Man lives in the middle. Plato wrote that he is neither god nor beast, but someone in between. In Pensées Pascal adds, 'What else can [man] do then but perceive some semblance of the middle of things, eternally hopeless of knowing either their principles or their end? All things come out of nothingness and are carried onwards to infinity. Who can follow these astonishing processes?' Hegel scholar and philosopher William Desmond means to take a stab at it, and his effort is nothing short of a fully developed, comprehensively argued, philosophical system.
Being and the Between is essentially a study of metaphysics. Desmond offers a system by which to understand 'the nature of metaphysical thinking, and of the fundamental senses of being consonant with that thinking' and rethinks basic metaphysical questions in this light. Put more succinctly, Part I thinks on metaphysics; Part II thinks in metaphysics.
In particular, Desmond addresses the metaphysical themes of origin, creation, things, intelligibilities, selves, communities, being true and being good. His fourfold understanding of being includes the univocal (the sameness of mind and being), the equivocal (the difference of mind and being), the dialectical (a self-mediated reintegration of mind and being), and--uniquely--the metaxological. Desmond's metaxolgical gives a logos of the middle. It suggests the intermediation of multiple sources rather than the singularity of self-mediation. In Desmond's words, 'the metaxological sense keeps open the spaces of otherness in the between, including the jagged edges of rupture that we never entirely smooth out.'
His resurrection of the metaphysical seeks to serve the being of the between, a place to stand and live in an honest and sustainable perplexity before the mystery of transcendence. 'In a mindfulness beyond determinate knowing, the Unequal comes toward us, offering over and over again, the unearned gift of the agape of being, singing to our deafness the unbearable music of the ultimate amen.'