Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age

  • Desmond and the Quest for God

  • by Ryan G. Duns S.J.

  • 384 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Hardcover | 9780268108137 | September 2020

  • eBook (EPUB) | 9780268108151 | September 2020

  • eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268108168 | September 2020


In A Secular Age, Charles Taylor, faced with contemporary challenges to belief, issues a call for “new and unprecedented itineraries” that might be capable of leading seekers to encounter God. In Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age, Ryan G. Duns demonstrates that William Desmond’s philosophy has the resources to offer a compelling response to Taylor. To show how, Duns makes use of the work of Pierre Hadot. In Hadot’s view, the point of philosophy is “not to inform but to form”—that is, not to provide abstract answers to abstruse questions but rather to form the human being such that she can approach reality as such in a new way. Drawing on Hadot, Duns frames Desmond’s metaphysical thought as a form of spiritual exercise. So framed, Duns argues, Desmond’s metaphysics attunes its readers to perceive disclosure of the divine in the everyday. Approached in this way, studying Desmond’s metaphysics can transform how readers behold reality itself by attuning them to discern the presence of God, who can be sought, and disclosed through, all things in the world.

Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age offers a readable and engaging introduction to the thought of Charles Taylor and William Desmond, and demonstrates how practicing metaphysics can be understood as a form of spiritual exercise that renews in its practitioners an attentiveness to God in all things. As a unique contribution at the crossroads of theology and philosophy, it will appeal to readers in continental philosophy, theology, and religious studies broadly.