Middle Way Philosophy books

 

This page links to further pages about individual books on Middle Way Philosophy specifically, including both introductions and more detailed books. All these books so far are by Robert M Ellis, the founder of the society, but the category is in principle open to others if they produce work about the universal Middle Way (rather than the Middle Way subservient to a particular religious or other tradition).

Introductory books about Middle Way Philosophy:

Migglism: A Beginner’s Guide to Middle Way Philosophy by Robert M Ellis* (2014)

A short and accessible guide intended for those new to Middle Way Philosophy, with summaries and illustrations. Approved by the Middle Way Society publications committee.

Truth on the Edge by Robert M Ellis** (2011)

A slightly more philosophical but still introductory book. It explains the overall approach to philosophical issues, and various areas of practical application, including ethics, religion, science and politics.

Parables of the Middle Way * by Robert M Ellis (2016)

This book offers a more imaginative way into some key themes of Middle Way Philosophy, using a series of stories and commentaries. Approved by the Middle Way Society publications committee.

More detailed books on Middle Way Philosophy:

The four-volume Middle Way Philosophy series is intended to give a comprehensive introduction to the theory and its general application to practice. It is intended to be of an academic standard with referencing and bibliography, but moderately readable.*** An omnibus edition, binding all four volumes together, is also now available in print and as an e-book.

Middle Way Philosophy 1: The Path of Objectivity by Robert M Ellis(2012)

This gives an overall orientation in the philosophical approach, and providing a detailed exploration of concepts such as the Middle Way, objectivity, justification, integration and Middle Way ethics.

Middle Way Philosophy 2: The Integration of Desire by Robert M Ellis (2013)

This focuses on the resolution of conflict through integration, both within and between individuals

Middle Way Philosophy 3: The Integration of Meaning by Robert M Ellis (2013)

This explores the radical implications of embodied meaning and the links between integration and the arts

Middle Way Philosophy 4: The Integration of Belief by Robert M Ellis (2015)

This final volume tackles the psychological issues around our beliefs, including how we can be provisional, and how we can understand cognitive biases in relation to metaphysics.

 

A Theory of Moral Objectivity ****by Robert M Ellis

The original Ph.D. thesis in which the ideas of Middle Way Philosophy were first developed as a basis for objectivity in ethics. This book includes a detailed evaluative survey of past Western thinkers in relation to the Middle Way.

 

5 thoughts on “Middle Way Philosophy books

  1. The Middle Way philosophy is similar to the Wasatia/Middle way in Islam. Aristotle also wrote about the Golden Mean. We need to share human knowledge about moderation/Middle Path/Middle Way to empower it globally in theory and in practice.
    I am Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi, Founder of the Wasatia Movement in Palestine hoping that we can exchange knowledge on this important value.

  2. Dear Professor Daoudi, Many thanks for your message. The Middle Way Society seeks to be in dialogue with , and to support, other organisations around the world that are questioning dogma and seeking resolution of conflict. I have just been looking at your website http://www.wasatia.info/articles/about-wasatia/16-wasatia-the-middle-road.html and finding it interesting and encouraging. I applaud your initiative in bringing moderation to Islam.

    Where we may differ is on our interpretation of what the Middle Path means. For me it is a principle of judgement, not a metaphysical claim about ultimately right values as it is in Aristotle. I think the Middle Way can be practised in the context of any tradition, including Islam, but that one of the starting points for the Middle Way in relation to any tradition has to be the avoidance of absolute claims. The use of the Qur’an in relation to the Middle Way as I see it, then, would need to be as a source of inspiration subject to critical appraisal from a practical and experiential standpoint, not as a source of revelation whereby beliefs are claimed to be true solely because they are in the Qur’an. It also seems to me that the implication of the doctrine of idolatry in Islam (shirk) must be that any claim to know the absolute will of God, through the Qur’an or otherwise, is idolatrous. Surely, being human, we must recognise that we are not in a position to know any such thing, and we need to take responsibility for the fact that our uses of texts involve our own interpretation?

    However, I can see how difficult it might be to adopt such a position in any traditional Muslim society, particularly one that has been through as much trauma as Palestinian society. I’d be interested to hear more about your strategies for finding a middle path in that context.

    I’m pleased to make contact with you, and would be interested to continue the discussion if you have any thoughts on this point.

  3. I can not believe I only discovered you and your effort now. For the past 15 years I have been developing a notion that is both parallel and complementary to yours. I short, I am convinced that humanities most fundamental problem is the process by which simple black&white dichotomous thinking replaces problem-based goal-oriented thinking. I believe that dichotomous thinking is the single greatest barrier to the goals you are trying to achieve and the world that you and I and most of us want to see. Would love to hear any thoughts or ideas you might have regarding my site. DichotomousThinking.org

  4. Hi Jim, Thanks for your message, and I’ve just had a look at your website. I think there are some important overlaps with the Middle Way there, and your thinking is heading in a promising direction. As I see it, dichotomy or dualism is one of the features of absolutisation, because a positive absolute claim will always oppose itself to a negative version.

    There are also some differences in the way we approach things. These may or may not be very significant. There’s lots I could say, but I’ll just focus on two key points for now. You can look at my books (or at the videos on this site) if you want more info.

    One is that you contrast dichotomous thinking with goal-oriented or cortical thinking. I’d agree that it seems to be various parts of the cortex that give us a bigger perspective beyond dichotomy, but also suggest that one of the problems with dichotomous thinking is that it’s narrowly goal-oriented. The avoidance of dichotomous thinking involves both being prepared to re-examine our goals and also being able to think in process terms. This relates to the role of the over-dominant left hemisphere in maintaining dichotomous thinking, rather than just the reptilian brain. If you haven’t come across it, I’d highly recommend Iain McGilchrist’s ‘The Master and his Emissary’ (reviewed on this site) on brain lateralisation. I’ve tried to sketch the relationship between the front-back and left-right brain issues, as well as various kinds of psychology, as far as I can in this blog: http://www.middlewaysociety.org/combining-psychological-models-in-the-middle-way/. But much work remains to be done in this area by those more scientifically competent than I.

    Another key element of my thinking that I don’t detect on your website is the role of integration. To try to put the nub of this briefly, I think that one doesn’t overcome absolutisation by contradicting it, and there’s a grave danger that one will just slip into the opposite absolute (the other side of the dichotomy) by mere opposition that does not attempt to reframe the terms of belief. Instead of beating one another, then, opposites need to integrate: which involves a dialectical sorting and reframing process and a resolution of conflicts in the process. I’d suggest the left pre-frontal cortex (the language and tool centres) only have a preliminary role in this, creating rational coherence. But rationally coherent beliefs can be deeply in conflict with each other, and it’s the wider perspective offered by the right frontal cortex that can enable integration between different sets of coherent beliefs. It’s not enough just to be consistent – we also need to recognise that our consistent models are not the whole story (which is why scepticism is important).

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