“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
–Alfred North Whitehead

Raimon Panikkar on Cosmotheandrism

“I should like to present this cosmotheandric principle with the minimum of philosophical assumptions. And the minimum here is that reality shows this triple dimension of an empirical (or physical) element, a noetic (or psychical) factor and a metaphysical (or spiritual) ingredient. By the first I mean the matter-energy complex, the cosmos; by the second, the sui generis reflection on the first and on itself; and by the third, the inherent inexhaustibility of all things: the cosmic, the human, and the divine.”

The Cosmotheandric Experience (1993), p. 71-71

Over at Knowledge-Ecology, it seems that my attempt to carry forward the cosmotheandric vision first expressed by Panikkar is being reduced to its theological component. I need to further develop the anthropological and cosmological aspects of the trinity by unpacking, 1) the significance of religious practice in human evolution (reading Robert Bellah’s latest book is helping with that) and, 2) explaining why an ethical response to the ecological crisis implies entering into relationship with an ensouled universe. There is a 30-page essay here somewhere…






10 responses to “Raimon Panikkar on Cosmotheandrism”

  1. Jason Hills Avatar


    “Reduced” presumes that the other two components are separable from the theological component. Your first mission is to show their independence and then their necessity.

    This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds….

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      I perceive my task to be showing their interdependence and their necessity.

  2. Adam Robbert Avatar
    Adam Robbert

    Everything else aside, I’m really enjoying the new lay out over here. But yes, I agree generally with Jason that calling the nature of our discussion “reductive” is a bit unfair. You lead with the theological component (almost indiscriminately) in dialogue so the fact that our focus lands their should not be a surprise. And, I’m not sure that “anthropos” — as an archetypal signifier — differentiates enough from your theology so as to actually count as a legitimate anthropology, again, landing you squarely in theology.

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      That’s fair, I agree I need to differentiate the anthropological component of cosmotheandrism to avoid giving the theological component undue influence.

  3. Jason Hills Avatar

    Adam voices my thoughts as well. If the theology is truly interdependent, then saying that it is all theology is not reductive. It might be totalizing, but that in part depends on whether your analysis follows your theological lead, which so far both Adam and myself appear inclined to think. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but it becomes bad if you are unaware of the logical implications of what you propose. So, stick to your guns if you will, but know what you’re holding in those hands else you’ll miss the mark come High Noon, cow boy.

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      Thanks for the encouragement, Jason. Check back soon for a more anthropological take on cosmotheandrism.

      1. Jason Hills Avatar


        You are welcome. Please remember my point here as a key to understanding where what I write comes from. It’s difficult to judge character and intention on a digital medium. Most of my intent in online philosophical conversation is to be helpful, to open paths rather than close them, and I think it’s far from obvious that this is my constant intent. We philosophers tend to disagree and be vocal about it, but I intend disagreement to be creative. And … I personally do not always have the patience to word my thoughts softly.

  4. Science v. Religion (in the lead up to my dissertation) – Al Jazeera interviews Richard Dawkins, and Lawrence’s Krauss thinks he’s special « Footnotes 2 Plato Avatar

    […] diatribe concocted by the entertainment-academia complex, and 3) a process philosophy adequate to the cosmotheandric experience, to the ontologically irreducible indwelling co-presence of universe, human, and […]

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