Last week I published something in a prominent series at a first-rate university press. It is, I think, the most rigorous, speculative, and systematic attempt at a professional take on Mormon philosophy, ever.
In close dialogue with Bruno Latour, the book is a thought experiment in which I reframe what “grace” means in a non-classical ontology that begins by assuming the existence of an irreducible and eternally co-existent multitude of full-blown agents.
Mormons aren’t committed to such an ontology, but we might be. And there is certainly more than one way to skin even that cat — but what I offer is, I think, one way.
Some might see my failure to mention Mormonism in this book as a deficiency when it comes to doing Mormon philosophy. I can see that. And I welcome work that does otherwise.
But, for my part, the move is intentional. Here is a book that conducts, in plain view of the world of professional philosophy, a field test of key Mormon ideas about the structure of reality and then re-reads Christianity itself in light of the results.
Further, untethered from any explicit connection to Mormonism, the ideas are left to be evaluated, borrowed, or adapted on their own merits. This is a kind of open-source, non-proprietary approach to Mormon philosophy.
But whether this book turns out to be even locally influential will depend on whether anyone feels compelled to understand and disagree with it.
And whether this book turns out to be influential for Mormons will depend on whether any Mormons feel compelled to understand and disagree with it.
The measure of influence is response, not agreement.
If you’re interested in rigorous, speculative, systematic work on Mormon ideas in the context of big questions in professional contemporary philosophy, then I may have something for you.
I hope you’ll take the time to disagree.