Beat the Story-drum, Pum-pumBook - 1980
Most texts claiming to trace the evolution of metaphysics do so according to the analytical tradition, which understands metaphysics as a reflection of different categories of reality. Incorporating the perspectives of Continental theory does little to expand this history, as the Continental tradition remains largely hostile to such metaphysical claims. The first history of metaphysics to respect both the analytical and Continental schools while also transcending the theoretical limitations of each, this compelling overview restores the value of metaphysics to contemporary audiences.
Beginning with the Greeks and concluding with present day philosophers, Jean Grondin reviews seminal texts by the Presocratic Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, and Augustine. He follows the theological turn in metaphysical thought during the middle ages and reads Avicenna, Anselm, Aquinas, and Duns Scot. Grondin revisits Descartes and the cogito; Spinoza and Leibniz's rationalist approaches; Kant's reclaiming of the metaphysical tradition; and postkantian practice up to Hegel. He engages with the twentieth-century innovations that shook the discipline, particularly Heidegger's notion of Being and the rediscovery of the metaphysics of existence (Sartre and the Existentialists), language (Gadamer and Derrida), and transcendence (Levinas). Metaphysics is often dismissed as a form or epoch of philosophy that must be overcome, yet a full understanding of its platform and processes reveal a cogent approach to reality, and its reasoning has been foundational to modern philosophy and science. Grondin reacquaints readers with the rich currents and countercurrents of metaphysical thinking and muses on where it may be headed in the twenty-first century.