Review of Metaphysics 52 (1):3-19 (1998)

AT MID-CENTURY, MOST PHILOSOPHICAL ROUTES to transcendence appeared closed. Philosophers and theologians often cooperated in associating transcendence with dubious metaphysics, the otherworldly and the supernatural. This attitude towards transcendence was captured most sharply perhaps, in the work of the logical positivists, but it was shared for different reasons by the positivists of revelation. The rebirth of idealism in British and American philosophy of religion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, had been widely succeeded by realism and naturalism of the kind that, with some exceptions, tended to be indifferent, if not openly hostile to philosophical and theological talk of transcendent reality. Between the wars, metaphysical utterances were condemned by the logical positivists and their immediate successors to the scrap heap of the non-cognitive. Kerygmatic theologians, with their emphasis upon the ontological difference of transcendence and their appeal to the authority of revelation and faith, joined hands with the philosophers in ruling out any connecting point between transcendence and immanence, between the sacred and the secular in the ordinary experience of persons. The positivists of revelation no less than the logical positivists conferred an independence upon the world. Transcendent reality was reduced either to the non-cognitive, or to the miracle of faith and revelation.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1998521113
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