By invitation from the Boston College Theology Philosophy Workgroup, Dr. James Taylor will present a lecture titled "Pax Christi as Experience: A Phenomenological Intervention in the Just War/Pacifism Debate" at Boston College on this night.
"We can take Heidegger as the spokesperson for a wide-sweeping recognition that peace is only possible by virtue of violence, and that the experience of peace, although possible in principle, is either fleeting or inauthentic or both. Unlike anxiety, which is ontological in that it discloses Dasein’s way of being, peace is merely one ontic feeling among others, like fear, that tends to conceal rather than unconceal. The feeling of peace is a product of falling away or actively fleeing from the polemical condition of being-in-the-world. 'War is the father of all things', to quote one of Heidegger’s philosophical forebears, and peace is a comforting illusion.
According to my interpretation of the Kingdom of God offered in this paper, this account of peace as a merely ontic feeling that conceals rather than reveals is wrong. Or at least, it is one-sided. If Heidegger is right that violence precedes and enables the experience of peace for finite human beings, we must show that this derivative experience of peace is not the last word. If, as I suggested previously, the experience of God’s presence discloses new possibilities for human beings, then peace must be an ontological rather than an ontic phenomenon. Peace must happen right at that root where being comes into presence, where anxiety reveals Dasein as being-in-the-world. Moreover, this theological understanding of peace must have to do not simply with a life to come or a heavenly sense of peace, but with this life, and ultimately with how this life is lived here and now. Peace must enter into this world and into a philosophical analysis such that we can demonstrate that our finite human being is capable of it."