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  Philosophy Web Research

'Democracy In Chains' Traces The Rise Of American Libertarianism  8/16/2017 
Genevieve Valentine: Article  Libertarian legal theorists and others are going nuts over this new book by Nancy Maclean. She exposes how the Koch brothers have taken over the Republican Party. It's not conservative anymore.

Angela Merkel and Jürgen Habermas: Philosophy in Germany is Popular in Public  7/24/2017 
Stuart Jeffries: Article  The German people are hearing from philosophers in the pupular media. Wow. Some history of social critical theory, Adorno, and current thought leaders. In U.S.A. politicians want to keep people stupid

Religion Can Provide Moral Sources for Civic Action  7/21/2017 
Charles Mathewes: Article  A biography of Jurgen Habermas is appreciated by this author, who also discusses Michel Foucault. Concepts for understanding politics in the public sphere, future direction.

Mourning the Death of the Left and the Church  7/18/2017 
Peter E. Gordon: Article  Death is hard to contemplate. This article helps think about the death of a political movement, death of the Protestant church, and what may come after. Face facts of current history,

The Ends of the World as the Inverse of Eden  7/12/2017 
McKenzie Wark: Article  A review and comments on books by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and Déborah Danowski, whose writings jolt the mind and force new thinking. Learning from Amerindians.

Foucault, Biopolitics, and the Refugee Crisis  6/22/2017 
Stephane J Baele: Article  Philosophy provides concepts for understanding what is happening in history. Here is a brief introduction to the idea of biopolitics and its relation to racism. How can a society just let people die?

The Real Versus Objective Knowledge: Seeing with the Power of the Spirit  5/21/2017 
Slavoj Zizek: Article  ''God' means, we should always bear in mind, that the outcome of our acts will never fit our expectations.' The theological dimension serves as a kind of safety valve, a mark of openness.

Even the CIA Reads French Political Theorists Like Michel Foucault  5/8/2017 
Gabriel Rockhill: Article  Post-Marxist French theory directly contributed to the CIA’s cultural program of coaxing the left toward the right, while discrediting anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism,

A New Consciousness for Our Ailing Society  4/16/2017 
Ira Chernus: Article  Reflection on the 1960s helps formulate best practices for resistance movements today. Herbert Marcuse, Martin Luther King and the anti-Vietnam War movement provide some clues.

Ayn Rand, The Libertarian Apostle  4/12/2017 
Jonathan Freedland: Article  It is strange a Russian atheist has become so important to American conservatives. Raw selfishness is not much of a political philosophy, but it does help justify business practices of greed.

Habermas and the Fate of Democracy  4/12/2017 
William E. Scheuerman: Article  European Union and world governmental structures are just two issues discussed in this review of a biography by Stefan Müller-Doohm on the important political philosophy of Jürgen Habermas.

The End of Progressive Neoliberalism  1/30/2017 
Nancy Fraser: Article  What we face, with Trump, is an interregnum, an open and unstable situation in which hearts and minds are up for grabs. In this situation, there is not only danger but also opportunity.

The Coming Culture Wars in Trumplandia  1/19/2017 
Kojo Koram: Article  The line was becoming clear. Marx and Hegel had paved the way for the progressives, who in turn paved the way for the Frankfurt School, who had then attacked the American way of life, said Breitbart.

Leading Republicans Love Ayn Rand: She was a Russian Atheist  12/13/2016 
Adam Weiner: Article  Donald Trump and many of his cabinet appointees admire the thinking of Ayn Rand who rejected the ideas of public service, serving the common good, or charity. Here is her Russian background

'Something will crack': Richard Rorty Prophesied Rise of a Strongman  11/21/2016 
Edward Helmore: Article  Lots of online discussion is going on about a book called 'Achieving Our Country' where a nonsuburban electorate decides the system has failed and votes for a messiah.

How Neoliberalism Prepared The Way For Donald Trump  11/16/2016 
Zygmunt Bauman: Article  Trump became the President of the US because he made it clear to Americans that he will be a 'decisionist' authoritarian leader, one ruling will, one savior.

Nancy Fraser: Subaltern Counterpublics  11/8/2016 
Ioannis Kampourakis: Article  Counterpublics are formed as a response to the exclusions of the dominant publics. Consider what theology creates church as a counterpublic.

Donald Trump as Authoritarian Populist: A Frommian Analysis  11/5/2016 
Douglas Kellner: Article  Erich Fromm’s categories can help describe Trump’s character, or 'temperament,' a word used to characterize a major flaw in Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Confronting Religious Revivalism  10/24/2016 
Avishai Margalit & Assaf Sharon: Article  Responding to Michael Walzer's book, 'The Paradox of Liberation', these authors reject the idea that liberals should critically engage with religious revivalism.

Walter Benjamin: Fascism and Crisis  7/16/2016 
Andrew Robinson: Article  The context of economic crisis and rising fascism cast a long, and fatal, shadow over Walter Benjamin's world in the Weimar Republic. This shadow strangely prefigures our own time.

Origins of Racism and Colonialism in Western Political Philosophy  7/6/2016 
Stella Sandford: Article  Here is an interesting discussion of the racial views of Enlightenment figures, especially Lutheran philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Foucault, Neoliberalism, and Current Social Policy  6/29/2016 
Daniel Zamora: Article  How did Foucault understand neoliberalism, and how did he actually position himself vis-ą-vis the shifting political currents of the 1970s on welfare state?

Signs of Chaos are Everywhere; A New Politics is Possible?  6/29/2016 
Slavoj Zizek: Article  There is disorder under heaven today with the Brexit referendum and terrible confusion in politics. People don't know what they are voting for or why. Should we despair?

On Deconstruction and the Messianic  5/27/2016 
Catherine Turner: Article  A key concept of Jacques Derrida is here brilliantly elucidated. Pastors may want to consider how this applies to how the messianic is incarnated in the interpretive process of history and preaching.

The Concept of the Migrant in Political Theory (and Christianity)  12/2/2015 
Thomas Nail: Article  Current debates over refugees and migrants can be better understood by a new political theory on 'the migrant'. Early Christians were themselves migrants. The bible is full of migrants, Mary, Joseph.

If Republican Tea Party Libertarians Gain Power, All of America will become the South  9/12/2015 
Mark Stoll: Article  Personal political philosophy should be based on actual history. The civil war has not ended. The Obama presidency proves how strong racism remains. The South has never given up and remains powerful.

Toward a New Democratic Solidarity in the Eurozone  7/21/2015 
Sheldon Richmond: Article  A review of 'The Lure of Technocracy' by Jurgen Habermas. More democratic processes in Europe are needed with sharing of wealth and power. Martin Buber is featured.

The Absence of Absolute Normative Force in Modern Political Philosophy  2/7/2015 
Karen Green: Article  According to this writer even John Rawls does not provide a political theory beyond a pluralism of historical options. Then violence becomes the absolute.

The Battle for a New Universalism for a Global Future after the Paris Massacres   1/23/2015 
Carl Raschke: Article  After Charlie Hebdo, here is a brief history of critical theory, and a critique of multiculturalism and progressivism. Slavoj ˇi˛ek points to a new, grand vision worthy of personal commitment.

Hegel’s Return  12/8/2014 
Andrew W. Hass: Article  At Christmas we tell 'origin stories' about Jesus. But this article talks about origins of history itself and human consciousness, and the role of the Reformation in this.

Public Power is Losing Legitimacy  8/19/2014 
Giorgio Agamben: Article  Here is an interview with a major thinker of our time, one discussing political theory with the help of theological background. Thought is the courage of hopelessness and exposes death camp thinking.

The End of 'Grand Narratives' and America’s 'Spiritual Recession'  7/18/2014 
Carl Raschke: Article  Without a larger narrative it is impossible to give meaning to particular events. Here is discussion of issues in light of postmodernism, Lyotard, Mark Lilla and David Brooks.

