This book sketches the contours of a vision that moves beyond the dominant paradigm or worldview that underlies and governs modernity (and postmodernity). It does so by drawing on the remarkable leap in human consciousness that occurred during the Axial Age and on a cross-pollination of what are arguably the three most comprehensive integrative metatheories available today: Complex thought, integral theory and critical realism – i.e. a complex integral realism. By deploying the three integrative metatheories this book recounts how the seeds of a number of biases within the Western tradition – analytical over dialectical, epistemology over ontology, presence over absence and exterior over interior – were first sown in axial Greece, later consolidated in European modernity and then challenged throughout the 20th century. It then discusses the remedies provided by the three integrative philosophies, remedies that have paved the way for a new vision.
Outlining a ‘new axial vision’ for the twenty-first century which integrates the best of premodernity, modernity and postmodernity within a complex integral realist framework, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of the Axial Age, critical realism, integral theory and complex thought. It will also appeal to those interested in a possible integration of the insights and knowledge gleaned by science, spirituality and philosophy.
Paul Marshall is one of only a handful of scholars who have mastered all three of today’s major metatheories, and he combines this rare breadth of knowledge with formidable synthesizing power to offer an intellectual integration of admirable scope and sophistication
Roger Walsh MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Philosophy and Anthropology, University of California, USA
Towards a New Axial Vision is a bold synthetic work that makes a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of the various relationships between three of the most important contemporary integrative metatheories. Paul Marshall has done a superb job of weaving the strengths and insights of Integral Theory, Complex Thought, and Critical Realism into a new vision of humanity. In the process he shows us the unique role metatheory can play in helping us to create a thriving planetary civilization. Dr. Marshall is uniquely qualified to introduce readers to these three integrative metatheories and open us up to the new meta-vistas that they enable. Scholar-practitioners with interdisciplinary and trans disciplinary orientations will find this volume especially valuable as will researchers associated with the social sciences and metathinking.
Sean Esbjörn-Hargens Ph.D, Co-editor Metatheory for the Twenty-first Century (Routledge 2015) and CEO of MetaIntegral Associates
This book takes dialogue between critical realism, integral theory and complex thought to a new level by putting a creative synthesis of these metatheories to work to further our understanding of the Axial Age and the place of Western modernity within it and to articulate a theory and practice for a New Axial Age.
Mervyn Harwig, Editor, Journal of Critical Realism
Part I: Axiality in pre-modernity
1. The Axial Age: First Flowering of a New Vision
2. Axial Greece: Sowing the Seeds of Four Biases
3. Interregnum: Axiality between the Axial Age and Modernity
Part II: Modernity and the Four Biases
4. Modernity: New Shift in Consciousness and Consolidation of the Biases
5. Challenging the Biases: Undermining the Old Vision
6. Remedying the Biases: Paving the Way for a New VisionPart III: Contours of a New Axial Vision
7. Contours I: A New Axial Cosmovision (or ‘Creation Story’)
8. Contours II: A New Axial Cognition and Ethics
9. Contours III: A New Axial Spirituality and Praxis