Semiotic theory, which has restricted its focus largely to human forms of significations, is transformed by Robert S. Corrington into a semiotics of nature itself. Corrington situates the divide between "nature naturing" and "nature natured" within the contest of classical American pragmaticism and postmodern psychoanalysis. At the heart of this new metaphysics is an insistence that all signs participate in larger orders of meaning that are natural and religious. Meanings embodied in nature point beyond nature to the mystery inherent in (...) positioned codes and signs. (shrink)
Nature and Spirit: An Essay in Ecstatic Naturalism develops an enlarged conception of nature that in turn calls for a transformed naturalism. Unline more descriptive naturalisms, such as those by Dewey, Santayana, and Buchler, ecstatic naturalism works out of the fundamental ontological difference between nature naturing(natura naturans) and nature natured (natura naturata). This difference underlies all other variations within a generic conception of nature. The spirit operates within a generic conception of nature. The spirit operates within a fragmented nature and (...) has its own unique locations. Ecstatic naturalism does not eulogize spirit nor impose a process theodicy upon nature as a whole but carefully describes the ways in which spirit emerges from finite locations within the world. Methodologically, the text radically regrounds phenomenology so that it can work more closely with a metaphysics seeking the most generic forms of nature. The move from a transcendental phenomenology, which rests upon a profound misconception of the parcel of a radicalized naturalism, makes it possible to show how all orders of relevance are related to nature and to the spirit. This, in turn relocates the human process, with its dialectical tension between finitude and transendence, and places the self fully within the emergent structures of the community of interpreters as that community lives out of hope. The concept of worldhood is regrounded in pragmatic and semiotic terms, thus putting pressure on Heidegger's formulations. Peirce's pragmatic categorical structure is used to show how worldhood differs from any other order within the world. The correlation of the potencies of nature, which are presemiotic and preordinal, wit the orders of the world itself, is possible only through an ordinal phenomenology that remains attuned to the fundamental difference between nature naturing (the potencies) and nature natured (the orders of the world). Finally, the text redefines the divine natures in the light of an ecstatic naturalism that sees god as an order within the world that experiences the fragmented quality of nature. Process theology is challenged for its inability to grasp the tensions between god and the encompassing. Four divine natures are laid bare as they relate to nature and to each other. The work concludes with a description of the divine life in the face of the encompassing. (shrink)
In the wake of both the semiotic and the psychoanalytic revolutions, how is it possible to describe the object of religious worship in realist terms? Semioticians argue that each object is known only insofar as it gives birth to a series of signs and interpretants. From the psychoanalytic side, religious beliefs are seen to belong to transference energies and projections that contaminate the religious object with all-too-human complexes. In Nature's Religion, distinguished theologian and philosopher Robert S. Corrington weaves together the (...) concept of infinite semiosis with that of the transference to show that the self does have access to something in nature that is intrinsically religious. Corrington argues that signs and our various transference fields can and do connect us with fully natural religious powers that are not of our own making, thereby opening up a path past the Western monotheisms to a capacious religion of nature. With a foreword by Robert C. Neville, Nature's Religion is essential reading for philosophers of religion, scholars of the psychology of religion, and theologians. (shrink)
Semiotics in America has had a long and rich history. It has been customary to begin historical accounts with Peirce, and to trace his influence through subsequent generations of semioticians as they in turn encounter Continental structuralist and post-structuralist semiotics. Sebeok's account strikes out in new directions by tracing semiotics back to Native American sources, moving through the "book of Nature" framework of subsequent Eurocentric North Americans, passing through literary models, and moving forward into nineteenth-century sources that in some respects (...) made Peircean pragmaticism possible. (shrink)
The concern of this work is with developing an alternative to standard categories in theology and philosophy, especially in terms of how they deal with nature. Avoiding the polemics of much contemporary reflection on nature, it shows how we are connected to nature through the unconscious and its unique way of reading and processing signs. Spinoza's key distinction between natura naturans and natura naturata serves as the governing framework for the treatise. Suggestions are made for a post-Christian way of understanding (...) religion. Robert S. Corrington's work represents the first sustained attempt to bring together the fields of semiotics, depth-psychology, pragmaticism, and a post-Monotheistic theology of nature. Its focus is on how signification functions in human and non-human orders of infinite nature. Our connection with the infinite is described in detail, especially as it relates to the use of sign systems. (shrink)
Paper edition (0492-7), $24.95. (RC) An anthology of both original and reprinted essays on the work of philosopher Justus Buchler (b. 1914), intended not as a festschrift but as a study in ordinal metaphysics for philosophers and scholars.
There are some intriguing and inviting complexities around the twin concepts of nature and naturalism. For too many evolutionary biologists, and even evolutionary psychologists, who should know better, Nature with a capital "N" is rarely analyzed and when done so it is with the crudest of instruments. And for those of us who do know better, we register with some vexation that the reigning concept of naturalism has been flattened into a dull-witted colorless perspective that veers toward some kind of (...) materialism; a belief in the exhaustive correlation of chance and law, alas, with no help from Peirce; a tendency toward a mind/brain identity thesis; an emergentism vis-à-vis consciousness (and the corollary rejection .. (shrink)
The metaphor of the “midworld” refers to Emerson's conception of the realm between the human process and nature. In his earlier writings, poetry served as a linguistic midworld that made it possible for the self to relate to the innumerable orders of nature. By the 1840's Emerson's thought had taken a much more skeptical turn and had moved decisively away from his earlier linguistic idealism. As a consequence, his conception of the nature of the midworld changed. The more humble work (...) of the farmer came to represent more clearly the actual development of the midworld. In agricultural production, the basic features of nature became more directly available to the self. By the 1870's Emerson recognized that the farmer and the poet were both representatives of the midworld that made nature actual to the human process. (shrink)
The correlation between psychopathology and hermeneutics has long been at the forefront of philosophic discussion. In recent years a number of thinkers, particularly in France, have advanced the claim that all hermeneutic acts are themselves part of an intrinsic pathology which makes it impossible to arrive at neutral and binding interpretations. The so-called hermeneutics of suspicion has served to undermine those interpretive norms which guided the depth psychology coming out of Freud and Jung. This hermeneutic and semiotic anarchy derives its (...) impetus from a misreading of the nature and scope of a general psychopathology. Rather than locating psychopathology under the more generic analysis of the self and its relation to the various modes of the encompassing, whether these modes pertain to the self or its world, the hermeneutics of suspicion equates psychopathology with the self in all of its dimensions. Any contrast between the authentic or inauthentic, or the normal and the abnormal, is held to impose a form of privileging on the vast fabric of a self which has no center or circumference. The epoch making work of Freud and Jung is distorted and their basic commitment to hermeneutic norms is undermined. This not only represents a profound misreading of the history of depth psychology but stands as a threat to the drive for transcendence which lives at the heart of the human self. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (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.
The book transcends and transforms current work in the field of religious naturalism, gives pantheism new life over against the more fashionable panentheism, radicalizes and deepens the thought and practice of psychoanalysis with its creation of ordinal psychoanalysis, and creates a whole new way of doing phenomenology called ordinal phenomenology.
This book explores four types of nothingness as found in nature: holes in nature, totalizing nothingness in horror, naturing nothingness, and encompassing nothingness. Robert S. Corrington argues that though nothingness takes many forms, they are all guises of the same vast Nothingness.
Nature’s Sublime provides a radical new vision of infinite nature and its deepest aesthetic dimensions as they are encountered by finite human sign users. Rather than looking to religion for healing and salvation, Nature’s Sublime argues that the arts provide a deeper relationship to the vast depths of nature.
The drama of the unfolding of the spirit, Corrington argues, is one of the most powerful struggles within the human process. The spirit is in and of nature and can never lift the self outside of nature. For Corrington's ecstatic naturalism, there is no realm of the supernatural, only dimensions and orders within nature.
During the past two decades Metaphysics of Natural Complexes has exerted a strong a growing influence on the continuing development of contemporary philosophy. This new and expanded edition acknowledges this influence and brings together much material. Included are the previously published articles “On the Concept of ‘the World,’” and “Probing the Idea of Nature,” which Buchler wrote subsequent to Metaphysics of Natural Complexes as extensions and completions of the system. Previously unpublished work on the key concept of contour has also (...) been added. In addition there are excerpts from Buchler’s replies to his critics, a set of editors’ notes to facilitate cross-referencing, and an updated index. This work presents a bold and forceful metaphysics and general ontology. It provides a systematic framework for understanding the broadest features of the world and nature, and for locating our understanding of human nature, selfhood, and society as complexes in and of nature. Buchler’s detailed analysis of identity, ordinality, nature, world, and validation advance our understanding of the basic categories to be used in defining and exploring whatever is. Unlike other contemporary philosophers that confine themselves to narrowly defined problems in hermeneutics or theory of knowledge, Buchler is unrelenting in his drive toward a more encompassing perspective, simultaneously combining interpretive precision with sheer breadth of vision. (shrink)
In this most recent book in an evolving series of foundational works in philosophy, semiotics, and theology, Neville probes into the nature and function of that class of signs that have an astonishing power to transform selves and communities. In unfolding what, for him, are the essential ingredients in religious symbols, he uses some of the categories and phenomenological descriptions that have done service in his other works. Particularly, he brings to bear on symbols his analysis of the creator/creation relationship, (...) his privileging of value over form, and the nature of determinateness and its boundary. At the same time, he puts pressure on any semiotic theory that would engulf the uniqueness of religious symbols under a pseudogeneric understanding of codes. (shrink)
Merrell's task in this work is to transform the Peircean tradition of semiotics in the light of more recent work in such research areas as chaos physics, topological theory, and the newer quantum theories. Relying on the theories of David Bohm, among others, Merrell develops a conventionalist conception of semiotics that stresses the constructive power of signs to shape space, time, and the basic contours of the human process. The approach is an evolutionary one, but it is not confined to (...) the neo-Darwinian biological framework. Evolution is seen in terms of the movement from a primal state of pure firstness to the determinate world of interaction. (shrink)
The fifteen essays in this volume are taken from a symposium held in July 2008 at the University of Bologna, with contributions coming from ethology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology, and with some sophisticated psychology of religion. The essays are of such high caliber and so free of wooden materialism that they are well positioned to invoke or provoke ongoing query.If one simply grows weary of the creationism vs. neo-Darwinian battles, it comes as a liberating moment when you can cast (...) your Darwin-friendly eyes "downward" into the realms where evolutionary traits are observable in a roughly delineated way. Yes, and you can get predictions too. Peirceans will note that these scientists are .. (shrink)