Reading “Incomplete Nature” by Terrence Deacon

Jason/Immanent Transcendence has written the first response for our summer reading group. Chapter 0 of Terrence Deacon‘s new book Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter introduces what he calls the “absential” features of the universe. According to Deacon, the defining property of every living or psychic system is that its causes are conspicuously absent from the […]

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Physicalism and Its Discontents: A Study in Whitehead’s Panexperientialist Alternative [draft]

UPDATE: Here is a PDF of the final draft accepted for publication under the revised title “The Varieties of Physicalist Ontology: A Study in Whitehead’s Process-Relational Alternative.” I’ve just finished drafting this article, which will hopefully be featured in a special issue of the Journal of Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences focused on panpsychism. It still […]

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What is Life? (Part 2)

Continuing a dialogue in the comments of my last post, particularly the question of whether rocks have agency… An organic realism would suggest that some processes within rocks do have varying degrees of agency. Crystallization is telic. Atoms are self-organizing ecopoietic agents. The periodic table of elements is a taxonomic hierarchy that sorts different species […]

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Video of my presentations at the 10th International Whitehead Conference on Friday (6/5) and Saturday (6/6)

Conference website. Friday, June 5th at 4:45pm: Whitehead’s Non-Modern Philosophy: Cosmos and Polis in the Pluriverse Saturday June 6th at 2:30pm: Religion in Human and Cosmic Evolution: Whitehead’s Alternative Vision I have a lot to say about some of the questions that came up during the discussion (~58 minutes into the video), especially the issues […]

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Religion in Human and Cosmic Evolution: Whitehead’s Alternative Vision

This was an early draft of a paper I presented at the 10th International Whitehead Conference. For video of the actual presentation, click HERE. ——————————— Abstract: This talk compares several approaches to the emergence of religion in human evolution. I contrast Robert Bellah’s and Alfred North Whitehead’s pluralistic, cosmologically oriented accounts to Daniel Dennett’s reductionistic, […]

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Towards an Ecological Metaphysics

Leon Niemoczynski (here) and Adam Robbert (here) have been having a productive back and forth regarding the prospect of an ecological metaphysics. Speculative Realism is not far afield of their conversation, with subslogans like “dark vitalism,” “new materialism,” and “bleak theology,” and key influences like Plato, Schelling, Nietzsche, and Deleuze, all hovering in the background. They […]

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Nietzsche’s and Whitehead’s post-nihilist pluralistic process philosophies (part 2)

Since my post a few days ago (“The ‘innocence of becoming’: Nietzsche, Whitehead, and Nihilism as a Pathological Transitional Stage between Monism and Pluralism“), I’ve re-read chapter 4 of William Connolly’s The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism (2013). Here is his summation of that chapter, which compared Nietzsche’s and Whitehead’s process philosophies: “It […]

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“Religion and Ecology: Developing a Planetary Ethic” by Whitney Bauman

“From a planetary perspective, truth is seen as the coconstruction of truth regimes. Our understandings of the world and the technologies of those understandings begin to create those worlds that we are persuaded most toward. In other words, one of the reasons modern science became so pervasive is that its truth regime–including the medical, communication, […]

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“Picking Holes in the Concept of Natural Selection” by Evan Thompson

The philosopher Evan Thompson (author of Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind) recently reviewed two books on the philosophy of biology: Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s What Darwin Got Wrong and Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly Wrong. Check it out HERE. Thompson […]

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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 […]

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[Quantum Decoherence and the Incompleteness of Nature] The Relevance of Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism to Contemporary Scientific Cosmology

Quantum Decoherence and the Incompleteness of Nature “[Creativity] prevents us from considering the temporal world as a definite actual creature. For the temporal world is an essential incompleteness.” -Whitehead188   Epperson argues that Whitehead’s account of the process of concrescence, the centerpiece of his metaphysical scheme, provides “an extremely precise, phase-by-phase exemplification” of contemporary “decoherence-based […]

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