Since the late nineteenth century, studies of mysticism have presented us with two contrasting conclusions. The first is that mystics all over the world report basically the same experience, and the second is that there are great differences among the reports, and possibly among the experiences. On the positive side there are such works as Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy , with its claim that all mystics say that all beings are manifestations of a Divine Ground, that men learn of this (...) by direct intuition, that men have two natures, one phenomenal and one eternal, and that identification with his eternal nature is the purpose of man. Walter Stace supports this view, in a modified way, with his observation that, while each mystic seems to advance a peculiar explanation of his experience, their statements collectively exhibit strong similarities. Mystics commonly report a consciousness of unity, carrying with it feelings of objectivity, blessedness, and holiness. They describe their experience in paradoxical language, and say that ultimately it is ineffable. These twentieth-century observations are repetitions of those of William James, so that this basic point has become a cliché, and, as R. C. Zaehner says, ‘We have been told ad nauseum that mysticism is the highest expression of religion and that it appears in all ages and in all places in a more or less identical form, often in a religious milieu that would seem to be the reverse of propitious.’. (shrink)
Mystics have always claimed that a very significant kind of self-perception is possible, at the end of certain spiritual disciplines. The self that is then supposed to be known is a unity, identical from one experience to the next, and not to be identified with any particular experiences, such as impressions or ideas, which the self has. In short, mystical testimony supports something like a theory of the essential self as simple and unchanging.
Do the rich descriptions and narrative shapings of literature provide a valuable resource for readers, writers, philosophers, and everyday people to imagine and confront the ultimate questions of life? Do the human activities of storytelling and complex moral decision-making have a deep connection? What are the moral responsibilities of the artist, critic, and reader? What can religious perspectives—from Catholic to Protestant to Mormon—contribute to literary criticism? Thirty well known contributors reflect on these questions, including iterary theorists Marshall Gregory, James (...) Phelan, and Wayne Booth; philosophers Martha Nussbaum, Richard Hart, and Nina Rosenstand; and authors John Updike, Charles Johnson, Flannery O'Connor, and Bernard Malamud. Divided into four sections, with introductory matter and questions for discussion, this accessible anthology represents the most crucial work today exploring the interdisciplinary connections between literature, religion and philosophy. (shrink)
Jeffry H. Morrison offers readers the first comprehensive look at the political thought and career of John Witherspoon—a Scottish Presbyterian minister and one of America’s most influential and overlooked founding fathers. Witherspoon was an active member of the Continental Congress and was the only clergyman both to sign the Declaration of Independence and to ratify the federal Constitution. During his tenure as president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton, Witherspoon became a mentor to James Madison and (...) influenced many leaders and thinkers of the founding period. He was uniquely positioned at the crossroads of politics, religion, and education during the crucial first decades of the new republic. Morrison locates Witherspoon in the context of early American political thought and charts the various influences on his thinking. This impressive work of scholarship offers a broad treatment of Witherspoon’s constitutionalism, including his contributions to the mediating institutions of religion and education, and to political institutions from the colonial through the early federal periods. This book will be appreciated by anyone with an interest in American political history and thought and in the relation of religion to American politics. “I have been waiting a long time for such a book on John Witherspoon. This book is not only well-researched, but well-written. The story Morrison tells is quite wonderful.” —_Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research_ _ _ "Dr. John Witherspoon is at once an exceptionally influential figure in Early American history, and a sadly neglected one. Professor Morrison's book fills this gap in American political history brilliantly. It is especially revealing of 18th century views on the interrationships between education, religion, and society. Morrison presents new insights into the Early American understanding of balancing faith, government, and society. It will change our conceptions of this period and provide fresh perspectives on contemporary problems. Everyone interested in the American Founding era is indebted to Morrison for this illuminating book." —_Garrett Ward Sheldon, University of Virginia's College at Wise_ "At last we have a full and learned account, as the title states, of _JOHN WITHERSPOON aND THE FOUNDING OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC_. Including discussion of Witherspoon's direct role in the crucial events of 1775-1790 as an advocate of Independence and friend of the Constitution, as a contributor to early American religious and political thought, and most important, as a mentor to James Madison and other Princeton revolutionairies and nation-builders, Morrison reveals Witherspoon's high standing in American religious, educational, and political history. Madison remembered Witherspoon's injunction to his students to 'Lead useful Lives;' he provided an excellent role model." —_Ralph Ketcham, Syracuse University_. (shrink)
This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary (...) American society. -/- A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments. -/- . (shrink)
William James had the courage to experience the collision of European and American ways of thinking head on, and to emerge from it with a new philosophy - one displaying a remarkable vitality for dealing with the transformative issues at the core of the human condition. This easy to read introduction to his life and work explains why James' work is overwhelmingly valuable to us today in getting to grips with the spiritual dimension of human experience.
