[文摘] « The Future of Theological Ethics », Studies in Christian Ethics, May 2012; 25 (2)

Source: http://sce.sagepub.com/content/current

This issue of SCE journal has some excellent contributions. See Below with my comments.  這期基督教倫理學期刊(2012年五月號)太讚了,內容幾乎全是圍繞著當前的劍橋後自由學派展開,值得導介一番。

Christian Public Reasoning in the United Kingdom: Apologetic, Casuistical, and Rhetorically Discriminate

  1. Nigel Biggar, Christ Church, Oxford OX1 1DP, UK Email:nigel.biggar@chch.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Since the 1960s Christian ethics in Britain has become stronger, more theological, and more Protestant, so that its moral intelligence is now much more fully informed by the full range of theological premises. In the future, however, Christian ethics needs to make up certain recent losses: to re-engage with moral philosophy, in order to rebut the glib dismissal of religious ethics by popularising atheists; to read less philosophy and more history, in order to become plausible to public policy-makers; and to revive the model of interdisciplinary work, in order both to understand the matter which it would interpret morally and to inject Christian analyses and judgements into the bloodstream of public discourse.

  • 對當代英語學界神學思想史和倫理學研究具有先知開創地位的 Biggar 為本期提供了一個宏觀的開場和學術掌故。這是本領域舊雨新知必讀的一篇論文。

Reasoning from out of Particularity: Possibilities for Conversation in Theological Ethics*

  1. Daniel H. Weiss, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9BS, UK Email: dhw27@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

Frequently, theological particularity can hinder attempts at inter-religious conversations in theological ethics, as each tradition’s reasoning is inextricably bound up with core doctrinal elements not shared by other traditions. I argue, however, that elements of particularity can facilitate conversation when emphasis is placed on movements of ethical reasoning between particular statements within each tradition. By examining the classical rabbinic practice of verbal forewarning in capital cases, I show that although the starting point and ending point of an instance of theological reasoning may be ‘exclusivistic’, the relationship between those points can serve as the basis for comparison and dialogue.

  • 寫這篇的 Weiss 就是他家大老 David Ford 的打手。根本論述是 Scriptural reasoning 的那一套而沒有突破。這篇論文的貢獻在於掃盲,而對英倫系統的後自由神學的進展沒有幫助。

Evolutionary Theory and Theological Ethics

  1. John Hare, Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA Email: john.hare@yale.edu

Abstract

This paper is about the problematic interface between evolutionary scientists’ talk about ethics and current work in philosophy and theology. The paper proceeds by taking four main figures from four different disciplines. The four disciplines are neurophysiology, cognitive psychology, primatology and game theory, and the four figures are Joshua Greene, Mark Hauser, Frans de Waal and Ken Binmore. The paper relates the views of each of these figures to recent work in philosophical and theological ethics.

  • Hare 提供的是當前很重要的一塊拼圖,意即從哲學上主流的無神論自然哲學系統(偏唯物論的實用主義)來協調神學倫理學的地位。畢竟沒有這一塊,神學就不可能在哲學邏輯上完全沿展開而成為在學術和社會上都站得住腳的公共神學,而難免只是信徒自己抱殘守缺的吶喊。

Response to John Hare

  1. Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9BS, UK Email: sc545@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

John Hare’s paper successfully exposes philosophical naïvéties and reductive pretensions in the evolutionary research he surveys. But he fails to clarify how ‘God’, on a view such as Dominic Johnson’s, could not be seen merely as a dispensable projection of ‘primitive’ societies, and thus how his own continuing commitment to a Kantian ethic might need to be bolstered by a concomitant form of ‘natural theology’ attentive to evolutionary dynamics.

  • 目前在公共神學上,將哲學沿展到極限的成果,將能得到一種有神論,也就是Kant 自然神論、實踐理性,和神導進化論的三點一線。可是Coakley 在這指出,這個工程在純哲學上還做得不到位(至少在Hare所整理出的四大論述中是如此)。因著 Coakley 本於正統基督教神學的立場,她會認為純哲學系統下來為神學的公共性制訂疆界,會仍無法脫離當初自由神學Feuerbach把「神學」搞成「人學」的困境。

The Future of Theological Ethics

  1. Raymond Geuss, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CE3 9DA, UK.

Abstract

The traditional discipline of apologetics contained an important insight about the necessity for Christians to address non-Christians about their practices and beliefs; however, in the modern world apologetics needs to be refocused to include not just non-Christians who have specific theoretical objections of Christianity, but also the large number of those who are simply indifferent to religious issues.

