Ph 103 final oral exam notes (Rowena Azada-Palacios)
Ph 103 Azada-Palacios: Final Oral Examination: Develop and reflect on the theses oranswer the questions (if applicable), drawing from the readings. 1. Discuss Lauers view of authentic faith. According to him, how can a believers encounter with non-believers and anti-believers lead to more authentic belief? How can a believers reflection on his own inauthentic belief lead to more authentic belief? • Begins by saying the problem of unbelief is inseparable from belief • Unbelief of the unbeliever 1. Atheism / non-belief − No need for a being higher than man − Have only experienced the silence (“absence”) of God, but this can be interpreted differently − God can speak through men − Anthropomorphism 2. Anti-belief / anti-theism − Positive reasons for not believing − Affirmation of man over the negation of God − Humanism – man is the supreme value and God is an obstacle to man’s becoming truly human − Freedom and self-determination are what characterize man − God is a threat to this freedom; institutions − This means we have to be honest and look at what the world is like − Faith is not weakened by this honesty; it is strengthened • Inauthentic belief of the believer 1. Belief without commitment − Intellectually affirming to belief but not incorporating it to life − Belief cannot stop at affirmation, if it does, then it is a mere formalism − Belief with commitment is characterized by love of man, precisely because he is man and we see that he is lovable − Love is a relationship; not just something we do − Lauer believes that authentic belief needs commitment − We must safeguard man against man and even against a legalistic God − Healthy anti-clericalism – questioning authority when it is abused − Only a strong faith can refuse to be wedded to the past which is weighted down by absolutized formulations − Faith is historical and must remain the same, but keep pace with experience 2. Smug belief
− Gods who can be appeased by human gifts (not gods) − Lauer believes authentic faith means humble submission to a higher being − Belief cannot be utilitarian 3. Negative moment of authentic faith − Our knowledge of God is always limited − Our experience of God is a process that is never completed − We are always striving to a more adequate, complete faith − All belief is partially non-belief, because to have absolute belief would be having total knowledge − When I am aware of the unfinished character of my faith, those are negative moments of belief − Negative moments can purify belief to make our faith stronger − Negative moments of non-belief contribute to the vitality of belief as belief − This unbelief makes belief living faith and not dead certainty / knowledge − To be real faith, our faith must face the question: Suppose there is no God? a. Without God, all is permitted – God is used as a moral end b. Learning to live as though God were not there – man shoulders the responsibility of creating a moral world − Faith is not a haven of security; it is accompanied by risk − Belief demands courage to accept this risk of believing rather than knowing − Modern believer’s task – to show that by limiting freedom (by faith), it is actually enhanced − He is more free in believing than he would be in not believing •2. Sartre’s rejection of God is grounded in the view that existence precedes essence. The experiences of anguish, forlornness, and despair all stem from the existentialist’s acceptance of her deep and radical responsibility for her own life and for all of humanity. Nonetheless, for Sartre, the existentialist finds authentic fullness in her freedom. • Charges against existentialism 1. Pessimism 2. Quietism / inaction • Existentialism – a doctrine which makes human life possible and declares that every truth and action implies a human setting and a human subjectivity
• Existence precedes essence (freedom and responsibility) 1. Example of the paper-cutter, where essence precedes existence 2. Atheistic existentialism – if God does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being who exists before he can be defined by any concept, and this is man. 3. Man exists and only afterwards, defines himself, because he has free will 4. There is no human nature, because there is no God who conceived it 5. Man is only what he wills himself to be after existence and man can imagine himself in the future 6. There is no pre-determined existence for man 7. Subjectivity - man is nothing else but what he makes himself 8. Therefore, man is responsible for what he is 9. Existentialism makes man aware of his responsibility of his existence 10. Man is responsible for all men• Removing God from the picture removes the pre-conceived ideal image of man that we are all trying to follow, and makes us look at ourselves and our own choices• Subjectivism – it is impossible for man to transcend human subjectivity 1. When man chooses himself, he chooses all men 2. When we choose the image that we want ourselves to be, we are choosing what we think all of man should be• Anguish 1. The feeling of distress that arises when we realize how deep and total our responsibility is 2. Man who chooses himself (and mankind) cannot escape the feeling of his total and deep responsibility 3. The example of Abraham, and his choice whether to sacrifice his son is good or bad 4. At every moment, I am obliged to perform exemplary acts to guide humanity by my actions 5. Anguish is not quietism because it makes us face our responsibilities and the consequences of this 6. All leaders know of anguish• Forlornness / abandonment 1. God does not exist and there is no one else we can turn to 2. There can no longer be values that have an a priori (obligatory) existence 3. Everything is possible if God does not exist, and man is forlorn because he does not find anything to cling to 4. Man cannot make excuses for himself 5. Man cannot explain things through a fixed and human nature 6. Man is free, with no excuses and no values to legitimize his conduct
