The World Could Be Otherwise

Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path

The World Could Be Otherwise

An imaginative approach to spiritual practice in difficult times, through the Buddhist teaching of the six paramitas or "perfections"--qualities that lead to kindness, wisdom, and an awakened life. In frightening times, we wish the world could be otherwise. With a touch of imagination, it can be. Imagination helps us see what’s hidden, and it shape-shifts reality’s roiling twisting waves. In this inspiring reframe of a classic Buddhist teaching, Zen teacher Norman Fischer writes that the paramitas, or “six perfections”—generosity, ethical conduct, patience, joyful effort, meditation, and understanding—can help us reconfigure the world we live in. Ranging from our everyday concerns about relationships, ethics, and consumption to our artistic inspirations and broadest human yearnings, Fischer depicts imaginative spiritual practice as a necessary resource for our troubled times.

Marginalism and Discontinuity

Tools for the Crafts of Knowledge and Decision

Marginalism and Discontinuity

Marginalism and Discontinuity is an account of the culture of models employed in the natural and social sciences, showing how such models are instruments for getting hold of the world, tools for the crafts of knowing and deciding. Like other tools, these models are interpretable cultural objects, objects that embody traditional themes of smoothness and discontinuity, exchange and incommensurability, parts and wholes. Martin Krieger interprets the calculus and neoclassical economics, for example, as tools for adding up a smoothed world, a world of marginal changes identified by those tools. In contrast, other models suggest that economies might be sticky and ratchety or perverted and fetishistic. There are as well models that posit discontinuity or discreteness. In every city, for example, some location has been marked as distinctive and optimal; around this created differentiation, a city center and a city periphery eventually develop. Sometimes more than one model is applicable—the possibility of doom may be seen both as the consequence of a series of mundane events and as a transcendent moment. We might model big decisions or entrepreneurial endeavors as sums of several marginal decisions, or as sudden, marked transitions, changes of state like freezing or religious conversion. Once we take models and theory as tools, we find that analogy is destiny. Our experiences make sense because of the analogies or tools used to interpret them, and our intellectual disciplines are justified and made meaningful through the employment of characteristic toolkits—a physicist's toolkit, for example, is equipped with a certain set of mathematical and rhetorical models. Marginalism and Discontinuity offers a provocative and wide-ranging consideration of the technologies by which we attempt to apprehend the world. It will appeal to social and natural scientists, mathematicians and philosophers, and thoughtful educators, policymakers, and planners.

Newton and Newtonianism

New Studies

Newton and Newtonianism

Newton's theology, his study of alchemy, the early reception of Newtonianism, & the history of Newtonian scholarship are topics included in the eleven essays that comprise this volume.

Egalitarian Moments: From Descartes to Rancière

Egalitarian Moments: From Descartes to Rancière

Jacques Rancière's work has challenged many of the assumptions of contemporary continental philosophy by placing equality at the forefront of emancipatory political thought and aesthetics. Drawing on the claim that egalitarian politics persistently appropriates elements from political philosophy to engage new forms of dissensus, Devin Zane Shaw argues that Rancière's work also provides an opportunity to reconsider modern philosophy and aesthetics in light of the question of equality. In Part I, Shaw examines Rancière's philosophical debts to the 'good sense' of Cartesian egalitarianism and the existentialist critique of identity. In Part II, he outlines Rancière's critical analyses of Walter Benjamin and Clement Greenberg and offers a reinterpretation of Rancière's debate with Alain Badiou in light of the philosophical differences between Schiller and Schelling. From engaging debates about political subjectivity from Descartes to Sartre, to delineating the egalitarian stakes in aesthetics and the philosophy of art from Schiller to Badiou, this book presents a concise tour through a series of egalitarian moments found within the histories of modern philosophy and aesthetics.