  • Geuss 一直是我極為欣賞的哲學家,屬於當前英語學界少數極為精通歐陸脈絡的一流學者。他在這非常精闢地指出,向來走在神學倫理學之前的護教學也必須跟著轉型,它不能光只跟那些反對宗教的人對話(也就是 negative apologetics,防禦性的「消極護教學」),更需要在這個時代使那些根本就不關心宗教的人正視宗教(上帝)存在的價值和必要性(也就是 positive apologetics,進攻性的「積極護教學」)。由他來說出這句話,比 Alvin Plantinga 還更為鏗鏘有力。

The Future of Theological Ethics

  1. Oliver O’Donovan, New College, Edinburgh EH1 2LX, UK Email:oliver.odonovan@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Ethics is distinguished as a field of study within the realm of organised knowledge which interprets moral experience. Christian ethics assumes this interpretation into the hermeneutic framework of Christian theology in relation to a hope for the renewal and recovery of human agency. Its theme is moral thinking in general, which it understands within the framework of faith. It is dependent on philosophical ethics, but presumes and aims at more. The concepts handled by theological ethics include analytic categories coined to describe the operations of moral thought itself, concepts that name qualities and performances of universal importance, and concepts belonging both to dogmatics and ethics, e.g. ‘sin’. It is concerned to describe the ‘architecture’ of life in the Spirit: World, the framework of meaning, Self, the agent, Time, the immediate future open to action. It resists pressure for theoretical economy in favour of unipolar theories. Its tasks include critical engagement with issues of policy or practice in wider discussion, engagement with particular moral dilemmas, the exploration of special fields, such as bioethics, marriage, economics, critical conceptual interaction with philosophy, interaction with biblical exegesis, exposition of texts from the tradition of theological ethics, and comparative intertraditional enquiry.

  • 屬於保守脈絡的 O’Donovan 這篇沒有什麼洞見,只是掃盲。

A Metaphysical Kant: A Theological Lingua Franca?

  1. Christopher Insole, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham DH1 3RS, UK Email:christopher.insole@durham.ac.uk

Abstract

I track a strand of intellectualist theology, running from Kant’s pre-critical into his critical work, whereby the divine will is constrained in its creative activity by the divine understanding. I suggest that Kant’s intellectualist theology continues to do important work in his mature conception of transcendental idealism, transcendental freedom and autonomy. I consider briefly how this might impact upon theological ethics, particularly in relation to the conflict between Kantian secularists and religious believers. I conclude by asking whether Kant’s intellectualist theology—with its Platonic strands—opens up possibilities for inter-faith dialogue.

  • 這是一個目前卡住英倫系統的後自由神學極為關鍵的課題,也就是「Kant 自然神學究竟需要做出什麼幅度的修正,才有可能成為(跨宗教)公共神學的基礎」。這篇文章大致來說,Insole 明顯對 Kant 系統有所偏袒,太信心也太樂觀了。我認為可以指出的包含三個修改議程:第一點,是從(Kant)超驗唯心論到(Barth, Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein)批判實在論的距離。第二點是把上帝當成義務論基礎的「上帝身份」問題。第三點是把上帝當成義務論基礎的「義務論」內容問題。

The Future of Theological Ethics: Response to Christopher Insole

  1. Robert Gibbs, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, 170 St George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8, Canada Email: robert.gibbs@utoronto.ca

Abstract

I shift the focus from questions of rational theology to questions of law and interrogate the nature of ethics from the perspective of Jewish philosophy. The key critical issues for criticising Kant’s philosophy will be the separation of ethics and law and the reduction of the sollen of morality to a kind of necessity. Nonetheless, I suggest that Jewish thinkers will follow Kant in thinking about God first from the perspective of practical philosophy.

  • Gibbs 的回應集中在我前面所提出的義務論問題。直接以 Kant 為公共神學基礎的後果,將產生主體「能動性」和「意志」被「單元化」的問題,下場不若是:倫理被教條/律法化,人類服從上帝的「倫理行動」淪為機器人服從主人命令的機械行為,以及「實踐理性」被化約為如同計算機科學一樣的生冷數學公式。

Concluding Remarks

  1. Christopher Insole, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham DH1 3RS, UK Eamil:christopher.insole@durham.ac.uk

Abstract

I suggest some ways in which a certain type of ‘post-foundationalism’ has had a deleterious effect in theological ethics. Much ‘post-foundationalism’ is in truth still foundationalism, albeit less reflective and more permissive, leading to a balkanised plethora of foundationalist systems. Although Wittgenstein is critical of foundationalism, it is by applying Wittgensteinian insights that we are able to avoid some of the reductive and unipolar thinking that has characterised some recent theological discussion.

