Metaphysics and the Origin of Culture

Review of Metaphysics 63 (2):307-328 (2009)
Abstract
How is metaphysics related to human culture? Any culture has at its base a concept of being. This concept of being is expressed through the power of the myth. Myth provides culture with a grasp of the whole, with the interrelations of the human, natural, and divine. The instinct to form the myth achieves its expression at the origin of culture. Once the origin is passed, myth passes into memory, but the instinct to grasp the whole of things remains. F. H. Bradley claims: “Metaphysics is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct, but to find these reasons is no less an instinct.” Metaphysics is myth remembered. Once past the origin, the formation of being passes from the mythic imagination to the metaphysical imagination. The metaphysical imagination pursues an account of the whole of things through the power of the rational idea. — Correspondence to: dverene@emory.edu
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