CultureLab • Permanent Seminar

Eli Kramer

Philosophical Wandering Across Cultures: From Cynicism to Rinzai Zen

In this presentation, I build upon previous work exploring philosophical wandering as a mode of philosophy in, and effective for, cultural life by showing meaningful occurrences of it across the globe. In previous research, I have argued that for philosophical wanderers, reflection is not given in a series of systematic assertions, nor through phenomenological description, nor analytic dissection. Rather, reflective life is the force that enhances the performative element of philosophy as an exercise in being obnoxious (as a Socratic gadfly) to bring people within a culture to particular kinds of critical awareness and action. While in the West the Cynic school has been a central site for this mode of philosophy, one can also find it in Medieval Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhuism. In particular, I will trace the mindful wanderings of perhaps the best exemplar of philosophical wandering in this tradition, Ikkyū Sōjun 一休宗純 (1394 –1481).

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Eli Kramer

Eli Kramer (University of Wrocław) is an assistant professor at the Department of Ethics of the Institute of Philosophy, University Wrocław. His work traverses philosophy as a way of life (PWL) and metaphilosophy, philosophy of culture, American and European idealism, classical American Philosophy, and process philosophy. He co-edits a new book series with Brill, “Philosophy as a Way of Life: Text and Studies,” which organizes new translations, as well as putting out new studies. His first single authored monograph is on the nature and role of the associated philosophical life (as distinct from philosophy as a discipline), entitled Intercultural Modes of Philosophy, Volume 1: Principles to Guide Philosophical Community (Brill, 2021). His work has appeared in journals such as the Portuguese Journal of Philosophy, Philosophy and Theory in Higher EducationEidos: A Journal for Philosophy of CultureSyndicate Philosophy, the Philosophy of Education YearbookDewey Studies, and The Journal of School and Society. He has also co-edited and contributed to collections such as Rorty and Beyond (Lexington Books, 2019) and Contemporary Philosophical Proposals for the University: Toward a Philosophy of Higher Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).