The purpose of the Institute of Speculative Philosophy is to foster and promote the working out of a philosophical foundation which will provide the theoretical framework for an ethics that can serve as a basis for solving the unprecedented problems created by humanity. These problems cannot be solved either by faith in the piecemeal solutions of technological science, which has no measure, or by a simple reversion to the great religions of the world, which are pre-scientific. What is needed is an integration of the two in a way that transcends the narrow spirit of nationalism in recognition that the planet is one earth and humanity one people. Such an integration does not yet exist. To achieve it will demand that the great religious, artistic, and scientific traditions of the East and West be seen as integral moments of the human spirit, which in their harmony are neither reducible to one another nor contradictory.
The questions of our age must be addressed. The problem of human survival is now in human hands. The threat of nuclear warfare and the technological destruction of nature are now ultimate and unprecedented questions. They are ultimate because upon their answer depends continued human existence. They are unprecedented because their solution is not open to empirical testing. To test these questions empirically is to destroy forever the possibility of testing and of everything else. We must now be able to know theoretically the practical world. We are no longer in a purely scientific age which can assume that theory follows practice. The spirit of the ancient wisdom of the Chinese and Greek sages, which understood that practice must be theoretically grounded, is once again incumbent upon us. But our obligation now is no longer just a question of duty or of living the good life, but of preserving existence itself.
A great age is upon us and it will require that we integrate the old wisdom with the new science in such a way that our practice is contained within our theory. We will have to know the limits of action before we act even as our action will need constant empirical confirmation. This is a necessary task. Only by bringing together the great traditions of the East and West, their religions, science, arts, and practical wisdom, can we hope to circumvent the abyss we have created.