Edith Stein on the Meaning of Being
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
Being Unfolded responds to the question, ‘What is the meaning of being for Edith Stein.’ In Finite and Eternal Being Stein tentatively concludes that ‘being is the unfolding of meaning.’ Neither Stein nor her commentators have elaborated much on this suggestive phrase. Thomas Gricoski argues that Stein’s mature metaphysical project can be developed into an ‘ontology of unfolding.’ The differentiating factor of this ontology is its resistance to both existentialism and essentialism. The ‘ontology of unfolding’ is irreducibly relational.
Being Unfolded proceeds by testing a relational hypothesis against Stein’s theory of the modes of being (actual, essential, and mental being). From the phenomenological perspective, Gricoski examines Stein’s theory of the relation of consciousness and being. From the scholastic perspective, he examines Stein’s account of the relation of essence and existence in material being, living being, and human being. And from both perspectives he considers the relation of divine being to actual being and their essences. This book is limited to Stein’s theory of the meaning of being, without making an explicit confrontation with Heidegger. It offers two primary contributions to Stein studies: a systematic analysis of Stein’s modes of being, especially essential being, and an exposition and expansion of her overlooked concept of unfolding. Being Unfolded also contributes to the broader field of contemporary metaphysics by developing Stein’s theory of being as an experiment in fundamental ontology. While other relational ontologies focus on relations between beings, this exploration of unfolding examines being’s inner self-relationality.
" Being Unfolded is the work that needed to be written in order to make progress in Stein studies, particularly of her metaphysical writings. This will be a 'must-read' for Stein scholars worldwide."~Sarah Borden Sharkey, Wheaton College
" Being Unfolded fills an important lacuna in Edith Stein scholarship, namely, an interpretive model of the meaning of being that presents unfolding as "an irreducible relationality at the heart of everything." Gricoski’s work places Edith Stein within a larger context of important topics in early twentieth-century philosophy while also inviting the reader to explore implications of Stein’s later scholarship in dialogue with contemporary trends in phenomenology, metaphysics, and Catholic theology."~Michael F. Andrews, Loyola University Chicago
"Thomas Gricoski’s impressive study of Edith Stein’s Finite and Eternal Being provides a rich interpretative key for understanding the philosopher’s complex account of being. The concept of unfolding is deployed to establish the possibility of a profoundly relational ontology that can account for both singularity and multiplicity of being while showing how finite and infinite, eternal being come to coincide with one another. Gricoski offers a unique framework for grasping how Stein’s relational ontology unfolds. Gricoski expertly mines Stein’s late metaphysics to show how a logic of unfolding avoids the traditional philosophical binaries of realism versus idealism, immanence versus transcendence, temporal versus eternal, and the finite versus the infinite. This masterly study will guide readers through one of Stein’s most complex works of philosophy. Readers will be impressed by Gricoski’s rigor and acuity."~Antonio Calcagno, King's University College at Western University
"In a study that all future research on the topic will have to take into account, Thomas Gricoski clarifies Edith Stein’s metaphysics as a relational ontology by explaining how she applies the correlational principle of being--unfolding--meaning to the vexed problems surrounding the intentionality of consciousness and the constitution of being in her attempt to formulate a tenable synthesis of Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology and Aquinas’s Christian philosophy."~George Heffernan, Merrimack College