International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3):329-348 (2002)
William Desmond’s ongoing contribution to metaphysics encompasses both an innovative construction of a metaphysical perspective (“metaxological metaphysics”) and a thorough criticism of prior metaphysics. Consideration of seven distinct but related criticisms of other metaphysical theories reveals much of Desmond’s own view. What seems to be missing in Desmond’s works is thorough-going use of Neoplatonic thinkers. This absence is telling insofar as classical Neoplatonists not only avoid many of the criticisms that Desmond directs against “forgetful” metaphysicians but actually articulate a metaphysics that would often confirm Desmond’s own. A clear example of this is found in Plotinus’s view of determination and excess in the individual, a metaphysical topic of great importance for Desmond himself. From this, one may conclude that Desmond’s already rich metaphysical thinking may be further enriched through closer consideration of Neoplatonism
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