…let us not longer omit our homage to the Efficient Nature, natura naturans, the quick cause, before which all forms flee as the driven snows, itself secret, its works driven before it in flocks and multitudes, (as the ancient represented nature by Proteus, a Shepherd) and in undescribable variety. It publishes itself in creatures, reaching from particles and spicula, through transformation on transformation to the highest symmetries, arriving at consummate results without a shock or a leap.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (1844)
About Ecstatic Naturalism
Contemporary ecstatic naturalism was first formulated in Professor Robert S. Corrington’s Nature and Spirit: An Essay in Ecstatic Naturalism (Fordham University Press, 1992). This has been followed by a number of publications further extending the scope of this unique portrayal of nature, perhaps best expressed in his Ecstatic Naturalism: Signs of the World (Indiana University Press, 1994) and A Semiotic Theory of Theology and Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2000). In these later works Corrington probes into the correlation of psychosemiotics with the psychoanalytic theories of Freud, Rank, Jung, Reich, and Kristeva wherein the human unconscious shows itself to be the multiform gateway to the vast underconscious of nature. Theologically, panentheism is critiqued for its intemperate application of theories of relation and teleology to an unwieldy theory of nature as the “order of orders.”
In his semiotic trilogy, (Ecstatic Naturalism, Nature’s Self, and Nature’s Religion) Corrington locates the human process within vast natural potencies that shape and groove all that we say, contrive, surmise, conjecture, build or dream. His 2003 work, Riding the Windhorse: On Manic-Depressive Order and the Quest for Wholeness, applies the regnant categories of ecstatic naturalism to the highly destructive yet creative mode of attunement found in manic-depressive disorder.
As part of his procedure of emancipatory reenactment, Professor Corrington has addressed the philosophy of the founder of pragmaticism and the larger tradition of semiotics in his 1993 book, Introduction to C.S. Peirce. He has used this procedure in regrounding the psychoanalysis of Wilhelm Reich in his 2003 work, Wilhelm Reich: Psychoanalyst and Radical Naturalist. In both cases slumbering potencies are set free to appear in their relevant sphere of prevalence thus coaxing latent momenta from nature naturing into their fitful puissance in nature natured.
Ecstatic naturalism has roots in Protestant Liberalism, most notably Tillich. Equally primary are the writings of Euro-American pragmatists and pragmaticists, but without the relativistic stance of Neo-Pragmatism. Robert Neville’s work has been approached from within this template. From the beginning, the dialogue with phenomenology has led to an ordinal phenomenology working in tandem with a horizonal hermeneutics to articulate regnant orders of relevance: cf., The Community of Interpreters (Mercer 1987 & 1995). Increasingly, the powerful system of Schopenhauer has emerged as one of the most important dialogue partners of ecstatic naturalism, helping open the door to an aesthetic transfiguration (replacement?) of religion. Aesthetic sacred folds hold and proffer the irruptions of the so-called holy within the innumerable orders of the “world.”
An ecstatic naturalism is a perspective that seeks to move toward an aesthetic phenomenology of nature’s “sacred folds”—special centers of numinous meaning and power that may be found throughout nature, where “nature” may be understood to mean an encompassing reality that has no other, there is no referent “for” nature nor any outside “to” nature. Nature is all that there is: nature is whatever is, in whatever way. From nature’s sacred folds emerges a fierce self-othering, nature naturing, where “it” moves ecstatically ejecting semiotically dense momenta. Nature naturing is the inexhaustible well of nature’s atemporal creating underconscious, “it” is the not-yet-in-time mode of preordinal expression. This preordinal expression manifests itself as created nature, a plane of immanence composed of innumerable orders, or nature natured. The plane of nature natured is not without access to its depth dimension however, and the creativity of the depth dimension does not necessarily evidence a telic plan, either. Nature naturing is not the unified will or intelligence of a supreme Being, and “it” is not the sacred, for there is no “whatness” to nature naturing, but only “its” “how.” Unlike other theological perspectives friendly to the tradition of naturalism (process thought, for example) an ecstatic naturalism denies that nature naturing molds nature natured simply into pleasing shapes. Melancholy, pain, and anguish are just as much to be accounted for in the aesthetic phenomenology that an ecstatic naturalism employs. For ecstatic naturalism, naturing naturing is “beyond good and evil” and “sustains the just and the unjust, beautiful and the demonic, the fragmented and the harmonious, the honorific and the detestable, the living and the dead (via effects) and the realms of the possible and the actual.”
