Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Movement and mediation : the metaphysical discourse of French Spiritualism in the works of Félix Ravaisson and Maurice Blondel
Author: Emma-Adamah, Victor
ISNI:       0000 0004 9354 0339
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 01 Jan 2400
Access from Institution:
This thesis is an exposition of the metaphysical vision of the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century philosophical sensibility known as French Spiritualism through a focused exploration of the themes of movement and mediation in the thought of Félix Ravaisson (1813-1900) and Maurice Blondel (1861-1949), respectively. The study, to the extent that spiritualism’s guiding inspiration was a quest for being as the concrete experience of reality in its superabundant plenitude and, consequently, a sustained critique of modernity’s various ‘reductions’ of being, is concerned not only with the recovery of this vision but also with its constructive appropriation and extension. In spite of its metaphysical and theological fecundity and originality of critique, French Spiritualism has remained a relatively unknown chapter of philosophy. To this end, this study opens up a frontier on spiritualism’s abiding significance. The two studies on Ravaisson and Blondel manifest an internal and organic unity in their shared importance in reimagining the intuition of Leibniz’s metaphysics of continuity, but more centrally, in their convergence on a theological metaphysics of love: Ravaisson, through an aesthetic of divine donation and, Blondel, through a Christology of the Mediator. In the study on Ravaisson, I open an investigation on movement and its rehabilitation from Aristotle, read through the prism of Leibniz’s doctrine of continuity, as the controlling and most encompassing metaphysical theme of Ravaisson. Through a close reading of texts and the analysis of concepts, I follow the philosophical and theological transformations by which movement comes to represent not merely a phenomenon of nature but embodies a certain continuity into the metaphysical and theological in grounding nature in the ultimacy of a new metaphysics of love and donation. I focus but to do not limit my readings to Ravaissonian texts that have hitherto received limited attention in the scholarship: the two volumes of the Essai sur la Métaphysique d’Aristote (1837, 1846), La Philosophie en France au XIXe Siècle. In a following chapter, I pursue the thematic of mediation as receiving its most theological conceptualization in Maurice Blondel, while not losing its metaphysical anchoring. Insofar as Blondel, like Ravaisson, takes up the same thread of elaborating a metaphysics of continuity through a creative reading of Leibniz, he subscribes to the spiritualist project. I pursue a close reading of Blondel’s two works on the Leibnizian vinculum substantiale along with other relevant texts on mediation in order to give a systematic account of the “new realism” this metaphysics subtends. I further pursue Blondel’s mining of the Christological dimensions of mediation in order to ground a theological concrete realism that thinks afresh the metaphysical modality of divine presence.
Supervisor: Pickstock, Catherine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Movement ; Mediation ; Maurice Blondel ; Fe´lix Ravaisson ; Metaphysics ; Modernity ; Love ; Union (vinculum substantiale) ; Spirit ; French Spiritualism ; Grace ; Aristotle ; Gottfried Leibniz