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THE ORIGINS OF PHILISOPHIC FAITH AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
Ben Roberts Debate III May 29, 2012
Abstract: An analysis of Karl Jasper‟s concept of philosophical faith and its relation with the works of other existentialists such as Heidegger and Sartre. This essay delves into the conflicts between knowledge and faith, and how to reconcile the two. Using Brian Sanderson‟s Mistborn series and Ubisoft‟s Assassin‟s Creed trilogy, I hope to reveal the fundamental conditions of philosophy and faith in all aspects of culture. Philosophie Before defining philosophic faith, it is necessary to understand philosophy itself. Karl Jaspers defines philosophy slightly different as does other existentialists. Jaspers says “philosophy lacks such firm ground in speech, deed, or form, but finds it in the context of objectivity gained reminiscence which awakens and motivates.”1 Jaspers seeks to define philosophy and philosophical faith through a juxtaposition with religion and “affirmation truth”. Unlike religious truths, “philosophical propositions are not affirmations; they are outlines of possibilities, steps in thought processes, attempts in ascending to an authentic sense of self”. So, if philosophy‟s goal is to establish an authentic self, what constitutes this self? Quite ironically, Jaspers states that “philosophy is that which concentrates, through which man becomes himself, by participating in reality”.2 Philosophy now is defined by the “quest for being” (P, p.4). This quest, of course, cannot be completed, but that is precisely what makes it a worthwhile action. For, only by determining that we cannot fully take hold of being can we actually “transcend” beyond objectivity and presuppositions. Thus, “Jaspers existential philosophy is meant to grow out of the transcendent origin and at the same time out of the actual conditions of real life to reach expression and to become an instance of life as and articulated philosophy”.3 This controversial philosophy radically separates Jaspers from other existentialists, who don‟t have such a lifebased and usually have a much more abstract concept of philosophy. Put simply, philosophy is found in the inevitable act of philosophizing, a “philosophy of existence”. He breaks away from existentialists such as Heidegger when he says “My Dasein…is not existence, but man in Dasein is possible existence” (P. p.296). This possible existence can equate real existence through philosophy, or the searching movement inherent in existence. Jaspers seeks periechontology, or what he calls “the encompassing”. 4 This encompassing is what philosophy‟s goal is. It is a understanding of all forms of objective and determinable knowledge. In order to do this, one must transcend the limits of knowledge and reason, like Søren Kierkegaard suggests. There are several “modes of being of the encompassing”, or how one can arrive at this periechontology. The first group of modes consists of Existence, Dasein, Consciousness in General, and the Spirit. The second consists of Transcendence and the World. A certain “transversal reason” is needed to bond the modes together. A reason that allows for one
Karl Jaspers, “Principles for Philosophizing: Introduction to Philosophical Life, 1942/43” (Unpublished, released by Hans Saner, trans. Helmut Wautischer) in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp.12 Hereafter referred to a PF.
Karl Jaspers, Philosophie (Berlin, Gottingen and Heidelberg:Springer, 1948). P. 5. Hereafter referred to as P.
Armin E. Wildermuth, “Karl Jaspers and the Concept of Philosophical Faith”, Existenz Volume 2, Fall 2007. Hereafter referred to as E.
Karl Japsers, Von der Wahrheit (Munchen: Piper, 1947) pp. 158f,601ff. Cited in Armin E. Wildermuth, “Karl Jaspers and the Concept of Philosophical Faith”, Existenz Volume 2, Fall 2007. PP.11.