  • Insole 這篇也是必讀的。不少走 Barth、Lindbeck 路線的後自由教會和神學院都走向了一種「非基礎主義」的真理觀。如果站在教會合一的大公基礎上,那這表面上是沒問題的。但如果再加入與猶太教、伊斯蘭教,到佛教或無神論之間不同親近度的關係,就會明顯發現原先「非基礎主義」提供的層次仍然遠遠不夠厚實和細膩(也就是仍有化約主義的毛病)。因而從歐陸批判理論的角度看這裡必須輔以 Habermas,而從分析哲學而言所需要的解鈴人正是 Wittgenstein。Insole 正是從 Wittgenstein的脈絡出發,把批判實在論這塊拼圖補上。
  • 只是個人未必會完全同意 Insole 的結論:為免基督救恩的獨特性褪色,我仍然強調「基礎主義」(post-foundationalism)是比「新基礎主義」(neo-foundationalism)更值得在神學上堅持的立場。

[文摘] 從實踐理性(Practical Reason)到神學-康德(Kant)學派如何壓倒休模(Hume)學派

「從實踐理性(Practical Reason)到神學-康德(Kant)學派如何壓倒休模(Hume)學派」

從實踐理性到道德實在論到神學包含六個完整步驟。借鑒來自 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy的上篇文摘,以下是個人的推導以及綜合論證:

一、理論理性與實踐理性的對照:

理論理性意味一個人對於「無法改變的過去」和「無法預測的未來」的想法。實踐理性關乎一個人對「當前行動方針以及可預期之後果」的想法。

二、自然主義(反實在論)、實在論、建構論:

這第二個階段會拉出三條戰線,說明「合理性」(rationality)該以什麼為依歸。畢竟沒有依歸,理性就是空談,與浪漫感性的非理性無異。

自然主義也就是休模的反實在論道路,認為合理性最終的依歸就是一個人的感性慾望。所以人在本質上與依靠本能行事的動物無異,差別只在人曉得用比較複雜的語言去修飾他的動機。這說明了為何這套理論叫做自然主義。

實在論則目前在哲學上式微,它必須被先置之死地,而後透過神學(彌賽亞式地)復生。實在論認為,有一套抽象卻永恆的法則,可以用來判定合理性。但這套法則的內容有哪些?人又是如何知道以及能夠探討它們?誰說得算?實在論者最答不上話的地方在這裡。

建構論,則是晚期康德的追隨者和當代社會學理論興起後的倫理學家偏好的想法。康德晚期有一個關於「認識論範疇」(epistemological categories)的重要觀念,稱觀念的感知和輸出都必須透過 (conditioned by)人類感知「有限的範疇」。因此,實在論者認為能用以判定合理性的抽象法則確實存在,但不是本來就存在,而是「自然界一切的條件」被人類集體用大腦的範疇詮釋過後,建構出來的。

例如,「人類的生理條件是必須兩性交合才能繁衍後代、以雙親為養育單位能提升後代的生存優勢」,人類接著

1) 從這些外部物理和生理法則建構出「家庭價值」文明慣例- externalization

2) 將之被上綱為永恆真理的法則,冠以「神聖不可抹滅」一類的修辭- objectivation

3) 並用以批判「同性戀」或「人民公社」一類的做法為反自然或反道德的不合理行為 - internalization

三、從目前佔上風的休模自然主義者追溯下去,又分為「內在派」和「外在派」:

內在派認為一個人實踐理性的合理性應該以他自己的目的為參照。例如一個男孩的目標如果是長高和打NBA,他符合實踐理性的想法應該會衍生出自己應該注重營養、運動,以及早睡的倫理要求。也就是說,「營養、運動,早睡」應該是他能用「工具理性」所導出的合理途徑。

