"Leahy is truly giving us our deepest philosophical and theological challenge, one which very few have thus far been able to meet in any way, and if this is the challenge of pure thinking, it is also the challenge of pure writing, and even if this is the most difficult writing in our history, it is a writing which truly creates its reader, and creates its reader as a truly new reader and thinker. All our postmodernities crumble into insignificance in confrontation with this challenge, but so do our existing philosophies and theologies, as when in Leahy's work we are truly and absolutely confronted with an Either/Or."
Thomas J. J. Altizer, International Studies in Philosophy XXXV.4
"Foundation: Matter the Body Itself is Leahy's monumental effort to turn Western metaphysics inside out and establish it on a new foundation, working from, in his terms, an 'absolute new beginning.' This will no doubt strike readers at first glance as an effort to resuscitate the dead corpse of foundationalism, that failed project of Descartes--and behind him of Plotinus and Plato--to ground being and our knowledge of being on a foundation independent of the fluctuations of exposed and changeable matter. But this does not capture the purpose of Leahy's project at all. Quite the contrary, his search for an absolute beginning is not remotely Cartesian or Plotinian.
"In both of those projects we have an attempt to search for an absolute beginning before or away from matter or the body. But for Leahy, as the subtitle of his book clearly indicates, this beginning is to be found by admitting the body's anchor in being and being's anchor in the body, so that one pursues metaphysics from the basis of the body, that locus of human being that makes being as such so exposed.
"For Leahy this exposure includes as part of the essence of human being a total exposure to history, and this explains what might strike the reader as an obsession with beginnings, for when can history ever provide historical being with an absolute beginning? This crux, in my opinion, accounts for the unusual stylistic complexity of the book. But if one can catch the daring purpose of his project, Leahys extremely complex prose starts to come into focus.
"Like Husserl before him, Leahy wants his beginning to be absolute. But unlike Husserl, he wants to think through the being of the world so that one comes to see that the world itself is thinking through the thinker. This is why Leahy calls the world essentially historical: because the thinker is the world thinking through itself, the world is the enactment of human history, or as he phrases it: 'For the first time the world itself is essentially historical.' He sees facing us a literal novitas mundi, a world so new as to demand new categories not just for its understanding but for its enactment.
"There can be no disputing the extraordinary difficulty of this work, both stylistically and substantively. Not to mention mathematically. This must at the very least be the first attempt within the history of philosophy to ground historicity in the truths of mathematics, which perhaps indicates, if it does not constitute, what Leahy means by novitas mundi. And although it consistently resists comparison with the thought of the past, however superficially plausible certain parallels might be, it does remind one of the past in at least this regard: like Spinozas Ethics or Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit, it is a work whose reception will depend on its ability to create its own readership. It makes no compromises, flinches from no complexity, and harbors no concern for pedagogical realities. But at least in the reading of it, once the reader becomes acclimatized to its heady and dense syntax and diction, one gets a glimpse of what a reenactment of the history of Western metaphysics under the therapeutic and deeply salvific vision of D. G. Leahy might mean."
"If God, Godhead, Trinity, Incarnation, Time and Eternity are significant to and central in Christian theology, this work is central to theology. If the relation between the ideal and the actual, the local and the universal are significant to and central in philosophy, this work is central to philosophy. The author combines rigorous systematic thinking with a remarkable knowledge of the history of ideas: his concepts resituate many of the classical thinkers in both theology and philosophy. Especially stunning, to this reviewer, is Leahy's reconstrual of Aquinas (and medieval thought generally), Hegel, and the uniquely American philosophers.
"Leahy opens another 'high road around modernity,' and thus an appealing alternative to a variety of post-modernisms while retaining their critical force. He restores thinking to centrality in theology, rescuing it from a mindless drift in recent decades. Eschewing any final distinction between theology and philosophy, he sees in the American theology embodied in this thinking the fulfillment of American philosophy's aspiration to (hitherto postponed) perfectly 'exterior' Godhead.
"Reading Leahy is like reading Nietzsche: to the degree that one understands, one is shaken in the foundations--and if not so shaken, one does not understand. (And the comparison is not inapt, since it is in part the modernity shaken by Nietzsche that Leahy aspires to transcend.) In short, every great work must create its readers, and I believe Leahy's work holds just this potential. His writing is as compact and precise as could be imagined, given what he is given to say: as with all conceptual expression not alien to the poetic sense, there is a certain inevitability to it in respect of form."
"The single most significant work of philosophical theology to be written in many decades. Leahy takes on the form of future thinking, a thinking without self, managing this remarkable feat by critiquing, with great precision and logical sophistication, the binary logics of Boole and Peirce. He proposes a ternary logic in which no term is, in any way, a nothing.
"In Foundation Leahy continues the critique of being and time begun in Novitas Mundi, with a magnificent constructive and demonstrative metaphysics that is likely to be closely studied and controversially explored for decades to come. This work reinvigorates the theological idea and necessity of the Trinity. It also provokes important parallel ideas from classic Buddhist thought.
"Leahy takes the absolute seriously in a way that no philosopher has done since Hegel."
