About the Program
The PhD and MA Programs in Philosophy and Religion, Concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at CIIS focus on knowledge that is transformative—of people and civilization.
Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (PCC) is a graduate program dedicated to reimagining the human species as a mutually enhancing member of the Earth community. The heart of the PCC program is its focus on knowledge that is transformative--of ourselves and of our civilization. It attracts intellectually engaged individuals who are to varying degrees dismayed by what they see happening in industrial societies and who are striving to find meaningful ways to develop their gifts to serve the future of the world.
Inspired by Alfred North Whitehead's view that the function of the university is to enable the future to appear, first in conceptual thought, the PCC faculty and graduate students hold in mind three fundamental goals:
1. To open our consciousness, through learning and imagination, to those creative and evolutionary energies suffusing the Earth, the Universe, and the deep psyche that will enable us to participate fully in the regeneration of human communities and their enveloping life systems;
2. To analyze the current devastation of planetary life and to strive to liberate ourselves and our communities from the underlying causes of alienation, consumerism, militarism, androcentrism, and unsustainable modes of life;
3. To draw from the deep wells of philosophical and religious wisdom together with other scholarly and scientific insights in order to bring forth a profound vision of a vibrant planetary era.
Scientists, scholars, and visionaries recognize that the Earth community is facing an unprecedented evolutionary challenge, the most severe degradation of life in the last 65 million years. This multifaceted crisis requires a fundamental reorientation of our civilization, one in which a compassionate humanity becomes a mutually enhancing presence within Earth's complex systems of life. Cultural historian Thomas Berry has called this task "the Great Work."
The PCC program is committed to shaping the leadership necessary for profound, progressive transformation of social institutions and individual consciousness. Drawing upon some of the most powerful ideas of Western intellectual and spiritual traditions, together with insights from Asian spiritual philosophies and indigenous worldviews, the faculty has constructed a multidisciplinary course of study to help accelerate each student's journey into his or her particular leadership role within this work:
Philosophy: To free philosophy from its contemporary limitations-narrowly analytic, reductionist, and cosmologically alienated-and revive the original essence of Western philosophy as the love of wisdom. Philosophy in PCC explores new ways of thinking and being that are both visionary and pragmatic, and resist the paradigm of fragmentation that continues to dominate Western thought and culture.
Cosmology: To pursue a multidisciplinary study of cosmology with a focus on the evolutionary unfolding of the Universe and the Earth community. Cosmology in PCC includes reflection on the discoveries of the natural sciences, as well as cosmological and ecological perspectives emerging in contemporary culture, including especially the arts and religion.
Consciousness: To explore the worlds of consciousness and the deep psyche, particularly by research concerning archetypal structures and their formative expression in individual lives and culture. Consciousness studies in PCC focus on transpersonal and Jungian psychology, the evolution of consciousness, Western esotericism, and new paradigm studies.
Integral Ecology: In the last several years, the PCC faculty and students have collaborated in creating a strong emphasis on integral ecology. The new Integral Ecology track focuses on ecology in the context of a multi- and transdisciplinary vision of philosophy, cosmology, and consciousness that characterizes the PCC program as a whole. The word integral implies that ecology is relevant to the full range of human knowledge and action. Integral Ecology includes the study of the natural and human sciences as well as the world's spiritual traditions.
In the end, the perspectives studied and developed within the PCC community are tested in the fire of each student's experience. PCC offers students a challenging and supportive learning community in which to find their voice and vision as leaders.