History of thought and Christianity:
IV. Contemporary Philosophy

-by F. Javier Álvarez-

translated by D. Ohmans
(c) copyright 2011

Text imprint Barcelona, Publicaciones Andamio, ©2006


German philosophy of the 19th century
  • Romanticism and Idealism
  • Hegel's Absolute Idealism
  • Valuation of Idealism and German Romanticism
New perspectives on human Being
  • Comte: the sociological perspective
  • Marxist materialism: the economic vision of humankind
  • The biology of Darwin
  • The birth of Scientific Psychology
  • Valuation of the thought of the 2d half of the 19th century
Reactions to Positivism and the "demise of God"
  • Vitalism and Historicism
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Psychoanalysis and the discovery of the unconscious
  • Phenomenology and Existentialism
  • Valuation of irrationalist and existentialist thought
Late currents in Western thought
  • Philosophy of Science in the 20th century
  • Beyond liberty and dignity
  • Structuralism
  • The Frankfurt School
  • Hermeneutics
  • The challenges of Postmodernity
  • Valuation of contemporary thought
I. 19TH CENTURY GERMAN PHILOSOPHY Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believed. (1 Corinthians 1:20-21) From 1773 until 1848, the Western world followed a lengthy revolutionary process that put an end to the absolute monarchies and the aristocratic societies and gave way to the new constitutional monarchies and to bourgeois society. This entire revolutionary process had deep roots in philosophic, religious, social, and political movements of previous centuries. The Renaissance, the Reformation, Rationalism and Empiricism, and finally the Enlightenment had configured a new ideological and cultural map that should be kept in mind to understand the history of the 19th and 20th centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, people observed that the thought of Kant, with its rigorous abstraction, left essential aspects of human experience out of philosophy. To this was added the fact that static reason, the reason of Absolutism, whose political reflection was the Enlightened Despots, had entered into crisis. Important changes emerged throughout the world, not only on the plane of theoretical thought but, above all, upon the practical plane of the political and the social. In Paris, on the 14th of July of 1789, the French people in arms attacked and captured the fortress at the Bastille. A new epoch had begun. The struggle against traditional religion was one of the fundamental objects of the French Revolution, that degenerated to religious persecution establishing a plan for secularization of the society. Confronted by traditionalism, liberty, equality and fraternity were the new values. Dogmatism, obscurantism and fanaticism had passed into history. Or, at least, that was believed. That era, called "contemporary," reaches practically until our own time. Some would say until the 11th of September of 2002 [sic]. At the end of this accelerated period of two centuries it would, to be sure, be sad irony to affirm that dogmatism, obscurantism and fanaticism have been reduced to mere distinctive notes from an irrational past which, today, has been completely surpassed thanks to the prodigious merits of reason. In our time dogmatism, obscurantism and fanaticism are as much overcome as are the problems of hunger, of social injustice and of war. Enlightenment reason and its two little children, the 19th century and the 20th century, have failed, recent and all-inclusive post- modernity demonstrates. The Modern Age, initiated with the Renaissance and culminating in the Enlightenment, wagered on the emancipation of human reason with respect to religious faith. Its priority objective was to distance itself from all the superstition and fanaticism that, supposedly, had characterized the Middle Ages. Thus, morality detached itself from theology, and likewise philosophy and politics were produced. From there one can deduce the value and the importance that science, as knowledge differentiated from faith, had throughout the Modern Age, by the beginnings of the Contemporary Age coming to be the authentic sanctuary and reference point of all forms of knowledge which might wish to present themselves as truth. On the terrain of philosophic thought as much as on religious, social and political terrain, the structural cement of the 19th century had already been poured and definitely established by the Enlightenment. Nevertheless, in the 18th century two great revolutions had been produced that caused the ideological and economic pillars of the established order to totter: the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution in England. In effect the first of these, the French Revolution, contributed decisively to the destruction of the schemes upon which the cultural and political life of that age was based. The revolutionary process pursued in France will serve as a model for all the liberal revolutions that extended throughout Europe during the entire 19th century. ROMANTICISM AND IDEALISM At the beginning of the 19th century, the idealist philosophy of Kant, an author who died in the year 1804, was at its height. The dream of reason experienced its greatest moments. Yet finally, this great system of thought, this univocal and static rational cosmic vision entered into crisis with the appearance of Hegelian Idealism and of Romanticism which, not wishing to limit themselves to the plane of knowledge, ended, on the one hand, by discovering the historical and thereby the variable dimension in reason and, on the other side, mining the very same grounds of reason to give vent to the most voluble sentiments. In this manner, 19th century philosophy began with the polemic, opened on various fronts, against the totalistic and rationalist spirit of the Enlightenment. This is not to forget that it was precisely poets and writers like Schiller, Goethe, Hölderlin, Schlegel, and Novalis, who upheld in the first place--and practically in a unanimous way--the necessity of affirming feelings as against reason, the particular as against the universal. Reason, civilization and culture ceased being considered as universal elements identical for all peoples, times and places, and consideration was given to what is unique, peculiar and specific to each culture, to each nationality, each belief. In contrast to the abstract universalism of humanity, one began speaking of the spirit of the peoples. Along this line, the distinguished German philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder occupies a distinguished place for having sustained, in unequivocal fashion, the affirmation that each culture is particular, specific and irreducible to the others. This position categorically rejected the Enlightenment supposition, with its roots buried in the Renaissance, of the uniformity of human nature. The truly valuable had stopped being the common, the rational, the static, yielding to the variable, the historical, the specific, the unique, and the unrepeatable. Romantic sentimentalism began, thus, to occupy the place of the Enlightenment's rationalism. Mystery was once again accommodated in the history of thought. In contrast with the Enlightenment anticlericalism, that century also saw during its beginnings the resurgence of Christian traditionalism and of interest in the religious. Similarly, the so-called philosophers of the faith appeared, the most important of whom was, without a doubt, Schleiermacher. He would be the indisputable father of liberal theology and was born in the German city of Breslau, the 21st of November in 1768. He was the son of an army chaplain and, from a very early age interested himself in questions of a spiritual character. He studied in a Pietist boarding school from which he was expelled for his unmeasured liking for the philosophical discussions which, in that time, were in fashion. He continued his studies in Halle immersing himself there in reading and understanding the work of Kant. Having passed his exams in Theology in 1790, he came to be a preacher in the Reformed Church. From 1796 to 1802 he worked as a preacher in Charity hospital. He died in Berlin the 12th of February in 1834. In his On Religion: speeches to its cultured despisers, written in 1799, Schleiermacher reacted against the arrogant attitude of the rational and enlightened intellectuals, for whom Christianity turned out to be something so superficial and inconsistent as not even to merit the trouble of taking the time to refute it. The Speeches are, in fact, a work of apologetics. As one can well imagine, European Christianity of the 19th century did not exactly find itself persecuted by the emperors of the Ancient Roman Empire, but it was the object of derision and abuse on the part of those who, imbued with the fashions of the moment, considered faith in Jesus Christ as a mere superstition. Logically, the Enlightenment intellectuals, heirs to the cold rationalism of the 18th century, had a purely intellectual and, to that extent, purely false image of Christianity. Facing them, Schleiermacher objected that the Christian faith was something more than a mere set of pronouncements that served to express, more poorly than not, a specific conception of the world. For this reason, Schleiermacher emphatically refused to reduce religion to either a vulgar declaration of orthodoxy or to a simple metaphysical formulation in the style of Wolff, a famous professor of the day. For Schleiermacher, religion did not consist essentially in a way of thinking about the world or in a determinate collection of norms and principles of conduct. In his opinion, the specificity of the religious should be sought in feelings. For this German thinker religion was, therefore, something much more intimate than reason or conscience; it was, in reality, the most radical and deepest way humankind had to relate to being. Further, the German philosophers Fichte and Schelling placed Kantian thought in question, leaving the door open to Absolute Idealism and Dialectic, which would later be formulated by Hegel. For Johann Gottlieb Fichte there were only two ways of doing philosophy, one idealist and the other dogmatic. And he decidedly chose the idealist because, for Fichte, the type of philosophy which one adopts depends on the class of person that one is. Fichte believed that the thinking subject should be placed at the origin of the philosophy and therefore the point of departure for his philosophy could be nothing else but the "I." The world, the set of external representations, was produced by the "I" in a spontaneous and unconscious way and Fichte called it the "Not-I." His motto was "become who you are." Thus he spoke of a capital "I" that he puts in first place, both as an object and aim of philosophic thought. As opposed to Kant, for the German thinker Friedrich Schelling, art and feeling were nearer to God than moral duty itself. In his opinion, artistic sentiment was the only mediation possible between the human world and the domain of the divine and of the transcendent. According to him, nature was not a dead entity but a unitary whole from which springs as much the subjective-- the human spirit--as the objective - the reality of the physical world. For this reason, despite his Idealism, this old Tübingen student established, through Nature, the primacy of Being over Thought. For him, Nature was the essential and primordial reality, the originative creator force from which everything, art, spirit, religion, feeling, and life arose. HEGEL'S ABSOLUTE IDEALISM One will never insist too much on the importance that Hegel had for the development of Christianity in the contemporary era. The staunchest critics of Christianity left their ranks; yet also from their ranks emerged a plethora of Christian theologians. During a time when Christianity had been severely criticized by the Enlightenment and branded as superstitious, credulous or irrational, the thought of Hegel and his system of philosophy represented an infusion of oxygen that served to rescue Christianity--especially Protestantism--from the vile and dark prison in which the century of enlightenment had confined it. In Hegel's propositions, the 19th century Christian theologians, so much criticized by Kierkegaard, encountered a secure refuge--or at least it seemed so to them--for as opposed to the revolutionary turmoil that threatened to submerge them in a tempestuous sea, Hegel offered to Christianity a solid platform assured of salvation. Hegel not only believed in absolutes. Hegel believed in the Absolute. And Reason was the Absolute. And Reason was God. The cowering theologians of his time could not find a firmer apology for the rationality of Christianity than that which the confused yet well-worked system of Hegel offered them. Such a system was absolutely logical and, according to him, could explain everything, including Christianity. This valuable thinker had been born in the German city of Stuttgart in the year 1770. He lived, grew and thought in the context of German Protestantism of his time. Between the years 1788-1793 he studied at the celebrated Tübingen University, where he formed friendships with Schelling and with Hölderlin. In 1793, Hegel abandoned the city of Tübingen to go to Bern as a tutor and, later, to Frankfurt. Hegel delivered his lessons in Jena between 1801 and 1806. He spent a year as an editor at the Baumberg Gazette and another eight at the Gymnasium of Nuremberg. In 1816 he managed to return to the university: first to Heidelberg and later (1818) to Berlin, where he attained great recognition and lived until his demise. His principal philosophic ambition was that of establishing a complete synthesis as much of the rational thought as of the historical and cultural past of all humanity. For Hegel everything is quite clear and all is very good. History is like a harmonious story in which all the pieces fit in to the extent that they advance the tale. Despite the narration being obscure and the plot difficult, everything ends in understanding. Hegel's system is presented as Absolute Idealism. In his works, Phenomenology of Spirit and Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, truth is conceived as the absolute unity of the Idea. Starting with this, Hegel elaborates a philosophy of history which is not explained by human action. For Hegel, the effective causes of history are not the concrete actions of the individuals, but instead that the temporal coming about of the occurrences is ruled by a superindividual force or reality, that which he calls "Absolute." As Manuel Fernández del Riesgo explains: Through the speculative understanding of philosophy it is demonstrated that Reason is the substance, the infinite potential and the infinite matter of all reality. There is, in truth, no chance, but instead everything is rational presence in history; history is the manifestation of reason whose necessity it is necessary to discover through reflection. Everything, the individuals, the peoples and the States, are subject to Reason's plan.(1) The Idea, the All, the Absolute, is the real; but, as opposed to other idealists, Hegel understands that this reality is not static, but manifests itself in different states, each one of which is the negation of the previous one. What predominates in Hegelian thought is the continual upward movement of that totality. His conception of history's becoming derives precisely from the abstract and indeterminate Idea. Beginning from it he will proceed by constructing all the successive framework of history whose path will be studied successively by the Logic, the Philosophy of Nature and the Philosophy of Spirit. What Hegel is talking about is absolute history, universal history, history of an infinite that begins by being empty yet which reaches the plenitude of true infinity. That which is charged with filling the vacuum of abstract infinity will be precisely the real and concrete elapsing of history. This is not to overlook that to analyze the dialectical unfolding of the Absolute, in the first place Hegel believes that it is necessary to consider the Idea in-itself. The study of that Idea in-itself occupies the Logic. For Hegel this discipline does not involve, as ordinarily, an analysis of the methods of correct reasoning or of formal inference, but instead of the key concepts that are needed to know reality: Being, Essence and Concept. "Logic-- writes Hegel--is the science of the Pure Idea"(2). Because reality is rational, Hegel understands that to comprehend the nature of the Idea is to comprehend the nature of the All. Thus it would be necessary to begin Philosophy with the Logic, for it concerns itself with pure thought or with the Idea in-itself. The principal category of the Logic is the Idea; an Idea that can be conceptualized as Reason, as subjectivity, yet which is also susceptible to being considered as objective. The step of the subjective Absolute (Idea in-itself) to the objective is explained as the passage from the idea of God to the manifestation of his existence. This manifestation of the existence of God is achieved only in his work, which is, in Nature. The Idea studied by the Logic is an abstract idea that, at the same time, possesses in itself the power of movement, yet the concrete manifestation of the Idea shall not be completed until it emerges from itself and arrives at being Nature. For the study of the Idea not in-itself, that is, from the abstract Idea step to the concrete Idea, there is the discipline called Philosophy of Nature, which will embrace the three evolutionary states of natural reality: the mechanical, the chemical and the teleological. Nature thus encompasses, for Hegel, the set of concrete determinations of the real. Individual things cannot be considered as isolated elements separated from the rest of things, but instead should be understood as being immersed in a wider movement of self-realization of the Absolute. So that, given that the Absolute should realize itself through a continual movement of contradictions and negativities, it is necessary to advance a step further. Hegel observes that Nature is the opposite of Spirit. Nature is the kingdom of external relations, the absolute lack of conscience, whereby a third moment in the dialectic development of the Idea becomes necessary, in which the Idea is reconciled to the division suffered within itself, overcoming the opposition between empty thought and the mechanicism of matter lacking in consciousness. This synthesis is carried to completion in the Philosophy of Spirit, where Hegel will study the return of the Idea to itself, the circling or reconciliation of the Absolute with itself. Alienation, for the German philosopher, consists in the estrangement produced in the heart of the Idea when it leaves itself to become other. Therefore, it is necessary that the Idea return into itself, it is required that "reflection," in the literal sense, be produced, in which the re-encounter of the natural world with reason can take place, the moment of the Idea for-itself. In the human activity carried out in the Spirit through reflection, the encounter of the Idea with itself is fulfilled. In the human spirit, Idea or universal essence is translated into the dominion of objectivity. Through the historical process, the Idea is realized and becomes conscious of itself, objectifying its own being in nature and in the human spirit. The reconciliation of the Idea with itself will take place in three successive stages: Subjective Spirit, Objective Spirit and Absolute Spirit. In the last step of this process, in that called Absolute Spirit, the re-encounter of the Idea with the All, that is with itself, occurs in definitive form. This self- comprehension of consciousness also is to be realized through three disciplines: Art (as intuition), Religion (as representation) and Philosophy (as concept). Hegel conceives of Art and Religion as sensible forms of representation of that absolute reality which he called Idea yet, for him, both are figurative and imaginary and thus imperfect for the role of interpreting the absolute. As against the perfection of Philosophy--a science capable of articulating a rational discussion of Being--Art and Religion are limited to setting the scene, in sensuous and imaginative form, for that ultimate reality not capable of being captured in a conceptual or reflexive approach. For Hegel, Philosophy is the set of the historical determinations of thought occupied in comprehending itself in conceptual form: Philosophy is thought that becomes conscious, that is concerned with itself, that becomes itself as objectified, that thinks about itself and, undoubtedly, about its different determinations. The science of philosophy is, likewise, a development of free thought or better yet the totality of that development, a circle which returns into itself, remains wholly within itself, is entirely that which wishes only to return into itself.(3) In this manner, the German philosopher understands philosophy as the history of philosophy: This is the sense, the meaning of the history of philosophy. Philosophy emerges from the history of philosophy, and the contrary. Philosophy and the history of philosophy are one and the same thing, one the image (likeness) of the other.(4) Philosophy is contained in the totality of the oppositions that have been found in its breast throughout the length of its history. The history of philosophy appears, thus, like a web of contradiction and necessity wherein each concrete philosophical system captures only part of the truth and, therefore, is followed in opposition by another system. As a result of this series of contrasts, the evolution of thought is led towards an ever fuller and clearer comprehension of the real. With the acknowledgment that the Absolute makes toward itself as a concept in Philosophy, Hegel understand that the final historical process has arrived. As we have seen, for Hegel reality is essentially historical and, therefore, is found subject to a permanent internal contradiction. In this way, Hegel understands that opposing realities are not exclusive, but instead give way to a higher synthesis which preserves part of each of them and, in this sense, surpasses them. From this perspective, Hegel will attempt to describe the cosmic history of the Absolute. The point of departure for the history will be the Absolute, but at its origin we deal with a merely conceptual Absolute, an infinite yet empty Absolute. It is only after the historical process, that is, when the Absolute has been concretized, when the Absolute has exteriorized and then interiorized into itself, when the Absolute has attempted and has been everything, when it can return to re-encounter itself, but this time, after all the historical process the Absolute has become complete, full. The historical process is where the Idea develops and where the idea is enriched and filled. For Hegel everything is meaningful, but the meaning is not something that is given in a fixed form at the outset. VALUATION OF IDEALISM AND GERMAN ROMANTICISM If today's humankind has lost anything it is the capacity to marvel before the infinite. Accustomed by their acute individualist myopia, seeing things only that are near, the human being of the 21st century is extraordinarily shortsighted regarding seeing anything a little beyond one's nose. Existing men are blind towards seeing what might be his own interests or his own person. The value of Schleiermacher's thought consisted precisely in providing some tools that would permit opening our heart and our mind to the marvelous reality that we are part of a Totality. Schleiermacher demonstrated to the men of his time and to those of our own epoch that, before that portentous All which surpasses and encompasses us, only praise is possible and, if deepened a little more, strictly religious reverence and devotion. Just as occurs today in many places, in Schleiermacher's time religion had become a discussion, more or less certified, of theological truths or of a simple ethical attitude towards life. Christianity had been stripped of truth and of passion. Within this lamentable situation, Schleiermacher proposed to recover, in Christ's name, both conditions. For him the basis of Christianity was the religious experience. Ahead of the rational and universalistic generalizations, he put the accent on the individual, whose essence is a sentiment of emotion. Influenced by Lutheran voluntarism, he considered the human being as passion confronted by transcendence and infinitude. True piety consisted precisely in a feeling of dependence with respect to a Superior Being. Jesus Christ, God and man, represented in his philosophy the union and mediation between those two opposed poles: finitude and infinitude. Schleiermacher's philosophy as much as Hegel's had a profound influence not only in the domain of the Christian theology of his era, but also in the later development of thought, Christian as well as atheist. Beginning with Hegel and Schleiermacher, Christian theology would necessarily have to move between two poles: abstract rationalism on one hand, and the subjectivism of sentiment on the other. In the midst of Kantian criticism and of Schleiermacher's Romantic sentimentalism, Hegel postulated that it was still possible to elaborate a profound, clear and decidedly rational theology. Hegel was, throughout the length of his life, a practicing Lutheran Christian. As a thinker engaged in his faith and with history, he aspired to construct a philosophy that might be the systematic expression of all philosophy which had preceded it, from the most remote past up to the contemporary moment. For this German philosopher, the fundamental task of philosophy consisted in thinking through life, but not only the life of the isolated individual yet also the life of all humanity in its entirety, political life, cultural life, social life, and historical life. Hegel tried to equate science and philosophy. Philosophy was not for him the mere search for knowledge, but an absolute certainty in knowing. His work Phenomenology of Spirit is the route through the distinct stages through which one must pass to attain absolute knowledge. The being, and not reason, was for him the starting point of philosophy. A being who, by nature and constitution, was essentially dynamic, which implied that human reason, as opposed to what Kant thought, was not primarily static, but instead profoundly and radically historical. In the same manner that being changed for Heraclitus, also reason was subject to historical change and movement. Kant had put into evidence the impossibility of metaphysical knowledge. Before such a conclusion Hegel established, as a starting point, precisely the contrary: philosophy had the possibility and, to that extent the duty of explicating the reality of things. Concretely, the religious consciousness according to Hegel covers three essential phases. Through them, religious truth gets revealed in a progressive and ever more perfect form. Firstly, Hegel observes that there exists a religion of nature, where the spirit is not dissociated from the physical world. This state seems principally represented by Chinese, Hindu and Buddhist religiosity. In these religions, God in immanent in nature. In a second stage the so-called religions of individuality appear, in which spirit is conceived as one or various deities that are personal, independent and, at the same time, superior to the world of nature. In this groups would be the Jewish, Greek and Roman religions. Lastly emerges, in the historical process, absolute religion, the Christianity where God is as much immanent and transcendent. In conformity with Hegelian thought, this new religion constitutes a synthesis surpassing the anterior forms of religiosity. With Christianity in general--and in a particular way with Protestantism--the Spirit returns to consciousness of its existence. As Alfonso Ropero writes: Educated in Lutheranism, Hegel holds that Christianity, that which situates the reality of God in the inwardness of the spirit, finds its authentic realization in the Reformation. The Reformation makes Christianity real; it gives each one the possibility of living according to Christ, with their means and in the civilization to which they belong; it indicates a conduct, but does not prescribe one. It asserts that God's love exists, not as a ritual, but as a practical possibility to be realized in everyday behavior. Luther gives reality to the subjective liberty promised by Christ's message.