Now-Time, the Messianic, and Consumer Alienation in Walter Benjamin  7/27/2013 
Sean Ledwith: Article  Here is a review of a book by Eli Friedlander on critical theorist Walter Benjamin which is a good introduction to his thought with connections to issues of today.

Moving Beyond the Dangerous Tea Party Myths  5/26/2013 
Patrick Smith: Article  This Memorial Day we should begin to think about America in a different way, not as a powerful exceptional nation, but as a strong people able to admit defeat and willing to change.

The Foundation of Freedom of Choice  11/19/2012 
Slavoj Zizek: Article  A famous philosoper speaks of the 2012 election, the significance of the health care law, Norway as an economic model, and Donald Trump's rejection of democracy.

Conserving Hierarchies of Power  1/5/2012 
Corey Robin: Article  Conservative political philosophy assumes the few are superior to the many and justifies gross inequalities according to the auther of The Reactionary Mind.

The Drive Thru Jesus of the Church of Free Market Miracles: Finding Another Way  6/6/2011 
Phil Rockstroh: Article  The writer ponders Southern masculinity, environmental limits, the fragility of capitalism, loss of empire, and American exceptionalism.

The Force of the Future: A Globalized, Cosmopolitan Passion for Justice  3/25/2011 
Carl Raschke: Article  The unexpected and impossible happened in Egypt beyond authoritarian or corporate control, a youthful opening of new possibility.

The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere  3/21/2011 
Craig Calhoun: Article  A new academic book on religion and politics is published with contributions from Judith Butler, Jurgen Habermas, Charles Tayor, and Cornel West.

The Punishing State: Walter Benjamin and the Current Catastrophes of History  1/4/2011 
Henry A. Giroux: Article  Paul Klee's painting, Angelus Novus, portrays a storm brewing in paradise and can be likened to the current war against the social state by the forces of economic Darwinism.

The Paralysis of Critical Consciousness: A New Type of Human Being  1/2/2011 
Robert Hullot-Kentor: Article  After pointing to reams of critical theory studies the author uses Theodore Adorno to explore why there is no real critical political movement today.

Political Acts under Conditions of Permanent Economic Emergency  10/17/2010 
Slavoj Zizek: Article  European protests against cuts in the welfare state and the ideological illusions of global capital are the focus of this essay on political options for the left today.

Once upon a Time...There was Art and Literature in America  3/15/2010 
Lewis Lapham: Article  Truth as synonym for liberty isn’t a collectible. It is the joyous discovery of the enlarged sense and state of being that is the change of heart induced by the presence of a work of art.

Redeeming the Sixties: Herbert Marcuse and the Formation of Political Language  3/10/2010 
Angela Y. Davis: Article  Comments on the best known critical theorist of the 1960s, what his legacies can be today, cultural implications of Nazism, the emancipatory promise of the German philosophical tradition.

Rule by a Capitalist Minority is Not Much Different from Rule by a Communist Minority  11/10/2009 
Slavoj Zizek: Article  East Europeans are still disallusioned after 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Captialism hasn't been what they hoped it would be. Brand new ideologies are needed!

Kierkegaard in Contemporary Philosophy  5/31/2009 
Gordon Marino: Article  A biography of Soren Kierkegaard and a reprint of his work are here reviewed placing Kierkegaard in relation to philosophers writing today.

John Rawls: Secularized Calvinism, Moralized Protestant Vocationalism   3/19/2009 
Michael Weinstein: Article  A postmodern critique of a significant book on political philosophy.

The Religion of John Rawls: An Anti-meritocratic, Egalitarian Conception of Distributive Justice  3/19/2009 
Joshua Cohen: Article  This is an extremely interesting essay about one the foremost political philosophers of our times. Thomas Nagel is the second author of this.

Unbridgeable Gaps: Habermas on Religion and Critical Theory  3/8/2009 
Fred Dallmayr: Article  Early Frankfurt School members showed much interest in the liberating potential of religion. Habermas has done less so says this author.

A Proper Role for Religion in the Public Sphere  3/8/2009 
Craig Calhoun: Article  A secular society has a stake in listening to religious voices. This author discusses what Habermas has been saying about religion and politics.

