The Relation of Phenomenology and Thomistic Metaphysics to Religion: A Study of Patrick Masterson’s Approaching God: Between Phenomenology and Theology

Review of Metaphysics 67 (3):603-626 (2014)

Robert Sokolowski
Catholic University of America
The first part of this essay presents Patrick Masterson’s exposition of the phenomenology of religion developed by Jean-Luc Marion, and his exposition of the Thomistic philosophy of religion. Masterson argues that phenomenology can be helpful as an analysis of faith and religious experience, but it remains within subjective immanence. It needs to be complemented by a metaphysical analysis that deals with causation and explanation, as Thomism does. The essay then makes three points: first, that phenomenology need not be limited to the merely subjective domain nor need it fail to speak about being; second, that Thomistic “cognitional existence,” as developed by Joseph Owens, can be fruitfully compared with the domain studied by phenomenology as the analysis of being as truth; third, that the “saturated phenomena” introduced by Marion and used by Masterson involve categorial articulation and hence some initiative on the part of the knower, even in matters of religious faith. The essay discusses issues such as the nature of philosophical discourse, the differences between the modern and the premodern understandings of appearance; and the nature of cognitional existence in words and images
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph20146735
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