Review: Truth – Philosophy in Transit

5 Star, Philosophy, Religion & Politics of Religion, Science & Politics of Science
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

John D. Caputo

5.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental, Joyous, Optimistic, Calming, May 14, 2015

I read across 98 categories and the older I get, the more I think college should be spaced out over 20 years and degrees given expiration dates. This is an extraordinarily profound and moving book that is both readable and joyous.

Bottom line up front: truth in transit is truth in the becoming, the event, the conversation, the evolution — all men are created equal was initially all white elites; then all white men; then including slaves generally of color; then women; and now evolving to include transgender and perhaps one day, animals other than humans and even plants.

On one front, the book is an indictment of what John Ralston Saul calls Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West. The author is passionate in showing how important faith is to keeping an open mind and pursuing heretical notions that eventually evolve into commonplace appreciations.

On another front the author, known for his examination and defense of “weak theology” (which I take to mean value the faith and ditch the dogma), puts our Earthly truths in a cosmic context that relates the spirit of God — the infinite possibilities of God — to our potential migration beyond human, beyond Earth, into the larger non-flesh of the immaterial eternal energy field within which we are a pimple on the ass of one donkey….in other words, humility will do nicely here.

A few notes and quotes from my heavily marked-up paperback:

+ Doubt is devine

+ Hegel (thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis) was really about perpetual reincarnation

+ Both absolutism and relativism are wrongful appreciations — truth is in the moment, the event, the conversation, the interaction of opposites in context

+ Truth is what emerges from civil discourse — one could say that those mired in dogma, partisan ideological certainty, and poorly-documented science are both ignorance and uncouth

QUOTE (16): Hermeneutics is the art of negotiating multiple finite, lower-case truths, coping with the shifting tides and circumstances of truth while not allowing any eight-hundred pound gorillas into the room.

+ Evolving models of truth: a) what the Church says; b) Reason as defined by secular authority; and c) an event open to all possibilities

QUOTE (30): Wisdom is larger than logic.

+ Faith and reason are not — should not be treated as — a dichotomy or contradiction.

+ There is no one true God that can be known to (mere) man — the embrace of religious diversity and religious conversation is a fundamental occupation for decent human beings open to the possibility of God on Earth

+ “Tolerating” but not engaging the multiplicity of faiths is false — inauthentic, a cop-out, and dangerous

QUOTE (55): Capitalism is a perfect example of instrumental reason.

QUOTE (59): The truth of democracy — to choose what is decidely not a random example — is its trying to become-true, to constantly become democratic.

+ Prayer and acts of faith nurture and draw out a community reserve that becomes a truth of community

+ To see, feel, and experience truth one must be OPEN and see truth as “open-ended”

QUOTE (111): Truth is the shock of the unknown that breaks into our lives.

+ Truth is ultimately a matter of the heart, not the brain — and realized over time in performance, not dogma

Major elements of the book include an overview and comparison of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche of such value that I would propose neither can be fully appreciated without the insights in this book; and an original review by the author of three post-modern approaches to the truth: hermeneutics; language games; and paradigm shifts.

As a side note, I have the annotation on page 217 that the author documents why computers cannot create useful truths. This is not a book the Singularity folks will appreciate.

Faith and passion are ESSSENTIAL to migrating the tortured path from dogma and prevailing “reason” toward new ideas. The author singles out Ian Hacking (The Social Construction of What? and Bruno Latour We Have Never Been Modern as representative of the most interesting work being done in the philosophy of science today.

The book concludes in a most provocative and uplifting fashion. The future of truth is OPEN, mysterious, Godly, cosmic, HYBRID, without borders, complex, and immortal.

Here are seven other books that complement this one, but this book on this topic stands alone.

God and Science: Coming Full Circle?
Questions of Truth: Fifty-one Responses to Questions About God, Science, and Belief
Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World

The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All
Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (Manifesto Series)
Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World

Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition

For my many Amazon lists and accessing my Amazon reviews by category (e.g. philosophy, religion) seek out online the Reviews Page at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
The Open Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth, & Trust

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