“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
–Alfred North Whitehead

Month: January 2012

  • The Creative Potency of Toroidal Time

    Levi Bryant (Larval Subjects) recently unpacked his position that object’s are “spacetime worms” (HERE). It got me thinking about the arguments that thinkers like Bergson and Whitehead had with Einstein regarding the philosophical implications of his equations. Bruno Latour spoke about this issue HERE. For Bergson, “time is invention or it is nothing at all,” […]

  • The Varieties of Causal Experience

    Michael over at Archive-Fire has a new post up distinguishing his notion of epistemic withdrawal from Harman’s ontological withdrawal. While claiming to hold tight to an embodied account of mind, Michael nonetheless wants to carve out a distinction between two kinds of interaction: mental and physical. Mental interaction is always detached and abstract due to […]

  • Reflections on Jorge Ferrer’s Participatory Turn in Transpersonal Theory

    I’m taking a course this semester on contemporary transpersonal theory taught by Prof. Jorge Ferrer and Prof. Jacob Sherman. Ferrer’s key text is Revisioning Transpersonal Theory (2001), wherein he tries to initiate a paradigm shift in transpersonal psychology beyond the neo-perennialist assumptions of its founders (e.g., Ken Wilber, Stanislav Grof, Abraham Maslow). In 2008, Ferrer […]

  • Tilting at windmill materialism: Towards an Ontology of Organism (OoO)

    Adam at Knowledge-Ecology has posted some reflections on the issues at stake in the confrontation between philosophical realism and philosophical materialism. Levi Bryant (Larval Subjects) and Michael (Archive-Fire) place their bets on materialism, while Graham Harman (Object-Oriented Philosophy) and Steven Shaviro (Pinocchio Theory) prefer realism. This isn’t the whole story, however. When we shift to […]

  • Imagining the Future with Owen Barfield: Towards a Participatory Turn

    I’ve been reading Owen Barfield‘s recently republished philosophical novella Unancestral Voice (1967, 2010). Like many of his books, its aim is to make the esotericism of Rudolf Steiner more digestible to a 20th century audience. Barfield begins by setting the late industrial scene ~1967, situating us within the toxic detritus of a decaying civilization we […]

  • Harman’s Crucified Objects and Whitehead’s God: More on Withdrawal

    Continuing the discussion that begin on Knowledge-Ecology earlier today, here are some highly speculative reflections after reading the first few pages of Graham Harman‘s Guerrilla Metaphysics (2005) again: I’m reminded that we must deal with more than the absolute difference between objects and relations, but that between an object and itself. Objects withdraw not just from […]

  • Withdrawal: Ancient and Modern Accounts

    Adam over at Knowledge-Ecology has been in discussion with Michael at Archive Fire regarding the varieties of withdrawal in object-oriented philosophy. Below I’ve pasted my comment in response to Adam’s post: I’ve just read Michael’s piece, and I agree with your assessment of the shortcomings of materialism. Materialism, as you’ve defined it (following Whitehead), only acknowledges the […]

  • Thinking While Naked

    Here is an intriguing article in Wired magazine by Jonah Lehrer. He reflects upon the implications of an experiment attempting to gauge the cognitive significance of nakedness. It looked at how our attribution of agency to others is effected by what they wear and how attractive they are. The results: Pictures of the faces of […]

  • Thinking with Hegel: Preface to The Phenomenology of Spirit

  • Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Activity: Socrates, Jesus, and the Wisdom of Love

    I’ve been asked to think about thinking, and to write about it. I’ve gotten myself tangled up in the middle of this kind of mess before, and so I’ll admit right off the bat that I cannot be sure which comes first, the thinking or the writing. Maybe my writing is just the trace of […]

  • Last lines of Goethe’s Faust

    Everything past is but a metaphor! What cannot be calculated is happening right here! What cannot be described is being accomplished right here! The Eternal Feminine (Mother Chaos, Mother Night) evolves us ever more and ever more. translation by Tom Mellet

  • Disambiguating Spirit and Matter (reflections on scientific materialism)

    For several years now, I have from time to time engaged in philosophical debate with commenters over at Pharyngula (the atheist and biologist PZ Myers‘ well-traffic blog). It is often impossible to maintain a civil discussion or sympathetic reflection about the topic at hand (usually having to do with the ontology of life, the meaning of consciousness, […]

  • On Corporate and Creaturely Personhood

      Adam at Knowledge-Ecology has posted a reflection on the need for an object-oriented ecology (what’d I’d call an ecological ontology, or, following Whitehead, a philosophy of organism). Adam agrees with my comment about the moral significance of techno-capitalism’s assault on Gaia, writing that “this moment is, ecologically, what slavery was, sociologically.” What the world […]

  • An essay on the history of participation by Becca Tarnas

    Here is a link to my partner Becca’s recent essay on the ecological significance of participatory theory. She offers a great summary of and reflection upon a chapter by Jacob Sherman in The Participatory Turn (2008): Full of Gods: Divine Participation for an Ecological Era

  • Rudolf Steiner and the Angelic Hierarchies

    In a recently posted essay on Christian Ecosophy, I referred repeatedly to angels. Though they are as prevalent in today’s popular imagination as they ever were in the past, the secular intelligentsia tend to dismiss them as relics of our pre-scientific childhood. I think it is important that lines of communication be opened between secular […]