Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Rarely-Quoted Passage from Fides et Ratio

Here is an interesting passage from John Paul II's famous encyclical, which, while he himself probably was referring in a general way to secular philosophy, is equally applicable to a certain form of Christian thought as well. It is right from the beginning, n.4

"Through philosophy's work, the ability to speculate which is proper to the human intellect produces a rigorous mode of thought; and then in turn, through the logical coherence of the affirmations made and the organic unity of their content, it produces a systematic body of knowledge. In different cultural contexts and at different times, this process has yielded results which have produced genuine systems of thought. Yet often enough in history this has brought with it the temptation to identify one single stream with the whole of philosophy. In such cases, we are clearly dealing with a “philosophical pride” which seeks to present its own partial and imperfect view as the complete reading of all reality. In effect, every philosophical system, while it should always be respected in its wholeness, without any instrumentalization, must still recognize the primacy of philosophical enquiry, from which it stems and which it ought loyally to serve."

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