Kristóf Oltvai: Theologizing Otherwise: Culture and/as the Critique of Metaphysics

Kristóf Oltvai

PhD Student, Theology

Theologizing Otherwise: Culture and/as the Critique of Metaphysics in Husserl, Adorno, and Levinas

Although the ‘turn to religion’ in contemporary European philosophy continues to attract interest and debate, scholarly analyses of this shift often remain one-sided, searching only for the impact of supposedly ‘theological’ texts and concepts on ‘philosophical’ ones without considering how these two disciplines’ interaction might reshape what both terms signify. In response, I suggest that the ethical critique of metaphysics as a totalizing conceptual discourse–which becomes, over the course of the 20th century, a critique of ‘philosophy’ as such–redefines ‘theology’ as that which safeguards the value or meaning of human subjectivity against philosophy’s authoritarian impulses. This theology, however, is now found in the whole interhuman world of culture, and not (just) in the historic faith of the Christian churches. I trace this theme from Edmund Husserl’s notions of the Lebenswelt and the crisis of Europe, through Theodor Adorno’s question of “philosophizing after Auschwitz,” to Emmanuel Levinas’ summons to think God on the basis of the interhuman, cultural encounter with the Other.

Wednesday, February 6, 12:30 PM, Swift 200

Refreshments provided

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to maintaining itself as a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator William Underwood ( in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.