Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
William E. Doll, Jr
The world situation, and life, in the contemporary West, since the rise of modernity, has been described most frequently as one of crisis, marked by a breakdown of life's intelligibility. It is the aftermath of the "death of God," the disappearance of humanity's relationship to a transcendent reality which historically has served as the center of meaning, effecting what has been called the world's disenchantment or the life-world's despiritualization, marked by a loss of soul. This process has involved a reduction of what constitutes the cosmos and human existence in it. In addition, reason, believed in as humanity's guiding principle, has become reduced to a tool in the service of technical society. The "soul" of reason, grounded in the question of the good, has been lost, in this way, followed by a growing indictment against reason itself as the source of contemporary woes. The intent of this study is to explore this crisis of Western culture, particularly to identify and investigate its origin and development as the logic or reign of "death" in human consciousness. The aim is to look into the ensuing spiritual crisis: from the "death of God" to the "death" of faith, of the cosmos, of the human subject, and also of reason. Required is an inquiry into the "kernel" of Western Civilization which can be, perhaps, most accurately depicted as the relentless pursuit of reason and an unwavering faith in it as humanity's hope for achieving the knowledge of the good, and the good itself, and the true and beautiful--the legacy of Plato, and Socrates. Such involves an attempt to elucidate the relationship between reason and faith, and their historical dissociation and antagonism, and also to understand the project of education, as the guardian of reason and the avenue through which human faith in reason is expressed, and the crisis in which this project, too, has culminated. Advocated is a reconciliation of faith and reason, a redemption of the foundational insight from which education in the West emerged, seemingly lost or forgotten, that the unexamined life is not worth living.
Quinn, Mary Ellington, "Education, Faith and the Critique of Reason." (1997). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 6513.