Louis-Marie Chauvet

Chauvet on the Metaphysical

Because of its exclusive fixation on the being of entities, metaphysics is to be placed at the level of a “technique of explanation of reality by means of ultimate causes.” The god it posits appears only in the perspective of a causality working as a foundation. The entire discussion is distorted by the passion to master the truth. Such an ambition inevitably degrades the truth into an unfailingly available foundation, a substantial permanence, an objective presence. This need for a reassuring plenitude is symptomatic of a visceral anthropocentrism: the need to begin with the certitude of the self, with the presence of the self to the self, by which everything else in the world is ultimately to be measured. In this manner, everything “is ordered,” everything is justified, everything has good reasons to be and to be there as present. From the notion of being-as-substance as present permanence to the notion of the subject-substance as permanent presence, it is the same logic at work, a logic of the Same unfolding itself: a utilitarian logic which, because of fear of all difference of what is by its nature permanently open, and finally of death, reduces being to its own rationality and, unknowingly, makes of it the glue that bonds a closed totality.

Louis-Marie Chauvet, Symbol and Sacrament: A Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian Existence, Translated by Patrick Madigan, S.J., and Madeleine Beaumont, pg. 28.


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