John of the Cross and the Cognitive Value of Mysticism: An by Steven Payne OCD (auth.)

By Steven Payne OCD (auth.)

Among Anglo-American philosophers, curiosity in mysticism has commonly been constrained to the query of even if mystical and spiritual experi­ ences supply proof for, or wisdom of, the lifestyles and nature of God. such a lot authors finish that they don't, simply because such reports lack convinced features wanted as a way to rely as cognitive. during this learn I study a few present philosophical reviews approximately mysticism and objec­ tions to its epistemic value within the context of an in depth examine of the writings of a unmarried mystical writer, the Spanish Carmelite Saint John of the pass (1542-1591). I argue that from his works it is easy to draw a coherent conception of what occurs within the Christian mystical lifestyles, and should point out how recognition of this conception can be defended as rational via a kind of inference also known as the "Argument to the easiest clarification. " during this method i am hoping to teach that mysticism nonetheless has an important concerning the justification of non secular religion no matter if it can't be used to "prove" the exis­ tence of God. the character and merits of my very own a little bit strange method of mysticism can probably top be defined by way of contrasting it with the way in which different authors have handled the topic. some of the most remarkable advance­ ments in contemporary many years has been the growing to be fascination with mysticism, meditation, and the experiential facets of religion.

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Additional info for John of the Cross and the Cognitive Value of Mysticism: An Analysis of Sanjuanist Teaching and its Philosophical Implications for Contemporary Discussions of Mystical Experience

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He argues, for example, that: ... all distinct ideas and images (todas las noticias e imagenes distintas), natural or supernatural, that can be the objects of a person's faculties, are incomparable and unproportioned to God's being. God does not fall under... genus and species, whereas, according to theologians, creatures do. And the soul is not capable of receiving clearly and distinctly in this life what does not fall under... genus and species. (A III, 12, i) At the same time, however, John does apparently recognize the possibility of some limited natural knowledge of God.

Thus I have essential knowledge of a human being when, from a specific phantasm of a man, I abstract the universal concept "rational animal"; I understand the individual person as an instantiation of a universal nature, and know him in terms of what makes him to be the kind of being he is. This, then, is the general structure of the Thomistic theory of knowledge. For some contemporary readers, it will seem hard to understand, much less to accept. Here it is unnecessary to defend the theory or to consider the many variants of the basic account which were developed by other scholastic philosophers.

180). Elsewhere, however, John acknowledges that a "remote knowledge" of God is possible in this life (see A II, 8, iii; C 4, i-iii; 5, i-iv; 6, v-vi; 14 & 15, xxv-xxvii). These apparently conflicting statements THE STRUCTURE OF THE HUMAN PERSON 27 become more intelligible when we compare them with what Aquinas says about our knowledge of God. As Thomas indicates, one of the most important consequences of our natural ordering toward knowledge of sensibles through the forms abstracted from phantasms is that we can have no "essential" knowledge of God or spiritual substances while united to the body.

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