IV. The Psychological Paradigm: “Wo Es war soll Ich werden” [Sigmund Freud](“Where the Id was the Ego shall be”)
McKeever / 22 Aprile 2024

In former posts we saw that the so-called personalist and phenomenological paradigms are actually umbrella terms under which shelter many approaches and theories, many of which might be considered sub-paradigms. This will also be the case with the psychological paradigm. Here we have to do with an ombrellone covering a vast range of psychological theories and practices. There is no question of attempting an overview of these positions in a single blog. What seems possible, albeit in a suggestive rather than an apodictic manner, is to identify some of the contours of the umbrella itself, that is to say the very idea of psychology. To this end a famous statement of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) comes to mind: “Wo Es war soll Ich werden” which is often rendered into English, somewhat inadequately, as “Where the Id was the Ego shall be”. (The translation loses the force of Freud’s play on the first person singular pronoun Ich.) This statement was made at the end of an attempt to explain the purpose of psychoanalysis but it can serve us here as a way of identifying some key characteristics of any would-be psychological paradigm, meaning as always by paradigm “a comprehensive, prescriptive model for…

III. The Phenomenological Paradigm: Intersubjectivity in Maurice Merleau-Ponty
McKeever / 8 Marzo 2024

If, as we saw in the last blog, it is rather hazardous to talk of “the personalist paradigm”, this is even more the case with the term “the phenomenological paradigm”. There are two main reasons for this: first, because there is much discussion about what actually constitutes phenomenology; second, because however we understand it, phenomenology operates not with one but with a range of paradigms (the Dasein of Heidegger is a long way from l’autre of Levinas!). Still, if we take a paradigm to be “a comprehensive, prescriptive model for collective living” it is possible to find examples of authors who apply a phenomenological paradigm to the human person as a relational being. One outstanding example of this approach can be found in the thought of Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) when he reflects on what he calls intersubjectivity. Before taking a closer look at this line of thought, it will be useful to locate it in its broader philosophical context. The place to begin is with the thought of Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), usually recognised as the founding father of phenomenology. For Husserl, phenomenology was a revolutionary new science that aspired to overcome some of the flagrant weaknesses of modern, empirical sciences. The…

The Human Person as a Relational Being: Transdisciplinary Perspectives
McKeever / 19 Febbraio 2024

In the second semester of 2024-2025 a group of professors and collaborators will offer a transdisciplinary course in the Alphonsian Academy entitled “La persona umana come essere relazionale. Prospettive transdisciplinari”. The course will be comprised of three parts: 1. Introduction 2. Selected Authors and Texts 3. Five Paradigms (personalist, phenomenological, psychological, sociological and theological). This is the second of a series of posts in which I will examine (in my own name, not in that of the research group) in a preliminary way each of these five paradigms…) II. The Personalist Paradigm In the first post of this series we examined how the meaning of the term “paradigm” has itself undergone significant “shifts”. From being a simple, identifiable pattern (as in a grammatical paradigm) a paradigm has come to refer to something like a comprehensive, prescriptive model for collective living (as in “the technocratic paradigm”). It is clear that such a move is potentially of enormous importance for ethics because it implies the moral evaluation of alternative, competing models of human interaction. In the planned transdisciplinary course, we will be examining five different paradigms of the human person as a relational being. Let us begin by taking an initial look…

The Human Person as a Relational Being: Transdisciplinary Perspectives
McKeever / 12 Dicembre 2023

In the second semester of 2023-2024 a group of professors and collaborators will offer a transdisciplinary course in the Alphonsian Academy entitled “La persona umana come essere relazionale. Prospettive transdisciplinari”. The course will be comprised of three parts: 1. Introduction; 2. Selected Authors and Texts; 3. Five Paradigms (personalist, phenomenological, psychological, sociological and theological). This is the first of a series of posts in which I will examine (in my own name, not in that of the research group) in a preliminary way each of these five paradigms. This initial post will take a closer look at the very idea of a paradigm, especially in the context of moral-theological discussion. I.  The Term “Paradigm” Shifts Paradigm A good place to begin a study of the term “paradigm” is with amo, amas, amat, or, more precisely, with the structure -o, -as, -at that is discernible in the conjugation of the verb amare in Latin. This structure may be considered a grammatical paradigm because it can serve as a model for the conjugation of similar verbs such as abominare. The least we can say of a paradigm is that it consists in a recognisable structure that can be imitated and repeated with…

The Governance of Change: at a time of ecological transition Open Ethical Questions Raised by Laudato sì. Question 1: Is the use of coercive force justified in responding to the ecological and social crisis?
McKeever / 15 Novembre 2022

Two recent crises have raised the question as to the legitimate use of coercive force: the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the first case the coercive force mainly took the form of legal restrictions on various human activities such as work and travel; in the second case, coercive force is being exercised primarily in the form of sanctions and financial support for Ukraine (which makes possible the other kind of coercive force Ukraine is using to expel the invader). In both cases there has been much debate about the ethics of such measures. The purpose of this post is to consider briefly the ethics of the use of coercive force in responding to the ecological and social crisis depicted in Laudato sì. In Chapter 5 of that document there are various discrete but firm references to the need for such force (for example, §§ 167,175,181). This need arises out of the simple fact that when some parties attempt to respond to the crisis by introducing change other parties tend to obstruct this process. It is not realistic to imagine that all parties will freely cooperate in effecting the necessary change. But is it ethically legitimate to…