(5) Nevertheless, despite the great value that Hegel concedes to Christianity, according to him the Christian religion--the same as happens with other religious forms--only is capable of expressing absolute truth in a representative form; leaving, therefore, for philosophy the task of expressing this same truth in the form of conceptual thought. Hegel's thought profoundly affected European intellectuals. After his demise, the numerous followers of the German thinker divided into two bands. On one side, the Hegelian right, fundamentally of a conservative tendency and who applied the philosophy of the master to the justification of traditional religious beliefs. On the other side the Hegelian left, who utilized from Hegel principally his dialectical method and his interest in historical evolution.(6) Hegel's influence over German Protestantism was immense. German theology in the second half of the 19th century intended to harmonize modern Hegelian thought with the experiences of traditional faith. Gradually, the spirit of rationalist idealism grew until a point where almost all the German universities were dominated by his ideas. The apogee arrived with the publication, in the year 1835, of The Life of Jesus by Friedrich Strauss, whose appearance stirred the Christian world. In this work, from purely Hegelian presuppositions, Jesus was presented as a necessary figure in the evolving development of the history of humanity. For his part, Christian Baur took from Hegel both the dialectic and the idea of the necessity of an historical development of the formation of the Christian religious conscience. Baur's theology was thus clearly conditioned by its philosophical positioning. In this way, for him the Old and New Testament represented successive phases in the dialectical evolution of Absolute Spirit. Indeed, the New Testament had emerged as a superlative synthesis of the contradiction existing between the Jewish exclusivism of the Old Testament and the message of universal salvation proclaimed by Christianity. The hermeneutic and theological line is also where one situates the German theologian Albrecht Ritschl (1822-1889), who will understand faith in an eminently practical form. Following the approaches of the Kantian and Hegelian varieties, Ritschl postulated that ethics was the key for understanding and interpreting the Christian message. In his opinion, Christianity is based more on values and ethics than on the affirmation of dogmatic truths. Adolf von Harnack (1851-1922), a continuer of Ritschl's work, focused Christianity as an ethic of love, and considered Jesus principally as a teacher of morality who knew how to combine religion with ethics. Hegelian influences shall not be limited to the field of theology, but instead will extend to all fields of knowledge. Nor was his legacy limited to a more or less Romantic idealism, but was also projected into the most inexorable of the materialisms that have been defended in the history of thought: the atheist Materialism of Karl Marx. II. NEW PERSPECTIVES ON HUMAN BEING Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. Marx (7) From one viewpoint, the social problems of the 19th century together with weariness for idealism-romanticism caused philosophy to center itself more on concrete and immediate human problems than on abstract metaphysical speculations. From another, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries there was produced, in the scientific area, a notable specialization of knowledge. Man began to be an object of study and the principal axis for articulating thought, not only in the philosophical or speculative domain, but about everything from a scientific point of view. Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, inspired by the model of the natural sciences, new foci concerning being human began to be planted. Each one of them struck from a different angle: Comte saw people as social beings, Marx as economic entities, Darwin as living beings resulting from a long evolutionary process, and the nascent psychology proposed to make them an object of scientific study as real and accessible to the understanding as the rest of the beings in nature. All these changes in thought came to pass from social and political transformations. The situation of the bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 19th century was profoundly contradictory because, on one hand, it was favorable to citizens' rights obtained in the French Revolution but, on the other, viewed with suspicion how the proletarian movements were becoming ever stronger and more demanding. This is not to overlook that the existing contrast between the poverty of the workers and the increase in production resulting from the Industrial Revolution powerfully captured the attention of the social reformers who openly criticized the liberal economy at the same time they proposed new models of living and social organization. Among others it suffices to cite the main representatives of so-called Anarchist Socialism among whom one can mention Godwin, Stirner and, above all, Proudhon, who in his work What is Property? sustained the idea that private property was essentially theft. This preoccupation was also taken up by communist social theorists like Cabet, author of Voyage to Icarus, Weitling, Baboeuf and Louis Blanc, who underlined the importance of the revolutionary organization, betting on the formation of social workshops formed by workers and protected by the State. Among the authors defending radical reform we highlight: Owen, who postulated the constitution of cooperative organizations of production and consumption; Fourier, a partisan for the establishment of an ideal socialized State, and of organizing social life into institutions called Phalanstères; lastly, Saint-Simon, a staunch defender of collectivization and of economic planning. In parallel with the efforts of these social reformers, workers were organizing to defend their interests. In this manner, a powerful worker movement emerged in France as well as in England which, by orienting itself decidedly towards politics, brought as consequence the creation of syndicalist and worker organizations. A new form of thought in solidarity with the proletariat opened a path in the history of philosophy. Along these lines, Positivism and Marxism were two prominent attempts to confront the complicated social situation of the 19th century. COMTE: THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Positivism confers on knowledge an eminently practical finality. The motto "see to know, know to foresee, foresee to enable" clearly expresses the will to power as much over nature as over society. Given the immutability of natural laws, science's fundamental guarantee is its capacity to make predictions and thus to be able to control the future. As Comte writes in his Discourse on the Positive Spirit: The true positive spirit consists, above all, in observing so as to predict, in studying what is so as to deduce what shall be, according to the general dogma of the invariability of the laws of nature.(8) The French philosopher Auguste Comte, who had renounced his faith at age 14, believed that science could give an adequate description of the Universe and, at the same time, resolve the social problems caused by the chaotic state of ideas. It was thus that the initial desire that gave origin to his philosophical thought was the intent to accomplish a scientific reorganization of society just as reflected in the 60 lessons of his Course in Positive Philosophy. In this way, the positivist project rests in an aspiration to restore the lost European order due to the French Revolution. It was thus that, with the goal of saving France in particular and all of Europe in general from the state of anarchy in which they were plunged, Comte proposed to achieve an intellectual reform of humanity. Comte tried to sum up the progress of human knowledge in his famous "Law of the three stages" according to which all people, all cultures and all human history pass in their development through three successive stages, each one of which surpasses the previous one. The first stage is dominated by religion and receives the name of "Theological" for in it nature is understood as the result of a mysterious play of forces that seem to be ruled by the capricious will of supernatural entities. Comte called the second stage "Philosophical" or "Metaphysical." Interest, which in this stage is merely speculative, turns to the reality of nature. In the Metaphysical stage one will try to capture the essence of nature through utilizing abstract concepts like: existence, substance, accident, matter, form, etc. The third stage is the "Scientific" or "Definitive," where reason is subordinated to scientific observation. The proposition of explaining the why of nature is abandoned and explanation is sought in terms of efficient causality, of "how" phenomena occur. In the Scientific stage, mathematical formalization reduces the regularities observed in nature to a general law, and thereby avoids giving an absolute explanation based upon the search for a final cause. In this last stage: The human spirit, recognizing the impossibility of obtaining absolute notions, renounces searching for the origin and destiny of the universe and knowing the intimate causes of phenomena so as to dedicate itself solely to discovering, with the well-combined use of reasoning and of observation, its actual laws, that is to say its invariable relations of succession and similitude. The explanation of facts, reduced to its true terms, from now on will be nothing but the coordination established between the various particular phenomena and some general facts, which the different sciences ought to limit to the least number possible.(9) The principal contribution that Comte made to this group of positive sciences was the idea that human reality is social and that it can, from this perspective, be known and studied scientifically. In this manner, in addition to the law of the three stages, Comte elaborated a classification of the sciences that, gradually decreasing in its generality yet growing in complexity, would come to be ordered in the following way: Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Sociology. One can appreciate that this disposition of the appearances of the sciences, the basis of the Comtean classification, reflects the idea of progress in the complexity of human knowledge which, starting from mathematical simplicity, will culminate with the emergence of Sociology. This new discipline--that has Comte as one of its most distinguished founders--involved the most original contribution of the French philosopher to the history of science. Notably influenced by the model and the method of the sciences of nature, his Sociology would be presented as a Social Physics whose two fundamental branches would be: the Static--centered in the factors that enable the social order--and the Dynamic - interested in the explanation of the causes of progress and of social change. Also, for positivist thought there was a final consummation of history: the achievement by human civilization of positive, scientific and definite knowledge. Nevertheless, taking as a point of departure the critique of religion carried out by Positivism, particularly striking is the fact that Comte would consider that the positive stage of humanity might require, so that solidarity might prevail in it, a common religious belief shared by all the citizens. In this way, despite his frontal rejection of all religious forms, Comte recognized the necessity of a spiritual power to guarantee social cohesion. Curiously, Comte, who had been so critical concerning religious knowledge, proposed in the last stage of his life the idea of a peculiar positive religion in which metaphysics would indeed be eliminated, but humanity would be converted into the ultimate object of adoration. Positivism crossed its original frontiers of France and had important developments in other nations. Comte's influence was felt especially in England where John Stuart Mill, defender of an ethical Positivism called Utilitarianism, and Herbert Spencer, who formulated a Positivism of an evolutionist cut, were prominent. Thanks to them all, the study of man-- understood as a social being--had gotten its naturalization papers in the extraordinary world of the so-called Social Sciences. MARXIST MATERIALISM: THE ECONOMIC VISION OF HUMANKIND Frequently Marxism has been considered as a scientific humanism, yet however it is necessary to keep in mind that Karl Marx was, before everything, a philosopher with an immense historical sense. Karl Marx, who was born in Trier (Germany) in the year 1818, came from a Jewish family converted to Christianity. At 17 years of age he began the Law curriculum in the University of Bonn, but it was after his transfer to the University of Berlin when he began to interest himself more profoundly in the real relations between Law and History; in this sense, the Hegelian philosophy like Feuerbach's thought became of vital importance to him. At that time Hegel's philosophy was dominant in Berlin's intellectual milieu and, by 1837, Marx was already part of the group known as "left Hegelians." His doctoral thesis centered upon the analysis of the differences between the philosophies of nature of Democritus and Epicurus. He was a prolific writer, and wrote a great quantity of books with Capital, whose first volume was published in 1867, his crowning work. Marxist thought cannot be understood without keeping in mind the living conditions of the working class during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, for its founder had been essentially interested in providing a response to the social problems of his era and, one might say, in summary, that the project of the Marxist philosophy was a global, economic and political attempt to try to liberate humanity from all the chains which oppressed it. Karl Marx was basically a social thinker, given that his philosophy starts from the economic and material assumptions that rule human life and does not commence from ideas has his master Hegel had claimed. After breaking with the Hegelian philosophy, he became motivated to elaborate a new philosophy of a materialist cut. In Capital he writes: My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life process of the human brain, i.e. the process of thinking, which, under the name of "the Idea," he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of "the Idea." With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought.(10) For Marx, the historical subject and the principal object of all philosophy was the human being and not the spirit. Although Marxist thought sets out from the critique of political economy and concludes with the state of oppression and misery in which the workers are found, for Marx nevertheless, what is important is not to achieve a theoretical analysis of reality, it being not simply a matter of understanding the world, but instead of changing it. The contradictions should be surpassed, the world should be changed. According to Marx, "the philosophers have only described the world, in various ways; the point is to change it"(11). For this reason, Marx's philosophy does not keep one on the theoretical plane of things, but instead one participates in the latter's change. His concept of truth going far from cold objectivity, something is true not when it is carried out, but when it causes history to advance forwards, that is, something is true when it contributes to the liberation of the human being from the chains which keep them subjugated. On the other hand, it is important to indicate that Marx is a radically materialist thinker, putting matter before spirit because, at root for him, all reality is essentially of a material nature. Granted, he does not deal in an absolute passive or inert matter. Marx applies the Hegelian dialectical method not to the idea, but to nature. It is that which is known as Dialectical Materialism: matter, just as occurred with the Hegelian Idea, is dynamic in itself, in continual movement, such that one could say that the changes happening in matter underlie all forms of reality, including thought itself and the consciousness of persons. Far from comprehending human history as the result of divine intervention in it, Marx maintains that human society and its evolution are the result of the material production of existence: "This conception of history consists, then, in explaining the real process of production, starting for that from material production for immediate life"(12). Historical reality is delimited by those same parameters of materiality. The materialism that Marx defends in addition to being dialectical is historical. Historical materialism maintains that human history can be explained through laws of an evolutionary or dialectical character. Economic forces are those that substantially determine the dynamic of change and comprise that which Marx calls society's economic infrastructure. In it one would have to distinguish two fundamental social classes: the ruling class, formed by those who possess the means of production, and the dominated or working class, which is constituted by those who, for their subsistence, possess exclusively the productive strength of their labor. These two classes are found in continual combat and the result of that struggle is precisely the totality of human history. In his programmatic work, written in collaboration with his friend Engels, The Communist Manifesto, he affirms in bold fashion: "The history of humanity is the history of class struggle." Marx, who rejects the idealism of the philosopher Hegel, considers the dialectical method valid nevertheless: for him history advances through contradictions that are surpassed via synthesis with those which come to counterpoise distinct new antitheses, above all, through continual overt conflict within the soul of the economic relations of production. Marx contemplates humanity from a purely materialist perspective and conceives it as a productive force in continual conflict with nature. Marx writes: Labor is, in the first place, a process in which both man and nature participate, and in which man of his own accord starts, regulates, and controls the material reactions between himself and nature. He opposes himself to nature as one of its own forces, setting in motion arms and legs, heads and hands, the natural forces of his body, in order to appropriate nature's productions in a form adapted to his own wants. By thus acting on the external world and changing it, he at the same time changes his own nature.(13) Marx defines the human being in terms of his active relation with the material world. Man is an economic being. Man is identified with what he makes: the man is his work. That is, work, the process in which nature is molded and placed into human service, is at the same time the act by which man creates himself. What occurs is that when the impresario obtains a benefit from human labor (surplus value) he is appropriating from a part of the very essence of the worker; the person is thus presented as an alienated being, the person alienated from the product of their work, which is like saying that she is alienated or separated from herself. For Marx, oppression, diminishment or alienation of the person has a primordially economic root, such that it becomes necessary to initiate the process of human liberation by transforming the existing forms of relations of production in a revolutionary fashion. Historical materialism rests upon the idea that a change in the economic relations of production, that is, a change in the economic infrastructure of the society will reverberate in a change in aspects of the ideological superstructure which rests upon it, as is explained by Marx himself: In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political, and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or--this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms--with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development, of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead, sooner or later, to the transformation of the whole, immense superstructure.(14) Upon the economic infrastructure is raised the edifice of human spiritual products, that which Marx calls "ideological superstructure." To it belongs religion, philosophy, law, morality, art... The end result of his superstructure is the elaboration of an inverted image of reality. Ideology has as a goal the justification of the existing state of exploitation at a determinate moment in the arc of human history, giving way to a second alienation, this time of a mental and spiritual character. "Religion--Marx would say--is the opiate of the people" given that its principal proposition is to offer humanity a consolation that will permit them to continue living and maintaining an unjust social order, and therefore is considered as vain consolation: Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.