The Metaphysical Society of America
Founded: 1950 Divider Member: American Council of Learned Societies

Call for Papers

Metaphysical Society of America
March 13-14, 2009
Emory University, Atlanta, GA


What are the roles of imagination and reason in the production of metaphysical thinking?  Whitehead, for example, in Modes of Thought, says: “poetry allies itself to metre, philosophy to mathematic pattern.”

            Can metaphysics be considered a branch of literature, as Collingwood says philosophy in general can, in An Essay on Philosophical Method?  Do all metaphysical systems depend upon “root metaphors,” as Pepper holds, in World Hypothesis?  Does reason itself always employ images, as Michèle Le Doeuff claims, in The Philosophical Imaginary?

            Is the really real (to ontos on) grasped by reason or thought alone, or are other powers, such as imagination, required?  Does our comprehension of the Platonic distinction between real beings (ontos onta) and those that have genesis depend solely on a rational account, or do we in some sense require images to grasp it?  How does the Aristotelian “being qua being” (to on he on), the object of metaphysics, come to be discovered or understood?  Does its understanding in any sense require rhetorical or poetical speech?  Can the Plotinian One (hen) (that is beyond being and nous, since both being and nous are contained in nous), be grasped without the use, in some sense, of imagination?

            None of these questions is intended as a “rhetorical question.” They ask whether there is a kind of pure thinking that is metaphysical thinking and that can be expressed in a purely rational language or whether metaphysics also requires other powers of the mind and forms of expression.

Papers are encouraged on any aspect or combinations of the above three terms of the meeting title.
500-word abstracts should be submitted by June 1, 2008 to:

Professor Donald Phillip Verene
Department of Philosophy
214 Bowden Hall
Emory University
Atlanta GA 30322

Please submit these by U.S. mail or by fax (404-712-9425). Professor Verene does not use email.

Those whose abstracts are chosen by the Program Committee must submit completed papers no later than December 1, 2008 to allow time for review by commentators and publication of the program.