From the ecstatic naturalist standpoint, as noted, the distinction between nature naturing and nature natured colors and specifies almost all aspects of, and possibilities for, human life. It indicates, among other things, that the unconscious is far more important, both religiously and philosophically, than has usually been acknowledged. While the conscious represents only one set of aspects of our relation with nature natured, the unconscious is our direct connection both to wider aspects of nature natured, and in certain respects, to the potencies that emerge from nature naturing. The conscious life is much more precarious than traditional monotheisms would allow, but also more magical than traditional naturalisms could recognize.
A new generation of ecstatic naturalists is moving into novel and rich dimensions with their own amplification and critiques of ecstatic naturalism. This congress is an opportunity to engage in dialogue with panentheisms, pantheism (what Corrington calls his “deep pantheism”), ecotheology, theopoetics, and the religious implications of evolutionary psychology, mysticism, a semiotic cosmology, and a robust Liberal Theology that is post-tribal.
NB: ecstatic naturalism is more indebted to the school of Columbia Naturalism (Woodbridge, Dewey, Nagel, Randall, and Buchler—with Santayana being an honorary member and a profound source for the conception of nature at Columbia) than to the more self-consciously religious figures of the Chicago School.
- Robert S. Corrington
- Charles Courtney
- Sigríður Guðmarsdóttir
- Chae Young Kim
- Ed Lovely
- Wade Mitchell
- Robert C. Neville
- Nam Nguyen
- Leon Niemoczynski
- Iljoon Park
- Terra Rowe
- Asher Walden
- Abigail T. Wernicki
- Nicholas J. Wernicki
- Wesley Wildman
- Martin Yalcin
A production of Robert Corrington’s play,1, 2, 3 (published by author, 1997), will be staged during the conference. Read the script here (PDF format).
Madam Egg—Heather Murray Elkins
Unknown Stranger—Cordelza Haynes
The Congress will meet at the Madison, New Jersey (USA) campus of Drew University, April 1 & 2, 2011. A complete schedule is posted below.
Download the schedule in PDF.
Friday, April 1, 2011
1:00 PM: Registration & Lunch, Mead Hall Foyer
2:00 – 5:00 PM: First Session: An Experiencing Subject, Mead Hall, Founders Room
–Iljoon Park, “The difference of the the text (Derrida) and the self-othering nature (Corrington) through the eyes of the subject of the truth (A. Badiou)” Abstract>
–Nam Nguyen, “Nature’s Primal Self: An Ecstatic Naturalist’s Critique of Peirce’s Semiotic Construction of the Self and Jaspers’ Elucidation of Existenz” Abstract>
–Asher Walden, “Angels of the Deep: Towards an Epistemology of the Unconscious” Abstract>
–Abigail T. Wernicki, responding
6:00 PM: Dinner, Mead Hall Foyer
7:00 PM: Keynote Presentation, Mead Hall, Founders Room
Introductory Remarks: Robert C. Neville, Charles Courtney
Keynote Address: Robert S. Corrington, “The Categorial Schema 2011″ Abstract>
Saturday, April 2, 2011
7:30 AM: Breakfast, Mead Hall Foyer
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Second Session: Religious Convergences, Mead Hall, Founders Room
–Wesley Wildman, “Ecstatic Naturalism in Light of the Scientific Study of Religion” Abstract>
–Wade Mitchell, “A Naturalized Pneumatology: Theological Reflection on the Spirit of Ecstatic Naturalism” Abstract>
–Chae Young Kim, “Religious Experience as Ecstatic Naturalism: Special Reference to Granville Stanley Hall and Carl Gustav Jung” Abstract>
–Sigríður Guðmarsdóttir, “Ecstatic Nature and Earthly Abyss: An Ecofeminist Journey to the Icelandic Volcano” Abstract (coming soon)
–Terra Rowe, responding
2:30 – 5:30 PM: Third Session: Engagements and Expansions of Ecstatic Naturalism, Mead Hall, Founders Room
–Ed Lovely, “Soteriological Aspects in the Naturalism of Robert Corrington and George Santayana” Abstract>
–Martin Yalcin, “Sacred Folds and the Encompassing in Robert Corrington’s Ecstatic Naturalism” Abstract>
–Leon Niemoczynski, “Nature’s Virtuality and an Aesthetic Phenomenology of Embodied Sublime Force: On Gilles Deleuze and Robert S. Corrington” Abstract>
–Nicholas Wernicki, responding
6:00 PM: Dinner, Mead Hall, Founders Room
8:00 PM: Performance of 1,2,3, by Robert S. Corrington [download the text of the play in PDF], Directors Lab, Dorothy Young Center for the Arts
Option 1 – $40
Includes admission to all sessions and meals, exluding dinner Saturday night
Option 2 – $60
Includes admission to all sessions and meals, including dinner Saturday night
Discounted Student Rates:
Option 1: $20
Option 2: $35
To register, please send an email to Abby Turner-Lauck Wernicki at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide your name and institutional affiliation. Send payment via check, payable to Drew University, to the following
Attn: Theological School – Dean’s Office, Seminary Hall
36 Madison Avenue
Madison, NJ 07940
Robert S. Corrington, “The Categorial Schema 2011″
Using the propositional strategy of Leibniz and Wittgenstein, this paper lays out the primary categories of ecstatic naturalism. Central assertions are ramified with and by regional subalterns.
