JP2 Lecture // Jean-Luc Marion: “Going around metaphysics”

On November 8th a public lecture by Prof. Jean-Luc Marion (Académie française/Sorbonne) was held at the Angelicum. The lecture titled “Going around metaphysics” was organized by the St. John Paul II Institute of Culture within the JP2 Lectures series.

The relationship between Christian thought and metaphysics is problematic. On the one hand, Chrstianity cannot be identified with a any doctrine of being (as God is in a different manner than things are), on the other hand, it cannot assume that for that same reason any metaphysical thought is redundant to it and conlcude that God’s being is so radically different that it escapes any conceptualization. Can modern metaphysics today become a foundation for theological thought? Prof. Marion answers this question in the negative; while theologians of the past could confidently rely on the metaphysical doctrines that existed in their time, today this relationship seems much more tenuous.

In modern philosophy, the term metaphysics itself has become suspect, replaced by philosophers with various synonyms, descriptive terms and neologisms, such as transcendental philosophy, ontology, system or theory of knowledge. In the writings of contemporary philosophers, one can find a number of objections formulated against metaphysics as such, developing or greatly exceeding the criticisms contained in the writings of Kierkegaard, Marx or Nietzsche. Moreover, these objections have proved difficult to refute, and must also be taken into account by contemporary advocates of a return to metaphysics. Is it possible, then, to have a different take on metaphysics, one that is not entangled in the aporias and reductions to which historical metaphysics inevitably led?

We encourage you to listen to Prof. Marion’s lecture in its entirety on the Youtube channel:

Prof. Jean-Luc Marion (born 3 July 1946) is a French philosopher, phenomenologist, and Roman Catholic theologian. He has held chairs at both the Sorbonne and the University of Chicago. Awarded with the 1992 Grand Prix du Philosophie de l’Académie Française, the 2008 Karl Jaspers Prize, as well as the 2020 Ratzinger Prize. Jean-Luc Marion is a former student of Jacques Derrida whose work is informed by patristic and mystical theology, phenomenology, and modern philosophy. In November 2008 he was elected as an immortel by the Académie française. He has occupied seat 4, an office previously held by the late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. His many books include God Without Being (1991), Prolegomena to Charity (2002), et al.