Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Philosophical Act: Part IV (The Final Post)

"In the philosophical act, the human being's related-ness to the totality of being is realized; philosophy is oriented toward the world as a whole." A pre-condition to the philosophical act (which the Greek philosophers took for granted) is an "already given" view of the world. Plato wrote, "The ancients knew the truth; if we could only find it, why would we have to investigate the opinions of men?" Pieper explains it like this, "that a previously handed-down interpretation of the world stands before all philsophizing from which philosophy gets a spark."

Plato went further and said that this wisdom from the ancients is of divine origin, it is a "gift of the gods!"

We have come to the point now where philosophy comes into contact with theology. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from John Paul II, "Faith and Reason (Theology and Philosophy) are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth--in a word, to know himself--so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves."

According to the Ancient Philsophers, theology precedes philosophy. "No philsophy is in existence which does not receive its first impulse and impetus from some previously existing, uncritically accepted interpretation of the world," writes Pieper.

In simplistic terms, before one can search, there must be first something for which to search. Before we can inquire into the meaning of human life, we must first believe...there is meaning to life.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Here's a brief backwards nutshell (depending on the way you look at it):

1. Doing philosophy presupposes theology. ("study of God")
2. Philosophizing is a uniquely human act, only humans can do it.
3. The "disturbances" of the philsophical act is what removes us from "environment" into "world."
4. To exist solely in the "environment" or world of work is to live in a partial-world similar to that of animals and plants.
5. Humans who worship "work" are slaves, confined to the "here-and-now" world.
6. The Cultus (or "worship" in the religious sense) is the highest form of leisure.
7. Leisure is the basis of culture.

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