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

Evan Thompson @ CIIS on Neuroscience, Meditation, and Self-Enaction




18 responses to “Evan Thompson @ CIIS on Neuroscience, Meditation, and Self-Enaction”

  1. dmf Avatar

    video coming?

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      Yep. I’ll post audio tonight. Video will take a few days.

      1. dmf Avatar

        great thanks matt !

  2. Matthew David Segall Avatar

    A great paper advocating for a Whiteheadian reading of neurophenomenology: http://www.concrescence.org/index.php/ajpt/article/view/74/38

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      dmf, I’m just going to wait for the video to be uploaded instead of posting the audio. Should be ready early next week.

      1. dmf Avatar

        no worries, thanks again for sharing

  3. Matthew David Segall Avatar

    OK, the video of this talk will be uploaded by someone from the ACS department on Thursday latest. Sorry for the delay…

  4. Tony Hegarty Avatar

    I’m thinking: may take a little time…certainly thought your final question was the only point at which it got interesting. Most of what he said could be got from Susan Blakemore and Les Lancaster’s work….he became more interesting as I say after you promted a new perspective. I was stunned by his total avoidance of the collective unconscious and Jung. The other initial observation is the extent to which a Cartesian view of object v subject dominated his view. i will try and be more thoughtful as time goes on and my self enacts a bit ! Tony.

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      Yes I think phenomenology is still somewhat Cartesian, though in Evan’s hands (following Merleau-Ponty) it has been given a more embodied twist than Husserl originally was able to give it.

  5. Tony Hegarty Avatar

    I posted some crits on my blog http://www.hugofgaia. And my thanks for your letting me see this. Maybe you or your followers may want to see it. They would be welcome to visit as you say. I tried to include the laypeople who may not be philosophers or have even seen the presentation. And I think it was remiss I did not discuss “reenactment of self” but I had problems with “self” i guess. Would reenactment of “ego consciousness” be clearer. My view of “Self” is more Jungian than Evan’s I guess. This is hugely important I think.

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      Very cool, I look forward to reading what you’ve written up! Thanks, Tony.

  6. dmf Avatar

    Matt, what do you make of his rejection of pan-theism/psychism/Whitehead?

    1. Matthew David Segall Avatar

      It seems to me that Evan was rejecting the Chalmers/Strawson version of panpsychism, wherein “mental” and “physical” are still treated as “states”/”substances.” I also reject this non-process-relational version of panpsychism (https://footnotes2plato.com/2013/07/01/panpsychism-and-philosophy/).

      I see Whitehead’s process-relational approach to ontologizing experience as more akin to phenomenology than the sort of speculative philosophy Evan want’s to distance himself from. Whitehead’s whole project, after all, was to ground the abstractions of science in concrete experience. I think his approach is not only compatible with, but complementary to the enactive approach. It gives a cosmological ground to what otherwise remains stuck in a sort of purgatory of phenomenological bracketing. Lars Marstaller has written a fascinating paper that shows point by point how Whitehead’s and Husserl’s analyses of experience line up, making the case for a “Whiteheadian neurophenomenology”: http://concrescence.org/index.php/ajpt/article/download/74/38

      Evan hasn’t yet taken the time to explore what Whitehead’s approach has to offer to ontologically rounding out the enactive approach, so far as I can tell. But in conversation about it he certainly seems open to this possibility. He falls back upon “neutral monism” for now, which to my mind still remains too caught up in how the world appears to human consciousness, how we represent reality (as either physical or mental), and is in that sense not speculative enough. Though again, I think Whitehead’s form of experientially grounded speculative philosophy (where the idea is to find the most basic features of human experience and then ruthlessly generalize them) breaks us out of the suffocating correlationist bubble.

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