Multitude: Philosophy for the Future?  3/15/2005 
Charlie Bertsch: Review  Review of the Multitude by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and Time for Revolution by Negri.

Governing Citizens: Genealogy, Critique, Politics  12/22/2004 
Reprint  Engin F. Isin presented a course on Foucault in 2003 at York University.

Robert Kennedy on Aeschylus  10/4/2004 

Does Society Need God?  10/2/2004 
Ed Knudson: Article  Philosopher Leo Strauss, so loved by neoconservatives, addressed the `theological-political problem` important for public theology and Lutheran teaching.

A New Focus on Public Sociology   4/5/2004 
Article  Public sociology is discussed at the Sociologists without Borders website.

Transcending the Liberal-Conservative Divide   1/14/2004 
Comment  John Halpin, Research Director of the Center for American Progress, speaks of basic progessive values and traditions.

Max Weber and National Socialism   5/28/2003 
Article  The role of the sociologist, Max Weber, in the Evangelical-Social Congress in Germany is discussed here.

Leo Strauss and Neoconservatism   4/21/2003 
Notes  Conservative political philosopher Leo Strauss was the teacher of leading contemporary neoconservatives. Here we provide some links for reference.

Reprint  Samuel P. Huntington's essay on cultural conflict in the future.

George Will Promotes Ideology Not Policy   7/15/2002 
Article  Leading columnist preaches Milton Friedman dogma; better to recall John Kennth Galbraith.

What is Enlightenment?   6/29/2002 
Reprint  Famous text by Michel Foucault, 1978.

The Unrest is Growing: Habermas in Iran   6/22/2002 
Jurgen Habermas: Reprint  Interview with Juergen Habermas on his visit to Iran.

American National Pride   10/19/2001 
Comment  The grandson of Walter Rauschenbush, Richard Rorty, wants to recapture the national heritage.

Violence and Justice in a Global Age   10/18/2001 
Comment  A philosophical response to 9/11

Philosophy Section

In every age Christian faith must be articulated into the real world at the time. Contemporary theology chooses, explicitly or implicitly, some way of thinking in the world which, it is thought, best describes the conditions of the times. When the Apostle Paul preached the gospel into the Greek world he had to do so through the language and ways of thinking which characterized that world. This greatly affected the message coming from Jewish sources and this remains a major issue in contemporary biblical studies.

Another example is the current religious right. It emerged from the late 19th and early 20th century battles between the church and the views of science prevalent at that time. The so-called Christian right continues to be locked into that framework for its faith understanding and articulation. In the meantime science has changed very considerably and has had large impacts through the professions on modern economies and societies creating serious conflicts and issues which the religious right can barely see let alone help in constructive theological understanding.

At this website we will explore various philosophical and scientific approaches to understanding the world. The disciplines of sociology, anthropology, political theory and, especially, history, are important for both biblical and theological research.

The phrase "Public Theology" has been used to refer to efforts to reflect on the relation of theology and the philosophy of the German thinker Jurgen Habermas (right photo) who has emerged from the school of thought known as critical social theory. This theory began in the era of Hitler's Germany and examines the fundamental presuppositions of Enlightenment thought, its central belief in the efficacy of reason, and how modern socities under the influence of science have created conditions threatening fundamental human meanings, structures, and relationships.

One of the original members of the Frankfurt School of critical social theory is Walter Benjamin (photo at top), who continues to be widely read today. One primary resource for a contemporary Protestant Public Theology is his writing about messianic history, "Theses On the Concept of History," in contrast with the political philosophy of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt. An excellent series of articles on Benjamin have been written by Andrew Robinson at Ceasefire, a UK journal.

Michel FoucaultAt this site we also are interested in the philosophical orientation known as postmodernism because it too examines the ways human life has changed with the implementation of Enlightenment thought through the several "Enlightenment institutions." So we are interested in persons such as the French philosopher Michel Foucault who, though he died in 1984, continues to be widely read. He studied the history of specific modern institutions such as the clinic, the prison, and government, a practices related to sexuality. He believed that the "pastoral power" of the church in the middle ages has been taken over by modern governments which have become concerned with the whole life of each member of the population.

