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The Five Principles of Middle Way Philosophy

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This second book in the ‘Middle Way Philosophy’ series develops five general principles that are distinctive to the universal Middle Way as a practical response to absolutization. These begin with the consistent acknowledgement of human uncertainty (scepticism), and follow through with openness to alternative possibilities (provisionality), the importance of judging things as a matter of degree (incrementality), the clear rejection of polarised absolute claims (agnosticism) and the cultivation of cognitive and emotional states that will help us resolve conflict (integration). These are discussed not only in theory, but with links to the wide range of established human practices that can help us to follow them. Like all of Robert M. Ellis’s work, this book is highly inter-disciplinary, drawing on philosophical argument, psychological models and values that prioritize practical application.

Published: Jan 16, 2023


Section Chapter Authors
List of Figures and Tables Robert Ellis
Foreword to the Middle Way Philosophy Series Iain McGilchrist
Acknowledgements Robert Ellis
Introduction Robert Ellis
1. Scepticism
a. Uncertainty, 'Knowledge', and Sceptical Argument Robert Ellis
b. Scepticism is not Negative Robert Ellis
c. Scepticism is not Impractical Robert Ellis
d. Scepticism, Embodiment, and Meaningfulness Robert Ellis
e. Scepticism is not Selective Robert Ellis
f. Scepticism does not Threaten Meaning Robert Ellis
g. Scepticism Applies to Values and Facts Robert Ellis
2. Provisionality
a. Optionality and Adaptiveness Robert Ellis
b. Complexity and Antifragility Robert Ellis
c. Slowness Robert Ellis
d. Synthesis Robert Ellis
e. Suppression Robert Ellis
f. Probabilizing Robert Ellis
g. Weighing Up Robert Ellis
3. Incrementality
a. Systemic Continuity Robert Ellis
b. Tipping Points Robert Ellis
c. Practical Discontinuity Robert Ellis
d. Continuity of Persons Robert Ellis
e. Continuity of Time Robert Ellis
f. Continuity of Space Robert Ellis
g. Continuity of Training Robert Ellis
4. Agnosticism
a. Wary as Serpents Robert Ellis
b. Even-handedness Robert Ellis
c. Strong, not Weak, Agnosticism Robert Ellis
d. Awareness of Appropriation and Lumping Robert Ellis
e. Awareness of Sceptical Slippage Robert Ellis
f. Awareness of Unholy Alliances Robert Ellis
g. Agnosticism and Psychological Development Robert Ellis
5. Integration
a. Recognizing Conflict Robert Ellis
b. Reframing Robert Ellis
c. Responses to Intractability Robert Ellis
d. Integration of Desire, Meaning, and Belief Robert Ellis
e. Individual and Group Integration Robert Ellis
f. Temporary Integration Robert Ellis
g. Asymmetrical Integration Robert Ellis
6. Practice
a. The Middle Way as a Framework of Practices Robert Ellis
b. The Threefold Practice Robert Ellis
c. Individual Integration of Desire Practices Robert Ellis
d. Socio-political Integration of Desire Practices Robert Ellis
e. Individual Integration of Meaning Practices Robert Ellis
f. Socio-political Integration of Meaning Practices Robert Ellis
g. Individual Integration of Belief Practices Robert Ellis
h. Socio-political Integration of Belief Practices Robert Ellis
End Matter
Appendix Robert Ellis
The Old and New Middle Way Philosophy Series Robert Ellis
Bibliography Robert Ellis
Index Robert Ellis


This is an important, original work, that should get the widest possible hearing.
Dr Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and his Emissary, fellow of All Soul’s College, Oxford and a former psychiatrist