The Good of Metaphysics

My piece at SOTE

The Soul of the East

Metaphysics, despite what booksellers may offer in the way of do-it-yourself witchcraft manuals and stories of UFOs, is much different than any popular misconception of its meaning. For Aristotle, the starting point of Wisdom, or philosophy, was metaphysics. Modernity has more or less rejected metaphysics in its quest for self-destruction. But metaphysics will never go away, because metaphysics is reality itself – the study of the totality of what is. Metaphysics is the starting point in terms of actual foundations of knowledge and presupposition, yet it comes at the end of the process of pedagogy, as it is the highest science. Nowadays, aside from certain continental philosophers who follow in the train of genius writers like Husserl, theoria and metaphysics have been jettisoned for pragmatism, post-modernism and other forms of self-destructive prattle. And over the length of centuries in the West, there’s been no lack of contributors to this gradual decline.

Unfortunately, certain basic flaws…

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6 Comments on The Good of Metaphysics

  1. Yes … excellent stuff!

  2. DJ Corvette's Korean War Vets // September 28, 2015 at 2:42 am // Reply

    Has anyone read any of Eric Voegelin’s material or Charles Upton? Jay, I’d like to see you critically treat in an essay the ‘Traditionalist’ school philosophy and metaphysics as espoused by Guenon, Evola, Needleman, Martin Lings and Titus Burckhardt to name a few

    • Greetings. I have read some of Upton’s material and am generally very familiar with the Traditionalist perspective, especially the books of Guenon, F. Schuon, and S.H. Nasr. I would be happy to discuss any questions you might have about the teachings of this “school.”

  3. DJ Corvette's Korean War Vets // September 28, 2015 at 11:57 am // Reply

    ” true metaphysics represents spiritual knowledge of a higher order….. Beyond the purely rational knowledge of science lies the knowledge of universal principles… Which leads to an effective awareness of the supra-individual states of being. That is the real object of metaphysics.” Martin Lings on Rene Guenon

  4. Dear Jay,

    It is refreshing to find unapologetic critiques of scientism, relativism, et cetera in your writing, as well as an acknowledgment of the centrality of the sacred in human life. Concerning the above essay, however, I wanted to offer some thoughts about the paragraph addressing the appearance/reality distinction in Kant. It is very problematic to “toss out the illusory divide between the phenomenal and the noumenal,” since the collapse of the one into the other, assuming “it must needs be that offences come,” will happen in a “centrifugal” manner. In other words, it is the noumena that will be discarded (a la Nietzsche), in which case mind finds himself even further cut off from reality as it really is. He becomes confined to the world of appearances, with no way out. The solution to the dilemma is not to destroy the distinction in reaction to an alleged inability to traverse the “isthmus” veiling phenomena from their noumenal prototypes in divinis, but rather to resuscitate the doctrine according to which man can in fact know principial realities directly through the intellectual faculty (to be distinguished from discursive thought). While it is true that, in the end, the ontological disjunction between phenomena and noumena is “illusory” in light of the fact that there is only one God (or Truth-Reality), this assertion effects the aforementioned “collapse” centripetally–the reality of the accident (what is real in it) is said to be none other than that of God, on pain of such and such an existent owing its reality to any other source, which would be polytheism. In short, man needs to distinguish between the way things appear and the way things are, so that he can, God-willing, forgo what merely appears only to disappear for the sake of that which is. And God knows best.

    Peace,

    Anthony

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