Works in Progress

GUIDE: A No-Nonsense Introduction to the New Age

Some think New Age philosophy is too “woo-woo” to take seriously. I think it is too central in our collective experience right now to ignore. This short, analytic guide explains key New Age principles with heart, but not the extra fluff. Unlike much popular Buddhist philosophy, it emphasizes how healing can be a different process for people on the margins of society than for those who are used to wielding power over others. It also offers a distinct picture, a visual metaphor and guide, for understanding where we are at in this moment of human history and our path ahead.

Dreams of the Emerald Shaman

Almost two decades ago, I wrote a memoir about my early experiences living with the Chachi people in the Ecuadorian Chocó Rainforest, which I entitled, after the forces that inspired that journey, “The Emerald Shaman.” This new book interweaves my life narrative with those experiences in Ecuador and their aftermath in the United States.

Selected Academic Works

Facing Relativism

Relativism is a philosophical view that, notoriously, new college students find intriguing but old philosophy professors find indefensible. It holds that our claims about the world – what is real, what is true, what is right – are so dependent on the context in which they arise (for example, on the culture or historical time period) that when they conflict with each other, we have no neutral (non-cultural, ahistorical) grounds on which to declare one more accurate than the other. Plato, more than two thousand years ago, pointed out that relativism is a view riddled with paradox. If all truths are relative, then what about relativism itself? Is it only relatively true? In this book, I draw on anthropology and on my own experience living in Ecuador to defend a robust and coherent version of relativism, offering a new space for tolerating difference as well as defending our beliefs.

Care for the Root Cause of Medical Errors

Co-authored with Raymond Higbea.

Relativism, Realism, and the Roots of the Ecological Crisis

Chapter 4, pages 65-75, “Relativism, Realism, and the Roots of the Ecological Crisis,” by Alyssa Luboff.