Authors
William Franke
Vanderbilt University
Abstract
This essay represents part of an effort to rewrite the history metaphysics in terms of what philosophy never said, nor could say. It works from the Neoplatonic commentary tradition on Plato's Parmenides as the matrix for a distinctively apophatic thinking that takes the truth of metaphysical doctrines as something other than anything that can be logically articulated. It focuses on Damascius in the 5—6th century AD as the culmination of this tradition in the ancient world and emphasizes that Neoplatonism represents the crisis of Greek metaphysics on account of the inability to give a rational account of foundations for knowing and of the ultimate principle of beings. Neoplatonism discovered how all such ultimate principles were necessarily beyond the reach of reason and speech. This apophatic insight is drawn out with the help of contemporary criticism of Neoplatonic philosophy, defining also some points of divergence. The essay then discusses the motives for thinking the unsayable in postmodern times on the basis of this parallel with Neoplatonic thought. Discourse's becoming critical of itself to the point of self-subversion animates them both. However, the tendency in postmodern thought to totally reject theology, including negative theology, is a betrayal of its own deepest motivations. This tendency is debated through an examination of the thought of Jean-Luc Nancy. While any traditional discourse can be negated, the negating and self-negating capacity of discourse itself is infinite, and this is where a perennial negative theological philosophy of the unsayable is to be located. Language, eminently the language of philosophy, as infinitely open, points in a direction which becomes equally and ineluctably theological.
Keywords Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2007
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11153-006-0012-7
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,078
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Corpus.Jean-Luc Nancy - 2008 - Fordham University Press.

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Being Exposed to Love: The Death of God in Jean-Luc Marion and Jean-Luc Nancy.Ashok Collins - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 80 (3):297-319.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Proclus and the Neoplatonic Syllogistic.John N. Martin - 2001 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 30 (3):187-240.
A Philosophy of the Unsayable.William Franke - 2014 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Aquinas and Continental Philosophy of Religion: Finding a Way Out of Ontotheology.Joseph G. Trabbic - 2002 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 76:211-228.
Open Secrets: Derrida and Negative Theology.David E. Klemm - 1992 - In Robert P. Scharlemann & David E. Klemm (eds.), Negation and Theology. University Press of Virginia. pp. 8--24.
Apophasis as the Common Root of Radically Secular and Radically Orthodox Theologies.William Franke - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (1):57-76.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
84 ( #136,905 of 2,498,932 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #421,180 of 2,498,932 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes