[書摘] The Time that Remains: Hans-Georg Geyer in the Intellectual Debate about a Central Question in the Twentieth Century

The Resurrection from Grünewald's Isenheim Alt...


Gerrit Neven, ‘The Time that Remains: Hans-Georg Geyer in the Intellectual Debate about a Central Question in the Twentieth Century’ in Theology as Conversation: The Significance Of Dialogue In Historical And Contemporary Theology: A Festschrift For Daniel L. Migliore, Bruce McCormack and Kimlym J. Bender eds., Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009, pp. 67-81

My Summary:

Whereas initially Nietzsche and Marx only proclaim the death of God, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze proclaim with equal force the death of a man (cf. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, 1994, esp. the last chapter, and Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, 1993).

Following Barth, Geyer gives the Parousia the determinative role concerning various theological aspects of reconciliation. The Messiah’s having drawn near is the precondition of a future-oriented and therefore a dialogical mode of thinking. The Parousia points to a nearness of salvation that does not supernaturally demolish time and history, but rather breaks open time and history from within [messianically] by turning to the risky expectation of the Messiah, for whom each moment in time is an open entrance.

This expectation leads to intensive forms of discussion and debate with not just  theologians but also with [critical and phenomenological] thinkers like Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger , Horkheimer, Bloch, Sartre, and so on. The focus is the humanity of Christ.

(Hans-Georg Geyer [1929-1999]  studied in Frankfurt during 1950-1954 with Hans-Georg Gadamer, Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, and Wolfgang Kramer before he turned to the study of systematic theology (at Gottingen, Berlin, Wuppertal, and Bonn.)

As early as 1962, Geyer declared his agreement with Walter Benjamin’s Theological-Political Fragment. According to Benjamin, only the Messiah himself will consummate all that is happening historically, in the sense that only he himself will redeem and consummate the creation in its relation to the messianic.[1] Therefore, nothing historical can relate itself to something messianic on its own account. With this, he distanced himself from the idea that historical convictions, scientific achievements, or political opinions have in themselves the potential to make “the jump-ahead” to a time which is qualitatively new and different. Our knowledge is determined by economic and political factors. The desire to know is driven by a force consisting only of what can be [pragmatically or in a utilitarian manner] calculated. This [social/structural] force and the history of freedom contradict each other (analogous to the tension between poststructuralism and structuralism/rationalism).

Geyer here introduces the topic of faith in the post-liberal sense. He says, “faith, getting involved with and trusting upon the message concerning Christ, is at the same time radically renouncing the desire to discover the truth of the proclamation and past history”.

This criticism of metaphysics (of absolute certainly) is also part of the thinking projects of Moltmann and Pannenberg, for whom the future became the paradigm of transcendence. But both of them have felt that they have to leave Barth behind for they deem Barth’s system closed and ahistorical. Geyer does not share this view.

Geyer inherits early Barth’s dialectical theology. He is convinced that our time is an implication of the Parousia of Jesus Christ. His intensive debate with Moltmann and Pannenberg  is concerning the epistemology of hope. That is to say, if God’s new coming in the Parousia is an implication of the concrete identity of Jesus Christ, then how do we find his identity? He doubts whether for Moltmann and Pannenberg “the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ” are constitutive–and as opposed to merely illustrative— of the exegesis of biblical texts and of the practices of the Christian community. For according to Geyer, Moltmann and Pannenberg’s definition of history and Parousia did not clearly distinguish “the future as an end that we should strive for” (the anthropocentric) from “the future as the goal of God’s exclusive act” (the theocentric). His ultimate criticism is that the theology of Moltmann and Pannenberg is enclosed by a metaphysical correlation between God and the world. Transcendence is devoured by immanence.

To solve this problem, Geyer here uses Husserl’s concepts of protention (the succession of the historical accordance and its end) and retention. The protention in Jesus denotes the continuity between the character of Jesus’ conduct and his fate—death. According to Geyer, this historical fate can undergo an intensification or an ontological deepeningonly by the event of the meta-historical resurrection in Easter” [out of theological necessity].