7. Man is condemned to be free – condemned because he did not create himself, but once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. 8. Man is condemned to invent man 9. Forlornness and anguish go together• Despair 1. When man realize that the immensity of freedom comes with a finitude—man has to bear humanity, but he does not have the omnipotence of God. There are things he cannot control. 2. Example of the friend in the streetcar who might be late, or not. 3. Without God, the responsibility of the world is upon us, yet we cannot control everything despite our free will. Even our shaping of our lives is within the confines of our control. − No God, no scheme, can adapt the world of possibilities to my will − I can’t count on anything but myself, because everyone else has free will. Man is free and I cannot count on them because I cannot rely on “human goodness”—there is no such thing. − I cannot abandon myself to quietism; I should involve myself and do what I can 4. Quietism – let others do what I can’t do 5. Existentialism – there is no reality except in action 6. Man is nothing else than his plan; he exists only to the extent that he fulfills himself• Counters against the charges made against existentialism 1. Pessimism − Existentialism is optimistic because it says man’s destiny is within himself − “Optimistic toughness” that celebrates man’s freedom 2. Quietism / inaction − Existentialism defines man in terms of action (he is nothing more than what he does) − The only hope is in his acting and that action is what enables man to live• Being aware of myself is also being aware of others 1. In discovering my inner being, I discover the other person at the same time, like a freedom placed in front of me which thinks and wills only for or against me• For Sartre, subjectivity (being conscious) is intersubjectivity – consciousness is always consciousness of others• The universal human condition 1. Every person has the capacity to put himself in the shoes of another person 2. This is not given; it is perpetually being made
• Other objections to existentialism 1. Anarchy − “You are able to do anything, no matter what” − But if we choose or don’t choose, we are still making a choice − Whatever we may do, we are taking full responsibility for the way we handle it − Having to choose, rejecting a priori values, is not caprice 2. Relativism − “You’re unable to pass judgment on others, because there’s no reason to prefer one to another” − It is true that when we choose our configuration, we cannot prefer another configuration − Truth – one can judge that certain choices are based on error and others on truth. Dishonesty belies the freedom of involvement. − Freedom – as long as we are choosing freely, this is a good decision. One may choose anything if it is on the grounds of free involvement. We want freedom for the sake of freedom. 3. Arbitrariness − “Everything is arbitrary in this choosing of yours. You take something from one pocket and pretend you’re putting it into the other” − But the rejection of a priori values is not the rejection of values − Humanism a. Man is an end and has a higher value – we ascribe a value to man on the basis of the highest deeds of certain men (this is absurd) b. Man is constantly outside of himself; in losing himself outside of himself, he makes for man’s existing. It is by pursuing transcendent goals that he is able to exist. − Existential humanism has two parts a. Transcendency – passing beyond b. Subjectivity – man is not closed in on himself but is present in a human universe • Overview 1. Existentialism is about freedom and responsibility 2. Subjectivity and intersubjectivity – but not subjectivist 3. Existentialism is humanism – a celebration of humanity as having the capacity to be free and shape our own lives3. Marcel distinguishes genuine faith from opinion and conviction. Faith is an
act of trust. As faith is purified, the believer grows in her capacity to pray,“Fiat voluntas tua.” • Opinion – an appearing to be which tends to change into a claim because of an absence of reflection 1. We can only have an opinion with things with which we are not intimately acquainted / things we do not know 2. Ex. It is harder to give an opinion of a close friend than to give an opinion of an acquaintance 3. Opinions are far-sighted and at arm’s length 4. “I maintain that” – an opinion is maintained before someone else 5. Opinions are impossible without reference to another and are external to the things they refer to 6. Opinions begin with an impression, and with maintenance, become a depersonalized claim 7. Opinions are unshakeable because of their lack of reflection 8. The absence of reflection and the repetition of the opinion makes it a claim. Opinion and commitment are opposite. 