by Erland Brock
Two recent issues included articles from Dr. Jane Williams-Hogan thatshe regarded as the historical context for the monograph included inthis issue: “The Philosophical Context of Swedenborg—Reason and Faith,Faith and Reason—A Human Project” Part I, (July–December, 2012, pp.325–369) and Part II, (January–June, 2013, pp. 379–411). This issue isdevoted to “Swedenborg’s Philosophic Project—Reconciling Reason andFaith” that will serve as the basis for the chapter on Swedenborg’s philosophyin the biography “Emanuel Swedenborg, Eyewitness to the Apocalypse:The Making of a Modern Visionary.”
by Jane K. Williams-Hogan
This chapter is going to examine what will be called Swedenborg’sphilosophical project which includes four works: the first is The Principia,published in 1734; the second is The Infinite: The Final Cause of Creationwhich also included an essay on The Mechanism of the Operation of the Souland Body, also published in 1734; the third is The Dynamics of the Soul’sDomain, published in 1740–1741; and the fourth and final work is TheSoul’s Domain, published in 1744–1745.With regard to Swedenborg’s focus on ends or telos, it is clear thatthese works form a whole: they move from an examination of the processof creation starting from the first cause and the creation of the naturalworld, to an exploration of the existence of the Infinite, and then to thefinal cause of creation, which Swedenborg discovered is humanity itself.With regard to his focus on means, he developed principles or doctrineswhereby nature could be analyzed. In The Principia he offers threemethods: experience, geometry, and rationality. In his subsequent workson the soul, he adds an additional six: forms, orders and degrees, seriesand society, influx, correspondences and representations, and modifications.