Michael Harrington works primarily on medievalism in both its Western and Eastern forms. He looks at the genesis of medieval philosophy in Late Antique Neoplatonists such as Iamblichus, Augustine, and Dionysius the Areopagite, and how their texts and practices percolate through a commentary tradition that stretches over the next thousand years. In the field of Chinese philosophy, he looks at how the Song and Ming dynasty Confucians appropriate certain Buddhist and Daoist concepts to form what later Chinese philosopher Hu Shi refers to as a Chinese Middle Ages. Finally, he looks at how certain medieval concepts remain at play in contemporary philosophy, especially in the spiritual exercises of Pierre Hadot and François Jullien, and in the philosophy of place.
He is currently working on three projects: 1) a monograph on Hildegard of Bingen, which will examine the self-consciously architectural structure of her work in relation to the developing Gothic period in philosophy; 2) a monograph on the Song dynasty Confucian commentators on the Book of Changes, focused specifically on the patterns of force they identify in it; 3) a paper entitled "Eriugena's Gothic Afterlife," on how the thirteenth-century Parisians reorganized Eriugena's Periphyseon to form a distinctively Gothic commentary.
EducationPh.D., Philosophy, Boston College, 2001
M.A., Classics, Dalhousie University, 1997
B.A., St. John's College, 1995
Courses & Publications
Courses taught above the 100 level:
Yoga Philosophy and Practice (PHIL 237)
Asian Thought (PHIL 280)
Augustine and Dionysius (PHIL 606)
Confucianism and Zen (PHIL 310/402W)
Confucianism: Philosophy of Change (PHIL 608)
Dionysius and His Interpreters (PHIL 635)
Gothic Philosophy (PHIL 496/570)
Medieval Philosophy (PHIL 301)
Medieval Women Philosophers (PHIL 624)
Rethinking Place (PHIL 552)
On the Divine Names: The Thirteenth-Century Textbook Edition (Leuven: Peeters, forthcoming).
The Yi River Commentary on the Book of Changes (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2019).
On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy: The Thirteenth-Century Textbook Edition (Leuven: Peeters, 2011).
Sacred Place in Early Medieval Neoplatonism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
A Thirteenth-Century Textbook of Mystical Theology at the University of Paris (Leuven: Peeters, 2004).
Recent Articles and Book Chapters"
The Postulate of Clarification in Cheng Yi's Commentary on the Book of Changes." Signs & Media I (2020): 92-107.
"Eriugena and the Neoplatonic Tradition." In A Companion to John Scottus Eriugena, edited by A. Guiu, 64-92. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2019.
"The Divine Name of Wisdom in the Dionysian Commentary Tradition." Dionysius XXXV (2017): 105-133.
"Roots of Scientific Objectivity in the Quaestiones ad Thalassium." In Maximus the Confessor as a European Philosopher, edited by Sotiris Mitralexis, Georgios Steiris, Marcin Podbielski, and Sebastian Lalla, 131-139. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017.
"A Confucian Slippery Slope Argument." Confucian Academy: Chinese Thought and Culture Review 4:1 (2017): 89-101. Also published in Chinese: 儒家的 "滑坡论证." 孔学堂 4:1 (2017): 78-86.
"Principle and Place: Complementary Concepts in Confucian Yijing Commentary." Philosophy East and West 66:3 (2016): 861-82.