9. The opinion is broken only when we choose to bridge the gap between others • “I maintain that” = “My experience shows me that” 1. My experience shows me that God does not exist, because I have experienced certain facts which would not have happened if God existed – false, because how do you know what God is like, and what he would do? It presupposes you know God. • Conviction – refers to a limit, an end, a bar that has been drawn 1. The intermediate link between opinion and faith 2. Refers to the past / the future treated like the past 3. A conviction is unshakeable and closed to future possibilities; an inner closure 4. “Whatever happens cannot alter what I think” – this is impossible because: − I have already anticipated every detail and objection that I may be confronted with a. Impossible to think of everything − Whatever these unanticipated objections may be, they will not shake my conviction a. There is always a part of myself that is in danger of being influenced b. To claim this would be dishonest 5. While opinions are unreflective and external, convictions are the result of extensive reflection and concern things to which one feels closely tied 6. Like opinions, convictions are felt to be definitive and unshakeable • Belief – opposite of conviction; unlike conviction, which is closed to the past, belief is open to the future and allows the future to strengthen itself
1. Example of lending credit (myself) to X 2. Believing is giving oneself / rallying to 3. Putting faith in someone implies a relationship, because we can only trust another person 4. Faith is a giving of the self 5. Belief is not “belief that” but “belief in” − Belief that – more like a conviction − Belief in – extending credit to someone, to place something at the disposal of that in which we believe 6. Betraying of trust could result in the collapse of me − Conviction on the other hand, refers to X, takes position with regard to X but does not bind itself to X 7. Trust always carries the risk that trust can be broken 8. You do not place trust based on absolute knowledge 9. Someone’s failure to take care of the trust is in a way my own failure 10. X is God and X is “thou”. X is acknowledged as capable of disappointment, responding in ways I may not like. 11. Disappointment has two implications: − Demonstrates that I do have a relationship with the person I trust; demonstrates just how much I trusted the person − Reveals just how much opinion and conviction remains in our relationship. There is still something about my love that is conditional. 12. Disappointment is a crossroads – after trust has been broken, it can spell the end of a relationship or it can challenge the person who loved to love even more. 13. Love can be unconditional 14. Love can be faith itself, an invincible assurance based on Being itself − With each moment of disappointment, love can strengthen − Perhaps authentic faith in God is a trust that grows unconditionally, and grows even after discovering that trust has been broken beyond all disappointment − Love is faith itself - the absolute Thou, which is expressed in the Fiat voluntas tua of the Lord’s Prayer4. For Marcel, to hope is to be victorious against the temptation to capitulate to darkness. It is, however, different from both optimism and stoicism. To hope is a response of positive non-acceptance to a situation of captivity in which I find myself. • Begins with the shallowest interpretation of hope: “I hope he will arrive in time for lunch tomorrow” 1. Not a real expression of hope; rather, a wish or a certain belief 2. The reasons for hoping are exterior to the person
3. Merely a calculation of probabilities• In times of captivity / trial, it is impossible to separate the “I hope” from a certain type of situation of which it is part. 1. Captivity occurs when I feel that my personal actions are touched by restrictions brought about by a compulsory mode of existence caused by external constraint 2. Captivity implies an impossibility of rising to a certain fullness of life, which may be in the realms of sensation or thought 3. All captivity partakes of the nature of alienation (being separated) 4. In captivity, everyday things mean more to us (i.e. the invalid, the loss of a beloved) 5. The more life is experienced as captivity, the more we experience hope.• The soul always turns towards a light which it does not yet perceive 1. Hope – believing there is light beyond the situation of captivity• “I hope that” becomes “I hope”• Optimism 1. The optimist refuses to face the situation of captivity 2. He feels that things will turn out for the best 3. He always relies upon an experience that is not drawn from the most intimate and living part of himself, but on the contrary, is considered from a sufficient distance to allow certain contradictions to become alternated or fused into a general harmony. − Therefore, optimism is not hope, because hope is inseparable from the situation 4. The pessimist is just the same, except he thinks that things will turn out for the worse. 5. Although optimism is positive, it differs from hope because: − Distance a. The optimist relies on an experience that is not drawn from the most intimate and living part of himself (considered from a sufficient distance) (like an opinion). Optimism is a positivity that stems from not being involved and not acknowledging the real situation in front of you. Hope begins with the actual recognition of the situation. − Certainty a. Arises almost out of a certain conviction. I am creating my image of the world even though there are problems in front of me. Conviction has smugness, but saying "I hope" has no smugness. Hoping recognizes that we are not in control. Optimism is simply a belief that things will turn out for the best, despite evidence to the contrary
