Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hegel’s Analogical Dialectic



The Analogy of Being

The analogy of being may be defined as a special mode of grammar that hypothesizes one universal analogon in a common proportionate relation to many distinct analogates. (i.e. a:b :: b:c etc.) It is typically described as the middle way between the opposed extremes of univocal and equivocal predication: where univocal signification involves a one-to-one signification of one term to one meaning; equivocal signification involves a one-to-two signification of one term to two (i.e. equivocal) or more (i.e. multivocal) meanings; but analogical signification involves a one-to-two-in-one signification of one term with two or more distinct analogates, each of which is related by participation in one universal analogon. Since analogy culminates in the participation of many auxiliary analogates in one primary analogon, it structurally parallels the ontology of Platonic participation. It may thus be described as a grammatical form of predication that signifies Platonic ontology, in which the lesser being of many auxiliary analogates are integrated into the greater being of one primary analogon. Since the meaning signified by any term is constituted from some being of thought, the grammar of analogy signifies that many analogates participate in one analogon, and each of the participating analogates possess a lesser degree of being than the participated analogon, the grammar of analogy also signifies a structure of being, or ontology. Analogical ontology first divides the one-to-one univocal referent-relation of referring terms and referenced being into an one-to-two equivocal referent relation; and then correlates this equivocal referent-relation by finding a third relation between the referents. This ‘third’ inter-relation between the analogate referents is the logical centre of the analogy of being, which is meant to inter-mediate all analogates in one central analogon. The great question for analogy and dialectics is to discover the possibility of this absolute middle.


Analogy and Dialectics

The domains treated by analogy and dialectics are conventionally segregated into exclusive spheres of terms and propositions. Analogy is thought to strictly apply only to the grammatical relation of discrete terms, while dialectic is thought to apply only to propositions, premises, and arguments. Hence it is thought that where analogy may signify the referential relation of terms, dialectics may only signify the reunion of opposed propositions. This strict separation of analogy from dialectics is also presumed to imply a corresponding separation between analogical and dialectical ontologies: where analogical relations may relate equivocally distinct but mutually participatory terms, dialectics may only relate opposed and annulled propositions; and where analogical relations of analogates participate in and are perfectly exemplified by the paradigmatic prime analogon, dialectical relations are meant to be annulled and resolved into a higher and richer synthetic unity of opposites. This strict separation is, however, merely the result of an objectification of the categories of finitistic understanding in the dead marks of writing, which always conceals a more originary and dynamic combination and division of the terms and propositions in ‘living speech’. Aristotle definitely distinguished terms and propositions in the fifth chapter of On Interpretation, but Plato had already, in the Theaetetus, pre-empted any permanent objectification of thinking in writing when he described how Socrates had learnt, in a dream, that letters may be combined to make syllables; syllables to make names; names to make descriptions; and descriptions given for accounts of justified true belief. (201e-205e) Hegel recognized that Plato had, in the Sophist, shown the de-composition of complex concepts into their determinate differences to dissolve any ultimate separation between the difference of terms and the contradiction of propositions. He described how Plato had re-conceived negativity as an essential “dialectical moment” to “preserve difference” and “determine the true universal.” (LHP II 62) Dialectical thinking thus promises to disclose the contradictions between opposed theses of speech and thought to dissolve the opposites in into a synthetic unity of opposites. Analogical thinking similarly distinguishes two equivocal referents of a term, concept, proposition, or judgment, namely the universal and the particular, and mediates these two equivocal judgments by analogically judging the universal in the mode of the particular. Whether of the production of the synthetic concept from the dialectical remainder, or the attribution of a finite term in an infinite mode, the distinctions between terms and propositions may all vanish in this mysterious middle of all negative differentia.


Hegel against Analogy

Hegel has, for a confluence of textual, historical, and systematic reasons, been widely read to have occluded any conception of the analogy of being from dialectic. First, Hegel evidently never wrote about the analogy of being as it had been formulated by Cajetan, Suarez, and the Thomists. The Syllogism of Analogy that he discussed in the Science of Logic (§§ 1496-1501) show no familiarity with this tradition. This absence should, however, be only a little surprising because Hegel also shows very little interest in medieval scholasticism. When, in his later years, he set himself to write on the philosophy of the Middle Ages, he dedicated only a little more space to its one-thousand year history than he had to Plato alone. Thomas Aquinas receives his attention for a scant two paragraphs, the content of which seems to have been derived exclusively from abstracts provided by Deitrich Tiedemann’s History of Philosophy. (LHP p.2, §2, B.2.b) Second, since the Neo-Scholastic revival following Aeterni Patris (1879), the analogy of being has been consistenty championed as a pillar of Thomistic philosophy, and Thomism as a pillar of Catholic theology, in double-opposition to secular philosophy and Protestant theology. Hegel has been indicted on each account as a rationalist who recast theology into a totalizing logic of concepts and as a Protestant who until his death professed “I am a Lutheran and will remain the same.” (LHP 1:73) His reputation has also suffered from unabating criticisms of rationalism, pantheism, and atheism, not least since the condemnation of George Hermes (1835), the critiques of Franz Anton Staudenmaier (1844), and the grace-nature controversy between Johannes von Kuhn and Constantine von Schäzler (1863).

The ascendency of the Neo-Thomist party marked the sunset of Hegelian sympathies in Catholic theology. (cf. O’Meara 1982) During the era from popes Pius IX to Pius XII (cf. 1846-1958), the Hegelian theology issuing from the Tübingen School came to be increasingly associated with the heresy of modernism, because the teleological sublation of concepts suggested an historical evolution of dogma. The Irish Jesuit George Tyrrell, who in 1906 was censored for modernism, seems to have exhibited some Hegelian influence. (cf. Letters 1920, 22; Gardner 1926, 49) This influence seems to have received papal scrutiny in the encyclical Humani Generis (1950), which admonishes: “No Catholic can doubt how false this is, especially where there is question of those fictitious theories they call immanentism, or idealism or materialism, whether historic or dialectic, or even existentialism, whether atheistic or simply the type that denies the validity of the reason in the field of metaphysics.” (§32) The arch-critic of Nouvelle Théologie, Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. has similarly criticized Hegel for deriving the ‘becoming’ of historical processes from a productive contradiction. He writes that “there is no apparent reason why becoming should emerge from this realized contradiction, this identification of contradictories. On the contrary, we must hold with Aristotle that ‘to maintain that being and non-being are identical, is to admit permanent repose rather than perpetual motion.” (1946 174)

This familiar Roman Catholic opposition of Thomistic analogy against Hegelian dialectic has been largely shaped by a Counter-Reformation project which, for many centuries, has endeavored chart an alternative path around the steps leading towards modern secularism. In response to the Protestant Reformation and secular Enlightenment, the Catholic Church developed an alternative historical narrative, which tended to portray late-medieval nominalism, Protestantism, and German idealism as three seismic missteps leading in a retrograde descent from the medieval synthesis of Thomas Aquinas to the modern atheism of Feuerbach, Comte, and Nietzsche. (cf. de Lubac 1950) Since Hegel had consistently portrayed his own philosophy as the logical conclusion of Protestantism reform and Enlightenment rationalism, he is accordingly cast in this drama as the villainous architect of a megalomaniacal philosophical theology that has been ingeniously constructed from levelled building material of Scotus’ univocal being, Luther’s ‘death of God’, and Kant’s representational epistemology. Analogy is then retroactively defended as a theological alternative to dialectic by accusing Hegel of reducing the middle way of analogy to either an equivocal oscillation of mutually negating contradictories or a univocal sphere of Cartesian-Kantian representation.

William Desmond has, perhaps most famously, repudiated Hegel’s Absolute Idea as an idolatrous ‘counterfeit double’ of the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Being and the Between, he has prosecuted Hegel’s dialectic as a sterile “interplay of univocity and equivocity” within a univocal sphere of ‘aesthetic being’. (1995 168) Where Hegel consistently maintains that being is only an abstract determination of the Concept (cf. SL §807), Desmond follows Schelling in re-casting Hegel’s concepts as immediately given phenomenal beings. Once the originating stages of the immediate given sensory manifold of ‘sense-certainty’ in the Phenomenology and the pure and indeterminate immediacy of ‘being’ in the Logic have been forcibly reduced into an equivalent ‘aesthetic being’, each and every concept may be similarly reduced to merely virtual ‘determinate intelligibilities’ within the dynamic “rhythm of immediacy.” (1995, 134, 170) Consequently, he judges Hegel’s dialectic to be “a passage from the immediacy of univocal determination through the indetermination of equivocation, towards a more and more self-mediated self-determination,” and concludes that “Parmenides’ ghost rises at the end of Hegelian dialectic: Being and Thinking are one.” (1995, 172-175) Desmond’s recommendation for an ‘unsubsumable’ and ‘plurivocal’ metaxological metaphysics is meant to “reach out to what is other in self-transcendence”, but seems to fetishize the difference of this ‘otherness’ at the expense of intelligibly determinable concepts. (1995, 33)

Giles Deleuze has deployed a parallel criticism against Hegel for the purpose of preserving the independence of ‘difference itself’ in opposition to the absolute middle that prioritizes identity over difference and ‘inscribes difference in identity’. Jean Hyppolite, together with Jean Wahl and Alexandre Kojeve, had re-introduced Hegel into France in the 1930s to present a viable philosophical alternative to Husserl’s phenomenology of ‘irreal’ essences. In the Genesis and Structure of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Hyppolite described how universal concepts had unfolded from the shapes of phenomenal consciousness. (1974, 39, 101, 121, 579) Deleuze responded that Hyppolite had effectively identified ‘sense’ with ‘being’ and reduced Hegel’s Logic to the self-determination of univocal ‘sense-being’. He wrote that “philosophy, if it has a meaning, can only be an ontology and an ontology of sense. The same being and the same thought are in the empirical and in the absolute… This absolute identity of being and difference is called sense.” (Review of Logique et Existence, 1952, Lawlor and Sen trans., 1997 194-195) In Difference and Repetition, he transposed this criticism of Hyppolite into his criticism of Hegel when he describes how this “infinite representation relates” the difference between “both the essence and the ground” to a “foundation or sufficient reason” that “employs the infinite only to lead the identical to exist in its very identity” and therefore “does not suffice to render the thought of difference independent of the simple analogy of essences.” (1968 59-60) Deleuze specifically targets “Hegelian contradiction”, which, he contends, merely “consists in inscribing the double negation of non-contradiction within the existent” so that “identity” is “sufficient to think the existent.” (1968 60)

Hegel’s dialectic has, in these ways, been criticized for trespassing upon ‘principle of non-contradiction’, ‘univocal equivocity’, and ‘difference itself’. Yet each of these criticisms has spuriously presumed that the very ‘difference’ involved contradiction, equivocity, and difference itself may be separated from the immanent self-differentiating activity of dialectical thinking. This separation of ‘difference’ from the self-differentiating activity of dialectical thinking, which Hegel calls ‘external reflection’, threatens to abolish the mediating centre of theology: for once the principle of non-contradiction is made into a pure and apodictic axiom that is prior to the content of thinking; and equivocity is made into a hypostatized mode of grammar that is indifferent to its terms; each ironically comes to resemble Deleuze’s ‘difference itself’ more than the Platonic participation of all differentia in a dynamic middle. Aristotle had foreshadowed this ironically self-defeating maneuver when, for the purpose of evading the paradoxes involved in Plato’s ‘universal forms’, he erected a no less mystifying array of separate axioms of logic. But even his principle of non-contradiction (i.e. Not (A & Not-A)) evidently presupposes the principle of excluded middle (i.e. A & Not-A) because it presupposes the difference of negation (i.e. the ‘Not’) between any positive and negative term. Once such a difference is formally abstracted as a simple negation and functionally separated from the content signified by its terms, then it threatens to become a difference that makes no difference: as a simple negation, it is not different because it remains identical to itself; but as a separated difference it is formally indifferent to all signified content. Hence, once the critics of Hegel have made difference into a principle that is separated off from all differentia, each paradoxically renders difference itself as both self-identical without difference and self-differential without identity. Hegel, like Plato before him, found a hidden path through this paradox by radicalizing the difference of contradiction.


Hegel for Contradiction

To save Hegel from narrative oblivion we must explain how dialectical contradictions may produce higher and richer synthetic concepts. Contradictions are conventionally understood to result from the affirmation and denial of one and same proposition that completely annuls the concepts signified. Their consequences are considered entirely negative, to annul the concepts signified, and to be resolved only by the falsification one or more of the contradictory premises. But the genealogy of contradiction reveals a richer portrait. Parmenides presented the proto-typical principle of non-contradiction when he wrote that “never will this prevail, that what is not is.” (On Nature) But in response to Heraclitean flux, Plato extended Parmenides' prohibition on the coincidence of being and non-being to the coincidence of contrary opposites in one and the same thought. In the Republic, Socrates comments that “it is obvious that the same thing will never do or suffer opposites in the same respect in relation to the same thing and at the same time.” (436b) In the Metaphysics, Aristotle extended variants of both the Parmenidean ontic (IV 3 1005b19) and the Platonic epistemic principle (IV 3 1005b24) to a new semantic principle of non-contradiction, which prescribed that “opposite assertions cannot be true at the same time.” (IV 6 1011b13) (cf. Gottlieb 2015) Each of these principles presumed a fixed meaning for negation, difference, and opposition. But, in the Sophist, Plato investigated the meaning of difference itself and found that difference in motion “partakes of existence.” (256d) This dynamic theory of participatory difference was later rediscovered by Nicholas of Cusa when, in On Learned Ignorance, he aesthetically re-imagined the grammatical relations of the analogy of being as a coincidence of contrary opposites suspended by the ‘maximum contractum’ of Christ the Logos. (c.9 n.37, 7-10) Immanuel Kant thereafter, but albeit in a quite different spirit, described these contrary oppositions as the antinomies of judgment that are inevitably produced by Reason (KrV A409/B436); Johann Gottlieb Fichte restricted contradiction to oppositively determined concepts (WS I.496); and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling made this concept into the first principle of life in nature. He writes: “Contradiction alone brings life even into the first necessary nature, which we have considered merely conceptually until now.” (WA 220)

Hegel is sometimes said to have rejected the principle of non-contradiction in favor of dialectic. (cf. C.S. Peirce 1868, 57) But this spurious libel results from a naive conflation of Aristotle’s semantic principle of non-contradiction with the Plato’s onto-noetic principle of the dynamic self-movement movement of spiritual concepts. (cf. Phaedrus 248e, Philebus 27a-28e, Timaeus 38e-40a, and Laws 256b) Hegel did not reject but radicalized the principle of non-contradiction by harnessing its explosive force within the inner combustion engine that motivates the dynamic self-determination of concepts. He writes: “Contradiction is the root of all movement and all vitality: it is only in so far as something has a contradiction within it that it moves, has an urge and activity.” (SL §956) John McTaggart clearly recognized this when he wrote that “so far is the dialectic from denying the law of contradiction, that it is especially based on it. The contradictions are the cause of the dialectic process.” (1896, 9; cf. Brandom 2002, 179; Redding 2007, 201) Hegel never tires of repudiating the “dry bones” of formal logic and fixed propositions from which “flesh and blood are all gone” (PhG §51), and celebrating, instead, Schelling’s romantic spiritualization of Nature as the “soul of the world, the universal blood, whose omnipresence is neither disturbed nor interrupted by any difference, but rather is itself every difference as also their supersession.” (PhG §162) Like Plato and Cusa, Hegel aesthetically re-imagined contradictory propositions as oppository concepts. But like Kant and Fichte, he restricted its explosive force to the specific determinations of oppository concepts: where classical logic had hitherto held any contradiction to explode a system of inferences by rendering its conclusions trivially true (ex contradictione sequitur quodlibet or ‘from a contradiction anything follows’), Hegel restricted the negativity of contradictions to the specific coincidence of opposed concepts. He characterized the un-restricted negativity of contradictions as a kind of one-sided scepticism that “only ever sees pure nothingness in its results” and “ends ups with the bare abstraction” of empty nothingness “in order to throw it too into the same empty abyss.” (PhG §79)


Hegel’s Speculative Proposition

While Hegel acknowledges that Aristotle’s “rules of syllogizing” have “their place in cognition where they must be obeyed”, he nonetheless cautions that “they cannot serve higher, for example, religious truth… only the correctness of the knowledge of facts, not the truth itself.” (SL §27) The “profounder basis” for philosophical thinking is, he claims, “the soul itself, the pure concept which is the very heart of things” and which “animates the mind” to “raise mind” towards the “loftier business of logic” of “freedom and truth.” (SL §§ 23-25) This purpose can only be realized by re-constructing the abstract forms of logic through the self-determining content of thinking in the “absolute, self-subsistent object, the Logos.” (SL §28) But in contrast to artificial languages and formal semantics, Hegel contends that philosophy “stands in no need of a special terminology” because “the forms of thought” are already “displayed and stored in human language.” (SL §14) Hegel had formerly described, in the Nuremberg Propädeutik, how the ‘content of grammar’ comprised the “categories and unique creations of the intellect.” (1809, 322–323; cit. Malabou 2004 169) Since language is already informed by the categories of logic, the grammatical structure of language may operate as an indispensable medium for raising thought to logic. Yet Hegel is no mere grammariam. He rather harbours more ambitious plans to revise the structure and significance of grammar according to the lights of logic. Gillian Rose has, in this regard, recently called attention to the centrality of the speculative proposition when, in Hegel Contra Sociology, she described how the “speculative experience of lack of identity informs propositions such as 'the real is the rational', which have so often been misread as ordinary propositions.” (1981 49)

In the Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit (§§55-60), Hegel recommended a dynamic, participatory, and speculative mode of reading in which the fixed meaning of the proposition may be “shaken to its foundation” but preserved by “knitting or combining the predicates”, like the art of weaving in Plato’s Statesman (279a), in the “inmost reality” and dynamic rhythm of the living philosophic Idea. (§60) He describes how concepts are constructed from a “positive cognitive process” of combining subjects and predicates within a succession of speculative propositions. (§60) In the maelstrom of this dynamic process, the stable subject and substance “really disappears” while “the scattered diversity of the content is brought under the control of the self.” (§60) Once the subject and predicate pass over into one another, and neither retains their stable meaning, there remain no fixed terms as each are taken up into the “inmost reality” and “the entire mass of the content.” (§60) Once all subjects and predicates have been woven together in the entire content of ‘Absolute Knowing’, Hegel describes how the subject may come to “exist along with the content” in pure apprehension of universal reason, or Nous, in which being and essence coincide in the harmonic “rhythm of the organic whole.” (§56) Absolute Knowing is thus established, from the outset, as the teleological end and logical centre in which all of the terms of the speculative propositions participate to realize their meaning and truth. Hegel shows how he has adopted Speucippus’ teleological model of Platonic participation in the introduction and conclusion to the Phenomenology of Spirit, when he describes how “in pressing forward to its true form of existence, consciousness will come to a point… where appearance becomes identified with essence” (§89), in which the ‘figurative content’ of speculative propositions “participate in” the “pure knowledge of essence” of the Idea. (§796)

Although many commentators have celebrated Hegel’s speculative proposition, few have recognized its implications for the analogy of being. In The Idea of Hegel’s Logic, Hans-Georg Gadamer requests the retrieval of dialectics from “the reabsorption of all objectification into the sustaining power and shelter of the word” that “points beyond itself” to the medium of language that is “at work in everything which is” through the speculative proposition in which “all statement sentences referring a predicate to a subject” are reflected toward the “retreat of thought into itself.” (1982 94) He seems to suggest an analogical relation of propositions when he describes a “mean between the extremes of [univocally identical] tautology on the one hand and [equivocally differential] self-cancellation in the infinite determination of its meaning on the other.” (1982 95) Catherine Malabou has, in The Future of Hegel, similarly identified the future task of philosophy with elaborating the “speculative significance of a grammatical structure” that determines the relations between “the subject, the copula, and the predicate” through the dynamic “activity-of-form” of speculative propositions. (2006 171) She describes this dynamic relation as a gift that is “revealed as the scene of the advent”, and which inclines the reader on a Platonic ascent from the horizontal difference of terms to a vertical apprehension of their participatory and reciprocal gift-giving where “identity is retained within difference and difference preserved within identity.” (2006 173-174) She also approaches analogical language when she describes “three aspects” to the dialectical movement of the “[univocally identical] shared form, the [equivocally differentiated] suppression of that form, and the [analogically different-in-identity] presentation in return of the cancelled form.” (2006 180) But both Gadamer and Malabou neglect to thematise how this ‘mean between extremes’ of univocal and equivocal forms can imply that the speculative proposition may be read as equally speculative grammar of the analogy of being.


Hegel’s Speculative Analogy

The linguistic turn in philosophy, from Vico and Herder to Wittgenstein and Derrida, may portend an  equally momentous linguistic turn for Hegelian theology, in which the analogy of being may play a pivotal role. Formerly the self-determination of the pure Concept (reinen Begriff) was believed to exhaustively sublate (aufgehoben) and necessarily super-determine the figurative representations (Vorstellung) of language. Such an ‘overdetermination’ of the Concept could preserve no place for the free contingency of language, grammar, and analogy. But after Heidegger’s critique of technical ‘enframing’ of ontology, Gadamer has pointed a new path towards an underdetermined ‘clearing’ (Lichtung) of language when he described how Hegel’s Concept “constantly presupposes the functioning of language which sustains and accompanies it” and “in which thinking has its own abode.” (1982 94) This ‘clearing’ is meant to suggest Heidegger’s onto-logically undetermined ‘open space’ of contingent significations, which is not sufficiently determined by any prior concept but is rather adventitiously “open for everything that comes to be present and absent.” (GA 14: 80f; cit. Dahlstrom 2013, 45) The path towards this clearing was first opened by Schelling who argued, in his 1809 Freedom Essay, that only the radical freedom of self-determining beings could preserve the contingent signification of existence, experience, and language. (SW 385386; cf. Bowie 1993, 100) Were being not, in some sense, free to exceed its formally defined limits, then the multivocal significations of being would be encompassed within a single univocal Concept, and, not only the free contingency of language, but also the analogy of being would become altogether impossible.

Hegel outlines an approach towards analogy, first in the Quantitative Ratio, but finally in the Syllogism of Analogy. In the Encyclopedia Logic, he describes how the transition from Quantity to Measure develops through “the Quantitative Ratio, a mode of being which, while, in its Exponent, it is an immediate quantum, is also mediation, viz. the reference of some one quantum to another, forming the two sides of the ratio.” (EL §105) This Quantitative Ratio is a quantitative-qualitative proportion in which extrinsically related quantities come to be intrinsically determined by a common measure. This proportionate determination of extrinsically related quantities represents in German Idealism a homology, or parallel development, to the analogy of proportion in late-medieval Scholasticism, in which many extrinsically related analogates are determined through their proportionate relation to one common analogon. In the Syllogism of Reflection, Hegel elaborates upon how the ‘middle term’ of the syllogism is “equivalent to its essential universality.” (EL §190) Since, in Hegel’s system, the later stages sublate the former stages, and sublation implies a gradual reification of less into more concrete concepts, the proportionate analogy of the Quantitative Ratio may be read to have been sublated through this ‘middle term’ into the speculative analogy of the Syllogism of Analogy. This connection between the Aristotelian-Thomistic analogy of being and Hegel’s syllogism of analogy seems to have gone largely unnoticed, not only because of the aforementioned Neo-Thomist opposition to Hegelianism, but also because the Syllogism of Analogy seems at first sight to be more concerned with merely metaphorical arguments from analogy than with the divine names and theological grammar of the analogy of being. Once, however, the fixed distinction between terms and propositions has vanished in the dynamic process of the speculative proposition, a closer reading of the Science of Logic may reveal a closer connection between Aquinas’ analogy of being and Hegel’s syllogism of analogy.

Analogy has previously been described in both qualitative terms of attributed predicates and quantitative terms of arithmetic proportions. Hegel combines both the qualitative and quantitative descriptions of analogy in the moment of the Quantitative Ratio (SL §§669-694), through which qualitative Determinateness and quantitative Magnitude are united in Measure. He describes it as the “unity of both moments” of quantitative determination and qualitative movement in which each are “essentially related” by a “magnitude” that is “posited as a ratio.” (SL §§ 669-671) Hegel divides this quantitative ratio into (i) the direct ratio that posits its determinateness “in its very externality”; (ii) the indirect or inverse ratio that posits this contradictory negation internally in the “alterableness of the direct relation itself”; and (iii) the ratio of powers that resolves this contradictory negation into the “simple production of the quantum” that “becomes measure.” (SL §672)

Although Hegel seems to have been unaware of it, his (i) direct ratio resembles Cajetan’s analogy of proper proportion, in which the relation of analogy is external to substances, while his (iii) ratio of powers resembles Suarez’s analogy of attribution, in which the primary analogon paradigmatically ‘produces’ the auxiliary analogates. Hegel’s decisive contribution to this controversy is to have not only recognized but purported to resolve the intractable contradiction between “externality” and “self-relation” that had bedeviled the Aristotelian-Thomistic analogy of being since the late-Medieval era. John Duns Scotus and Willam of Ockham had each argued against Thomas Aquinas that the analogy of being could not genuinely establish any consistent relation between many distinct analogates and one common analogon without either annulling the distinction of the analogates, contrary to the principle of excluded middle, or affirming and denying this very distinction, contrary to the principle of non-contradiction. (cf. Scotus, Ordinatio 1 d.3 Q.2 a2. 26; and Ockham, Quodlibetal Questions, 4.12) Various late-medieval Platonists attempted to preserve the “analogical-participatory worldview” by radically re-thinking its “irreducibly paradoxical character” for the purpose of “abandoning non-contradiction at the ultimate level of being.” (Milbank, 2006, xxvi-xxviii) Nicholas of Cusa, for example, recalled Plato’s Parmenides and anticipated Kant’s antinomies when he argued that the finite limits of all imagined concepts must ineluctably produce contradictory coincidences of opposites (coincidentia oppositorum), which can only be known through their Platonic suspension by the absolute individuality (maximum contractum) of Christ the Logos.

The impetus to re-imagine the contradictory coincidence of opposites was borne anew in the bacchanalian fervor of Romantic idealism. Fichte responded to Kant’s antinomies with an infinite series of practical positings, Schiller, through aesthetic judgments of the beautiful, and Schelling, in the primordial infinite positing of judgements of the ‘invisible nature’ of Spirit. Once Hegel had similarly radicalized contradiction as the dialectical motor of all concepts, he could calmly claim that “it is Spirit which is strong enough to support the contradiction, but it is also Spirit which knows how to resolve it.” (SL §529)  He purports to resolve this contradiction of the mutual externality of distinct quantities in the Quantitative Ratio by annulling the negative relation of the (i) direct ratio and sublating each into the ‘reciprocal limiting’ and mutual containment of each opposed determination in the (ii) inverse ratio. This reciprocally delimiting oscillation produces a “spurious infinity of infinite progress” that “is consequently only [an] approximation.” (SL §685) But the “limit of the reciprocal limiting of both terms” is also “posited as negation of the negation” by “preserving itself and uniting with itself in the negation” of opposed determinations to propel the transition from the (ii) inverse ratio transitions to the (iii) ratio of powers. (SL §687) The (iii) ratio of powers finally results from of a “progressive realization” of the quantitative ratio through a double-transition of quantity to quality and vice versa that posits and sublates its limits in a self-determining Measure. (SL §§688-694)

The Syllogism of Analogy (SL §§1494-1501) is meant to further sublate the Quantitative Ratio into Measure, Measure into Essence, and Essence into the Concept. It is situated as the third subdivision of the Syllogism of Reflection, which is itself meant to be sublated into the Syllogism of Necessity, Objectivity, and ultimately into the Absolute Idea. Since each successive sublation is meant to preserve and incorporate the preceding concepts into a more complex and concrete concept, the Quantitative Ratio is likewise meant to be essentially preserved in Measure, Essence, just as the Syllogism of Analogy is meant to be essentially preserved in Subjectivity, Concept, and ultimately in the Absolute Idea. This sublation of the attributive analogy of the Quantitative Ratio and the speculative analogy of the Syllogism of Analogy implies that, for Hegel no less than Aquinas, the Idea of God can only be approached through a ‘positive cognitive process’ of constructing speculative propositions in an equally speculative grammar of analogy. The syllogism of analogy is also essentially distinguished from judgments by the presence of a ‘middle term’ that unites the extremes in a single inference. This middle term remains for Aristotle a fixed proposition, but Hegel dynamizes it into the speculative proposition, which, in a way that is reminiscent Plato’s self-moving souls, reflexively posits and unites “the totality of the terms” in the “genuine determinateness of form.” (SL §1485) Since, moreover, each of these syllogisms is meant to be constructed from speculative propositions, in which subject and predicate terms are combined in concepts, this ‘middle term’ is not merely a fixed axle of revolving predication but the dynamic ‘absolute middle’ of predicative self-determination in the Concept.

