Mystery and Method: The Other in Rahner and Levinas

By Michael Purcell | Go to book overview

1.
Method

1.1 THE QUESTION OF METHOD

Any enquiry provokes questions regarding method. Otto Muck, in his study on The Transcendental Method, points out that "the question concerning methodology is an indication of a crisis [in which] the access to reality most familiar to us appears to have been called into question with regard to its fundamental validity" ( Muck 1968, 11). Methodology, however, although it "accompanies inquiry," "does not project a complete and adequate description of the way a priori" (ibid.). Rather, method unfolds as inquiry progresses.

Concern with method, philosophically speaking, is a modern phenomenon which begins with Kant's and his critical philosophy and accompanies the rise of the transcendental subject. Prior to Kant, Coreth notes, "the question was never raised about the basic method of metaphysics, that method by which metaphysics, if possible at all, should validate and build itself up in conformity with its own nature" ( Coreth 1963, 403). Maréchal, too, places Kant at the beginning of the critical method, noting that, though "the epistemology of the ancients did not totally overlook the critical problems" nonetheless "their theory of knowledge proceeds from a viewpoint which differs from the modern Critique" ( Maréchal 1949, 47). For Kant, the method employed by metaphysics stood in marked contrast to that of the positive sciences. The "prevailing mood" of metaphysics was one of "weariness and complete indifferentism -- the mother, in all the sciences, of chaos and night" ( Critique of Pure Reason, A x). Unlike the positive sciences, metaphysics had "not yet had the good fortune to enter upon the secure path of a science" (B xiv), but remained a "random groping" among "mere concepts" (B xv). If metaphysics was to secure itself, it needed to be critical of itself. Thus, "this attempt to alter the procedure which has hitherto prevailed in metaphysics, by completely revolutionising it in accord with the example set by the geometers and physicists, forms indeed the main purpose of this critique of speculative reason. It is a treatise on method,

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Mystery and Method: The Other in Rahner and Levinas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Introduction xii
  • Endnotes xxxiii
  • 1. Method 1
  • 1.7 Summary 56
  • Endnotes 59
  • 2 Philosophical Origins 119
  • Endnotes 121
  • 3. Questioning Presence 129
  • 3.5 Summary 166
  • Endnotes 169
  • 4. Subjectivity and Alterity 171
  • 5. Desiring the Other Or, the Prevenience of Grace 223
  • 5-5 Summary 246
  • Endnotes 248
  • 6 the Sacramentality of the Face, Or, Sacramental Signification 251
  • Endnotes 294
  • 7. Being Ethical 297
  • Endnotes 333
  • 8 the Mystery of the Other 335
  • Endnotes 357
  • Bibliography 359
  • Index 383
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