Schelling’s and Shankara’s Nondual Visions [audio and video]

I was recently in dialogue with a friend and colleague at CIIS, James Barnes. We discussed the convergences and divergences in the thoughts of Schelling and Shankara. To what extent were both after a nondual philosophy? I suggested that Schelling ends up affirming a trinitarian view of Godhead that preserves differentiation (though still a differentiation-in-unity) for the…

The Beginning and the End of Positive Philosophy

In the Theaeteus, Plato has Socrates say that “wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.” In his Metaphysics, Aristotle echoes this by writing that “it was their wonder, astonishment, that first led men to philosophize and still leads them.” In the Phaedo, Plato has Socrates say that “those who really apply…

Cosmopolitical Reflections on Economy, Society, and Religion

  When was the day that money became an idol instead of an instrument? Was it August 15, 1971, when to pay for the Vietnam War Nixon shocked the world by erasing the Gold Standard, thereby unilaterally making the value of the US Dollar the reserve currency of the world economy? Or was it in the…

C. S. Peirce on Chaos and Law–On the Mystery of Naming the Real

After Nature/Leon has brought my attention to a review of a new book, Peirce and the Threat of Nominalism by Paul Forster.  “[Peirce’s] opposition to nominalism motivated him as nothing else did and, as Forster shows, is central to his philosophical program. While Peirce’s argument against nominalism was strictly philosophical, his objection to it extended…

Coleridge and Scientific Realism

I’m continuing to read Barfield’s book What Coleridge Thought (1971) with great excitement. Barfield includes two short chapters entitled “Ideas, Methods, Laws” and “Coleridge and the Cosmology of Science” wherein he attempts to say a bit about how Coleridge’s dynamic philosophy might be brought into conversation with contemporary natural science. It would be helpful, before…

Rudolf Steiner on Thinking

By what right do you declare the world finished without thinking? Does not the world bring forth thinking in human heads with the same necessity as it brings forth blossoms on the plant? Plant a seed in the earth. It puts forth roots and stem. It unfolds into leaves and blossoms. Set the plant before…

Centropy, Entropy, and Ethics in the Universe

Levi Bryant recently posted about Entropy. He writes: Entropy is the measure of order in any system. In this regard, to take a rough and ready criterion, the more probable it is that a particular element is located anywhere in a system the more entropy that system embodies. By contrast, the more improbable the location of an element in a system, theless entropic that system is….

Coleridge and Barfield on Life, Imagination, and Reality

Continuing with Barfield’s (I think masterful) attempt (What Coleridge Thought, 1971) to give the definitive philosophical statement of a thinker who never seems to have gotten around to doing the same for himself, here are a few more reflections… Barfield judges Coleridge a genius. Perhaps so, but the latter said of his own existant philosophical…

What Barfield Thought Coleridge Thought

I’m in the midst of another fantastic course this semester with Prof. Jake Sherman, this time on the creative imagination. We’re now reading Owen Barfield‘s masterful What Coleridge Thought (1971). It’s my second reading, though this time with a new copy (lacking my original marginalia in a more recent printing that I’ve since given away). The new…

More Reflections on James Hillman’s Archetypal Psychology

Building on what was said here last week:   James Hillman’s psychology, above all else, aims to remind the modern Western psyche of its roots in the Renaissance. To illustrate his methods, he dwells upon the lives of Renaissance figures like Petrarch, “the first modern man…perhaps…the first psychological man.”1 Most cultural historians focus on Petrarch’s…