Carl Hildebrand: Weakness of Will – Some Philosophical Reflections on St. Paul’s Body of Death

Weakness of will : Some philosophical reflections on St. Paul’s body of death

Wk 8 TT: 11/06/2018

I will offer some philosophical reflections on Romans 7, in which St Paul explains that he doesn’t do the good thing he wants to do and instead does the bad thing he doesn’t want to do. Philosophers discussing the problem of weakness of will often refer to this passage for a classic articulation of the experience of what people take to be weakness of will—classic philosophical discussion often focuses on whether weakness of will is possible in the first place and if so, how.

Here I assume that weakness of will is possible. I will suggest that there are several ways in which this weakness might manifest itself—there are at least several ways the will might be weak. I will also suggest that there is a certain pattern of progression these weaknesses might follow, or a way that one weakness tends to lead to another in a progressively vicious (& progressively difficult to detect) process of habituation. I will refer to these several weaknesses, respectively, as straightforward weakness of will, indirect weakness of will, & insidious intellectual error. I will develop my reflections on the basis of accounts from Socrates, Aristotle, & R.M. Hare.

My intention is to provide a more open-ended and somewhat creative, philosophical reading of the text, after the style of someone like Joseph Butler (in his sermons). In keeping with the more personal & formational nature of this forum, I’ll conclude with some brief pastoral reflections on this passage.

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Joe Martin: The Purposes of Old Testament Law that are often Neglected

The purposes of Old Testament law that are often neglected

Wk 7 TT: 04/06/2018

In the New testament, certain misuses of the Old testament law required correction. But, unfortunately, discussions of the purposes for which God gave laws to the people of Israel often stop with those corrections.

I want to provide a broader understanding of the laws of the Hebrew scriptures to help us appreciate not only their meaning for the ancient Jews but also their relevance for people today.

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