外在派確認為人往往對於自己的目的(人真正要什麼)這件事是不太清楚的。男孩想打NBA可能表面上來自於他被林書豪激勵。但實際上一直有很多的外來觀念輸入輸出影響了他的實踐理性以及價值觀運作。同時,在他注重「營養、運動,早睡」時,他可能會發現新的動機,例如是因為打球好玩而玩、因為身高和健康形象可以幫助他吸引到女孩子、或因為牛排好吃而吃。這些動機都是寄生在他在過程中所遭遇的外在事物(籃球運動的本質、周遭女孩子的魅力、牛排的美味)上,而非本來就在他前進NBA的夢想中通盤考量過的。

因此,外在派認為光靠一個人的原初動機,將無法判定行為的合理性-人無可避免地需要參考外在的標準或價值觀,即便這價值觀仍是一種虛幻。實踐理性並非只倚靠個人的內在動機。

四、工具理性和結構(價值/目的)理性:

把內在派和外在派的爭議延伸,會出現對休模自然主義的另一大挑戰:「如何判斷工具理性的合理性?」

例如,如果我說自己的理想是成為一個大書法家,有人能告訴我該先學習臨摹誰的字帖才是最符合工具理性的抉擇嗎?該買哪一支毛筆?該用哪一牌的墨水?買多貴的硯台?一天該習寫幾小時?如果三年還沒有辦法得獎,是不是就該放棄?要死後才能被被追封為「小柳宗元」,那這是今世還值得做嗎?

如果沒有標準答案,工具理性就會崩潰。這也是休模本人變成懷疑主義者的原因。

還有一個問題必須釐清:工具理性是否能夠成為行為的動機?許多人認為不會。舉例來說,假如全天下的男人死到只剩一個,小愛想要有孩子就必須面對剩下這個自己不喜歡的男人。那麼她的「工具理性」告訴她自己必須和這個男人在一起。但她卻不是為了和這個男人在一起而在一起。必須從更大的結構,也就是結構(價 值/目的)理性-:她想有自己的孩子-,來看待小愛和這個男人在一起的動機。工具理性的思維內,沒有一項能夠等於同她本人最終選擇這個行為的動機。

這樣,很多人認為工具理性就沒辦法獨存,必須用一種涵蓋個人複合性思考的價值理性,才能說明實踐理性的運作方式。

  • Structural rationality means instrumental rationality is connected naturally to the larger principle of life (a value system and some -isms).

五、合理性最大化概念對結構(價值/目的)理性的批判困境:

對休模路線的追打還不僅於此。如果我們繼續用啟蒙理性的個人主義來推導,將要面對下一個泯滅人性的挑戰:我們按照一個人最終所想望的目的,來概觀(蓋棺)斷定一個人的具體行為是否符合他的既定價值觀,這樣的實踐理性會不會管太寬? 好比有一群人說自己可以合理批判林書豪狂吃雞翅與愛打電動的行為,因為這和他聲稱想要藉打籃球以及幫助窮人榮耀神的終極目標不符!

按照合理性最大化Maximizing Rationality),他們確實合理,因為林書豪不該有這些心口不一的行為!

但是在心理層面以及實際生活上,合理性滿足論Satisfying Rationality)者告訴我們,他已經為他榮神益人的目標做了很多,符合他自己和世人對正派、表裡如一(integrity)的要求了。他並不需要藉由完全戒除暴食或電動;「合理性最大化」是一種苛求;那叫扭曲人性,是「非理性」!

殊不知「合理性滿足論」是對休模系統的致命打擊!一旦連「合理性最大化」都放棄,休模體系幾乎就玩完了。因為「滿足論」讓理性的標準變得完全主觀而浮動,這種面目全非的理性主義簡直就是浪漫主義。

舉例來說,一個80公斤胖妹想減肥,目標是「徐若瑄」,結果四個月後她卻以減了自己15公斤為達成目標而開心滿足。按照「滿足論」,誰能說她不是?

最大化有人覺得要到41公斤才算,因此批判她不夠努力;有人覺得50公斤可以了;有人覺得重點是降體脂;有人覺得她從一開始拿徐若瑄當目標就不切實際,是受病態的審美觀影響、健康就好…。

總之,沒人能從這事上達致一個普世理性的判別標準。這也是人類溝通和輿論和很多無謂的爭鬧與吵架的原因。放棄了「合理性最大化」,自然主義的休模學派還能幫實踐理性找到立足之地嗎?