(15) To say that for Marx religion is pure ideology is to say that for Marx religion is a necessary product of the relations of production. Religion, therefore, will disappear when the real conditions that serve to support it cease to exist. As opposed to Feuerbach and Stirner, Marx maintains the necessity of criticizing not only religion, but also and above all the social and economic conditions within which it develops. Religion is an obstacle to the development of the human being. For this reason, the overcoming of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the fundamental requirement so that the people find their true happiness. Yet, as has been indicated, for Marx the ideological changes will necessarily be produced as the result of this material dynamic of history and, therefore, when the productive relations are more just and humankind more free, religion will cease being meaningful. This will be the normal course of history at whose conclusion is found, according to Marx, a new manner of social organization where first, private property, the principal cause of human alienation, has disappeared, and then relations of exploitation have been transcended and the privileges of one social class over another abolished, the ideological chains that tie down the human spirit equally have ended and, as the final term the State, as the juridical support for all these injustices, has been liquidated. THE BIOLOGY OF DARWIN The materialist theory propagated by Marxism found an important ally in the Darwinian theory of evolution. The formulation of the Theory of Evolution radically transformed the image that humanity had of itself. From that moment on, the human being was considered as one more animal and not as a special creation of God; the continuity of the human being with the rest of the living beings had been established. Charles Darwin was born in 1809, in Shrewsbury. During his childhood he was an avid insect collector. In his youth he followed the study of medicine in Edinburgh and of theology in Cambridge. His interest in the sciences led him to embark on the Beagle in 1831 and, under the command of the captain Robert Fitzroy, traveled to South America, the Pacific islands, Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa. During his periplus around the world he gathered a collection of a large quantity of materials and performed detailed observations. In this voyage of exploration, which ended in the year 1836, he conceived the idea that, beginning from a common origin, the species had modified and diversified to survive. Upon his return to the United Kingdom he dedicated himself to organizing and systematizing all the materials he had collected. Among them his observations on the diversity of the finches of the Galapagos islands stood out. Darwin was surprised by the fact that, despite their surprising variety, all of them were perfectly adapted to their different ecological surroundings. In addition to this, an investigation concerning variations existing between the domestic animals, realized in his own home country, brought him to the conclusion that the variation between the individuals of a single species was produced in a spontaneous manner. In the case of the offspring of domestic animals it was man who selected and permitted the reproduction of the individuals who displayed the most desired characteristics. The combination of his fieldwork and the reading of a work much in fashion then, the Essay on the Principle of Population by Malthus, inspired the basic conception of his Theory of Evolution through natural selection. As Malthus had pointed out in his book, more individuals are born than can survive, establishing among them a battle for existence. Darwin applied this idea to the set of living beings arriving at the conclusion that, given that life is a struggle for survival, only the best adapted would be able to survive in this struggle. 18 years after his return to England and with fear that Wallace, another notable naturalist, would beat him, he published the first edition of his work The Origin of Species. On the day of its appearance, the 24th of November of 1859, the publication sold out. In it Darwin held that the species were not immutable, but had evolved with the passage of time. Throughout the length of a slow process, natural selection led as much to the extinction of the less-adapted species as to the appearance of new species. The publication of this work came accompanied with great controversies and earned him the animosity of wide sections of the Anglican church. The archbishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, headed the extreme defense of the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis to explain the origin of species as against the Darwinian position. Heated polemics were provoked between partisans for and detractors from the Theory of Evolution. And even though Darwin always avoided confrontation, his fame followed him despite himself. The British biologist T. H. Huxley was one who assumed the weight of the defense of the Theory of Evolution. In 1871, Darwin published The Origin of Man and Natural Selection. In it he affirmed that our distinctive physical traits are the result of a series of adaptations. In another area, he argued that the physical weakness of man drove him to social cooperation. At his demise, occurring in Downe in 1882, his body was buried alongside Newton in Westminster Abbey, in the pantheon of illustrious persons of the United Kingdom. The Theory of Evolution would have very important repercussions not only in the domain of science, but also on the terrains of philosophy and theology. In fact, there have been many philosophical perspectives from which the scientific theory of evolution has been launched. To the existentialist effort of Jacques Monad, with the Nobel prize for physiology and medicine, one could add that of Catholic thinkers like father Teilhard de Chardin, determined to reconcile the Theory of Evolution with a Christ-centered vision of reality; or the attempt in the idealist philosophy if Henri Bergson; or including the explanation from Oparin that, in his book on the origin of life, he considered that the only accurate and scientific philosophy was Dialectical Materialism. Before such disparity of interpretations, it seems that it would also be interesting if evangelical Christianity were to make explicit, with regard to the metascientific(16) matters with which it deals, which is the Philosophy of Science that it proposes. As professor Bernard Ramm puts it, we believe that "the fundamental problem of Christianity with respect to biology is not really evolution, but instead a philosophy of biology"(17). What is undeniable is that not all evangelical Christians present an identical profile in relation to this theme, there being those who oppose the Theory of Evolution and those who have no qualms whatsoever in accepting it. THE BIRTH OF SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY The Enlightenment of the 18th century signified the triumph of materialism applied to the natural sciences. Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, it was also attempted to apply this method of explanation, that until now had only been valid to explain the natural universe, to persons. To positivist sociological explanation or to Marxist economism was joined Darwin's anthropological biology. Only lacking was that the human psyche, the most interior and deepest part of his existence, might be scientifically explained. Along this line one must place the works of W. Wundt which marked as much the sunset of an epoch, that of philosophical psychology, as the birth of the new, Scientific Psychology. Throughout all history, human beings have always pondered in search of answers that would help them to better understand themselves. Since antiquity, that desire for knowledge, consistently observing both nature and one's own and others' reactions, was becoming ever more complex until coming to be first a part of philosophy and, later, an independent and autonomous science: psychology. In this fashion, during the time when psychology was embedded in the domain of philosophy, its own object of study was the soul, and the methodology employed to accomplish that study was strictly philosophical speculation and reflection. With the passage of time, the scientific study of psychology has kept very much in mind that spiritual and transcendent character attributed to the soul, especially throughout the medieval era. The Renaissance and Rationalism were two essential characteristics of the modern era which came to impose a new object of study for psychology: the mind. Yet it was not until the end of the 19th century when the scientific character of psychology as an independent science began to be debated. This conjuncture was when the works of Wundt, who was framed on the one hand as a physician in the scientific tradition but, on the other, in intimate connection with the idealist, reflective and rational tradition of post-Kantian German thought. A majority of authors consider that with psychology there began to be an experimental science during the last decades of the 19th century. As we have seen, the most characteristic feature of that century was a scientific eagerness that spread to all the disciplines of knowledge, including psychology. At that moment, European thought was dominated by Positivism: Empiricism, materialism and evolution were the philosophic elements of a scientific revolution that was rapidly changing the 19th century conception of man and of his world. Given that during this period psychology became an experimental science, these three traditions were tributaries for it, nourished it and helped it to define its problematic and its methodology.(18) In addition to the philosophical contributions of associationist Empiricism, 19th century psychology was the heir as much of physiology as of biology. In effect, during the 19th century, physiology underwent great advances, especially in everything related to the study of the nervous system. Until the birth of the new experimental psychology took place, one could say that western psychology had drunk almost exclusively from inspired sources among the ancient Greek philosophers. As is known, they had been the first to focus reflection upon the human being as part of nature. Wundt however, a son of his time, believed that the estrangement of philosophy was demanded due to those moments when everything that sounded like metaphysics became suspicious. In the opinion of his age, so profoundly marked by Positivism and Materialism, one could not admit as valid any knowledge beyond that proceeding from experience. Thus, Wundt defined psychology as the science that analyzes experience in relation to its subject. In this way, as opposed to other empirical bodies of knowledge that limited themselves to studying a determinate field of knowledge but abstracting from the subject who studies it, psychology contemplated and considered the intervention and the role of the subject in the experience. "Psychology--said Wundt--investigates the total content of experience in its relationship to the subject." Wundt's purpose was to found a psychology that, without renouncing the subject, would stay decidedly on the sure road of science and would occupy the honored place it merits in the combination of the sciences of the spirit, of which he wrote: This object, which corresponds to psychology as an empirical science in general, coordinate with and complements natural science, and finds its confirmation when all the sciences of spirit are considered, of which psychology is the basis and foundation. Wundt intended to elevate psychology to a scientific status. For him at those moments, in addition to an adequate object for knowledge, it was necessary to find a method that might respond to the requirement for scientific rigor which was claimed. This method could be none other than that used in the empirical sciences. Thus, observation and experimentation were applied to psychology, but respecting the uniqueness of its object. As Wundt expressed it: If we apply these viewpoints to psychology we shall see that, by its content, this science directly alludes to the sciences wherein only the experiment allows making exact observations, meaning there cannot be a science of simple observation. That is because the content of psychology is comprised exclusively of processes, and not of persistent objects. Wundt founded a laboratory in Leipzig where he taught the subjects to describe in detail the sensations provoked in them by a series of controlled, systematic stimuli. As Boring writes: Wundt's laboratory did much more than establish the characteristics of the new psychology; for now it defined experimental psychology, since the mission of this first laboratory was in fact that of practically demonstrating that an experimental psychology could exist, and was, for now, of that which experimental psychology could indeed become.(19) In addition to this psychology, fundamentally individual, Wundt established another type of psychological reality, that corresponding to the productions of the spirit, with which he occupied himself in his work entitled "Social Psychology." This is not to overlook that psychology would continue being for Wundt a science which dealt with consciousness, but within it utilizing measurement methods and techniques that enabled it to remain on a secure scientific path. Despite the differences that the illustrious German professor may have had with other scientists of his time, the general frame of reference for psychological study had been solidly established. VALUATION OF THE THOUGHT OF THE 2D HALF OF THE 19TH CENTURY The second half of the 19th century meant, in large measure, the triumph of scientism and of materialism applied to the study of the human being. Blind confidence in science and distrust of religion led to acceptance, in one version almost universal, of the conclusion that everything, absolutely everything, rested or was based on an exclusively material support. In this way Comte the father of Positivism, for example, inaugurated a new messianic scientism, according to which science would be the savior of the planet and of humanity. The father of Positivism thought that when humanity reached the ultimate or definitive stage all social problems would also cease and peace would spread. Marxist philosophy also contracted, just like Positivism, the scientistic appetite and re-clothed it as materialism. Liberal Theology, Positivism and Marxism emerged as reaction and response to a pietism that understood Christianity only in its vertical dimension, that is, toward God and forgot the obligation to the rest of humanity, that is, the horizontal or social dimension, which is essentially the evangelical message. There is no doubt that Marx largely appropriated the Hegelian method, yet compared to the philosophic system of idealism, permeated with religiosity, the Marxist doctrine presented itself as a pure and atheistic materialism. For Marxist philosophy, all in existence was nothing but matter in continual movement, a matter that, in its dynamism, gave way to life and, through ever more complex physico-chemical combinations, originated rational thought and intelligence. Persons themselves were strictly material organisms and therefore, from the individual point of view, with mortality everything ends for one. The only hope fitting for man was a political-social hope. The utopia of a new world and a new time in this way opened onto a Marxist interpretation of history, and eschatological hopes turned towards nature as a motor of history. By changing society, positivists and Marxists thought, it would be possible to change persons. Yet Jesus said that it was from the inner man that undesirable thoughts emanated. Before Marxist and positivist sociologism, the Christian asserts that only by changing the human being's heart will it be possible to change the world and create a more just and united society. Modern man, the heir of positivisms and Marxisms, recognizes that he lives in an unjust world, but does not see solutions. In their analysis social, economic, political, and cultural causes appear; the powerful are blamed, or television, or education or the lack of same, but a pathway to solve so many evils is not found. From the pit of desperation one observes and lives how things go from bad to worse, but among the categories considered there nowhere appears the concept of sin. Two thousand years ago the founder of Christianity affirmed: Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them." After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn't go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body." In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean. He went on: "What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come - sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person." (Mark 7:14-23)(20) The Rousseau-like Romantic theories--which have had so much influence in the conception that modern man has of himself--begin from the idea that humankind is good by nature, that it is the society which corrupts them; yet they believe that humanity is good, that humanity is innocent, and forget, lamentably, that what is bad in man is in man himself, in his pride and in his sin. As the popular saying goes: "no one is more blind that one who will not see." It is very easy to shield oneself in the thoughts of others, in ideas, in books, or in what others think. Rousseau was, in the best of cases, an ingenue and what he generated was a joke and solemn foolishness that might pass as funny were it not that it has produced tragic results. The human wickedness that Rousseau, you and I share and that we carry within ourselves is the cause of all the evils of the world and, that which is most serious for us, also our own evils. If one does not recognize where the problem lies, it is difficult to apply the remedy. It is not a matter of changing the society, education, politics, or law in order to change humankind, for that has not worked over 6,000 years of history; what Christ says is that if the intimacy of the human heart changes, all those other external things will not contaminate it. Yet it was not solely Marxism and Positivism that caused the traditional structures of the Biblical conception of man, of society and of history to topple. A polemic exploded around the year 1860, in the debate on evolution held at a conference of the British Association in Oxford. In it, the archbishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, heatedly confronted T. H. Huxley. It seems that since then the controversy has not ceased between certain sectors of Christianity and the defenders of evolutionary theory. To the accusation made against Evolutionism of opposing the explanation given in the Scripture concerning the origin of man, others have been added, such as that of being an atheist theory and that of not matching the facts. Without entering into clarification and distinction between the terms "Evolutionism" and "Theory of Evolution," it is good to perform an analysis of the objections presented to the theory from some Christian circles clearly skeptical of it: in the first place, that the Theory of Evolution is opposed to the Biblical tale of creation; in the second place, that Evolutionism is atheist; and, lastly, that the Theory of Evolution does not fit the facts. Let us consider, in the first place, the affirmation, much reiterated, that the Theory of Evolution is opposed to the Biblical tale of the creation. As is appears to be formulated here, this objection is not entirely correct, since one should say, more accurately, that the theory is opposed to a specific interpretation of the Biblical text and to the Biblical text itself. Doctor J. H. Jauncey writes: It is equally important that the student of the Bible avoids reading into the scriptural passages that which they do not say. It is easy to assume that when the Bible says that God created man from the dust of the earth, it means that he took some kind of dirt from the ground and fashioned man from it, in the same way that a child in kindergarten makes the image of a man from clay. But the Bible does not say this; it gives no indication whatsoever with respect to the process used by God.(21) In the year 1875, the pastor of the evangelical church of Cartegena, father Felipe Orejón, had no problem whatsoever in translating the work of F. Godet, Etudes Bibliques, which seems admirable. In it an interesting Biblical interpretation is presented, where he says: According to the Genesis story, the body of the first man, the masterpiece of the creative wisdom, was formed from the dust of the earth, that is, appeared as the terminus of this long development of animal life, of which the geologic discoveries offer testimony. With regard to the human spirit, it comes from above. From an historical viewpoint, one should not forget that it was precisely a specific exegetical position that gave rise to unnecessary conflict, fortunately surpassed today, with the nascent scientific geology.(22) The problem, as much then as now, lies in the practice of assuming, in an uncritical manner, a dogmatic position that equates divine causation of the creation with an instantaneous act. The danger of this posture is the ease of making them exclusive, presenting itself as the only legitimate and possible one, when no reason exists not to affirm that creation must have been realized as a process and not in an abrupt manner. In the second place, is has been held that Evolutionism is atheist. It is true that, on many occasions, the Theory of Evolution has been used an an ideological support for atheism. Nevertheless, to understand that all Evolutionism is atheist is not rigorous at all since there exist many overtly theist forms of evolutionist thought. The author himself of the book The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, positively believed in the existence of a Creator God and even dedicated to Him the last lines of his so famous yet little read work: There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. From the point of view of epistemology or the Philosophy of Science, the opinion of the Christian biologist, doctor W. J. Ouweneel, seems inaccurate, for he maintains that: Darwin's belief in evolution did not result from his explorations, but instead he firmly believed in them before beginning his enormous researches. And he performed these investigations principally in order to combat the belief in creation.(23) Without a doubt, Charles Darwin has no problem whatsoever reconciling the existence of a Creator God with his explanation regarding the origin of species. To accuse the theory of being atheist is to confuse terms. The existence or non-existence of God is an extrascientific hypothesis. To speak of intelligent design or of blind chance is not, strictly speaking, to do science. It is to position oneself philosophically or teleologically before the world. Thus it deals with a legitimate positioning for every theoretical position concerning reality is such, yet it is important not to confuse that which is pure ideology or belief with what is empirically demonstrable. The approach to the problem of man's origin in terms of an exclusive alternative "Evolutionism or Creationism" is a simplistic ideological approach because it forgets the fact that other intermediate alternatives do exist between both extremes. As example of evangelical Christians who do not see any incompatibility between the Theory of Evolution and their Christian faith can be cited: Asa Gray, James McCosh, James Orr, and A. H. Strong.(24) In third and last place, it certain circles it has been held that the Theory of Evolution does not fit with the facts. It is important to begin by pointing out that a scientific theory is nothing more than a model, that is, a set of assertions that try to provide an explanation of a set of coincident phenomena. As opposed to the Word of God, which is absolute, invariable and infallible, scientific theories are subject to a continual process of revisions, modifications and, as any historian of science knows, often some theories are replaced by others by attending to different criteria. Professor Thomas S. Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions magisterially analyzes the elements that permit explaining the change from one theory to another. No theory is perfect nor is capable of satisfactorily explaining every fact. However, compared with its rival, Creationism,(25) the Theory of Evolution is a working hypothesis that enjoys practically universal recognition and acceptance in the breast of the scientific community. The words of Dr. Miguel Angel Zandino appear to us most accurate: The evolutionist hypothesis is an interpretation of facts, which is not to say that it must be the final interpretation of the history of life. Meanwhile however, it is the best that is offered for scientific investigation, and it is essential so as to continue studies of a problem whose final solution probably will be forever beyond the reach of man.