Senses of Mystery: Engaging with Nature and the Meaning of Life

Senses of Mystery: Engaging with Nature and the Meaning of Life

by David E. Cooper


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In this beautifully written book, David E. Cooper uses a gentle walk through a tropical garden – the view of the fields and hills beyond it, the sound of birds, voices and flutes, the reflection of light in water, the play of shadows among the trees and the presence of strange animals – as an opportunity to reflect on experiences of nature and the mystery of existence.

Covering an extensive range of topics, from Daoism to dogs, from gardening to walking, from Zen to Debussy, Cooper succeeds in conveying some deep and difficult philosophical ideas about the meaning of life in an engaging manner, showing how those ideas bear upon the practical question of how we should relate to our world and live our lives.

A thought-provoking and compelling book, Senses of Mystery is a triumph of both storytelling and philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781138078734
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 08/30/2017
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.75(h) x (d)

About the Author

David E. Cooper is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Durham University. He has been a Visiting Professor at universities in several countries, including the USA and Sri Lanka. His many books include The Measure of Things: Humanism, Humility and Mystery, A Philosophy of Gardens and Convergence with Nature: A Daoist Perspective.

Table of Contents


1. In a Garden

2. The Truth of Mystery


The Scientific Image

The World as Fiction?

The World as Gift

3. Religion, Nature and Mystery

Religion, Faith and Mystery

‘Nothing Special’

Senses of Mystery

Nature and Culture

4. Animals

Animal Worlds

The Opacity of Animals

Animals, Mystery and World

Animals and ‘The Open’

5. Music

Music and Experience

Music and Nature

Music, Culture, Environment

Music and the Mystery of Emergence

6. Walking

Meditation on the Move

Body, Mind and Involvement

Communion and Holism

Walking and Senses of Mystery

7. Gardening

The Way of the Garden

Gardens and Meaning

‘In the Head’ and ‘In the Hands’

Garden, ‘Gift’, Mystery

8. Living with Mystery


Removing Obstacles

Humility and Compassion


9. In a Garden Again


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