Reason, Revelation, and Metaphysics
The Transcendental Analogies
Although metaphysics is traditionally thought to be a philosophical project involving ontology and natural theology, Montague Brown argues that an adequate metaphysics must ultimately be theological, including within its scope the truths of revelation. Philosophical reason's examination of the transcendental analogies raises questions that it cannot answer. We experience a world of many beings, truths, goods, and beauties. Recognizing that these many instances have something in common, we affirm a transcendent instance of each (traditionally called God). However, although we know that a transcendent instance exists, we do not know its nature: therefore, we cannot say how it is related to the other instances. If we try to apply this transcendent instance as the prime analogate to shed light on the other analogates, we must fail, for the abstractness and universality of the transcendent instance can add nothing to our understanding of the particular instances. Wanting to know how the many exist and are related, philosophical reason finds no way forward and recognizes its need for help.
It is the thesis of this book that reason finds this help only in the revelation of the God's covenantal relation with the world. The first principle of all things—most perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man—is really and freely related to us. Only by accepting this revealed prime analogate can the transcendental analogies bear fruit in our ongoing quest for understanding.
About the Author
"It is clear to natural reason that some things cannot be adequately explained by natural reason. For the philosophia perennis, this realization grounds the old adage some things can be known only be revelation and some only be reason, but some things - even the existence of God - can be known by both. Taking his lead from John Paul II's Fides et ratio, Monty Brown's new volume ponders various ways in which revelation can illuminate things that ever remain mysterious to natural reason alone."—Joseph Koterski, SJ, Fordham University
"In a fallen world where so many so easily separate power from goodness and will from truth, a compelling work on the divine transcendentals is surprisingly urgen yet again. But more than just describing the unity of the transcendentals, here Dr. Brown brings them down to this world of failure and fatigue and shows how in the Eucharist, the unity of covenants, of divinity and humanity, of faith and reason, and the unity of all that is good, true, beautiful is present and available to all who hear."—David Meconi, SJ, author of The One Christ: St. Augustine's Theology of Deification
"Montague Brown argues, cogently, that philosophy, as is true of all forms of human rationality, is incapable of providing its own logical grounding. Reason, Revelation, and Metaphysics examines the history of each transcendental from Parmenides to Plotinus, through Thomas Aquinas and Hegel, teasing out the tensions in each person's thought before setting out how the revelation of God in Christ serves to resolve the conundrums uncovered. The work is careful and detailed. It is well worth the read - it is, in my estimation, quite an important contribution to the discussion."—Rev. Earl C. Muller, SJ, Notre Dame Seminary
Other Titles by Montague Brown
Other Titles in PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics