Joseph Juhász

Place of Mind

Fishing for ΙΧΘΥΣ

A sound psychology will be founded on real, actual knowledge.

Posted Apr 13, 2010

Today’s Opinionator, the NYT’s online blog, has a worth-reading post by Stanley Fish titled “Does reason know what it is missing?”  In short—and you should read the entire original—Stanley is arguing that no weak-kneed attempt to prop up reason by allowing some niche for religion (or faith) in the edifice of thought can repair the catastrophes that blind faith in reason had let loose in the Twentieth Century.

He is, in part, attempting to refute or perhaps embroider Jürgen Habermas’ newly-translated-into-English work “An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-secular Age” .  An important book—but perhaps as flawed as is Fish’s critique.

Blind faith in reason is as shot through Fish’s story as that of Habermas.  You can’t just swallow a bit of the Ichthys (ΙΧΘΥΣ) story.  The lure is Mightier than the Fish.  If we take the Jesus Fish, the Ichthys, as a generic symbolical embodiment of religious faith, Thomas Aquinas to the contrary notwithstanding, it cannot rest on an edifice of reason. Embroidery of the seam will not hold the knit.

An edifice of faith? Founded on what?  Our knowledge of the invisible world. We are fish out of water without use of that knowledge.

A sound psychology, when there will be one, will be founded on knowledge of the relations between the visible and the invisible.


About the Author

Joseph Juhász is an environmental psychologist who is professor of architecture and environmental design at the University of Colorado.

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