James Conant and Urszula M. Zeglen New York: Routledge, , 97— It seems, however, that we cannot have it both ways: either one posits mediation or retains presence. Thus, what is taken to be metaphysical in a problematic sense has changed to the point that it denotes both uncritical realism and its linguistic opposite. Is there any clarification that any sin- gular book could bring? The volume, hermeneutically speaking, still participates in the metaphysical tradition. After all, the terms of metaphysics may simply the terms of discourse in the west, for better or worse.
As such, this volume is not plainly anti-metaphysical in the sense that anything pertaining to metaphyscis must, a priori, indicate a devlishness. Christian Bermes Hamburg: Meiner, , 47—69, Indeed, at first, post-metaphysical theology might appear as a contradiction in itself since theology and metaphysics have banded to- gether in partnership for so long that they now seem inseparable? Such a sentiment, no doubt, depends on what one means by either metaphysics as described above or theology.
More precisely, then, to understand what post-metaphysical theology could stand for—to what exactly it reacts and what conclusions it draws from such—it is necessary to clarify three major issues. First, it will be helpful to give a short synopsis concerning what the above-mentioned return of metaphysics presupposes, especially in relation- ship to recent theological trends I. Second, it will be equally helpful to, at least, touch on the basic models for relating theology and metaphysics, which will combine nicely with opening up the problem of a theological critique of metaphysics II.
Third, the notion of post-metaphysical think- ing needs qualification; in particular, it needs qualification as an extension of a theological position that is working critically through its metaphysical inheritance, which may include both clarifications and confusions III. The Re-Emergence of Metaphysics: An Ambivalent Feature of Contemporary Theology As already suggested, one of the most prominent and ambivalent develop- ments in recent theological thinking is the re- emergence of metaphys- ics.
As also stated, this initial observation could mean, and actually entails, some very different ideas. In fact, one might remind oneself of the fact that these interrelated disciplines have gone through oscillating periods wherein theology tends to be critical of meta- physical systems, after which it moves back to a metaphysical approaches, etc. Traditionally, for instance, reformation theology has been considered anti-metaphysical, namely, as critique against the Aristotelian understand- ing of ontology and the philosophical notion of God.
Moreover, much theology after the Enlightenment presented itself as separating its main issues—religion and religious consciousness—from metaphysics Schleiermacher , if not attempting unrestrictedly to refute 8. We are now in precisely this latter situation, at least if one is willing to draw the parallels between the recent movements and their predecessors.
Accordingly, five such metaphysically oriented and contem- porary movements will here be illuminated.
Three decisive aspects undergird this program: a restrictive idea of philosophical and theological styles of argumentation, an orientation to the natural and empirical sciences, and a theological objectiv- ism concerning the idea of God, which comes to serve as the best explana- tory tool for the existence and orderedness of the world.
One well-known contributor to this form of theism is the Oxford philosopher of religion, Richard Swinburne, who presents this program within a probabilistic frame- work. While Swinburne himself tends to ignore the first questions, he at- tempts to meet the problem of evil through theodicy, which becomes highly problematic when confronted with concrete instances of evil. However, this group, situated 9. Inwiefern er- fordert die theologische Analyse von Religion metaphysisches Denken?
Die Wiederentdeckung eines Zusammenhangs, ed. Since there is a real world, a theistic God really exists. Oliver D. Crisp and Michael C. Rea Oxford: Oxford University Press, , 54—69, Michael C. Rea Oxford: Oxford University Press, , 1—30, esp. James F. Hence, God absolutely exists. Either way, what is important is to grasp the specific modal spirit in which Plantinga, his followers and, to take a more recent German example, Hermanni engage in theological and philosophical argumentation.
In contrast to subjectivism and neo-idealism, on the one hand, and materialism and early naturalism, on the other, Whitehead developed Instead of structuring ontology by starting with atomistic substances, Whitehead gives priority to the relations and processes between beings, calling these beings events within such processes. Theologically speaking, it is interesting as well as highly problematic that God and world are elements of this single universal process in which God functions as its immanent principle, creating all things, including Godself, within this very movement.
Whitehead himself claimed that God transcends and creates the world in order to allow, also, for the oppo- site—and, thus, theologically suspect—view that the world transcends and creates God. Schubert M. Robert A. Evans Philadelphia: Westminster, , 55— See Daniel A. Alfred N. Whitehead, Process and Reality, corr. New York: Free Press, , There are different, partly incompatible, versions for defending and elaborating this thesis.
Most recently, the German, Catholic philosopher Lorenz B. Puntel proposed a new and creative attempt to think theologically within the framework of onto-theology although he would rampantly reject this description. Its focus lies on the gap between the deductive abstraction called ens neces- sarium and the religious practice in which such an abstraction does not play any significant role.
Nobody addresses his or her prayer to an ens ne- cessarium; nobody adores the conceptual ground of Being. How to bridge that gap?
Authors like Puntel have two options: either to build up their conceptualizations of a metaphysical God successively in order to present a more vivid and worship-worthy God which leads to the question why one did not begin with the result hope for in that move or to claim that the God of religious practice is, compared to the onto-theological ens, a sort of adiaphoron, a neglectable supplement. For many writers, both options remain far from convincing.
Lorenz B. See ibid. As implied, this position comes not so much to rest, here, on the foundational elements in onto-theological think- ing but rather on the hermeneutic framework that constitutes it in the first place. Accordingly, certain forms of hermeneutics and phenomenology are under attack by this line of thought. For instance, on the hermeneuti- cal side, the hermeneutical cage is constructed by pre-understanding and the hermeneutic circle.
Theology is very familiar with this line of thinking. The simple question arises in which sense if any one has to comprehend this unconditionedness and absoluteness.
Is not such a comprehension still within a hermeneutic framework, in light of those Christian Faith New York: Fordham University Press, , 1— Is it sufficient, as Caputo, via Derrida, suggests, to speculate about the impossible, thereby opening up a certain immanent novelty, new possibilitiy within the world that is? It is true, one might respond with Derrida, that events exceed by conceptual necessity the hermeneutical and phenomenological framework, but this statement may only be an expression of these concepts complete im- possibility—their incapacity to be thought.
The task at hand, then, is to delve deeper into the question of what qualifies these positions as metaphysical, namely, what if anything is metaphysics? What is Metaphysics? Criticizing metaphysics presupposes a sufficient understanding of meta- physics. Since such an understanding meets obstacles due to the highly heterogeneous concept of metaphysics embraced by its proponents as well as refuted by its critics, every criticism struggles with the fact that meta- physics only exists in its variations. Mitchell and Arnold I. Davidson Chicago: Uni- versity of Chicago Press, In a recently published book with the laconic title Metaphysics: Essays on Last Questions, Friedrich Hermanni tries to fill that gap by opening his work with the following definition of metaphysics: Metaphysics is the attempt to answer final questions through the use of reason.
These questions concern the world as a whole, its cause and the place of human beings in it. Such questions are unavoidable but also unanswerable by any single science.
Surely the answers given by metaphysics do not stand the test of cri- tique in many cases. Equally unconvincing, however, are older and more recent programs alike that bid farewell to metaphys- ics in general. Such programs rest on presuppositions that are themselves metaphysical in nature.
Friedrich Hermanni, Metaphysik. Denn sie beruhen stets auf Vorausset- zungen, die ihrerseits von metaphysischer Art sind.
The result is, then, to treat metaphysics as a branch within the philosophical canon like epistemology, philosophy of mind, or ethics, etc. The question remains, however, as to why these problems rather than others come to be defined metaphysically as opposed to, say, epistemologi- cally, ethically, or aesthetically—after all, any epistemological move already depends on the reality of the problem at hand and so too does any ethical problem. From a metaphysical way of thinking, there is no getting away from metaphysics!
Then, metaphysics is not so much a method, but, more vaguely, a style of intellectual engagement. This modal way is, arguably, the more profound, allowing one to access the heart of metaphysics and its possible critique. It is also the means by which the above-mentioned metaphysical positions are considered such. A Sketch of the Ingredients of Modal Metaphysics One could illiminate different elements as belonging to this metaphysical way of thinking. The following basics seem to be within the focus of a meta- physical mode of thinking and could be found in varying degrees and forms in any of the metaphysical positions defined above.
Accordingly, the world is regarded as one coherent system that, in the end, excludes all forms of perspectivism or pragmatic considerations in explaining or even de- scribing its relations. Perspectives must take their place within the Absolute. The first one is that this system is all embracing. It does not direct itself to sub-structures or par- ticular elements; or, to put it more cautiously, it engages in questions only insofar as they contribute to thinking in systematic totalities.