D. Stephen Long, metaphysics

Long on Metaphysics

I’m writing a review on Speaking of God: Theology, Language, and Truth by D. Stephen Long. The grand thrust of the book is on the resurgence of metaphysics. Apparently, the demise of metaphysics was heralded too quick and too strongly. Crucial to the book is Long’s five definitions of metaphysics. Here they are below, and here is a hint, 3 and 4 are the good ones:

What is metaphysics? In this frief overview we find at least five answers, or five uses, for the term. First, metaphysics is a philosophical invective used against an imprecise use of language, which speaks of being or beings for which there can be neither verification nor falsification (metaphysics 1). Second, metaphysics is a totalizing discourse that presents Being as origin, cause, and goal and thinks everything within its structure (metaphysics 2). Third, metaphysics is the inevitable opening of a sign that exceeds its context (metaphysics 3). Fourth, metaphysics is the beyond that interrupts immanence ‘in the middle’ (metaphysics 4). Fifth, metaphysics is a beyond that secures the presence of any sign such such that the sign is unnecessary. It is an objective, universal validation where a sign corresponds to a reality such that the reality could be known without the sign. In fact, the reality secures the sign and not vice versa (metaphysics 5). (Metaphysics 5 is the ‘cartoon Platonism’ post-metaphysical philosophy critiques and which can still be found in some post-Tridentine Catholic versions of the ‘analogia entis.’ Metaphysics 3 and 4 are also versions of the ‘analogia entis.’)

It is because I’ve read this book, and Long would be supportive that metaphysics is directly and immediately tied to politics, that I feel confident enough to proclaim the following about the United States and emigration policies: to call a human being illegal is to perpetuate positivism’s metaphysics. And that can go to hell where it belongs.

The quote from Long was on page 9.


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