Orca Richard Curtis, PhD
Philosopher | Theologian | Educator | Activist


Academic Writing

Here you will find a collection of the best of my academic writing. This includes papers that I wrote for graduate seminars, the abstract of my dissertation and papers written for journals and conferences.

After 2010 I started getting more concerned with climate change and a disturbing sense that we, humanity, are not paying sufficient attention to the moral dimension of the problem. Suffering will increase and this matters. I wrote a small book on the subject that really is best summed up by the Introduction and Conclusion. I think those two chapters are very important and someday may go back to worrying about the book length version. The introduction was accepted at a climate conference but I was unable to attend.

AdobeClimate Crisis and Moral Obligations INTRO
AdobeClimate Crisis and Moral Obligations CONCLUSION

Summer of 2014 I presented a paper on the Ontology of Self, which examined ways to think about the self as a construction, a narrative construction, while valuing the importance of our experience of autonomy even though our freedom is not scientifically supported.

Before that I wrote a paper on the nature of spirituality generally, which is to say a generic scholarly definition of the term. It was presented at the American Academy of Religion's Northwest Regional Annual Meeting in May of 2013. It is called simply: What is Spirituality? That paper was also published in the journal Presencing EPIS, Volume 1.

My dissertation was called: "Homo Religiosus Spinning a Web of Narrative Self: Insights from the Study of Religion for an Understanding of the Self as Historical Development."

Here is the official abstract of the Homo Religiosus Spinning a Narrative

"Philosophy Talk" is a weekly radio show produced at KALW San Francisco. Two Philosophy professors from Stanford host the show and each week they examine some philosophical issue with a guest who is an expert on the topic and they take calls from the audience. The hosts are John Perry and Ken Taylor, who seem like very nice people but I don’t know much about their professional work. One Sunday they had Daniel Dennett on the show. As it happens I was in the middle of writing my dissertation and it relies heavily on Dennett’s theory of consciousness. So I got a hold of their producer and he arranged for me to be the first caller. Dennett did not seem to get my point, which had to do with the ways in which we get material for what Dennett calls our "Narrative Web of Consciousness." But Ken did and came back to it a few times, so it was a rewarding call to make.

Part 1 (Media Player)
Part 2 (Media Player)
Part 3 (Media Player)
Part 4 (Media Player)
Part 5 (Media Player)

Below is a list of other papers that might be of general interest:

"Faith and Science" an examination of the work of Fr. Juan Luis Segundo

"Process via Marx" an exploration of the usefulness of historical materialism for deepening the social component of Process Theology

"Shopping Malls and Imperialist Hegemony" is a social critique of consumer culture and its place in the broader phenomenon of Capitalist Imperialism

"The Essence of Religion" is an older paper I wrote that contains the seeds what became my dissertation and my book What is Religion? On the Nature of the Human Mind and the Role of Religion (With or Without God)

"The Liberation of Religion" is also a reflection on the work of the late Fr. Segundo in which I apply his work in Catholic Liberation Theology to an atheist context.

"Hegel and Religion" a paper about trends in theology using Hegel’s philosophy, the primary focus in the evolution of religion trends towards atheism.

"Artificial Enemies" is a paper I wrote in late 2007 as an analysis of the history and nature of the so-called terrorist threat.