Jean-Luc Marion

Greeley Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of the Philosophy of Religions and Theology

Docteur en IIIe cycle, Université Paris-Sorbonne, 1974
Docteur d'Etat, Université Paris - Sorbonne, 1980
Member, Académic française, elected 2008

Jean-Luc Marion studies both the history of modern philosophy and contemporary phenomenology. In the former field, he has published several books on Descartes' ontology, rational theology, and metaphysics, focusing especially on medieval sources and using modern patterns of interpretation (e.g., On Descartes' Metaphysical Prism, or Cartesian Questions and Further Cartesian Questions). In the latter field, he is pursuing a long-term inquiry into the question of God, as in The Idol and Distance and God Without Being. Finally, he initiated a phenomenology of givenness in Reduction and Givenness, which was further developed in Being Given: An Essay on the Phenomenology of Givenness and In Excess: Studies on Saturated Phenomena. This led recently to The Erotic Phenomenon: Six Meditations. He has recently published Au lieu de soi. L'approche de saint Augustin (first edition, 2008; second edition, 2009; English translation forthcoming). He is currently working on two books; one titled Negative Certitudes and another on the myth of Cartesian dualism.  Awarded with the 1992 Grand Prix du Philosophie de l'Académie Française, and the 2008 Karl-Jaspers Preis, Professor Marion has also worked in the areas of Greek and Latin patristics; the history of medieval and modern philosophy; aesthetics; and constructive theology.

For a complete list of Professor Marion's books, publications, honors, etc., please see his CV.

CV in French (PDF)

CV in English - forthcoming


office: Swift Hall 300A

Office hours for Spring Quarter and sign up sheets will be posted on the bulletin board next to 300-C. Further information is available from Professor Marion’s research assistant Scott Ferguson and from his secretary Judith Lawrence
phone: 773.702.8244


Recent News

  • A book on the philosophy of Jean-Luc Marion, by Tamsin Jones, titled A Genealogy of Marion's Philosophy of Religion: Apparent Darkness was published by Indiana University Press in their Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion in February, 2011.
  • Jean-Luc Marion becomes most recent inductee into the Académie Française January 2010, Le Monde -Link
  • Additional past news and announcements can be found on our "News" and "Announcements" pages here.


  • God Without Being, University of Chicago Press, 1991. (Link)
  • Reduction and Givenness: Investigations of Husserl, Heidegger and Phenomenology, Northwestern University Press, 1998. (Link)
  • Cartesian Questions: Method and Metaphysics, University of Chicago Press, 1999. (Link)
  • On Descartes' Metaphysical Prism: The Constitution and the Limits of Onto-theo-logy in Cartesian Thought, University of Chicago Press, 1999. (Link)
  • The Idol and Distance: Five Studies, Fordham University Press, 2001.
  • Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness, Stanford University Press, 2002. (Link)
  • In Excess: Studies of Saturated Phenomena, Fordham University Press, 2002. (Link)
  • Prolegomena to Charity, Fordham University Press, 2002. (Link)
  • The Crossing of the Visible, Stanford University Press, 2004. (Link)
  • The Erotic Phenomenon: Six Meditations, University of Chicago Press, 2006. (Link)
  • On the Ego and on God, Fordham University Press, 2007. (Link)
  • Descartes' Grey Ontology: Cartesian Science and Aristotelian Thought in the Regulae, St. Augustine's Press, 2008. (Link)
  • The Visible and the Revealed, Fordham University Press, 2008. (Link)
  • Descartes' White Theology, Saint Augustine's Press, Translation in process.

Selected Writing in English

  • Sketch of a Phenomenological Concept of Sacrifice - Link
  • The Phenomenological Origin of the Concept of Givenness - Link
  • Descartes and the horizon of finitude - Link

Selected Courses

23903/33903. Painting, Phenomenality, Religion. (=DVPR 39104, SCTH xxxxx, ARTH 29104/39104) Painting raises philosophical questions, if only because one can wonder why some particular pieces of the overall visible may attract more visual attention than others, which appear nevertheless just besides the former.  In fact, this privilege comes mostly from the radical (although subtle) difference between common law phenomena (objects) and saturated phenomena.  Among them, the two main rival postulations are idol and icon.  Concerning the idol, one may ask what precisely is its function?  How far can it reach the thing itself even more than objective knowledge (the examples of Courbet and Cezanne will be privileged)?  Concerning the icon, one may open the road to theological questions:  how far can the invisible God be aimed at through visible images?  Is iconoclasm the only option?  What theological arguments could support the claim for icons (Nicene Council II)?  Can the concept of icon be extended to other issues than “the icon of the invisible God” (Colossians 1, 15)? Winter 2013

33905. Introduction to phenomenology: the definitions of the phenomenon. (=DVPR 31800). Starting with Kant, focusing on Husserl and Heidegger, the course will check the different possible definition of a phenomenon in late modern and contemporary philosophy. Spring 2012.

Phil 34512. Negative Certitudes. The concept of certitude, from Descartes to Kant, has a direct connection with finitude. But finitude does not only imply in philosophy a limitation of our certitudes, but also expresses a priori determinations, and, among them, negative principles, negative certitudes. Referring mostly to Descartes, Kant and Heidegger, the seminar will try to clarify the relation between finitude, limitation, negative certitude and paradoxes. Some examples will be the impossibility and God, the unknowability of man, the unconditionality of the gift, the unpredictability of the event. Spring 2008.