(26) III. REACTIONS TO POSITIVISM AND THE "DEATH OF GOD" What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. This history can be related even now; for necessity itself is at work here. This future speaks even now in a hundred signs, this destiny announces itself everywhere; for this music of the future all ears are cocked even now. For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect. Nietzsche (27) VITALISM AND HISTORICISM The science of the 18th century made possible the technology of the 19th century. Its main emblem, the steam engine, applied to industrial production and to transport, contributed to significantly transform the face of the western world. In consonance with the scientific-technological advances and under the hegemony of Positivism, during the 19th century the thesis of the unity of science was progressively spreading in the mentality of the western world. It was thought at that time that physico-mathematical science could explain and should explain everything. In opposition to the central ideas of Positivism, thinkers such as Dilthey rejected this thesis of the unity of science and demanded a clear differentiation between the natural sciences and the historico-social sciences of spirit. The clear heir of the Enlightenment, man in the first half of the 19th century was Romantic because he thought that the problems of man and society could be resolved utilizing reason. A reason which, applied to the reform of society, continued to be present in the Comtean aspiration to transform the world. Against all that, Historicism and Vitalism, principal currents of the philosophy of the second half of the 19th century, were two movements that emerged in reaction to the coldness of scientific rationalism. Just as occurred with Marxism and Positivism, so also for Historicism and Vitalism, history presented itself as the fundamental category of thought. Inanimate beings lacked thought, but human nature came defined precisely by its history. Nevertheless, this history was not the rational or scientific history attempted by Hegel, Comte or Marx. In this way, against those like Comte or Wundt who argued for applying the model of the natural sciences to the social sciences, an entire series of new thinkers, among whom it suffices to cite Dilthey, Rickert, Max Weber, or Simmel, defended its own specific methodology for the social sciences, distinct from that used in the natural sciences. For Dilthey, for example, philosophy could only be known through the study of its historical reality, for man was essentially an historical being. The German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey was the principal representative of the Historicist Philosophy. For him, history was the fundamental category of thought. For him, the project of his philosophy was precisely to accomplish a new grounding of the sciences of the spirit, that is, of the disciplines which had for their object the study of man. With the goal of being able to accomplish this labor, Dilthey considered that it was necessary to provide the human sciences with their own methodology which would allow them to achieve an understanding that would have scientific rigor, but which at the same time would respect the peculiarities pertaining to the realities of the spirit. Dilthey, who had been born in Biebrich in the year 1833, was the son of a Protestant pastor and performed his studies in Theology at Berlin. After a brief experience as a professor of Secondary Teaching, he devoted several years to investigative tasks and began this labor immersing himself, really, in the history of the Church. Later, he became enthused with the study of Schleiermacher's philosophy, about whom he wrote his doctoral thesis entitled Essay of Analysis of the Moral Conscience. A professor, first, in the University of Basel and, later, in the University of Berlin, he died in the year 1891. As against explanation proper to the natural sciences, Verstehen was, for Dilthey, the specific and adequate method for studying the human sciences. In proposed, in this manner, to study man such as he is revealed in experience, in language and in history in a unitary fashion. With this idea of a methodical specificity in understanding the sciences of the spirit, Dilthey developed a vision of the global nature of being human, including in this, in addition to the intellectual aspects, the emotional and volitional. For him, Philosophy, which begins with consciousness, that is, with man's interior experience, is the key to comprehension of all the sciences of the spirit. Philosophy is essentially understanding given that, for Dilthey, to comprehend a reality means to refer it to the vital context of a subject; and this vital context for man is of an historical nature. The being of man, to be realized in the present, is to be influenced by the past, and therefore is historical. History, as reality, is precisely the persistence of the past in man's present. History, as a discipline or science of the spirit, is the reconstruction or interpretation of man's past. To comprehend any human reality, Dilthey considered it fundamental to frame it with-in the historical context in which it emerged, and furthermore relate it to the rest of the spiritual manifestations of that moment. In this manner, Dilthey not only addressed the epistemological problem of history and the hermeneutical grounding of the sciences of spirit, but also attempted to establish the internal relation that exists between the different sciences of the spirit since, for this labor of interpreting the historical nature of the human being, an understanding of the images that man himself elaborates when confronted by the world is indispensable. These images or postures, that express fundamental attitudes, are not mere products of thought, but instead reflect a general idea of the Universe in which he makes patent his vital positioning before existence. According to him, all conceptions of the world, all existing systems of thought, can be essentially summarized into three, depending on which is the psychological aspect that predominates in them. In the first place--notes Dilthey--is Rationalist Naturalism, where clear predominance to the intelligence is given and which is the proper mode of activity of the materialist philosophies. This system of thought is characterized by centering on the intellectual dimension of life, and scientific understanding, fundamentally, has primacy in it. In the second place is the Idealism of liberty, where the will predominates. This system turns out to be characteristic of theism. Here the volitional is emphasized, that is, of importance is not so much understanding as action in the world. Finally, according to Dilthey, is the system of objective idealism that appears in pantheist thought. Here, the predominant faculty is affectivity, in which are reflected the emotional and valuational aspect of human life. A philosophy profoundly related to Dilthey's Historicism was the vitalist philosophy. As its own name indicates, this current of thought underlined that life was the primordial reality. In this thought current one can find authors as multicolored as the German Arthur Schopenhauer, Henri Bergson the Jew of French nationality, and the Spanish essayist José Ortega y Gasset. Vitalism was also profoundly linked to Irrationalism, for both philosophic movements shared the belief that human reason was an insufficient tool to capture the essence of life. From an ultimately Romantic perspective and clearly enamored by the Hindu exoticism of the Upanishads, Schopenhauer (1788-1860) attacked the idealism of Kant and Hegel. In his principal work, which has as title The World as Will and Representation, he argued that reality was fundamentally neither idea nor reason, but the will to exist and to live. Yet will for him was not something homogeneous and well-delimited, since for Schopenhauer the will was infinite and was characterized by being divided within itself. Very influenced by oriental thought and religions, he maintained that life was essentially pain. For this German thinker, the world could be reduced to suffering. No horizon of transcendence could console man for this insupportable pain. Reason, feminine by nature, was incapable of confronting the objects; only the will, the desire beyond all logic, could do so. The world appeared, thus, as a representation subject not to reason, but to the will. "The world is my representation," affirmed Schopenhauer. And not only in the cognitive sense but also and above all in an ethical sense. There is no reason for me to approach another, and if I do so it is because I want to, because I have made a project of this ethical norm. For Schopenhauer, the fundamental characteristic that captured morality was, in this sense, compassion, that is, the inclination to calm the other's pain. The vitalist philosophy of the Frenchman Henri Bergson will later recover this concept of will so as to transform it into "elan vital" or the creative force that directs the entire life process. Also the Spaniard José Ortega y Gasset, whose thought has been described as racial vitalism, writes referring to life that it is: The radical reality, in the sense that we have to refer everything else to it, given that the other realities, effective or presumed, have to appear through it in one way or another. The human being is not solely his reason, it is not only the rational "I" that thinks but also and, fundamentally, it is the subject who, additionally, feels, who believes and who lives in and from a concrete circumstance. History, the vital, personal and collective circumstances comprise the man and are inseparable from anthropology. This peculiar form of thought called "Perspectivism" is summarized in the celebrated Ortega sentence, "I am myself and my circumstances." FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE Together with Marx and Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche has been described as a suspicious philosopher. This polemical thinker, on certain occasions, affirmed of himself: "I am one of those machines that can explode." And certainly his name is united with a profound collision of consciousness in western civilization. He was born in Röcken (Thuringia) in the year 1844. He was the son and grandson of Protestant pastors who ensured that he would receive a solid humanistic education. A great connoisseur of Classical culture highlighted by his study of Greek philosophy. He was notorious, also, for his passion for music and the close friendship he formed with the German composer Richard Wagner. He settled also upon travel among diverse European cities and wrote many works of great value as much in philosophy as literature, among which one finds: The Birth of Tragedy, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Human All too Human, Genealogy of Morals, Beyond Good and Evil, and The Will to Power. He became ill with a madness produced by syphilis, dying, in 1900, afflicted by horrific headaches. Many have said that Nietzsche's philosophic project consisted essentially in an affirmation of life. What Nietzsche proposed to affirm was life just as it is, to affirm life understood in its earthly, corporeal sense. In this sense, it is important to keep in mind that life in nature presents itself as force, as instinct, as will, and as struggle, from which derive its agonic and tragic sense. The Nietzschean theory of life was profoundly influenced as much by Schopenhauer as by classical Greece. His philosophy starts from the polarity between two spiritual states confronting each other: the Apollonian and the Dionysian. In his opinion, the greatness of Greek tragedy consisted precisely in having known how to join these two disparate forces. On one side there was the Apollonian spirit, which was understood as the rational aspect of life, of science, of measure and proportion, of the objective study of reality, of aesthetics, of practical expression, of the dream, such that those who followed Apollo imprisoned everything in cold rational formulas, making life dreamlike. On the other side, the Dionysian spirit represented life as plenitude, as explosion. Dionysus was the drunken happiness expressed in music and in the enthusiasms of personal subjectivity above all other values. The Dionysian spirit thus extolled will over reason and understood it fundamentally as firm empowerment and valiant fortitude. The followers of this god could not conceive of life except as power, inebriation, exaltation, and unmeasured happiness. The encounter between these two spirits gave origin to Greek tragedy. The Greek culture resulted from the union of the forces of life with rationality. But, unfortunately, reason triumphed over life. For Nietzsche, the negation of life came onto the scene when cold and logical rationality began to drown out the instincts. At root it concerned the confrontation between two types of morality: the morality of masters and the morality of the slaves. The vital morality of masters based on one's self-affirmation and the weak morality of the slaves whose principal characteristics were resentment toward life, subjection, resignation, and submission. With the triumph of Platonism and of Christianity, these herd values instilled themselves in western culture. The German philosopher executed a devastating critique of western culture which he accused of being sick with Platonism. The root of this illness was found in the inversion of reality produced by positioning the spiritual above the earthly. Nietzsche defended a break with the rationalist conception of the universe, the cause of that infirmity, and a return to the values of life that, as opposed to the Socratic and to Judeo-Christianity, were understood solely in their corporeal and instinctive dimension. For him supernatural worlds did not exist. God, for him, was nothing more than an idea and, as such, was a creation of man. That which had to be explained was the origin of this idea and how it was possible for this idea to have become so powerful and oppressive. According to Nietzsche, the demise of God represented the culmination of the process of decadence initiated by Judeo-Christianity. This decadence had originated in Greece with a negation of the values of life and with a defense of the desire for, and morality of, the beyond. Thanks to Christianity, God had been transformed into the foundation upon which were seated all the truths of western culture. But, with the passage of time, God had become so useless and unnecessary that western civilization itself (Positivism, Rationalism and Materialism) decided to do away with Him. Because of this, following the demise of God one could only await the disintegration of the entire structure that had been concretized in Him. God's death--so Nietzsche predicted--would bring as its necessary consequence the annihilation of all the values of western culture for these were based upon God himself. In this way, following an inevitable historical unfolding, it was not strange that man should have found himself thus suspended in a vacuum (Nihilism) where absolute values that might serve as support did not exist. Nevertheless, and as a consequence of the overcoming of Nihilism (affirmation of nothingness as a value) there emerge the Nietzschean superhuman, as an incarnation of the will to power, and there would also emerge a new set of values that would tend toward domination and strength as fundamental virtues. PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE DISCOVERY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS Together with Marx and Nietzsche, Freud was--according to Ricoeur--the third suspicious philosopher. Since the Enlightenment, the social sciences had always been working under the assumption of rationality and of conscience. The world was considered as governed by intelligence and logic until Freud, around the year 1900, delivered the hardest blow to rationalism by the discovery of the unconscious. It is well known that Psychoanalysis was not only a therapy used in the treatment of mental disorders, but also was a method of study of the unconscious and a theory of personality. Yet, in addition, Psychoanalysis was a global theory that tried to explain culture and human civilization. Freud, the founder of Psychoanalysis, who lived between the years 1856 and 1939, considered social and cultural productions to be analogous to the neuroses observed in individual psychology; it is important to keep in mind that this Austrian doctor formulated his thought in two fundamental stages denominated the first and second periods. The year 1920, decisive in the development of Psychoanalysis, represented the transition between both. Freud intended to determine what were the ultimate roots of human mentation and found it in the hidden dynamism of the unconscious. After having practiced hypnosis in the treatment of patients with hysterical disturbances, Freud explored a new method for the treatment of mental diseases according to which the cure of psychic ailments was accomplished through the association of ideas. In this method, called "free association," the person began with some element of emotional importance and, beginning from it, allowed their ideas to flow spontaneously. When said flux was interrupted it was due to the appearance of a significant resistance that it was necessary to analyze. For Freud, human behavior was regulated by the powerful forces of desire. These tendencies were formed during infancy which thus turned out to be the fundamental period for the structuring of personality. One of Freud's most polemical affirmations was that relative to the existence of infantile sexuality. In the development of infantile sexuality, the Viennese psychologist indicated three successive stages: the oral, in which sexuality seemed to be linked to the stimulation of the mouth that accompanies nourishment; the anal, related to the retention and expulsion of feces; and the phallic, in which the sexual interest is displaced toward the genitals. It was precisely during this last phase when the fundamental psychological trauma called the Oedipus complex was produced. In essence, the Oedipus complex is summarized, on one hand, in the infatuation that the son experiences with respect to his mother and, on the other, in the ambivalent feeling before the paternal figure, object of love and of hate at the same time on the part of the son. On one side the father represents for the child the greatest object of admiration, for he embodies everything that the latter would like to possess, especially the love of the mother, but at the same time is a permanent threat and a rival or implacable competitor who robs the minor, egotistical by nature, of the love and the attention of the mother. Regarding the basic functioning of the human psyche, Freud held that the instincts or unconscious impulses, the motor of psychic life, tended toward their immediate satisfaction. When these tendencies were not capable of attaining their object, it produced what Freud called "frustration," a psychological state profoundly related to anxiety. In the first period, the sexual and self-preserving instincts, fundamentally unconscious by nature, were those which battled with consciousness to emerge into the light and be satisfied. Conscious life was nothing more than the tip of the iceberg of the human psyche whose principal reality turned out to be absolutely foreign to logic, to the understanding and to morality. According to this dynamism, the structure of the personality was the result of the confluence of unconscious forces that acted upon it. These primitive forces escaped the individual's control and were repressed. Also during the second period, the ego, that is, the "I" or conscience, the most realistic and rational part of the personality, was relegated to an insignificant part of the play of forces established between the "id," unconscious psychic energy, and the "superego" which, since infancy, had as its objective to inhibit and control the aggressive and sexual desires of the id. The "ego" thereby found itself in a permanent conflict among the dictates and requirements of morality and the unstoppable pressures of desire. For Freud man was aggressive from birth. In his first writings, lumped in the so-called first period, Freud spoke of two basic impulses in the human being, the sexual and the self-preservative. Further on, above all starting with the reformulation of his thought begun in the year 1920, Freud proposed a new classification of impulses, distinguished between life instincts (Eros) and the instincts of mortality (Thanatos). These latter designated the destructive tendencies demonstrated by aggressive conduct, whether it be toward oneself or towards others. What Freud stated in this second period was that the nucleus of all pathology was always hate, aggression or the dialectic between love and hate; that no mental activity could be considered the fruit of a single instinct working in isolation because the two were fused; that love and hate were inseparable. For example, he said that in the sexual act there existed a certain aggression in search of a more intimate union. The aggression was thus something coincident with human nature. The origin of morality, religion and society should be framed in this context. In Totem and Taboo, Freud maintained that the step from the natural state to the social state had its basis in the murder of the father. In the most ancient form of social organization, the primitive horde, the sons had killed the patriarch who monopolized the women and impeded the access to pleasure. As a consequence of remorse and given that this primitive father could not disappear altogether, he was venerated and lived on in a symbolic manner in the figure of the totem. With the prohibition of incest, established beginning with this moment, the emergence of morality took place, and with it the social order and the cultural repression of the human being's aggressive instincts. Civilization and its Discontents together with The Future of an Illusion represented Freud's two fundamental contributions to the theory of culture. In them, the Viennese psychologist asserts that the general dissatisfaction which the man of his time feels with regard to the culture is due, principally, to the control and repression of the erotic and aggressive instincts of the human being. As we have seen, aggression is precisely one of the fundamental characteristics of these unconscious impulses. In Civilization and its Discontents, Freud holds that the culture controls human aggression by internalizing it beneath the form of the superego and directing it as much towards the "I" as against others. According to Freud, the dominant energies in the superego are erotic but, above all, aggressive. In addition to this, Freud suggests that a large part of the aggression that the superego derives from that aggression which the child could not discharge onto his parents, is projected onto the outside. For Freud, aggression is a destructive behavior, common to all individuals, whose object is to give vent to the desire for destruction against the exterior objects, towards others (sadism) and towards oneself (masochism). Freud considers that the mortality instinct, called Thanatos, is opposed, but also complementary, to the impulse called Eros, which is guided primarily by the principle of pleasure. In conclusion, for Freud there exist internal aspects of unconscious nature that predispose us towards violent attitudes. The culture, the repressor of this natural aggressivity, in thus an important cause of the unhappiness of the human being. The discontent in culture is due, therefore, to the fact that aggression is obliged to be directed against oneself by means of the moral conscience, now that culture controls and represses the aggressive tendencies of the individual. The price paid for the progress of the culture is seen in the loss of happiness as a consequence of an increase in the feeling of guilt. PHENOMENOLOGY AND EXISTENTIALISM Existentialism was a philosophic current that emerged, in the middle of the 20th century, as a response to the moving horror of the two World Wars. In a world in which human life had lost all value, the fundamental principle that animated Existentialism was the declaration that, in the case of the human being, existence precedes essence. That is to say, for Existentialism man seems to be standing in the world without a definite meaning and condemned to forge it himself through his decisions. Therefore, according to the existentialist thinkers, first comes existence, the fact of being itself, and later the being becomes what it is, namely, the essence which is given as a result of what each person does. Existence is not manifested by something that it is, but instead by something that is given as the result of what each person does. Existence is not manifested by something that it is, but by something that is done through the exercise of liberty. For the existentialists, man forges himself in the midst of a painful and absurd world, in the midst of a world full of contradictions with no reference points nor guideposts that might help him to direct his steps nor to orient his activity. Some authors have divided this current of thought, taking into account the nation of origin of the different existentialist philosophers. According to this classification, the two principal representatives of Existentialism were Jean-Paul Sartre, in France, and Heidegger in Germany. As well as the geographical division, taking into consideration the religious aspects, one can observe in Existentialism another classification where a current will be highlighted which, like that of the cited authors, was clearly atheist and another more religious aspect where one would have to place Gabriel Marcel and Karl Jaspers. Undoubtedly, one could consider the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard as the most important antecedent of 20th century Existentialism. As Johannes Hirschberger has written: The real meaning of Kierkegaard, through his influence on dialectical Protestant theology and on the philosophy of existence, has not been revealed in all its brilliance until our own century.