Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote, “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”  In various writings, he expanded that claim, contrasting a natural law approach to justifying legal and ethical rules of conduct with his own more modest approach rooted in history and experience and falling under the broad perspective labeled pragmatism. Since religion in general and Mormonism in particular have many rules of conduct for which a variety of justifications grounded in natural law, experience, and history are held out, Holmes’ approach may shed some light on how we do this.
For those interested in the BYU summer seminar, I’ve revised the post, adding the titles of and abstracts for the papers.
The annual summer symposium, this year “Joseph Smith and His Times,” will be held on Thursday, August 9, 2007. The symposium will feature papers by twelve summer seminar fellows on the theme “Mormon Thinkers, 1890-1930,” covering topics ranging from the influence of Herbert Spencer on Mormon thought to Mormonism and Modernity.
It might seem that there are few Hegelians in the world today.
Suppose I find that being Mormon raises income, makes your children nicer, and does all sorts of wonderful things. In fact, suppose God blessed every person who converted instantly and spectacularly with beautiful hair and perfect teeth.
I spent all of September and a good part of October finishing an essay on community for a journal on the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, and it nearly killed me.
-or- What ever happened to the good ol’ last days? -or- Where have all the millennialists gone?
I apologize in advance for writing about a topic that is at least closely related to, if not the same as Nate’s. But it is his fault. He made me start thinking about the question of freedom and its relation to justice.
That’s a 25 cent word if there ever was one, something for college kids to show Mom and Dad to prove they got something for their money, something a grad student to lord it over others with in the commons.
Dear Jane, I don’t know youâ€”at least I don’t think I doâ€”but I have been struck by your willingness to speak openly and honestly about your situation. My Sikh friends speak of “seekers.” You are genuinely a seeker and, so, a person deserving of respect, including the respect of response. However, I haven’t had anything to say in response until now when you ask, “Does the gospel make sense (comment 23)?”
If there is progression, there may also be retrogression; if there is good, there may be evil. Everything has its opposite. (John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology, Chapter 15)
Foreknowledge vs. free will
Let me present a sketch–though only a sketch and a very broad one at that–of how one might think about theology, both about a problem with it and one of the possible responses to that problem.
It is hardly news to this crowd that Mormons don’t accept the traditional understanding of the Godhead, the Trinity.
Brigham Young has many wonderful tidbits scattered throughout his years as prophet. A friend pointed out the following snippet:
Paul Ricoeur, Christian philosopher, friend of Emmanuel Levinas, colleague of Jacques Derrida, is dead.
My discussion of belief and practice has in its background a larger discussion concerning what it means to be religious.
I have been carrying on an argument with Nate on one of his posts (## 5 and 7) and in his responses to one of Blake’s posts ( #23) –sort of.
As I see students get excited about Heidegger or Wittgenstein or some other philosopher and the insights into their own lives and the gospel that come with that excitement, I remember my first year or so in graduate school.
If we remember that the Father already knows our needs and desires, then the idea of prayer is strange.
With many other Christian traditions, we share the admonition to plainness in speech and other aspects of life: “Let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hand” (D&C 42:40)
Joe Spencer, Blake Ostler, Larry, and Ivan Wolfe have started talking about the interpretation of scripture on the thread on pride.
In Book X of Confessions (chapter 39), Augustine writes about various ways of being proud.
Iâ€™ve never seen the Disney version of â€œPinocchio,â€? but Iâ€™ve absorbed by cultural osmosis the image of Jiminy Cricket cheerfully chirping, â€œAlways let your conscience be your guide.â€? Our banal present-day version of conscienceâ€”and our uncritical acceptance of the concept as a stable psycho-spiritual category–belies the treacherous history of the idea.
Second question (go here for the first): This question is more philosophical.
I’m neither a Nietzsche-ologist nor a Longfellow-ologist, and it’s likely that this association has been made by others. Still, it’s something that I personally had never noticed till this morning, when it suddenly occurred to me: Nietzsche’s famous charge has already been answered (in a sense) by Longfellow — and the answer came a full decade before the charge was even made.
One of my more prized possessions is a small chunk of limestone. It is about 8 inches long, roughly the size of two fists. Its value lies in the fact that is is a piece of one of the shattered sunstones of the original Nauvoo temple.