Academia, crisis of thought and anthropology

There are two very interesting articles that severely critique the current academic setting and highlight our modern crisis of thought.The first article is by Martin A. Mills, a senior lecturer in the anthropology of religion, University of Aberdeen. You can find the full article here.

Mills, among many other things, speaks of the need for the reconciliation of scientific and social science. His argument and illustration about the limitations and poverty of science to explain important aspects of reality, is clear and convincing. As the central theme of the need for a new vision of mankind. Pope JP II said something very similar in a historic address in 1978 in Mexico, on how anthropology was the key issue of our times. The anthropological view we take will determine to a large degree what we will do to ourselves.

Another interesting article Pierre Bourdieu also shows the limitations of science, scientism and modern academia. Bourdieu is quick to identify the false antinomies that lie deeply embedded in our life and thought, as well as the academic formalism and superficial conformism that dulls our thought. A worthwhile read.

The point is that if we can’t think straight, we cannot understand reality, and we cannot understand nature, the environment and the environmental problem. As long as reason is weakened, and unable to reach its object, truth, theology is also suffering for reason cannot open itself to something greater. If we cannot understand the environmental problem(s) for what they are, reconciliation cannot become a relevant solution.

7 thoughts on “Academia, crisis of thought and anthropology

  1. Interesting article because of its care not to overstate, but rather to present well formed, unsolved questions.

    With that said, there are some rich reflections on the relationship between the object of experience and the subjective relationship to it from Max Scheler. Building upon work from Husserl and Franz Brentano, he was able to speak about the “intentional object” of our consciousness. Without getting into the complexity of phenomenological terminology, it´s worth saying that there have been worthy, scientific attempts that have, in part, resolved the answer the author´s questions.

    I´ve been referring mostly to this quote below

    “What seems to be missing is a common sense of a mutual intellectual problem that actually needs to be solved. Resolving the relationship between objectively available behaviour (which we can all point to) and subjective intentional experience (which we all know exists), and constructing a suitable framework for unifying those within a rigorous scientific methodology are genuinely difficult puzzles worthy of a central place within our attention.”

    1. Very inetresting. Could you pass me the central texts where Scheler talks about this please. I have been recently reading on sociological thought and an underlying theme seems to be the lack of a clear problem to address.

      Also, so what do you think should be this central problem?

  2. Reading Scheler can be complicated. I recommend that you look at Karol Wojtyla´s writing on Scheler in order to save some time and hassle. For example, you may find a starting point in “Karol Wojtyla: The Thought of the Man Who Became Pope John Paul II”. Karol Wojtyla also did his doctoral thesis on Max Scheler if you can find that. You could read what Karol Wojtyla writes about it. There’s a collection of essays from the 1950s and 60s, which is very good, although I don’t know if it exists in English.

    The central problem is: Where do you base the premises, or certainty? In other words, from what point can I establish all other logical discourse. Modernity has replied, “The subject”, whether it be the mind through rationalism (Descartes or Kant) or in sensory perception through empiricism (Hume and friends). Scheler tried to overcome the inherent limitations of basing certainty either in the mind or senses, this lack of objectivism, but eventually based fell into the same problem. For him, certainty certainty resides in the subjective consciousness in tendency toward objective values. His reflections, though incomplete, are interesting, and that is why Karol Wojtyla writes about him, rescues some elements, but eventually criticizes his conclusions.

  3. So does Wojtyla eventually have to appeal to Revelation to ground his logical discourse? Or does him come up with his own philosophy which is able to dialogue at a similar starting point with the world? Pardon the ignorance.

  4. No, he doesn´t. He uses the philosophy of St. Thomas to provide structure and hierarchy to much of Scheler´s investigations. This was a synthesis that was attempted at the Lublin School in Poland. There, realist phenomenologists, such as Karol Wojtyla, brought together Thomist philosophy with the insights of phenomenologists such as Max Scheler.

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