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By William G. Gray

ISBN-10: 0900448180

ISBN-13: 9780900448188

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Sample text

We now need to cash in on the ‘‘incubation’’ metaphor and see the deep premodern roots of Leibniz’s modernity. On the one hand, the principle of reason involves giving reasons to validate statements. ‘‘For Leibniz the principle of reason is a Principle for sentences and statements. . The principle of reason is the fundamental principle of the possible and necessary rendering of reasons for a true sentence’’ (PR 22). 41 But he always makes clear that his principle involves causes in the ontological order just as much as reasons in the epistemological order (PR 21–22, 26, 97).

So, while it will not be possible to avoid allusions to ‘‘the difference,’’ I will try to present Heidegger’s critique of onto-theology in terms of the other themes he introduces while trying to think being. All three stages of What Is Metaphysics? 10 In 1929 the contrast is between science and metaphysics. Science is ‘‘a freely chosen attitude [world-relationship] on the part of our human existence,’’ such that ‘‘it and it alone explicitly allows the object itself the first and last word. In this objectivity of questioning, definition and proof there is a certain limited submission to beings so that they may reveal themselves’’ (WM/1929 243; emphasis added).

If Heidegger is to raise doubts about this apparently obvious and decisive difference, it will have to be in terms of the common ground out of which this difference grows. Both premodern and modern ontotheologies are theoretical enterprises, oriented first and foremost to knowledge and truth rather than utility and power. If it turns out that premodern ontotheology seeks, in the name of truth and knowledge, to have its ‘‘God’’ at the disposal of human conceptuality, its difference from modernity may not be decisive after all.

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The Tree of Evil by William G. Gray


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