Where is the serious academic work on Integral in the last 15 years?

Not sure how to ask this, but one thing I notice is that it is difficult to find what I would call current “intetral thinking” in the intellectual marketplace. I know there are people who are writing in the vicinity of integral–Jonathan Haidt and Irshad Manji are two authors whose books are nearby in my book case. But they are not mentioning integral and I don’t see dialogue going on that generates the rich thinking I see on Integral Life and in Wilber’s books beyond this community.

If there are ways to find good writing related to Integral–maybe I’m not using the right search terms–I’d love to know.

Thanks to anyone who can help!


Can’t help you with search terms, but I totally resonate with the difficulty finding “integral thinking” in wider circles of the intellectual marketplace – including and especially academia.

IMAO, what are calling “integral thinking” is so far ahead of the curve that the larger community (including and especially academia) hasn’t caught up with it yet.

But it will. IMAO.


I’m not sure if this is fully “academic”, but it is serious. And very integral.

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What an interesting problem? Maybe the winds of integral has died in its irrelevancy in the crisis. The ship left awhile ago. These are the people I see holding the flame that no longer uses the word integral for endless of reasons.

Zak Stein
Daniel Schmachtenberger
Mathew Segall
Bruce Alderman
Ian McGilchrist
John Vervaeke
Marc Gafni


Yeah also there is a series of books about the convergence of the metatheories of Integral with Critical Realism. The first is “Metatheory for the Twenty First Century”, the second is “Big Picture Perspectives on Planetary Flourishing”. The third book is under development and should be published this year and it is probably going to be called “Integrative Approaches to the Global Metacrisis”. I am currently in the process of writing an academic paper that might somehow get incorporated into this new volume. Perhaps just snippets will be incorporated into the introductory chapter. I’m working with the lead editor, Dr. Nicholas Hedlund (who is also my professor at CIHS and one of Roy Bhaskar’s proteges) and Dr. Sean Esbjorn-Hargens (one of Ken’s most notable proteges). Basically the whole idea is to build on top of Integral Theory and further synthesize it with other metatheories and then use this synthesis to address the greatest problems and crises in the world. It is pretty seriously academic and some of the people that Bria mentioned in that comment above are contributors to this series. Here is a link to the book series so far: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Nicholas-Hedlund/author/B0143SNFKG


Glad to here there is such work in progress!

Closer to the ground, here are some integral-influenced works I have engaged with recently:

  • Steve McIntosh, Developmental Politics
  • Robin Lincoln Wood, The Great Shift: Catalyzing the Second Renaissance
  • Willow Dea, Igniting Brilliance
  • Zachary Stein, Education in a Time Between Worlds

The unifying thread between all those is education for democracy.

Hi Karen. Too bad we’re interested in things so few others are. I wonder what it would be like to be a student today. I did not feel overly constrained to follow my curiosity during my stints in higher ed.

Generally its a bad idea to use terms in ones works that others could possibly lay claim to.
The cost -benefits of using the term “Integral” in a work lies higher on the cost / risk side and lower on the benefit / opportinities side of the scale.

As a result, as mentioned above many integral (lower case) projects just simply dont use the term Integral (upper case).

I put AI on the case:

Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory has influenced various fields, including psychology, philosophy, spirituality, and organizational studies. While it may not have as extensive a citation record as some other theories, there are still academic works that engage with Integral Theory. Here are a few examples:

  1. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Some researchers have explored how Integral Theory can be applied in psychotherapy and counseling. For instance, there are studies discussing the use of Integral Theory in understanding the stages of psychological development and in integrating various therapeutic approaches. A search through databases like PsycINFO or Google Scholar with keywords like “Integral Theory” and “psychotherapy” might yield relevant studies.
  2. Education: Scholars in the field of education have examined the potential applications of Integral Theory in educational settings. They may explore how Integral Theory can inform teaching methods, curriculum design, and educational leadership. For example, research might discuss how Integral Theory’s emphasis on multiple perspectives can enrich educational practices.
  3. Leadership and Organizational Studies: Integral Theory has also been considered in discussions about leadership and organizational development. Researchers might investigate how Integral Theory’s holistic perspective can enhance understanding of leadership dynamics or inform organizational change strategies.
  4. Spirituality and Philosophy: Given Ken Wilber’s background in spirituality and philosophy, there are academic works that engage with Integral Theory in these domains. Scholars might explore how Integral Theory intersects with various spiritual traditions or how it contributes to philosophical debates about consciousness and reality.
  5. Interdisciplinary Studies: Some academic works take an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on Integral Theory to address complex issues that span multiple disciplines. These studies might examine topics such as sustainability, social justice, or healthcare from an integral perspective.

Keep in mind that while Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory has gained some recognition in academic circles, it may not be as widely cited as more established theories. However, its interdisciplinary nature means that it can be applied in diverse contexts, leading to a range of academic engagements across different fields.

Daniel Schmachtenberger is definitely an Integral thinker and his work through The Consilience Project is very Integral. He interviewed Ken many years ago and has been influenced by his work.

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Recently I joined a project in environmental sustainability, and that brought to mind the work of this author:

That’s one reason, any more? There are plenty. The final reason is hilarious and completely counter intuitive to the Integral sense. The body is doing all this without any long term ( over a second or two) hierarchy that models can catch. Adaptive imagination is a necessity to see the body is the teacher and holds more unknown then you can look out there with just eyes. Not a lower of us. But the teacher of reality. If we can’t navigate maturely the body, then everything in your head is a check you can’t cash.

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I am currently working on bringing into the academic psychology literature a working model of wu wei from Eastern Taoist philosophy. As @Bria_OConnell implies, and my view is, there is a practical reason there are limits to what academia can produce in an empirical sense. Beyond the ontology, the scope for variation in epistemological approach is too wide to capture a trend where I notice egos keen to protect academic reputations over new theories. In spite of the RepliGate crisis in psychlology over a decade ago, very few seem willing to stick their heads up above the parapet. I was fortunate to be tutored by Tim Lomas who writes extensively in the positive psychology journals. Along with a number of others he adapted Integral Theory with The LIFE Model. There are a number of works to come from this and more in the pipeline. So perhaps we may recognise Integral Theory more in chunks? Certainly with the increased focus on consciouness I think this will bring with it a wave of studies.

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