Chae Young Kim, “Religious Experience as Ecstatic Naturalism: Special Reference to Granville Stanley Hall and Carl Gustav Jung”
Contrary to ambitious secularist predictions about the imminent death of religion in modern times, religion as belief and praxis is not disappearing but is re-emerging in contemporary human life in an expanding way and at an increasing rate. Even in countries such as Russia, China, Vietnam, and North Korea (which have known communist forms of government and kindred forms of economic organization), religious interest and practice are not dead but, instead, are rapidly making their presence felt.
Whether we want to recognize it or not, we cannot deny the fact that the recent reemergence of religion as a factor in modern life is an undeniable reality in many parts of the world. This is most especially true in non-Western countries and, in the wake of this development, reverberations are being felt in the West and even in Europe (from which had come the philosophy of the Enlightenment and some aggressive forms of modern secularism). In a break from the by-now-traditional assumptions engendered by the Enlightenment, religion is ceasing to be seen as a purely private matter. Rather, it is becoming once again a source of thought and a basis for critical reflections as these apply to modern global concerns in questions that have to do with politics, social welfare, economics, culture, ecology, and so on. The list goes on.
In this contemporary diverse situation of religion today, we can at least correct two common biases. A first bias says that religion will disappear in the wake of developments in our secular, scientific world. But, as we can see, this point of view has little basis in fact. It appears, instead, to be mainly a residue or artefact of the metanarratives propagated by nineteenth century positivism. One thinks, for example, of the case of Auguste Compte, analyzed with such brilliance and precision by Henri de Lubac under the rubric of “the drama of atheist humanism.” A second bias says that religion can only properly exist as a private factor or element within the life of human beings and that it cannot have a legitimate form of public expression.
Hence, while many studies of religious experience have been based on these two assumptions (in the name of legitimate science), I think that these biases can no longer be maintained as we attend to the contemporary emergence, or re-emergence, of religion in our world today. In discussing religious experience in a pluralistic age, a new approach is needed. Indeed, a new approach is demanded if we are to overcome the pervasive influence exerted by these two biases. By way of working toward this new approach, I would therefore argue that a new approach can be pointed to which presents a new alternative (a new heuristic) for work within religious studies. Thus, this perspective is neither a parochial scientific naturalism nor crude supernaturalism. Rather it is deeply rooted into an open ecstatic naturalism. It tries to interpret religious experience as an ecstatic natural experience. For purposes of working toward this perspective, I will now try to examine critically an ecstatic naturalism to religious experience that has been given in the thought of Granville Stanley Hall and Carl Gustav Jung. [back to schedule]
Edward W. Lovely, “Soteriological Aspects in the Naturalism of Robert Corrington and George Santayana”
The naturalistic philosophical confines of Corrington’s Ecstatic Naturalism and Santayana’s Descriptive Naturalism is well characterized in Corrington’s proposal that “Transcendence is always within and against finitude and cannot cancel or annul the various traits of our own existence.” In a natural world, all but modest gains are out of human hands and the “pull” of teleological powers imbedded in nature catches us up in the stream of existence. It remains that a path of Salvation as a “goal” governed by human will over against a contingent realm of reckoning is still represented as possible by both philosophers. Corrington’s emphasis on the “Sacred” as an eject from “nature naturing” relative to Santayana’s more “matter-bound” cosmology seems to open in Corrington a broader horizon for deep spiritual growth. His concept of “selving” or a form of individuation for humans and other vital elements within the orders of the natural world are both salvational and transcendent for sentient beings but confined within the orders of nature. Santayana, in traditional Christian symbolic language, plots the path to spiritual “harmony” while Corrington, in post-Christian language eliminative of traditional religious forms and framed in psychoanalytic and semiotic reference (psychosemiotics), describes the trajectory of spirit in a process of “overcoming.” Salvation and transcendence for both naturalists is an “escape” from and transfiguration of self or “origins” that maximizes human freedom. Corrington and Santayana provide a phenomenology , non-prescriptive in nature, of processes tending toward a salvational resolution. In this paper, both the processes of transcendence and a materialistic salvation of self as represented by both naturalists is explored and compared.
