Thursday, August 18, 2011

So much hinges upon the avoidance of confusion and error

sam mickey | July 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm
I’m thinking of four anthologies released in the last few years that bring Whitehead into philosophical and theological dialogue with Badiou, Derrida, Deleuze, and others. Process and Difference (Daniell and Keller), Secrets of Becoming (Faber and Stephenson), Deleuze, Whitehead, Bergson (Robinson), and Event and Decision (Faber, Krips, and Petus). …
If you’re interested in postsecular theology that addresses the challenges of our current historical moment, check out Clayton Crockett’s new book (if you haven’t already), Radical Political Theology. No Whitehead (although he does mention a little process theology, particularly Catherine Keller, perhaps the greatest process theologian), but there are plenty of helpful resources for understanding atheism and nihilism in their contemporary contexts.
Matthew David Segall | July 31, 2011 at 6:22 pm Glad you stopped by, Sam.
When I argue against metaphysical atheism in recent posts, I’m not thinking of the sort of “atheism in the name of God” that Alan Watts used to talk about. The “atheism” of the later group of thinkers you mention (Haraway, Derrida, etc.) is unlike the type that Bryant is arguing for in his responses to me. He seems to suggest that naturalism has made the “God hypothesis” (not the way I’d want to construe theological speculation) irrelevant, which is surprising to me since I didn’t think an OOO philosopher would try to lean on scientific materialism/naturalism to marginalize religion. He doesn’t seem to have read his Whitehead, or my posts on Whitehead in response, since he keeps accusing me of employing the concept of a transcendent “God” to explain natural processes when I’ve explicitly criticized such concepts. God is not a hypothesis meant to explain the universe, anymore than “matter” could be conceived of as such.
Speculative philosophy must hold the binary (God/no-God) together to form a coherent image of the universe. The question is not: “does God exist?” but “what is the universe such that God does and does not exist?” Theism makes no sense without the possibility of atheism, and vice versa: they are interdependent, sometimes parasitic, sometimes symbiotic modes of thought.
Philosophy is the attempt to understand the most basic facts about the world we inhabit and so far as possible to explain these facts. This enterprise is not the exclusive concern of certain specialists, but one in which every human being is deeply involved, whether or not he is clearly conscious of it.
Every way of life is based upon a way of looking at life. The way you look at life is your philosophy. Just as there are many ways of life, so are there many philosophies, some more true and some less true. So important is this basic enterprise of man, so much hinges upon the avoidance of confusion and error, that since the time of the ancient Greeks a certain discipline has been set aside for the concentrated consideration of philosophical problems and for the careful comparison and criticism of different ways of answering them. This discipline is called philosophy.

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