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Metaphysics, Theology, And Self : Relational Essays

Translated by: Harold H. Oliver
Product Code: P352
ISBN: 9780881460278
Product Format: Paperback
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Price: $30.00

These eight essays represent Professor Oliver’s third contribution in which he proposes a system of relational philosophy and theology, extending his monograph, A Relational Metaphysic, along new lines. Themes developed include the following: (1) On the issue of truth in scientific and religious discourse as seen from the claim of their complementarity: they represent different languages about the same domain-experience. (2) The problem of Western substantialism is answered by a proposed non- and antisubstantialist theory of selfhood as an alternative to the Western ego. (3) Certain hermeneutical themes. (a) The contrast between mythical and metaphysical is used to argue that mixing idioms of myth and metaphysics leads to equivocal assertions. (b) A proposed new hermeneutics for reinterpreting the Whitehead corpus results in a different way of assessing Whitehead’s philosophy. And (c) a theory that Greek Orthodox theology was the source for a new conceptual category of relation, namely, “distinct but not separate,” is used to express the relation between God, Humanity, and World. (4) Several themes introduce new facets of relational thought. (a) The negative evaluation of nature in modern Protestant theology that was exposed by the rise of ecological consciousness in the 1960s, in response to which relational thinking leads to the proposal of an integral theology in which nature is interwoven into its central elements. (b) A relational personalism is advanced as an alternative to Boston University idealistic personalism. (c) The notion of the relational self is set forth in several essays, most notably the last, where it is argued that the relational notion of the self is nonsubstantial (no-self). Nagarjuna’s tetralemma is introduced in such a way as to claim that when speaking of the self it is wise to say: it is, it is not, it both is and is not, and it neither is nor is not. Nishida’s notion that “there are individuals because there is experience” and Whitehead’s claim that “consciousness presupposes experience” underlie the relational understanding of experience. The claims are assumed throughout this volume.
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