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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cosmotheanthropic imagination in the post-Kantian process philosophy of Schelling and Whitehead
by Segall, Matthew David, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2016, 296; 10117893
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation, I lure the process philosophies of F. W. J. Schelling and A. N. Whitehead into orbit together around the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant. I argue that Schelling and Whitehead’s descendental aesthetic ontology provides a way across the epistemological chasm that Kant’s critiques opened up between experience and reality. While Kant’s problematic scission between the phenomenal world and the thing-in-itself remains an essential phase in the maturation of the human mind, it need not be the full realization of mind’s potential in relation to Nature. I contrast Schelling’s and Whitehead’s descendental philosophies with Kant’s transcendentalism by showing how their inverted methods bridge the chasm—not by resolving the structure of reality into clear and distinct concepts—but by replanting cognition in the aesthetic processes that power it. Hidden at the generative root of our seemingly separate human capacities for corporeal sensation and intellectual reflection is the same universally distributed creative power or imaginal ether underlying star formation and blooming flowers. Human consciousness is not a transcendental onlooker upon the world but a microcosmic participant in the Life of the Whole. Humanity is a development of what has always been enveloped in the Earth and wider universe, as natural as leaves on a tree.

Through a creative interweaving of their process-relational orientations, I show how the power of imagination so evident in Schelling’s and Whitehead’s thought can provide philosophy with genuine experiential insight into cosmos, theos, and anthropos in the aftermath of the Kantian revolution. The two—anthropos and cosmos—are perceived as one by a common sense described in this dissertation as etheric imagination. This etheric sense puts us in touch with the divine life of Nature, which the ancients personified as the ψυ&khgr;η &tgr;oυ κóσμoυ or anima mundi.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sherman, Jacob H.
Commitee: Amrine, Frederick, Kelly, Sean
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Philosophy and Religion with a concentration on Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Ether, Imagination, Kant, Process, Schelling, Whitehead
Publication Number: 10117893
ISBN: 978-1-339-79264-4
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