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Intellectual Intuition in the General Metaphysics of Jacques Maritain

A Study in the History of the Methodology of Classical Metaphysics


Edmund Morawiec

The publication presents Maritain’s concept of intellectual intuition in a wide philosophical and historical context and examines its role in the construction of metaphysics. The question to be answered is largely that of whether – and in what measure – intellectual intuition, in Maritain’s view, plays a role in the discovery of an understanding of the object of metaphysics, namely the concept of being, as well as the transcendent properties of being, and in the admission of the first principles of being. In the book one can find also analyses of various kinds of intuition as well as the role played by intuition in different phases of human cognition. The book addresses metaphysics in the aspect of its development and methodology, its value is thus not only historical but also philosophical.


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2. The role of intellectual intuition in arriving at the concept of being


Two problems shall constitute the matter of this chapter: the problem of being as the object of metaphysics, in other words being as being, and the problem of forming the concept of being as being, including the assertion of the “data” serving as a basis for its construction. Discussion of the first issue will focus on a reconstruction of Maritain’s understanding of the concept of being as well as the account of the process of its formation. As for the second problem, analysis will concentrate on abstraction as an intensive visualization typical of metaphysics and on the assertion of data constituting the point of departure in the process of forming the concept of being as being. 2.1. Being as the object of metaphysical cognition To begin, let us note that Maritain holds the traditional view that being as being is the object of metaphysics and that this object is found by metaphysics in empirically perceptible things158. The immediate field of metaphysical research is the “being” of things perceptible by the senses, of material things. Metaphysics analyzes or recognizes de facto existing things not in their capacity of perceived and material objects, but in their capacity of beings. One may ask – what does it mean that perceived, material objects are analyzed in their capacity of beings? Is there any other way to analyze them, perhaps in some other capacity? These questions will be answered by presenting Maritain’s understanding of the word “being”, including his understanding of the expression “being as being...

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