Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction. Being in Nature: The Experiential Naturalism of Henry G. Bugbee Jr.

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pp. 1-12

On January 21, 1953, the Hotchkiss Recorder—newspaper of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut—reported:

On January 14 with the temperature 10 degrees below zero, a foot of powdered snow, perfect for skiing, and with all three rinks open for skating, the Headmaster surprised the student body by declaring a holiday. Conditions were ideal and the day was enjoyed by every-one. The morning was sunny and clear,...

Part I: Student Writings

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pp. 13-14

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In Demonstration of the Spirit (Selections)

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pp. 15-37

Bugbee earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors in philosophy from Princeton University in 1936. His thesis, “In Demonstration of the Spirit,” was directed by Warner Fite. Regrettably, little attention is paid to Fite, but it was Fite who instructed the young Bugbee on the signifi cance of the personal perspective.2
“In Demonstration of the Spirit” exhibits a striking religious tone. Three of the four chapters begin with biblical epigraphs and the epilogue concludes with a quote from Saint Paul: “To this effect I have not spoken...

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The Sense and the Conception of Being (Selections)

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pp. 38-60

As I put it years ago in my doctoral thesis, reality makes its stand here and now in existing things.

Bugbee defended his doctoral dissertation, “The Sense and the Conception of Being,” at the University of California, Berkeley on January 25, 1947. Prior to this important event, his graduate study had been interrupted, in 1942, after he volunteered for service in the United States Navy. He was deployed to the South Pacifi c at the rank of lieutenant, commanding the minesweeper Y319. Naval service kept him from graduate study...

Part II: Published Writings

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pp. 61-62

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A Venture in the Open

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pp. 63-72

Bugbee appropriated the phrase “inward morning” from Thoreau in order to convey the experience of radical reflection:

There is this bathing in fluent reality which resolves mental fixations and suggests that our manner of taking things has been staggeringly a matter of habituation. Metaphysical thinking must rise with the earliest dawn the dawn of things themselves. And this is the dawn in which basic action, too, comes into being. It is earlier than...

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Thoughts on Creation

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pp. 73-82

“Thoughts on Creation” was written in 1962 during a brief period when Bugbee was teaching at the Pennsylvania State University. Moments of inward morning occur through the grace, generosity, and majesty of creation.1 The world exists in a state of essentially dynamic configuration:

[The] world essentially can be only in coming to pass; it cannot be conjured with as extant. World is, if you will, always in the building, being forged, to be done; it cannot lapse from dawning and formation. . . . Thus, to be in and of the world would be to be in and of...

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Wilderness in America

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pp. 83-94

“Wilderness in America” (1974) constitutes Bugbee’s most sustained reflection on the importance of wilderness: “ponder[ing] anew the potential significance [wilderness] might yet hold within the shaping of our destiny as a people.”1 Technological advancement and increasing bureaucratic intervention has led to the neglect of “the attenuated heritage of the wilderness tradition in America.”2 Wilderness, as primordial, speaks to us from a depth beyond “subsumption to human enterprise . . . and its voice will be...

Part III: Unpublished Writings

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pp. 95-96

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The Revolution in Western Thought: Another Step (1962)

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pp. 97-106

“The Revolution in Western Thought: Another Step” was written in response to Huston Smith’s “The Revolution in Western Thought.”1 Smith argued that the twentieth century must lead to “genuinely new epochs in human thought . . . and this change, which is still in process, we of the current generation are playing a crucial but as yet not widely recognizable part.”2 Contemporary theories of science have “crashed through the cosmology which seventeenth-to-nineteenth-century constructed as if through a sound barrier, leaving us without replacement.”3 As witnessed...

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Nature and a True Artist (n.d.)

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pp. 107-114

“Nature and a True Artist” explores the intimate line of continuity between humankind and the world of nature. Bugbee was deeply convinced that nature primordially proffers itself through an experience of resistance, contributing to “an activity but for which [we] would neither realize (nor discover) an essential agreement with nature. ‘A true artist’ [can] only be forged in and through the activity in which such agreement is brought to pass.” In this important sense, one’s relationship to nature consists of “reciprocal strengthening” and “mutual support”—a potentiating experience...

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A Way of Reading the Book of Job (1963)

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pp. 115-126

“A Way of Reading the Book of Job” is Bugbee’s reflection on the story of Job from the point of view of Job. The story of Job has become somewhat commonplace in the Western canon. Job’s mettle is tested in order to prove his faith. The scales of justice are tipped for no apparent reason. The significance of Job’s response is that despite the complete absence of material evidence to the contrary, he remains steadfast to an understanding of cosmic justice mysterious and resistant to the coordinates of any anthropocentric judicial compass. Job must make sense of...

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Notes on Objectivity and Reality (n.d.)

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pp. 127-134

"Notes on Objectivity and Reality” explores further the importance of aesthetic appreciation during the course of philosophical understanding. Unlike Descartes’s characterization of objectivity as the condition that allows us to “make ourselves, as it were, ‘masters and possessors’ of nature,” Bugbee claims, “we are objective when we submit to the control of what presents itself.” In a most important sense, the experience of appreciation is not something instituted by the subject. Appreciation measures “the manifold of activities in terms of which we measure ourselves . . . within...

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Part IV: Experience, Memory, Reflection: An Interview with Henry Bugbee

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pp. 135-176

This interview was recorded in the early 1990s. Bugbee’s memory was starting to fade and, according to close friend and colleague Ray Lanfear, “Henry was no longer writing and beginning to get a little mixed up.” The purpose of the interview was to retrieve important memories from Bugbee’s past by capturing them in narrative form. For the most part, Bugbee’s recall is quite good and the audio-recording reflects that indefinable, unique, and utterly captivating diction and speech for which he was so known....

Appendixes

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pp. 177-200

Notes

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pp. 201-214

Bibliography

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pp. 215-223