Philosophy and Religion
My first book. A philosophical study of a dominant set of ideas about personality and society,
contrasted with a view I offer in substitution. A postscript in subsequent printings of the book summarizes how I later came
to judge its argument.
A philosophical discussion of the experience and the ideal of personality. It argues for a revision of our dominant Christian-romantic
view of the person as well as of our beliefs about how to live. It explores the ideas about selfhood that accompany my ideas about society.
"The Self Awakened" is the most comprehensive published statement of my present philosophical position. It will be complemented by two forthcoming works - "The Religion of the Future" and "The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time" (with Lee Smolin). These three books form part of the same philosophical program. In what kind of world, and for what kind of thought, is time real, history open, and novelty possible? In what kind of world, and for what kind of thought, does it make sense for a human being to look for trouble rather than to stay out of trouble? "The Self Awakened" generalizes and deepens the impulse of my social-theoretical and programmatic writings. It develops and defends a point of view implicit in our most powerful ideas of political, social, and spiritual revolution.
This little piece, which will appear as an appendix to "The Self Awakened," restates and develops one of my central concerns -- the idea that we are something infinite imprisoned within something finite -- from the vantage point of a question unaddressed in my earlier work: our relation to nature. In asking what we should do with nature, we ask what we should do with ourselves.
This brief text, also to appear as an appendix to "The Self Awakened," discusses what is and is not constant in the world history of philosophy. Metaphysics remains imprisoned in a labyrinth from which it cannot escape, not even through its attempted partnership with natural science. The moral and political ideas of humanity have, however, undergone a revolution. As a result of this revolution we discover that although we are not God we can become more godlike.
The Religion of the Future is to be published in the Spring of 2014. I place here a complete draft of the book. Beginning with a criticism of major orientations in the spiritual history of humanity, it argues for a radical revision of the moral, political, and metaphysical ideas that have informed the revolutionary orthodoxy of the West, with its two-fold roots in the Semitic religions of salvation and in the modern secular projects of democracy and romanticism. It should be read alongside The Self Awakened (2007) and my forthcoming work in natural philosophy, The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time (with Lee Smolin).
This article is the outcome of a discussion with philosophers of science and works out some of the assumptions about thinking on which my recent work in social theory relies. This little essay also attacks the diminished and servile version of pragmatism that threatens to become the ruling philosophy of the age. The essay was originally published in Science in Context 10, 1 (1997), introducing a collection of papers in most of which I discerned the domesticated pragmatism I combat; hence the reference to these papers in the first paragraph.