[MaFLa] invitation to a talk on`Human Nature and the Transcendent`by John Cottingham - 13 March, 5.30 PM, Zrinyi 14, Room 412

Krisztina Biber Biberk at ceu.hu
Wed Mar 7 10:00:53 CET 2012

The CEU Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to a talk 
(as part of its Departmental Colloquium series)
John Cottingham (University of Reading)
`Human Nature and the Transcendent`
Tuesday, 13 March, 2012, 5.30 PM, Zrinyi 14, Room 412
This paper starts from the familiar Augustinian and Pascalian thought
that human beings have “transcendent” urges — they have a certain
resistance to resting content with existence defined within a given set
of parameters, and have a hunger to glimpse a deeper reality than is
disclosed in our ordinary mundane experience of the world. I look at
three aspects of the apparent human reaching after the transcendent,
namely the cosmological, the aesthetic, and the moral. Cosmologically,
we recoil from the idea of brute facticity — the idea that the cosmos is
in Bertrand Russell’s words. “just there”. Aesthetically, in
Wordsworthian moments of rapture at the beauty of the natural world, and
morally, in our recognition of the normativity of values that command
our allegiance whether we like it or not, we seem to glimpse an enduring
objective reality that transcends the flux of contingency. The general
thrust of my argument will be that the demands of integrity, being
sincere and true to the character of our own lived human experience,
require us to reject deflationary or reductionist strategies for
explaining away our transcendent urges; and as a result, that the field
is very considerably narrowed, when it comes to understanding their
 Kriszta Biber
Department Coordinator
Philosophy Department
Tel: 36-1-327-3806
Fax: 36-1-327-3072
E-mail: biberk at ceu.hu
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