to take in the plurality of the horizons of being and hope to move between them without forming dogmatic affirmations and truths. In this sense, philosophizing almost is the search for “neutrality” in a strongly doctrinaire society. It is here that “periechontological basic knowledge” becomes even more of a paradox, because philosophy searches for the elucidation but the entire point of the elucidation is to recognize the “admitted unknowability of the darkness announcing itself threateningly in revealed faith and forever entailing aberrations and undoings” (E 12). These revealed faiths are found in many sources, namely religion, where “revelations” are designated to hold absolute truth and have a dogmatic faith that is not built for the individual. Once Jaspers had defined philosophy as an individual‟s quest for being, Jaspers needed a concept to enact philosophy “correctly”, if such a phrase can be said5. He needed to find a method of transcendence. Philosophical Faith Jaspers‟ own philosophizing transcends objectivity to a domain of non-cognitive, subjective experience of transcends in immanence. The human being undergoes an ordinary leap from mere existence to possible Existenz by Transcendence in immanence, the experience of external being within ones particular historicity. This act of philosophic faith transforms the exisent as he has the freedom to accept or refuse the possibility of Transcendence in immanence and the descent of Being into time. 6 Langley‟s interpretation of Jaspers‟ philosophy, while probably over exemplifying the abilities of transversal reason, aptly introduces and summarizes two new key concepts to this essay, faith and the leap. Faith, while earlier criticized as an inauthentic periechontology, now takes on a new light. This kind of philosophic faith is the methodology7 to enter into the “non-cognitive”. Langley goes further in stating “Philisophic faith must show a way to reconcile knowing and not knowing and faith and disbelief and the truth claims of all four.” Here‟s where I believe Jaspers becomes completely unique in his field. He seeks not to turn his back on “truth”, but rather find a way to acknowledge this truth in a world where undoubtedly things can be known and a great deal more simply cannot be. A philosophic faith is one that takes Kantian notions of rationality and reason and seeks to use reason to overcome rationality and transcend rationality to return reason as the first principle of cognition, which allows for an understanding of totality. The way this is achieved and the process of philosophic faith is a Kierkegaardian “leap of faith”, where one literally can leap from objectivity.
Surely we can define what philosophy cannot be, but a “correct” definition of philosophy would be antithetical to all existentialists
Raymond Langley “Three Interpretations of the Content of Jaspers‟ Philosophical Faith” in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp.137
Methodology in this context can be interpreted as “principles for philosophizing”, a phrase used throughout Jasper‟s work.
But, perhaps this also becomes antithetical to Jaspers philosophy, as he himself stated “Philosophical faith is not a content we believe in, but an activity we believe by”8. So rather than define philosophical faith, it would be best to instead show how to “believe by” philosophical faith and what is achieved when one believes by philosophical faith. The main effect of a philosophic faith is the reconciliation of knowledge and unknowledge. But, what does this mean? Simply put, this reconciliation redefines knowledge with Kant‟s critique of pure reason and uses this reason to perform a “leap of faith” using Kierkegaard‟s notion of faith. Kant and Reason Jaspers‟ finds his base of philosophic faith without a doubt in Kant. In his harsh critique of both Heidegger and Schelling, Jaspers says the failing of the existentialists was their leaving of the “consciousness of truth” that only Kantian philosophy can provide.9 For in Kant, Jaspers found his transversal reason: Kant‟s critique of reason pursues a double objective: On the one hand, it is a criticism of traditional metaphysics, based on the finding that pure reason is getting caught up in contradictions as soon as it transcends the limits of empirical knowledge. On the other hand, this critique establishes the place of the genuine philosophical way of thinking. It is a third and middle way in between the empirical sciences and the speculative and dogmatic metaphysics.10 Jaspers interpretation of Kant is philosophical faith‟s birthplace, and where the searching function of existence can come to fruition. Applying reason and Kant‟s critique of pure reason to philosophy, Jaspers completely laid the framework for a new path inside philosophy that can is not bound down by philosophy, science and knowledge, or religion and metaphysics. As one of Jaspers more radical followers, Leonard Ehrlich, notices, “as Jaspers sees it, the choice is not between unity and disunity but between different ways of grasping unity”.11 In other words, knowledge and un-knowledge might seem to have a plurality of truths, in reality they are part of a larger horizon of being that Jaspers seeks to hold certainty in. He “asserts the inevitability of the notion of the openness of Being and the truth of Being” at the same time. This could not be possible without a Kantian notion of philosophic transversal reason. Kierkegaard and the Leap After the reasoning of philosophic faith is understood, it becomes necessary to analyze of the linguistic history and implications of the “faith” part of philosophical faith. Besides vague references to Kierkegaard, this essay has not defined faith and how it acts within philosophy.
Karl Jaspers, The Atom Bomb and the Future of Mankind, trans. E.B. Aston (Chicago IL 1961) pp.207,262. Karl Jaspers, Notizen zu Martin Heidegger, Hg. H. Saner (München: Piper , 1978) pp. 102.
Andreas Cesana, “Jasper‟s Concept of philosophical Faith: A new Synthesis?” in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp. 100.
Leonard Ehrlich Karl Jaspers: Philosophy as Faith (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1975) p. 65
Kierkegaard, as does Jaspers, that a central concept of “reality” that can be logically understood is a failing idea. For you can never understand reality in its fullest. Logic simply “cannot assimilate” reality.12 Kierkegaard calls for a redefinition of faith. Where the dogmatic person “says that faith is the immediate” (D 2), Kierkegaard says faith‟s legitimacy lies in its “historical presupposition”. Here is where Jaspers gets his idea of the “origin”. In order to approach the origin of philosophizing13 one must try to achieve what “Kierkegaard had described… as existential rebirth” (E 9). Jaspers undertakes the “historical presupposition” required in Philosophie and “discovered several precursors of true philosophizing in the great philosophers of radical transcendence, such as Plotinus, Cusanus, and Nagarunja, the Buddhist philosopher, and he follows Kant and Kierkegaard with regard to the epochal act of attaining existential knowledge” (E 10). Kierkegaard criticizes dogmatic for making faith the “finest abstraction” by making it immediate and forgetting the earlier beginning. Logic limits existence by creating a truth that ignores historical presupposition and “it is constantly the same that it was from the beginning” (D 3). Kierkegaard calls for a leap,14 but what exactly does this entail? Kierkegaard‟s cliché leap of faith is a way “to take a leap in order to find our way out of abstract philosophy and thereafter back into it.”15 He needs “existential involvement”. At first this might seem ironic, as this existential involvement means that Kierkegaard must acknowledge logic (if not embrace) and turn his back on abstract philosophy. But, along with an analysis of Jaspers, one can see that this “leap” is a principle for philosophizing that actually refutes dogmatic logic and instead seeks a belief in what can possibly not be proven. Kierkegaard states “speculation can comprehend everything- except how I arrived at faith or how faith has come into the world”.16 He points out an obvious reason that a philosophic faith that can transverse the modes of encompassing is needed. This kind of faith is not a religious faith, which asks for faith only once and applies rational discourse in a fellowship setting. Rather than declare a certain truth dogmatically the only truth, Kierkegaard seeks a faith that is asked for constantly, and instead of declaring everything that is impossible as true, Kierkegaard‟s faith inexpressible embrace of Existenz and everything in the temporal world. Faith is not complacent; it is fulfilling the inevitable searching-for-meaning function of existence.
Søren Kierkegaard, “The Concept of Dread” (1844) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957) pp.1. Hereafter referred to as D.
The origin of philosophizing is a redundant phrase, as in Philosophie, Jaspers states “Philosophy is origin [Philosophie ist Ursprung]”.
The concept of the Leap was actually from Gotthold Lessing. "That, then, is the ugly great ditch which I cannot cross, however often and however earnestly I have tried to make that leap."
Armin Wildermuth, “Thinking from the Origin: Critical and Personal Remarks of Jaspers‟ Philosophy of Philosophizing” in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp. 159
Soren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers, trans. Howard and Edna Hong ( Bloomington: Indian a University Press, 1967-1978), 2:1132.
Thus Jaspers philosophy can be seen as the expression of the base form of philosophy as a whole (or at least what philosophy should be). “What philosophies are good for at best is the creation of an awareness of transcendence. Philosophies are thus transformed into existential appeals that concern the entire existence of the philosopher.”