The ‘absolute middle’ is, for Hegel, the very keystone upon which rests the vaulting weight of his entire systematic architectonic. He describes how it is “only as immediately identical with universality that individuality can be the middle term.” (SL §1495) But he cautions that if universality were to remain external and separate from individuality then “the middle term would fall asunder into two unconnected parts and we should not have a syllogism.” (SL §1495) It is “no longer just any single quality” but the coincidence of “the individual taken in its universal nature” that is “the reflection-into-self” of its concrete nature. (SL §1496) This coincidence of universality and individuality in one nature recalls, not only Aristotle’s form-matter composition but also the divine-human nature of Christ. And although it is not yet necessarily self-determined in its objectivity, the middle term is undoubtedly essential to the Syllogism of Analogy, and its transition from Subjectivity to Objectivity. Hegel reiterates Suarez’ rejection of the four terms (quaternion terminorum), which had formerly characterized Cajetan’s analogy of proportion as an ‘imperfect syllogism’, in favor of a self-mediating three-term syllogism. (SL §1498) He contends that it is only by negating both immediacy and externality, that this syllogism may also sublate the “negative moment” of contingent individuality (i.e. the Syllogism of Induction) into a “higher universality” of self-determined necessity. (SL §§1500-1501) He writes that in “the syllogisms of reflection the middle term appears as the unity that gathers together externally the determinations of the extremes” that are “united only in a third term” and “inner unity” of the Concept. (SL §§1526-1528) Since this inner unity is comprehensively formed through syllogisms, and the Syllogism of Analogy is one of the essential moments of the Concept. As an essential moment of the Concept, the speculative analogy must comprise an essential moment for the subjective apprehension of the Idea. Hegel describes how this “syllogism is mediation, the complete Notion in its positedness” whose “movement is the sublating of this mediation, in which nothing is in and for itself, but each term is only by means of an other.” (SL §1529)

Hegel’s speculative analogy is thus meant to sublate the Quantitative Ratio, through Measure and Essence, into the Syllogism of Analogy, and Syllogism, through Objectivity and Idea, in the Concept. The Concept is then meant to reflexively determine itself through a dynamic process of speculative propositions which are essentially modelled on the analogy of being. This dialectical sublation of analogy into the Concept has suggested to many that Hegel’s Logic, no less than Spinoza’s Ethics, threatens to eliminate the free contingency of language, along with the grammar and signification of analogy. But Hegel purports to preserve this very contingency in and through the self-determined necessity of the Concept. He describes, in Actuality of the Doctrine of Essence (SL §§1187-1231), not only how contingent possibility is reflected into necessary actuality, but also how this very reflection of contingency-in-necessity is itself always contingent. (SL §1191) He writes: “This unity of possibility and actuality is contingency. The contingent is an actual that at the same time is determined as merely possible, whose other or opposite equally is.” (SL §1202) And near conclusion of The Idea, Hegel reiterates how “the concrete Notion itself is contingent” in “respect of its content” and its self-determinations. (SL §1724) Finally, in the third subdivision of the Encyclopedia, Hegel reiterates that the “Notion is the principle of freedom, the power of substance self-realized” and its elements are “identical with one another and with the whole, and the specific character of each is a free being of the whole notion.” But here, unlike the Logic, Hegel explicitly links the freedom of the Concept to the Incarnation of Christ: “not merely has God created a World which confronts him as an other; he has also from all eternity begotten a Son in whom he, a Spirit, is at home with himself.” (EL §§160-161)


Hegel’s Theological Analogy

The analogy of being may be described as a Christian theological analogy whenever the primary analogon signifies the divine person of Christ the Logos in whom all auxiliary analogates may be said to ‘live, move, and have their being’: its originary division and reconciliation is, for Christian theology, enacted outside time in the eternal filiation of Christ the Son from God the Father; both outside and inside time in the Creation of the world by the Word of God; and inside time as it is reflected in the grammar of analogy (vestigial trinitatis). Hegel’s speculative analogy may thus become a genuinely theological analogy when its ‘middle term’ signifies the ‘absolute middle’ of the universal Reason, or Nous, that is identifiable with Christ the Logos. Hegel first suggested this when he introduced the speculative proposition as a specific determination of Axanagoras’ universal Reason, or Nous. (PhG §55) He later reiterated this allusion, in the Logic, when he described the divine essence in Anaxagorean terms as the “principle of the world… the pure form of which must be logic.” (SL §54) Christological intimations subsequently recur at increasingly explicit registers scattered across many of the successive resolutions within the Phenomenology, from the life-blood of the cosmos in Force and Understanding (PhG §162), to the priestly mediator of the Unhappy Consciousness (PhG §226), to the angelic Ideas of Reason (PhG §437), and, penultimately, in the reconciling ‘Yea’ of forgiveness with the ‘beautiful soul’ at the conclusion of Morality. (PhG §671)

The successive sublation of lower into the higher stages of conscious implies that the highest stage of figurative consciousness in Religion must be dimly reflected in each of the lower stages. Christ accordingly ultimately appears at the very pinnacle of the entire system, in the consummate moment of Revealed Religion, as that singular ‘divine man’ whose death “implies at the same time the death of the abstraction” of objectified divinity that holds itself in separate isolation from the “pure subjectivity” of “universal self-consciousness.” (PhG §785) Christianity is similarly situated, in the Encylopedia, as the ‘absolute religion’ in which Christ reconciles and sublates the universality and particularity of Religion and Spirit in his own individuality. (Enc. §569) In each case, the moment of Christianity appears to be subordinated to and sublated within a higher superordinate moment of Philosophy. But this subordinate-superordinate relation does not annul but preserves, and does not efface but rather reiterates the grand Trinitarian structure of Hegelian theology.

Hegel describes, at the conclusion of the Encyclopedia (Enc. §§575 – 577), how each of the dialectical moments may be read in alternating sequences: (i) Logic – Nature – Spirit; (ii) Nature – Spirit – Logic; and (iii) Spirit – Logic – Nature. The divine persons of the Holy Trinity are thus mutually and recursively related, just as the conceptual moments are mutually and recursively related in the divine essence. The Arians had, on the contrary, subordinated Christ the Son to God the Father, but the Cappadocian Fathers had responded by reaffirming the co-equal divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Hegel’s Trinitarian recursion follows in their footsteps to imply that none of the logical moments may absolutely annul, eliminate, or dominate any of the others; and that the Christian Religion must be forever preserved as an essential moment in the life of Spirit. Dale Schlitt has helpfully described how Hegel uses these three logical moments to correlate the universality of the Father, the particularity of the Son, and the individuality of the Holy Spirit. He elaborates that this “inner dynamic of otherness… presents the triadic structure of inclusive subjectivity” that is “in its own way already absolute, divine subjectivity.” (1990 472) Since this “mediating individuality culminates or reaches its climactic depths in the death of Christ” Hegel “sets up a dialectical moment at the very core of God’s being” where he “has built the formal structure of the cruxifiction and death of Christ into the very movement of ‘immanent’ Trinity.” (1990 471)

When Hegel’s Logic is read as essentially Trinitarian and his conception of the Holy Trinity is essentially logical, then the major divisions and subdivisions of the Hegelian corpus can also be re-read to symbolically correspond to the persons of the Trinity: the simplest seminal first moment is the Father, the second self-opposed moment is the Son, and the third reconciling dynamic moment is the Holy Spirit. In the Encyclopedia, the Logic corresponds to God the Father, Nature to God the Son, and Spirit to the Holy Spirit. Further still, we might even read the Science of Logic to correspond to God the Father “in his eternal essence before the creation” of the world (SL §53), the via dolorosa of consciousness in the Phenomenology of Spirit to correspond to Christ the Son (PhG §77), and the pouring forth of the Encyclopaedia categories in the later lectures on history, politics, aesthetics, and religion to correspond to the Holy Spirit.

This Trinitarian structure of Hegel Logic also implies that moments of particularity, such as those of the Quantitative Ratio and the Syllogism of Analogy, may be read as essential moments in the ‘absolute middle’ of the Idea. Conversely, once Christ is read as the ‘absolute middle’ of the Idea, the Logos as the creative Ars may perform an essential mediating function, both as the ‘middle term’ of every syllogism, and the prime analogon of every analogy. Nicholas Adams has, in the Eclipse of Grace, identified Christ as the central mediating function of Hegel’s ‘Chalcedonian logic’. (2013 20) Hegel’s Logic may be described as ‘Chalcedonian’ because the possibility of uniting universality and particularity in the ‘middle term’ in each syllogism and in every concept is paradigmatically preserved by this individual union of divine and human nature. Once Adams’ ‘distinction-in-inseparable-relation’ between” the ‘logic of participation’ (Begriff) and the ‘logic of opposition’ (Vorstellung) is extended from the concepts of the Logic to the terms of language, Hegel’s ‘Chalcedonian logic’ may establish a participatory relation between the many distinct auxiliary analogates and the one prime analogon of Christ. Hegel’s speculative analogy may, in this way, function to “repair Hegel’s own repairs of the philosophical tradition, using Hegel’s own tools.” (2013 225)

Such a Chalcedonian logic might also promise to suspend, if not resolve, the contradictions involved in the Aristotelian-Thomistic analogy of being by theologically re-imagining the contradictory differences in all logical syllogisms as co-participants in the Chalcedonian union universal divinity and particular humanity. Once Christ the Logos is established at the pinnacle of Logic as the divine individuality in whom all contradictory differences are annulled, reconciled, and sublated, the theological analogy may promise, what philosophy finds foolish, that the contradictions present at the level of creatures may be suspended and resolved sub specie aeternitatis in and through the immanent operations of the Trinity. Nicholas of Cusa had, centuries before Kant, already anticipated this theological manoeuvre, by re-imagining the grammar of analogy as a coincidence of opposites participating in the ‘maximum contractum’ of Christ the Logos. Since the Trinity presents, for theologians no less than philosophers, an absolute paradox for finite understanding, in which all admit the absurdity that ‘God is one’ and ‘God is three’, no one should be surprised to find an ineluctable paradox in the vestigial trinitatis of language, grammar, and syllogisms. Hegel, no less than Cusa, may, in this way, propose a speculative escape from the site of these pervasive contradictions by radicalizing contradiction itself through the dialectical motor of Spirit, which annuls and sublates contradictory differences into, not only the dialectical identity of identity and non-identity, but the Christological unity of universality and particularity in the ‘absolute middle’ of a genuinely analogical dialectic.

To read more about Hegel and the Analogy of Being, see my essay Dialectical Analogy and Analogical Dialectics: Przywara and Hegel on the Analogy of Being

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Erich Przywara's Dialectical Analogy


The analogy of being had traditionally been defined as a mode of grammar by which one predicate term was signified in two or more ways, each of which participates in the perfect paradigm of that predicate. In Analogia Entis, the Polish Jesuit Erich Przywara re-defined the analogy of being (analogia entis) as “a dynamic back-and-forth between the above-and-beyond (of a transcending immanence) and the from-above-into (of an indwelling transcendence).” (216) His decisive innovation is to have recast it as, no longer merely a static mode of grammatical predication, but as a living dialectical oscillation of ‘dynamic back-and-forth’ of contrary opposites between the ascending participative and descending imparticipative analogies that is sempiternally suspended by the free gift of the divine creative act of being. Where Aristotle had found predication, analogy, and contraries in linguistic discourse, Przywara finds contrary predications suspended by analogy in the beating heart of being itself. This ‘suspended middle’ of contrary opposites is the keystone in the ontology of Przywara’s analogy of being.

Przywara observes that previous thinkers have mistakenly placed some ‘third’ “predetermined” “formal principle” between “the act of cognition” and “the object of cognition.” But in so doing these theories of ‘objective idealism’ had usurped the divine middle with the formal middle of creaturely cognition. (120) Przywara, to the contrary, describes how the genuinely mediating ground that “remains strictly neutral is the duality [of] the act of knowledge and the act of being, understood as the object of the act of knowledge.” (120) Since this neutral mediator is completely independent and indifferent to the suspended contraries, it cannot be reduced to any concept of the unity of contrary opposites, but is “the mystery becomes a concept” and the “concept is overcome in the mystery.” (181) For the purpose of defending the overcoming mystery of this concept from the post-Reformation philosophical theologians, and especially Hegel, Przywara proposes to phenomenologically interrogate his “act of consciousness” (120) to excavate a “series of intensifications” between God and creatures” (175) from the "primordial womb of the All." (229)

Przywara interrogates the phenomenal presence of questions that present themselves as an ‘ultimate impasse’ of ‘objective aporetics’ so that he may ‘breaks through’ towards the hidden concept that is overcome by mystery. (144, 156) He describes how the simple act of questioning “forces itself through this problem and beyond it” for the purpose of annulling and sublating each analytic division. (158) First, he presents an ‘ultimate impass’ aporia for interrogation; second, he divides the possible solutions; and third he reduces “the historical course of philosophical thought to an immanent objective dialectic of its problem.” (144) This procedure produces a baffling array of terminological distinctions and innovations: for example, he distinguishes meta-physics into meta-noetics and meta-ontics, which are double-annulled and sublated into their mutual ‘confluence’ and ‘co-belonging’ in the “most formal foundation of a ‘creaturely metaphysics’” (123-124); and then he distinguishes a priori deductive from a posteriori inductive metaphysics into an a priori a posteriori morphological metaphysics (135-136). This procedure of division, analysis, and dialectical sublation is meant to (i) divide a single generic category into its specific components; then (ii) successively subdivide and reduce these components to absurdity; so that (iii) the mutual annulled subdivisions may be rendered as “mutually interconditioning opposites” that simultaneously “point back towards” to “recapture what had gone before.” (123) This phenomenological reflection results in a “concrete Gestalt” (153) in which Przywara claims that the phenomena “show themselves [as a cycle] to have been contained within one another from the beginning” to disclose the “most formal foundation of a ‘creaturely metaphysics’” in “the suspended tension” between “consciousness and being” rather than “the absoluteness of the self-identity of either consciousness or being.” (124)

Przywara defines creaturely metaphysics as “that wherein physis is the "ground and end and definition in itself." (155) This ‘ground-end-definition’ of being is not the emptiest predicate, category, or determination of Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel, but the robustly pre-packaged being of later Schelling and early Heidegger. Przywara explains that “all being in fact carries within itself a ground-end-definition.” (155)  He contrasts his ‘realogical eidetics’ with Husserl’s irreal ‘eidetic science’ when he describes it as a ‘creaturely metaphysics’ that unfolds “precisely between a posteriori and a priori metaphysics.” (137) But Przywara insists that creaturely metaphysics is irreducible to the facts of existence because its “formally constitutive basic formula” is “essence in-and-beyond existence”, by which the ‘essence’ of creatures transcend their individual self-enclosed existence. (124) Heidegger had characterized ‘medieval ontology’ by the ‘transcendens’ of ‘being’ and attempted to circumvent and destroy the history of ontology from Plato to Hegel to interrogate anew the meaning of being in that-being, or ‘Dasein’. But Przywara responds by re-conceiving the meaning of ‘being’ as the suspended tension of a rhythmic inner contrariness in-being, or ‘In-Sein’: where, for Heidegger, ‘Dasein’ is that being which constitutes itself by reflecting upon the meaning of being; for Przywara, ‘In-Sein’ is the ground-end-definition of that being in-itself which constitutes its ground by its own definition and direction.

Przywara describes the “innermost rhythmic beat” between creaturely metaphysics and “God beyond the creature” as the dynamic tensions that discloses a “special sense of ‘God in the creature’.” (158) This ‘special sense’ is nothing less than a theophantic disclosure of the positive act of being, or the ‘positivum’, that actively suspends the inner contrariness of In-Sein. In double-response to Hegel and Heidegger, Przywara has re-formulated the traditional Thomistic act of being into “a back-and-forth relation” of dialectically cycling “suspended tension of the correlation” of opposites around the totally indifferent and simple divine unicity of Existence and Essence. (124) Przywara describes how the ‘positivum’ of In-Sein and the ‘negativum’ of its inner contrary opposition ‘coinhere’ in the “illimitable ‘suspended’ analogy.” (235-238) Where Aristotle had conceived of potentiality as primarily the passive reception of actuality, Przywara re-casts the negativity of Heidegger’s ‘productive nothingness’ as an ‘active potentiality’ that is always motivated by the inner tension at the “site of all contraries in one” and suspended by participation in “unlimited ‘service to God’.” (229) Przywara can claim that this ‘active potentiality’ of In-Sein is a proto-type for Heidegger’s ‘productive Nothing’ of Dasein because both are genealogically derived from the hypostatization of potentiality in the pre-determined beings of later Schelling. Like Schelling in the Freedom Essay, Przywara suggests that the ascending stages of dialectical oscillation In-Sein grants the creaturely freedom to “say No to God.” (230)

Przywara describes this freedom of God to give ‘knowing in unknowing’ as an “antecedent possibility” by which “God would reveal himself and thereby ground theology” in a positive revelation. He proposes to ‘open’ this “genuine philosophical positivity” to “the theological” by preserving the the “positive sense” of phenomenal being, or the ‘positivum’, in a mutual positive and negative limit. (178) Przywara defines positive theology when he writes: “Since, finally, according to its concept, theology is a movement of God into humanity, and thus a visible entrance into this visibility (otherwise it would remain a theologia archetypa: of God in himself), it must intrinsically- as having a divine subject to its act - be an act that is visibly divine. It is an ecclesial theology of revelation that, over the course of time, unfolds the fullness of the given word of revelation… its formal principle is represented by the positive verdict of the infallible magisterium.” (171) He reiterates that “theology, as clearly distinct from philosophy, is possible only on the basis of "God beyond the creature," understood as the fundamental relation between God and creature” and describes this as the “formal ground of the fundamental relation between God and creature within the absoluta of purely a priori and purely a posteriori metaphysics.” (164)

Przywara dismisses “a priori metaphysical thought” for going “from the ground, end, and definition” to “the grounded, directed, and determined” that reproduces “God’s own standpoint” and recommends the “distinct positivum of a posteriori metaphysics” in which “in” means a kind of active “potency” of the creature “towards God” in which the “creatures is able to measure out the expanse of being” to “its ultimate foundations.” (158) The ‘distinct positivum of a posteriori metaphysics’ is thus essentially linked to “a kind of active ‘potency’” that involves a teleological direction of the creature to God. He crucially claims that “attaining of this ultimate foundation of the formal configuration of metaphysics as such thus depends upon our preserving a double aspect within the formal configuration of the problem of the a priori and the a posteriori.” (159) To preserve this ‘double aspect’, Przywara must preserve the individuation of a posteriori metaphysics in the positivum of In-Sein that is that ground and end and definition of being-itself.

This phenomenology of In-Sein might suggest that the difference between God beyond being and creatures in being is effectively reduced to one common medium of phenomenal being. To pre-empt any suggestion of univocal reduction, Przywara describes the “ultimate commonality” as a paradoxical commonality without commonality and “the impossibility… of any derivation of one term from another.” (176) At the site of the univocal being of phenomenology, Przywara radically equivocates its ‘mutual alterity’ by rejecting any intelligible relation of quantity, quality, categories, and predication. (231) He instead affirms a double-transcendence, in which God first transcends relations with creature and then transcends this first transcending of relations to be re-related to creatures in the dynamic depths of In-Sein. God thus remains “freely independent” of creatures while creatures remain “necessarily dependent” upon him in a paradoxical and doubly-transcendent immanence of non-relational relations. (217)

This double-transcendence implies that God is interior to every propositional copula, ‘is’, and every analogy is, consequently, a grammatical participation in the ‘self-imparting-relation from above’ of the divine creative Ars. (214) Przywara declares the mysterious ‘otherness’ of this ‘suspended’ analogy to be an “analogy in the strictest Aristotelian sense: beyond any commonality of quantitative calculation… quantitative concept… [or] ultimate genera expressed in the categories, the forms of predication as such” but “strictly as a relation of mutual alterity.” (231) He recommends, instead, the dark theophantic illumination of a “genuinely Areopagitic ‘dazzling darkness’” of “ever greater dissimilarity.” Analogy of attribution reduces to analogy of proportion because it is no less suspended in a participative relation that “points beyond” its modes of “ontic and noetic, into the wholly other mode of God.” (233)

Against the formal middle of objective idealism, Przywara argues that “it is not identity that holds sway between them, but analogy itself.” (211) There is no ‘noetic-ontic’ principle of the identity of differences, but only the suspended middle of analogy that is thoroughly pervaded by the dialectical oscillation of contrary-opposition. He describes analogy as a “heavenly identity” of always inadequate asymptotic participation that is eternally suspended above “the sphere of creatureliness”: where the sphere of creatureliness is “the sphere of the principle of non-contradiction”, the ‘divine sphere’ suspends the laws and principles of logic. (212, 224) Przywara explains (fn.5) how “we are at once analogous to God… and infinitely different from God, and so he is thus at once in and beyond creaturely reality.” (160) He thus recommends that “"Essence in-and-beyond existence" is an "ultimate quality" – one at, in itself, is "a transcending relation because it is “transcended."” (159) The ultimate reality of ‘essence-in-and-beyond-existence’ doubly-transcends creatures by “transcending relation because it is transcended.”  (159)

Przywara describes how the positive emanation of complex creatures from simple ‘heavenly identity’  produces antinomies and “culminates in the threefold sense of the ‘antithetics’ that is peculiar to the Augustinian dynamic” but which stands directly opposed to Hegel (184): the (i) first antithetic is the intra-creaturely antithetic “revealed in such measure as creaturely thought touches upon the region of God”; the (ii) second antithetic is the creature-divine antithetic “between comprehension of God and his transcendence of all comprehension”; and the (iii) third antithetic is the intra-divine antithetic of God’s “ultimate depth” that penetrates to view “into the intra-divine vitality of the Father.” (185) Each of these antithetics are the consequence of the unresolved dialectical cycling opposition of contrary opposites, and each may be resolved only by suspending the contrary opposites by analogy.

Przywara introduces the analogy of being as the “totality of these potentialities” that “comprises the relation between the intra-creaturely analogy and the analogy between God and creature.” (219) He claims that these five ‘fundamental formal’ relations have “already demonstrated that the principle of metaphysics” in a creaturely metaphysics “must be called analogy.” (191) Przywara defines this fundamental formal relation of analogy, most generally, as “the connection between "ana-logia" and "ens" [that] reveals an intentional "ordering - an ordering that not only (intentionally) announces an objective "order of being", but that, in it-self (structurally as "principle"), is that wherein this "order of being" declares itself (the ontic law of the [Greek word] as the noetic law of the ana, and only thus as a fundamental law).” (192) Unlike the traditional Aristotelian-Thomistic analogy of being, Przywara describes how phenomenal being itself actively “reveals an intentional ‘ordering’” that intentionally “announces an objective ‘order of being’ according to the “fundamental law.” (192)

Przywara distinguishes an ascending participative analogy from below to above and a descending imparticipative analogy from above to below, and claims the dialectical oscillation of pre-determined In-Sein to reveal the ‘objective foundation’ that links the ascending participative and descending imparticipative analogy of being in the teleological analogy.  Pryzwara describes the commonality of both the ascending participative and descending imparticipative spans as “neither an identity nor a contradiction, but rather a coordinated relation, and thus an analogy. Consequently, the relation between the intra-creaturely analogy and the analogy between God and creature is itself an analogy.” (219) This coordinated relation is the ‘real relation’ between equivocally distinct terms (i.e. healthy drink and healthy person) of classical analogy, except Przywara has innovatively rendered this coordination as a dynamic equilibrium of the dialectically oscillating unity of opposites. This coordinated relation extends not only between creatures, in the horizontal intra-creaturely analogy, but also between “God and creature” in a vertical divine-creaturely analogy. But since the descending imparticipative analogy is prior to and pre-contains the ascending participative analogy (viz. Platonic paradigmatism), so is the vertical analogy prior to and pre-containing of the horizontal analogy.

Decades before William Desmond’s ‘metaxological’ metaphysics, Przywara proposed to investigate the “in between”, or metaxu, in opposition to dialectic that “takes place within the interval between possibilities that are antithetical.” (194) He describes this ‘in between’ as an “actuality and possibility” that “bears witness to an oscillating rhythm, back and forth, which Aristotle directly designates as analogy.” (208) The cycling back-and-forth motion of contrary opposites are meant to motivate the productive tension of the analogy of being. He names the principle of non-contradiction the “basic question” upon which the question of analogy and dialectics must be “fundamentally decided” (198) and entertains three contending opinions: first, the Aristotelian classical formulation of the principle of non-contradictions (cf. Metaphysics XI, 5, 1061b-1062b); second, Schelling’s dialectical re-formulation of contradiction as the dialectical oscillation of contrary opposites in an indifferent identity of differences (cf. Ages of the World, Bolman trans. 1967, 103-104); and third,  Hegel’s dialectical re-formulation of contradiction as the determination, annulling, and sublation of opposites into a synthetic identity of differences. (cf. Science of Logic, §§528 - 529)

Przywara rejects both the first Aristotelian and the third Hegelian principle of non-contradiction, but invokes the authority of Aristotle and Aquinas to support his revised Schellingian principle in opposition to the third Hegelian principle of non-contradiction. He rejects the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction when he complains that it has been spuriously isolated, objectified, and “turned into a thing” by the Neo-Scholastics. Once the principle of non-contradiction is cast in the iron mould of a proposition (e.g. ¬(A&¬A)), it becomes phenomenologically “indistinguishable from the principle of identity” and the “Cartesian immediacy of truth in the cogito.” (201) Where for Aristotle the laws of logic were treated as self-evident axioms that regulated determinate thought and discourse, for Leibniz these principles became constitutive ideas of reason. (cf. Leibniz’s Monadology §31) But since any such idea is identical to itself, even the principle of non-contradiction must paradoxically appear self-identical (i.e. (¬(A&¬A)) = (¬(A&¬A))). He further suggests that Hegel’s ‘direct grasp’ of the intra-trinitarian life results in the Eleatic “hardening absoluteness” of the “flowing antithetics of the intra-creaturely” that supplants “the category of ‘opposition’ – which is the only category that is objectively warranted – with that of ‘contradiction’.” (185)

Przywara reiterates that dialectic bears within it the ‘dia’ of contradiction of ‘breaking apart’, whereas the Logos of analogy bears within it the “breakthrough.” (168) He recommends analogy over dialectic when he describes how “analogy says that thought, as a distanced obedience to the Logos” involves “the pervasive working of the Logos in all things” in “the most fundamental relation” of “pure logic” that is “identity from beginning to end” while “dialectic, on the other hand, is ‘identity in contradiction’” rather than the “self-ordering within a being-ordered” of analogy. (197) Dialectic is ‘breaking apart’ because it is defined as an ‘identity in contradiction’ and Przywara rejects the possibility of speculatively thinking through contradictions; while analogy may ‘breakthrough’ this contradiction precisely because of its humble ‘obedience to the Logos’, which is the graced reception of the free gift of a divinely illuminated intellectual intuition. (197) Since it is only this Logos that is self-identical (i.e. divine simplicity), Przywara turns the tables on Hegel by characterizing dialectic as non-identical because it is contradictory.

Dialectic, for Przywara, collapses into its own oscillating “night of antitheses” because he has already foreclosed any possibility of a positive dialectical mixture of differences in identity. (196) It represents the sublation of the antithesis between logic and dialectic: neither ‘logical dialectic’ (which with Hegel, makes dialectic into a logic of the divine), nor ‘dialectical logic’ (which, with Heidegger, knows all truth only as the being underway of the inherently autonomous creature), but only a ‘creaturely logic’, is an immanent (and most formal) method for ‘creaturely metaphysics’.” Analogy is mean to balance the confusion of dialectic by yielding to “loving self-surrender” to the heterotonomous free gift of God’s grace, which alone promises to sublate the antithetical opposition between logic and dialectic. (196) Przywara views dialectic as one-sidedly meta-noetic and apriorist in Hegel gnostic “logical dialectic”, and one-sidedly meta-ontic and aposteriorist in Heidegger’s “dialectical logic” of Dasein, and proposes his own Logic of analogy as the balancing dialectical analogy.

Pzywara blames Hegel for the reduction of “all objective being” or substances to “the predicative form of judgment” because of his alleged Parmenidean stasis of identity and difference. (194) He makes this interval between antithetical possibilities the ‘site’ of “the antithesis of differing possibilities” in an ‘objective dialectic’. (194) Przywara blames Hegelian dialectic for wrecking the unity of contrary opposites on the “the shipwreck of the absoluteness of pure logic” that dissolved the principle of non-contradiction into ‘pure contradiction’. (201) Przywara accuses Hegel of making “the noetic-ontic principle of identity… determinative in the background” of an “absolute contradiction”: “‘Contradiction’ is the form in which self-identical ‘ontic truth’ or self-identical ‘noetic being’ is immanent to the mutable world from above, so much so that the world is the rhythm of its dialectical unfolding.” (202) This noetic-ontic principle of identity determines all predicative concepts as either identity or non-identical, and thereby immanentizes contradiction in the mutable world. He criticizes Hegel’s such a self-enclosure of ‘pure being-given’ (rather than self-transcending participative In-Sein) that “ultimately leads to a nothing, albeit a nothing understood in the sense of the ‘away from and towards’ of the “into the infinite” and “not as the nothing of “pure possibility” , but as the nothing of a “pure transition” in the sense of a “passing-over”, in a shuttling of negative opposites unto nothingness, or nihilism. (218) Przywara rejects this Parmenidean-Cartesian noetic-ontic principle of identity because he affirms, to the contrary, that the world is created by and suspended from God who is totally unconditionable by any onto-noetic principles, beyond all being and thought.

Przywara contends that since both pure logic and dialectic merely transpose it by alternatively reducing everything to identity or contradiction, as an ‘identity in contradiction’, only analogy genuinely preserves the principle of non-contradiction.  For this purpose, Przywara uses a distinction between contrary opposition and contradictory annulling: contrary opposition involves a mutual interpenetration and interconditioning of correlative opposites that remain fixed in their own self-identity, while contradictory annulling involves the mutual contradiction that dissolves the fixed self-identity of each opposite. Przywara affirms the former and rejects the latter because he believes in the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction, in which, since no contradiction can be thought, all thinking must navigate between contrary opposites around the contradiction of these opposites (cf. Metaphysics XI 1062b); but Hegel rejects the former and affirms the latter because he believes in the Platonic principle of non-contradiction in which, since every determination of thought may result in a contradiction, some contradictory differences must be re-thought as to participate in identity (cf. Sophist 256d and Parmenides 135a). Przywara contends that Hegel’s dialectic fails to preserve the differences the opposed antitheses and the synthetic concept because he believes, with Aristotle, that contradiction must annul every difference between contraries, but because he also rejects Aristotle’s principle of non-contradiction he cannot maintain his opposition to Hegel’s contradictory dialectic.

Przywara claims that Aristotle’s principle of non-contradiction is the only objectively warranted formulation. (185) But once he has rejected the Neo-Thomist principle of non-contradiction he can no longer maintain its exclusive warrant. According to Aristotle, any rejection of the principle of non-contradiction must tacitly presuppose the principle of non-contradiction, since to reject A and affirm not-A is requires the presupposition that A is not not A (e.g. ¬(A&¬A)). But Przywara equivocally accepts and rejects the principle of non-contradiction when he substitutes Aristotle’s principle of non-contradiction for Schelling’s unity of contrary opposites. The claim that only this Schellingian unity of contrary opposites can be objectively warranted must therefore presuppose the very principle of non-contradiction that he has rejected: for to say that only Schelling’s principle is true, and ipso facto Hegel’s principle is false, also presupposes that it is possible to reject A and affirm A to reject not-A and affirm not-A. But since this presupposition may only be warranted by the principle of non-contradiction, Przywara must either reduce Aristotle’s non-contradiction to Schelling’s unity of contrary opposites or vice versa. Przywara’s procedure of division, annulment, and sublation betrays his choice of Schelling over Aristotle. But since Schelling’s unity of contrary opposites unites rather than annuls contraries, Przywara cannot legitimately claim to annul, as unwarranted, Hegel’s radicalization of contradiction into a synthetic identity of differences.

Przywara appeals to Husserl’s pre-theoretical and non-consequential ‘logic of truth’ to recover the “authentic version of the principle of non-contradiction” that may be “realized from the standpoint of analogy.” (203) In Formal and Transcendental Logic, Husserl had described how, since the principle of non-contradiction is only true in “virtue of a connexion” between concepts and eidetic laws, “an opening remains for every material countersense and for every other untruth.” (Cairns trans., 1969 55, 64) Przywara exploits this opening to argue that the ‘minimum ground’ and ‘negative form’ of the principle of non-contradiction “stands or falls with this unity” of contrary opposites that are teleologically directed through the thinking cogito towards the analogy of being. (201) John Milbank has observed that “Scotus and Ockham rightly question whether analogy of attribution does not violate the principle of non-contradiction, since there is no third term between the univocal and the equivocal.” (Theology and Social Theory, 2nd Ed. xxvi) The fundamental question for any viable post-Scotistic analogy of being must thus be the question of how to formulate a third term that does not blatantly violate the principle of non-contradiction.

Przywara claims that the analogy of being is “decisively located in that foundation which is expressed by the principle of non-contradiction.” (235) He subtly re-defines the meaning of being (entis) to mean that positive being, or ‘positivum’, which coincides with the inner difference, or ‘negativum’, in a oscillating unity of contrary opposites. This ultimate and fundamental ontic and noetic structure is described as a mediating bridge by which every similarity is an ever greater dissimilarity but every dissimilarity is suspended by the free divine creative gift of in the positivum and negativum of or In-Sein. Przywara purports to suspend the principle of non-contradiction by linking this positive potentiality with theological positivism when he writes that the positivity of the creatures does not “sink back into nothingness” but “mysteriously merges with God’s own positivity.” (224) Where Aquinas denied and Scotus affirmed that God could violate the laws of logic, Przywara affirms that the God may omnipotently suspend the permanence of the principle of non-contradiction. But this suspension also betrays his Scotistic conception of the divine freedom to violate the laws of logic.  Przywara names this a-logical divine freedom the “true wonder of a potentiality that is so positive as to be the ‘possibility of not being possible’ or ‘the non-necessity of being necessary’.” (225)

Pryzwara argues that this participative suspended middle is decisive for the “culminating problem of the principle of non-contradiction” because it constitutes the “relation between the lowest pole of the intra-creaturely analogy” and the “highest pole of the analogy between God and creature” that “has its most extreme and comprehensive span” in the “unity of the two analogies.” (219) For the purpose of securing this possibility of theology, Przywara contends with Hegel by forthrightly rejecting the possibility of any formal middle ‘third’ in favour of an endless sea of possibility positivity. He writes “there is no tertium quid - no "third"; rather the theological is itself the sea into which the philosophical flows.” (179) Przywara writes that “Our theological metaphysics thus carries in itself the positively ecclesial as the determining ground of its life.” In contrast to the Hegelian mediating ‘third’, Przywara proposes that the only “other possibility of a "third" would then consist in the supposition of a "third" that could be attained beyond the theological” in an “incommutable truth.” (180)

Przywara observes that Hegel had described in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy how “modern philosophy bears in itself the form, specifically of Protestant theology” which “points to the whole unabbreviated spectrum of the problematic that flowed into Scholasticism.” But he recalls that “modern philosophy must trace its Protestant theological form back still further, to its origin” and “it must come to understand its Protestant form from the perspective of the entire undiminished spectrum of Catholic theology.” (150) Przywara criticizes “those modern philosophies that seek to be absolute “as “in fact theologies emptied of theological content” because they have “annulled the differences between God and creature.” (164) He applies these criticisms to non-Catholic theology when he writes: “the Reformation's theology of God alone working all things.” (164) Przywara rejects Hegel’s desire for a comprehensive metaphysics because “it would imply a standpoint not only outside the tradition's current, but one situated already at the end, at the very mouth of the stream, which is the standpoint is God's alone.” (151)

In a double-critique of both Hegel and Heidegger, Przywara opposes the concept of the Logos as “an active ‘ap-prehending’ of the ‘object’ in order to com-prehend it.” (193) He phenomenologically re-conceives of the Logos in as the conceptualization of In-Sein, and the fundamental form of relation in between the analogy of being. Przywara defines this Logos as “the ‘word’ which is practically ‘posited’ and which co-posits its ‘meaning’” in the “region of an ontology.” (193) Przywara narrates a line of descent of post-Reformation theology from Hegel to Heidegger, in which Hegel is alleged to have made the principle of identity into a super-determining principle of non-identity and contradiction in all predicative judgments, and Heidegger is alleged to have radicalized this pervasive contradiction into the auto-annihilating being of Dasein. He writes: “The Hegelian ‘contradiction’ has been radicalized in the Heideggarian ‘Nothing’” as a “‘productive Nothing’ that “utters the ontic-noetic “I am who I am” of the principle of identity.” (202)

Przywara contends that this line of post-Reformation philosophical theology anulls every difference between God and creatures, to either reduce creatures to God in ‘theopanism’ or God to creatures in ‘pantheism’. He writes: "Thee-pan-ism" means that, proceeding fundamentally "from above to below;' God becomes the all”; while "Pan-the-ism" then means that, proceeding fundamentally "from below to above;' the all becomes God.” (165) Where theopanism is the formal ground of purely a priori metaphysics that corresponds to a priorist devolution, and pantheism, the formal ground of purely a posteriori metaphysics that corresponds to apriorist evolution. Each, he argues, concludes in a confusion of “philosophy that is theology and a theology that is philosophy.” (165)

Hegel emerges as the primary target of post Reformation philosophical theology because he is alleged to have reduced theology to “philosophical dialectic.” (165) Przywara alleges that Hegel is guilty of annulling the distinction between God and creatures by converting the eternal truths of theology into an idol ‘eternal dialectics’. (144) Przywara proposes a ‘super-theological critique’ to explain how “the ambiguity of its inner dynamic” is irreducible to a concept. He affirms that this apophatic positive-negative delimitation of the concept involves “the relation between ‘concept’ and ‘mystery’” at “every point along the way” of thinking towards a “reduction in mysterium.” (189) Every concept is meant to lead to mystery and every mystery is meant to leads to a concept. Where Hegel’s concept is said to sublate the mystery so to erase the mysterium, Przywara’s concept cycles between mysterious closure and openness in the dialectical oscillation of every positive and negative limit.