Wade Mitchell, “A Naturalized Pneumatology: Theological Reflection on the Spirit of Ecstatic Naturalism”
“The spirit is not a person, not omnipotent, not omniscient, not omnipresent, not a body of signs ready to be decoded, and is not a reality that existed prior to the other orders of the world. …It is finite, plurally located, a field phenomenon that exists in the between, relevant to semiosis but not part of a sign series per se, concerned about the human process in a way that nature simply cannot be, and a necessary but not sufficient condition for healthy personal and social life.” A Semiotic Theory of Theology and Philosophy p. 212
In more traditional Christian theological renderings, the Holy Spirit is understood as God’s redemptive agent sent blowing down into the world; that lingering force which remains operative in history following Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection for the sake of reconciling all of creation back to God some day – all according to the Creator’s plan. In many recent Christian or even post-Christian theologies, the death of this transcendent God of classic theism is assumed. These theologies no longer speak of a God who created everything from less than scratch, no patriarch whitely ensconced above-it-all dedicated to the orchestration of our lives. That God is dead to many theologians. There also exists a deep suspicion by many Christians and post-Christians of a christocentrism predicated upon the affirmation of a ‘Son’s’ sacrificial, heroic death according to the will of the ‘Father’. This uniquely salvific death of Jesus as the atoning act for all creation has been rejected for its deification of brutal suffering and for its imperializing tendencies in our religiously pluralistic age.
But what of the Holy Spirit? Interestingly, pneumatology is in ascendency in contemporary theology. Major streams of contemporary theology have become increasingly concerned to engage nature. By positing nature as humanity’s common ground many theologians hope to open up healthy symbiotic relationships with other religious traditions who share similar ethical concerns for the planet. Toward this important goal, many thinkers have enacted a reinvigorated pneumatology centrally situating the holy spirit in their theological, philosophical, ethical, and aesthetic articulations of nature. These spirit-infused conceptions of nature become panentheistic proclamations of a divine life residing deeply in the world around us. The holy spirt, no longer capitalized, still blows a reconciling wind. God may not have created everything out of nothing, but the divine spirit is said to animate all that is with its life giving breath. Communities of faith may no longer gather around the name of Jesus Christ as Saviour, but the spirit of justice and hope robustly upholds their visions and binds them together to act for the common good.
The holy spirit is acting to animate the world, and it still comes from God. Not a transcendent One, but an immanent divine residing extremely close to ground. This God is with us, intimately involved within nature’s structures. But Ecstatic Naturalism, influenced by Emersonian transcendentalism and inflected with a Tillichian accent, embodies a post-Christian materialist challenge to this theology. EN fully appropriates Darwinian insights and witnesses how nature’s God succumbs to an evolutionary, entropic downgrade. The ‘God’ of EN becomes a number of ‘divine infinites’ fitfully obtaining through the happenings of ‘nature natured’ and ‘nature naturing’. These energies churn up semiotic material that amount to something more than a Freudian/Feurbachian projection, but exhibit far less continuity and none of the hopeful purpose of a Whiteheadian actual entity. Nature is all there is and is simply unconcerned with humanity’s deepest longings for fruition. Even as new Darwinian theories of evolution expand our understandings of life’s emergence, Ecstatic Naturalism is grounded against misplaced hopes in a nature that might show concern for the human in a special way. Lives are thrown together and within this struggle the spirits of Ecstatic Naturalism may lure out a courage to lean more fully into communal relationships. Without aid from above, communities become even more important and necessary for life’s flourishing. Ecstatic Naturalism asks theology: What becomes of a God drawn too close to nature? Has theology thoroughly confronted the implications of evolutionary theory on its conceptions of God? Are panentheistic desires for a God with nature also impossibly not wanting a God of nature?
Leon Niemoczynski, “Nature’s Virtuality and an Aesthetic Phenomenology of Embodied Sublime Force: On Gilles Deleuze and Robert S. Corrington”
In this paper I address Deleuze’s understanding of the virtual and the possible relative to Robert S. Corrington’s philosophy of “ecstatic naturalism,” especially as I have been amending ecstatic naturalism in the form of my own “pragmatic speculative realism.” The major point of the paper will be to present a method other than psychoanalysis that allows one to latch back to the transcendental conditions of nature naturing. This entails prehending phenomenologically the objective modal conditions that are responsible for the creation of nature’s immanent orders. These transcendental conditions, I think, may best be described through the use of what I call an “aesthetic phenomenology,” where this method remains in touch with nature’s orders cast as the sublime. To close the paper I explain why I think that this method is latent in the thought of figures such as Schelling, Schopenhauer, and Peirce, and that we may wish to look to these figures, in addition to Deleuze, in order to mine resources that may benefit the development of ecstatic naturalism broadly conceived.
Nam Nguyen, “Nature’s Primal Self: An Ecstatic Naturalist’s Critique of Peirce’s Semiotic Construction of the Self and Jaspers’ Elucidation of Existenz”
Whether nature is defined as the “availability of orders” (Buchler) or the sheer “unavailability of orders” (Corrington), or as “consciousness” or “the unconscious,” nature has become the quintessential subject matter exhaustively explored and dissected by both philosophy and theology. Philosophers like Peirce and Jaspers have entered into the unconscious territory, yet their understanding of this particular realm remains largely anthropocentric and anthropomorphic. Their understanding of nature may be described as an anthropologization of the idea of nature; that is, the role of nature as it ontologically relates to the self is deprivileged; hence human subjectivity is highly elevated above nature. Because Peirce’s semiotic pragmaticism and Jaspers’ existentialism are grounded in traditional phenomenology, their semiotic construction of the self and elucidation of Existenz have become incomplete respectively. Ecstatic naturalism’s metaphysical concept of ordinal phenomenology liberates traditional phenomenology from anthropocentricism. While both Peirce and Jaspers failed to develop an adequate concept of nature’s primal self due to their potential misreadings of the presemiotic depthdimension of nature, ecstatic naturalism recognizes the self-transcending powers of nature, especially nature naturing. And by radically and profoundly probing into the mystery of nature’s perennial self-fissuring of nature natured and nature naturing, ecstatic naturalism provides a viable alternative to Peirce’s semiotic conception of the self and to Jaspers’ existential concept of Existenz.
Park, Iljoon, “The différance of the text (Derrida) and the self-othering nature (Corrington) through the eyes of the subject of the truth (A. Badiou)”
How can we say about truth, justice, beauty and so on? Can we talk about truth again, even after Derrida? Whatever we would say in the name of Truth or Goodness or Beauty, he would say that one cannot say of it, even that one cannot arrive at that. For it is the im/possible. This im/possibility generates our desire for it. Desire arises out of the absence of the desired. This absence should be maintained for it to be the source of the desire. Thus, the desired should not be attained in order for desire to keep working. Thus, one cannot say of truth, Derrida would say.
However, the original absence is not the absence of the origin, although a sign cannot be confident in the whether and the whence it would flow from and to. Rather what we should pay attention to is the point referred to by the absence. Why does this absence keep coming back? Although one cannot clearly see reality with bare eyes, the signs signify something else that is other than them. The ‘something’ is for Corrington ‘chora’ which keeps giving birth to all signs into the world by denying that all signs are its children. It would be the self-othering process of the origin, if one can still use that name. All one sees is none other than “the hidden presence of the underconscious of nature,” which “evokes restlessness for any category that remains ‘satisfied’ with its generic scope.” Truth is out there, but it keeps self-otherizing from the origin. Thus, it cannot even be named.
Then, is it a problem of the cognizing subject? With regard to the matter, Derrida does not talk much about. For all things are the movements of the differing and deferring text. If there is something called the subject, it would be a kind of the infinitesimal that is “auto-affection.” For Corrington, the self is a sign that refers to something other than itself. There would be an interpreting subject, but he does not also talk much about it. As a matter of fact, the problem of the subject is not directly issued by both of them. However, both of them have some subjective occasion or event in that Corrington has the motivation of the subjective intrusion, which is the spirit that comes from the outside of the boundary of its ipseity, and that Derrida also signifies this subjective agency with the ‘beyond’ that is an absolutely other and that can be referred to as “messianicity without messianism.” Thus, Derrida’s subject is played by its auto-affection and that is why différance forms the very texture of our cognition. For Corrington, one can say that the subject is played by chora and the spirit of interpretation.
