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Title: Owen Barfield : theology as poetic metaphysics
Author: Di Fuccia, Michael Vincent
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 5127
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the theological import of Owen Barfield's poetic philosophy. Barfield's claim that subjects and objects exist in tension rescinds nominalism. In this scheme being resists closure, as instead the subject appears to inhabit a middle or medial realm. This presents a formidable challenge to philosophies of immanence and the sciences which presuppose them. For this reason the thesis draws upon relevant interlocutors to underscore the originality of Barfield's poetic philosophy, particularly as it relates to language, philosophy and the social and physical sciences. Overall, the thesis argues that the nominalist legacy results in a failure to ground the subject that emerges in the dialectic between modernity's active subject and postmodemity's passive subject. As such, nominalism represents merely a caesura to being's harmonious poetic kenosis. This dialectic not only reveals the inconsistencies of philosophy's immanent construal of being, but further exposes the very openness or mediation it denies. In the first two parts, Barfield's poetic philosophy is presented as an alternative to such feigned philosophies, in that it affirms the openness of being and concomitantly its theological trajectory. In this vein, the final part of the thesis builds upon Barfield's poetic philosophy to construct a theology as poetic metaphysics that baptizes philosophy's openness. Language and being are inconceivable outside of a theology of transcendence. For without transcendence, conceived of as in-and beyond immanence, being dissolves into either univocal repetition or equivocal non-identity. Thus, the only possibility of being is a non-identical repetition wherein the subject paradoxically grasps the truth that infinitely exceeds her. In this scheme, and not unlike Barfield's, the subject is not purely passive nor purely active, but middle. She is not an immanent ground in herself; her utterance is mediated, a participation in being's primordial.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available