Erich Przywara and Postmodern Natural Law
A History of the Metaphysics of Morals
148 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268105945 | October 2019
Hardcover | 9780268105938 | October 2019
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268105969 | October 2019
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268105952 | October 2019
Graham McAleer’s Erich Przywara and Postmodern Natural Law is the first work to present in an accessible way the thinking of Erich Przywara (1889-1972) for an English-speaking audience. Przywara’s work remains little known to a broad Catholic audience, but it had a major impact on many of the most celebrated theologians of the twentieth century, including Hans Urs von Balthasar, Karl Rahner, Edith Stein, and Karl Barth. Przywara’s ground-breaking text Analogia Entis (The analogy of being) brought theological metaphysics into the modern era. While the concept of "analogy of being" is typically understood in static terms, McAleer explores how Przywara transformed it into something dynamic. McAleer shows the extension of Przywara’s thought into a range of disciplines: from a new theory of natural law to an explanation of how misunderstanding the analogy of being lies at the foundation of the puzzles of modernity and postmodernity. He demonstrates, through Przywara’s conceptual framework, how contemporary moral problems, such as those surrounding robots, Islam and sumptuary laws, Nazism (including fascism and race), embryos, migration, and body modification, among others, are shaped by the failure of Western thought to address metaphysical quandaries. McAleer updates Przywara for a new audience searching for solutions to the failing humanism of the current age. This book will be of interest to intellectuals and scholars in a wide range of disciplines within philosophy or theology, and will appeal especially to those interested in systematic and moral theology.
Graham James McAleer is professor of philosophy at Loyola University Maryland.
"Graham McAleer makes astonishingly difficult things come to life in the most vibrant and persuasive way. His book is enormously erudite and enormously interesting. He makes the implications of Przywara's thought for ethics and culture pop off the page. This book could be a huge conversation starter on multiple levels." —John Betz, University of Notre Dame
"This volume is a cultural and philosophical commentary on an extremely important twentieth-century text in Thomistic thought, Analogia Entis by Erich Przywara, S.J. The author aims both to make this very difficult text more easily accessible and to apply the thought found in that seminal text to contemporary trends." —Joseph W. Koterski, S.J., Fordham University
"Graham McAleer's learning and talent for relating seemingly disparate ideas and thinkers . . . are clearly in evidence throughout. The author's command of sources from medieval to early modern to contemporary is impressive." —Aaron Pidel, Marquette University
"This work is highly valuable from a number of angles: first it unpacks some of the key concepts of Erich Przywara’s Analogia Entis which was one of the most important Catholic books of the 20th century but notoriously dense. Second it argues that ethical reflection must include a metaphysics of morals that avoids landing on one extreme end of the vitalism-angelism see-saw. Thirdly it argues that natural law is Christoform and thereby affirms and extends the directions taken by St John Paul II in this field. Fourthly it demonstrates the contemporary relevance of these ideas by juxtaposing them with themes in postmodern philosophy and social practices. Fifthly it highlights the political repercussions of getting the analogia entis wrong or just not taking it into account at all. And last, but far from least, it achieves all of this with a very engaging (non-boring, non-technical) style of writing. It’s a 'must read' for anyone interested in the Catholic intellectual tradition." —Tracey Rowland, University of Notre Dame (Australia)
"In fresh and accessible prose, Graham McAleer's latest book demonstrates the enduring relevance of Pryzwara's teaching on the analogy of being. On the basis of his thought, McAleer offers a compelling genealogy of modernity and sheds light on numerous otherwise perplexing features of contemporary culture." —Thomas Hibbs, president, University of Dallas
"Another slendid book by G. J. McAleer, in which he tackles, with characteristic panache and ploymorphous erudition, a whole slew of the moral and cultural perplexities that confront Catholics currently in the liberal democracies, expounding and developing a radical account of the doctrine of natural law that shows how we got here and how we might work ourselves out of the mess. Granted, it is a challenging read for 'liberal humanitarians' such as myself, a Thomist who never read Pryzwara, and (worse still!) a student of philosophy at Aberdeen who never heard of Thomas Reid, two of McAleer's heroes. But, even when you resist where the argument is inexorably taking you, you cannot restrain your delight in the thought world that McAleer opens up—a dazzling performance!" —Fergus Kerr, O.P., School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh