Roy Gilbert

Great Minds Dialogue with Famed Deconstructionist to Ask the Question: ‘Does a University Have a Right to Ask Any Question?’

Philosopher and theologian John D. Caputo, Ph.D.

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Philosopher and theologian John D. Caputo, Ph.D. The opening installment of the Great Minds Dialogues will feature philosopher and theologian John D. Caputo, the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University.

Drawing upon his career as a professor in both Catholic and secular institutions, Caputo will raise questions that explore how the ideas of state, religion and university fit together. The dialogue is entitled “Does a University Have a Right to Ask Any Question?”

Largely influenced by the deconstructionist work of Jacques Derrida, Caputo is as a major figure in post-modern Christianity who has developed a theory of interpretation referred to as “radical hermeneutics” and the distinctive approach to religion known as “weak theology.” Envisioning a non-interventionist deity, weak theology emphasizes the responsibility of humans to act in this world here and now.

Responsible for 20 books and some 200 articles and book chapters, Caputo’s most important recent work is said to have been the rebuttal to charges of relativism made against deconstruction by showing that deconstruction is organized around the affirmation of certain unconditional ethical and political claims.

In his book, On Religion , Caputo writes:

“I do not recommend ignorance and I am not saying that there is no truth, but I am arguing that the best way to think about truth is to call it the best interpretation that anybody has come up with yet while conceding that no one knows what is coming next. There […]

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