六、壓垮休模學派的最後一根稻草,與「實踐理性神學」的誕生:

, Prussian philosopher. Português: , filósofo ...
, Prussian philosopher. Português: , filósofo alemão. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

攻擊休模學派的人,卻不想跟他們有機會喘息。下一個挑戰者馬上又提出:

1) 如果休模學派說的結構理性「無法以個人當下的意念作依歸」。

2) 而需要「從效果滿意與否」來判定這個人的工具行動到底是否達到目的(有達到目的就算理性),

3) 那麼休模學派恐怕大大地錯估人性以及人的價值。因為「人永遠不會滿足於一時一刻的狀態」,甚至「一時產生結果的不滿意也無法否定一個人的價值」。

男孩想打NBA成為林書豪,但結果可能是他的天分不夠,或是19歲大學第一年因傷重挫退出球場,那麼我們自然無法用他20歲時的心境來審判他10歲時所許的願和所付出的行動。他可能會發現自己真正的志向是成為一位牧師,而且非常滿足!

反之亦然。當他打上了NBA,他也有可能不以林書豪為滿,而想要成為黃種人的喬丹!

真正的矛盾是:休模把人割裂了。

從靈魂深處動機來看,十歲和二十歲時這簡直是兩個不同的人。反對者逼問,休模用一個「可以隨時隨地改變的想法和目的的個人主觀」來操作實踐理性,這還能叫做個人主義嗎?畢竟在哲學維度上,你已經放棄了將個體理解為「在不同時間段的想法具備連續性的整全靈魂」。你用男孩二十歲的主觀意念,來壓倒他十歲時主觀念頭,就同樣可以用他三十歲的主觀,取消他早期的實踐理性。

如果本質上割裂成這樣,為什麼還堅持個人主義,不將其他的行為者也加入實踐理性的運作內涵中?

這個開啟「他者」論述的大決,其實是要從更深層推翻功利實踐理性,並開始讓康德建構派以及韋伯社會學派佔了上風:「『一個人到底要什麼』這件事,被證明了無法從一個人身上確定。」

在「他者」進來後,「德性」也進場了,整個實踐理性通過另一種面貌活了起來,並且讓康德學派和神學家開始轉守為攻。原來所謂的理性,並不是「個人行為抉擇」和「抽象的普世價值」之間的直接對應,而是在具體的關係中產生。

真實經歷是,我從前曾經在白沙灣海水浴場中和朋友一齊被暗流捲入,我比較靠岸而且有幸找到方法游出。正當慶幸時,竟看到朋友游不出來在我身後呼救。

經過半秒的猶豫,我轉身再撲向深水區。

在那一刻幫助切實地戰勝危險與恐懼的,不是理性和普世價值(例如「增進和死黨彼此友情」或「上帝的愛」這樣的抽象動機);而是這位朋友和我在真實互動關係中所流洩的友情和人性在那具體環境下驅策著我。

「我不想失去他、更不想否定我自己的友愛和人性。」

回游時,我確實明白所承受的是一個可能讓自己和他一同喪命的風險。但我更不希望「袖手而去」的念頭被付諸實踐而成為世界歷史的一部份。這樣不管之後他救生員搭救或出意外,我都要背負著泯滅人性的擔子過一輩子。

後來我搭上他的手一起游出暗流,而這事件因為先有我過去信 仰的塑造、我和朋友的交誼,才能在事件的當下抉擇(德性)以及後果彰顯出它完整的價值理性

(用個人功利主義和工具理性來解釋我救人行為的倫理哲學、以及當前保守神學院把啟蒙邏輯這一套照搬,使用道德原則釋經法的破爛聖經倫理學,只會讓我覺得憤怒。)

這樣,一種既不是出自個人既定目的-畢竟誰不想活?,也不是出於單純結果論畢竟誰說救人一定成功?的道德價值必然得存在;它是一種無法直接對應於自然物質和法則的倫理,以一種超越了實踐理性和理論理性鴻溝的高尚輝澤,在照亮世人。

亦 即,實踐理性不再只是關乎一個人對「當前的行動方針以及可預期的後果」的想法,它甚至必須跟一個人對於過去與未來的信念緊密連結,才能產生意義。換句話說,對「世界真正應該要擁有的面貌」的想法與盼望,才能促使人在面對「不可預期的後果」時,對那些他們認定為有終極價值的事物依然奮不顧身。

