The Limits of Metaphysical Reason

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 76:117-123 (2002)
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Based on a close reading of Fides et Ratio and Salvifici Doloris, this paper argues that John Paul II challenges the power and range of metaphysical reason in certain neglected passages. Such challenges include the critique of the idolatry of philosophical systems, the emphasis on the irreducible mystery of God, and the rejection of efforts to construct a theodicy in the face of human suffering. The challenge especially emerges in John Paul II’s emphasis on the Cross as a stumbling block to metaphysical affirmation. Against certain rationalistic interpretations of the Pope, this paper attempts to excavate the critique of metaphysical reason embedded in John Paul II’s arguments on the limits of philosophical speculation.



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John J. Conley
Loyola University Maryland

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