• Vitality has nothing to do with hope, because hope can survive the almost- total ruin of an organism • Hope is the act by which the temptation to despair is actively overcome • Capitulation – to accept the given sentence and recognize the inevitable as such; to go to pieces and disarm before the inevitable 1. Ex. The invalid with the incurable disease says “I cannot recover, even if you say I can.” 2. A negative acceptance of defeat 3. Precipitating one’s destiny; anticipating one’s destruction 4. Accepting means to keep a firm hold on oneself; to safeguard one’s integrity • Stoicism 1. A negative acceptance of defeat 2. Strengthening oneself, but not radiating 3. The stoic is only concerned with himself and has no responsibility towards anyone else 4. The stoic is imprisoned within himself 5. Characterized by interiority and resignation to the situation • Revolt 1. A negative non-acceptance of defeat 2. Not taking one’s time (no patience, and patience is a key element in hope) 3. Taking one’s time means not forcing the personal rhythm (Ex. The invalid who does not force himself to get well within a certain number of days); embracing process of growth 4. Non-interference is of a higher order than the indifference of stoicism and implies a subtle respect for the other person’s vital need of time to preserve his vital rhythm • Hope is the positive non-acceptance to a situation of captivity in which my soul finds itself. Situation of C aptivity Refusal to face the reality of the situation Facing the reality of the situation Accepting the finality of the Not accepting the finality of the Optimism / Pessimism situation / accepting defeat situation / not accepting defeat Capitulation Stoicism Revolt Hope I hope that I hope I hope in Thee for us
5. In contrast to the cyclical nature of despair, hope ceases to be fixated on a specific outcome, gradually moving from egoism to greater communion. This movement is a rejection of empiricism, and is characterized by an openness to creativity and time. • Temptation of despair - a cyclical nature 1. Ex. The father who awaits news of his son, who has gone to war 2. The despairing man not only contemplates and sets before himself the dismal repetition, the eternalisation of a situation in which he is caught like a ship in a sea of ice. 3. He anticipates this repetition 4. Despair here forms the very substance of a person’s life and makes him prey on himself 5. In despair, the person remains caught in the fixation on the specific desired outcome 6. In hope, the person grows, develops and becomes purer; the person is gradually released from fixation on one kind of liberation • “To hope that” and “to hope” 1. The more we are focused on “hoping that” a specific outcome will happen, the more that hope becomes an illusion 2. The more that hope transcends imagination and the more that we “hope” and not allow ourselves to imagine what we hope for, the less that hope is an illusion. • Absolute hope 1. Ex. The invalid who wants himself to be cured by the end of a few days still has much hope, even it does not happen. Everything is not necessarily lost if there is no cure; his attitude towards recovery/non-recovery will be radically changed. 2. Believer – one who will meet with no insurmountable obstacle on his way to transcendence 3. Absolute hope is inseparable from absolute faith, transcending all laying down of conditions 4. Hope is grounded on faith 5. The source of absolute hope is the response of the creature to the infinite Being to whom it is conscious of owing everything that it has and upon whom it cannot impose any condition without scandal. 6. We no longer permit ourselves to despair. In hoping for liberation, I actually help prepare the way for it. 7. When I hope, I strengthen, and when I despair, I weaken the bond that unites me to the matter in question. • Temptation of empiricism – only measurable things are credible 1. Empiricism regarding creativity − “I know I am doomed, based on past experience” – but hope demands an openness − The technician – never separates the ends and the means.
If he does not see how to achieve it, the end does not exist for the technician. The technician embodies empiricism. − The inventor – he says that there must be a way, and says that he is going to find it. The inventor appeals to the existence of a certain creative power in the world. − If my spirit has been tarnished by catalogued experience, then I refuse to appeal to this creative power. 2. Empiricism regarding time − “Things will not change” – a hopeless repetition − Despair is a sense of consciousness of time as closed, like a prison − Hope is a piercing through time − Time is a perpetual splitting up of the self in relation to the self. Hope aims at the reunion of the self; it is a memory of the future. − Kairos – time is cognizant (“moment”) − Chronos – time as measured 3. Empiricism regarding love − “I know I will be disappointed” − Established experience will make us think that time will bring nothing new beyond an added confirmation – established experience makes it repetitive − The human condition is characterized by accepting risks and going beyond them. a. People who avoid risks are avoiding disappointment b. Disappointment means I was counting on something; I have literally given credit c. My fear of disappointment means that my relationship with the other person has degenerated to a relationship of having than being d. Authentic hope is trust 4. “I hope in” − Man is always in a state of captivity, even by death − There is a threat of solitude, but love will win − Hope has given us the power to move beyond and to deepen my communion with others − I am not in isolation, but in communion with others − Thus: to hope is to trust• Can we hope when the reasons for doing so are insufficient or completely lacking? 1. Of course. If the subject hopes, then obviously he thinks that the reasons are sufficient. 2. In the realm of hope, I cannot speak of reasons for hoping, because hope transcends empiricism and calculated reason.
