Robert S. Corrington
|Born||May 30, 1950|
|Notable ideas||Ecstatic naturalism|
Robert S. Corrington (born May 30, 1950) is an American philosopher and author of several books exploring human interpretation of the universe as well as biographies on C.S. Peirce and Wilhelm Reich. He is currently employed as professor of philosophical theology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Before that he was a professor at Pennsylvania State University.
Corrington is member of Unitarian Universalist Association and The Theosophical Society of America and a lecturer for both organizations, and he is also an affiliate of The Parapsychological Association. Corrington has had bouts with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive), and he gives a personal account of this in his 2003 book Riding the Windhorse: Manic Depressive Disorder and the Quest for Wholeness, which contains case studies of Sri Ramakrishna and Sir Isaac Newton as well as his intellectual biography "My Passage from Panentheism to Pantheism."
Robert S. Corrington’s work contributes to philosophical and theological inquiry through the development of a perspective called 'ecstatic naturalism’. Ecstatic naturalism, also referred to as ‘deep pantheism’ or ‘religious naturalism,’ has emerged through Corrington’s five books and over fifty articles on the subject. His influences are many and range across the disciplines of philosophy, theology, science, and psychology. Deep appreciation of the American philosophers Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, George Santayana, Justus Buchler and John Dewey ground Corrington’s insights in a pragmatic mode even as his work creatively extends this tradition philosophically through a psychologically sophisticated semiotics with the aid of C.G. Jung and Julia Kristeva and theologically through liberal Protestant thinkers Friedrich Schleiermacher and Paul Tillich toward a Hindu-inspired Emersonian post-Christian nature spirituality.
As an alternative to contemporary metaphysical perspectives that are either too dependent upon a brute descriptive materialism on the one hand or to an honorific process cosmology on the other, ecstatic naturalism, like all versions of naturalism, assumes that nature is all there is; there is no recourse made to supernaturalistic forces or entities. For Corrington, however, ‘nature’ does not refer to anything, but is the dynamic entirety, an extremely wide and deeply vast reality that creates itself out of itself alone. In order to effectively speak or theorize about nature, then, Corrington has picked up on “a distinction dear to Averroes, Thomas of Aquinas, Baruch Spinoza, and Ralph Waldo Emerson (among others)” between natura naturans [nature naturing] and natura naturata [nature natured]. (A Semiotic Theory p. 40) The perspective of ecstatic naturalism attempts to remain accountable to the insights of evolutionary sciences even as it probes ever deeper into those aspects of nature that elude strictly scientific inquiries. As a naturalist, Corrington is deeply suspicious of teleological descriptions of nature and finds in Schopenhauer’s ‘will to life’ a foundational ‘intention’ in organisms which anticipates Darwinian explanations of life’s perpetuation.
Robert S. Corrington is the author of 10 books and 70 articles in the fields of philosophy, theosophy, theology, psychoanalysis, and semiotics as well as editor of several books on metaphysics and semiotics. He has also authored two plays.
- Editor (with Hausman, Carl and Seebohm, Thomas M.): Pragmatism Considers Phenomenology (1987)
- The Community of Interpreters: On the Hermeneutics of Nature and the Bible in the American Philosophical Tradition (1987, 2nd ed. 1995)
- Editor (with Marsoobian, Armen and Wallace, Kathleen): Buchler, Justus Metaphysics of Natural Complexes (1990)
- Editor (with Marsoobian, Armen and Wallace, Kathleen): Nature's Perspective: Prospects of Ordinal Metaphysics (1991)
- Nature and Spirit: An Essay in Ecstatic Naturalism (1992)
- An Introduction to C.S. Peirce: Philosopher, Semiotician, and Ecstatic Naturalist (1993)
- Ecstatic Naturalism: Signs of the World (1994)
- Nature's Self: Our Journey from Origin to Spirit (1996)
- Nature's Religion (1997)
- A Semiotic Theory of Theology and Philosophy (2000)
- Wilhelm Reich: Psychoanalyst and Radical Naturalist (2003)
- Riding the Windhorse: Manic Depressive Disorder and the Quest for Wholeness (2003)
- "'Nature's Sublime: An Essay In Aesthetic Naturalism (2013)
- Black Hole Sonata (or Waiting for Steven Hawking)
- One, Two, Three
Robert S. Corrington has also contributed to numerous academic journals, e.g. Chrysalis, International Philosophical Quarterly, and the American Journal of Semiotics.
- International Association of Semiotic Studies
- Highlands Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought (executive board, 1992–95)
- American Academy of Religion
- American Philosophical Association
- C.S. Peirce Society
- North American Paul Tillich Society
- Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy
- Karl Jaspers Society of North America
- Semiotic Society of America (executive board, 1992–94)
- C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology
- Unitarian Universalist Association
- Theosophical Society of America
- Robert S. Corrington's home page at Drew University (see below)
- "CORRINGTON, Robert S 1950–". Contemporary Authors 227. Gale Research Company. 2005. pp. 66–67. ISBN 0-7876-6707-2.
- U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
- Corrington's Amazon Profile
- Home page at Drew University
- Biography at The Parapsychological Association