Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Doing Christian Philosophy

Reasoned Faithedited by Eleanor Stumpecho point books & media, $34.95A decade ago, the well-respected Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga urged Christian thinkers to philosophize not only for skeptics but for their own faith communities. Christian philosophers, he argued, should do Christian . . . . Continue Reading »

The Illusion of Moral Neutrality

I Nietzsche claimed that if men took God seriously, they would still be burning heretics at the stake. In the same spirit, one supposes, are the notions that if men really cherished moral truth, they would suppress all beliefs that they considered wrong, and that if men still cared about the . . . . Continue Reading »

Is Modernity Good for the Jews?

In Genesis (24:10) it is said that Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, descended from Mesopotamia—or as it is called in Hebrew Aram-Naharaim, literally, a land of the two rivers. Paul Mendes-Flohr notes that when the great philosopher and theologian Franz Rosenzweig came to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Wonders of Ordinary Language

As is well known, teachers are often in the habit of giving pop quizzes, and I indulge the habit here. Quick, who said the following? “Ordinary language … is the only language in which we can be sure of really grasping the phenomena.” Even people who have only a passing acquaintance with . . . . Continue Reading »

Victims Unlimited

In this highly individualistic age, it is probably safe to assume about every victim what Tolstoy at the beginning of Anna Karenina assumes about every unhappy family: that each is unhappy in his or her own way. This could mean that to think about victimization now is to be overwhelmed with an . . . . Continue Reading »

Ludwig Wittgenstein Confesses

Along with Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein is generally considered to be one of the two greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. But as with the field of twentieth-century philosophy itself, Wittgenstein has never seemed to be a very accessible thinker to the nonspecialist. Those, it . . . . Continue Reading »

The Question of the Sign

Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man by David Lehman Poseidon Press/Simon & Schuster, 318 pages, $21.95 David Lehman’s book on deconstruction has the rare quality of being better than its jacket blurbs and prepublication puffs. It is more than “lively and engaging” . . . . Continue Reading »

History in the Past Perfect

Is not the past large enough to let you find some place where you may disport yourself without becoming ridiculous? —Nietzsche It is nothing new for poets, painters, and philosophers to harken back to Utopian “golden ages” when greatness or harmony flourished. The German Romantics . . . . Continue Reading »

The Philosophical Crusher

We milk the cow of the world, and as we do We whisper in her ear, “You are not true.” —Richard Wilbur “Before we dismantle this imposing structure, let’s step back a moment and admire its elegant lines.” Thus Alex Tourigny, my teacher of philosophical psychology forty years . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles