Panpsychism and Its Emergent Discontents

Several of us got into a discussion on my FaceBook page regarding panpsychism and emergentism. On some accounts, if a philosopher rejects dualism and so desires to ontologically integrate what common folks normally call mental with what natural scientists understand to be material, her only option is to develop either a panpsychist or an emergentist [...]

Responding to comments about Bakker’s “blind brain theory”

Discussion has continued beneath my last post about Bakker. Below are a few of my comments there: rsbakkar writes: I advert to common idiom when discussing theoretical incompetence, but it certainly doesn’t turn on any commitment to representationalism – even less correspondance! The fact is, people regularly get things wrong in what appear to be [...]

Unnecessary Mechanism: A Reply to R. Scott Bakker

"The machinery of the brain does all the work–after all, what else is there? What [Cain] calls ‘thinking of science in normative terms’ is a mechanistic enterprise, something our brains do. Since metacognition is all but blind to the mechanistic nature of the brain, it cognizes cognition otherwise, in nonmechanical, acausal, magical terms. Normative judgements, intentional relations, and so [...]

Saul Bellow on Rudolf Steiner, Boredom, Sleep, and Death

Wanted to share this before going to bed. Here are a few words about "the famous but misunderstood Dr. Rudolf Steiner" from Bellow's Pulitzer Prize winning work of fiction Humboldt's Gift: It wasn't that I minded giving information to honest scholars, or even to young people on the make, but I just then was busy, fiercely, painfully busy--personally [...]

Psychedelics and Religious Experience (essay by Benjamin Cain)

After commenting on his guest post over on Three Pound Brain, I decided to spend some time on Benjamin Cain's blog Rants Within the Undead God. I really like the way his mind works, even if I'm a bit more philosophically skeptical of scientistic claims to total knowledge of matter (whether "dead" or "alive"). I [...]

The Danger of Scientism? (response to Benjamin Cain)

Go read Benjamin Cain's fascinating and tightly argued essay posted at Three Pound Brain (the blog of author R. Scott Bakker). Below is my comment to him: That was a thoroughly enjoyable read.   I agree with what may be your most important conclusion: that the real danger “we” face as auto-poetic “minds” is that [...]

Thinking the Holocaust with Schelling…

A few days ago, I decided to re-read Schelling's Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom (1809). It's a reasonably short text of about 75 pages, so I've read it 3 or 4 times in the past year. The text's key conceptual innovations regarding the essence of freedom (which Schelling defines as the scission [...]

Questions concerning the place of imagination in cosmology… (while reading Ed Casey and Catherine Keller)

“In my view the creation of the world is the first unconscious act of speculative thought; and the first task of a self-conscious philosophy is to explain how it has been done.” -Whitehead Four of us met a few days back to discuss the first 75 pages of Ed Casey's The Fate of Place: A [...]

Responding to Michael about Root Images in the Philosophy of Nature

Several months ago, Michael (who blogs at Archive Fire and contributes to synthetic_zero) posted a comment on a post of mine about philosophical vitalism. I'm just now getting around to responding to what for me were really helpful questions as I try to further flesh out my thoughts on etheric imagination. Michael writes: I like [...]