The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Being-in-the-World: A Confrontation Between St. Thomas Aquinas and Martin Heidegger
Caitlin Smith Gilson
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The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Being-in-the-World brings St. Thomas Aquinas and Martin Heidegger into dialogue and argues for the necessity of Christian philosophy. Through the confrontation of Heideggerian and Thomist thought, it offers an original and comprehensive rethinking of the nature of temporality and the origins of metaphysical inquiry.
The book is a careful treatment of the inception and deterioration of the four-fold presuppositions of Thomistic metaphysics: intentionality, causality, finitude, ananke stenai. The analysis of the four-fold has never before been done and it is a central and original contribution of Gilson's book. The four-fold penetrates the issues between the phenomenological approach and the metaphysical vision to arrive at their core and irreconcilable difference. Heidegger's attempt to utilize the fourfold to extrude theology from ontology provides the necessary interpretive impetus to revisit the radical and often misunderstood metaphysics of St. Thomas, through such problems as aeviternity, non-being and tragedy.
“"I am unaware of any previous successful attempt to confront Heidegger's massive critique of metaphysics at such depth and range. Dr Smith-Gilson's conception of the four-fold intentional presupposition at the heart of metaphysics is an original conception of great merit and her work will be of immense interest to scholars of Heidegger, St Thomas, and well as to epistemologists and metaphysicians across a wide spectrum."
- Prof. Juan Andrés Mercado, Associate Professor of Modern Philosophy, The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy.” –
“"This work gives a needed voice to the still-true and still misunderstood pre-modern understanding of man, world, being, and God. Where the earlier Thomistic revivals confronted modernity by employing scholastic terminology to restate its vision, Dr. Smith-Gilson's work of retrieval confronts, at the highest intellectual level, modernity and especially its phenomenological presentation, with the words of philosophy simpliciter. This work is an apologia for the Thomistic vision of man, God, and being which is not itself apologetic or defensive. This is a profound and difficult work, but one that richly rewards the reader who gives himself to its meditation."
-- Herb E. Hartmann, Professor of Philosophy, Southern Catholic College, GA, USA” –
“"The confrontation between Classical and Heideggerian understanding of Being shows Smith Gilson's superb capacity to get into the mind of philosophers of different schools of thinking and mastering their philosophical language. With great balance, this book neither merges the two in some facile reconciliation, nor makes Heidegger a straw man with which to beat modernity in favor of a 13th century theology, but highlights the similarities and differences of their conceptual frameworks, without getting stuck in terminological equivocalness. The reader will find in these rich and dense pages a sound and substantial dialog between Heidegger's philosophical standpoint and medieval metaphysics."
-- Prof. Francisco Fernández Labastida, Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Italy” –
corresponding the species with the thing precisely because (1) the species is the resultant abstractive emergence of the thing’s intelligibility via the agent intellect’s illuminating power, and (2) “it is not the species of the object that is present in thought, but the object through its species.”40 It is not a question of corresponding the intelligible species with the thing, rather it is the intelligible species which makes possible any correspondence of thought and object; the species are
stenai provided the framework within which meaning reveals its faithful adherence to Being in order to become and maintain itself as meaningful. Each element, while conceptually distinct, was briefly shown to be, in actuality, one reality as the only way in which a genuine accord between thinking and being-in-and-to-the-world exists. The origin of this metaphysical framework purports the way as ontotheo-logical from its very beginning to its very end. The deity, the “theo,” is not an adjectival
absolute Being, unconditioned by any other being and thus the foundational source of absolute (free and underived) givenness,22 it is a “selfcontained system of Being . . . into which nothing can penetrate, and from which nothing can escape.”23 So understood, intentional referentiality becomes, and must remain, only a being-for-ego24 (as it has continued to be for later, “non-idealistic” phenomenology), a being-for-ego in fact established, founded, and maintained, in a word, constituted, by the
which will historically lead to an equally clear and distinct “Yes.” And finally, as the “cognizing subject” begins to realize that the demands for reason can in a sense be answered by his own will to power, it is then in man’s will that he finds the last proof for the existence of God. Paradoxically the intellect ends in infallibility before the floodgates of skepticism and nihilism wash it away. The need for the catch-up is best seen in the aftermath of its reversal by the elevation of will
different question from that intended in the question “Why are there essents?” With our question we place ourselves in the essent in such a way that it loses its self-evident character as the essent. The essent begins to waver between the broadest and most drastic extremes: either essents—or nothing—and thereby the questioning itself loses all solid foundation. Our questioning being-there is suspended, and in this suspense is nevertheless self-sustained.28 Is the structure of Christian Philosophy