The Expanded Reason Institute recently announced its 5th Edition Expanded Reason Awards, and we are proud to announce that Cascade title, The Foundations of Nature: Metaphysics of Gift for an Integral Ecological Ethic by Michael Dominic Taylor, is one of three winners in the research category. The Expanded Reason Awards recognize exceptional publications and pedagogy which display a fruitful engagement between faith and reason, or what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has called “expanded reason.”
Taylor’s book, part of our Veritas series, fits nicely within Benedict’s framework of expanded reason. In the book, Taylor grapples with the differences between the technocratic paradigm that reigns supreme today and a metaphysics of gift. He argues that the popular approaches to ecological, bioethical, and other human crises are not working because they fail to examine the problem in its full depth. This depth escapes us because we have abandoned true metaphysical reflection on the whole and substituted it unknowingly for a series of inadequate alternatives. Both the technocratic paradigm that views all of nature mechanistically and its antagonists—the eco-philosophies that argue for the realities of intrinsic value, relationality, and beauty—carry partial truths but are insufficient. This book presents a more radical alternative, rooted in the classical tradition yet fresh and vibrant. The metaphysics of gift, based in the giftedness of existence shared by all, offers a deeper and more satisfying vision of all things that can transform our relationship with nature and touches every aspect of human life: social, political, economic, technical, and ethical.
About the author
Michael Dominic Taylor lives in Granada, Spain, with his wife, Cassandra, where he works as the Executive Secretary of the International Laudato Si’ Institute and teaches Metaphysics for the Edith Stein Philosophy Institute. He holds degrees in biology and environmental studies, bioethics, and philosophy. He earned his doctorate in philosophy in 2019.
Praise for The Foundations of Nature
“Taylor has performed three services in one in this work. First he offers us a comprehensive exposition of the best that trinitarian metaphysics has offered in the past century, secondly he has done this with a great deal of literary panache, and thirdly he has shown how a metaphysics of gift is required to underpin bioethical practices which will actually foster freedom and respect human dignity. This work belongs to a new generation of bioethics that goes beyond and beneath the tired old protocols that acknowledge nothing higher than technology.”
—Tracey Rowland, St. John Paul II Chair of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Australia; 2020 Ratzinger Prize Laureate
“Taylor’s book takes a matter that concerns all of us at some level, namely, the meaning of nature, and opens it up to depths far beyond the limits modern ecology often sets for itself. It not only lets a new light into the field, but it does so in a way that allows us to avoid all the usual tired reductions. Those seeking orientation in this field will benefit greatly from his wise insights.”
—D. C. Schindler, Professor of Metaphysics and Anthropology, Pontifical John Paul II Institute at The Catholic University of America