Religion, Metaphysics, and the Postmodern

Religion, Metaphysics, and the Postmodern


226 Pages


William Desmond's original and creative work in metaphysics is attracting more and more attention from philosophers of religion. Putting Desmond in conversation with John D. Caputo, an important philosopher of religion from the Continental tradition, Christopher Ben Simpson casts new light on Desmond's complex, multifaceted, and nuanced thought. The comparative approach allows Simpson to get at the core of recent debates in the philosophy of religion. He develops a rich understanding of how ethics and religion are informed by metaphysics, and contrasts this approach to the decidedly anti-metaphysical stance in Continental philosophy. Religion, Metaphysics, and the Postmodern presents a systematic analysis of Desmond's thought as it advances work on Caputo's thinking and on the philosophy of religion.



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Published 05 August 2016
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Religion, Metaphysics, and the Postmodern
Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion Merold Westphal, editor
Religion, Metaphysics, and the Postmodern
William Desmond and John D. Caputo
indiana universit y press Bloomington and Indianapolis
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press 601 North Morton Street Bloomington, IN 474043797 USA
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No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, Religion, Metaphysics, and the Postmodern including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission By Simpson, Christopher Ben in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses’ Resolution on Permissions Copyright©2009 by Simpson, Christopher Ben constitutes the only exception to this prohibition. ISBN 13: 978-1-5326-0509-3  The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Publication date 8/5/2016 Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.481992. Previously published by Indiana University Press, 2009
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress CataloginginPublication Data
Simpson, Christopher Ben, date  Religion, metaphysics, and the postmodern : William Desmond and John D. Caputo / Christopher Ben Simpson.  p. cm. — (Indiana series in the philosophy of religion)  Includes bibliographical references and index.  ISBN 9780253353672 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 9780253221247 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Desmond, William, 1951– 2. Religion—Philosophy. 3. Philosophy and religion. 4. Caputo, John D. I. Title.  B1626.D474S56 2009  210.92—dc22  2009015381
1 2 3 4 5 14 13 12 11 10 09
Acknowledgments vii List of Abbreviations ix
1. 2. 3. 4.
Introduction 1 Caputo 7 Metaphysics 23 Ethics 65 God and Religion 91 Conclusion: Divine Hyperbolics, Two Visions, Four Errors 131
Notes 135 Bibliography 209 Index 211
The U.S. Fulbright Program made possible the research for this work in 2003– 2004 at the Institute of Philosophy at Katholeike Universiteit Leuven. I wish to thank Tom Tanner, Karen Diefendorf, and Lincoln Christian University for en abling the completion of my work at the University of Nottingham, and Steven Cone, Renee Ryan, Michelle Knight, and Jonathan Harrison for their time and their valuable comments on sundry draft chapters. I wish to thank John Mil bank for believing in me and my project—for his guidance and insightful sug gestions in the latter’s completion. I am grateful to Conor Cunningham and Graham Ward for their attentive reading and the lively and pleasant exchange that helped me put the project in its finished form. I thank John Caputo for his help with this work and beyond. William Desmond has been an inspiring model, mentor, and friend. I thank him for his warm hospitality both in person and at a distance—for his constancy, his help, and his advice. For his continual generosity, I have only the deepest gratitude.  I dedicate this work to my wife, Kaysha, to our son, David—who was born as I began this work—and to our daughter, Lydia—who was born as I was fin ishing it. Their abiding love and warm companionship has sustained me in the hard years that have passed in its writing.
William Desmond’s Works AOOArt, Origins, Otherness.Albany: SUNY Press, 2003. AT “Autonomia Turannos.”Ethical Perspectives5:4 (1998). BBBeing and the Between.Albany: SUNY Press, 1995. BDD “Being, Determination, and Dialectic.”Review of Metaphysics 48 (June 1995). BHDBeyond Hegel and Dialectic.Albany: SUNY Press, 1992. BR “On the Betrayals of Reverence.”Irish Theological Quarterly 65 (2000). CWSC “Caesar With the Soul of Christ.”Tijdschrift voor Filosoe61 (1999). DDODesire, Dialectic and Otherness. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987. EBEthics and the Between.Albany: SUNY Press, 2001. En “Enemies.”Tijdschrift voor Filosoe63 (2001). GBGod and the Between.Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. GEW “God, Ethos, Ways.”International Journal of the Philosophy of Reli-gion45 (1999). HGHegels God.Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003. HT “Hyperbolic Thoughts.” InFraming a Vision of the World,ed. André Cloots and Santiago Sia. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1999. MC “Is There Metaphysics After Critique?” (2004) [unpublished]. NDR “Neither Deconstruction nor Reconstruction.”International Philo-sophical Quarterly40:1:157 (March 2000). POPhilosophy and Its Others.Albany: SUNY Press, 1990. PR “Philosophy of Religion.” InThe Examined Life,ed. Stanley Rosen. Quality Paperback Book Club, 2000. PUPerplexity and Ultimacy.Albany: SUNY Press, 1995.
John D. Caputo’s Works ADGAfter the Death of God. Ed. Jeffery Robbins. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. AEAgainst Ethics: Contributions to a Poetics of Obligation with Constant Reference to Deconstruction.Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. BA “Beyond Aestheticism: Derrida’s Responsible Anarchy.”Research in Phenomenology18 (1988).
Demythologizing Heidegger.Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. “God and Anonymity: Prolegomena to an Ankhoral Religion.” InA Passion for the Impossible: John D. Caputo in Focus,ed. Mark Dooley. Albany: SUNY Press, 2003. “The Good News About Alterity: Derrida and Theology.”Faith and Philosophy10 (1993). “Heidegger, Kierkegaard and the Foundering of Metaphysics,”Inter-national Kierkegaard Commentary,Vol. 6: “Fear and Trembling” and “Repetition,” ed. Robert Perkins. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1993. Modernity and Its Discontents.New York: Fordham University Press, 1992. “Metanoetics: Elements of a Postmodern Christian Philosophy.” Christian Philosophy Today.York: Fordham University Press, New 1999. “On Mystics, Magi, and Deconstructionists.” InPortraits of American Continental Philosophers, ed. James Watson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999. More Radical Hermeneutics: On Not Knowing Who We Are.Bloom ington: Indiana University Press, 2000. On Religion.London and New York: Routledge, March 2001. Philosophy and Theology.Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 2006. “Postmodernism and the Desire for God: An Email Conversation with Edith Wyschogrod.”Cross-Currents48:3 (Fall 1998). The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion without Religion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997. Blackwell Readings in Continental Philosophy: The Religious.Ed. John D. Caputo. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001. Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction and the Hermeneu-tic Project.Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event.Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. “Without Sovereignty, Without Being: Unconditionality, the Coming God, and Derrida’s Democracy to Come.”JCRT4.3 (August 2003).