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Charles Sanders Peirce and a Religious Metaphysics of Nature
978-0-7391-4128-1 • Hardback
March 2011 • $80.00 • (£49.95)
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Pages: 182
Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
By Leon Niemoczynski
 
Religion | Philosophy
Lexington Books
In this enlightening and original study on the cultivation of a religious understanding of nature, Leon Niemoczynski applies Charles Sanders Peirce's thought on metaphysics to 'ecstatic naturalism,' the philosophical perspective developed by Robert Corrington. Niemoczynski points to Peirce's phenomenological and metaphysical understanding of possibility-the concept of 'Firstness'-as especially critical to understanding how the divine might be meaningfully encountered in religious experience. He goes on to define his own concept of speculative naturalism, offering a new approach to thinking about nature that joins the essence of pragmatism with the heretical boldness of speculative thought.
Leon J. Niemoczynski is a lecturer in philosophy at Immaculata University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In this brilliant book, Leon Niemoczynski tackles the elusive concept of ground/abyss by a careful analysis of Schelling, Peirce, and Heidegger. The scholarship on all three thinkers is first-rate and shows, in particular, the influence of Schelling on pragmaticism and the Being/Beyng problematic. Using ecstatic naturalism as a hermeneutic template, Niemoczynski grapples with the nature of identity and difference between nature naturing and nature natured. Out of these conceptualizations he has a new way of talking about abduction, god, potencies, and the sacred. The outstanding feature of this book is how he weaves together Schelling's unruly ground, Peirce's Firstness (by far the most profound of Peirce's three categories), and Heidegger's 'middle' period descriptions of the gifting of the holy as enabled by Beyng's hidden and unhidden aspects. Finally, Niemoczynski establishes his own philosophy of pragmatic speculative realism that augments and challenges the framework of ecstatic naturalism.
Robert S. Corrington, Drew University


The real strengths of this book are the detailed analysis that it supplies of Peirce’s concept of possibility and—following scholars like Corrington, Esposito, and Ejsing—the important attempt that it represents to trace connections between Peirce’s metaphysics and Schelling’s system of thought. Niemocyznski’s most significant contribution does not consist in what it adds to our understanding of Peirce’s metaphysics. Instead, it is his attempt to extend Peirce’s ideas and assess their relevance for the philosophy of religion. The book will certainly be of interest to Peirce scholars and specialists in American philosophy, as well as to those theologians and philosophers of religion who recognize the significance of the American intellectual tradition for addressing topics in their field.
Michael L. Raposa, LeHigh University


Niemcozynski's work provides a thoughtful analysis of Peirce's Firstness that makes novel connections to themes from Schellings and Heidegger, a truly constructive endeavor that creatively weaves traditionally disparate American and Continental resources. Theologically, it provides an important alternative philosophical framework to process thought for those who seek more systematically to develop the idea of God's continual becoming.
American Journal of Theology and Philosophy


 
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