The Roots of a Philosophic Vocation—Prairie Ball Fields and Louisville Slugger Ideas
In this autobiographical essay Donnelley explores the animating childhood experiences growing up in Libertyville, Illinois, that have informed and propelled his relationship to nature and to the vocation of philosophy. The essay begins with a reminiscence of playing Little League baseball on makeshift fields bordered by cow pastures, a cemetery, and a trailer park. This becomes a metaphor for the life of engaged thinking and acting on big ideas concerning the human place in and impact on nature as a larger reality of life and meaning. Such a life requires openness to the disciplines of ontology and cosmology. The remainder of the essay is a discussion of the history and development of cosmological thinking since the pre-Socratic philosophers, such as Heraclitus, through seventeenth-century philosophers like Descartes and Spinoza, and finally post-Darwinian thinkers such as Ernst Mayr and Aldo Leopold.
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