By retention, it means when we look back, the attempts to ignore this fact or to place this death within an unduly higher framework can only lead to an idealization of his death or a degradation of it to an empirical fact (which is an unduly anthropologized theology full of liberal residues). Namely, the declaration that this historical death implies a [whether phenomenological, hermeneutic, or ontological] jump-ahead should be fiducially rooted only in the meta-historical domain, in [the post-Easter] remembrance, which runs backwards. This solution does not have to leave behind the aporia of this [historical] death. For at any rate, doctrinal or impersonal statements are not possible in the face of this death. Anamnesis and commemoration of this death can only give us non-metaphysical and personal truth. The redemptive history is inherently incomplete if all we have is this death of Jesus.

On the other hand, knowledge concerning the identity of this Jesus can only be acquired by participation in the process of the actuality of this meaning question in the medium of human language. That is why the question concerning the meaning of the cross is characterized by an infinite openness— as opposed to the enclosure of totalitarian metaphysics. For Geyer, the hope is the qualitative feature of faith, which is a prerequisite for new non-metaphysical mode of thinking.

In accorance with the nature of hope, Parousia concerns the future of which no one has sure knowledge of the time and the hour— it is beyond human calculation: Although we are vitalized by images of the future (e.g., Luke 21:7-33), these do not lead us into the future itself.

rhızomıng ındεxatıon dıs-choıcεs . .

There is a remarkable parallelism in the thinking of Geyer and Badiou about metaphysics. Badiou establishes that « the death of God » and « the death of man » go hand-in-hand in the ethos of 20th century philosophy and theology. He calls them “the joint disappearances of Man and God”.

On one hand there is in the 20th century philosophy the movement that radicalizes Kant’s approach by enslaving man in his own emancipation (i.e., German idealism: our [finite] subjectivity creates our world). This line runs from Kant via Fichte and Sartre (man is condemned to freedom; man is programmed to be a man and cannot be freed from this program). On the other hand, there is the way of the radical anti-humanism of Nietzsche and Foucault: the absence of God is one of the names for the absence of man.

As Foucault (he criticizes Levinas and Derrida’s anthropology as religion or theology), Badiou does not think this either or situation leaves room for postmodern thinkers like Levinas or Derrida. For Levinas’ appeal to God’s radical otherness in order to safeguard the otherness of the human other falls short to attest to a radical alterity. (This means that in order to be intelligible, ethics requires that the other should be in some sense carried by a principle of alterity which transcends mere finite experience. cf. Badiou, Ethics [2001], 22). As for Derrida’s deferral of presence (différance), a sort of religion of messianic delay, Badiou sees something too artificial in its ramification upon the relation between philosophy and religion (cf. P. Hallward, Badiou: A Subject to Truth [2003], 157). Postmodernity has become boring.

Badiou searches for what is empty and open in a time when the [human and divine] subject has disappeared. There is no other possibility than to accept this aporia, this emptiness, and to retain a prospect to point beyond death. For Geyer, this means the resurrection and the coming of the Messiah— within the perspective of time. Biblically speaking this is the time that remains, a time of intense expectation (cf. Isa 21:11). [2]

Giorgio Agamben, Benjamin’s disciple, in The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans declares “what remains is what separates us from the Messiah”. More than the Messiah’s coming close is the Messiah himself.

Giorgio Agamben descubre el limbo

[1] The polemical context which Geyer (and possibly Benjamin) set out to argue against includes the following features (i.e., wrong assumptions):

1)       non-realism,

2)       post-structuralism,

3)       the totalitarian features of modernity in the 1960s (for which Geyer thinks Horkheimer’s treatment in the 1930s is exemplary. He lost faith but has not abandoned the project of human transformation of the society into a utopia).

4)       reciprocal freedom: the promises that somebody gives to someone else are ruled by a relationship of absolutely free reciprocity and by a reciprocal freedom.