The Journey and Faith In Brian Sanderson‟s novel, Mistborn, an “evil” tyrant has taken over the world. He has destroyed all religions and proclaimed himself as God. An undercover group, however, seeks to gather knowledge about the old war and save it for the time when he falls. One of these “Keepers”, Sazed, is the Keeper of Religion. It becomes his job to find all the religions of the old world and then preach them when the Lord Ruler falls. Throughout the first novel, where the main characters are plotting to overthrow the Lord Ruler, Sazed acts as a minor character and gives the main characters pep talks when they need them, usually preaching to them a religion from the old world. When asked which one he believes in, Sazed simply responds all of them; he believes in them because he believes in faith. Sazed is the epitome of a philosopher; he literally transcends notions of objectivity and rationalization in order to live by philosophic faith, truly embracing Being and existence. Hannah Arendt, at one time one of Jaspers‟ students, said Jaspers wanted to “preserve the diversity of political and cultural traditions, but break their dogmatic authority. Arendt puts it nicely: once „the shell of traditional authority is forced open‟, all the great contents of all the traditions are available to all. The faith in the comprehensibility of all truths and the good will to reveal and to listen make possible the limitless communication…”17 Sazed was able to break the dogmatic authority of the religions of the old world and able to allow them to coexist in his mind. He was able to comprehend all truths and had the good will to reveal them to others and debate and converse with his friends and fellow Keepers. In fact, he probably had more “true” Kiekegaardian faith than the original believers of the faith. He, as Kiekegaardian mandated, came across these faiths personally and was able to have a faith in all the temporality of the faiths simultaneously. With this understanding of philosophy and faith, as well as knowledge and un-knowledge, he was able to get closer to the “origin of philosophizing”. His faith became tested in the second book when his fellow Keeper, met him after the fall of the Lord Ruler. She was a Keeper of biographies of great leaders of the past, and was teaching the new king how to rule. She taught with pure rationalism and saw extremely dogmatically. They became lovers and passionate debaters. She applied cold calculative rationalism to Sazed‟s religions and became frustrated when he answered all of her arguments with vague philosophical remarks like “I believe because faith is what allows me to see the religions as their believers did”18 and “Faith allows for openness”. After many days of debating, the final battle ensues, where the city is besieged, and Sazed‟s lover joins the fight and dies. Confronted with death, Sazed has an existential crisis.
Charles Courtney, “Jaspers Meets Confucious” in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp. 204. Citing Hannah Arendt, “Karl Jaspers: Citizen of the World,” (1957) in The Philosophy of Karl Jaspers (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1981)
This however, is not true, as the original followers were dogmatic. However, it does hold some truth on the basis that their faith did not need a pure rationalization and in fact did try and engage the meaning of Being.
Here Sazed fits aptly into Ghaemi‟s characterization of Jasper‟s as accepting science completely, yet “they are unable to ignore religion… the ultimate questions of meaning and death matter too much to them to be ignored”. While earlier in his life, Sazed‟s faith had been his quest for being, Sazed started to become like Heidegger and ask the question to the meaning of being. No longer was man in Dasien enough to satisfy possible existence. Sazed begins his fall in the third book, where, as he looks for meaning and a reason behind his lover‟s death, Sazed rationally and systematically goes through every religion he‟s ever collected and eliminates all of them. He finds faults and contradictions in their doctrines and ideals. Losing all faith, Sazed questions death and meaning and yet believes in nothing. At the end of the novel, Sazed has a discussion with one of the other characters about faith. He says that hope is inevitable; it‟s what we need when we fail. But faith, faith is an elusive concept that we cannot hope to rationalize. Faith lets us become part of something bigger than ourselves. And at the very end of the novel, Sazed is told of one last religion, one that places one of his comrades as the “Hero of Ages”, a mythical being who would defeat the evil Ruin. Without proof, without rationalization, he believes. In the midst of the last hopeless battle, he tells his friends to fight on and die, while all the while saying “Vin (the Hero of Ages) will come to save us. He has absolute faith, undying faith. And at the very end of the novel, Vin and Ruin drop from the sky, both dead from an epic struggle. And at the very last line, Sazed combines the powers of Preservation and Ruin and becomes God. Now, while the ending of the novel might not literally translate into Jasper‟s terminology, the metaphor could not be stronger. Jaspers himself said the content of philosophic faith is “Faith in God as the realization of transcendence, Faith in man as the possibility of freedom, Faith in possibilities in the world as openness beyond the limits of knowledge.” 19 Sazed becoming God is the perfect metaphor for the realization of transcendence; Sazed, a man himself, became a Sartrian champion of freedom; and Sazed literally had faith in the possibilities in the world as openness beyond his conception of knowledge. Nulla e Reale, Tutto e Lecito “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted”. The Assassins Creed journey of Altair is another cultural ideal of the philosophical journey. In the beginning of the game, Altair argues with his master over the meaning of the Creed. Altair applies rationality to a philosophical proposition and thus takes it literally. If nothing is true, there are no rules to prohibit me, and if everything is permitted, than why can I not break these arbitrary rules? His master sends him on a quest to kill Templar‟s in search of an ancient treasure. At the end of the game, when you have delivered the treasure to your master, he reveals himself as the main enemy, only wanting power and control. As Jaspers states, “Philosophy can bridge any abyss to coalesce each and every one, not necessarily by shared community and beliefs, but by means of listening and understanding and by engaging in a dialogue of questions and answers.”20 By having Rashid ad-Din Sinan (the master) betray the order, Ubisoft was demonstrating the problematic relationship that both
Leonard Ehrlich “Karl Jaspers: Philosophy as Faith” (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1975) p. 137. Quote from Karl Jaspers “The Origin and Goal of History” (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979 (1949)), pp. 219-220.
