From Truth and truth: Volume I—Faithful Reason
We begin philosophising (cf. Fides et Ratio, 3, 30) without realising that we are philosophers; but, in time, we discover our own identity as philosophers and, at the same time, come to critically examine it. What, therefore, is the interrelationship between reason and sense; indeed, is not “sense”, subtly sensitive through reason? Questions, then, arise out of our life, our observations and from what we learn. But it is not only about being ready, well-trained or perfect in our reasoning; rather, it is about taking up the impulse and the task of seeking the truth. On the one hand, then, we can question everything and end up with nothing; but, on the other hand, there are many points of departure: experience; maxims; and the wisdom which comes through “many advisers” (Prov 15: 22).
Ideas abound about what might be the case; but a philosophical investigation is also about coming into the presence of “being”. Many people have gone before and go with us, and will come after us; and, therefore, this book marks a contribution to understanding both the “activity” of philosophising and the conversation about what “is” (cf. Fides et Ratio, 44). We discover that to exist is to search through the apparent contradictions in our experience and to find, eventually, that there are both good foundations and buildings begun, and also great unanswered or unsatisfactorily answered questions. There is an ongoing work, too, to establish the mystery of the person “implicated” in human action. Therefore, there is both the inveterate call of the subject to be investigated, and, at the same time, the ever-present need of the grace of perseverance to pursue it.
This book is also about the slow discovery of the beautiful but inadequate nature of natural truth. The wonder of natural truth is that it exists like the literal sense: a kind of foundational reasoning; however, just as Revelation perfects natural truth, so the human person is a living expression of the “whole” literal and spiritual sense of created being. Hence the title of this volume, Faithful Reason, makes explicit a “witness” to what is beyond itself.
Francis Etheredge is married with eleven children, three of whom are in heaven. In terms of the natural desire to investigate creation, philosophy, the human person, life, marriage and the family all prove to provide “abiding” depths. This trilogy, then, “evolved” from a series of apparently “unrelated” enquiries; but, by bringing this material together, it became necessary to write an introduction to philosophy in volume one. In other words, in its own way, structuring work which had grown throughout a number of years constituted a “new” moment of reflection. Francis has drawn upon his own life experience and hopes that this work will refresh the common search for truth; however, just as his search included being sought by God, so he hopes to show that being sought by God has vivified his own endeavour to think through reality.
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