當這個價值被具體實踐在關係中,一種「非主觀性」的溝通理性也應運而生,並且取代了抽象、冰冷、個人化的「工具理性」。這樣道德實在論,就具備兩套可以完整發展的雛形(廣義的道德實在論包然道德建構論),神學的視界也就此展開。

1)

對康德來說,他說他需要一個神來支撐這樣的道德律。但是這樣的神只需要是一個自然神就夠了。祂不需要有人性/ 位格性(personality)。對康德建構派來說也是如此,因為他們雖然大多數認同社會學的「價值理性」或「溝通理性」,卻認為神只需要作為人類大腦思維範疇的理性的超自然支撐就好了,祂不需要親自「下海」 示範這類理性該如何完美運作。

康德建構派的道德雖然是實體(viz., goodness as a non-natural property),卻仍是人類思維的產物。所以康德選擇在實在界(noumena)、現象界(phenomena)之外,再用觀念界去安置實踐理性。這部分 縱使有爭論空間,但康德是唯心論者是沒有爭議的。(具體地說,康德認為把這套絕對性的道德義務,也就是「無上律令」 categorical imperative 直接賴到那位理性的自然神身上就好了。但建構派卻因為想把神推得更搖遠,而將事情搞複雜了。)

2)

因而最後我們意外地發現,在休模學派頹圮的殘垣,和康德鋪石大道的叉路盡頭,竟展現著神學的曙光。

把「溝通理性」的溝通等同於「思辯」,這是對溝通理性最貧弱的一種理解,是馬克斯主義者對韋伯的一種扭曲,也是康德建構派很容易就被後結構主義以及解構派的幽靈給纏上原因。

基督教神學卻在這裡為道德實在論提供了最關鍵且最後的一塊拼圖,包含德性、關係,以及律例。這三者不單是理性思維交流建構的結果,更是道成肉身「神聖歷史」的本像,來自一位透過創造、捨己、以及同在,向人類自我啟示與溝通的神:

「我們愛, 因為神先愛我們」(約翰一書4:19

你們要彼此相愛, 像我愛你們一樣; 這就是我的命令。人為朋友捨命, 人的愛心沒有比這個大的。(約翰福音15:12-13

「惟有基督在我們還作罪人的時候為我們死,神的愛就在此向我們顯明了。」(羅馬書5:8)

這是比一位希臘先哲式和啟蒙式的 LawGiver 和更大、更豐富的神; 是亞伯拉罕、以撒、雅各所信仰的神。

 

 

[文摘] Slavoj Žižek and Harum Scarum

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Slavoj Zizek in Liverpool, cropped version of ...
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In Gene Nelson‘s « Harum Scarum » (1965), featuring Elvis Presley as the Hollywood heartthrob Johnny Tyronne, we meet the action movie star travelling through the Orient while promoting his new film, « Sands of the Desert« . Upon arrival, however, Elvis Presley/Johnny Tyronne is kidnapped by a gang of assassins led by a temptress « Oriental » named Aishah, who wish to hire him to carry out an assassination. Emboldened by proper « Western virtues », Elvis will do no such thing and manages to sing and dance his way out of the way of the conniving « Orientals ».

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian philosopher, made a rather abrupt staccato observation – a hit-and-run strike worthy of an action hero – very much reminiscent of the fate of Elvis Presley and his Oriental sojourn:

« I think today the world is asking for a real alternative. Would you like to live in a world where the only alternative is either anglo-saxon neoliberalism or Chinese-Singaporean capitalism with Asian values? I claim if we do nothing we will gradually approach a kind of a new type of authoritarian society. Here I see the world historical importance of what is happening today in China. Until now there was one good argument for capitalism: sooner or later it brought a demand for democracy … What I’m afraid of is, with this capitalism with Asian values, we get a capitalism much more efficient and dynamic than our western capitalism. But I don’t share the hope of my liberal friends – give them ten years [and there will be] another Tiananmen Square demonstration – no, the marriage between capitalism and democracy is over. »

(full article)

The author of this article, Hamid Dabashi, is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. Among his most recent books is Post-Orientalism: Knowledge and Power in Time of Terror (2008). This quite helpfully explains his viewpoint before you delve into his  tortuous reasoning adorned with beautifully labyrinthine English vocabularies.

Don’t get me wrong. This article is very thought-provoking, and definitely worth reading. Before we Chinese and Asian bow down to repent and recognize our Asian values as despicable, Dabashi helps us to see that this western intellectual pride has a long legacy among the European philosophical elites.

