Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Poetics of the Equivocity of Being

 Here are some poetical remarks on the equivocity of being by William Desmond. Enjoy!

Desmond, Being and the Between, 87

The war of philosophers against unintelligibility has made them generally hostile to the equivocal. This is manifest in the oscillation with the univocal we examined in the last chapter. It is no less true that this war is never finished, and many victories turn out pyrrhic, indeed brief lulls before the hydra of the equivocal sprouts another head to replace the one just chopped. The equivocal is a hydra that cannot be completely killed by univocity; for to kill its many heads demands many hands, and univocity has only one hand at a time. Indeed, I think equivocity is not to be killed but charmed from being a mythic monster into a fabling of the plurivocity of being. We must come to terms with the beautfy of the beast. Logical murder, murder repeated methodically, will not do.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

William Desmond, Being and the Between

 The title above is a book I have been reading lately. usually I will be excited for a month with a new acquisition and then the taedium sets in and I abandon the book. My shelf of "current books" grows ever longer. Surprisingly, I have stuck with Przywara's Analogia entis, though it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me in either German or English.

Desmond is a scholar of continental philosophy, mainly of Hegel it seems, with little to no interest in medieval philosophy. The book listed in the title of the post is loosely based on Aristotle, Plato, and the moderns. The auther seems rather adverse to scholastic thought; consider the following, from p. 12:

But were there no happening of astonishment, metaphysics would be a mere scholastic juggling of empty abstractions, perhaps with great virtuosity in the formal mastery of argumentation, but ontologically barren nonetheless.

The author, though not possessing knowledge of Scotus' position on univocity, effectively rules out Scotus' position at the very beginning. p. 3:

Hence, the question of being is not first one for philosophers, understood as an elite of thinkers. It transcends the difference of the few and the many, for it strikes our humanity simply in virtue of its being, as mindful of itself and what is other to itself. Of course, this matter may degenerate into platitude. Then being will be said to be the emptiest of abstractions--a vacuous generality, indifferently applicable to everything and anything, and hence not applicable with illuminating power to anything in particular. Against this degrading of being we must fight strenuously. There may be a sense of the universal, and the community of being that transcends any abstract universal.

As nice a short summary of Scotus as was every written. But we might fight against it.

Finally, a word of warning: be careful when buying academic books! I bought my copy from Amazon, which sells it, I found, as a print on demand volume. But alas, every page of the text, as well as the front and back cover, contains the stamp "copyrighted Material". One would think this could have been dispensed with, given that there is a copyright page, but no. The stamp even covers page numbers and sometimes obscures the last line of the text on a page. So find a used copy, if you want to read this book.