*Mysticism and Philosophy by W.T. Stace (1960)
What is the “mystical experience?” Where does it come from? What does it mean? Is it a link to a divine realm? What is the real value to the many human cultures and religions that have acknowledged it through history? Does the mystical experience reveal a spiritual presence in the universe greater than man? If so, what is the nature of the spiritual presence and what is its relationship to man? What are the implications of the mystical experience on the questions on the nature of the self, on philosophy, on morals, and ethics, and on human claims to immortality? Mysticism and Philosophy by W.T. Stace of the Princeton University philosophy department seeks to answer these questions.
W. T. Stace reviews the many types and varieties of mystical experience in order to discover its meaning and value for mankind. Accepting the psychological fact of mystical experience in some people at certain moments in history, Stace sets out to examine the vague meaning of the term “mystical” and to specify empirically the main characteristics of these experiences as recorded through history. Drawing from the world’s major religious disciplines, Stace expands on fundamental issues such as structure of language, objectivity or subjectivity in experience, dualism, monism, pantheism, and the underpinning of logic to provide a framework through which we can begin to understand the mystical and its place in our world.
First published in 1960, Mysticism and Philosophy is still regarded as one of the leading works in the study of mystical experience. In Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century (2007), Edward Kelly et al. write that Stace’s work remains, “One of the most searching, thoughtful, and provocative examinations of … questions [about mysticism] carried out to date…”