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

Ecologies of Space-Time in Organic Ontologies

Adam over at Knowledge-Ecology threw a great post up concerning ethology, ecology, and time. Here is a sneak peek:

“The organism is not an entity acting from within space and time; rather, the organism is an active generator of space-time, enfolding both into a complex ecology that flows from organisms and their behavior. The ecosystem, when viewed from this ontological perspective, is a dynamic and evolving zone of space-time generated in part by the activity of organisms. Ecosystems are not in space or time, they differentially construct multiple entangled layers of both.”

The gestalt shift Adam calls for is exactly what I tried to get Whitehead to say in this section of a longer essay on his contributions to scientific cosmology.






4 responses to “Ecologies of Space-Time in Organic Ontologies”

  1. On Ecological Ethics and Politics in the Anthropocene | synthetic_zero Avatar

    […] Ecologies of Space-Time in Organic Ontologies (footnotes2plato.com) […]

  2. Bob Kramchynski Avatar
    Bob Kramchynski

    This is a brilliant observation. I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to make the case that ‘life’ does not happen in space and time, but rather that it of necessity occupies spacetime. If I could make that case successfully, then it would become just a technicality that conscious activity (what some would reifyingly refer to as “consciousness”) also occupies a level of a more highly intensified and supercomplicated spacetime. Let’s say that neurophysiology is an accerated version of biology. Why not?

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      It all hinges on what you mean by “occupies” when you say that life does not happen “in” but rather “occupies spacetime.” What is the difference between being “in” spacetime and “occupying” spacetime?

      1. Bob Kramchynski Avatar
        Bob Kramchynski

        It’s the reference to space and time separately rather than spacetime unified that makes the difference. Happening in and occupying spacetime are essentially the same thing.

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