Articulating (ultimate) commitments: historical, factual and systematic considerations
Strauss, D. F. M.
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Acknowledging that religion forms a constitutive part of human life is recently confirmed by Göbekli Tepe, an archaeological site in Turkey, from which it appears that religion is basic to all the other cultural developments within human society. This opened the way to illustrate the interplay between ultimate commitments and theoretical articulations with reference to the a priori commitment to gradualism (continuous change) as found in the thought of Darwin and neo-Darwinism. Subsequently a related brief analysis is given of the ultimate commitment motivating the development of Greek philosophy and Medieval philosophy and theology. Distinguishing between conceptual knowledge and concepttranscending knowledge (concept and idea) brought the views of Plotinus, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Dengerink and Tillich into the discussion. Negative theology is used to show how ontic conditions play a role in the articulation of ultimate commitments. The long-standing commitment to reason, embodied in the identification of thought and being, resulted in what the physicist, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, calls faith in science which according to him is the governing religion of our time. The philosophy of science of the 20th century acknowledges that scholarly activities are co-conditioned both by theoretical commitments and supra-theoretical ultimate commitments – the central dimension of human existence in which the antithesis between Christian and non-Christian convictions is seated. Wolters emphasizes that all aspects of created life and reality are in principle equally good, and all are in principle equally subject to perversion and renewal. The aim of this article is to argue that scholarly endeavours inevitably entail theoretical commitments (paradigms) which are rooted in ultimate commitments. It opposes the traditional (positivistic) view that intellectual pursuits are “objective” and “neutral”.