We live, breathe, and have our being in love, yet its rationality often eludes us -- our songs, films, and novels depict it as a passion without rigor, a delirium without end, a drug, a nightmare. Still, anyone who has experienced love knows that, behind and through the degradation of love into a metaphor of relation with objects, we think constantly of saying love, in order to be able to make it, and of making charity, too, in order to succeed in saying it. In Prolegomena to Charity, Jean-Luc Marion traces the logic that belongs to love, and not to this world, a rationality that unfolds in paradoxes which elude the calculations and measurements of the daily technological rationality with which we constitute the world's objects. In seven essays that draw from metaphysics, phenomenology, literature, christological theology, and biblical exegesis, Marion sketches several prolegomena to a future fuller thinking and saying of love's paradoxical reasons, delving into the key existential phenomena that constitute our modern experience: evil, freedom, bedazzlement, and the loving gaze; crisis, absence, and knowing. These elegant and, in many cases, highly accessible essays advance key themes developed in Marion's earlier work (such as The Idol and Distance and God Without Being), often along surprisingly political and social as well as philosophical and theological lines. At the same time, Prolegomena to Charity points forward, laying out essential preliminaries for future work, some of which Marion has developed further in recent investigations of giveness, especially Etant donne's sketch of the phenomenological situation of an ego for whom, from the very outset and on principle, loving andbeing loved is not forbidden.
In its rich and provocative exploration of the one thing that makes us who and what we are, Prolegomena to Charity shows why Jean-Luc Marion is one of the most exciting and moving thinkers in the world today.