For reasons I discussed last time, I’ve found it important to categorize philosophies using the ideal types of ascent and descent – but have not yet been able to specify them as clearly as an ideal type should be. I had thought I had drawn the concepts from Martha Nussbaum as well as Ken Wilber, but Nussbaum’s use of the ascent-descent dichotomy turned out to be implicit at most.
Wilber is not exactly clear on the topic himself. In Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, the most systematic presentation of his ideas, he does not offer a definition as such. He does present us with a more detailed description of what he’s getting at, speaking of the movements of a quasi-Hegelian Spirit (with a capital S): Continue reading