Przywara alternatively claims to possess a ‘sense’ that the “entire meaning of [dialectic] points beyond itself” towards “the profound Augustinian sense of a self-revelation of the mind’s movement” and the “sheer mystical fusion with truth.” (196) Where Hegel had purported to resolve these antitheses, Przywara purports to ground the potency of the principle of non-contradiction in this ‘deepest antithesis’ for the purpose of disclosing the act of analogy. He describes how “analogy alone is a measured equilibrium” which “Aristotle will equate… with the middle.” (206) Where dialectic shuttles in a formal ‘back-and-forth’ between identity and non-identity, analogy is uniquely meant to preserve the measured ‘equilibrium’ of essence-in-and-beyond existence between the deepest antithesis of Parmenides and Heraclitus. Przywara means “to show how the principle of non-contradiction is decisively grounded in the minimum of the constantly renewed and counterbalanced debate between thought’s two deepest antitheses” of Heraclitus and Parmenides. The dynamic middle of analogy thus reaches all the way down to its deepest antithesis and pure potency in principle of non-contradiction. He writes “It is thus in the principle of non-contradiction – understood as the middle – that analogy establishes itself as the foundation of all thought.”

Przywara judges Hegel’s supplanting of the contrary opposition of the inner rhythmic oscillation of In-Sein being itself to be “diametrically opposed” to “the inner unity of philosophy and theology” expressed by the First Vatican Council in the document On Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio). (185) Przywara recommends this “reductio in mysterium” as “precisely the church’s final word.” (189) In “response to Hegel’s attempt to grasp the mystery ‘as’ concept (in ‘absolute knowledge’)” he describes a “way into the mystery” that is both “‘in’ the concept and ‘beyond’ the concept” in the mysterium fide of the “‘self-concept’ of a Trinitarian-dialectical God.” (189) Przywara claims that this ‘divinity of pure thought’ is “directly contrary to the articles 5 and 6 of Questio 1 of Thomas Aquinas’ De Veritate.” (144) Later he will more emphatically affirm his anti-Hegelianism with the Vatican I document Fides Et Ratio. Przywara writes: “the one eternal truth of God reveals itself noetically in creaturely truth in the same way that divine being reveals itself ontically in creaturely being.” (144)

Contrary to Hegel, Przywara maintains that the antithetical spheres (i.e. intra-creaturely, creaturely-divine, and intra-divine) are not derived, but only the mystifying process by which the “the intra-creaturely might surmount itself by passing over into them” and let “itself be borne over into them.” (185) Przywara opposes his three antithetics to Hegel’s triadic syntheses when he writes: “Here the three spheres of dynamic antithetics not only remain separate, as we have seen; they also remain separate in such a way that, logically, our path commences strictly with the first sphere (the intra-creaturely) - not in order to derive the other spheres from the intracreaturely (which would lead to a new theological rationalism), but in order that the intra-creaturely might surmount itself by passing over into them - or, better yet, by letting itself be borne over into them.” (185) These metaphors of surmounting, ‘passing over’, and birth are all meant to indicate the ‘antecedent possibility’ of God’s free gift of emanation and participation that is not at all necessarily derived because it is utterly contingent upon God’s own divine freedom.

Where Hegel had purported to dialectically contradict, annul, and synthesize opposites in a way that purportedly compromises their independence, Przywara proposes to preserve their independence through the triple antithetics and mutual delimiting that participates in the intra-divine procession of the Trinity. Przywara describes the integrated ‘in-and-beyond’ structure as the “particular inner span between concept (theologia positive) and mystery (theologia negative)” in a “double-emphasis of its ‘in-and-beyond’ with regard to the creaturely realm” that is simultaneously “from the in to the beyond” of the philosophical and “from the beyond to the in” of the theological. (189) This particular inner span is, contrary to Hegel, not a third intermediating synthesis of difference in identity, but a ‘double-emphasis’ of the positive concept and the negative mystery in the dialectically oscillating cycle of beyond-to-in and in-to-beyond, which reflexively imitates the superdetermining dialectical cycles.

Przywara describes this “correlation proper to creaturely metaphysics” as the “coordination between two suspended equilibria” that does not “form a closed circle” and in which “neither of these equilibria in itself constitutes a closed circle” by “becoming a back-and-forth movement that is never completed” and which never finally “a neutral one” but is “the creaturely form of the act” that is “ever anew to the ‘in-and-beyond’ of “truth in-and-beyond history.” (154) Each of these correlations is characterized by the same Schellingian indifferent identity of differences, which are united by the mutual interpenetration and interconditioning of opposites in and beyond itself in a non-relational suspended relationality. But where the Thomistic act of being is related to beings through their paradigmatic cause in the divine creative act, Schelling’s pre-determined beings are unrelated by any conceivable notion of causation, because the category of causation is itself conditional while the abysmal unground of all grounded beings is absolutely unconditional. Przywara’s unwitting inheritance of Schelling’s unconditionally conditioned pre-determined beings thus sets him in conflict, not only with Hegel and the idealist tradition, but also with Neo-Platonic, Dionysian, and Thomistic tradition of paradigmatic causation and participation that he purports to defend.

Przywara suggests, however, that his creaturely metaphysics of essence-in-and-beyond existence is meant to exceed this ‘in between’ simply by questioning the ‘in-between’, viz. the division, annulment, and dialectical sublation of opposites. Each and every one of Przywara’s dialectical movements from the division, to the annulment, to the sublation of contrary opposites is only possible if the form of the form of the valid inference (i.e. disjunctive syllogism) is presupposed. But if it is supposed to operate as an indifferent identity of the differential opposites rather than as a mediating identity of identity and differential acts, viz. the medium of conscious being (e.g. Hegel and Brouwer), then his procedure of dialectical sublation may never succeed in mixing contrary opposites into a higher and richer dialectical synthesis of opposites. Przywara can, therefore, never resolve the paradox of unity and multiplicity because he cannot break through contrary oppositions to contradictions to produce genuine dialectical mixtures of opposites; but Hegel may, to the contrary, promise to dialectically resolve these contradictions and thereby preserves the Pythagorean model in which the transcendentals radiate throughout every triadic level of his system of philosophy.

Przywara consistently misrepresents Hegel, in the spirit as Schelling, for reducing positive being to negative a priori concepts. But in the Science of Logic, Hegel purports to preserves being at each stage of the dialectical development from pure indeterminate being to the absolute and supreme being of the Idea. Similarly, in Faith and Knowledge, Hegel describes how every judgment involves an act of faith (glauben) suspended by the ‘speculative good Friday’ over the mystery of faith.  Przywara’s proposal to answer to Hegel’s ‘reductio in conceptum’ with a reduction in mysterium no less misrepresents Hegel’s Logic as an a priori deductive metaphysics, and Hegel’s faithful judgments in a way that may – a best - only conclude in a theophantic ectasy that mystifyies the concept. Przywara’s deferral from cognition to supercognition remains an ineluctably cognitive act of deferring from the immanent to the transcendent, or from inside to outside the limits of the cognitive. Hence he can no more hope to escape from the noetic-ontic principle of identity than the ideal orbit of his own cognition.

Przywara presents the ‘concept is overcome in the mystery’ as a faithful Catholic defence of the mysteries of faith (e.g. the Trinity) against the idolatrous ‘theological rationalism’ of ‘objective idealism’. But he achieves this mystification by re-conceiving positive being, in the spirit of Schelling, as an unconditionally conditioned determination of an inscrutable divine will. He maintains that God is exceptionally situated in an a-logical realm that operates beyond the laws of logic. This divine a-logicality is linked to Przywara’s theological positivism because, as in later Schelling, the positive pre-determined beings (i.e. the dynamic activity of the postivum of In-Being) are un-related God by any further negative and logical determinations (i.e. identity and contradiction). His contention that double-transcendence implies a paradoxical non-relational relationality of divine immanence is no less a-logical that his concept of God beyond logic. This conceptual void of a-logical space threatens to deny the Trinity by not only be the positivum of In-Being, but also to any relationality between God and creatures. Such a rejection of the logical relationality between God and creatures would imply that Przywara’s Analogia Entis is, contrary to his earnest intentions, altogether non-analogical because every purportedly real relation would collapse into an a-logical void.

Przywara even seems to celebrate this a-logical nothingness when he describes the coinherence of the negativum and positivum of In-Sein as ‘pure possibility’ and ‘productive nothingness’. (218, 229) He illustrates the absolutization of this a-logical nothingness when he describes the ‘fundamental concept of the intra-creaturely ‘is’ as the ‘is in the not’ from which God created the world out of nothing. He writes: “What is ultimate and decisive is rather that it stands out as ‘nothing’ against the divine Is and herein has its authentic relation to Him” as “that of the ‘nothing’ to the ‘Creator out of nothing’.” (237) But because every analogy is defined as utterly dependent upon dialectical oscillation, he not only casts every divine-creature relation as a dialectical oscilation, he may even be taken to suggest that the pure act of God paradoxically contains the summation of all dialectical oscillations beyond dynamic movement. The suspension of all being beyond all thought of being suggests a totally voluntarist ‘pure possibility’ of divine action that threatens to demolish any intelligible inter-relationality of analogy. However, Przywara’s own principle of double-transcendence may also be taken to imply that any degree of dissimilarity (i.e. greater or lesser) should be transcended in some further similarity, so that just as similarity is transformed into dissimilarity so is dissimilarity transformed into similarity. This suggests that the radical alterity of the negativum should be resolved into a positivum that incorporates its dialectical oscilation of contrary differences without collapsing into any equivocal difference.  

To read more about Przywara and the analogy of being, see my essay Dialectical Analogy and Analogical Dialectics: Przywara and Hegel on the Analogy of Being