Karl Jaspers, “Principles for Philosophizing: Introduction to Philosophical Life, 1942/43” (Unpublished, released by Hans Saner, trans. Helmut Wautischer) in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp.12
Jaspers and Kiekegaard had with the idea of “fellowship”. “A philosophical creed- in the sense of belonging or not belonging to a historical community of fellow believers- is a misnomer.” Thus whether they meant to or not, Ubisoft showed that “such philosophy” as the assassin‟s creed “cannot take on a form that is valid for all” (PF 13). Such a broad statement allows for an infinite amount of interpretations, as does all philosophy, and when these principles for philosophizing are applied to a creed it is inevitable that things like greed, power, and ignorance take hold and warp the intentions of the philosophy. This is not to say philosophers must be completely solitary hermits, but the principle remains for both Jaspers and Kiekegaard that philosophy can be shared, but not taught, because after all, “the intention to philosophise is founded in human existence itself”(E 9). So, it becomes impossible for one to attain transversal reason without first experiencing existence, and this existence is a personal experience. So why does Jaspers write, if all of philosophy is not only inevitable, but also a personal experience that cannot be taught? The simple answer is still more complex than “he can guide”. Jaspers‟, as well as other philosophers‟, goal should be to allow for a student to recognize the modes of being of the encompassing, and to lay out insights that permit a student to not fall to things like revelation and instead go on their way to transcendence in immanence. It also becomes necessary to examine the nature of the Creed itself. “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted”. After his personal journey is complete, Altair discovers the meaning of these principles. Nothing is true demonstrates the limits of objectivity and knowledge itself. The first part of the creed hopes to allow for an Assassin to see beyond the first group of the modes of being of the encompassing, or the we are portions of “being in its eternity”. With this principle of philosophizing in mind, the assassin can avoid the “instrumentalist rationality” that Jaspers warns about in Philosophie that is causing the “prevision of reason”. “Everything is Permitted” is a reminder against leaving all reason behind and only looking to ethics and metaphysics. It is a reminder of the need for a breaking away from the dogmatic and arbitrary laws of society and metaphysics, even paradoxically, the creed itself, as Altair sees at the end of the game. Both of these principles together form a philosophic faith that calls for reason to be applied to philosophy and a call for philosophic faith to help understand the knowability and unknowability of existence. But it is also a warning to not rely too heavily on one “horizon of being” to elucidate Being, as there are many horizons all under the horizon of being, not just existence. It is a call for a transcending of dogmatism by calling for a questioning of what is true; it is a call for transversal reason to overcome rationality by contemplating “everything is permitted”; and most of all it is a call for philosophic faith to allow for the individual to sort through knowledge and metaphysics. Tangibility of God One of the most interesting and unique abilities of culture is the power of the thought experiment. I would like to highlight just one of the imaginative capabilities of culture: the tangibility of God. Later in the Assassin‟s Creed trilogy, the new main character, Ezio, comes into contact with a radical break from traditional metaphysics. He finds not only are all of the God‟s real, but also are mortal, and hold a troubled history with the human race. This interesting twist in the series is interesting for several reasons. The first somewhat overlooked detail is the fact that Assassin‟s Creed doesn‟t take a specific stance on which God is “real”. The God that Ezio meets