(28) In effect, the profundity of the life and work of this Danish thinker left an indelible mark of his faith on the development of the philosophical and theological thought of his world. From an overall Christian viewpoint, Kierkegaard always pursued his search for an authentic life and faith. On one occasion he said of himself that we was nothing more than a poet and a Christian thinker. This genius of humanity was born in the city of Copenhagen on the 5th of May in 1813. He was the last of seven brothers in a comfortable bourgeois family. His father, who once had been a simple shepherd, managed to later become a rich fabric merchant. The influence of his father and of his strict Lutheran education was decisive throughout his life. To the religious pressure there came to be added sad events like the occurrences between the years 1819 and 1834, in the passage of which Soren was a witness to the demise of his mother and four of his brothers. His calamities were not solely interior, and the description that he gives at the time is of a hunchbacked and corporeally deformed youth. On October 30th of 1830, at the age of 17, Kierkegaard matriculated in the University of Copenhagen, and there studied Theology and Philosophy coming into contact with the Hegelian philosophy. Approximately around the year 1835, Kierkegaard experienced a profound disenchantment with the studies in Theology. Beginning at that moment, Soren ceased being the good student that he was and, liberated from the tutelage of his father, also abandoned all religious practices so as to then dedicate himself to fully enjoy social life. As he himself comments, this was a period of moral imbalance during which the young Kierkegaard, neglecting his university studies, threw himself into a life of extravagant abandon which converted him into one of most well-known figures of the theatres and cafes of Copenhagen. During those years, he led an openly licentious life. The sudden demise of his father, occurring in 1838, involved a great spiritual earthquake for the youth and provoked a profound crisis in him that led him to concentrate anew and in an obsessive fashion upon his theological studies. From this year dates, as he himself recounts, the time of his conversion. Kierkegaard returned to re-immerse himself in the study of philosophy. In Berlin he attended Schelling's lectures, in which he found confirmation for the motives of his disagreement with the Hegelian philosophy. He returned to Copenhagen in the year 1842, taking up residence in the old paternal house, dedicating himself fully to meditation and writing. Towards the end of his life, Kierkegaard became involved in a harsh polemic versus the Danish Lutheran Church, which he considered mundane and corrupt. He died in 1845. Against the Hegelian Rationalism of the theologians of his time, Kierkegaard believed that an interpreter of the Christian message not only had to comprehend, but also had to choose, to position himself existentially before that which the content of the message signified. Because of this, Kierkegaard openly confronted the rationalist and Hegelian theologians of his time. From the theological point of view, the principal objection that he could make to the Hegelian system was that this dialectical understanding, so beautifully articulated and coherent, was irrelevant to life, that is to say, was cold and incapable of awakening the need to lead an authentically Christian life in the individual. Principally because of this, the Kierkegaardian philosophy would represent the reaction of the faith against the rationalist theology of his time. For Kierkegaard, the Christian message was not a message directly only at men's reason, but also that the revelation of God in Christ represented, above all, a challenge directed to the life of man. At the end of the 18th century, reason had definitely been seated on the throne of modernity. Now beyond reason being understood in a pure, a priori, Kantian form, and beside the absolute reason of Hegelian idealism, universal reason was the only positive and valid reason. Marxism, the heir in large measure of Hegelian thought, continued believing that it was important to determine the laws which guided the global development of human history. The particular and concrete man, for Marx, is submerged in the generic aspect of the species, in the same way that, for Hegel, each man's personal and particular reason vanished in the linkage of necessary movements wherein Absolute Spirit would re-encounter itself as Idea. Before this search for the general and the abstract, Kierkegaard's thought is characterized by returning the gaze towards the individual. His philosophy is the impassioned commitment to restoring the concrete and the subjective in the face of the Hegelian absolute. For this reason, the particular and the concrete, the difference, the unrepeatable idiosyncrasy and paradoxical interiority of man are this thinker's focus of attention. Starting from the Socratic precept "Know yourself," in The Mortal Sickness, Kierkegaard sets forth the profound paradox of the man who seeks himself without being able to find it. How is such a thing possible? The starting point for Kierkegaard is subjectivity, but not understood in the Cartesian form, "I think therefore I exist," but instead subjectivity understood as life, as action. In his Diary, for the 1st of August of 1835, the philosopher writes: What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die." Kierkegaard's thought thus distances itself from Romanticism and from the Hegelianism of his time, but is indebted to Kantian thought. Kierkegaard relentlessly criticizes the Hegelian philosophy for, confronting the absolute, the ideal or the universal, he is interested in the concrete and personal individual. The only truth that interests him is in regard to the subject. This Danish thinker considers human existence to be radically different from that of other beings, since the existence of man is being created by himself. The human being is essentially a free being and as such has the responsibility of choosing their own life. Man is a being in process who makes himself in the continual exercise of his decisions. Man finds himself, in the first place, alone against the world and this situation of abandonment inevitably provokes his anxiety. This is, however, inevitable because he belongs to the common human condition, which can be defined as the ineluctable vertigo that man feels before the abyss of liberty. Anxiety is the presentiment of nothingness, is that which characterizes the human being as such. This primordial presentiment of finitude that man has, and he alone among all beings, indicates that he holds the eternal within himself. In reality, the experience of a fathomless abyss of anxiety, at the same time the consequence and condition of sin, is nothing but the separation of man with respect to God and the consciousness of his finitude, which is felt by the human being as the experience of a supreme dread of a spiritual nature. Together with this existential anguish, the relation with God is the major theme that underlies the body of Kierkegaardian thought. The global project of Kierkegaard's philosophy is to transfer the human being from the immanence and superficiality of the everyday to the ultimate transcendence of the divine. In fact, for Kierkegaard, the human being is not only a being directed toward himself, towards the world or toward others, but instead is, fundamentally, a being projected towards the infinite. In his work The Mortal Sickness he explains, with complete clarity, how the relation of re-linking or religion (to unite again) is fundamental to existence. For Kierkegaard, the mortal sickness is sin. Before it two roads open: desperation or salvation. As a first approximation, one could say that desperation emerges from the constitution of man as a being who has God in front of him. Desperation consists in wanting at the same time to be and not to be. It is the effort of wanting to be everything, that is, to be eternal yet without ceasing to be temporal. This desperation causes man to ask himself, who or what is it that has been placed before oneself? To this question, logic lacks an answer. In effect, on one side man has been created to live in communion with God yet, on the other, is a sinner because of his disobedience to the creator God. Man finds himself in a difficult situation in which he must make a choice. Man longs to be what he is not. On one side he wants to be himself, wants to be finite, and on the other ardently desires not to be that, inwardly craves the infinite. Faith represents the last possibility for man. As against reason, faith consists in making a leap of faith in God, in believing that which He says. It deals with a painful and paradoxical possibility that emerges from solitude, that it is not the generic man who should confront God, but instead the concrete individual. This concrete man, situated at the crossroads between faith and desperation, is symbolized by Abraham, the prototype of the man of faith. To him Kierkegaard dedicates his book Fear and Trembling. Faith is irrational and paradoxical. Abraham finds himself in the position of having to obey a God who requires from him something without meaning; the Jewish patriarch Abraham, to whom a lineage had been promised, because of his faith is brought to commit the immoral act of killing his only son, Isaac. Thus Abraham represents the prototype and hero of faith as against ethics. Precisely the suspension of ethics permits the authentic engagement with God. Faith and ethics are opposed for Kierkegaard, because faith comprises an offense to the canons of human morality, for in it ethics remains suspended. This ethical leap to the religious can seem to be a desperate act, but Kierkegaard argues that, absurd as it may seem, this leap is the only path to salvation and hope. Together with Kierkegaard's philosophy it is necessary to cite the phenomenology of Husserl as a direct antecedent of Existentialism. Phenomenology was a current of thought that had as its fundamental object to return philosophical reflection to things themselves. From this point of view, phenomenology involved as much a surpassing of a psychologistic gnoseological approach as the pretension of making philosophy a rigorous science. In essence, the phenomenological method proposed by Husserl consists in a description of things such and as these present themselves to the pure consciousness. The characteristic of phenomenology before the subjectivist and psychological currents is that it does not consider the reality of consciousness in the same manner that it considers the rest of the world's realities. Such that, reality is only one of the possible ways by which an object can present itself to consciousness. Consciousness should, therefore, adopt regarding the world the position of a spectator whose challenge is the explanatory comprehension of that objectivity which it presents. To be able to accomplish this task, it is necessary in the first place to divest oneself (epojé) of all previous prejudices that might interfere with knowledge; it deals with a calling into question of all previous knowledge; here the reality or unreality of the object is not in question, but instead the phenomenon is accepted just as it presents itself to consciousness. In the second place, one must proceed to that which Husserl calls "the eidetic reduction," which consists in one remaining before the phenomenon that one wishes to study with the essential traits that define it. Lastly, a phenomenological description is carried out that consists in describing, but without interpreting, the essences learned from things. The phenomenological method will later be applied by the existentialists to the analysis of human reality. In fact, Existentialism emerged as the result of placing phenomenology at the service of the analysis of human existence. Profoundly influenced by phenomenological thought, the point of departure for the existentialist philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre is the analysis of subjectivity. Man is an intentional consciousness which points to the world, for consciousness is always the consciousness of something other than oneself. The opposition between the res cogitans and the res extensa, already posited by Descartes, makes Sartre absolutely radical. It deals with an irreconcilable and tragic opposition. Man's consciousness, which Sartre calls the "for itself," finds itself confronted by things in themselves. Before the completeness of things, full and solid, human consciousness appears as if nothing. The human being is liberty and only can be free because nothing is defined. His existence is condemned to having to choose, man having to invent his own life at each instant. But in this process of choosing he finds himself absolutely alone, with no God or model of ends and values to which he might refer his choosing. Man is absolutely free for everything except ceasing to be so, from which derives the distress that is the fundamental existential experience. David Galcerá explains it very well: Man wishes to become a finished product through his choices, aspires to become at once a for-itself and in-itself; that is, to a being with a fully realized consciousness. But that is already the same as saying that man wants to convert himself into God: to be man is to tend to be God; or, if you prefer, man is fundamentally the desire to be God. This is man's liberty: the choice to be God. Nevertheless, the forward flight of man, his project, ends with his mortality: man is a useless passion.(29) Man is a useless passion since his existence lacks meaning, freedom is absurd because, on one side, it has been given to man without his consent and, on the other side, because he will never attain his object which is to be a being-in-itself, a solid being among things. In the same way that man is condemned to be free, he is also condemned to live with others. The other is, for Sartre, always a rival, an enemy. "Hell is other people," he would say understanding that all communication is impossible. According to Martin Heidegger, the main representative of German Existentialism, the fact of man being there, the fact itself of existing cannot be founded or deduced in any fashion. Dasein, the being there is the existential and metaphysical basis from which all thought should begin. For Heidegger, man is a being among things (being-in-the-world) and a being with others, yet is, above all, a being temporally oriented towards a finality. Man's primary dimension is temporality, particularly a temporality oriented toward the future; in this manner, Heidegger conceives each personal history as a life project. In his work Being and Time, the German philosopher maintains that mankind has not chosen to exist, and therefore, their essence is not predetermined, but instead the human being is pure possibility, man must create himself, with the horizon of his development being time. But he utilizes a concept of time that cannot be reduced to that employed by the natural sciences. Heidegger tries to relate temporality to metaphysical labor, and what he proposes in Being and Time is, precisely, a taking into account of temporality which is implicit in all comprehension of being and its meaning. To understand being also means to understand oneself, and thus Heidegger will ask about man's specificity, that is, about the nature of that being whose nature is indivisible from "comprehending." Time's finitude causes Heidegger to affirm that "man is a mortal Being," with mortality being one more phenomenon of life and, for this reason, man is a being who must understand and accept the implacability of that last event which signifies, for this author, absolute extinction and no further advance. He wrote as follows: Regarding "ability to be" the "being there" cannot face the mortal possibility. Mortality is the possibility of the absolute impossibility of "being there." Thus mortality is revealed as the most particular, unreferenced and unique possibility.(30) Authentic existence implies accepting the temporality of being with all the anguish that that carries with it. In this the worthy decision consists, in choosing an authentic existence. If indeed it is true that, simultaneously, the metaphysical question concerning Being led the German philosopher to ask about human existence, and in his philosophy's late period the problem of being re-emerges, offering art as a sublimation of metaphysics. This "second" Heidegger stops feeling the hermeneutic influence of the Protestant theologian Rudolf Bultmann. In his book On the Way to Language, Heidegger expresses his fundamental preoccupation with hermeneutics and truth. In this work truth is not understood in a scholastic sense, as an adequate understanding of the thing, but instead in the etymological sense of the Greek word aletheia, which means "to reveal." Truth is the revelation of being, and man's response to the truth is language. Language speaks to the man from within and, for this reason, Heidegger calls it "the house of being." Hence to interpret a text will be to recreate, through the interpreter's words, the primary experience of revelation that gave birth to the text. To understand is, therefore, to go beyond what is written, and even beyond that which was thought by the author of the text and to submerge oneself in the facts' originative experience. Therefore, hermeneutics goes beyond the interpretation of the text, allowing interrogation through its power of interpreting while in a certain sense interpreting and illuminating the exegete himself. In this way, Heideggerian thought considers language more as a vehicle for transmitting thought as an occurrence whose primary function is not informative but provocative and consists in questioning the subject by facing him with a decision. VALUATION OF IRRATIONALIST AND EXISTENTIALIST THOUGHT Indissolubly united to the development of liberal theology, in the first half of the 19th century, the intellectual mind was invaded by the methodology of the natural sciences. This methodology he tried to apply to the human and social sciences with the same rigor that had been applied to the study of physical phenomena. Against such scientistic pretension he raised the voice of Historicism, of Vitalism, or Irrationalism, and of Existentialism. In an environment in which the Natural Sciences and Positivism triumphed, Dilthey held that human reality was irreducible to physico-chemical phenomena. To do so, Dilthey established a distinction between the natural sciences and the sciences of the spirit. According to him, each of them pursues its own objectives and requires some specific methods. Concretely, his philosophy attempted to clarify, against natural science wisdom, what was the gnoseological grounding of the spiritual sciences. The former has as objective the description and explication of phenomena, while the latter tried to achieve an integrative comprehension of history, life and the world. The omnipotent reason of the Enlightenment had entered into crisis. It no longer was a pure and ideal reason, but instead had begun to be an historical and hermeneutic reason. From divided reason to the negation of reason it was only a step. Furthermore, the disenchantment with reason reached into Christian thought. Theism, the affirmation of the existence of God could, undoubtedly, assume various forms. From the rationalism which maintained that it was most logical to believe that God exists, to the irrationalist theism of the Kierkegaardian court that held that it was not logical to believe in God but, precisely because of that, one had to do so. Tertullian, Luther, Karl Barth, and the so-called neo-orthodox defended, in very different eras, this peculiar position. At root, such is the argument of the Existentialist believer. Certainly faith is not something rational, yet many things in life are not either, among them the very sense of existence. Faith is a free option and, as such, is legitimate. Human reason is not omnipotent, for nothing human is. No faculty, no power, no human capacity is absolute. Kierkegaard felt an active strangeness and surprise before the fact of existence and affirmed that only in God could man find the answer to his distressing existential situation. If Schopenhauer and Nietzsche rejected Christianity, Kierkegaard did not, but tried to purify it of all the rationalist coldness that, in his opinion, not only had contaminated it, but also was smothering it. Kierkegaard attempted, thus, to awaken the consciousness of the religiosity of his time. For him, the churches were full of men who with their lives negated the pious declarations they had made in their prayers. In his philosophy there strongly resonated the old prophetic denunciation: "this people honors me with their lips yet their heart is far from me." Kierkegaard's philosophy sought to be an invitation to the men of his time and of posterity to seek an authentic faith and a unique and personal relation with God. The philosopher of Copenhagen knew how to clearly see the implications that could be deduced from such a relationship; a faith lived with inner strength was, for him, necessarily contradictory and anguished. Indeed, in the name of science, Enlightenment Rationality had negated religiosity and Positivism had reduced it to superstition; vitalist Irrationalism tried to do away with God himself. Irrationalism directed its course not solely to the ethereal affirmation of God's demise, but also to man's mortality. Nietzsche distinguished between Jesus and Christianity. For him, Jesus was a free spirit yet, in his opinion, Christianity and the church were full of hate and resentment toward the noble and the aristocratic. For this reason, Nietzsche accused Christianity of being, in essence, religiosity for the sick and the weak. A religiosity charged with fomenting in the human conscience, above everything else, the herd mentality, given that Christianity considered all earthly values as sin. The resultant Christian morality was, according to him, a capital crime against life. God was a human creation that had had disastrous results, so it had become necessary for western man to inaugurate a new history, whose principle was the affirmation "God is dead." Faith in the Christian God was impossible to maintain. In Nietzsche's opinion, by eliminating God, man had performed a prodigious action with important implications: he had also liberated man from reason. Freud, who reduced God to the archtypical idea of an oppressive father, also affirmed the liberation of reason in favor of the seismic forces of the unconscious and of desire. For his part, the French existentialist Albert Camus wrote: I here take the liberty of calling the existential position philosophic suicide. Yet this does not imply a judgment. It is an easy way of designating the movement by which a thought negates itself, and tends to surpass itself in that which originates the negation. For the existentialists negation is their God. Precisely, for this God cannot be sustained except by the negation of human reason.(31) The ultimate consequences of Irrationalism would be extracted in the 20th and 21st centuries by the ideological movement known as Postmodernism. The age of reason, initiated by the Humanism of the Renaissance and culminating with the Rationalism of the Enlightenment, had reached its end. True, without God there was no reason and without reason man did not exist. Nietzsche, so admired by the Postmodernists, only extracted the consequences of having eliminated God from the world and from western culture. And what he said, in summary, is that without this God, without the Judeo-Christian God, that culture, western culture, had ceased being meaningful. Today, heirs of that time and of that history, we often speak of multiculturalism, or pluralism and ethnological tolerance, for today everything counts. And everything counts the same. Reason no longer exists, there are only reasons, weak reasons, weak explanations, weak accounts or meta-accounts, poor justifications for a poor world where religious fundamentalism and fanaticism combine with the political fundamentalism and fanaticism of human rights, democracy imposed by force of arms or unjustified tolerance of any form of life and conduct. All is well. Everything except rebelling against this meaninglessness to affirm and believe and live proclaiming the certainty that an absolute truth exists. This is not to miss that in contemporary philosophy we shall find a wide gamut of detractors from the faculty of thought. The vitalist and irrationalist philosophers were a good demonstration of this. Far from being rationalists, the mark of modern philosophy was the lack of confidence in reason. Since Kant reducing the limits of possible knowledge to those objects of which one can have sensory experience, the reply to the most profound problems of human existence have come to be sought in extra-rational elements. Marx did not believe that human consciousness was capable of determining material reality, and more likely it was the inverse, that consciousness was a product, a resultant of the economic conditions of existence and not an agent capable of transforming life. As against reason and the conscious direction of life, the unconscious dynamism of the human psyche was one of of the fundamental characteristics of Freudian thought. Freud introduced the idea that man was not the master of his own house. The founder of Psychoanalysis understood that reason was an insignificant part of the human psyche in comparison with the unconscious processes, the true motor of human actions. The impulsive, the instinctive, the irrational were thus constituted as the authentic motors and explanatory principles of human action. Nietzsche even came to consider reason as a sickly appendix of human nature. And what to say about Existentialism, whose primordial explicative category will be that of the absurd and the meaningless. The pity is that, although quite distant from those systems, some Christians, also deprecators of reason, are not found too far from the attitudes which they imply. Before this, the apostle Paul considers the mind as a powerful tool in service to new life in Christ: "Do not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2). When Jesus, questioned about the great commandment of the law, responded: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37) he added something quite important to the letter of Deuteronomy 6:5, saying: "and with all your mind." He knew that we had been created rational. He asks us to also love with all our mind, that He will also be there always. The Bible does not condemn the faculty of thought, but condemns the reprobate mentality of those persons who live and think without God (Romans 1:18-32). We need to recover not only the name but also the values of evangelical Christianity, among them the inalienable value of man as a rational