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Martin Pleitz

The Liar paradox arises when we consider a sentence that says of itself that it is not true. If such self-referential sentences exist – and examples like »This sentence is not true« certainly suggest this –, then our logic and standard notion of truth allow to infer a contradiction: The Liar sentence is true and not true. What has gone wrong? Must we revise our notion of truth and our logic? Or can we dispel the common conviction that there are such self-referential sentences? The present study explores the second path. After comparing the Liar reasoning in formal and informal logic and showing that there are no Gödelian Liar sentences, the study moves on from the semantics of self-reference to the metaphysics of expressions and proposes a novel solution to the Liar paradox: Meaningful expressions are distinct from their syntactic bases and exist only relative to contexts. Detailed semantico-metaphysical arguments show that in this dynamic setting, an object can be referred to only after it has started to exist. Hence the circular reference needed in the Liar paradox cannot occur, after all. As this solution is contextualist, it evades the expressibility problems of other proposals.

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya and the Divine Attributes

Rationalized Traditionalistic Theology

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Miriam Ovadia

In Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya and the Divine Attributes Miriam Ovadia offers a thorough discussion on the hermeneutical methodology applied in the theology of the Ḥanbalite traditionalistic scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 1350), the most prominent disciple of the renowned Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328). Focusing on Ibn al-Qayyim's voluminous – yet so far understudied – work on anthropomorphism, al-Ṣawāʿiq al-Mursala, Ovadia explores his modus operandi in his attack on four fundamental rationalistic convictions, while demonstrating Ibn al-Qayyim's systemization of the Taymiyyan theological doctrine and theoretical discourse. Contextualizing al-Ṣawāʿiq with relevant writings of thinkers who preceded Ibn al-Qayyim, Ovadia unfolds his employment of Kalāmic terminology and argumentations; thus, his rationalized-traditionalistic authoring of a theological manifesto directed against his contemporary Ashʿarite elite of Mamluk Damascus.

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Edited by Peter Bray and Marta Rzepecka

Communication decisively impacts upon all our lives. This inherent need to connect may either be soothing or painful, a source of intimate understanding or violent discord. Consequently, how it is brokered is challenging and often crucial in situations where those involved have quite different ways of being in and seeing the world. Good communication is equated with skills that intentionally facilitate change, the realisation of desirable outcomes and the improvement of human situations. Withdrawal of communication, or its intentional manipulation, provokes misunderstanding, mistrust, and precipitates the decline into disorder. This international collection of work specifically interrogates conflict as an essential outworking of communication, and suggests that understanding of communication’s potency in contexts of conflict can directly influence reciprocally positive outcomes.

Michael Quante

Leading one’s life as a person is an essential feature of our human existence which is constitutively characterized by finiteness, sociality and vulnerability. Within the framework of a pragmatistic anthropology central features of our being persons (i.e. personal identity, self-consciousness, freedom, autonomy and responsibility) are made explicit in this study. The such unfolded conception is anthropological in the sense of being restricted to the human life-form. The explication is pragmatistic in a double sense: Firstly, action is taken as a complex and not reducible basic feature; secondly, the study is committed to the pragmatistic model of justification. Leading one’s life as a human person, this is the study’s central thesis, is realized in constellations of recognition (intersubjective or institutionally framed). These can be made explicit as basic grammar of our evaluative Praxis within an ascriptivist framework.

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Josef van Ess

Edited by Hinrich Biesterfeldt

Kleine Schriften, written by the eminent German scholar of Islamic Studies Josef van Ess, is a unique collection of Van Ess' widely scattered short writings, journal articles, encyclopaedia entries, (autobiographical) essays, reviews and lectures, in (mainly) German, English and French, some of which are published here for the first time. It includes a full bibliography of the author’s work, in addition to two indexes of classical authors and works, which aim to make accessible the remarkable riches that these Kleine Schriften have to offer. The three-volume collection, carefully selected by the author himself, offers over 150 texts organized primarily along Van Ess’ own biography and the history of the discipline. It is divided into twelve parts, beginning with Tübingen where his career began in 1968, and ending with Retrospects and Postscripts for the future, with the thematic complexes Islam and its first options and Muʿtazila as centre pieces. All parts are introduced by brief accounts of the historical context in which each of the assembled texts was written and which course subsequent scholarship may have taken.