"It is America that has given us our purest and deepest contemporary apocalyptic thinker, D. G. Leahy. Novitas Mundi is our most intrinsically difficult book since the Phenomenology of Spirit. Foundation: Matter the Body Itself is in full continuity with Novitas Mundi. Once again there is a purely conceptual embodiment of the end of modernity and the absolute beginning of a new world order, an order which is an actually universal new world consciousness, and an absolutely new consciousness in which the body itself is nothing but existence itself. Now, and for the first time, an explosion of reason has occurred in the form of faith, so that in the thinking now occurring for the first time faith has raised reason itself to the level of faith. Of course, this is a claim fully embedded in German Idealism, and above all so in Hegel, but now what is at hand is a Catholic universal reason and a Catholic universal faith. And if German Idealism was inaugurated by the French Revolution of 1789, and culminated in its reversal in Marxism, this new world order only becomes 'a clearly visible fact' in 1989, the 'Year of the Beginning', which is not only the year of the public ending of Marxism but the year of the final ending of modernity itself.
"Both Novitas Mundi and Foundation pose an ultimate challenge to Catholicism, and not only to Catholicism but to Christianity itself, and nothing is newer here than a purely philosophical thinking and a purely theological thinking which wholly coincide, one which is manifestly the calling forth of a truly new world. At no point is this challenge more overwhelming than in that radically new understanding of matter and the body itself which is incorporated here, just as nothing is more ultimately new than an enactment of the body itself in pure thinking. This is the very point at which Leahy is most manifestly a truly new thinker, just as it is precisely here that Leahy can be understood to be an authentically Catholic thinker, and perhaps the first purely Catholic thinker in history. Surely this is the first time that the Incarnation has been absolutely central in Catholic thinking, the first time that matter and Spirit have been so deeply and so purely united, and so much so that now Spirit is the body itself, and even as this thinking intends to be an apocalyptic consummation of the totality of history, never before has such a Catholic consummation actually been conceived, although there are those who would see it as having been imaginatively enacted in Dante's Paradiso and Joyce's Finnegans Wake."
"In this very dense, intricate, and provoking book, Leahy attempts to construct a new kind of ternary logic, one which shows why and how reason is today exploding 'to fit the form of faith.' Leahy claims that his 'new way of thinking' is the beginning of a selfless foundation that goes beyond both modern thought and post-modern forms of self-consciousness.
"In the new world order something new is occurring. The new world order categorically subsumes American thought by adding to it a fourth category: fourthness, the immediate existence of the other. No doubt Peirce readers will find a great deal to argue about in this highly challenging book."
This book deals, at the most fundamental intellectual level, with the new beginning in world consciousness which first unequivocally manifested itself for all to see with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It answers the questions: what is the 'new thinking' and what is the 'new world order'. The 'new thinking' is understood as a new way of thinking. The beginning of the essentially new form of thinking is essentially and categorically without the notion of self. The new way of thinking begins as the absolute elimination of the absolute self-consciousness of modernity. Since American thought is essentially the furthest extension of modern consciousness, the beginning of a new world consciousness is proximately and inevitably the transcendence of the essence of American thought. The incomplete, relative but real, objectivity of consciousness delineated in the work of the classical American pragmatists, Peirce, James, and Dewey, and continued in forms of extremity by McDermott and Altizer, is understood to be essentially inadequate to the reality of the new world order now actually occurring for the first time, since the latter is the beginning of the universal or absolute objectivity of consciousness. For the first time in history the Incarnation is the essential form of thought. The task of thinking is to think foundationally the essence of this beginning. The reader is invited to enter into this labor. Through critiques of the self-conscious thinking of Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, and Altizer, among others, there first develops the notion of the 'quantum identical with quality', the notion of the 'minimum'. The latter takes the form of 'the logic of the beginning'. This logic replaces the binary system of Boole and Peirce, 0 and 1, with a trinary system, 0, , and 1, 'zero', 'unum', and 'unity', in which no element equals ''nothing," as, analogously, the thinking of absolute novelty is not essentially self-conscious thinking. The trinary calculus is shown to be, among other things, the foundational template of the geometric and arithmetic series, as well as the basis for a simplification of the mathematical formulas related to structural rigidity and a deepening of the understanding of the rational organization of rigid structures. It is the basis for the truth of Fermat's last theorem. The meta-identity of language and number leads to the development of a methodology for the mathematical reading of language which is essentially distinguished from the gematria of the ancients and the kabbalah by virtue of the fact that letters are treated in an essentially mathematical way, viz., as elements in a proportion or members of a series of ratios. Applied to the philosophical and theological issues under discussion, this methodology leads the reader to the very center of the new world consciousness where all walls become transparent. This new methodology, applied directly to the analysis of the system of natural numbers, leads to new mathematical discoveries. The work culminates, in the context of an analysis of the deep relation and distinction of American thought and the thinking now occurring, in the formulation of the new understanding of the Trinity. A short Appendix relates the logic of this new thinking to Augustine's understanding of the Trinity.
I Critique of Absolute Contingency
II Critique of Absolute World-Consciousness
III The Unity of the New World Order
IV Absolute Perception
V The New Beginning
Appendix:The De Trinitate of Augustine and the Logic
D.G. Leahy is the author of Beyond Sovereignty: A New Global Ethics and Morality; The Cube Unlike All Others; Faith and Philosophy: The Historical Impact; and Novitas Mundi: Perception of the History of Being. He is formerly Research Consultant to the Skin Sciences Institute, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, University of Cincinnati. He was tenured in Classics and has taught Religious Studies at New York University and is former Distinguished Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Maryland.