Philip Goodchild (Philosophy Department, University of Nottingham)
Transvaluation and the Practice of Metaphysics
Recent calls for a renewal of metaphysics in philosophical theology incorporate much that has been learned from the continental critique of metaphysics: thinking is formed by participation in a living tradition, physical embodiment in sensation, modes of spiritual practice, attentiveness to what is given and what is possible, awareness of political implications, and the fostering of trust and creativity in order to point towards a shared metaphysical reality.
The challenge taken up in this project is to move beyond recommending a renewal of metaphysics towards forming an adequate set of metaphysical concepts. This project aims to illuminate the practice of metaphysics by:
(1) developing and refining a method of transvaluation for constructive metaphysical thought in philosophical theology;
(2) exploring the potential of this method by applying it to a specific case: reformulating ontological arguments for the existence of God;
(3) exploring how this transvalued metaphysical account of God can deepen an understanding of truth (as giving orientation to thought) and sin (as arising from disorientated thought).
Transvaluation removes the binding force of existing concepts and values by creating a fresh perspective, endowing a new sense and value to phenomena. Instead of seeking certainty, it seeks to express a compelling vision that illuminates the nature and order of reality. The first stage is to revise and develop Nietzsche’s method of transvaluation, forged in the critique of metaphysics, for a contrary use in constructive metaphysical practice through dialogue with the French spiritualist metaphysicians (e.g. Boutroux, Bergson, Lavelle, Le Senne, Weil). The second stage is to explore how one might still move from thought towards existence by means of a transvaluation of ontological arguments. The third stage focuses on a transvaluation of concepts of truth and error (or sin) derived from this renewed metaphysical perspective. The outcome will be lectures, articles, and a monograph on the practice of metaphysics.