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About us

Axial Publishing is an independent small press specializing in interdisciplinary philosophy works. We have published books in the areas of economics, linguistics, feminism, theology, and critical thinking, with further works in these and other disciplines planned. All of our books encourage readers toward self-discovery of the inner root, or ground, of their own thinking. A solid grasp of this innately human dynamic structure of consciousness is the basic position from which our authors, in their various disciplines, write.

Our Name may be familiar to some as echoing Karl Jaspers' idea of an axial period in history (Origin and Goal of History, 1953). Jaspers located the axial period as that critical time in history when humanity in China, India, Persia, and the Middle East - began to reflect on itself, roughly between 800 BC and 200 BC

Our Notion of the Axial Period is derived from the work of Philip McShane, philosopher and theologian. McShane enlarges on Jaspers' notion by incorporating the ideas of Canadian philosopher and theologian, Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984). Briefly, we see the Axial Period as a far-reaching transitional time in human history. This transition is from a primitive integral consciousness (found in early human living up until about 2500 BC) to a much later integral and enlightened self-knowledge (possibly emerging sometime after 2500 AD). In between these two times, a span of roughly 5000 years, humanity is found to be in the throes of a lengthy troubled state, fragmented, unclear about itself as a thinking organism, unsure of its way, and consequently muddled in its theories and institutions of living. This present time, then, we identify as the Axial Period. Further background on the Axial Period can be found in McShane’s book, A Brief History of Tongue, editor’s introduction and chapter one. Of Lonergan’s work, particularly relevant are his ‘two times of the temporal subject’ (The Triune God: Systematics, Question 21) and his ‘three stages of meaning’ (Method in Theology, pp. 85-99). Thinking Woman, chapter eleven, explores patriarchy as a major fragmentation of the Axial Period and considers the rise of the women’s movement as a significant step toward a third post-axial stage of history.

Our Publishing Mission is related to our meaning of the Axial Period. The books we publish are books that we see as contributing to a gradual transition out of the present Axial Period and toward a luminous third stage of meaning in human history. Our authors share the conviction of the meaning of the Axial Period, and also acknowledge Bernard Lonergan's functional view of method as a practical and significant solution to history's dilemma of attaining ongoing progress. By small forays into various zones, we hope to contribute to a future enlightenment in our human living.