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v2.1 Reference

Reason, Revelation, and Metaphysics

The Transcendental Analogies

Any realist metaphysics must include an integrated account of the transcendentals and the analogy of being, for an adequate metaphysics must be about everything, and all things share in some key metaphysical characteristic—being, unity, truth, goodness, and beauty. However, they do not share in them in exactly the same way. Therefore, there is need to explain the transcendental characteristics in an analogical way. By using the phrase "transcendental analogies," Reason, Revelation and Metaphysics claims that there are analogies of unity, truth, goodness, and beauty, which are related to, but irreducible to, the analogy of being. As this book is a systematic study of the topic, theoretical reason has primacy in the project and metaphysics is given pride of place. But reason is practical and aesthetic as well; that is, our consciences urge us to seek what is good, and we are delighted by what is beautiful. Although goodness and beauty are not reducible to truth, they must be included in any adequate metaphysical account, for metaphysics looks to explain everything.

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

Montague Brown is professor of philosophy at Saint Anselm College.


"The most significant contribution of Reason, Revleation, and Metaphysics is the investigation of how far natural reason, in confronting the modern problematic of the self-realization of personal freedom in history, can go in affirming the reality of transcendental oneness, truth, goodness, and beauty. I do not know of a single author that has investigated precisely this path although Brown and his readers will find fellow travelers in Newman, Ratzinger, and von Balthasar."—Peter Casarella, Duke Divinity School

"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

9780813233512 : reason-revelation-and-metaphysics-brown
328 Pages
$75.00 USD

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Love and Friendship

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The Quest for Moral Foundations

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