Graduate Program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness


PCC Faculty and Students on their annual retreat at Esalen in Big Sur, CA

Richard Tarnas is the founding director of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (PCC) graduate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA, offering both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. His fellow faculty in the PCC program include Brian Swimme, Stanislav Grof, Joanna Macy, Robert McDermott, Sean Kelly, Elizabeth Allison, and Jacob Sherman.

A growing consensus of scientists, scholars, and visionaries now recognizes that the Earth Community is facing an unprecedented evolutionary challenge. The ecological, political, and spiritual crisis of late modernity calls for a fundamental reorientation of our civilization, including a transformation of our institutions and of our own consciousness. PCC attracts intellectually engaged individuals who are in varying degrees dismayed by what they see happening in industrial societies and who are striving to find meaningful ways to develop their gifts to serve the future of the world.

The PCC program at CIIS was designed in the early 1990s by a group of distinguished scholars, teachers, and activists who share a sense of the unique gravity and promise of our moment in history.

The program is inspired by a three-fold vision: to revive the original essence of philosophy as the love of wisdom, to pursue a multidisciplinary study of cosmology based on the evolutionary unfolding of the universe and the Earth community, and to explore the inner worlds of consciousness and the psyche. Central to the PCC vision is the conviction that these three lines of inquiry must inform and influence each other, in the service of bringing forth a viable and coherent world view for our civilization.

The PCC program will support those called to this work in three distinct but related areas:

  • by offering new perspectives and paradigms to build a better world – these include the emerging new cosmology as well as cultural, psychospiritual, and eco-social accounts of who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we might be heading;
  • by exploring new ways of thinking and being that are both visionary and pragmatic, and that resist the paradigm of fragmentation and reductionism that continues to reign within the dominant culture;
  • by offering students a challenging, supportive, and heartful learning community in which to find their voice as leaders, capable of understanding world views and assessing their merits through a deep and broad grasp of cultural history and contemporary critiques.

Another way forward is possible.

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