Practicing Safe Sects

Religious Reproduction in Scientific and Philosophical Perspective

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F. LeRon Shults

Where do gods come from – and what is the cost of bearing them? In Practicing Safe Sects F. LeRon Shults argues for the importance of having “the talk” about the causes and consequences of participating in religious sects. To survive and thrive as a social species, we humans are likely to continue needing some kind of sects (as well as sex) for quite some time. But can we learn how to practice safe sects? Can we live together in healthy and productive social networks without reproducing the superstitious beliefs and segregative behaviors that are engendered and nurtured by shared ritual engagement with imagined supernatural agents? In this provocative and timely book, Shults provides scientific and philosophical resources for answering these questions.

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Maurice A. Pomerantz

In Licit Magic: The Life and Letters of al-Ṣāḥib b. ʿAbbād (d. 385/995) Maurice A. Pomerantz explores the biography and literary output of a major tenth-century Muslim statesman, literary patron, and intellectual. His nearly two-decade reign as vizier on behalf of two Buyid amirs was an important period for the flowering of Arabic letters, Muʿtazilī theology and Shīʿism in Western Iran. Making use of Ibn ʿAbbād’s large corpus of letters ( rasāʾil), Pomerantz explores the role that eloquence played in the conduct of administration, the maintenance of social networks of elites, and persuasion. Licit Magic argues that the eloquent expression that Ibn ʿAbbād displayed in his letters was central to his exercise of power.

Karel Lambert, Edgar Morscher and Peter M. Simons

Free Logic is an important field of philosophical logic. It appeared first in the 1950s, and Karel Lambert was one of its founders and coined the term. The volume begins with three of Lambert’s most recent essays. These papers are followed by a dialogue between Karel Lambert and Edgar Morscher on free logic. The second part of the volume contains papers by Peter Simons and Edgar Morscher on free logic. A systematic and historical survey of free logic with an annotated bibliography of works on free logic completes the book.

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Edited by Carla Risseeuw and Marlein van Raalte

The concept of friendship is more easily valued than it is described: this volume brings together reflections on its meaning and practice in a variety of social and cultural settings in history and in the present time, focusing on Asia and the Western, Euro-American world.
The extension of the group in which friendship is recognized, and degrees of intimacy (whether or not involving an erotic dimension) and genuine appreciation may vary widely. Friendship may simply include kinship bonds—solidarity being one of its more general characteristics. In various contexts of travelling, migration, and a dearth of offspring, friendship may take over roles of kinship, also in terms of care.

Beneficial coercion in psychiatry?

Foundations and Challenges

Edited by Jakov Gather, Tanja Henking, Alexa Nossek and Jochen Vollmann

Coercion in the treatment of persons suffering from mental disorders is one of the major ethical controversies in psychiatry. Despite great efforts to reduce the use of coercive interventions, they are still widespread and differ among European countries with regard to the specific type of intervention and the number of affected patients. It is common to justify measures against the present will of patients under the assumption that they promote their well-being, that is, by reference to the ethical principal of beneficence. However, it is indisputable that such measures can also cause severe harm to the patients concerned and that they are often experienced as degrading. So in which situations can coercive interventions justifiably be labeled as »beneficial« at all? How can they be reduced to a minimum? This volume addresses these issues from an interdisciplinary and international perspective, combining contributions of amongst others medical ethicists, philosophers, legal scholars, psychologists, psychiatrists from different European countries. Theoretical and conceptual essays are complemented by contributions with a strong relation to clinical practice.