The Texture of Being
essays in first philosophy
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
The present volume has come about through many helpful persons: the editor, Paul O’Herron, and a trio of friends—Dave McGonagle, Director of the Catholic University of America Press; Jude Dougherty, Dean Emeritus of the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America; ...
Kenneth L. Schmitz has taken giant strides toward doing what Hegel said he wanted to do: to reconcile the “being of the ancients” with the “subjectivity of the moderns.” In the first part of this introduction, I try to set up this issue. ...
Part I. Being
1. Metaphysics: Radical, Comprehensive, Determinate Discourse
Metaphysics is the most controversial and controverted of the philosophical disciplines. I want to argue, nevertheless, that if it did not already exist in some form, then it would be necessary to invent it. For the need to think fundamentally is not incidental to the inquiring energy of the human mind. ...
2. Analysis by Principles and Analysis by Elements
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries widespread distrust of analysis by principles contributed to the acceptance of analysis by elements. More precisely, the challenge to the validity and significance of analysis by ontological1 principles resulted in the rise of analysis by quantitative elements. ...
3. From Anarchy to Principles: Deconstruction and the Resources of Christian Philosophy
One of the most influential movements among philosophers today is that of Deconstruction. It is the moving energy of thought at the center of much that has been called “postmodern.” Its birthplace is Paris, but it has reached North America’s universities through philosophy, linguistics, literary studies, sociology, political theory, ...
4. Neither with nor without Foundations
This essay was originally prepared for the 1988 Metaphysical Society meeting, where I had been asked to speak out of what has been called “the great tradition,” concerning the rumored “end of metaphysics.” It is important, however, to notice what followed the colon in the chosen theme: “the question of foundations.” ...
5. Another Look at Objectivity
In many philosophical quarters, and elsewhere, something called “objectivity” has come into low esteem. It seems to some to be a counterfeit goal and a hindrance to more worthwhile knowledge. We hear of “mere objectivity,” of an approach which is “too objective,” of the indignity of treating persons as though they are “nothing but objects,” ...
6. Enriching the Copula
It is a commonplace among students of St. Thomas Aquinas that in his view a judgment does not come to rest in its truth until it reaches the thing being judged about. For him the judgment in its fundamental nature is not simply a union of subject and predicate, but is rather the surge of the mind itself towards rest in the being of things (esse rerum). ...
7. Created Receptivity and the Philosophy of the Concrete
Gabriel Marcel gave his phenomenological inquiries the name “Philosophy of the Concrete,”1 and he made no bones about the distance between his philosophy and that of Thomism.2 Between these philosophies there can be no question of an approchement of tone, nor even of manner, but at most a convergence of truths shared differently. ...
8. The Solidarity of Personalism and the Metaphysics of Existential Act
There have been human persons since Adam delved and Eve span. And the word persona, prosopon—thickened and deepened by the revelation of the God-man Jesus Christ—has been with us since the great Councils of the Church. Is it not surprising, then, that we have had to wait until the twentieth century to hear of philosophies ...
Part II. Man
9. The Geography of the Human Person
If an inquisitive acquaintance gets uncomfortably close to what we don’t want broadcast to others, we are likely to demur with the excuse: “I really don’t want to talk about that, it’s very personal.” If the questioner has any sensitivity at all, that should warn him or her off any further inquisition, ...
10. Immateriality Past and Present
The medieval conception of immateriality was prominent in discussions of God, man, and nature, of causality, activity, and order, of knowledge, freedom, and immortality. Yet this once noble conception seems absent from most present-day discussions of similar topics. ...
11. The First Principle of Personal Becoming
Personal development has two broad phases: the first is that of infancy, childhood, and adolescence; the second is that of our continuing development as adults. Without excluding the former, I wish to concentrate upon the latter in order to describe what I will argue is a spiritual form of life in the individual human being. ...
12. Purity of Soul and Immortality
It is said of St. Thomas Aquinas’ teacher, St. Albert the Great, that he grew forgetful towards the end of his life and began to say mass for himself as though he were dead: quasi defunctus est. The fact that he was one of the most learned persons of Western Europe during his lifetime did not save him from a pathetic loss of memory. ...
13. Is Liberalism Good Enough?
A free market will undoubtedly offer several varieties of goods for sale, including a variety of theories of the good. As we enter the bazaar we can expect to be offered the very best theory of the very best good; nor should we be surprised to find the trademark “Liberal” stamped upon it, and perhaps the logo: ...
Part III. God
14. Theological Clearances: Foreground to a Rational Recovery of God
Near the beginning of the Summa theologiae St. Thomas Aquinas presents the well-known “five ways.”1 The quinque viae make up a single proof of the existence of God by way of five approaches: from motion concluding to the First Mover; from causative action concluding to the First Cause or Source; ...
15. God, Being, and Love: New Ontological Perspectives Coming from Philosophy
In keeping with the theme of Fides et ratio, I am impelled to complete the subtitle: “New Ontological Perspectives Coming from Philosophy,” with the following: “Coming from Philosophy in its Encounter with the Proposals of Faith.” For the strict substance of the argument in the encyclical insists that nothing truly and profoundly new ...
16. The Death of God and the Rebirth of Man
Metaphors of language sometimes express a reality that stricter and more modest conceptions do not express so well. Moreover, some striking metaphors, such as the “death of God,” can give expression to real conditions in our culture. The intention of this essay is to sketch a current problematic ...
17. The Witness of Beauty: The Profile of God
In 1939, during the early horrible days of the Nazi occupation of the Polish city of Krakow, the young Karol Wojtyla wrote to an older friend, replying to his request for information regarding mutual friends, those who had disappeared during the initial terror. ...
Index of Names