The Foundations of Nature

We are proud to announce and congratulate our Executive Secretary, Dr. Michael Dominic Taylor for the privilege and incredible honor to be among this year’s winners of the Expanded Reason Awards!

With this book, Taylor proposes a new ontological foundation for the fields of ecological ethics and bioethics alike, as two sides of the same coin.

Metaphysics of gift, founded in the fundamental recognition of the gift of existence, represents the widest possible paradigm, most adequate to appreciate the depths of reality. This proposal contends with the fact that virtually all modern and postmodern thought has lost the ability to hold together both our intrinsic relationality to all other created beings, and the radiant unity of truth, goodness, and beauty of creation.

Both the technocratic paradigm that views all of nature mechanistically, with indifference towards the good, and its antagonists – the eco-philosophies that attempt to emphasize relationality and the intrinsic value of non-human creatures – carry partial truths that must be recognized but that are insufficient for a truly integral ecology.

At the same time, a metaphysics of gift can reorient and restore bioethical principles and procedures, often subverted by their own unacknowledged ontology, towards a trajectory that brings a new radiance to the meaning of freedom, autonomy and consensus that is built upon and upholds solidarity.

This more radical alternative is rooted in the classical tradition and yet is fresh and vibrant, founded in the metaphysical synthesis of Aquinas and its subsequent developments by Ferdinand Ulrich, Erich Przywara, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and David L. Schindler, among others.

Based in the giftedness of existence shared by all, a metaphysics of gift offers a deeper and more satisfying vision of all things, one that can restore hope in our common future, transform our relationships with the most vulnerable of our human brothers and sisters as well as the rest of creation, and speak to every aspect of human existence.

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