addressed to left hemisphere
jump to Introduction
addressed to right hemisphere
This essay offers concentrated prose, intending to serve both as an advanced introduction to thinking's recent developments, and as indicating the resources and possibilities of thinking for meeting a future which can ever less afford to be unthinking. The compass is set to phenomena that express individuality and integration. The text unfolds to comprehend thinking's journey through the 19th and 20th centuries; as history, as changing relation to literary, religious, and scientific meanings, and as part of the inexorable evolutionary probe into the possibilities conjoining mind and life.

Philosophy worth the name has wonder as its constant Muse, often named transcendence. What is exists - and is experienced - in the radiance of Possibility. Many works of art here lend help to keep transcendence in sight. Paul Klee's Ad Parnassum graces this page, perhaps because to show wholeness from the tangled strands of history is to fashion a kind of fuzzy mosaic that hangs in time like music. On a related note, philosophy owes its specific capability to the possibilities of language, so Shakespeare's river of voices flows here everywhere as chords to save the meanings from going flat.


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Linked Index of Names

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Annotated Bibliography

In the references page, the work and works of selected authors are further characterized. It is my belief that the books recommended in these notes constitute superior access to many of contemporary philosophy's central issues. Book and author names in green link to pages at, where most may be purchased at significant discounts.

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The challenge to reconnect with seminal and transformative elements concealed within the Judeo-Greek tradition.
jump to I
Thinking crosses from the Nineteenth to the Twentieth century, but its cultural centering does not hold.
jump to II
The roles of ideas change for thinking as the centrality of process and temporality gain recognition. Is thinking more like science or art?
jump to III
Earlier ways thinking had shifted in its relations with ideas; Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy, G. W. F. Hegel's dialectics, the emergence of ideology.
jump to IV
In a quest to cure itself of ideology and find its proper heir, philosophy contemplates ending itself or turning itself inside-out.
jump to V
Hinges of revolutions in thinking. Roles of ideas in cognition versus 'transformative practice' at the threshold of the Twentieth century.
jump to VI(a)
New foundations for subjectivity: Edmund Husserl's phenomenology and Wilhelm Diltheys' hermeneutics show how immersion in presence opens thinking beyond ideas.
jump to VI(b)
New foundations for objectivity: concepts as forms of potential for experience in Alfred North Whitehead and Friedrich Nietzsche. The reach and synthesis of concepts as forms of potential exhibits thinking's openness toward the future.
jump to VI(a)
New foundations for meaning: In Ernst Cassirer and Rudolf Steiner myth uncovers metaphor as meaning's deepest roots and as the basis of thinking's openness to the past. Religion's way of conjoining presence, future and past as opennesses.
jump to VII
Martin Heidegger's revolutionary attempt to integrate thinking's openness to future, past, and present. His need to reshape Truth's meaning.
jump to VIII
Factors missing from Heidegger's kind of temporal thinking; Nietzsche's values on play and life; Paul Ricoeur's exploration of metaphor and narrative temporality; Susanne Langer's organic approach to symbolic form.
jump to IX
Modeling the integration of factors required for a comprehensively temporal thinking. Gregory Bateson's perspective. Meaning's situation between objectivity and subjectivity. Henri Bergson and William James show up again. Is Plurality more basic than Unity?
jump to X
Gilles Deleuze's 'polyrhythmic' approach to objectivity and its impact on the status of concepts as given in VI(b), above.
jump to XI
Emmanuel Levinas grounds subjectivity in exposure and expression; the significance for Husserl's objectives as described in VI (a), above.
jump to XII
Temporal thinking is pluralistc. Proximity. Understandings of Mind and Life can guide each other by their common ground of individualization and integration. The dimensions of temporal openness isolated in the three parts of section VI, above, meet in lived experience as sense, concept, and meaning. The challenge for thinking of a 'wisdom of love'.

n appendix to the main text, Tracing the Notion of Difference considers, with the additional help of David Bohm's, Ludwig Wittgenstein's, and Jacques Derrida's ideas: (a) aspects of difference which are contemporary for both science and philosophy, (b) problems with formalizing the notion and its variant meanings, (c) difference's concealments in the history of ideas, (d) its relation to temporality and plurality for thinking, and (e) how difference complements proximity for outflanking the tradition's principle of identity.

Temptations arise to supplement this essay from ongoing explorations. Because I am not prepared to interpolate their details and implications into the existing text, I've chosen to bring them as summary indications supported by further suggested reading. These notes collect at the bottom of this page and represent the most current changes in this site. The subjects of the extraordinary books I describe below also serve to further emphasize that the use of this entire presentation is meant to bring ways of (1) overcoming specialist fragmentations of knowledge, (2) learning new standpoints for experience, and (3) recognizing that the ways we have of organizing 'facts' can function as multidimensional 'hinges' by which  we turn toward possibilities for evolution that are beyond anticipation, let alone the strident determinisms of experts and believers who identify themselves with systems that preclude alternatives. 

Contributory comments or references relating with the text, or suggestions for improving the site, are more than welcome. The best would be if my knowledge of this site's reception could guide its development. But I need to hear more from the many people from so many different places who spend time here or who download a local copy of this site for personal or educational use.

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Some readers may appreciate that this presentation has some features in common with writings in the field of 'cognitive science'. I would hope that the differences are even more apparent. Nevertheless, the chimera of 'cognitive science' shows instances of genuine hybrid vigor. Despite its murky genealogy, equivocal objectives, compromised vocabulary, and factional hair-splittings, we need to be clear that when cognitive science brings the issue of mind's quantum connection into proximity with thermodynamically framed complexity theory and with new varieties of phenomenology, we are offered entire re-envisionings of what should count as real for experience.

Cognitive science's quantum connection relies mainly on radical 'first principles' deriving from either David Bohm or Alfred North Whitehead (the latter often through Roger Penrose's work). If one allows a door toward temporally rooted non-locality to be held open in either of these directions, what then enters from thermodynamics, biology, and phenomenology, can make a giant step for experience seem tantalizingly close. Hence a future for this site could involve some wrapping of its content by threads bringing to bear elements of Tor Norretrander's transcendent popularization of thermodynamic complexity theory, elements of Lynn Margulis' understanding of the role of endosymbiosis in cell evolution, and elements of Maxine Sheets-Johnstone's revolutionary phenomenological reframings of the origins of language and the symbolic functions of communication in the light of sensory/corporeal appropriations of the 'facts of life' : sex and death.

The ubiquitous Neo-Darwinian picture of evolutionary dynamics these days goes something like this: random variations produce the capacity to throw spears and then succeed in leveraging that capacity into the ability to program computers. Margulis and Sheets-Johnstone are broadly relevant for correcting such absurd accounts toward what should be obvious: symbiogenesis and sexual selection far overshadow randomness and survival selection as primary engines of evolutionary innovation. Such an appreciation, besides implying cultural imperatives which deviate from accepted norms, combines with the mathematical evidence of Godel's theorem, and the work of our bolder physicists, to support a key notion of this exposition: the complementary and temporalizing principles of proximity and difference are more fit to characterize the foundations of Mind's experience than are accounts which ground Mind's experience in logic, utility, computation, or a principle of identity (the most currently fashionable being Richard Dawkins' "me-me's" (sic)).

Tor Norretranders
The User Illusion :
Cutting Consciousness Down to Size

Lynn Margulis
Symbiotic Planet :
A New Look at Evolution

Microcosmos : Four Billion Years of
Evolution from Our Microbial Ancestors

Slanted Truths: Essays on Gaia,
Symbiosis, and Evolution

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone
The Roots of Thinking

The Roots of Power :
Animate Form and Gendered Bodies