Adam Morton

Project leader:

Dr Adam Morton (Nottingham University)


Prophecy and Orientation to Life


The welcome revival of metaphysics in philosophical theology poses a risk of reopening a set of old problems, stemming from the tendency for metaphysical abstraction to become detached from embodied life. It is unfortunately common to see formalistic gestures at life as a divine name, or at God as being itself, with relatively little effort to describe what difference this might make for life in the concrete. Such efforts risk unwitting repetition of the conditions which led to suspicion of metaphysics in the first place.

This project takes up ‘orientation to life’ as its central inquiry, examining the conditions under which abstraction takes place, and seeking after what it is for philosophical theology (as a species of human thought generally) to receive a renewed orientation to life and lived experience in the concrete, just as to God as the source of life and life itself.

The inquiry consists in an effort to recover and systematize an often neglected phenomenon in the history of philosophy, and in the continental tradition in particular, of what might be termed prophetic interventions or a prophetic mode of discourse. This mode (exemplified variously, but for the purposes of this project seen especially in J.G. Hamann and the later works of Michel Henry) appears in opposition to the severing of thought from life, and constitutes a distinct, often Christologically-focused attempt, analogous to prophecy or preaching, to address and re-orient metaphysics to the concrete of life.

The purpose of the project, drawing upon the phenomenological method of Henry and the technique of ressourcement, is to explore and develop such a mode of direct ‘prophetic’ philosophical discourse, in order to contribute to contemporary metaphysical renewal through the re-orientation of metaphysics to life. The expected output is to include a monograph on the subject.