The philosophy of John Smith is not a dispassionate subject for me. He was my teacher from my sophomore year in college through the PhD, which he mentored. I worked in his office nearly every day during that time. He became my intellectual father and framed the way I took up philosophy. He performed my wedding and twenty-five years later taught my two daughters. We worked together philosophically and in the politics of the academy from my first day as his (...) undergraduate typist, when I was utterly naïve about both topics, until the day he died, when I had no innocence left. His daughter Diana informed me of his death by responding to an e-mail I had sent him that afternoon. I preached his funeral, threw frozen dirt .. (shrink)
The author constructs a philosophy of nature dealing with being, identity, value, space, time, motion, and causality, and uses that as a basis for a theory of hermeneutics to address contemporary problems of interpretation.
From the standpoint that both modernism and postmodernism look like nothing more than two late modern movements, too preoccupied with themselves and their historical place to engage a swiftly changing world containing more than the Western ...
The general thesis of this article is that contemporary Chinese philosophy needs to be more creative than it is.1 It proposes eight new projects for Chinese philosophy to undertake that involve creativity. But first it asks what the term "Chinese philosophy" means in the current philosophical context.To some people, it means the tradition of philosophy in China from the ancient world of the Zhou texts, the Confucians, Daoists, and other schools, through its development up to the point where Western intellectual (...) influences became prominent in the nineteenth century.2 An appendix to this conception is the attempt to recover the vitality of the historical Chinese schools after the onslaught of Western thought (and .. (shrink)
Part of the recent neglect of eternity comes from a poor definition of it as static abstraction, as mere form, or even robust form that is not so mere. This, of course, could not be what the ancients such as Origin or Plotinus must have meant when they claimed that God is eternal, and thus more real than things that change. Therefore, my first task here is to develop a contemporary theory of eternity that is worth being an orientation point (...) for time in education. I argue that the importance of eternity for education lies in the fact that true human identity—and the identity of such human affairs as might exhibit the obligations of responsibility—are eternal as well as temporal. Temporally we live day by day, with the date of the present determining the past that is actual and fixed and the future that is open in various structured ways. The temporal structure of life as such is insufficient to account for moral identity with any sense of responsibility for acting through time. In the following, I will illustrate this point and then draw a lesson about eternity from it. (shrink)
Fifteen years after the publication of my assessment of comparative philosophy in the inaugural issue of Dao, this article comments on some of the major changes that have taken place in the field since Dao began. One of the most significant is the improvement in the conditions for Chinese philosophy in mainland China and the return of many of the original participants in Dao’s audience to positions in East Asia from earlier careers in the West. The article also surveys advances (...) in various forms of objective and normative comparison and in the development of metaphysics based on Chinese models. (shrink)
The Renaissance development of science fulfilled the ancient ideal of integrating quantitative and qualitative thinking, but failed to recognize valuational thinking and thus deprived moral, aesthetic, and political thought of cognitive status. The task of this book is to reconstruct the concept of thinking in order to exhibit valuation, not reason, as the foundation for thinking and to integrate valuational with quantitative and qualitative modes. Part I explains the broad thesis, interpreting the problem of the foundations for thinking and providing (...) a general theory of value. Part II explains the role of valuation at the imaginative level of thinking with discussions of synthesis, perception, form, and art. The method of reconstruction requires a cosmology that is generated in successive waves. (shrink)
A key existential problem for paideia in the modern Western world—and perhaps for much elsewhere—is to build up the continuum of engagement from the subtle signs of contemporary scientific, artistic, and imaginative society down through the depths of nature. That continuum has been prevented by the modern creation of a fake culture of artificial self-sufficiency within which nature appears only tamed and cooked, and which deflects interpretive engagements of deeper nature except where leakages occur. What can be done about learning (...) for humanity and the natural world? In what follows, I put forth three suggestions. (shrink)
In the 1978 volume of Process Studies, Nancy Frankenberry published an article called “The Empirical Dimension of Religious Experience” that I thought was so good that I wrote her a short fan letter about it.1 She responded by saying that she was flattered by my praise because I was a model for her younger generation. For the first time in my life I felt old. And I wasn’t yet forty. But here I am, still fully employed, presenting a long fan (...) letter at her retirement. Nice irony! I want to begin laying out some of the themes and accomplishments of her distinguished career as a model philosopher of religion by discussing her early book Religion and Radical Empiricism.2 The context in which she wrote.. (shrink)
Ignorance has its advantages. When philosophy has a comparative dimension, for instance, and a philosopher from one culture considers a philosophy from another, the philosophy attains a life of its own somewhat freed from its cultural context. In this circumstance the philosopher's ignorance of the cultural ground and consequences of the ideas allows an unusual freedom for appropriating the ideas to new contexts.
One of the things right about naturalism as an ideology is its rejection of authoritarianism and its insistence on experiential inquiry. One of the things often wrong with some naturalist positions is their insistence that only natural science constitutes valid inquiry. Another of the things right about naturalism is its rejection of literal supernaturalism as having explanatory or hermeneutical power. And yet, one of the things often wrong with some naturalist positions is tone-deafness with respect to the symbolic power of (...) supernaturalistic thinking, resulting in a religiously flat grasp of ultimate realities. My purpose here is to present a particular naturalist Positive Thesis, plus two corollary .. (shrink)
Flush with the juices of adolescence, American philosophy declared independence from its European parentage in the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his generation. In 1837, Emerson addressed the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Society on the occasion of its inaugural meeting for the year, which he called a “holiday.” Emerson began: I greet you on the recommencement of our literary year. Our anniversary is one of hope, and, perhaps, not enough of labor. We do not meet for games of strength (...) or skill, for the recitation of histories, tragedies, and odes, like the ancient Greeks; for parliaments of love and poesy, like the Troubadours; nor for the advancement of science, like our contemporaries in the British and .. (shrink)