Texas Tech University

The Waning of Materialism: How the Revival of Aristotle's Philosophy is Reshaping the Intellectual Landscape

Dr. Robert C. Koons

Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at Austin.

The intellectual history of the Western world over the last 2500 years has been a battlefield of ideas, with the consensus swinging back and forth between the two poles of materialism and the various versions of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. We are in the midst of the waning of the latest phase of materialism, with a new Aristotelian philosophy on the upswing across the English-speaking world. Materialism has failed four crucial tests: accounting for the qualitative aspect of human consciousness, the intentionality or contentfulness of thought, the teleology of natural systems, and the moral responsibility of human agency. This intellectual shift presages political and cultural transformation: from a focus on quantity to quality, from bureaucracy to entrepreneurs and cooperatives, and from the global to the local.

Dr. Koons is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has taught since 1987. Dr. Koons specializes in metaphysics, philosophical logic and philosophy of religion. He is the author of two books, Paradoxes of Belief and Realism Regained, and the co-editor of The Waning of Materialism (Oxford University Press, 2010). Dr. Koons earned a B. A. in philosophy at Michigan State, a B.A. with First Class Honours in Philosophy and Theology at Oxford, and a Ph.D. at UCLA. He has written over thirty articles. He was elected in 2009 as a Senator-at-Large of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Dr. Koons' lecture was held in the Playa Room at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, January 22, 2014.

The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization