The Depravity of Wisdom
The Protestant Reformation and the Disengagement of Knowledge from Virtue in Modern Philosophy
First published in 1999, the primary operative thesis of the book is that the Protestant Reformation cemented into Western consciousness a conception of humanity as fundamentally depraved and thus ushered in a conception of human reason far more restricted in scope than that known to pre-reformation philosophy. Though this study is essentially a work in the history of philosophy, it lays the groundwork for an original philosophy of language as well as offering a suggestion for a re-evaluation of Hegel in the light of this approach to language. The book concludes that what was in fact lost in the secular appropriation of the total depravity of man was a conception of reason intimately linked to the assumption that language and the general principles that govern it stand in some way as the guarantors of the correspondence of human thought and institutions and the world at large. At the bottom of this is the loss of the classical understanding of the faculty of practical reason.
Table of Contents
1. Reason, Wisdom and Depravity. 2. Outline of the Problem. 3. Language and Moral Justification. 4. Luther and the Nominalists. 5. Practical Reason. 6. The Effect of the Loss of Practical Reason. 7. Conclusion.
Mark A. Painter