Robert McDermott, Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness online MA and PhD at CIIS Robert McDermott

President Emeritus, Professor Emeritus
Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness
Philosophy and Religion Department
School of Consciousness and Transformation

PhD, Boston University

MA, Emory University

Robert McDermott, PhD, Boston University (Philosophy, 1969), program chair, is CIIS president emeritus and professor of philosophy and religion. He taught at Manhattanville College (1964-71) and is professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Philosophy at Baruch College, CUNY (1971-90).

His publications include Radhakrishnan (1970), The Essential Aurobindo (1974), The Essential Steiner (1984), and the "Introduction" to William James, Essays in Psychical Research (Harvard University Press, 1986). Robert recently edited The New Essential Steiner: An Introduction to Rudolf Steiner for the 21st Century (Lindisfarne Books, 2009) and edited The Bhagavad Gita and the West: The Esoteric Significance of the Bhagavad Gita and Its Relation to the Epistles of Paul (SteinerBooks, 2009). Both of these volumes include the editor's 80-page introductions.

Robert's essays have appeared in International Philosophical Quarterly, Cross Currents, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Philosophy East and West.

He was secretary of the American Academy of Religion (1968-71) and secretary-treasurer of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (1972-76). In 1975-76, he was a Senior Fulbright Lecturer at the Open University, where he coproduced an OU-BBC film, Avatar: Concept and Example on the Bhagavad Gita and Sri Aurobindo.

From 1978 to 1980, he was director of a National Endowment for the Humanities project for the review of audiovisual materials for the study of Hinduism and Buddhism. He is the founding chair of the board of Sophia Project (two homes in Oakland, CA, for mothers and children at risk of homelessness), and has been chair of the board and president of many other institutions.

Read more on Robert McDermott's website.

Robert McDermott's selected essays (by category):


Autobiographical Reflections as a Schooling in Karma (1990)

Money, Sex, and Power: Spirituality, Shadow, and Wonder (1997)

Enneads Meet at Esalen (2007)

Invocation to Sophia (2009, revised 2013)

Lineage and Legacy: My Intellectual Journey (2011)

A Karmic Autobiography (2013)


Inaugural Address: Hope for a Renewing Community (1991)

Integralism Today (1993)

India: In Debt to Great Souls (1996)

Emersonian Higher Education and CIIS (2007)

CIIS Commencement Benediction (2009)

American Thought:

Emerson, An Artist in the Medium of Theory (1961)

Emerson in Contemporary Thought (1961)

The Spiritual Mission of America (1993)

National Identity, from  The Encyclopedia of American Philosophy (2006)

Philosophy, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion:

In Search of a Creative Christianity (1961)

Religion as an Academic Discipline (1968)

The Religion Game: Some Family Resemblances (1970)

Encyclopedia of Religion: Monism (1986)

Philosophy as Spiritual Discipline (1989)

From Mysticism to Modern Spiritual Cognition (1989)

Philosophy and the Evolution of Consciousness (1992)

Curing Philosophy, Philosophy as Cure (1993)

Esoteric Philosophy (1993)

What Ever Happened to Esoteric? A Challenge to Swedenborgians and Others from the Esoteric Tradition (1994)

The Need for Philosophical and Spiritual Dialogue: Reflections on Ken Wilber's "Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality" (1996)

Forward to  The Living Classroom by Christopher Bache (2007)

Participation Comes of Age from The Participatory Turn(2008)

Wisdom in Western Philosophy (2011)

India, Hinduism, and Sri Aurobindo:

Radhakrishnan, an introduction (1970)

The Legacy of Sri Aurobindo (1972)

Sri Aurobindo: An Integrated Theory of Individual and Historical Transformation

Indian Spirituality in the West: a Biographical Mapping (1975)

Imagining the Spiritual Mission of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (1988)

Introduction to  Sri Aurobindo: The Mind of Light (2003)


The Absolute as a Heuristic Device: Josiah Royce and Sri Aurobindo (1978)

Introduction to Rudolf Steiner and American Thought (1991)

William James and Rudolf Steiner (1991)

From Transpersonalism to Transcendentalism (1992)

Anthroposophical and Transpersonal Worldviews (2000)

Karma, Biography, and Rebirth Bibliography (2013)


Encyclopedia of Religion: Anthroposophy (1986)

Cultural Diversity and Waldorf Education (1991)

Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy (1992)

The Bell Ringing Verse (1997)

According to Luke (2001)

Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion:

Gaia Speaks (1995)

Laurance S. Rockefeller: Catalyst for Conservation (1998)

Ecology, Spirituality, and Ethics, Part 1 (2012)

Ecology, Spirituality, and Ethics, Part 2 (2012)

Josiah Royce's Philosophy of Evil, Loyalty, Sorrow, and Atonement in Response to Probable Ecological Devastation (2013)

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