In the University President’s Dialogue in 2006 describing the reason for the special distinction of University Professor Emeritus, the President said: “John McMurtry is an internationally recognized scholar and University professor emeritus-elect who has made outstanding contributions in the discipline of philosophy. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a President’s Distinguished Professor, McMurtry is known for being engaged both in the classroom and the community. He studies the philosophies of politics, economics, education, literature, history and the environment, and his work has been published in more than 150 books and journals. Most recently, he has focused his research on the value structure of economic theory and its consequences for global civil and environmental life. McMurtry was selected by the United Nations as organizing author and editor of Philosophy and World Problems, which will be included in the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems.”
B.A. / M.A.- University of Toronto.
Ph.D. University College London.
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
FRSC Citation (2001)
John McMurtry is a pioneer of social philosophy. His research has specialized in leading academic as well as public understanding into unexamined normative infrastructures which oppress human and environmental life—decision-excluding education, violent sport as a social paradigm, sexuality as a property-structure, mechanistic Marxism, the denial of children’s personhood, left-right categorization, the military paradigm of war, zero-sum competition, the transcultural logic of censorship, and the global market as a life-blind value system. His work has been communicated across the world and has frequently let to others’ research projects and to public policy formation.
Since full-time research leave, I have responded to two main streams of requested research publication and communication. The first has been keynote lectures, conference papers, articles and chapters with a unifying concern – to lay bare the value syntax of the now ruling world system and its reflective realms of philosophy and theory as blind in principle to their common life-ground and its universal necessities at organic and ecological levels. Logic and scientific method, the nature of the mass media, 9-11 and the 9-11 wars, the corporatization of higher education, and social justice theory have been interconnected areas of this deep-structure analysis. My work in these and other areas is also featured in a full-length film (Zeitgeist), periodic public radio interviews from Chicago-New York (Progressive Radio Network) and other international venues.
My second and principal research and publication stream over the last seven years has followed from the invitation by the Secretariat of UNESCO/EOLSS (Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, Paris-Oxford) to construct, author and edit Philosophy and World Problems as an online multi-volume study relating world philosophies East and West to the determining problems of life on earth from the past into the present global crisis. Three sub-volumes entitled Modes of Reason, Western Philosophy and the Life-Ground, and Philosophy, Human Nature and Society have been constructed and edited with distinguished philosophers contributing to five topic areas in each of these general fields. The longer title study by me is an encompassing step-by-step critical study of world philosophies across fields to explain the inner logic of each canon and school in relationship to universal world problems across cultures and times towards principled resolution in life-coherent terms (as spelled out at the end of this webpage). This research program under the auspices of UNESCO has deployed the new ground and method of life-value onto-axiology to excavate, explain and resolve life-blind presuppositions of the world’s major thought-systems from the ancients East and West to Modern and Contemporary Philosophy, including related theories of the social sciences. The underlying core assumptions and principles of each thinker and school have been critically explained and related to the world in light of three related meta questions:
(1) What are the ultimately regulating principles underlying the distinguishing concepts, arguments and theories of each?
(2) Where do they most deeply fail to take life-and-death issues into account and otherwise mislead us in how to think and live?
(3) How can reason, felt being and action – the ultimate fields of value – comprehend and enable individual, social and ecological life in more coherently inclusive ways across differences and distances?
By following these lines of question through humanity’s most influential theories of what is real, true and good, life-value onto-axiology moves underneath dominant specialty divisions which have increasingly lost their life bearings amidst planetary social and ecological collapse. Two further refereed works have been completed for the UNESCO Encyclopedia to explain the ultimately underlying principles of the major world religions from their primary sources East and West. For a summary outline of the collected works on this project now available under my name at the world’s most comprehensive research site, see the last section of this webpage.