Is Ken Wilber a philosopher or a psychologist? By Psychology Posted on 2022-05-21 Category : Other What is his relationship with" academic " science?
Ken Wilber is a modern thinker who is often called a philosopher-psychologist due to the fact that many of his works are devoted to psychological problems (psychology of development and evolution, psychology of altered states of consciousness and meditation, psychology of spirituality).
At the same time, he does not have a formal academic education as a psychologist, nor does he have the education of a “philosopher” (like many prominent auto-didactic thinkers). Before leaving academia for the “autonomous navigation” of a thinker and professional research writer, he received a master's degree in biochemistry and biophysics, defending a master's thesis on the topic of biophysical processes in the retina of the eye (“Content and movement of cations in the retina and retinal subcellular components of cattle”). Next, he planned to defend his doctoral dissertation on the topic “Photoisomerization of rhodopsin isolated from the external segments of the retinal rods of ruminants”.
However, after passing all the qualification exams, Wilbur decided not to wait for the defense of his dissertation, realizing the lack of interest and limitations (for him personally) of a possible career as an academic scientist and radically changed his occupation, becoming an independent researcher, writer and theorist of first transpersonal studies, and then integral studies.
He wrote his first well-known book in the early 1970s at the age of 23 (Spectrum of Consciousness), and it was devoted to the subject of transpersonal psychology. The basic idea of the book was the multi-layered nature of consciousness and the fact that different approaches of psychology and spirituality are aimed at different levels of consciousness (some methods of psychological counseling, for example, promote the integration of the “mask”/”shadow” level, psychoanalysis-the integration of ego/physicality, gestalt therapy-the integration of consciousness and body, and Zen and other psychospiritual traditions work with the level of non-dual Unity consciousness).
These ideas of his very first, “retro-romantic” period are also described in the short book “No Borders “(or” Limitless”), translated into Russian.
Since Wilbur has written numerous articles (over a period edited the journal of transpersonal “ReVision”, where he published numerous articles) and more than 30 books, including the 900-page book, “Sex, ecology, spirituality” (Sex, Ecology, Spirituality), became his most famous and important work (in this work, he formulated his famous integral AQAL approach). A summary of this book is “A Brief History of Everything, Wilbur's major bestseller.
Wilber presents his views on psychology in many books, the most famous of which is “Integral Psychology”.
Wilber is one of the most widely translated American authors on academic and scientific topics (while remaining an independent researcher) — and his works have been translated into 30 languages around the world. Wilber's articles were also published in peer-reviewed academic journals, but he never focused on such publications, apparently considering full-fledged books to be a more effective platform for communicating the nuances of integral thought.
Researchers-practitioners of the integral approach exist in many countries of the world. The world's leading integral event — “Integrated European Conference “( taking place in Hungary with additional information). Every two years, it gathers participants from about 40 countries around the world, including not only the USA, Canada and Western Europe, but also Eastern Europe, Japan, South Africa, etc.Among the participants of integral conferences are not only scientists (both independent and academic), but also researchers — practitioners, practical psychologists, psychotherapists, philosophers, entrepreneurs. There is a bibliography of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, which contains scientific articles devoted to the integral understanding of dozens of different disciplines (psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry, medicine, sociology, economics, anthropology, business, etc.).
In general, Wilber traces four or five stages in the evolution of his views, where often some early ideas were discarded, and others were “surpassed and included.” These steps are described in the article “Introduction to the Study of Integral Philosophy by Ken Wilber.” The most recent views of Wilber are presented in Russian in the books “Integral Spirituality“, “Integral meditation ” and “Trump and the post-truth era.”
This year, Ubiquity University, an innovative distance education university, awarded Wilber an Honorary PhD.
As an independent thinker and founder of integral philosophy, Wilber seeks to take a metaposition in relation to academic science, understanding the very meaning of the term “science” (some of his works, including significant sections of some books, are devoted to the philosophy of science and cognition). He, as well as a number of other theorists, point to the fact that there is no single field of science, that this field is multi-layered and reflects the activity of various structures of consciousness.
Understanding the problems that interest Wilber himself requires the development of integral science (as well as integral art and integral culture), which includes understanding the inseparable unity and mutual influence of epistemology, methodology and ontology. In order to work with phenomena that fall within the scope of integral research, it is necessary that researchers-practitioners themselves are psychologically developed to high postconventional stages of self-consciousness (otherwise they simply “won't see” what they are talking about at all). Wilber calls this the concept of “structure-specific sciences“, adding this term to the concept of” state-specific sciences“, introduced by Charles Tart.
A brief biography of Wilbur can be found in the encyclopedia article I wrote, as well as in the encyclopedia article By Michael Zimmerman.
Ken Wilber is a scientist, a researcher who has knowledge in many areas and is already implementing a scientific approach to the knowledge of the future.
It is clear to the scientific community that without the development of interdisciplinarity, the sciences have no future. But now interdisciplinarity is ensured by the cooperation of several specialists from narrow areas.
At best, an interdisciplinary education can be obtained in neuropsychology, biophysics, etc.
And Ken Wilber demonstrates that one person can have knowledge in several scientific fields, consider from a scientific point of view areas of life that are not related to academic science, combine and systematize this knowledge and create new models of interdisciplinary knowledge.
In the time of Aristotle, such people were called thinkers, since they, like Aristotle himself, cannot be attributed to one scientific discipline.
Wilbur is a genius in both philosophy and psychology. When he writes about science or religion, he is a philosopher of science or mysticism. When he classifies psychology, he is a psychologist.