Schutz’s Theory of Relevance: A Phenomenological Critique

Schutz’s Theory of Relevance: A Phenomenological Critique

The following is neither exclusively the study of a philosopher nor a problem, and yet is both as well. Alfred Schutz is now recogniz ed to have been a profoundly insightful philosopher who explor ed the nature of social reality and the social sciences. His works are exercising a great influence in a wide range of problems and disciplines, the latter including the social sciences themselves. All of this is testimony to the sagacity and penetrating character of his analyses as well as the fruitfulness and soundness of his con cepts. Philosophy proceeds, however, by not merely accepting the work of great philosophers, but by engaging them in critical philosophic dialogue. It is time for this interchange to begin with respect to Schutz's work. To some extent, then, this work is di rected to that task. It does not undertake a systematic treat ment of the whole of Schutz's philosophy, for much more work in many aspects of his thought is yet to be done before such a pro ject can reasonably be undertaken. Yet, the issue of concern in this study is, I now believe, the philosophic center of the whole of Schutz's work.

Liquid Metal

The Science Fiction Film Reader

Liquid Metal

Liquid Metal brings together 'seminal' essays that have opened up the study of science fiction to serious critical interrogation. Eight distinct sections cover such topics as the cyborg in science fiction; the science fiction city; time travel and the primal scene; science fiction fandom; and the 1950s invasion narratives. Important writings by Susan Sontag, Vivian Sobchack, Steve Neale, J.P. Telotte, Peter Biskind and Constance Penley are included.

It Could Have Been Otherwise

Contingency and Necessity in Dominican Theology at Oxford, 1300-1350

It Could Have Been Otherwise

This description of Dominicans at Oxford from 1300-1350 and the theology of Hugh of Lawton, Arnold of Strelley, William Crathorn and Robert Holcot reclaims the Dominicans as highly original contributors to theology and philosophy at a time of great innovation.

Phenomenology of Life in a Dialogue Between Chinese and Occidental Philosophy

Phenomenology of Life in a Dialogue Between Chinese and Occidental Philosophy

To introduce this collection of research studies, which stem from the pro grams conducted by The World Phenomenology Institute, we need say a few words about our aims and work. This will bring to light the significance of the present volume. The phenomenological philosophy is an unprejudiced study of experience in its entire range: experience being understood as yielding objects. Experi ence, moreover, is approached in a specific way, such a way that it legitima tizes itself naturally in immediate evidence. As such it offers a unique ground for philosophical inquiry. Its basic condition, however, is to legitimize its validity. In this way it allows a dialogue to unfold among various philosophies of different methodologies and persuasions, so that their basic assumptions and conceptions may be investigated in an objective fashion. That is, instead of comparing concepts, we may go below their differences to seek together what they are meant to grasp. We may in this way come to the things them selves, which are the common objective of all philosophy, or what the great Chinese philosopher Wang Yang Ming called "the investigation of things". It is in this spirit that the Institute's programs include a "cross-cultural" dialogue meant to bring about a profound communication among philosophers in their deepest concerns. Rising above artificial cultural confinements, such dialogues bring scholars, thinkers and human beings together toward a truly human community of minds. Our Institute unfolds one consistent academic program.

Feeling Like Saints

Lollard Writings after Wyclif

Feeling Like Saints

"Lollard" is the name given to followers of John Wyclif, the English dissident theologian who was dismissed from Oxford University in 1381 for his arguments regarding the eucharist. A forceful and influential critic of the ecclesiastical status quo in the late fourteenth century, Wyclif’s thought was condemned at the Council of Constance in 1415. While lollardy has attracted much attention in recent years, much of what we think we know about this English religious movement is based on records of heresy trials and anti-lollard chroniclers. In Feeling Like Saints, Fiona Somerset demonstrates that this approach has limitations. A better basis is the five hundred or so manuscript books from the period (1375–1530) containing materials translated, composed, or adapted by lollard writers themselves. These writings provide rich evidence for how lollard writers collaborated with one another and with their readers to produce a distinctive religious identity based around structures of feeling. Lollards wanted to feel like saints. From Wyclif they drew an extraordinarily rigorous ethic of mutual responsibility that disregarded both social status and personal risk. They recalled their commitment to this ethic by reading narratives of physical suffering and vindication, metaphorically martyring themselves by inviting scorn for their zeal, and enclosing themselves in the virtues rather than the religious cloister. Yet in many ways they were not that different from their contemporaries, especially those with similar impulses to exceptional holiness.