Reiner Schürmann and the Challenge of Christian Trinitarian Thought
Reiner Schürmann speaks of the end of Western metaphysics as the end of a mode of thinking that relies on an overriding metaphysical principle that establishes the economies that provide the space for permissible and impermissible actions. In its wake, he proposes a project of an-archy, of living without the reliance to the domination of one central metaphysical concept, but rather of kata physin, of “following the way things enter into mutual relations.” Kenneth Schmitz, in reacting to Schürmann, points out that there are elements in Christian thought that can also provide new patterns of thought and action at the twilight of the end of metaphysics, namely, the notions of: (1) charity, (2) the Trinity, and (3) mystery. I shall take up the second suggestion of Schmitz and attempt to articulate what the Christian notion of the Trinity can contribute to our understanding of thought and action after the end of metaphysics. I argue that through the theological detour of Thomistic Trinitarian thought, we can chart out new patterns of thought and action, specifically on the notion of the tri-personality of the Trinity, leading to the analogical understanding of persons-as-relations. Such a consideration not only provides a sharp rebuttal to Schürmann in his understanding of “hard unity” in terms of metaphysical principles, but it also helps us understand the place of man in the contemporary world: one of charitable relationality.