Plí invites submissions for its 32nd volume:

Themes in Metaphysics

When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.’ (David Hume, E 12.34)

[M]etaphysics is further concerned with pure concepts of reason that are never given in any possible experience whatsoever, hence with concepts whose objective reality (that they are not mere fantasies) and with assertions whose truth or falsity cannot be confirmed or exposed by any experience; and this part of metaphysics is moreover precisely that which forms its essential end, toward which all the rest is only a means – and so this science needs such a deduction for its own sake.’ (Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena, §40)

Notwithstanding its manifold sense in the history of philosophy, metaphysics has undoubtedly occupied a pivotal position in philosophical systems. Aristotle’s first philosophy corresponds to what we traditionally understand as metaphysics: the study of being qua being. Descartes honours metaphysics as the foundation of the philosophical systems. Baumgarten delineates metaphysics as the science of first principles. For Hegel metaphysics is concerned with the infinite truth of what is, attained by the science of infinite thinking, a science that deals with what is in and for itself.

Yet the prominence granted to metaphysics has not been well received by all. Some, particularly the philosophers of 20th century, have questioned the privileging of it, leading to hostile receptions shortly after. In the early 20th century, hostility towards metaphysics was cultivated among the philosophers of the Vienna Circle. They claimed that metaphysics is a nonsensical enterprise, which must be put to an end. Their acclaimed objective – to re-direct philosophy away from metaphysical questions towards those that were more pragmatically inclined – ultimately led to philosophy being put in the service of the natural sciences. Heidegger is another figure who seeks an end to metaphysics but does so in a radically different way. He argues that past metaphysics has wrongly preoccupied itself with the ontic nature of things rather than Being as such. This traditional conception of metaphysics must be overcome in order to give way for the disclosure of Being through non-metaphysical modes.  Lastly and most recently, Markus Gabriel’s project of realist ontology appears as a new way of understanding what there really is without addressing any metaphysical commitments. His concept of fields of sense, for example, attempts to understand the nature of things under multiple fields of sense without reference to the metaphysical idea of totality. Gabriel thereby seeks to establish a non-metaphysical domain for the investigation into being or existence.

These are but a few examples among many in the history of philosophy that attempt to problematize or undermine the discipline of metaphysics.  There is no doubt that the question of metaphysics is pertinent as ever either in praise or in criticism. If one can talk about the return of metaphysics, our era is exemplary of its return with important metaphysical commitments visibly resurfacing in themes of contemporary philosophy, particularly at the core of other philosophical disciplines —ranging over logic, ontology and epistemology. The question is old but persisting: if metaphysics is inevitable, then in what form?

In this volume, Plí aims to reflect the developing interest in metaphysics and to facilitate a discussion revolving around traditional and contemporary questions of metaphysics. We invite the friends and foes of metaphysics to illuminate on issues concerning any subject-matter in the domain of metaphysics as well as subject-matters explicating the relationship between metaphysics and other philosophical disciplines.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

– Possibility of Metaphysics

– Being / Existence

– Essence

– Substance

– Metaphysics of Time

– Metaphysics of Identity

– Causality

– Modality

– Ground (Principle of Sufficient Reason)

– The Relation of Metaphysics to Logic, Ontology, Epistemology, Theology and the History of Philosophy

Varia

As well as works addressing the topic of each volume, Plí is always happy to consider:

Strong articles on any aspect of continental philosophy

Book reviews (please contact the journal to discuss prospective reviews)

Short translations of important works in continental philosophy.

The deadline for submissions is 3rd July 2020. All submissions should be no longer than 8,000 words, prefaced by an abstract, and sent by email to: plijournal@warwick.ac.uk as a Word, ODT or RTF file. Please, include an e-mail address for future correspondence.

Before submitting an article, please ensure you have read the Notes for Contributors at https://plijournal.com/notes-for-contributors/.