The critiques of modernity by social critical theory and postmodernism run much deeper than those of the contemporary religious right which trivializes key moral and sexual issues and makes it seem that theology has nothing to contribute to serious thought about these issues. We want to provide a place for deeper reflection about these matters and invite inquiries from pastors and scholars about how to proceed.
    Philosophy Web Links

  • Hypatia. A forum for cutting edge work in feminist philosophy. Since its inception in the mid-1980s, Hypatia has been a catalyst for broadening and refining feminist philosophy as well as an invaluable resource for those who teach in this area.

  • The Daily Nous. Provides information and news for and about the philosophy profession. The site is maintained by Justin Weinberg, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina.

  • Critical-Theory. Critical-Theory is a blog about radical philosophy based in Brooklyn, New York by Eugene Wolters. Started in 2013, Critical-Theory is now one of the most widely read English-language philosophy blogs in the world.
  • tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society provides a forum to discuss the challenges humanity is facing in the information society today.
  • Crisis and Critique. A peer-reviewed philosophical journal, is dedicated to exploring and critically developing political and social issues.
  • European Graduate Union. Focuses on the arts and media. "In recognition of the benefits of international scientific exchange the EGS has established a curricular cooperation with universities in other countries, especially in Europe and the USA: Academy of Media Arts, Cologne; International School for New Media Luebeck; Graduate School for Arts, Munich (Germany); University of Arts, Berlin (Germany); University of Split (Croatia); Appalachian State University, North Carolina (United States); Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (United States); University of Evora (Portugal); Clemson University, South Carolina (United States); 17, Instituto de Estudios Crķticos, Mexico City (Mexico); Beit Berl College (Israel); NSCAD University, Nova Scotia (Canada); University of Pristina (Kosovo)."
  • Steve Robinson maintains a good site on Jurgen Habermas, Critical Theory, and the Frankfurt School of Social Research.
  • Fast Capitalism focuses on critical theory and is an active site, see stuff on Marcuse, the best known member of the Frankfurt School in the U.S. in the last century.
  • Antti Kauppinen does extensive web research on Habermas.
  • Illuminations presents the works of key figures in Critical Theory including Habermas and Walter Benjamin.
  • Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory. Good site for postmodernism.
  • A Foucault site provides lots of web links, a new site has been prepared for the Foucault Society. A page of Links Appropriate for Scholars of Foucault contains much information.
  • Continental Philosophy. A Bulletin Board for Continental Philosophy, History of Philosophy and More!
  • Contemporary Philosophy, Critical Theory and Postmodern Thought at the University of Denver has helpful links to many different thinkers.
  • Continental Philosophy is the focus of this site with materials on many thinkers with announcements of events in the field.
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy or the Encyclodedia Britanica provide materials on general philosophy.

Here is an interesting comment on philosophy from Paul Tillich who interacted with some of the members of the Frankfurt Institute:

"It seems to me that the oldest definition given to philosophy is, at the same time, the newest and that which always was and always will be valid: Philosophy is that cognitive endeavor in which the question of being is asked. ... The question of being is not the question of any special being, its existence and nature, but it is the question of what it means to *be*. It is the simplest, most profound, and absolutely inexhaustible question - the question of what it means to say that something *is*. This word 'is' hides the riddle of all riddles, the mystery that there is anything at all. Every philosophy, whether it asks the question of being openly or not, moves around this mystery, has a partial answer to it, whether acknowledged or not, but is generally at a loss to answer it fully. Philosophy is always in what the Greeks called *aporia* ('without a way'), that is, in a state of perplexity about the nature of being. For this inquiry I like to use the word 'ontology,' derived from *logos* ('the word') and *on* ('being'); that is, the word of being, the word which grasps being, makes its nature manifest, drives it out of its hiddenness into the light of knowledge."

Paul Tillich, Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality, 1955

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