The Voiding of Being
The Doing and Undoing of Metaphysics in Modernity
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
In contemporary philosophy the status, indeed the very viability of metaphysics is a much contested issue. The reflections offered here explore diverse aspects of this contested status and offer a defence of metaphysics. In other works, perhaps most fully in Being and the Between, William Desmond has tried to develop what he calls a metaxological metaphysics in response to different skeptical, if not hostile approaches to metaphysics quite common in our time. The Voiding of Being complements the systematic dimensions of this metaxological metaphysics outlined in Being and the Between. It presents a set of studies which amplify important themes in the unfolding of modern metaphysics, in relation to major earlier and contemporary thinkers, while adding nuance to what is involved in the more systematic articulation of a metaxological metaphysics. There is what the author calls a voiding of being in modernity, expressed in diverse developments of thought. "The Voiding of Being," might seems to conjure up too negative associations but the aim of the thoughts gathered here is not at all negative. While attempting to understand the voiding of being in modern thought, our appreciation of the promise of metaphysical thinking can also be renewed and indeed extended – extended beyond skepticism and hostility to metaphysics. Desmond engages many interlocutors along the way, from the long tradition, such as Heraclitus, Aquinas and Hegel, as well as more contemporary thinkers like Heidegger and Marion. As the book’s subtitle suggests, it is concerned with the continued doing of metaphysics and not only the contemporary undoing of it.
"William Desmond is a meticulous, subtle, and convincing scholar, and his original creative philosophy shows this careful scholarship. He has few peers."~Robert C. Neville, Boston University
"In this volume William Desmond continues to broaden and deepen his metaxological metaphysics,and counter both the modern erasure of metaphysics and its postmodern overcoming. He does so by exposing the inherent possibilities of a form of metaphysics responsive to phenomena, consonant with mystery, and faithful to what is best in the philosophical tradition while articulating it in a new more dynamic and experiential key, and showing how it can be fruitfully supplemented. As one has come to expect of Desmond the volume is epic in its scope and lyrical in its mood. William Desmond is simply the most creative and systematic exponent of metaphysics in the world of continental philosophy writing today."~Cyril J. O'Regan, University of Notre Dame
"Building on the systematic side of his metaxological philosophy, Desmond offers, in this book, brilliant rejoinders to the current postmetaphysical ethos. A master of speculative thinking, yet attuned to the nuances of equivocal everydayness, Desmond stands on a par with eminent names, the likes of Eric Przywara, Bernard Lonergan, and Gabriel Marcel."~Roberto Dell'Oro, Loyola Marymount University
"With each volume he produces, Desmond expands and deepens one of the most original and penetrating philosophical projects of our time. No living philosopher is a more persuasive and stirring advocate for the dignity, coherence, and ultimately beauty of a fully prosecuted participatory metaphysics of being, at once classical, modern, and postmodern."~David Bentley Hart, author of That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell and Universal Salvation
"Desmond’s is a unique voice in contemporary philosophy: he says new things to old thinkers and old things to the new; what he draws from the tradition has the power constantly to surprise the most wizened thinkers and to show how and why postmodern proclamations of the death of metaphysics are, and will always be, premature. With its piercing meditations on the nihilistic tendencies of modern thought, The Voiding of Being reveals yet another dimension of Desmond’s profound vision."~D.C. Schindler, author of Plato's Critique of Impure Reason: On Goodness and Truth in The "Republic"
"William Desmond is a leading figure in contemporary continental thought, especially in the areas of metaphysics and philosophy of religion... The Voiding of Being is a striking volume, one that will especially interest those who have, like Desmond, been struck by the writings of Gabriel Marcel."~Marcel Studies
"I would heartily recommend this book for anyone who takes seriously metaphysics and the role that it plays in contemporary philosophy."~Thomist