such a choice operates within a set of boundaries the individual creature did not create for him or herself.  So, there is a humility to existence that oft goes unremarked or is positively denied in modern and post-modern philosophy.  It is tied up with what I've come to call, in short-had, "the scandal of the Body."

Gregory Borse

#12, Nov 20, 2011 10:52pm

in re: existentialism in general:  it seems to me that this line of thought is, by its nature "oriental" Chesterton's (admittedly non-pc) sense of the word--by which I mean, suicidal.  That it can be reduced to a slogan is perhaps telling, don't you think?

Jules van Schaijik

#13, Nov 20, 2011 11:40pm

I'm intrigued by all of this, especially the 2nd half. The idea that ours is a created freedom, and therefore receptive (or responsive) and limited, certainly needs to emphasized. But you go further. You connect "biological" with "grace-filled" and refer to the whole issue as "the scandal of the Body." Obviously you have some ideas about not just created freedom, but more specifically about embodied freedom.

This is a topic I'm very interested in. It probably doesn't belong in this comment thread, however. Perhaps you can write something about it when you discuss it in class next semester? You can even assign some reading material about the topic.

----

P.S. It was Roger Scruton who first piqued my interest in the role of the body in our spiritual acts. His book, Sexual Desire, has some deep things to say about the significance of involuntary acts, many of which are in part bodily (blushing, laughing, crying, etc.)  He says that in such cases "The body ceases to be an instrument,and reasserts its natural rights as a person. In such expressions the face does not function merely as a bodily part, but as the whole person..." 

Gregory Borse

#14, Nov 21, 2011 1:05am

This is fascinating, Jules.  Thank you. Let me go back through tomorrow and get back to you.  I have a little "yes," by my side right now--her name is Sophia.  She's on vacation with us for a week and I understand a little about joy.  She wants some cereal.  Don't think I'll ever be able to explain it better than to name it.  

Gregory Borse

#15, Nov 21, 2011 1:18am

But I will say this:  the difference between the angelic and the human is that spiritual perfection happens for humans through a body (not the body, a body--yours, hers, mine).  Angels have not been privilaged with this particular aspect of existence.  Hence they do not know material suffering or joy.  What they know, we know--what we know; they do not.  We experience what they know and something we know and experience they do not.  They enjoy their own existence.  We enjoy (and suffer) our own.  But we know something they cannot.  It's part and parcel of what the Devil coveted about us and hated at the same time. . . .

Bill Drennen

#16, Nov 21, 2011 9:51am

Hi Gregory,

Ive been reading your thread here with interest. I had a particular question for a comment Jules made but I'm still learning this new site navigation and dont know how to comment on a comment ect. so Ill just add the question here. He mentioned the concept of "created freedom" in reference to the embodied person compared to angelic persons. By this are we refering to the way in which humans become more free the more they exercise their true freedom? This also would apply to the oposite I suppose that the person becomes less and less free the more progression they make towards hell untill the souls finally left in hell have completely lost their freedom and become wraiths of their former selves.

Is this what "created freedom" means? Jules or Gregory?

 

In a way I see how the devil would covet our unique power to make ourselves!

Katie van Schaijik

#17, Nov 21, 2011 10:01am

Bill Drennen, Nov. 21 at 9:51am

I had a particular question for a comment Jules made but I'm still learning this new site navigation and dont know how to comment on a comment ect. so Ill just add the question here. 

Here's what you do:

Go to the comment you want to comment on and click on the "quote" tab at the bottom.  The comment will appear in purple in your "add new comment" spot.  Then you can delete whatever portion of it you're not directly addressing.

We are in Sedona. You should see what's outside my window as I type.  

Gregory Borse

#18, Nov 21, 2011 11:22am

Bill Drennen, Nov. 21 at 9:51am mentioned the concept of "created freedom" in reference to the embodied person compared to angelic persons. By this are we refering to the way in which humans become more free the more they exercise their true freedom? This also would apply to the oposite I suppose that the person becomes less and less free the more progression they make towards hell untill the souls finally left in hell have completely lost their freedom and become wraiths of their former selves.

Is this what "created freedom" means? Jules or Gregory?

 

In a way I see how the devil would covet our unique power to make ourselves!

.

Gregory Borse

#19, Nov 21, 2011 11:26am

Okay--I just did something wrong, so ignore the above.  But, yes, Bill, I would say you have described it well.  If we think of the exercise of our true freedom as an articulation of true-self (in the same way that we understand that our authentic response to grace is the accepting of an invitation to personhood that is unique to each of us) then we can see how as we respond to God's call, we become more and more ourselves.  And the opposite movement would be true also--as we reject that invitation, we become less and less ourselves.  But this too is a choice we positively make--as Augustine's insight articulates: the question is not why is there evil; it is why is there Good? From the point of view of the answer to the latter question, evil makes sense and, as Augustine also argues, prooves that we are truly free.

Katie van Schaijik

#20, Nov 21, 2011 11:48am

Gregory Borse, Nov. 21 at 11:26am

Okay--I just did something wrong, so ignore the above. 

I forgot to mention: after you have the quote and delete whatever portion of it you don't want, put your curser in the grey field below the purple and type away.  

It's easy once you get the hang of it.  It may take a little practice.

Gregory Borse

#21, Nov 22, 2011 12:54am

Jules van Schaijik, Nov. 20 at 11:40pm

----

"He says that in such cases "The body ceases to be an instrument,and reasserts its natural rights as a person. In such expressions the face does not function merely as a bodily part, but as the whole person..."  This, I think is "created," embodied," or shall we settle upon "creatured" freedom?  It is an unmediated moment of experience of who we are:  but because we are fallen, it requires the response to grace to process appropriately--otherwise, it is too raw or angelic and can lead to disaster. 

Gregory Borse

#22, Nov 22, 2011 12:56am

The above, beginning with "This, I think" is me.  What is in quotes above it is Jules quote of Scruton.

 

Sign in to add a comment, or register first.

Forgot your password?
{forgot_password_form}