PHIL 43410. Heidegger and the Case of Descartes. Both for theology and history of philosophy, the concept of "onto-theology", coined by Kant and above all by Heidegger, seems at the same time controveresial and inescapable. In order to give a rational and steady account of it, we shall try to understand and test it using the precise example of Descartes' metaphysics. How far should Cartesian thought be framed by this constitution? Do some Cartesian doctrines resist or overlap this frame? How could we draw the limits? In return, what does this example teach about the overall pertinence of the onto-theological constitution of metaphysics as such? Spring 2006.

Phil 53401. Subjectivity & Phenomenality in St. Augustine's Confessions. This text was a breakthrough by which Augustine imposed on philosophy and theology central issues: the self, election as identification, philosophy seen from the point of view of salvation (spiritual exercise), time as history and eschatology, being as creation, biblical text as interpreting the reader, etc. But all those themes have a recent renewed intensity because postmodern thought and mainly phenomenology (Heidegger, Arendt, Derrida, etc.) have pointed out that Augustine, to some extent, might not have been involved in standard metaphysics. The reading is based on the Latin text (Bibliotheque augustinienne, Paris); some knowledge of Latin may be helpful. Translations: either H. Chadwick (Oxford, 1991) or M. Boulding (New York, 1997. Winter 2004 (III)

Phil 50103. Spinoza's Ethica. Open to grad students. Prerequisites: Knowledge of Latin, French, German useful but not required. The seminar is an in-depth study of Spinoza's major work, the Ethics, with a special emphasis on Spinoza's dialogue with Descartes. Among the topics to be discussed are: the style and structure of the book, the definition of God, the meaning of being and the question of ontology, infinity, duration and eternity, the nature of Spinoza's attributes, the substance-mode relation, Spinoza's proof of substance-monism, infinite modes, necessitarianism, the nature of ideas, parallelism, individuals and their limits, the nature of bodies, the three kinds of knowledge, the conatus and the affects, Spinoza's view of good and evil, blessedness and divine intellectual love. (V) Co-taught with Yitzhak Melamed. Spring 2008.

Phil 23810/33810. Heidegger's Sein und Zeit: Self, Individuation and Being (=DVPR 39800). Open to college and grad students. Heidegger's masterpiece of 1927 (Being and Time) remains a stumbling stone for philosophy. By an extensive reading, with attention paid to the previous courses taught by Heidegger in Freiburg i./Br. and those just following in Marburg (using the Gesamtausgabe and recent studies including T. Kiesiel's), and also to subsequent interpretations (by Sartre, Levinas, etc.), the question will be asked: whether and how far a renewed access to the self and its individuation could be achieved along with the ontological difference, and if not, why not. German text of Being and Time, translation by J. Stambaugh, SUNY, 1996. Winter 2004.

Phil 24510/34510. The Saturated Phenomenon. Open to college and grad students. Beginning with Husserl and Heidegger, there will be a general exposition of the determination of any phenomenon as given, and of some of them as saturated. Consequences will be drawn for the approaches to some particular issues (the event, the self, the possibility of revelation, etc.). (Texts: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (Sections on the Aesthetic and Analytic); Husserl, Logical Investigation VI; Marion, Being Given, Stanford, 2001; In Excess, Fordham, 2002.)  Spring 2003.

Phil 54700. The "End of Metaphysics." (=DIV XXX; SCTH 40600). In this course we discuss the origin of this theme, its range and its propositions. Does it mean the impossibility of philosophy as well as metaphysics? What exception of metaphysics is admitted? Does it imply a closure of metaphysics and/or an opening of new possibilities for philosophy? Special attention is paid to Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, and Carnap. A list of the readings will follow later. Spring 2002 (III)

Phil 34500. Descartes Questions and Arguments (=DivPR 320, SocTh xxx). This course makes the argument that Descartes was not, in fact, a Cartesian. We try to explain how it is that the ego cogito does not imply solipsism, that the proofs for the existence of God do not imply onto theology, and the demonstration of the existence of material bodies dualism. Spring 2001. (III).

DVPR 31700. Birth and Death of the metaphysical- Proofs of the Existence of God, Descartes and Kant. The attempt to prove the existence of God has itself a history, and was not a common request of philosophy and theology before Descartes. As both philosophy and theology has continued to think about God after the deconstruction of those proofs by Kant. Therefore attention will be paid to the system of the three main proofs, the parallel between Descartes and Kant. The final issue will be the legitimacy and meaning of the endeavor to prove the existence of God. Spring 2010.

DVPR 52600. Heidegger on Being and Presence. Having in past years extensively studied the first Heidegger (Being and Time), the constitution of metaphysics and its interpretation as onto-theo-logy, will now focus on the central period of Heidegger’s thought and the question of how far Being should be explained according to Presence (whatever this word may mean). Connected questions will be God’s questionable “existence”, and philosophy without metaphysics. Spring 2010.

53415. Logos, Reason and Philosophy According to Justin and Other Apostolic Fathers. (=DVPR 54300). Unlike the distinction most widely admitted by modern and contemporary authors, the early Christian Fathers claimed that followers of Christ, that is of the Logos made man among us, are philosophers, or, at least, play among non-Greeks, the role played by philosophers among Greeks. This identification of Christian faith to rationality and philosophy remained dominant at least to Origen. Starting from Justin, «philosopher and martyr», the inquiry will follow up this tradition up to Ireneus. Spring 2012.