1st Edition

Space, Time and the Ethical Foundations

By Robert Elliott Allinson Copyright 2002

    This title was first published in 2002: In Space, Time and the Ethical Foundations ideas about space and time are developed, unique to the history of philosophy, that match the new physics. A well grounded metaphysics is presented which offers a safe haven between stifling scepticism and wild imagination, and an original philosophical method is demonstrated which sharply demarcates philosophy from the empirical sciences. A new foundation is laid for ethics by grounding ethics on the author's psycho-biological deduction of the emotions that offers a progressive model to replace the Freudian paradigm. An originally designed trans-cultural ethics, doubly grounded on both Eastern and Western thought, presents an antidote to the contemporary retreat into relativism. Insights from biology, psychology, evolutionary theory and ethics are brought together in a unique and fruitful synthesis. At the same time, human barbarisms such as the Holocaust are pointed to as reminders that there are just limits to compassion. This book presents a sophisticated text for metaphysics, epistemology and systematic ethics.

    Contents: Part I: In between metaphysics and epistemology: On certifying what is true in philosophical discourse; On the synthetic a priori: everything about the synthetic a priori has not been said; Kant’s four missing arguments: a phenomenological treatment of the Kantian idea of space; Space, time and metaphysics; The Thalian fallacy: the problem of physics and philosophy; The complementary principle, the sixth; The analogies of experience; A metaphysics of virtual reality; On fact and essence, the philosopher and the world; The intuition taboo; Part II: The nature of ethics and the bio-psychological deduction of the emotions: Toward a new ethical foundation: bio-evolutionary social theory; The moral realm of truth and Mencius’ phenomenology of compassion; The metaphysical foundation of the phenomenological structure of ethics: ethics as regional metaphysics; Bibliography; Index.


    Professor Robert E. Allinson is the author or editor of many books including, A Metaphysics for the Future, 2001 and Understanding the Chinese Mind: The Philosophical Roots, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000 (Tenth Impression). He serves on eight editorial boards including The Journal of Chinese Philosophy and Asian Philosophy. His work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Italian. Professor Allinson has been a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony's College, Oxford University, an Associate Member of Balliol College of Oxford University and Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School of the Department of Philosophy at Yale University. He is a Fellow of Shaw College and a professor in the Department of Philosophy at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    'Robert Allinson's book represents tremendous thoughtfulness, originality, and erudition. Its wide-ranging and lucid discussions cover a huge terrain, from ancient metaphysics to quantum mechanics. The enlistment of certain classical Confucian concepts and themes at critical junctures to advance the book's argument also provides luminous comparison. His interpretation of the Confucian emphasis on life as social and self-preservation is both humane and interesting, much as his analysis of the Mencian notion of compassion deserves our attention.' Anthony C. Yu, Carl Buck Distinguished Professor in Humanities, Chairman, Division of East Asian Languages, University of Chicago, Divinity School.