Word section - Rita Byrne - 2 Feb 02

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This has been a very interesting section..

Words I would like explained:: TELOS; sine qua non .(pg.164) cogito ergo sum (pg173). Intellectus dividens et componens; (pg174).

Could you give an example of the linguistic word or the official conceptual material , he is talking about on pg. 161.?

Some very interesting ideas PG176/177.

"Only through the evernew risk of faith in the truth revealed by others can the spirit gradually assure itself of the objective, intersubjective world of truth".(pg.176)

"The subjects life thus becomes the proof of it's assertion. Life shows what weight its truth actually had, and in fact the truth that it has pronounced comes to the perfection of truth only through this testimony of life".(pg177)

There is no giving up here.. One of my weaknesses is to give up sometimes. So I just want to say thanks Philip for all the encouragement you have given to us; and I hope we wont give up but continue to the end.


-- Anonymous, February 02, 2002


Response to Word section.

Rita, here are some brief answers:

"Telos": the Greek word for an "end" in the sense of "goal", something you aim at.

"the sine qua non": a latin phrase meaning something that is indispensable (literally: sine=without, qua=which, non=not)

"cogito ergo sum": latin for "I think therefore I am" -- the famous phrase of Descartes (famous mathematician and philosopher, writing in the 1640s) in his "Meditations". Descartes regarded this as the thing that couldn't be doubted--he could doubt everything else (e.g. he might be dreaming, he might be mad etc.) but if he thought at all, even if he was deluded, he existed.

"Intellectus dividens et componens": latin, medieval phrase for the activity of the intellect in analysing and judging, as opposed to simple insight. "intellectus"=intellect, dividens=dividing, et=and, componens=putting things together. So the intellect in simple insight just sees, whereas when it judges it divides the thing into parts and either puts them together (componens--see English "component parts"--as: the horse is black) or separates them (dividens--see English divide--as: the horse is not black).

You ask for an example of the linguistic word or the official conceptual material he is talking about on p. 161. Balthasar is hear thinking of all the public resources of language as shared by "millions of speakers, both past and present", and which is systematised in dictionaries and grammars. His concern here is to talk about speaking language as happening in the tension between complete individual freedom (I and my experience and my imagination and my insight and my expression) on the one hand and, on the other, the already defined character of language: can we think something that was not expressed before... can we be original when every word we utter has been used millions of times? I am reminded of talking with Paul Murray OP about the struggle to write poetry, how language seems to resist, how the search for a word that will exactly convey what it is one wants can be very hard indeed. So Balthasar thinks that if we give in to laziness, we end up using language without any originality. This is a fundamental temptation. In the middle of p. 161 he writes: "These thought patterns completely cover over the free revelation of the unique personality with an anonymous, impersonal layer, indeed, with a whole system of veils, disguises, and masks that present themselves to whoever would express himself as the customary, comfortable, universally available, and least taxing means for the job...." The result is that "for the most part it is harder to recognize one's personal word under all this clothing than it is to find an already existing expression for one's personal opinion; harder to penetrate the waste of conventions and to create a valid field of expression than to go about dressed like everyman in the first garment that comes along."

-- Anonymous, February 02, 2002

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