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.
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)
Religion in Late Modernity runs against the grain of common suppositions of contemporary theology and philosophy of religion. Against the common supposition that basic religious terms have no real reference but are mere functions of human need, the book presents a pragmatic theory of religious symbolism in terms of which the cognitive engagement of the Ultimate is of a piece with the cognitive engagement of nature and persons. Throughout this discussion, Neville develops a late-modern conception of God that is defensible (...) in a global theological public. Against the common supposition that religion is on the retreat in late modernity except in fundamentalist forms, the author argues that religion in our time is a stimulus to religiously oriented scholarship, a civilizing force among world societies, a foundation for obligation in politics, a source for healthy social experimentation, and the most important mover of soul. (shrink)
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 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)
Let me begin by giving preliminary definition to the two kinds of contingency named in my title, although I shall argue that the distinction between them gets too complicated to sustain in the long run. Cosmological contingency is the contingency of things within the world upon other things within the world, plus perhaps their own spontaneous creativity. Ontological contingency is the contingency of everything in the world that is determinate in any way upon an ontological ground. That ontological ground cannot (...) itself be determinate, and you can recollect Plotinus's One, Thomas Aquinas's Pure Act of To Be, Brahman without qualities, or the Ultimate of Non-Being in Zhou Dunyi's philosophy for sample conceptions of... (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)
This is a most unusual book. Mao Zedong was one of the most powerful people in the twentieth century. With Chiang Kai-shek he drove out the Japanese from China and then defeated Chiang in turn and carried out a major revolution over which he presided for many years. Everyone knows he was a poet and, like every Marxist leader, he was a philosopher of sorts. His Marxist philosophy evolved from his youth to old age, and he developed differences from the (...) Soviet model of Marxism that were quite significant. He "converted" to Marxism in his twenties and identified himself with that movement until he died in his eighties. But what was his education in philosophy like before he encountered Marxism? Whereas Marx, Lenin, and... (shrink)
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)
This paper identifies five dimensions of cosmopolitanism, though doubtless there are many more: cosmopolitanism in decision making, engaging others, attaining personal wholeness, the ultimate value-identity of life, and religious sensibility. These are discussed in terms of the Confucian ideas of the “Four Beginnings,” ritual, life as cultivated education, sagehood, public versus private life, Principle, heart-mind, harmony, value, humaneness, “love with differences,” “roots and branches,” and filiality, among others. In all, it presents Confucianism as a living tradition that is facing up (...) to how it might extend itself in light of the need for cosmopolitanism. (shrink)
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)
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)
The chief problematic for contemporary systematic metaphysics is to develop categories for understanding the world as having value at the same time that it is explicable by science. Western philosophical thinking, with major exceptions, has tracked science by understanding the world to be factual but not intrinsically valuable. Chinese philosophy in all periods has understood human beings to be embedded within society which in turn is embedded within nature, all of which bear values of appropriate types. Themes in Chinese philosophy (...) contribute to this problematic of systematic metaphysics in important ways, explored in this article. (shrink)
"Racism and Anti-Blackness" in America is very bad.1 What has pragmatism had to say about this? Charles S. Peirce was a racist and thought that blacks are inferior.2 Much as most readers of this journal love him for other things, Peirce's pragmatism needs to change in this regard insofar as it bears on his racist views. A significant part of Peirce's racism came from his appreciation of science. Louis Agassiz strongly opposed Darwinian evolution and upheld racist views regarding Africans; he (...) was a close friend of Peirce's father, Benjamin Peirce, who long defended Agassiz. After the Civil War, many scientists added Mexicans and Native Americans to the list of inferior peoples who needed to be controlled by the... (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 European capitals. Thus far, our holiday has been simply a friendly sign of the survival of the love of letters amongst a people too busy to give letters any more. Perhaps the time is already come when it ought to be, and will be something else; when the sluggard intellect of this continent will look from under its iron lids and fill the postponed expectations of the world with something better than the expectations of mechanical skill. Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close. The millions that around us are rushing into life, cannot always be fed on the sere remains of foreign harvests. Events, actions arise, that must be sung, that will sing themselves. (shrink)
Both individually and collectively, the five essays in this groups are brilliant. Each of the authors has worked with extraordinary care and success to represent my position, and they all succeed. The essays work to expound my thought in a progressive order. Bin Song's lays out my approach to comparison, setting it within the larger whole of my philosophy. David Rohr's explores in depth my epistemology and shows its relevance to my philosophy as a whole and also to its application (...) to Christian sermons. Michael Raposa's works through my specific claims about how "praying the ultimate" is its real meaning. Andrew Irvine's carries that thought through to religionless religion, asking: What if that is really... (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)
One enduring legacy of the twentieth century will be the slow, certain transformation of the world from insular civilizations to interactive societies enmeshed in global systems of electronic communication, economics, and politics. Financial news from Thailand or Brazil is often more important globally than political events in the old centers of power. Some bemoan the uncertainty and flux of all this. However, the mutual definition of the world’s societies presents an extraordinary opportunity to humanize a situation that all too quickly (...) could degenerate into a Weberian ‘iron cage’ of truly global proportions. What contribution can the world’s great philosophical traditions make toward humanity’s common task of civilizing the rise of globalization? Here the ancient concept of paideia walks upon the stage of the twenty-first century. (shrink)
This book introduces Robert Corrington’s “ecstatic naturalism,” a new perspective in understanding “sacred” nature and naturalism, and explores what can be done with this philosophical thought. This is an excellent resource for scholars of Continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, and American pragmatism.
This collection of essays by leading American philosophers honors John E. Smith, a major figure in the struggle for the American profession of philosophy to redefine itself and return to its grander traditions.