The first five Metaphysics Conferences, held every three years, took place in Rome (2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012). This year, 2015, which is also the Jubilee Year of St. Theresa of Avila, the Conference will be hosted by the Fernando Rielo Chair at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, not far from the city of this great saint.

Pope Francis, in opening the Jubilee, stated,

“The mystical experience of St. Theresa did not separate her from the world or human concerns. On the contrary, it gave her new energy and boldness for action and everyday duties, for ‘the Lord is present among pots and pans,’ too (Fundaciones 5,8). She lived through the hardships of her time—which was so complicated—without yielding to the temptation to complain bitterly, but, rather, accepting them in faith as an opportunity to take another step along the way…. The Saint would sometimes shorten her delightful letters by saying, ‘We are on the road’ (Letter 469,7.9), as a way of expressing the urgency of continuing a task she had begun until the end. When the world is burning, one cannot waste time on affairs of little importance. If only this holy rush to go out and travel the roads of our own time, with the Gospel in one’s hand and the Spirit in one’s heart could be contagious for everyone!”


The mystical dimension is one of the main topics of this Metaphysics Conference, an area which also occupied a central place in previous events. Metaphysics without the mystical contribution would be reduced to pure abstraction; a mystical perspective without metaphysics would be left drifting. Previous conferences have advocated the complementarity of the two fields. Hopefully, this Jubilee Year of St. Theresa will suggest alternatives and issues which will enable us to see the decisive significance of the mystical domain in every sphere and dimension of the human person.

Now, more than ever, human reflection needs unifying responses which can contribute to alleviating the problems besetting humanity in our time and healing the painful cultural, religious, social, and political divisions which have marked modern history. Science, together with technology, cannot exhaust the field of culture by itself. Economy alone is not a sufficient basis for community life. Not even the religious dimension can claim complete autonomy, a self-sufficiency in thought which leads along the pathways of integralism and fanaticism, which in the end are destructive.

 The metaphysical attitude, as a deep stirring of the spirit, not only has been observed since the dawn of humanity until the present, but it resides in the very constitution of the human being, as we see even in early childhood: “Children, with the tenacity of their continual attempts and specific mode of analysis—to the point of destroying their toys—display a desire to know and possess what is within their reach and then reject it, for they do not in fact seek fragmentary knowledge or wish to possess anything in just any way; rather, their search for possession reveals a constant: ecstatic, loving, affectionate communication, not with “something,” but with “someone” who can fulfill their aspirations. For this reason children personify animals and even inanimate objects. This is the first index of the genetic character of the tendency to investigate and possess the ultimate reason for existence, which becomes manifest in different ways at each stage of human life. From infancy on, human life, afflicted by physical, familial, environmental, and social pathologies, will undergo an educational orientation or accentuate deforming tendencies at the varied stages of development (cf. Fernando Rielo, The Genetic Model in My Thought).

We human beings ask about what goes beyond specific fields. We therein observe both our greatness and our limitation. We in fact seek the foundation or absolute origin—and rational intelligibility—of the multiplicity we encounter. Our thought cannot halt arbitrarily at a given point in its trajectory without suffocating, without inflicting a wound upon itself, for its dynamic is unlimited. And yet we realize that we cannot reduce the ultimate foundation of reality to our formulas, and here we observe the unequivocal reason for modesty which must characterize our life and thought. It is very healthy—indeed, necessary—for us and for culture to carry out this twofold movement of expansion and humility in our vision.

Metaphysics thus performs a healing function, providing balance and intelligibility for human society, along with culture, religiosity, and science. If we accept such a mission, in this time of frequently spectacular advances in all areas of knowledge, we must determine how a formulation of metaphysics can contribute to real progress in all fields.

There is surely something significant to be “corrected” or “improved” in order for this discipline to be situated once again at the heart of culture as a guiding beacon which grounds and integrates each area of research applied to life: physical, biological, and social sciences; reflection on medicine, law, and economics, on the arts, and on the peaceful coexistence of peoples; and, in special way, the varied religious traditions which channel human beings’ most intimate aspirations in this time of globalization and nearly universal pluralism brought about by worldwide migration. More than ever, we need to interpret and evaluate different kinds of experience adequately and develop a valid interpretive model dealing with the central issue of our age: the definition of the human person, with all of its social, juridical, and spiritual implications.

Metaphysics—joined to a mystical theology and epistemology which promote enhancement of our vision, inclusiveness, and dialogue in relation to all fields—can stand at the summit of a vital, creative humanism called to clarify all dimensions of the human person and impede every manipulation and threat.

1) Metaphysics and Mystical Theology.

The complementarity of the two disciplines, the need for a metaphysical model, mystical experience, potential for creativity and integration.

2) Metaphysics and Knowledge.

Communication, epistemology, the limits of knowledge, knowledge and science.

3) Metaphysics and Aesthetics.

The arts, literature, sports, cinema.

4) Metaphysics and Experiential Sciences.

Bioethics, pedagogy, psychoethics, economics, political science, sociology, history, medicine and psychotheraphy. 

5) Metaphysics and Experimental and Formal Sciences.

Physics, biology, neurology, mathematics, logic. 


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