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Halakhic Cognition And The Norm

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Chapter Summary

Halakhah is, distinctively, a legal system. The ideal principles that serve as the basis of the Brisk school's analytical halakhic methods are actually the foundations of Jewish law. Scientific-mathematical knowledge is a necessary component of the objectification of ideal halakhic cognition. Basing Halakhah on mathematics is the "truth" of the Brisk Halakhic Man. The difficulty confronting Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik is the difference between the experience of scientific cognition, meaning the laws of the mathematical natural sciences, and the "experience" of halakhic cognition, meaning Jewish law. He proposes to solve this through the mathematization of halakhic cognition. R. Soloveitchik argues that identifying the second, "critical" stage of Halakhic Man's consciousness with the norm leads to the conclusion that "Halakhic Man resembles homo religious, not cognitive man". The normative world of Halakhic Man is perceived as no less than a scientific world.

Keywords: cognitive man; halakhic cognition; Halakhic Man; homo religious; Jewish law; Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik



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