The Oneness Hypothesis

Beyond the Boundary of Self

Edited by Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen J. Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian, and Eric Schwitzgebel

Columbia University Press

The Oneness Hypothesis

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Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9780231182980

464 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $40.00£32.95

Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9780231544634

464 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $39.99£32.95

The Oneness Hypothesis

Beyond the Boundary of Self

Edited by Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen J. Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian, and Eric Schwitzgebel

Columbia University Press

The idea that the self is inextricably intertwined with the rest of the world—the “oneness hypothesis”—can be found in many of the world’s philosophical and religious traditions. Oneness provides ways to imagine and achieve a more expansive conception of the self as fundamentally connected with other people, creatures, and things. Such views present profound challenges to Western hyperindividualism and its excessive concern with self-interest and tendency toward self-centered behavior.

This anthology presents a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary exploration of the nature and implications of the oneness hypothesis. While fundamentally inspired by East and South Asian traditions, in which such a view often is critical to philosophical approach, this collection draws upon religion, psychology, and Western philosophy, as well as sociology, evolutionary theory, and cognitive neuroscience. Contributors trace the oneness hypothesis through the works of East Asian and Western thinkers and traditions, including Confucianism. Mohism, Daoism, Buddhism, Platonism, Zhuangzi, Kant, James, and Dewey. They intervene in debates over ethics, cultural difference, identity, group solidarity, and the positive and negative implications of metaphors of organic unity. Challenging dominant traditional views that presume the proper scope of the mind stops at the boundaries of the skin and skull, The Oneness Hypothesis shows that a more relational conception of the self is not only consistent with contemporary science but has the potential to lead to greater happiness and well-being for both individuals and the larger wholes of which they are parts.
The Oneness Hypothesis proposes a fascinating and timely exploration of the idea of oneness from different disciplinary angles, while synthesizing current knowledge and outlining a path forward. The editors of the volume are leading scholars who will have a substantial impact on future conversations and scholarship about this topic. Ara Norenzayan, The University of British Columbia

About the Author

Philip J. Ivanhoe is Chair Professor of East Asian and Comparative Philosophy and Religion and director of the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy at City University of Hong Kong.

Owen J. Flanagan is James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and codirector of the Center for Comparative Philosophy at Duke University, where he also holds appointments in psychology and neuroscience.

Victoria S. Harrison is professor of philosophy at the University of Macau.

Hagop Sarkissian is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at the City University of New York, Baruch College, and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Eric Schwitzgebel is professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside.