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Felt Meanings 1986
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The Website of Quentin Smith

This website reprints some articles published in philosophy journals, a reprint of the temporarily out-of-print book The Felt Meanings of the World: The Metaphysics of Feeling, and reprints some physics essays published in anthologies. See CV for list.

This website also contains reprints of some poems published in poetry journals and some unpublished poems. There is a seperate website for paintings.

(Currently, the website is being reconstructed to differentiate files meant for specialists from files meant for the general public).


Professor Quentin Smith

Philosophy Department

Western Michigan University

1903 Western Michigan Ave

Kalamazoo, MI 49008, USA


Quentin Smith - Philosophy - Big Bang - Cosmology - Poetry - Painting - atheism - physics - quantum mechanics - metaphysics - ontology - relativity - consciousness - language - mind

The areas of philosophy in which Dr. Quentin Smith works are Philosophy of Time, Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Physical Cosmology, Metaphysics, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion and Naturalism, Existentialism and Phenomenology, and the Philosophy of Science. He teaches in the Philosophy Department at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Michigan.

General Information:    


Quentin Smith is the University Distinguished Faculty Scholar (from 2002) at Western Michigan University and also Professor of Philosophy (from 1995). He works primarily in certain areas in philosophy, such as Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion, Atheism, and Naturalism, Philosophy of Time, Philosophy of Language, Ethics, Philosophy of Physical Cosmology and Philosophy of Physics, The History of Analytic Philosophy, and Existentialism and Phenomenology. Among philosophy professors, he is mostly known for his work on the philosophy of time, philosophy of religion, naturalism and atheism, and philosophy of big bang cosmology and quantum cosmology. Most of the philosophical works written about Dr. Smith are in the areas of philosophy of time and philosophy of religion, naturalism and atheism. Regarding questions about religion, God, naturalism and atheism, Quentin of the Smith's work argues that big bang cosmology and quantum cosmology are inconsistent with the existence of God, and are the main topics discussed in the literature on Quentin Smith's work on atheism, naturalism, and the existence of God.


Smith's position is that big bang cosmology and quantum cosmology confirm atheism or at least the belief that God probably does not exist. Quentin Smith is more interested in answering the question about why the universe exists than he is in the question, does God exist or is atheism true? And he regards the hypothesis that God created the big bang or a quantum universe merely as one of several hypotheses about the best way to understand big bang cosmology and quantum cosmology. His philosophy of time overlaps with his philosophy of language, for his main position is that the best explanation of why language has tenses is that pastness, presentness and future are objective features universe. Quentin Smith has published four books on time, two books on atheism and the philosophy of religion, one book on physical cosmology, one book on existentialism and phenomenology (on his "metaphysics of feeling"), and one book on the philosophy of mind. Also, he has published approximately 120 articles in scholarly academic journals and edited books.  Quentin Smith?s other publications on other topics are can be found in his vita.

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 Quentin Smith's work is also studied, and written about, in fields other than philosophy. For the most part, these fields are linguistics, physics and poetry. Smith's article "The Multiple Uses of Indexicals" has been one of the most influential contemporary papers in the field of linguistics, since its first publication in 1989. Smith's writings on physics, specifically on classical big bang cosmology, semi-classical big bang cosmology and quantum gravity cosmology have been studied and discussed by physicists who work in this area. Stephen Hawking, James Hartle, Roger Penrose, Andrei Linde, Arthur Vilenkin, and Christopher Isham are some of the physicists who work, in private or in print, with Smith in this area. Quentin Smith is also known among physicists as the originator, in 1990, of natural selection cosmology, i.e., the theory that there are many universes, each of whose big bang is a black hole in another universe.


This theory was developed in Smith's "A Natural Explanation of the Existence and Laws of Our Universe" (1990), and his development of it, to include quantum gravity, appears in his "The Black Hole Origin Theory of the Universe and Quantum Gravity" (2000; 2004). (The physicist Lee Smolin independently rediscovered this theory in 1992 and in his 1997 book The Life of the Cosmos, but the equations that form the necessary mathematical heart of this theory can only be found in Smith's two articles.) Quentin Smith's poetry has been published by such national poetry journals as The Shore Review, Wind, and The Kentucky Poetry Review since the 1970s and he acceded to the request to have some of his poems published in a forthcoming book consisting only of his poetry, entitled Echoes from the Edge of the Universe: A Book of Poems.

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Quentin Smith's first exhibition of his paintings was in 1971. His most recent upcoming exhibition in 10-7 to 11.21, 2003 in the Gallery of Lee Honors College. Seven of his most recent paintings appear in Art in America, Fall 2003. Professor Smith's paintings are based on the idea that the dissolution of canvas paintings into multimedia art should be understood as the dead end result of the traditional assumption in painting that "progress is changing the form of paintings", as Smith has worded it in the terminology of his philosophy of art. Smith believes that canvas painting and multimedia are two distinct kinds of art and that the tradition of canvas painting is entering a new area where the only criterion of progress is "changing the content of paintings". The idea that form has value only as a means to content is witnessed in Dr. Smith's paintings, where the forms of Abstract Expressionism, Cubism, Norwegian Expressionism, and Surrealism are used only insofar as they are a means to presenting the content. In terms of contemporary categories,   Smith's paintings would fit into the school of postmodernism. Quentin Smith titles his paintings "Painting Number One", Painting Number Two", etc.,  in order to reverse the common practice of titling paintings by their surface content, but which are largely irrelevant to its underlying metaphysical or existential content. Using the criterion of surface content to title a painting emphasizes that form is the important part of the painting and that little attention should be paid to the underlying content, which can be briefly dismissed by a title about its surface content. Quentin Smith, by numbering his paintings, poses to the viewer the question "what is the content?" and invites attention to the underlying content and only secondarily to the form, motivating the viewer to bypass the irrelevant surface content.  Smith is opposed to using oil paints rather than acrylics, despite the advantages of oil paints in creating certain colorings, since only acrylics allows the "instantaneous inspiration that is the essence of creating art".

          -By Qsmithwmu.com Webmaster, April 2002


Excerpt from the beginning of Webmaster's interview with Quentin Smith:

Webmaster:: "Hello. How are you today?"

Quentin Smith: "It is as if I am small and have chosen to crawl along the blade's sharpened edge, the only way over the mysterious fire, as my pathway from birth to death."

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This website is in progress. It is being constructed by Quentin Smith's webmaster for University Public Relations, who fund the site. Dr. Smith is not responsible for its organization, structure and construction of the content. The website will eventually include all of all his (over one hundred) articles, chapters of his books, all his paintings, poetry, videos with audio of his national television and radio appearances and videos with audio of some of his talks.