..then what you’re gonna want to do is write a 2016 doctoral dissertation on my main man, Rev. W. Norris Clarke, S.J. (1915-2008), have it available for free online, and have me discover it earlier today by total surprise. That’s just what John J. Winkowitsch has done with his W. Norris Clarke’s Relational Metaphysics: Being and Person from Catholic University of America. Clarke first came on my radar about ten years ago in an undergrad course in metaphysics through his 2000 magnum opus The One and the Many, and his thought has done more to shape–not dictate–my own than any other thinker I’ve been exposed to in my adult life. Sadly, Fr. Clarke passed away not long after I first learned of his work, so I never had the chance to meet him.
Yes, I see my typo in “Person-to-Person.” No, I’m not fixing it. You lose some.
Winkowitsch’s dissertation is pretty much what I’ll be up to for the next few days. From the abstract:
William Norris Clarke firmly placed “person” at the core of his philosophy. He spent much of his career attempting to develop a Thomistic metaphysics that took into account phenomenological insights into the nature of person as relational. His life-long philosophical project was an attempt to articulate a Thomistically-inspired relational metaphysics that united the scholastic notion of person as substance with the phenomenological notion of person as relation. The final result of Clarke’s creative retrieval of Thomas Aquinas was, in his own words, the personalization of being itself from within Thomistic metaphysics, such that the ultimate meaning of existence is person-to-person gift and the ultimate key to the mystery of existence is interpersonal love.
For more sweet, sweet Norris Clarke nuggets online, Fordham has the full text of The Philosophical Approach to God available. And justifying the existence of the Internet in its entirety, below are two videos of Clarke in conversation with another favorite philosopher of mine, the late James Arraj. (For those keeping score, I’m more inclined to Arraj’s take on relational realism, which follows William Carlo and leans heavily on the relational as what is real, denying essence any objective existence at all. I know–just wait’ll all the single the ladies hear about that!)