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Jules van Schaijik

The Christian Personalism of J.H. Newman

Feb. 20, 2013, at 6:51pm

February 21 is a great day for us at the Personalist Project. It is the birthday of John Henry Newman, of whom it has rightly been said that he “stands at the threshold of the new age as a Christian Socrates, the pioneer of a new philosophy of the Individual Person and of Personal Life.”

I can't think of a better way to celebrate than by listening to these lectures by John Crosby, on the Christian Personalism of Newman. (My thanks to Franciscan University for making them available on youtube. Members only: to listen offline you can download audio versions here.)

Lecture 1: The Personalist Spirit of Newman's Thought

Lecture 2: The Human Person as a World of his Own

Lecture 3: Newman on Personal Influence

Lecture 4: Newman on the Personal Exercise of Reason

Lecture 5: Newman's Personalist Way to God through Conscience


Katie van Schaijik

Contra Fr. Barron on modern philosophy

Sep. 22, 2012, at 1:42pm

I've been preoccupied for the last couple of days with a lively discussion over at Ricochet about a talk by Fr. Barron that a member there linked.  I clicked and listened, expecting to like it.  I don't know very much about Fr. Barron, but practically everyone I know admires him, so I was ready to too.  I'd seen a few of his You Tube clips, which I found mostly sound and engaging, if not particularly deep.  He's plainly a thoughtful, sincere, orthodox Catholic priest with a gift for apologetics and a sympathetic openness to contemporary culture—which is ideal for the New Evangelization.  I was happy when I heard he'd been named Rector of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.

But I thought this

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Devra Torres

God is a Personalist: the anecdotal evidence

Jul. 9, 2012, at 2:28am

A couple months ago, I posted on God’s fondness for diversity.  How else to explain His making us male and female (“as different as possible without being separate species”), different colors, shapes, and sizes, with different temperaments, talents, and senses of humor? 

It would be surprising, then, if His dealings with us had a generic, one-size-fits-all kind of tone.   Yet that is what we can fall into imagining.

In the back of our minds, even if we know better, may lurk the sense that what God really wants is for us to familiarize ourselves with His objective rules and regulations, calculate how they apply to our case, and conform our wills and behavior to them until we die.  Then

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Katie van Schaijik

Individualism not quite the answer

Dec. 9, 2011, at 8:41am

An article by Jeffrey Lord in the American Spectator on the demonizing of conservatives reminds us of these lines from William F. Buckley's movement-launching book, God and Man at Yale, written when he was only 25 years old.

I believe that the duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world. I further believe that the struggle between individualism and collectivism is the same struggle reproduced on another level.

He is right, with one important caveat.  The answer to collectivism isn't really individualism, but rather personalism.  Why?  Alice von Hildebrand frequently reminds us of a saying of her husband's: "The truth doesn't lie between two errors, but above

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Katie van Schaijik

Deliberations

Sep. 14, 2010, at 11:34am

After an almost overwhelmingly rich and full summer, we are back home in West Chester.  Normal life has returned, and I have leisure to resume philosophical reading and thinking.

The other day someone asked me about phenomenology.  What is it? 
It’s not an easy question to answer, since there are so many different meanings of the term.  But one way of explaining it is as a deliberate effort at rightly centered, disencumbered thinking—a thinking that is first of all a listening, a stripping away of all prejudices and pre-conceptions in order to be purely and intelligently present to an important reality.  Perhaps it is person, or a moral experience.  The aim is to let that person or

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Jules van Schaijik

Between the knockers and boosters of modern culture

Jan. 7, 2010, at 2:24pm

Some time soon I will have to make my way through Charles Taylor’s Sources of The Self, an important but long and difficult book on “The Making of the Modern Identity.” For now, however, I decided to take up his shorter and much more managable work, The Ethics of Authenticity. And I must say, based on the first thirty pages, IT IS GREAT! I keep on wanting to get up and talk to Katie about it. (Good thing she had to go to the dentist. Otherwise I would still be on page 5.)

What I especially like is the way in which Taylor elucidates and appreciates the moral ideal that underlies much of modern culture. He calls it the “ideal of authenticity.”

Herder put forward the idea that each

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Katie van Schaijik

Weigel at Immaculata

Oct. 1, 2009, at 11:41am

Last night we attended a talk by George Weigel at Immaculata University comparing John Paul II and Edith Stein.  My reaction was somewhat mixed.  Weigel has a marvelous command of the timeline of their lives and some of the major points of convergence between these two giants of 20th century Catholicism and 20th century philosophy: their shared faith and intellectual vocation, their common critique of the atheism and materialism of the modern world, their profound interest in re-establishing the right relation between faith and reason, their work to bring Thomism and phenomenology into fruitful contact with each other, their contributions toward a Christian femininism, and so on. 
But for

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Katie van Schaijik

Who really inspires the political left?

Jul. 22, 2009, at 11:39pm

Over at the American Thinker, Kelcy Allen provides an eye-opening (let us hope and pray!) comparison of the rhetoric and principles of liberal sentimental favorite, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Saul Alinsky, whose political philosophy and program shapes so much of the American left. He uses quotations from both to imagine a verbal boxing match between them.
Here is just a taste:

Round One: Saul Alinsky opens with, “To hell with charity…morality is but rhetorical rationale for expedient action and self-interest.”

Martin Luther says, “Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy.”

Round Two: Alinksy fires, “Ours is a world not of Angels but of ‘angles’.

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Katie van Schaijik

A thought about personalism

Jul. 2, 2009, at 10:45am

This morning I came across this 1964 quote of Albert Einstein, whom Time Magazine named “Man of the [20th] Century.” It comes from an article about nuclear war prevention:

The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our ways of thinking. Thus we are drifting toward a catastrophe beyond comparison. We shall require a substantially new way of thinking about mankind to survive.

It strikes me that the same thing could be said about other lately-unleashed catastrophic powers. I am thinking specifically of the unleashing of sex that has been happening across the course of the last 100 years. The other night I watched part of an excellent PBS program on the history of

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Josef Seifert

Why nothing is left of Jewish Christian Faith if we are not free

Jun. 10, 2009, at 11:15am

1. Without acknowledging freedom of the created person, God would be the origin of all evils and thus a hyper-demonic being: Each metaphysics, which denies the freedom of humans and of angels, and more precisely the abuse of freedom, as source and first cause of all the manifold evils that obviously exist in the world blames these evils on God or, if he is an atheist, on an unfree natural cause. In either of these two cases moral evil would not exist at all in humans. Because if humans and angels were determined to be evil, they would be innocent like lambs or like puppets; God, however, as long as his existence is not altogether denied, as the source of all evil and suffering, would be

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Josef Seifert

Are we free?  Are we persons?

Jun. 7, 2009, at 3:16am

The Immense Importance of the Question whether We Are Free

There is hardly anything that could be more fundamental for personalist philosophy, for the understanding of the human being qua person, than the comprehension of the nature of freedom and an answer to the question whether we humans are in fact free. Already a purely philosophical grasp of the person is enough to see the inseparable link between person and freedom so that one can say on purely philosophical-rational grounds: an “unfree person” is a contradictio in adiecto, a contradiction in itself — just like an “iron wood.”

Freedom belongs so essentially to personhood that no being can be called a person if he or she,

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