Dr Pravin Thevathasan reviews
FAITHFUL REASON: ESSAYS
CATHOLIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL

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FAITHFUL REASON: ESSAYS CATHOLIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL

by John Haldane, Routledge

This book consists of twenty essays by the Director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of St. Andrews. The author belongs to a growing number of Analytical Thomists and the diverse subjects on offer are analysed perceptively in this light. The essays are in five parts:

1. Catholicism and Philosophy

2. Faith and Reason

3. Ethics and Politics

4. Education and Spirituality

5. Beauty and Contemplation

Under Catholicism and Philosophy, Haldane examines Alasdair McIntyre's considerable contribution to the Thomist revival. This is followed by a commentary on the great Papal Encyclical Fides et Ratio.

The next section includes discussions on the nature of being Catholic, on Infallibility, and on the Assumption. They are analysed philosophically and the conclusion is always practical. You cannot be a Catholic and dissent from the teaching authority of the church. Far from being an embarrassment, the gift of Infallibility makes perfect logical sense.

The next section includes essays on the natural law, on the encyclical Veritatis Splendor, on the dangers of liberal individualism and on Religious toleration. The conclusion of this last essay is simple: there should be no tolerance of intolerance. The people of Spain need to convey this to their government.

The last part includes an essay on the question: how do buildings convey meaning? The final chapter is on the goal of philosophy.

Here we have a manner of thinking that is wholly in keeping with Catholic culture. The essays are both serious and a joy to read.

Dr. Pravin Thevathasan MRCPsych


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