Discourse and Practice

Edited by Frank E. Reynolds & David Tracy

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series, Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religions
Paperback : 9780791410240, 316 pages, May 1992
Hardcover : 9780791410233, 316 pages, May 1992

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Table of contents

Frank Reynolds

SECTION I: Philosophy in Narrative and Practice

1. Wisdom and Practice: The Mythic Making of Sacred History among the Bimin-Kuskusmin of Papua New Guinea
Fitz John Porter Poole

2. Samantabhadra and Rudra: Innate Enlightenment and Radical Evil in Tibetan Rnying-ma-pa Buddhism
Matthew Kapstein

3. Buddhist Philosophy in the Art of Fiction
Francisca Cho Bantly

SECTION II: Myth and Practice in Philosophy

4. On Demythologizing Evil
Philip L. Quinn

5. The Myth of Original Equality
Robin W. Lovin

SECTION III: Metapractical Discourse: Comparative Studies

6. Philosophy as Metapraxis
Thomas P. Kasulis

7. Xuni and Durkheim as Theorists of Ritual Practice
Robert F. Campany

8. Embodying Philosophy: Some Preliminary Reflection from a Chinese Perspective
Judith Berling

SECTION IV: Concluding Comparative Reflections

9. The Drama of Interpretation and the Philosophy of Religions: An Essay on Understanding in Comparative Religious Ethics
William Schweiker

10. Reconciliation and Rupture: The Challenge and Threat of Otherness
Richard J. Berstein



Discourse and Practice strives to stretch the boundaries of commonly accepted notions of philosophical discourse in order to introduce comparative considerations. It is united by a concern to tease out the philosophical discourse and practices which inhere in seemingly unphilosophical "texts. " These texts range from ethnographical materials to mythical and fictive narratives, and finally, to explicitly theoretical traditions. Each author, in attending to the details of his or her area study, strives to demonstrate the implicit and explicit philosophical agendas at play. The comparative examples offer valuable insights for how discourse can be redefined. One consistent assumption presented here is that the element of practice, which has long been posed in opposition to theory, must be treated as an integral aspect of the philosophical import of any tradition.

Historical traditions covered include East Asia, Papua New Guinea, and Tibet as well as the more familiar territory of Western disciplinary fields.

Frank Reynolds is Professor of History of Religions and Buddhist Studies and David Tracy is Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Distinguished Service Professor of Catholic Studies and Theology at The Divinity School at The University of Chicago. They are the editors of Myth and Philosophy also published by SUNY Press.


"I believe that Discourse and Practice is a work of considerable significance which opens the way to a vital and progressive view of philosophy of religion reconsidered. It provides a much needed antidote to traditional (and sometimes sterile) treatments of philosophy of religion from purely Western approaches. It shows how 'others' may be seen to have theoretical awareness and interpretive structures of their own, rather than just being the 'objects' of investigation from Western perspectives. Each essay combines theoretical interest with specific details from the writers' specialty. " — Frank J. Hoffman, West Chester University

"Every scholar concerned with the methodological and analytical issues of doing comparative studies in religion and philosophy will have to take into account this and other volumes in the series. " —Richard J. Parmentier, Brandeis University