being. Against the dictates of the secular culture, this is an urgent call, not to eliminate the mind yet to transform it, it being necessary to return to its Creator. In an historical moment in which one speaks of the demise of reason, the church continues to need, perhaps more than ever, men who think, persons capable of swimming against the current of superficiality, enemies of the fashions that try to annul reflection. More than ever necessary are new minds in new men: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24). It is not enough to be born again, new clothes must also be made. Renewed in the spirit of your mind, labor there, recovering for Christ as much the reflexive attitude as the traditional and sadly forgotten discipline of meditation upon God and his Word. It is worth the trouble. A prophet of the Old Testament gives us the reason for this insistence: "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you" (Isaiah 26:3). If one wishes to live an authentic faith open to the unpredictable challenges of life, as opposed to the light Christianity of the 21st century, so profoundly marked by the hedonism of the present age, a Kierkegaardian exigency remains in place: one cannot arrive at being a man of faith without having passed, at least sometime, through the painful experience of inner despair. However, underneath this tragic faith, it is also necessary to point out that it underlies an unquenchable rational optimism before the everyday shipwrecks of life. Faith is also hope and by virtue of this it is possible to know that, although man is as fragile as the dust, nevertheless, he is something known to God and which God loves. IV. LATE CURRENTS IN WESTERN THOUGHT In the 20th century a new type of challenge has been raised for religious believers. This new challenge is directed against the meaning of the belief in God. The affirmation is that propositions such as "God exists" or "God loves human beings" have no meaning from a cognitive point of view and lack any clear meaning. It is not that we lack evidence that God exists, but that we do not even know what it means to say that God exists. C. Stephen Evans (32) PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE IN THE 20TH CENTURY The characteristic trait of Contemporary Philosophy was the atomization of thought, this meaning that human reflection was fragmented into a multitude of disconnected currents. The preoccupations and interests that motivated the contemporary philosophers would differ among themselves as much in the methods they utilized as in the objects of study they considered and in the responses they provided. The world wars brought about profound changes in the world of thought. Many ideals fell and new forms of confronting reality were opening pathways. Among them the secularization of Christian values and loss of faith in God can be highlighted. The Christian faith was threatened by frankly hostile ideologies. As much for Marxist thought as for Positivism, the progress of human history made religion unnecessary. For Irrationalism and Existentialism everything appeared to fluctuate. In the same era the cohesiveness of physics and classical mechanics was tottering. In effect, at the beginning of the 20th century, the development experienced with science and technology had been spectacular. The revolution consummated in the field of physics--thanks to the formulation of quantum mechanics by Max Planck and the Theory of Relativity of Albert Einstein--posited new questions for human reflection and revived profound variations in the philosophical conception of the world: The physics of the 19th century, and all the philosophy based upon it, rested on two fundamental assumptions: it was supposed that there were ultimate and indestructible physical entities, the atoms. A strict determinism was assumed, a strict causal chain that never would be broken of all natural processes. It was considered that matter was the final and simplest existing element, and they tried to explain all remaining phenomena starting from that. All those suppositions were shaken at the beginning of the century.(33) Throughout the length of the 20th century a new discipline, the Philosophy of Science, notably influenced as much the evolution of thought as specifically scientific activity. Science and current thought could not be understood without keeping in mind the recent approaches of the Philosophy of Science. This discipline generated a set of reflections, of rules and of criteria that have served to evaluate the activity performed by the scientists, especially in that regarding the value of the scientific theories and the reach of the methods that each science used. The Philosophy of Science asked, therefore, about which methodology the scientists used, how they defended their theses, in what the development and evolution of the sciences consisted, what was the nature of hypothesis, of the laws, of scientific explanations, etc. The Philosophy of Science was the fundamental preoccupation of so-called Logical Positivism or Neopositivism. Logical Positivism emerged in an epoch of important scientific changes, among them those that highlighted Einstein's formulation of the Theory of Relativity, the birth of quantum mechanics and the mathematical formulation of logic, linked by Boole to set theory. Neopositivism was born in Europe essentially thanks to the so-called Vienna Circle. Later it extended itself throughout Germany, giving origin to the Logical School of Berlin, and through Poland, where the Logical School of Warsaw was created. During the Twenties, upon the apparition of Nazism, many of the thinkers who formed part of this movement emigrated to the United States, founding the Chicago Circle. Participating in them were, among others, the sociologist Otto Neurath, the mathematician Hans Hahn and the physicist Philip Frank. The objective of these meetings was to formulate a Philosophy of Science based on the Ernst Mach's idea that science was primarily the description of sensory experience. In the year 1922, Moritz Schlick was invited to Vienna as a professor and later, in 1926, it was Carnap as a professor of Philosophy who would soon become the central figure of the group. In short and in an official manner, the movement was consolidated with the reunions of the Ernst Mach Society beginning in 1928 and was presented in public in 1929, with the name "Vienna Circle." Against the idealism so much in fashion during those times, Logical Positivism implied, first of all, a return to the epistemological postulates of Empiricism. On one hand, following Comte and the empiricists, the logical positivists maintained that knowledge had to be based upon experience. On the other, the qualification "logical," applied to Positivism, was a consequence of the influence that modern mathematical logic had in this movement. Undoubtedly, one of the factors that contributed most to the triumph of Empiricism was the discredit suffered by the idealist thesis, especially as a consequence of the development of modern symbolic logic on the part of authors like Frege, Hilbert, Russell, and others. For Neopositivism, logic supplied a coherent and solid tool to the science capable of guaranteeing that scientific discourse would be sufficiently clear and free of ambiguities. For the neopositivists, only two types of propositions had a scientific character: for one, the tautological propositions of logic and of mathematics and, for another, empirical propositions susceptible of verification through experience. Consequently, for them, metaphysical judgments like theological or religious judgments lacked meaning. The project of the logical empiricists of the Vienna Circle can be summarized in the attempt to formally reconstruct the language of science so as to ensure its validity and thus establish the differences from other forms of knowledge. Logical Positivism started from the assumption that the language of science was capable of reproducing, in a precise form, the world of facts. In accordance with this supposition, Neopositivism defended a cumulative vision of the history of science. Scientific progress consisted, for them, in a constant accumulation of discoveries that progressively brought man ever closer to the truth. For the logical positivists, the structure of science had to have an empirical basis strongly seated in experience. In reality--so the neopositivists claimed--the goal of science was to derive, starting from experience, some laws that would serve to explain the functioning of the natural world. In this way, scientific theories, grounded in and confirmed by experience, allowed one to understand and explain reality following an axiomatic system like that propounded by logic. Neopositivism thus offered a normative vision more than descriptive science. That is to say, it presented a model to which all scientific knowledge should adhere more than inquiry into what the form and actual process were that scientists used and had used throughout history in their research. Just as had occurred with Cartesian Rationalism, their programmatic ideal was to create a science unified by an altogether common and universal method. Logical Positivism was openly criticized for having forgotten the social and historical aspects that permeated all scientific knowledge. After the dominance of the logical Empiricism of the Vienna Circle, the Philosophy of Science underwent profound changes. In fact, in the Fifties and Sixties, some authors like Quine, Putnam, Toulmin, and Wittgenstein carried out a profound critique of the neopositivist conception of science. Originally related to the so-called Vienna Circle, Karl Raymond Popper soon distanced himself from the basic postulates of the neopositivist focus. Karl Popper was born in the city of Vienna, on the 28th of July in 1902. His father was the lawyer and Jewish historian Simón Popper. His mother was professionally dedicated to music. The intellectual and artistic environment considerably influenced the young Karl, up to the point of himself having wanted to become a musician. The religious atmosphere in which he developed also left a marked imprint in him. It is important to note that, being Jewish in origin, the Popper family converted to Christianity, Karl's parents having integrated themselves into a Lutheran community before the birth of their children. His eagerness for knowledge led him to matriculate as a student in the University of Vienna, receiving the doctorate in the year 1928 with a thesis on The Methodological Question in the Psychology of Thought. After a confrontation with the Positivism of the Vienna Circle, Popper abandoned the Austrian capital in the year 1935, in order to relocate in London. Later, he was professor of Philosophy in University College of Christchurch, in New Zealand. Once the Second World War was over he returned to London in 1945, upon being called by the London School of Economics. In this prestigious University he would be professor of Logic and the Methodology of Science, directing the department in this discipline until the year 1969. On the 17th of September, 1994, at age 92, he died in London, one of the most distinguished thinkers of the 20th century. In his work The Logic of Scientific Investigation, Popper tries to establish a criterion of demarcation that would help distinguish and separate what should be considered as scientific from that which is not. In this sense, his rejection of Positivism is striking. The positivist has the conviction that in science are found the solution to all the ills of humanity. Knowledge of science is seen by the positivist position as something definitive and unalterable. In Popper's opinion, on the contrary, all knowledge, including the scientific, is fallible. Nowhere is it given to man to find absolute and immutable truths. The search for truth thus becomes an endless task, for while objective truths exist, human understanding is always provisional. For Popper "science is knowledge of the universe formulated through explanatory principles sustained by empirical observation, and subject to the possibility of empirical refutation." According to Popper, the character of the scientific method does not consist in formulating hypotheses so that they may be confirmed by empirical cases--as the Vienna Circle held--but instead in producing generalizations which resist attempts at falsification. In other words, the scientific methodology consists in elaborating a type of hypothesis formulated in such a way that it could be empirically refuted. The scientific methodology must therefore follow a negative path, attempting to establish a criterion of falsification. Popper clearly affirms that an hypothesis is scientific if it can be submitted to testing, that is, the criterion that enables establishing whether a theory or proposition is scientific is its refutability. It is this supremacy of empirical refutation that distinguishes science from other cognitive activities of the human being. For Karl Popper, the place from which scientific theories emerge is at root a mystery. Scientific hypotheses, far from being petrified inflexible affirmations, seem more like humble conjectures which the scientist launches from the intimacy of her creative capacity. Very well, what remains sufficiently clear in Popperian thought is that one can never consider a scientific theory to have been completely demonstrated for every case, the most that can be affirmed of it is that there have not been experiments which contradict it, because for a theory to permit being considered scientific it must be susceptible to proof, that is, it must be vulnerable. Another distinguished philosopher of science was Ludwig Wittgenstein. He was not a member of the Vienna Circle but he frequently participated in their meetings. Wittgenstein, born in Austria in 1889 and dying in Cambridge in 1951, proposed to study the role of language in the theory of knowledge in general. In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein held that language had an eminently representative function. Wittgenstein's Tractatus had a decisive influence on the neopositivist thinkers. In his opinion, it was logical to suppose that a world existed "out there"; a world that was independent of the subject who thought about it, a world which, furthermore, could be adequately known and represented through words and linguistic propositions. On this point, his reasoning is peculiar and notably resembles Descartes, for in the Tractatus he wrote: If God creates a world in which certain propositions are true he also creates a world in which all the propositions that are derived from them are true.(34) However, with the passage of time, the Austrian philosopher's thought changed in radical fashion. In his work Philosophical Investigations, he presents a completely different concept of language. For this second Wittgenstein, the meaning of propositions and of different terms are determined not by their referential value, but by the use made of them in determinate situations or contexts. Just as occurs with a sporting event, language is governed by rules that originally are absolutely conventional but which, after having been accepted, bind the players. So then, in the same way that there exist many martial or sporting games, it is correct to state that there also exist a large quantity of language games. The main philosophical implication of this theory is that truth ceases being understood as a fitting of language to the real so as to redefine it as a function of its use. The true and the false is that which men say it is, for it is men who coincide in language. The second Wittgenstein intuits that, although all scientific questions might have an answer, the most important problems of our life will still remain to be resolved. In this manner, one of the consequences of the ideas formulated by the second Wittgenstein is the emergence, during the Seventies, of a new philosophy of scientific knowledge completely alien to the positivist tradition of the Circle of Vienna. During the years of the Sixties and Seventies, the so-called new philosophers of science brought forth an important historicist reaction against the neopositivist conception of the Vienna School. These new philosophers sustained an alternative notion as much of history as of the essence of scientific knowing. The principal representatives of this movement, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend, developed a diachronic vision of science, thus anticipating that which would be the social studies of the science. Later, towards the end of the Seventies and throughout the Eighties, this line of thought had clear continuation in the so-called semantic conceptions or theoretical models of science, whose fundamental proposition consisted in analyzing scientific theories in terms of models in place of doing so in terms of assertions or propositions. The most distinguished representative of this new philosophy was Thomas S. Kuhn, who criticized the model of the history of science which previously had been strong. In his opinion, the model proved false for, in it, the episodes of science were described in such a way as to be adequate to the assumptions and the conception of science defended by the historian himself. Kuhn's interest in the history of science emerged while he was preparing his doctoral thesis in the Physical Sciences. The publication of the book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in 1962, marked a decisive moment in the development of the Philosophy of Science. For him, scientific knowledge consisted essentially in the language pertaining to a specific community, the scientific community. Therefore, to understand it it was necessary not only to know their own language, but also the special characteristics of the group or the groups who created and used it. Kuhn criticized the positivist assumption that science progressed by accumulation, given that, on the contrary, science advanced by means of revolutions. To normal periods of science there followed epochs of crisis in the midst of which a scientific revolution or paradigm change could be produced. The concept of paradigm is fundamental to Kuhn's thought. A paradigm makes reference to that overall vision shared by the scientific community at a given moment. In a wide sense, a "paradigm" is seen as an achievement or experimental proceeding that serves as a research model at a determinate moment in history. In a more restricted sense we call a paradigm or disciplinary matrix that set of ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions which configure a science at an historical moment. A "scientific revolution" consists of a process of substitution of a scientific paradigm by another new one. For example, the substitution of Aristotle's physics with that of Galileo or the substitution of classical mechanics by Einstein's Theory of Relativity. A paradigm is what the members of a scientific community share and, reciprocally, a scientific community consists of persons who share a paradigm. As Kuhn himself writes: The members of a scientific community see themselves and are seen by others as men singularly responsible for prosecuting a set of shared objectives, including the preparation of their successors. Within such groups communication is relatively complete and the professional judgments relatively unanimous. Given that each paradigm produces its own theories and methods, it is impossible to find a neutral procedure that would serve to compare the value of a specific paradigm in relation to the others. Kuhn alludes to this situation saying that paradigms are incommensurable. For Kuhn, as we have said, science progresses not in a cumulative and gradual fashion, but by means of revolutions or paradigm shifts. There are periods of science, called "normal science," in which the scientists carry out their investigative tasks without major shocks. Yet, on some occasions, problems emerge to which the consecrated theories and methods have no answer to give. The discipline in question enters into a state of crisis that gives way, finally, to a scientific revolution capable of solving those problems. With the passage of time, the new paradigm appearing through the scientific revolution will enter in turn into crisis and be substituted by another new paradigm, and so on successively. The change of one paradigm to another is not due to a simple empirical or rational contestation of certain existing data because, in fact, no neutral point of theoretic observation exists within which one could check and test the validity of a theory. Scientific answers are relative to the social surrounding in which they take shape. Beginning with Kuhn's work, there began an unstoppable process of relativization of scientific understanding. A new discipline, the Sociology of Science, highlighted the sociohistorical aspects that entered into scientific work. Among the precursors of the Sociology of science L. Fleck stood out, who in his work Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact maintained that scientific creation was not an individual process, but instead a social activity carried out in the breast of a scientific community. The North American R. K. Merton demonstrated a profound interest in studying the ethical aspects of scientific practice, and C. W. Mills, the author of a work entitled Methodological Consequences of the Sociology of Knowledge, underlined the historical character of concepts as well as scientific proceedings. Imre Lakatos, for his part, stressed the importance of establishing criteria of demarcation, that is, establishing some criteria which might serve to decide what it was that might be considered scientific as against the not scientific. In his proposition he had in mind the communitarian grounding of observation. Lakatos emphasized the fact that all generalizations which science made, that is to say their hypotheses and theories, never were evaluated in isolation. Such that, scientific research programs included a combination of an hypothesis and a series of methodological rules that specified which lines of development should be followed and which avoided. And finally, Paul Feyerabend, defender of an anarchist theory of knowledge, opposed the superstitious veneration of science in a radical way. In his opinion, modern science had no features that would make it superior to and different from, for example, voodoo or astrology. Thanks to this new scientific cultural relativism, the authority as much as the prestige that scientific knowledge had enjoyed in other eras began to go up in smoke. BEYOND LIBERTY AND DIGNITY If the 19th century can well be considered as the century of the emergence of Scientific Psychology--especially by virtue of the work of Wundt--the 20th century is considered as the century of the expansion of psychology and of the confrontation among the different psychological schools or systems. Among these psychological schools Psychoanalysis and the Gestalt School occupy a distinguished place. Both psychological schools had their origin in the Germano-Austrian environment at the end of the 19th century and both underwent a parallel development and growth. If Psychoanalysis experienced a great expansion in Europe and in the United States after the first World War, the greatest flowering of Gestalt Psychology took place during the Twenties and at the beginning of the Thirties, namely until the arrival of National Socialism in the year 1933. Before North American Behaviorism--fundamentally centered upon the objective and experimental study of human conduct--both German schools were represented in the model of a mentalist Psychology. Before the mentalist Psychology defended by Psychoanalysis and Gestalt, Behaviorism wanted to make Psychology an absolutely objective science in its method as well as in its object of study. In this way, instead of analyzing internal psychological processes, it considered the object of study for psychology to be conduct, understood as the observable connection between a stimulus and a response. Behaviorism, founded by J. B. Watson, had one of its most radical exponents in B. F. Skinner. Skinner was born in Pennsylvania and he lived and developed in an era when nurture had many adherents. This North American psychologist was one of the principal and most radical defenders of Behaviorism and deepened it in its methods as much as in the theoretical system Watson initiated. As a professor in the Universities of Minnesota, of Indiana and Harvard, he introduced notable changes into the current behavioralist psychology, especially regarding the importance he conceded to reinforcement of spontaneous conduct through the use of rewards and punishments. The North American author was a notable writer who, in addition to themes of psychology, approached the most varied topics in his writings. Beginning in 1948 he commenced a period of great productivity and thematic diversity, even going so far as to write a novel titled Walden Two, in which he depicted the application of the techniques of instrumental conditioning to the control of a utopian society. This social reflection had its continuation in books such as Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) and Reflections on Behaviorism and Society (1978). In his work Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Skinner expounded the supposed theoretic fundamentals that, in his opinion, ruled the human cultural world. The fundamental characteristic of this work was the application of the theoretical assumptions of Behaviorism to the explication of human