Monday, December 10, 2018

Philosopher Robert Spaemann is Dead

The well-known Catholic philosopher Robert Spaemann died yesterday at the age of 91.

Stuttgart ( The well-known Catholic philosopher Robert Spaemann died yesterday at the age of 91. This has learned from his family.

Robert Spaemann was born on May 5, 1927 in Berlin, the son of Heinrich Spaemann, later elevated to the priesthood, and his wife Ruth Krämer. He studied philosophy, history, theology and Romance studies at the universities of Münster, Munich, Friborg and Paris. He received his doctorate in Münster in 1952, worked as a lecturer at Kohlhammer Verlag for four years, then as an assistant to Joachim Ritter in Münster. He habilitated there in 1962 in philosophy and education with a thesis on François Fénelon. Spaemann was until 1968 full professor of philosophy at the universities of Stuttgart, until 1972 in Heidelberg and Munich, where he retired in 1992. Spaemann was widowed and father of two children.

For Spaemann, the reasonableness of the belief in God is the center of his philosophy. He explains the traditional philosophical proofs of God and points out that these proofs of God still found philosophical admirers in the 20th century.

The belief in God has endured for Spaemann. He calls him therefore the "immortal rumor". Universalist religions like Christianity could not do without mission. They would have to bring their points of view into the general discourse. He is convinced that a fruitful discussion is possible between different religious positions. For Spaemann, the mark of God in the world is man, created in his own image.

In an essay published in 1996 Spaemann sharply criticized the "Project Global Ethos" of the Tübingen theologian Hans Küng.

Pope Benedict XVI. Appreciated him as a consultant and invited him to Castel Gandolfo in September 2006 to speak about the relationship between science, philosophy and faith.

In his speeches and publications, Spaemann campaigns for the protection of human life from its beginning to natural death. He therefore criticized proposals for - at least partial - release of killing on request and for a "liberalization" of euthanasia. He bases this on an understanding of person and human dignity that rejects any relativization of the right to life with dates, deadlines and other conditions. Together with the former constitutional judge Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde he formulated the following principle: "If there should be anything like rights of the person, they can only exist on the condition that no one is authorized to judge who is the subject of such rights.” Human dignity does not come to the person under the condition of certain qualities (eg self-confidence), but solely because of their biological belonging to the human species. He shows that for the Enlightenment just this thesis that "people before their birth have personal rights,” was self-evident. It is Spaemann's merit to have "raised the debate about abortion and euthanasia to this fundamental level".

Spaemann was considered a representative of an Aristotelian natural philosophy. In his contributions to the philosophy of law, he emphasized the "actuality of natural law". In the dispute over natural law, he did not recognize an argument against, but one for this right. For "if there were no right by nature, it would not make sense to argue about issues of justice". The existence of that right does not mean that it is obvious to everyone, but "that it makes sense to seek something in the direction that this name refers to.” Natural law can no longer be understood as a catalog of norms or a kind of meta-constitution. Rather, it is a mindset, that checks “all critical legal legitimization again.”

Questions of education are, according to Spaemann's view "at the beginning of all ethics.” In the 1970s he commented on the ideas of "emancipatory education.” The idea of ​​emancipation is meaningful there, "where people are freed from outside guardianship with regard to the organization of the framework conditions of their actions.” This concept of emancipation denotes "a process which always has a beginning and an end,” which is called maturity. The idea of ​​"emancipatory" education, which he calls the ideology of emancipation, on the other hand, meant "an infinite and, moreover, a universally conceived process," as an educational ideal. It serves to expand the circle of those who are "declared to be immature" and legitimize a "massive ideological rule by the educators.” The ideology of emancipation deprives the child of the right to possibilities for identification and personality development. [8] He belonged in 1978 to the organizers of the congress "Courage for Education", which was directed against emancipatory education experiments with children. According to Spaemann, the task of the educators is to "bring the child to the independent and recalcitrant reality.” First, the child must be carefully and purposefully guided to reality from "his subjective world of sensation." The decisive factor is that "reality will initially be experienced as helpful and friendly.” The foundation of this basic experience - psychology speaks of basic trust - is the most important thing "that education can do.” For anyone who remembers his childhood as an "ideal world" would "easily cope with the unhappy.”

Trans: Tancred

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