in the second game refers to herself as Minivera, but also states she was known as many other names. This anti-dogmatic openness to the “truth” of the existence of God is the first analogy drawn between Assassins Creed and philosophic faith. The next analogy is the idea of the existence of God itself. While this may seem like it destroys faith, as why does one need to have fait if one knows something? But Jaspers doesn‟t want a belief of God; as stated earlier, he wants a “belief in God as the realization of transcendence”. This means the game is not denying the necessity of faith, rather making a very explicit metaphor about this realization of transcendence. If a being in which countless people have had a revelatory faith in the “Gods”, and they are exposed to be in fact, dying, what does this say about the human ability of transcendence? When Nietzsche spoke of the “Death of God”, it is doubtful he was seeing Zeus lying down on a floor, slowly fading away, but nevertheless the metaphor is there. This almost anthropocentric view of Being greatly catalyses the possibility for the transcendence of what we know. This metaphor is even stronger in the trilogy Mistborn, as the possibility of transcendence is literally enacted by the becoming of God in a world that has not felt the touch of one. This becoming is exemplified through a philosophic faith apparent throughout the trilogy. Freedom and Faith In Assassin‟s Creed, a unique permutation of Jaspers‟ philosophic faith and Sartre‟s conception of freedom becomes apparent throughout the trilogy. At the end of the first game, Altair confronts Rashid ad-Din Sinan and asks why he is abusing the power of the ancient artifact, which allows him to control the minds of others through the power of ultimate illusion. Rashid ad-Din Sinan responds by a simple idea; without a pesky ideal of free will, humans would have no reason to fight. Sinan is searching for peace on earth. He claims that he can stop things like the Crusades from ever happening, and in the end save more lives. This, of course, is flawed. Altair responds with the idea of Sartre‟s notion of freedom. He recognizes that while “consciousness is not full being”21, it is still a necessary part of being. We need freedom of consciousness to have being. Moreover, Altair asserts, we need freedom of faith to have being. A freedom to make the choice to hold faith, even if it is revelatory, is still necessary to have Being. So, while Sartre may not take a position on the “goodness” or “badness” of faith, Assassin‟s creed says that freedom is needed for authentic being. But, Sinan retorts, why is authentic faith, freedom, and being necessary? If being causes murder in the name of something that may not even exist, is being really necessary? The great existentialists are rolling in their graves now, because both Altair‟s and Sinan‟s responses are antithetical to existential philosophy. As Sartre realizes, not all freedom is “good”, in fact, seemingly every action and choice we take is an act of faith. There is such thing as “bad faith”, which is also an act of freedom. Jaspers outlines revelatory and dogmatic faith as just a few of many kinds of “bad faith”. So, while an action of freedom may affirm the consciousness of being, it is not an “authentic action” in relation to the other aspects of being.
Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingnes (New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 1956) pp. xxiv. Hazel Barnes “Translators Introduction”.
For Sinan, Sartre would respond with the concept that Dasein holds meaning, thus without being and Dasien, it is impossible to garner meaning. So the world of Sinan‟s peace would be a world devoid of meaning, and a world of ultimate nihilism. Even though Sinan seeks to destroy things like religion, his predicament points to the exact problem of religion in his own ideal. The concept of “illusion” in religion is one common in culture. Paradoxically, he seeks to destroy religion and the illusion with even more illusion. Well, at least he‟s honest about it. This conceptualization of illusion not only completely destroys philosophic faith, and thus, philosophy and any hope for transcendence. It is religion that fails to command authentic faith, as well as Sinan‟s form of illusion. This paradox becomes a nuanced way in which Ubisoft actually critiques the Church and other forms of dogmatism as well as a pure rationalist reaction to dogmatism (which arguably is more dogmatic). In this instance, Altair fulfills Jaspers‟ second principle of philosophy of “faith in man as the possibility of freedom”. He breaks away from both a metaphysical dogmatism and an epistemological dogmatism to a more fluid certainty of the protection of Being. The Failure of Other Existentialists Later in his career, Jaspers recognizes his difference from the other existentialists, namely Heidegger. He confronts this conflict in his work Notizen zu Martin Heidegger : Here I probably differ radically from Heidegger, for whom philosophy would appear to exist in the work itself, or also as the experience of thought removed from his own life, which regards itself as unconcerned in private and philosophical terms, he steps out of the reality of Dasein into the quiet space of philosophy – closing the door behind him – and the two spheres remain strictly unrelated. But what occurs in that sheltered, closed space is supposed to bear upon the history of the world and the history of being. 