“ In the beginning was the relation” (P. Donati)

The Group

The crisis of the contemporary era is revealed by the inability of different disciplines to communicate with one another, an inability that renders them meaningless for the concrete life of the modern person. It almost seems that the various sciences are all called to take a step back from their epistemic claims in order to retrieve a common logos that brings them back into contact with the properly human reality and not just with the technical or material dimensions. From different standpoints there converges the diagnosis that this crisis is primarily metaphysical. The absence of a common language about being makes the dialogue between different specializations increasingly difficult. The paradox seems to be that more disciplinary specialization corresponds to a lower capacity to enter into relation with the reality studied by other disciplines. The ROR is born from the conviction of its members that overcoming this crisis cannot consist in a return to a pre-modern state, but requires an ontological work to broaden metaphysics to the relational dimension. We may arrive at this from different fronts: through analysis of patristic thought up to anthropology; from an awareness of the fundamental role of hermeneutics, to the relationship with the social sciences. From the latter field comes, in particular, the valuable stimulus offered by the relational sociology of Pierpaolo Donati. This applies especially to what regards the development of a relational epistemology, that is, of an epistemology that is able to treat relations as proper objects, something lacking in the Aristotelian and Cartesian perspectives. This approach is naturally open to dialogue with the current developments of philosophical-theological reflection and of the human sciences. The theological debate, in fact, increasingly shows the urgency of understanding how the Trinitarian being of the Christian God is reflected in created ontology. At the same time the study of man, for example in the approach and contributions of cognitivism or dialogical philosophies, has progressively shown that the study of relation is indispensable for understanding the human person. After the ancillary relation, characteristic of the Middle Ages, and the dialectical or “absorption” relation that has marked modernity, philosophy and theology are called to a new relationship, if they want to survive the post-modern dilution and really serve the modern person, who risks drowning without a metaphysical foothold.

The image above depicts the face of the Chapel of the Holy Trinity in Lublin (fifteenth century).