He found Žižek’s pedigree first of all in Emanuel Levinas (1906-1995) – the distinguished Lithuanian phenomenologist of Jewish ancestry. Levinas’ baffling dismissal of the non-European as non-human is no less controversial than Žižek given his Oriental ethnicity/political identification  and Other ethics. Contrary to his phenomenological ethics that famously sought the sight of the (European) knowing subject in an encounter with « the face of the other », Levinas wrote:

« When I speak of Europe, I think about the gathering of humanity. Only in the European sense can the world be gathered together … in this sense Buddhism can be said just as well in Greek. »

« I often say, although it is a dangerous thing to say publicly, that humanity consists of the Bible and the Greeks. All the rest can be translated: all the rest – all the exotic – is dance. »

If Levinas is not enough « vintage West » to convince you of this racist strand of Western philosophy, then Edward Saïd ‘s Orientalism should help us to trace the roots of this intelligentsia virus back to Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the father of the European Enlightenment.

Kant insists:

« Even their paintings [that is Chinese painting] are grotesque and portray strange and unnatural figures such as are encountered nowhere in the world. They also have the venerable grotesqueries because they are of very ancient custom, and no nation in the world has more of these than this one. »

Kant does not hate the Chinese in particular. Dabashi tries to convince us that he was quite ecumenical and cosmopolitan in this regard with this following Kantian citation:

« All these savages [Native Americans] have little feeling for the beautiful in moral understanding, and the generous forgiveness of an injury, which is at once noble and beautiful, is completely unknown as a virtue among the savages, but rather is disdained as a miserable cowardice. »

More than that. For Kant, people of the African continent deserve an exclusive claim on stupidity. Regarding an African who might have said something worthy of Kant’s regards, the father of the European Enlightenment states:

« And it might be that there were something in this which perhaps deserved to be considered; but in short, this fellow was quite black from head to foot, a clear proof that what he said was stupid. »Immanuel Kant developed his own version of the...

Dabashi remarks on behalf of Kant:

The only way that some « Orientals » were to approximate humanity was if they were to become like Europeans – for which Kant volunteered Arabs as Spaniards, Persians as French, and Japanese as Englishmen.

Dabashi concludes that the Žižek faulty ideology that « capitalism in the West it begat democracy and went wayward with Asian values »  is predicated on the idea that « Orientals » (a la Kant and Levinas’ reading of them) are incapable of thinking on their own feet (for they are black and too busy dancing).

African American History
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The New York Times seems to champion this rude proposition with an recent article that relegates the cause of the exacerbated disturbance in the Arab Spring to its lack of leading thinkers or intellectuals – contrary to all other revolutions:

It has not yet yielded any clear political or economic project, or any intellectual standard-bearers of the kind who shaped almost every modern revolution from 1776 onward. In those revolts, thinkers or ideologues – from Thomas Paine to Lenin to Mao to Vaclav Hevel – helped provide a unifying vision or became symbols of a people’s aspirations.

Dabashi is apparently not happy with this analysis as he raises a a few objections.

He challenges that if Žižek and Michael Moore can be rightly called the intellectual hero of #Occupy Wall Street, then where were they during the years of recent uprising in Europe, from workers in Greece to the Indignados in Spain to students and looters in the UK – a succession of uprisings that in fact predates the Arab Spring? « Marx did not cause the revolutions of 1848, the revolutions of 1848 created Marx, as did the American Revolution Thomas Paine, the Russian revolution Lenin, etc » Dabashi is convinced that some Westerners need to deal with their myopia, for like all other revolutionary uprisings, « the Arab Spring is generating its own thinkers » (but we cannot name one yet).

He also questions how those thinkers and commentators can idealize the West as if the Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy and Spain, Totalitarianism in Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe (Zizek’s own backyard) were not European in their own roots?

He also rejects Max Weber’s thesis that capitalism has its very inception in the Protestant ethics and argues for capitalism’s inherent aterritorial disposition (but he does not provide an argument).

Reminiscent of what the french structuralist Claude Lévi-Strauss had attempted discretely in his anthropological classic « Tristes Tropiques (憂鬱的熱帶), in conclusion Dabashi calls for a cosmopolitan vista of intellectual equality and of anthentic liberating ideas, instead of continual mind-boggling ethnicisation of the global calamity called capitalism, for

[t]hat world… is coming to an end – and folks like Zizek have no blasted clue how to read the change. They write a piece for London Review of Books denouncing anything from the Arab Spring to European uprisings in Spain and Greece as pointless one day, and next day they pop up in the Zuccotti Park in Wall Street reading redundant and silly stories about a Walt Disney cat falling from the precipice and not noticing it – that cat is in fact Zizek himself and his brand of philosophy – all it has to do is just look down and it is no more.

