Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

G. Ellis Sandoz

Abstract

The primary purpose of this dissertation is to examine and analyze Eric Voegelin's theory of knowledge, and to see what implications it has on his theories of ethics and politics. The profundity of Voegelin's epistemological search and recovery is apparent when placed in the context of his disillusionment with and resistance to the dominant epistemology of his day, namely, positivism. Through a recovery and restoration of the symbolizations of classical and Christian philosophy, Voegelin searches for and finds experiential knowledge which is gained through faith in search of understanding (fides quaerens intellectum), which brings about a vision of the whole and a formation of the heart (fides caritate formata) in the individual person through divine-human participation. These findings have important ethical and political implications. If we are to be whole persons, our communities must reflect our whole realm of being and experience. The radical fragmentation of the social field into its parts--the religious, political, and educational--creates fragmented and deformed people. This diagnosis, coupled with Voegelin's epistemology and its call for ecumenicalism, lead to a therapy, which is that we must heal our communities and the individuals within them. The various realms of the social field, the realms of our experience, should work together as one, while at the same time checking and balancing one another to insure that one does not rise toward an eclipse of the other. Such is the basis for community. Voegelin's mystical epistemology, his new science of politics, and their implications for modern thought and modern life recover and restore the noetic and pneumatic sciences to their proper and necessary place, which is a serious study of human existence and man's relationship to society, the world, and God.

Pages

231

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