Robert A. McDermott

Last updated

Robert McDermott is professor of Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He received his Ph.D. in 1969 in philosophy from Boston University and is president emeritus of the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has taught at Manhattanville College (1964–71) and is professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Philosophy at Baruch College, CUNY (1971–90). He was secretary of the American Academy of Religion (1968–71) and secretary treasurer of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (1972–76).

Philosophy intellectual and/or logical study of general and fundamental problems

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) is a private, non-profit university founded in 1968 and based in San Francisco, California. It currently operates in two locations; the main campus near the confluence of the Civic Center, SoMa, and Mission districts, and another campus for the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Potrero Hill neighborhood. CIIS has a total of 1,510 students and 80 core faculty members.

With Arthur Zajonc, McDermott is co-founder of The Owen Barfield Graduate School of Sunbridge College, is the founding chair of the board of Sophia Project (two homes in Oakland, California, for mothers and children at risk of homelessness), and has been chair of the board and president of many other institutions. He is a teacher and former board chair of the Rudolf Steiner Institute.

Arthur Guy Zajonc is a physicist and the author of several books related to science, mind, and spirit; one of these is based on dialogues about quantum mechanics with the Dalai Lama. Zajonc, professor emeritus at Amherst College as of 2012, has been teaching there since 1978. He has served as the General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America. From January 2012 to June 2015 he was president of the Mind and Life Institute.

Arthur Owen Barfield was a British philosopher, author, poet, critic, and member of the Inklings.

Oakland, California City in California, United States

Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States. With a population of 425,195 as of 2017, it serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. An act to incorporate the city was passed on May 4, 1852, and incorporation was later approved on March 25, 1854, which officially made Oakland a city. Oakland is a charter city.

He has written a number of books, as well as essays published in scholarly journals and anthologies. His essays have appeared in International Philosophical Quarterly , Cross Currents, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Philosophy East and West .

<i>International Philosophical Quarterly</i> journal

The International Philosophical Quarterly is a peer-reviewed academic journal edited by a group of academics at Fordham University, with the collaboration of the Université de Namur in Belgium. The journal was established in 1961 to provide a publishing forum for the international exchange of basic philosophical ideas. It is published by the Philosophy Documentation Center.

<i>Philosophy East and West</i> journal

Philosophy East and West is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering non-Western traditions of philosophy in relation to Anglo-American philosophy, integrating the discipline with literature, science, and social practices. Special issues have been devoted to topics as diverse as "Problems of the Self", "Existence: An East-West Dialogue", "Philosophy and Revolution", and "Environmental Ethics".

Topics on which he has written or lectured include the evolution of consciousness, the spiritual mission of America, classic and modern spirituality and spiritual masters (East and West), Sri Aurobindo, and Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy.

Sri Aurobindo Indian nationalist

Sri Aurobindo was an Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet, and nationalist. He joined the Indian movement for independence from British rule, for a while was one of its influential leaders and then became a spiritual reformer, introducing his visions on human progress and spiritual evolution.

Rudolf Steiner Austrian esotericist

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.

Anthroposophy philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner

Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded by the 19th century esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthroposophy aim to develop mental faculties of spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience. They also aim to present their ideas in a manner verifiable by rational discourse and specifically seek a precision and clarity in studying the spiritual world mirroring that obtained by natural historians in investigations of the physical world.

His term as president of CIIS marked an extraordinary achievement. He was the first president in its history who filled out his terms of office without resigning or being dismissed. He was able to steer a very small and vulnerable institution away from the very edge of dissolution in bankruptcy into the thriving institution that it is today with an enrollment increase of nearly fourfold since his resignation.

Partial bibliography

  1. The Bhagavad Gita and the West (2006)
  2. Buddha and Christ (2007)
  3. The New Essential Steiner (2007)
  4. Steiner and Anthroposophy (2008)

Related Research Articles

The General Anthroposophical Society is an "association of people whose will it is to nurture the life of the soul, both in the individual and in human society, on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world." As an organization, it is dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the inner path of schooling known as anthroposophy, developed by Rudolf Steiner.

Haridas Chaudhuri Indian philosopher

Haridas Chaudhuri, a Bengali integral philosopher, was a correspondent with Sri Aurobindo and the founder of the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).

A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of inducing spiritual experiences and cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the world's great religions is that of walking a path. Therefore, a spiritual practice moves a person along a path towards a goal. The goal is variously referred to as salvation, liberation or union. A person who walks such a path is sometimes referred to as a wayfarer or a pilgrim.

<i>The Philosophy of Freedom</i> The fundamental work by the Austrian philosopher and esotericist Rudolf Steiner

The Philosophy of Freedom is the fundamental philosophical work of the philosopher and esotericist Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). It addresses the questions whether and in what sense human beings can be said to be free. Originally published in 1894 in German as Die Philosophie der Freiheit, with a second edition published in 1918, the work has appeared under a number of English titles, including The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, The Philosophy of Freedom, and Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path.

People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools (PLANS) is an organization based in California in the United States which campaigns against the public funding of Waldorf methods charter schools alleging they violate the United States Constitution's separation of church and state. The group claims independent Waldorf schools and public Waldorf methods charter schools teach anthroposophical content, that this content is religious in nature, and that the schools disguise the anthroposophical content from the public. PLANS filed federal suit in 1998 against two California public school districts, Sacramento City Unified School District and Twin Ridges Elementary School District, to halt the Waldorf methods educational programs implemented in two of their schools. The case was ultimately dismissed on its merits in 2012.

Richard Tarnas Philosopher and cultural historian

Richard Theodore Tarnas is a cultural historian known for his books The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View and Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Tarnas is professor of philosophy and psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is the founding director of its graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness.

Sergei Olegovich Prokofieff was a Russian anthroposophist. He was the grandson of the composer Sergei Prokofiev and his first wife Lina Prokofiev, and the son of Oleg Prokofiev and his first wife Sofia Korovina. Born in Moscow, he studied fine arts and painting at the Moscow School of Art. He encountered anthroposophy in his youth, and soon made the decision to devote his life to it.

The Advent is a quarterly magazine produced by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and is "Dedicated to the Exposition of Sri Aurobindo's Vision of the Future".

Rudolf Steiner developed exercises aimed at cultivating new cognitive faculties he believed would be appropriate to contemporary individual and cultural development. According to Steiner's view of history, in earlier periods people were capable of direct spiritual perceptions, or clairvoyance, but not yet of rational thought; more recently, rationality has been developed at the cost of spiritual perception, leading to the alienation characteristic of modernity. Steiner proposed that humanity now has the task of synthesizing the rational and contemplative/spiritual components of cognition, whereby spiritual perception would be awakened through intensifying thinking.

Frederic Spiegelberg was a Stanford University professor of Asian religions.

The word psychosophy has etymological roots in the Greek words ψυχή (psychē) and σοφίᾱ (sophiā), which are often interpreted as "soul" and "wisdom", respectively. It was used in a wide variety of contexts from 1743 to the 1920s but fell out of use in the 20th century.

Integral theory is Ken Wilber's attempt to place a wide diversity of theories and thinkers into one single framework. It is portrayed as a "theory of everything", trying "to draw together an already existing number of separate paradigms into an interrelated network of approaches that are mutually enriching."

Peter Selg was born in 1963 in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Dr. Selg is now director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books.

Johannes Hohlenberg (1881–1960) was a Danish author, artist and Anthroposophist.