society, and the fundamental thesis defended in it was that, by remodeling the environment, it was possible to bring about a more effective social transformation than reverting to the scientifically indemonstrable metaphysical underpinnings of freedom and dignity. This was one of his latest works and it launched an intellectual polemic with Noam Chomsky, who criticized Skinner's postulates in the writing called The Case against B. F. Skinner. Other important works by Skinner were Verbal Conduct, Science and Human Conduct and On Behaviorism. Skinner proposed to achieve a scientific explanation of human conduct, for which he had to eliminate as explanatory factors all that which might not result in being susceptible to an intersubjective observation. Having delimited this new conceptual domain--that of operant behavior--and having developed new methodological tools--the operant conditioning box--Skinner proposed to make psychology a science of behavior. Skinner asserted a kind of behaviorism that he called Radical Behaviorism. Radical Behaviorism is distinguished from the rest of the neobehaviorisms in that it only admitted the existence of one sort of facts: physical facts. This idea--which had already been posited by Watson-- was broadened by Skinner to the social plane of social engineering. What Skinner was at root positing was a technology that might permit predicting and controlling human actions. For this psychologist, all conduct followed an apprenticeship and should be analyzed in terms of stimulus and response. This current ignored the mental factors that could be motives, the desires or emotions, and focused on studying only the observable. The environment was that which determined all behavior, including aggressive behavior. Consequently, for Skinner, heredity had for him no significative value, for behavior was essentially something learned in the interaction of the organism with the surroundings. Skinner's behavioral theory was clearly environmentalistic. For the Behaviorist, the autonomous agent to whom behavior had been attributed is replaced by the environment. Nothing in common nor anything internal existed in the human being that might explain his conduct. For him, behavior was something learned and, as such, conditioned and educationally reinforced. All behavior was fundamentally learned by means of operant conditioning. To modify behavior, Skinner proposed the use of rewards and punishments. Reinforcement increased the possibility that the behavior should recur in being executed, while punishments diminished that probability, thus if it was true that our behavior depended upon our surroundings, it was no less so that with our conduct we could change it and so obtain a more open and less punitive society. The behaviorist project of a better controlled and directed society was thus made blatant in Skinner's psychology but, in the event that that project were viable, ethical questions would remain open concerning who controlled the controller and regarding who it was that determined, with a scientific and experimental method, not how the human being was "in fact," but how she "should be." STRUCTURALISM Structuralism took another step in the process of the dehumanization of the world begun by the reductionist ideologies and the schematic visions which, like Behaviorism, tried to explicate mankind from the dogmatic grandiloquence of a quite narrow science. In the case of Structuralism, that which stopped being important was the individual man. The structuralist philosophy thus completely abandoned the study of the human subject so as to focus on the analysis and the organization of the different sciences, especially the Social Sciences. If with Nietzsche God had died, with the structuralist philosophy the mortal hour had reached to man. The Swiss philosopher Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) is considered to be the father of Linguistic Structuralism. This author exercised a decisive influence upon a multitude of linguists through the courses he gave at L'École des Hautes Études in Paris and, above all, at the University of Geneva. Two of his students, Bally and Séchehaye, in the year 1916, published their Course in General Linguistics beginning with notes taken at Saussure's lectures. This work is considered the starting point for modern linguistics. In it, Ferdinand de Saussure understands language as a system comprised of a set of organized and categorized elements which exercise different functions according to a fixed hierarchy. For him, language is a system in which all the terms are united in mutual support and where the meaning of each and every one of the system's elements depends on the simultaneous presence of the others. The closed character of the Saussurian linguistic system is apparent, for in it the value of signs depends not upon their links to exterior reality, but the relation that is established among the set of linguistic signifiers. In this way linguistic unities acquire their value as a function of their relationship with the rest. Therefore, scientific study of language should avoid all reference as much to metaphysics, that is, to study of the reality of being, as to psychology, interested only in intentionality and in the internal processes produced in the mind of the speaker. Thus, to analyze a text, it will be important to distinguish between the deep structure and the superficial structure, precisely the infrastructure being a universal and invariable form that underlies the concrete phenomenon of speech and which explains its reality. To be able to account for the variations that exist in the language, Saussure introduces the distinction between language and speech. In his Course in General Linguistics he writes: The study of language comprises, then, two parts: one, essential, has as its object the language, which is in essence social and independent of the individual - this study is solely psychic; the other, secondary, has as object the individual part of language, that is, speech, including pronunciation, and is psycho-physical.(35) Language is the set of verbal images warehoused in all the speaking individuals of a determinate social group. It thus is a system of the community and thereby possesses a collective dimension. Language, then, is an abstract system, intersubjective and invariable, while speech has an essentially individual dimension, which consists of the concrete and personal realizations produced within communication. What is novel in structuralist thought is justly the first, that is to say, the autonomous structure of the language. In this fashion, not only does the author of a text disappear at the moment of studying a text, but that Saussure would suppress, as equally unnecessary, all reference to the history that has given origin to the formation of the text. An important distinction of Structuralism is that which is established between diachronicity and synchronicity within the linguistic system, as Saussure writes: Everything is synchronistic which refers to the static aspect of our science, and everything diachronic which relates to its evolutions. In the same manner synchronicity and diachronicity shall designate respectively a state of language and a phase of evolution.(36) Although both visions, the synchronic and the diachronic are equally necessary for linguistic study, Saussure gives primacy to the study of the synchronic since, for him, it is only possible to begin the analysis of a language's evolution when diverse states of the language throughout its history are known, that is to say, after carrying out the synchronistic description of that language during one concrete period of time. Clearly, Structuralism is a method that interests itself in, above all, the synchronic in the text. In practice it avoids, in this way, all reference to the history of the text, its genesis and its author's intentionality. Thus: Structuralism is blind to the history of the genesis of the text (the diachronic) so as to focus on the text itself such as it is actually found before us (the synchronic). It leaves the author of the text on a separate plane, in which meaning is produced by some combinations or keyboard sets reducible to fixed structures in the logic of the text.(37) Claude Lévi-Strauss dedicated himself to applying the structural analysis to the study of anthropology. The formation of his thought benefited as much from the influences of the linguist Roman Jakobson as the approaches of Marxism and of Psychoanalysis. Lévi-Strauss always claimed for his work the materialist and determinist inspiration of Marxism. Nevertheless, in his anthropological works, the center of his research was focused more on the "intellectual" dimension of cultural representations than the study of the economic infrastructure, understanding the latter as a fundamental determinant of men's lives. In his anthropological works, Lévi-Strauss makes evident the existence of constant relations and structures that underlie the great diversity and complexity of the different social systems. His ethnology consists in discovering, through the empirical analysis of the elements which comprise a social structure, the nature of the latter. One should especially emphasize his work on parenting systems. According to Lévi-Strauss social phenomena must be understood as systems of communication; in fact, he defines anthropology as a semiotic science based upon the notion of "significance." In this manner, he understands that parenting systems constitute a type of language. For him, the symbolic level is the authentic basis of the real and, therefore, following the postulates of Sausurrian Structuralism, he considers the role of the subject to be irrelevant to scientific study, while what is truly important are the symbolic structures that underlie social phenomena and are capable of explaining them. Beyond empirical diversity, human particularities and the variability of societies, anthropological study should arrive at the discovery of the invariable structures that explain them. For this reason, Lévi-Strauss holds that "the ultimate goal of the human sciences is not to constitute man, but to dissolve him"(38). THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL If Marxism was born as a critique of the first industrial society, Marx's followers had to face up to the explanation of the new social order generated by the triumph of Capitalism. Both the theorists of political economy (Ricardo and Adam Smith) as well as Marx and his followers recognized the profound contradictions implicit in the nascent Capitalism and denounced and prophesied the nefarious consequences deducible from such contradictions. Nevertheless, with the passage of the years, Capitalism not only did not disappear, but instead was ever gaining more strength and geographical extension. In this context, the Frankfurt School represented a group of thinkers gathered together at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt whose work centered, above all, on reflection concerning the problems suggested by post- industrial society. Distinguished philosophers of this school were: Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Jürgen Habermas, and Herbert Marcuse. Herbert Marcuse, the paradigmatic thinker of this movement, was born in Berlin in 1898. He dedicated his first work to the study of Hegel, which was published in 1932 with the title Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity. He lived in the United States, becoming a professor at Columbia University. His political position was clear, openly defining himself in favor of Cuba and against the war in Vietnam. His critique of bourgeois society and of Capitalism also caused him to adhere to the emancipatory causes of the Third World. Until the moment when the famous student revolts of the Sixties were produced, Marcuse's work was accomplished in the shadow of the great figures of the Frankfurt School but, starting at that moment, Herbert Marcuse came to be decorated not only by the student left, but by what had come to be called the "political Movement of the new left." Dalmasso, summarizing his thought, has written: The Marcusean humanist inspiration presents itself with a certain theoretical density, presenting to us a concept of an idealist subject with an existentialist strain. Liberation from alienation and from exploitation for him will not be entrusted to the change in material structures of production but instead to the inspiration towards liberty which the individual should retain in the new socialist society.(39) The work of Marcuse abounds in the critique of western Capitalism and of its attempted legitimations. In his most famous work, One-Dimensional Man, he denounced the oppression extant in the technologically advanced societies. For him, the dominion of technology in industrial society has resulted in a society without opposition. In it, the terrible power of technology worked against man himself mutilating him in essence, reducing him to a one-dimensional being. The irrationality of industrial society thus annihilated human liberty and destroyed the personality. The signs of rationalization of production invading all spheres of existence provoked, at every step, the unconditional submission of man. According to Marcuse, technology furthermore eliminated all forms of opposition not only because it depersonalized man, but because it integrated and socialized him into a bureaucracy planned for the service of production. That implied the uniformization of the modes of thinking, and the objectives and aspirations of the human being. Marcuse believed that this repressive society could be overcome. Marcuse proposed to liberate man from his reduction to a single dimension causing him to recover the other dimensions of his life and to freely exercise them. Mankind, to be authentic and happy, must be multi-dimensional. Towards this, Marcuse proposed the utopia of a more free and happy society in the face of North American Capitalism, in which desired consumption was united with the oppression of man and with barbarism. Indeed, he thought that the utopia of a non-repressive and non-manipulative society had stopped being an unrealizable dream. Marcuse spoke of rupture with the historical continuum, and rising to the defense of personal freedom, he declared himself in favor of open rejection of the existing society and an unconditional defender of the utopia of a better world. Erich Fromm (1900-1980) was another famed thinker who also belonged to the Frankfurt school. For Fromm, man was a dual being torn between reason and conscience. This internal contradiction brought him to seek a solution to the human problem that would do justice to both realities. In principle, for him there were only two possible outcomes: one of them would be to eliminate the problem through negation of the qualities of reason and love, that is to say, of the highest part of the human being, thus limiting existence to the pre-human; the other would consist in integrating the two elements of the personality, love and reason, so as to arrive at harmony with others and with nature. According to Fromm, the first outcome would be condemned to failure because it led to suffering and destruction; the second, being more difficult because it would require eliminating avarice and egocentrism, would be the only one capable of leading the human being to a worthy life. For Fromm, man possessed a nature that imposed certain social duties upon him in order to be happy. Yet, along with this, Fromm thought that human evils derived precisely from the fact that society imposed the values of acquisition on man, that is, required of man the goal of accumulating material goods. As against the value of having, Fromm proposed to increase the values of being, that is, of enrichment of the personality. A being would have as their objective to identify with others and so attain happiness, indicating that man arrives at being one with the world. In this way Fromm developed an ethic in which love was given as the culmination of social activities given that, according to him, in love one may find the only response to human nature. HERMENEUTICS The science of interpretation receives the name of "Hermeneutics." This name derives from the Greek verb hermeneuo which means "to explain, translate or interpret a text"; it seems that the root of this word is related to the god Hermes who, according to Greek mythology, was the inventor of language and writing. In a broad sense, the word hermeneutics refers as much to the art as to the theory of interpreting texts to determine their true meaning; it is important to note that, in this sense, although hermeneutics refers directly to written texts, its use can also be extended to everything that could be considered as a text; for example, Oneiric history or symbology. Hermeneutics therefore, in a general sense, has to do with the determination of the meaning of signs which, in one way or another, express a thought. Hermeneutics is thus the general science of interpretation. In recent years, Hermeneutics took on a considerable importance. With Schleiermacher, Dilthey and Heidegger hermeneutics acquired a philosophical dimension that was later developed by thinkers of the stature of Gadamer, Ricoeur, Apel, and Habermas. Speaking from a strictly methodological point of view, Hermeneutics is important as much for the philosopher as for the philologist, as much for the jurist as for the theologian, because it protects the reader from error and partiality. For Gadamer, to understand is not only to appropriate a transmitted opinion or to recognize what is consecrated by tradition. For him, hermeneutics is the art of understanding and, more concretely, the art of understanding oneself. To exist is to understand or interpret oneself in the world. A continuer of the work of the second Heidegger, his work begins with the study of Art and posits the concept of experience in an existential mode. From this viewpoint, Gadamer attempts to achieve an ontology of art and, for that, he asks concerning the truth of artistic work: can any type of knowledge be given through art, does truth exist in art? In this analysis, the game appears as the connecting thread of the ontological explanation. Gadamer observes the primacy of the game over the player, where somehow to play is to be played. Something similar occurs with texts, in which each reader gives their own interpretation of the text from the optics of their personal horizon, as much past as future. For this reason, before the position extolled by the Enlightenment philosophers who defended a reason free from all dogmatic external ties, Gadamer proposes the rehabilitation of the prejudices and the authority of tradition: That which beneath the rubric of an absolute self-construction of reason is presented as a limiting prejudice, in truth forms a part of the same historical reality. If one wants to do justice to man's mode of being finite and historical it is necessary to carry out a drastic rehabilitation of the concept of prejudice and recognize that legitimate prejudices exist. With that the central question of a hermeneutics that wishes to be historically true, its key epistemological problem, becomes formulable: Upon what can the legitimacy of prejudices be based? What distinguishes legitimate prejudices from all the innumerable prejudices whose surpassing represents the unquestionable task of all critical reason?(40) This assertion necessarily implies that all interpretation is always found necessarily immersed in the circle of opinion, and it is impossible to escape it, as the philosophers of the Enlightenment had attempted. Gadamer thus establishes the value of tradition as the conducting thread that unites the original author of the text with the interpreter. According to him, the historical being of man is determined by the tradition that has constituted him and not only by the selection of what everyone chooses in a purely rational form. Each generation reinterprets the text. Therefore, to interpret is to insert oneself in a process of historically conditioned tradition simultaneously conditioning the successive readings of the texts. In Truth and Method Gadamer writes: Here too we see confirmed that to understand means primarily understanding oneself in the thing, and only secondarily to emphasize and understand the other's opinion as such. Thus the first of all the hermeneutic conditions is the pre-comprehension that emerges from having to deal with the same matter. From that one determines what can be considered the unitary meaning, and in consequence the application of the anticipation of perfection.(41) Since the relation that man maintains with the world is a linguistic relation, Gadamer maintains that that which can be understood has an articulation in the language. And from there, that language will be the medium in which the hermeneutic experience is realized; he concludes, therefore, with the primacy of the text over the author. In the text there has been produced a sort of self-estrangement. For this reason, no text can have a definitive and universally valid interpretation. Every text is historically interpreted from the concrete position of the history as much of the author as of the interpreter. The philosopher Paul Ricoeur has been considered as one of the most important thinkers of the second half of the 20th century. An heir as much of the philosophies of Hegel, of Nietzsche and of Heidegger as of Psychoanalysis and Structural Linguistics, Ricoeur will propose to open new roads in the exposition of the hermeneutic problem. Ricoeur will attempt an integration of hermeneutics and epistemology, and will claim that the place where their encounter takes place is, precisely, Existentialism. For him, Hermeneutics has an essentially reflexive, philosophical and dialogic character; thus he writes: Hermeneutics seems to me moved by this double underpinning: will to suspect and will to listen; today we are those persons who have not finished causing their idols to die and who barely begin to understand symbols.(42) Ricoeur's philosophy can be characterized, then, as a place of reflection, of encounter and integration with the thought of the most varied traditions. For this author, to interpret is to decode the hidden meaning in the apparent meaning. Indeed, according to this French thinker, all knowledge, including that which the person herself has of themself, is subject to this symbolic mediation. In fact, language is a condition of possibility for the "I," without whose mediation the "I" could neither conceive nor think of itself. The human reality is, in this fashion and in a very profound sense, a linguistic reality. Profoundly interested in the study of religious language in general, and of Biblical revelation in particular, Paul Ricoeur takes a step beyond Gadamer upon entering the terrain of Biblical interpretation and indicating the importance of the enrichment produced by the multiplicity of factors that intervene in the hermeneutic process. The Hermeneutics of Ricoeur is opposed to the subjectivistic notion of those who claim that interpretation is, before everything, a search for congeniality between the soul of the author and that of the reader: To this frequently impossible search, always disorienting, for a hidden intention behind the work, I counterpoise a search that is directed towards the world manifested before the work.