[2] Here one may become somewhat apologetical over against Badiou. Badiou teaches with Nietzsche that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is dead. According to Nietzsche, faith in God as a supernatural power in general will no longer have any real influence, since God is not ascribed any power anyway. There is no such metaphysical God. However, it is precisely this faith that would be necessary to determine the convictions and the actions of man. This may be the case, Geyer answers Nietzsche. But even if God has lost his power over man and that super-sensual heaven has no meaning for the sensual earth, it does not necessarily follow the death of Christian theology.

Through Barth, Geyer has found a way forward: Christian theology has the task to lead faith out of its dogmatic identification with the concept of religion that is still metaphysically determined. Geyer rejects Nietzsche’s analysis that lumps together the God of metaphysics and the God of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike the metaphysical God, the God of the Bible can die.

On the basis of this God’s death, people in faith received the power to be really earthly finite and to be able to die. In the Christian faith, God’s identity can only be thought of appropriately when we take as point of departure the view that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is God’s act on behalf of all.

The occurrence of cross in history demands remembrance and mimesis: the imitation of God in the praxis of love for one’s neighbor. God is a name that has to be continued in a passionate plea to practice love, as opposed to a concept that asks for ideological representation. Remembrance implies mimesis, through which we anticipate the coming of God in the Parousia.

[省思] 誰在替我們做決定?利息、保險、與風險的社會倫理與哲學


Banking District
Image by bsterling via Flickr


其實眾多經濟學家至今仍對利息的來源與本質爭論不休。其中比較著名的有資本生產力論、資本使用論、節欲論、時差論、人性不耐論、等待論、購買力使用論、流動性偏好論、不完全貨幣論等截然不同觀點。 當然還有馬克思的觀點:利息就其本質而言,是剩余價值的一種特殊表現形式,是利潤的一部分,是職能資本家為取得貨幣資本的使用權而交給借貸資本家的一部分剩余價值。它體現著職能資本家和借貸資本家瓜分剩余價值的關系。








先前在文字上欠缺謹慎地定義。但個人的想法是,在「實質總財富」沒有改變的情況下,將「心理因素」和「風險成本」量化成為利息的計算方式,就是「無中生有」存在的情形。利息雖它有可以脫離貨幣系統存在的形式,但透過貨幣來計算才能方便和精確有效地量化風險,而貨幣系統本身的通貨膨脹性質使兩相結合後的利息計算會成為一種複合的形式:損失的風險 + 對延遲或提前消費的代價計算 + 貨幣貶值的計算 + 銀行家控管這些金錢和執行這些計算的人事費用分攤。

IMF MD Press Conference 8
Image by International Monetary Fund via Flickr





這就是我說從實用而衍生的道德問題。因為如果不是這一百人都害怕手上萬元名錶在一年間壞掉的這百分之一可能性會落在自己身上,就沒有必要付出自己的 100元來支付保險,更別說是200元。






Source Link: 顧忠華,「風險、社會與倫理」,《國立政治大學哲學學報》,第五期,pp.19-38

如同以《風險社會》(Risikogesellschaft, 1986)在德國社會學界聲名大噪的貝克(Ulrich Beck)在該書中所提倡的,風險不像財富那麼有形,它的位置是「意識決定存在」。不少研究已證實,對於風險的分類與認知,經常帶有階級和文化性的差異,和社會階層、教育程度有關。所以對「風險社會」的分析,還必須了解「風險知識」的製造、傳播與分佈狀況,以及檢討專業知識「權威」的正當性問題。

Sociologist Anthony Giddens is a recent former...
Anthony Giddens

在哲學上(時間性、或然率、價值理論)看待「風險成本」必須被量化這個現象上,紀登斯(Anthony Giddens)對現代性(modernity)的分析或許可以提供一些幫助。在1990年的著作《現代性的後果》中,紀登斯認為,傳統社會的時空是緊密結合在一起的,自從人類發明了鐘錶之後,時間成為可計算、度量的抽象概念,並且從空間中被獨立出來。這使得現代生活出現了「離根性」(disembedding),個體憑著著一些信託框架(fiduciary framework),包括象徵標誌(symbolic token)與專家系統(expert system)便能遂行決策。 所謂象徵標誌,最主要指的是貨幣系統而言。至於專業分工下的專家系統,則確保一個人不需要擁有個人太多專業知識、不需要建立在地性或親密的交友關係,只要假手各方面專家權威,信任這個社會賦予給專家的頭銜、學歷,就能夠在社會中生存下去。


