Philosophy has traditionally engaged the problem of why there is something rather than nothing as a normal causal question. Such an approach, Hunter Brown proposes in Grace and Philosophy, does not do justice to the deep wonder and astonishment that the existence of the world elicits so widely among human beings.
Such wonder has often been expressed in artistic and literary ways, including especially the language of grace, which captures the striking gratuity of existence and the spontaneous, grateful response so often evoked by it. Since the modern period, however, Brown argues, there has been a questionable narrowing of philosophy that privileges formal reasoning and theory over an engagement of immediate experience. Detached expertise, impersonal scholarship, and preoccupation with data have swept aside simple wonderment about the extraordinary gratuity of existence, and the remarkable ways in which such wonderment has been expressed.
Against the grain of such widespread developments Grace and Philosophy proposes a perspective that maintains a place of importance in philosophy for such wonder and for the many forms in which it has manifested itself.