As a philosopher Zizek is the very last whimper of that bang called « the West » that had frightened the world out of the necessary confidence to generate any idea they never dreamt in their philosophies – for to them whatever we say is « grotesquery, » whatever we do is « dancing », for we are (and in that emancipatory acclamation Zizek is welcome to join us) « quite black from head to foot, a clear proof that what we say is stupid ».

As I said, this article has from head to foot the proclivity to be thought-provoking, and I think it’s now we Chinese people’s turn to do some reflective work- on what exactly these Asian values are  and how they have ruined the happy-ever-after marriage between capitalism and democracy [slash] Protestant ethics- with its forceful  espousal to autocracy and Procrustean ethics perhaps?

China Town
陳芳明:威權體制背後的三大支柱是儒家思想、中華民族主義、黨國體制,這三者都是非常父權、異性戀沙文主義的產物。 - Are they the cause for the totalitarianization of Eastern capitalism?

China Town

一句話簡介所謂宗教多元主義的類型

Cover of "The Philosophical Challenge of ...
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Source Link:  多元,魔鬼何只一隻--回余牧的〈「多元性」與「多元主義」〉

古斌在飄流製作的一篇文章中以「條條大道通羅馬」,來比喻宗教多元主義的不同表現形式。裡面其實包含了諸如古典多元主義(Classical Pluralism)、非實在論(non-realism)、全包主義(inclusivism)等不同體系的思想精髓,我認為很有幫助,討論後重新整理如下:

1.認識論上的全包主義(Epistempological Inclusivism):你的路去羅馬,我的去羅馬,讓我悄悄告訴你:「你去了我的那個羅馬喔。」

代表人物:Karl Rahner

2.古典多元主義(Classical  Pluralism):你的路去羅馬,我的去Rome,名字而已,羅馬不就是Rome嗎?

代表人物:Arvind Sharmas、 (在強調 Neo-Kantianism 觀點「宗教經驗部分需仰賴人類主觀投射」的這一部份時的)John Hick

3. 非實在論(Non-realism):你的路和我的路都很精采,誰管它去不去羅馬呢?

代表人物: Wilfred Cantwell SmithDon Cupitt

4. 不可知論的多元主義(Agnostic Pluralism):你的路去羅馬,我的路也去羅馬,但天曉得羅馬是甚麼模樣!

代表人物:(談 ineffable Real 時的)John Hick, Paul Knitter

5. 本體論上的全包主義(Ontological Inclusivism,又稱fulfillment theme):你的路去羅馬,我的也去羅馬,不過你的路不會通往終點站,要走完全程必須改搭我們預備的接駁車。

代表人物:JN Farquhar & Raimond Panikkar,

基本上,只有 3, 5 有自圓其說的能力。1, 2, 都有致命的內在邏輯破綻,4更是被 George I. Mavrodes 解構為 Polytheism。。3 的問題,則必須用現象學去研究,它已經成為佔據現在宗教研究學界的主流意識型態,所以有些棘手,不是光靠神學的語言能夠對付的。5 則含有部分很有益的洞見,應為正統基督教積極採納。

[書摘] Becoming Human: Romantic Anthropology and the Embodiment of Freedom

Statue of Immanuel Kant in Kaliningrad, Russia
Kant

Source: View the Review Online

Chad Wellmon, Becoming Human: Romantic Anthropology and the Embodiment of Freedom, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010, 326pp., $84.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780271037349.

The 19th century German Romanticism‘s reception of Kantian Anthropology includes an important response (by positively viewing Kant‘s inherent tensions and paradoxes as bases for « different forms of knowledge ») to the empirically informed Kant that is gaining prominence today.
They include Schleiermacher, Novalis, Goethe, Fülleborn, Platner, Wezel, Pölitz, and Schmid.

The continental tradition must resist empiricists‘ predisposition to read Kant’s Affective Ethics » as purely formal. They hold the tenet that « freedom is not a metaphysical discovery but a practical disposition that needs anthropological insights to guide and cultivate individuals » (10).