22 Jaspers starts to grow further apart from Heidegger in his work. Where originally they defined philosophy alike, the linguistic differences became meaningful differences later as they defined their philosophy. Jaspers prioritizes the quest for being, while Heidegger prioritizes the question of the meaning of being. Later, as Jaspers further crystallizes the importance of certainty, it become apparent that he disapproves of the “question” Heidegger poses. Jaspers asserts that Heidegger, as well as many other existentialists; fail to get closer to the elucidation of existence, because they do not have faith in Being. They instead retreat from existence and turn solely to philosophy. Simply by a holding a position based on doubt and not certainty and transcendence they cannot hope to achieve a system of transversal reason that is necessary to bridge the gap between knowledge and philosophy. Heidegger seems to reject rather than seek to transcend science and any form of objective epistemology, and this is where Japsers finds his problems with other existentialists. Conclusion: Finding Faith in Philosophy A concept of philosophical faith becomes necessary to finally reconcile the knowledge and unknowledge truth claims and hope to finally move closer to the elucidation of the existence. “For Jaspers, faith is thought which seeks to master the disparateness of what can be known… however, philosophical faith not only means mastery of the diversity of knowledge by means of
Karl Jaspers, Notizen zu Martin Heidegger, Hg. H. Saner (München: Piper , 1978) Nr. 246, p. 259f.
trans-cognitive unities; it also means mastery of what is known”.23 This mastery of knowledge can only be achieved by a philosophical faith that seeks to do the paradoxical. He seeks to do the seemingly impossible, believe in something unknown. But, as Mistborn and Assassin‟s Creed prove, a philosophic faith is actually not only possible, but possible for almost anyone. That seems to be the true point to Jaspers‟ philosophy. He recognizes that the quest for being is inevitable, and only seeks to provide an alternate path to make sense in a world of infinite plurality of “truths” by an “illumination of existence”.
Leonard Ehrlich “Karl Jaspers: Philosophy as Faith” (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1975) pp.117.
Bibliography Jaspers, Karl. “Principles for Philosophizing: Introduction to Philosophical Life, 1942/43” (Unpublished, released by Hans Saner, trans. Helmut Wautischer) in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp.12 Hereafter referred to a PF. Jaspers, Karl. Philosophie (Berlin, Gottingen and Heidelberg:Springer, 1948). P. 5. Hereafter referred to as P. Wildermuth, Armin E. “Karl Jaspers and the Concept of Philosophical Faith”, Existenz Volume 2, Fall 2007. Hereafter referred to as E. Jaspers, Karl., Von der Wahrheit (Munchen: Piper, 1947) pp. 158f,601ff. Cited in Armin E. Wildermuth, “Karl Jaspers and the Concept of Philosophical Faith”, Existenz Volume 2, Fall 2007. PP.11. Langley , Raymond. “Three Interpretations of the Content of Jaspers‟ Philosophical Faith” in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp.137 Jaspers, Karl.The Atom Bomb and the Future of Mankind, trans. E.B. Aston (Chicago IL 1961) pp.207,262. Jaspers, Karl. Notizen zu Martin Heidegger, Hg. H. Saner (München: Piper , 1978) pp. 102. Cesana, Andreas . “Jasper‟s Concept of philosophical Faith: A new Synthesis?” in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp. 100. Ehrlich, Leonard . Karl Jaspers: Philosophy as Faith (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1975) p. 65 Kierkegaard, Søren, “The Concept of Dread” (1844) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957) pp.1. Hereafter referred to as D. Wildermuth, Armin E “Thinking from the Origin: Critical and Personal Remarks of Jaspers‟ Philosophy of Philosophizing” in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp. 159 Soren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers, trans. Howard and Edna Hong ( Bloomington: Indian a University Press, 1967-1978), 2:1132. Courtney, Charles.“Jaspers Meets Confucious” in Helmut Wautischer, Philosophical Faith and the Future of Humanity (Springer, 2012). Pp. 204. Citing Hannah Arendt, “Karl Jaspers: Citizen of the World,” (1957) in The Philosophy of Karl Jaspers (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1981)
Sartre, Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingnes (New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 1956) pp. xxiv. Hazel Barnes “Translators Introduction”.
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