Badiou says that the subject is the wagerer on its decision of truth. It cannot but wager on truth because truth is always multiple and outside the situation. The subject is not a being or agency but fidelity to truth it wagers on. Then, what is truth? Truth is what makes a hole in the encyclodepiatic system of knowledge. Although there are multiple truths, the subject is loyal to the event in which it met the truth. It means that the truth it holds cannot be determinable and discernible because it cannot be compared to the other. Nonetheless the subject is confident in the event, in which the unnamable intrudes into the established boundary of its ipseity. Wittgenstein said that one should keep silent about what cannot be told of, Badiou’s subject declares the truth, for it cannot deny it. I will play a trio, which consists of the voices from Derrida, Corrington and Badiou. This trio would be difficult in that they are different. Then, how can I find a tangential point at which three voices are heard without mixing and turning into a great noise? I feel that it is the work of the subject which is within me and at the same time within each of them. Each subject would necessarily be different, but the differences will after all refer to the flow of the ‘self-so-ing’(自然, nature). It is the basic fidelity of this paper.
Asher Walden, “Angels of the Deep: Towards an Epistemology of the Unconscious”
The purpose of this paper is to explore the idea of Deep Epistemology, the philosophy of knowledge pursued from the perspective of deep pantheism. Epistemology has focused almost exclusively on the nature and validation of conscious knowledge. But just taking a second look at Hume and Kant, for example, one can see that there are inklings of the cavernous basement within the otherwise solid foundations of knowledge in the western philosophical tradition. Though in radically different ways, they both rely heavily on cognitive structures that are not themselves conscious or rational, in order to articulate the possibility of knowledge which is. Here, I intend to provide a quick scan relating some western philosophers, including Corrington, to recent work in empirical psychology providing the ‘state of the art’ conception of what the unconscious is and does, and what this might mean for epistemology. While Corrington treats epistemology in a primarily continental style, via a combination of phenomenology and Jungian depth psychology, I will be extending and adapting his perspective through dialogue with mainstream Anglo-American philosophy.
Wesley Wildman, “Ecstatic Naturalism in Light of the Scientific Study of Religion”
Despite Robert Corrington’s misgivings about the use of the word “naturalism” to describe his own ecstatic naturalist view of reality, it is an important variety of religiously and axiologically non-reductive naturalism that deserves careful analysis and evaluation. While the scientific study of religion does not have the final say on religion or psychology or metaphysics, it has proved to be a fertile conversation partner for all manner of interpretations of religiously relevant themes and it is an intriguing exercise to assess Corrington’s ecstatic naturalism through its evolutionary, bio-cultural lens. In conversation with the scientific study of religion, ecstatic naturalism looks impressively robust in many respects, particularly regarding its view of ultimacy (the evidence appears to demand nothing more than ecstatic naturalism supplies) and its insistence on the axiological relevance of the depths of nature for human experience (the evidence suggests that ecstatic naturalism correctly emphasizes this aspect of the human-world relation). In a few respects, however, ecstatic naturalism appears somewhat conceptually fragile, especially regarding its interpretation of the objective locus in nature of sacred folds and other venues of axiological intensity. Regarding such issues, an important question for those who appreciate ecstatic naturalism in Corrington’s or any other form is whether this viewpoint can be framed so as to comport better with findings from the scientific study of religion without losing the existential vibrancy and psychological potency that has made ecstatic naturalism so beloved as a way of interpreting reality.
Martin Yalcin, “Sacred Folds and the Encompassing in Robert Corrington’s Ecstatic Naturalism”
Naturalists of all stripes reject the supernatural. Though understood differently by different naturalists, the supernatural is usually equated with something or other that stands absolutely opposed to and absolutely disconnected from nature. The rejection of the supernatural usually entails for naturalists the rejection of the traditional Western monotheistic God. Nevertheless, some religious naturalists, Robert Corrington among them, have retained the category of the sacred. This essay seeks to investigate two key concepts central to Corrington’s view of the sacred, namely, the Encompassing and sacred folds to determine whether Corrington is justified in maintaining the category of the sacred within the bounds of naturalism.