如同哈伯瑪斯(Jurgen Habermas)在《現代性的哲學論域》一書中批判性地繼承韋伯(Max Weber)學說時所揭示的:資本主義的企業組織和科層官僚的國家機器兩個既分化、又相依的制度系統已經宰制了現代社會的基本結構。


關鍵將是使行動者及組織一同夠過認知、學習、溝通等過程,加強一種「互利」、「共生」的相互責任感(deontology),並且能達到對「趨吉避凶」有所助益的要求(pragmatism)。如果說「第一現代性」意味著所有社會個體的啟蒙解放、主體性的個人化,那麼這個「第二現代性」(或貝克所說「反省性的現代性」)的訴求,乃是要喚起「命運共同體」(Schicksalsgemeinschaft; companions in fate)的社會連帶(solidarity)意識。亦即,唯有個人強化具風險意識的「責任倫理」(Verantwortungsethik),方能有效地因應風險社會的挑戰。


故此,韋伯嘗試建立一種「責任倫理」,以此和「心志倫理」(Gesinnungsethik)相對。在韋伯的提倡後,德國社會學家約拿斯(Hans Jonas)在1979年的《責任原則》(Das Prinzip Verantwortung)中繼承這個路線。他認為「責任」的範圍有必要水平延伸到「自然生態」的環境和垂直延伸到「未來」。他強調科技時代引發的任何危機,都難以歸責到個人。「我們」必須成為共同承擔集體作為的單位。「責任」需要成唯一個普適性的倫理原則。

Jurgen Habermas

貝克更認為,這個觀念可以發展為一種經過「反省」提升並揚棄「目的理性」(zweckrational)後,具備社會性和公共向度的倫理主張。[1] 這種重視共同命運、規範共識、社區公共參與的「第二現代」轉向,說明了「反省」不再是個人意願與能力的問題,而是後工業時代和風險社會「集體反省」的必然走向。


然而,我們仍不禁懷疑,如果資本主義中以進取、冒險精神、和競爭為基礎的基調不變,等人,連帶性的個人主義(solidary individualism) 的規範結構取代功利個人主義(utilitarian individualism)的訴求,又會能夠得到多少的道德推進力?

杜拉克認為,藉由市場​的分裂、分隔和疏離,來維繫「自由」和「充裕」,是我們在資本主義自由社會下所必須付出的代價和抉擇,「在這樣一個社會,或許我們可以小惡,​而不以大善為主要的考量。」(Peter Drucker,廖月娟譯,《旁觀者-管理大師杜拉克回憶錄 》 (Adventures of A Bystander) 台北:聯經,頁243)

我們可以期盼下一個時代的社會成為一個具有高度風險意識和責任共性的社群,然而不論是紀登斯所說的「烏托邦現實主義」、貝克「反省的現代化」(reflective modernization)下的「生態民主烏托邦」、約拿斯基於對遠程效應之情感及想像的「未來倫理學」、哈伯瑪斯「溝通理性」下為他所信賴的「規範結構」,都認為個人的自由意志抉擇是可以在某種「公民宗教」(Civil Religion)所鼓吹的的「善」之下被限縮和犧牲的;只是我們真的預備好相信一個人類集體自我實現的烏托邦社會了嗎?人類終於成為人自我拯救的答案了嗎?

Max Weber 1917 at the Lauensteiner Tagung. In ...
Max Weber

[1] 法蘭克福學派的盧卡奇(György Lukács)和霍克海默(Max Horkheimer)通常將韋伯對目的理性的原始概念窄化詮釋為「工具理性」(instrumentelle Rationalitaet),早期的哈伯瑪斯亦是如此。直到後期與法蘭克福學派決裂時方能較為尊重韋伯的原意,並嘗試以「溝通理性」來持續發展韋伯的觀念。