Thursday, 25 September 2008

Hegel and Aquinas on history and totality

The first whiff of a possible divergence: Caputo faults Hegel for clinging on to a central idea of the Enlightenment, that reason forms a 'system,' a comprehensive whole, that it seeks an ultimate goal or end (telos) that governs all particular elements in the system.
That kind of thinking became part of the problem, not part of the solution, for it only served to perpetuate pretty much the same 'totalizing,' all-encompassing grip of 'reason,' now in the form of a historical reason that the Enlightenment had first proposed. (Caputo, Philosophy and Theology 39)
I am thinking: Caputo is right in what he is criticizing here. He has great respect for the achievement of Thomas Aquinas. But perhaps he does not really grasp the way Thomas brought together the Biblical and the Aristotelian worldviews, how he integrated the contingent and the particular and the event and so history into the universal, something that Lonergan has so brilliantly recovered in his Grace and Freedom, and that Pat Bryne has so well brought together in a long article in volume 6 of the Lonergan Workshop...

There, in that achievement of Aquinas, lies I think a 'permanently enduring achievement' that needs to be recovered, one that is of great significance in the movement out of modernity into post-modernity...

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