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The Intimate Strangeness of Being

metaphysics after dialectic

William Desmond

Publication Year: 2012

This book explores the contested place of metaphysics since Kant and Hegel, arguing for a renewed metaphysical thinking about the intimate strangeness of being.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Series: Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy


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Title Page

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p. iii


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p. iv


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pp. vii-ix

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p. xi

I would like to express my thanks to David McGonagle, former director of the Catholic University of America Press, for his welcoming interest in my work, to James Kruggel for his always friendly and efficient support, to Jude Dougherty for his willingness to include this work in the series, and to Theresa Walker for her reliable shepherding of the book through...

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pp. xiii-xxxii

The career of metaphysics since Kant has not been rosy. Some might wonder even if it has had a career at all. Kant sets a tone insofar as many think he is to be thanked for his demotion, even demolition, of traditional metaphysics. I have always had my doubts about this demolition, and when I went looking among earlier philosophers for the dogmatists Kant clearly...

Part 1. Metaphysics and the Equivocities of Dialectic

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1. Being, Determination, and Dialectic: On the Sources of Metaphysical Thinking

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pp. 3-43

Dialectic is tied to the entire range of ways of thinking about being that we find in the tradition of metaphysics.1 I will return to that range in diverse ways throughout this work, but now I am concerned with the connection of dialectic and metaphysics. Metaphysics, of course, often now meets with outright rejection, as purportedly dealing with what lies beyond...

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2. Thinking on the Double: The Equivocities of Dialectic

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pp. 44-63

Dialectic has a plurality of meanings which in some respects define the repertoire of possible ways of thinking offered to us by the philosophical tradition. These meanings range from dialectic’s identification with specious reasoning to a method for dissolving specious reasoning. They include its all but identification with logic, as in the Middle Ages, and Kant’s view of...

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3. Surplus Immediacy, Metaphysical Thinking, and the Defect(ion) of Hegel’s Concept

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pp. 64-86

We come across the notion of the “imaginative universal” (universale fantastico) in Vico, and initially one might think that it has only a minor importance for metaphysical thinking. After all, it bears more on mythos rather than on logos, on imagination rather than reason, on pictures rather than concepts, on intuitive immediacy rather than discursive mediation. ...

Part 2. Metaphysics in the Wake of Dialectic

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4. Is There Metaphysics after Critique?

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pp. 89-119

Is there metaphysics after critique? Much depends, of course, on what we mean by “metaphysics” and “critique.”1 It is evident, I think, that the contested place of metaphysics in recent thought has much to do with the influence of philosophy understood as critique, especially after Kant. It is also evident that critique is related to the modern practice of dialectic. ...

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5. Metaphysics and the Intimate Strangeness of Being: Neither Deconstruction nor Reconstruction

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pp. 120-151

Critique and deconstruction are family relatives. Mutations of the skeptical gene circulate in the bodies of both. If there is metaphysics after critique, where are we after deconstruction? Nowhere? Nowhere as metaphysicians? Or somewhere between deconstruction and reconstruction? Indeed the proposal has been made that what we need after the deconstruction...

Part 3. Metaphysics beyond Dialectic

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6. Metaxological Metaphysics and the Equivocity of the Everyday: Between Everydayness and the Edge of Eschatology

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pp. 155-184

Philosophers have often looked with diffidence, if not disdain, on everyday life. We like to echo and reecho Socrates’s controvertible claim: The unexamined life is not worth living. Everyday life is blithe in its careless first commitment to living rather than to thought; irritable with speculations not immediately perceived relevant to pressing practical concerns...

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7. Pluralism, Truthfulness, and thePatience of Being

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pp. 185-201

How we understand truth cannot be disconnected from how we understand ourselves, or from how we understand how we humans are to be. “How we are to be”: this phrase indicates the human being as a creature with a certain promise of being that calls out to be realized in one way or another. Some ways will enable fulfillment of the promise, if we are true...

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8. The Confidence of Thought: Between Belief and Metaphysics

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pp. 202-230

The term “metaphysics” has diverse meanings for different thinkers, but in the popular mind it deals with matters beyond the realm of ordinary experience. In minds schooled with some smattering of philosophy, metaphysics might now mean something like a caricatured version of Platonism: there is an other world, up there beyond, and metaphysics gets us...

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9. Analogy, Dialectic, and Divine Transcendence: Between St. Thomas and Hegel

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pp. 231-259

Especially since around the time of Hegel, affirmations of divine transcendence have often been attacked in terms of a variety of philosophies of immanence. For such philosophies, immanence constitutes the ultimate horizon, not only for all life, but for philosophy itself, and beyond which nothing further is to be thought. Often the idea of transcendence they attack...

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10. Ways of Wondering: Beyond the Barbarism of Reflection

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pp. 260-300

Near to the beginnings of modernity Giambattista Vico famously speaks of what he calls the barbarism of reflection (barbarie della riflessione). While the connection with wonder is not explicitly made by him, this barbarism is intimately related to the loss of wonder that recurrently befalls humanity. The barbarism of reflection comes at the end of a cycle of unfolding...


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pp. 301-306


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pp. 307-312

E-ISBN-13: 9780813219615
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813219608

Page Count: 323
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1
Series Title: Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy
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OCLC Number: 813928740
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Intimate Strangeness of Being

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Subject Headings

  • Metaphysics.
  • Philosophy, Modern.
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