(43) Literature thus is, for Ricoeur, a venue par excellence for the interpretation of human existence. The study of myth and symbolism, the study of poetic and religious language and, especially, the study of the Bible, are for Ricoeur, the principal axes on which his thought is articulated. THE CHALLENGES OF POSTMODERNITY Humanism--begun in the Renaissance of the 16th century--had meant the exaltation of man. The Reformation, for its part, assumed an emphasis on the responsibility of the individual conscience before God. Later, with Rationalism and Empiricism, the 17th century generated the triumph of reason and human knowledge above all other forms of knowing. The Enlightenment, lastly, signaled the culmination of this entire secularizing process started during the Renaissance and the definitive enthroning of the Goddess Reason. Mankind had managed, at last, to abstain from all irrational prejudice, which seemed to be the great achievement of this large period called "Modernity." Reason had the absolute capability of judging everything, of grounding everything. Reason was, without doubt, the measure of everything. It shall suffice as an example to cite the title of a significant work by Kant: Religion within the Limits of Reason; this, up to the 18th century. Throughout the length of the 19th and 20th centuries absolute reason, pure reason, all-powerful reason entered into crisis. Nietzsche had simply believed that reason was the human illness. For Marx it was not reason, man's conscience, that determined social reality, but instead it was social reality which determined man's consciousness. Reality was prior to and more important than thought. What was important was not the rational truth but to change the conditions of life. With Freud, reason or conscience was a very small part of the human psyche. Man was, above all, unconscious desire. With the end of the communist experience and the fall of the Iron Curtain not only came the end of the egalitarian and uniformed utopias of Marxism, yet it also resulted in a profound disinterest in the great philosophical, intellectual and political questions. A global Capitalism had triumphed which reached everyone and controlled everything. The high ideals of social justice gave way to production and consumption, at the same time that a powerful skepticism invaded all the domains of knowledge. In the so-called "global village," man had stopped being the object and subject of thought in order to become a consumer. Already beginning with the decade spanning from 1960 to 1970, as a result of Kuhn's works and of the Sociology of Science, one had also begun to question the fundamentals of that same scientific knowledge. Science ceased considering itself as purely objective and morally neutral understanding and began to see itself as a social production inseparable from values and from ideologies. To this epistemological pessimism were united profound social, economic and ecological changes that came to call into question the goodness, the inevitability and the idea itself of progress. Enlightenment reason had entered into crisis. A new way of understanding things had been born, Postmodernity had been born. Authors like Deleuze, Derrida, Lacan, Kristeva, Latour, Lyotard, Virilio, Baudrillard represent the triumph of this movement. With them, philosophy stopped dreaming of a totalizing project that might encompass and unify all truth and reality. Pure truth had disappeared leaving space for interpretation; a postmodern hermeneutics in which interpretation is always a function of the prejudices of the interpreter. For the deconstructionists--an important movement within Postmodernism-- reality was a social construction. For them, the true and the false were constituted via a game of power. The Enlightenment had proposed to disengage itself from the malign influence of tradition, of superstition and of belief in the search for truth. As the inheritance of Freud, Nietzsche and Marx, reason no longer conceived of itself as unique and, consequently, now could not affirm the existence of one truth, but instead many. These truths conflicted and confronted one another not in the Enlightenment game of logic, but instead in the more obscure domains of power and desire. Thus, the postmodern man today lives fragmented into a multiplicity of identities struggling among themselves. All is relative and nothing can be grounded in reason. It is the epoch of no rules and, not only is everything valid, but everything is equally valid in any domain, whether it be ethics, or aesthetics... Nothing can be grounded. All beliefs are equal, since theology and dogmatism as the basis of faith are worthless. Reason has nothing to say to faith. The time has arrived of man and the world without foundation, of humankind light. It is noteworthy of course that, in full Postmodernity and under the auspices of criticism and the most severe religious disenchantment, superstition, astrology, occultism, the most varied forms of religion from Gnostic asceticism to the cult of Satan have extended themselves everywhere and have their space, not only reduced sectarian spaces but in the mass communication media themselves, press, radio and television, where daily horoscopes or astrological consultations, spiritualists and who knows how many other forms of magical paraphernalia are not lacking. The cause of this so- called "archaic inversion of modernity" can be sought in the great crisis of traditional values that was produced as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. In effect, as a reaction to the disenchantment of the world produced by the legacy of positivist thought and by modernity, contemporary man has returned his gaze towards spiritual themes drawing, on occasion, upon occultist and even magical sources. Will Durant skilfully explains this contemporary social phenomenon: In the midst of the development of a popular culture without precedents, ignorance has flourished and has offered its prototypes for guiding the great cities of the world; in the midst of a prestige and unprecedented coronation of science, every day brings forth new religions and old superstitions reconquer the territory they had lost. Present-day man is seen obliged to choose between a scientific priesthood that resounds with unintelligible pessimism and a theological priesthood which involves incredible hopes.(44) VALUATION OF CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT At the beginnings of the 20th century the European universities, full of students, enjoyed a recognized prestige. Old Europe was, still, the center of reference for the sciences, arts and letters. Beginning with the second World War, the United States and the Soviet Union took the baton. Philosophy entered into crisis. It seemed as if God had died. The war now was not against God, but against Them. Some versus others. It was not a war of bombs and fire, and for lack of a better term they decided to call it the "Cold War." Thought gave way to the dollar. And the arms race caused the knowledge race to become a race crazed by power. Reason had divided into two. The reason of the East and the reason of the West. Communism versus Capitalism. What is curious in this case is that, in this so prosaic situation, God would not cease being a problem. Contemporary man, the man of the 19th and 20th centuries, has not been, was far from being, a man indifferent to God. Whenever possible, starting with the 19th century and until the arrival of Postmodernity, God has been questioned, re- questioned and questioned again endlessly by a huge multitude of thinkers. The perspectives have been multicolored. Yet God, the God of western culture, juxtaposed and mixed into the collage of the contemporary era, has not been erased from the map. We have, for example, atheism in its multiple variants. For some, the contents of faith are irrational and therefore should be held as false and consequently rejected. Others deny God not because they consider a Supreme Being not to exist, but because that becomes irrelevant for their lives. For many of them God not only is useless, but also is even an obstacle for the development and exercise of human liberty. The atheist Existentialism of Sartre, for example, defends this position. Other atheisms use reason to more rationally justify their posture, affirming that God should not exist being an idea elaborated by the human mind. Authors as conscientious as Hume, Nietzsche or Feuerbach argue in this direction. God is the psychological projection of an ideal father, Freud maintained. For Freud religion was simply an illusion, an infantile vision of reality. At root, for the father of Psychoanalysis, the idea of God was nothing but the glorification of the paternal figure. Religion did not entirely liberate man from blame but instead, more likely, generated in him a state of neurosis. God does not exist--say the Marxists--being a creation of the dominant classes so as to continue maintaining exploitation and injustice. Many reasons, thousands of reasons, to affirm that God does not exist. Yet, at bottom, no demonstration. God does not exist. God cannot exist. I cannot believe that God might exist. This believing, at root, continues being a question of faith. It is a starting point or a goal at which to arrive, is a supposition or an assumption or, perhaps, simply an intuition. God does not exist. It may be a certainty, but is it by any chance a truth? Just as had occurred with the Empiricism of the modern epoch, the neopositivists set out to ground science upon a solid base that might permit clearly separating it from all metaphysical speculation. Beginning from experience and using logical induction as well as deduction, the scientists would elaborate their theories. For them, all scientific hypotheses and all prediction to be considered valid should hold to the criterion of empirical refutation. Now then, religious, metaphysical or theological propositions in principle lacked empirical testability and consequently should have been rejected. In reality, religious language lacked meaning for it neither held strictly to the laws of logic nor was based on any fact that might be the object of empirical corroboration. A new form of religious critique had been born. What was now put in question was not the human capacity to determine the existence or not of the object of theological study, but the very possibility of religious language had entered into crisis. The analytical study of language thus presented itself as a question prior to the elucidation of any philosophic or theological problem. The adoption of any form of knowledge necessarily should have been preceded by a clarification of the validity of that which might underlie its pronouncements. It then was asked, how can these have meaning, that is, by virtue of what assumptions do the different assertions have meaning? To what do they refer? How can they be verified? The human being cannot rationally make pronouncements in this respect, which is what is unequivocally maintained by so-called Neopositivism. One cannot have certain knowledge concerning questions that remain outside the limits of human rationality. We do not know nor can we really know anything regarding these questions. Whether God exists or does not exist, some believe that, come what may, religion is over. Religion and God are things of the past. Without a doubt, science, the wisdom of the engineers and of the doctors will make the world happier. God has no say in it. It suffices only to cast a glance at the world surrounding us to contemplate the amazing progress to which science has led us. Despite the tragic disgrace of having to serve the machines instead of the machines serving us, despite the ecological and cultural destruction of our planet, Positivism continues to hold that religious beliefs are nothing more than a previous phase of authentic and definitive knowledge, which is scientific knowledge. Where scientific explanation reaches, faith is left over. Epicurus, the old Epicurus had affirmed many centuries ago that "for me science which is not capable of curing the ills of the soul lacks all absolute value." To say that something is "religious" is like referring to something which is already refuted and surpassed. In fact, thinking, philosophizing, reasoning, do not have much value for Positivism. What is important are the facts. To speak of God is to construct castles in the air. Neopositivism, for example, considers it absurd to even posit the problem of the existence of God, for we cannot even understand that which the proposition "God exists" means. In truth, neither "God" nor "existence" are words that have, let us say, a "very clear" meaning. They are philosophical concepts, abstract, unobservable, and philosophy, as we know, is something of the past. In this many fundamentalist theologians concur with the most severe Positivism: one need not "bell the cat" nor "obsess about the matter." It is not worth the trouble. The question is to choose. To renew faith, to renew belief. In my opinion, there is a disorder that especially affects contemporary society, the defect of superficiality. Modern man is incapable of reflecting in a radical manner, that is, going to the root of things. Modern man is a seeker of quick recipes, specializing in receiving foreign information and swallowing it. We have before us the credulous man, the man who does not know the word "examine," the man who has lost the fundamental notion of many things, who has lost happiness and who has lost values, who has lost God and who has lost hope. Yet, among all the losses, there is one loss that he feels as the most tragic, the loss of himself. And it continues to be lost. We do not deal here with a problem exclusive to the non-believing person. The lack of depth is sufficiently generalized so as to affect all those who travel on the train of hurriedness and immediate successes. It is a shame that in the Christian churches as well we have bought tickets for this voyage. "Do not think, believe" is not solely a political or commercial slogan, but also shows a certain type of evangelistic spirit. One might well offer the case wherein following this method new churches of the credulous are born, but that never will be the same as the birth of new churches of believers. The believer examines her faith and lives it. The credulous believe what they believe and believe that it lives. "Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psalms 119:97). What a tremendous error it would be to reduce the meditation to the realization of a concrete activity, when what it fundamentally means is to express a permanent attitude. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, not sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalms 1:1-2). There is need therefore, also for the believer, of a new transformation of what is most necessary and what is most urgent. It concerns the transformation of the mind. The mind should be subject to God. One cannot change life without transforming the mind. The mind is not only a patient subject to life but is, above all, an active subject. The quality of spiritual life has much to do with thought. The Bible says: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). It thereby becomes insufficient to only think about Christ at punctuated moments. What would happen with the rest of the thoughts that flow within consciousness? The true Christian is not she who, from time to time or even with a certain frequency, thinks in Christ. The genuine Christian has Christ-centric thinking, may consider the most varied questions, but one's Savior is always present there for he is Lord of one's mind. It does not mean the negation of thought, but tries to redirect it to Christ, as the apostle Paul wrote, "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2d Corinthians 10:5). Our sickly, unjust and decadent western culture, with all its technology, its sciences, its humanities, its values and fundamental rights, did not emerge from a sterile vacuum by spontaneous generation. It was formed and grew and grows in the chrysalis of history, in a cauldron of dialogue and war, in a place of encounters and departures, in a space of joys and tears. It seems a generalized fact that existing man is lost, that he does not find explanations, that he does not know where to go and is in a great hurry to arrive "nowhere." Yet that is normal, for we know that without faith all meaning is obscured. But this faith is historical, the message of Christ's revelation in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4). Christ came to this world to renew it. The affirmation that an absolute and infinite God, the only existing God, the truth transcending creation, should have placed his plants on this planet is such an extraordinary and differentiating affirmation that, of itself, it makes the attempt at ecumenical comparison or harmonization of all the religions impossible. No other faith speaks of an absolute and unique, incarnate, God. No other confession speaks of a God delivered to mortality so as to undo the work of the sins committed by man. Yet nevertheless, upon this confession the social, juridical and scientific structure that sustains the western world was raised. And upon this faith, secularized or not, reason conversed and permanently continues to converse with itself. Therefore, all the hermeneutics of being have necessarily to pass through history, and the history of the western world necessarily passes through the multiform discursive richness of the Christian faith. There is a basic idea that seems to me very important for addressing the evangelization of the postmodern world, and it is to understand that Postmodernism is not the enemy, but is the reference point of the contemporary world in which, generally speaking, we all move. Postmodernity is not simply the enemy there outside. It is in the Christian churches and continually keeps growing. Christian postmodernity can be observed not only in theologians or thinkers, but is made especially patent when a faith light triumphs that considers only the value of sentiment as experiences, a faith that boasts of being indifferent to the genesis of what it believes. A faith which, furthermore, far from being the religion of the Book, lives in a lamentable forgetfulness of the Word of God and in the most complete Biblical illiteracy. In the history of Christianity there has never existed a similar type of faith. Postmodernity also can be clearly seen when a church, declaredly light, understands church growth as the means and evangelism as marketing. There lives a light Christianity that is summarized in expressions such as "I have liked the cult because it has done well by me." A light Christianity which thinks that saying "the music has been lovely" is equivalent to saying that "its prayers were well done" and which believes that saying "the preacher made me laugh" is the same as affirming that "he is a great Biblical expositor." This world is characterized by supporting an extreme individualism, for the staunch defense of an absolute relativism which, from the moral point of view, makes all values subjective and puts into question the existence of a universal reason valid for all and for everything. The surpassing of postmodernity cannot consist in returning to the past and to to the arrogance of faith, of reason and of Enlightenment prejudices but instead that, from the reality of the present and conscious of the history which has preceded us, should advance decidedly toward the future. Before utopian modernity, this postmodern way of seeing the world has its limitations, yet it also has its advantages, these last perhaps being more difficult for a Christian to see but, among them, I would cite the abandonment of the unmeasured pretensions of modernity (the Enlightenment of the 18th century) and becoming conscious of the explicative fragility of the thought systems that man creates. On the other side, on the other plate of the scale one must indicate its major defect which is, in my opinion, hopelessness. It seems to me that if there is no truth--a truth of beautiful references that furthermore can be held as objective-- everything becomes the same and that produces sadness and pain. Thus is the contemporary world, a world that strives or is resigned, but has no further option but to think "as postmodern." The bridge with which for us to begin to approach that postmodern world is to start to capture its silent cry of pain that is at root very similar to our own and to that of all persons throughout the ages. It is a cry that desires, out of the imperfection of the human creature, to reach the ears of its Creator and to be answered by Him. We must have the necessary sensibility to know to wipe away the tears of those men who feel that their relativist explanation is the most absolute and dogmatic of all explanations. Christ is the reply for them. But, we should not forget it, also for ourselves. To make Christ our vital, sincere and coherent response is a good beginning towards reaching that postmodern world from which, for better or for worse, in reality we are not so far, for we live in it. Throughout the centuries philosophy has brought us to constantly seek the fundamentals of knowing, the guarantees, the premises, the reasons and justifications that permit us to say what it is that we know. Granted, those fundamentals have not always been encountered in a permanent and constant way. In this manner, one can affirm that the history of philosophy is an eternal history of finding and of overthrowing different fundamentals. And not only the fundamentals of the past, but also those of the present. Before so many ruptures, woes, and abuses we can complain, kick, shout, cry, or simply think nostalgically that any time in the past was better. Yet we can also rest in the certainty that God, our God manifested in Jesus Christ, shall keep being and always be lord and master of history and, in this fashion, far from all bitter resignation and pessimism affirm with the psalmist: "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me." This is our time and this is our history, a time and a history that we cannot understand if we pass over the study of the thought of those who preceded us, but it is a time and a history in which God has put us and which, guided by the Spirit of God, we should construct. Adelante! Notes 1. FERNANDEZ DEL RIESGO (1992). "Theological Requirements of a Philosophy of History" in Thomistic Science, v.119 no.388 May-Aug., Salamanca, p.334. 2. HEGEL (1984). Logic (taken from the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences) pt.1, Ed. Orbis, Barcelona, 1984, p.19. 3. HEGEL (1973). Introduction to the History of Philosophy, Ed. Aguilar, Madrid, p.70. 4. Ibid. 5. ROPERO, A. (1999). Introduction to Philosophy, Ed. Clie, Barcelona, p.460. 6. With regard to the conservative wing Abbagnano writes that: "The Hegelian right is nothing but the scholasticism of Hegelianism. It uses Hegelian reason, that is, Hegel's speculative systematic, to the same purpose as that for which medieval scholastics had used Aristotelian reason, or the Occasionalist scholastics Cartesian reason, that is, to justify religious truth. Very many professors in German universities (and especially Prussian, given that the Prussian government considered its own original philosophy that of Hegel), theologians and pastors dedicated themselves to demonstrating the intrinsic concordance of Hegelianism with the fundamental beliefs of Christianity, and relied on him for an attempted speculative justification of those beliefs." ABBAGNANO (1981). History of Philosophy, v.3, Ed. Hora, Barcelona, pp.148-49. 7. MARX, K. (1962). Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right', Grijalbo, Mexico City, p.21. 8. COMTE, A. (1980). Discourse on the Positive Spirit, Ed. Orbis, Barcelona, p.116. 9. COMTE, A. (1973). Course in Positive Philosophy: first lesson, Ed. Aguilar, Buenos Aires, p.36. 10. MARX, K. (1873). Capital: a critique of political economy, "Afterword to the Second German Edition", http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/p3.htm 11. MARX, K. (1990). "Thesis on Feuerbach" in Texts of the Great Philosophers, Ed. Herder, Barcelona, p.22 12. MARX, K. (1979). The German Ideology, Ed. Grijalbo, Barcelona, p.40. 13. MARX, K. (1873). Capital I, p.197. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch07.htm 14. MARX, K. (1859). A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, "Preface", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_materialism/ 15. MARX, K. (1843). A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, "Introduction", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_people/ 16. Metascientific is that knowledge which reflects upon the implications and presuppositions of a science. 17. RAMM, B. (1968). Evolution, Biology and Bible, Ed. Certeza, Buenos Aires, p.32. 18. MILLER, J. (1972). Introduction to Psychology, Ed. Alianza, Madrid, p.26. 19. BORING, E. (1979). History of Experimental Psychology, Ed. Trillas, Mexico City, p.360. 20. Reina-Valera New International Bible, United Biblical Societies USA, 1995. 21. JAUNCEY, J. (1981). Science Returns to God, Ed. Mundo Hispano, p.50. 22. I refer to the calculus performed in the 17th century by archbishop Usser according to whom Creation took place 4,004 years before the birth of Christ. Needless to say other interpretations of the Biblical text permit a greater flexibility in the dates. 23. OUWENEEL, W. (1978). Creation or Evolution? Ed. Bernd Hochmuth, Dillenburg, Germany, p.17. 24. I follow RAMM, B. op.cit. pp.45-46, where one will find a fuller development of "theist evolution" in that book's Chapter VI. 25. One should not confuse "Creationism" with "creation." By "creation" is understood a fundamental concept of Judeo-Christian theology, which establishes that all things were made from nothingness by God. "Creationism," however, emerges as an attempt to combat Evolutionism and is presented as an alternative theory to the Theory of Evolution. It tries to abide by a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis. 26. ZANDINO, M. "Scientific investigation, evolution and Christian faith" in Christian Thought, no.74, June 1972, pp.103-04. 27. NIETZSCHE, F. (1888). The Will to Power: preface, no.2, http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/nietzsche_wtp01.htm 28. HIRSCHBERGER, J. (1979). History of Philosophy vol.2, Ed. Herder, Barcelona, p.321. 29. GALCERA, D. (2000). "Christianity and the Challenge of Nihilism" in Contemporary Spiritual Perspectives, Ed. Andamio, Barcelona, p.46. 30. HEIDEGGER, M. (1980). Being and Time, Ed. F. C. E., Mexico City, p.274. 31. CAMUS, A. (1962). The Myth of Sisyphus, Gallimard, Paris, p.60. 32. EVANS, C. (1990). Philosophy of Religion, Ed. Mundo Hispano, El Paso TX, p.155. 33. STORIG, H. (1995). Universal History of Philosophy, Ed. Technos, Madrid, p.618. 34. WITTGENSTEIN, L. (1973). Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Ed. Alianza, Madrid, p.123 paragraph 5. 35. SAUSSURE, F. (1973). Course in General Linguistics, Ed. Losada, Buenos Aires, p.64. 36. Ibid. p.149. 37. CABALLERO CUESTA, J. (1994). Hermeneutics and Bible, Ed. Verbo Divino, Estella SPAIN, p.78. 38. LEVI-STRAUSS, C. (1972). The Savage Mind, Ed. F. C. E., Mexico City, p.357. 39. DALMASSO, G. (1978). In Place of Ideology, Ed. Zero, Madrid, pp.214-15. 40. GADAMER, H. (1984). Truth and Method, Ed. Sigueme, Salamanca, p.344. 41. Ibid. p. 364. 42. RICOEUR, P. (1973). Freud and Philosophy: an essay on interpretation, Ed. Siglo XXI, Mexico City, p.28. 43. RICOEUR, P. (1984). The Rule of Metaphor, Ed. Megapolis, Buenos Aires, pp.330-31. 44. DURANT, W. (1961). The Story of Philosophy, Pocket Books, New York, p.viii.