The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, such as adding semantic expressivity to (...) existing databases, building data entry forms, and enabling interoperability between knowledge resources. OBI covers all phases of the investigation process, such as planning, execution and reporting. It represents information and material entities that participate in these processes, as well as roles and functions. Prior to OBI, it was not possible to use a single internally consistent resource that could be applied to multiple types of experiments for these applications. OBI has made this possible by creating terms for entities involved in biological and medical investigations and by importing parts of other biomedical ontologies such as GO, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) and Phenotype Attribute and Trait Ontology (PATO) without altering their meaning. OBI is being used in a wide range of projects covering genomics, multi-omics, immunology, and catalogs of services. OBI has also spawned other ontologies (Information Artifact Ontology) and methods for importing parts of ontologies (Minimum information to reference an external ontology term (MIREOT)). The OBI project is an open cross-disciplinary collaborative effort, encompassing multiple research communities from around the globe. To date, OBI has created 2366 classes and 40 relations along with textual and formal definitions. The OBI Consortium maintains a web resource providing details on the people, policies, and issues being addressed in association with OBI. (shrink)
Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
This article is an attempt to expound and distinguish\nbrentano's concept of "Intentional inexistence" (found in\n'psychologie von einem empirischen standpunkt') and\nhusserl's early concept of intentionality (in 'logische\nuntersuchungen'). The main purpose is to show that\nhusserl's phenomenological views are very different from\nand far more developed than brentano's and that he rejects\nmany of his concepts and doctrines. First, brentano's\ndesignation of eight defining characteristics of mental\nphenomena, the purpose of which is to define psychology, is\noutlined. This is followed by a detailed discussion of\nhusserl's criticisms and revisions, (...) emphasizing what\nhusserl thought was brentano's most important insight,\ni.E., That consciousness is intentional. A discussion of\nthree views of the nature of consciousness is given,\nconcluding with husserl's general criticisms that brentano\nfell victim to dualism and representationalism and that his\nconcept of the intentional nature of mind was distorted by\na commitment to naturalism, the latter being overcome only\nby husserl's own transcendental phenomenology in 'ideen'\nand later works. (shrink)
Verbal autopsy presents the opportunity to understand the disease burden in many low-income countries where vital registration systems are underdeveloped and most deaths occur in the community. Advances in technology have led to the development of software that can provide probable cause of death information in real time, and research considering the ethical implications of these advances is necessary to inform policy. Our research explores these ethical issues in rural Nepal using a public health ethics framework. We considered the burdens (...) and benefits of VA and giving cause of death information to families of the deceased through qualitative research with VA interviewers, community members, national policy stakeholders and international academics. Burdens can be experienced differently, and it is important to balance the emotional burden of VA with utilization of the data to inform planning and increased access to health services. The training, support and supervision of VA interviewers should be prioritized if VA is taken to scale. Initial and ongoing community engagement is recommended in addition to engaging ethical, legal, health and policy personnel in developing protocols and systems. Integrating rigorous research while cautiously moving forward is recommended to ensure systems and responses to concerns are relevant to contexts. (shrink)
In the course of supporting his larger thesis about mysticism, Steven Katz argues that, ‘Every religious community and every mystical movement within each community has a “model” or “models” of the ideal practitioner of the religious life.' Among thirteen functions of such models he mentions three that partially overlap. He says that these model lives set standards of perfection to measure believers' actions, they are perfect examples of what it is to be a human being, and they are moral paradigms. (...) Katz mentions various saints, sages, and other exemplary figures, and sums up with the claim that in the Christian tradition the function of ‘ models’ is expressed in Thomas à Kempis' The Imitation of Christ . Taking all of this together, one could conclude that he intends to say that every religious tradition contains accounts of morally perfect persons who are examples to be imitated. (shrink)