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51st Philosophical Conference
A Metaphysics of the Logos: Self-knowledge and self-manifestation.
November 24-26, 2014
The relation between truth and logos was first established in the Platonic teaching on language and the word. The medieval logos, translated as “Word”, refers to a personal God, and thus goes beyond the meaning given to it in Greek philosophy (ST I, q. 34, a. 1). In the medieval context, we then understand that in human knowledge, “the internal word is a mirror and image of the Divine Word”, leading to the discussion regarding “the word of the heart and its relation with intelligentia” (H. G. Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode).
The medieval development of a metaphysics of the Logos starts from the different commentaries on the first few lines of the Gospel according to St. John. The ex nihilo of creation is then taken to mean in principio or in sapientia (Saint Augustine, Sermon, 117, 3). In this metaphysics the world is founded on God’s creative Intelligence, going much further than what the Timaeus, 28c and the Metaphysics, 1074b 34 ff. suggest.
Hence, the “word” has a unique relation to arché and logos. It stands for a spiritual principle which grounds the totality of being, regulating it and making it intelligible; it is also key to the return of thought to itself and to its own foundation. Self-knowledge is accomplished in the intellectual vision of the Truth, which is the measure of human being and action, and constitutes the religious tie of the creature to its Origin (Aetas boethiana, the Stoic-Ciceronian tradition and the Summae of the XIIIth century).
As opposed to Kant’s de nobis ipsis silemus, the consequence of a metaphysics of knowledge without reference to the Divine Intellect, the ancient-medieval conception of “self-knowledge” will be considered from the first Logos who, in his manifestative and creative knowing, allows for the otherness of the creature. This conception goes well beyond the absolute subjectivity which is developed in the different phases of idealism. Contrary to this, the Augustinian saying, Mane apud unum; noli ire in multa (Sermon 96, 6) is taken up in thinkers such as Eckhart or Cusa, who, as Heidegger would say, invite us to rethink being in its very origin.
We revisit a central theme of medieval thought, of decisive importance for human beings and their fulfillment, with roots in late ancient philosophy, for the purpose of redirecting contemporary thought.