• Hope is the availability of the soul which has entered immediately enough into the experience of communion to accomplish in the teeth of will and knowledge the transcendent act—the act of establishing the vital regeneration of which this experience affords both the pledge and the first- fruits6. For Marcel, hope is expressed most fully in the appeal, "I hope in Thee for us." This deepest form of hope is a movement of greater love that transcends all conditions, even the threat of the solitude of death. In this sense, to hope is to trust in an infinite Being who is the grounds of all communion. The religious experience, then, can be understood as an experience of hope. • Trials always tempt me to close in on myself or experience time as repetition • Even if man’s trial is infinite, we can rise up from a communion of experiences to a communion of hope • “I hope in Thee for us” 1. “Thou” is the guarantee of the union to hold us together; it is the very cement that binds the whole into one. 2. Between “thou” and “us”, there must be a vital link 3. We discover “us” through hope 4. This Absolute Thou in whom I must hope but whom I also always have the possibility of denying is at the heart of the city which I form with myself 5. However, we are not isolated 6. The more we allow ourselves to be the servants of Having, the more we shall let ourselves fall a prey to the gnawing anxiety which Having involves, and the more we lose the aptitude to hope 7. If we allow ourselves to be penetrated by hope, the breathing of the soul can be maintained through the armor of Having • The greatest threat of captivity is the solitude of death 1. I can choose to despair (solitude wins) 2. I can choose to hope (love wins) • Hope in the face of death is inly possible if I have faith in the infinite • As my hope deepens, it becomes more and more unconditional (whatever this is, I remain in the hands of God) • “I hope in Thee for us” 1. “for us” – beloved people 2. “in Thee” – in the Infinite 3. “I hope in” – not anything specific − Nostos – a return/restoration − Kainon ti – a renewal 4. Hoping is not just hope in restoration (old life), but in renewal. • Hope as grace 1. A gift from God that demands a response
• Hope as a transcendent act 1. Hope transcends the threat of the solitude of death 2. Thou shalt not die 3. Hope transcends empiricism and calculated reason 4. Faith is not much about having knowledge, but we take the leap of faith because we have hope.7. Thomas’ Aquinas arguments for God’s existence: In his arguments for God’s existence, Aquinas demonstrates his confidence in the capacity of human reason to arrive at or explain some knowledge, albeit imperfect, of God. • The structure of the arguments 1. Begins with an experience – no one can deny 2. Metaphysical principles – most people will agree with 3. Ends with a logical conclusion − This indicates what Aquinas thinks of the universe − This emphasizes that reason can be used to bolster faith • Argument from Motion 1. Our senses prove that some things are in motion (i.e. change through time) 2. Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion. 3. Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion. 4. Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another). 5. Therefore nothing can move itself. 6. Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else. 7. The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum. 8. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first, unmoved mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God. • Argument from Efficient Cause 1. We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world. 2. Nothing exists prior to itself. 3. Therefore nothing is the efficient cause of itself. 4. If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results. 5. Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, nothing in the series exists. 6. The series of efficient causes cannot extend ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now. 7. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God. • Argument from Possibility and Necessity 1. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, that come into being and go out of being i.e., contingent beings. 2. Assume that every being is a contingent being.
3. For each contingent being, there is a time it does not exist. 4. Therefore it is impossible for these always to exist. 5. Therefore there could have been a time when no things existed. 6. Therefore at that time there would have been nothing to bring the currently existing contingent beings into existence. 7. Therefore, nothing would be in existence now. 8. We have reached an absurd result from assuming that every being is a contingent being. 9. Therefore not every being is a contingent being. 10. Therefore some being exists of its own necessity, and does not receive its existence from another being, but rather causes them. This all men speak of as God.• Argument from Gradation 1. There are degrees of perfection in beings 2. Predications of degree require reference to the “uttermost” case (e.g., a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest). 3. The maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus. 4. There are degrees of Being in different things. 5. But there cannot be degrees of Being unless there is something that is Being to the highest degree. 6. That which is the highest degree of any quality is the cause of that quality. 7. Therefore there must also be something, which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this Perfect Being we call God.• Argument from Design (Governance) 1. We see that natural bodies work toward some purpose, and do not do so by chance. 2. Most natural things are unintelligent. 3. Since natural things are unintelligent, then they cannot direct themselves toward that purpose. 4. But as an arrow reaches its target because it is directed by an archer, what lacks intelligence achieves goals by being directed by something intelligence. 5. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.