Thursday, 22 November 2012

Reversing the counterposition

Perhaps an example of Ratzinger engaging in developing a position / reversing a counterposition:

Before taking a position, Ratzinger pauses to shed light on the problem as a whole. The problem: differences re the object of theology.
These differences are linked to a variety of methodological orientations and to different concepts of the goal to be attained.
Concisely characterized by the key words of the 13th century controversy:
1. Thomistic view: theology is a scientia speculativa.
2. Franciscan: scientia practica.
See how current these are: the post-conciliar key words orthodoxy and orthopraxis.

But now a controversy that would have been inconceivable in the Middle Ages. If the word orthopraxis is pushed to its radical meaning [this is dialectic! Developing positions, reversing counterpositions] it presumes that no truth exists prior to praxis; truth can be established only on the basis of correct praxis. Praxis creates meaning out of and in the face of meaninglessness. [Very Nietzschean.] On this count, theology is merely a guide to action, which by reflecting on praxis continually develops new modes of praxis. “If not only redemption but truth as well is regarded as ‘post hoc’, then truth becomes the product of man. At the same time, man, who is no longer measured against truth but produces it, becomes himself a product.” [How?] “Granted, the most extreme positions occur but rarely.” [This is clearly a developing of a position; and if it is a counterposition, probably the attempt to show how it must be reverse. An extending ad absurdum of a position to reveal it as a counterposition. But: counterposition or error here? A counterposition is a truth clothed in a faulty or defective context.] [318.]

(Ratzinger, Joseph. Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology. Tr. Mary Frances McCarthy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987. Part 3: The Formal Principles of Christianity and the Method of Theology. Ch. 1. Questions about the Structure of Theology. A. What is Theology?)

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