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California Institute of Integral Studies

Metaphysics

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Keeping The Account Open: On Metaphysical Mistrust In Transpersonal Psychology (A Response To Hartelius, 2017), Steve Taylor Sep 2017

Keeping The Account Open: On Metaphysical Mistrust In Transpersonal Psychology (A Response To Hartelius, 2017), Steve Taylor

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

In response to Hartelius (2017), I suggest that the evidence for perennialism or essentialism can be tested, and is publicly accessible, through engagement with the spiritual practices that have given rise to cross-cultural mystical experiences with common characteristics. This suggests that essentialism could be included in transpersonal psychology (and psychology in general). I suggest that there is no reason why transpersonal psychology should exclude metaphysical claims, as long as they are inferred or implied by research and evidence, explicitly stated and viewed as secondary. It is impossible to avoid metaphysics, and it is important for transpersonal psychologists (and all psychologists ...


Taylor’S Soft Perennialism: Psychology Or New Age Spiritual Vision?, Glenn Hartelius Sep 2017

Taylor’S Soft Perennialism: Psychology Or New Age Spiritual Vision?, Glenn Hartelius

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Taylor has responded to critiques of his soft perennialism model in relationship to what he has called awakening experiences. The fact that some individuals have this type of experience away from the context of religion or spirituality, according to soft perennialism, is explained by a sort of landscape of experience representing the diverse ways in which one may engage with and experience this essential beingness. While this inspiring vision could possibly be true, just as numerous other speculations about ultimate reality might be true; however, the evidence advanced in support of soft perennialism notion is not valid in the context ...


Retrieving Realism: A Whiteheadian Wager, Matthew T. Segall Sep 2017

Retrieving Realism: A Whiteheadian Wager, Matthew T. Segall

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

This essay argues that the organic realism of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) provides a viable alternative to anti-realist tendencies in modern and postmodern philosophy since Descartes. The metaphysical merits of Whitehead’s philosophy of organism are unpacked in conversation with Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Taylor’s recent book Retrieving Realism (2015). Like Dreyfus and Taylor, Whitehead’s philosophical project was motivated by a desire to heal the modern epistemic wound separating soul from world in order to put human consciousness back into meaningful contact with reality. While Dreyfus and Taylor’s book succeeds in articulating the problem cogently, its still ...


Moving Beyond Materialism: Can Transpersonal Psychology Contribute To Cultural Transformation?, Steve Taylor Sep 2017

Moving Beyond Materialism: Can Transpersonal Psychology Contribute To Cultural Transformation?, Steve Taylor

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

The issue of whether it is possible to separate science and metaphysics is discussed, with reference to William James and the writings of quantum physicists. The metaphysical framework of scientific materialism is analysed and some of its key assumptions are identified. It is suggested that these assumptions are becoming increasingly untenable, as is evident by the advocacy of post-materialist science by some contemporary scientists. The main appeal of transpersonal psychology to students and practitioners is arguably its lack of allegiance to a materialist metaphysics. Rather than allying itself to the metaphysical paradigm of naturalistic science or attempting to bracket out ...


Taylor's Soft Perennialism: A Primer Of Perennial Flaws In Transpersonal Scholarship, Glenn Hartelius, Glenn Hartelius Jul 2016

Taylor's Soft Perennialism: A Primer Of Perennial Flaws In Transpersonal Scholarship, Glenn Hartelius, Glenn Hartelius

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

This response to Taylor's essay in this issue concludes that his notion of soft perennialism is unworkable and shows no promise as a theory to explain spiritual diversity. Numerous specific shortcomings of the paper are described, then it is used as basis for identifying three broad categories of error that occur in some transpersonal scholarship. Examples from Taylor's paper are supplemented with similar errors in papers by other transpersonal scholars.