As Wide as the World Is Wise

Reinventing Philosophical Anthropology

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Michael Jackson
  • New York, NY: 
    Columbia University Press
    , September
     272 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Yusuf Lenfest forthcoming.


Philosophy and anthropology have long debated questions of difference: rationality versus irrationality, abstraction versus concreteness, modern versus premodern. What if these disciplines instead focused on the commonalities of human experience? Would this effort bring philosophers and anthropologists closer together? Would it lead to greater insights across historical and cultural divides?

In As Wide as the World Is Wise, Michael Jackson encourages philosophers and anthropologists to mine the space between localized and globalized perspectives, to resolve empirically the distinctions between the one and the many and between life and specific forms of life. His project balances abstract epistemological practice with immanent reflection, promoting a more situated, embodied, and sensuous approach to the world and its in-between spaces. Drawing on a lifetime of ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa and Aboriginal Australia, Jackson resets the language and logic of academic thought from the standpoint of other lifeworlds. He extends Kant's cosmopolitan ideal to include all human societies, achieving a radical break with elite ideas of the subjective and a more expansive conception of truth.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 


Michael Jackson is Distinguished Professor of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of the prize-winning Paths Toward a Clearing (1989) and At Home in the World (2000). His most recent Columbia University Press books include As Wide as the World Is Wise: Reinventing Philosophical Anthropology (2016) and Harmattan: A Philosophical Fiction (2015). He is also the author of The Wherewithal of Life: Ethics, Migration, and the Question of Well-being (2013); Between One and One Another (2012); and Lifeworlds: Essays in Existential Anthropology (2012).

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