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 …

What is Life? (Response to Joe Norman)

Sharing my reply below to a brilliant series of thoughts concerning the essence of life at Joseph W. Norman's blog (CLICK HERE TO READ IT). Joe, Thanks for pointing out the relevance of N. Taleb's distinction between randomness and an agent's exposure to randomness for the question of "life." Much to ponder here... My friendship with …

“Retrieving Realism: A Whiteheadian Wager” published in IJTS

Retrieving Realism: A Whiteheadian Wager (PDF) Published in International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, Volume 36, Issue 1 (2017) Abstract: This essay argues that the organic realism of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) provides a viable alternative to anti-realist tendencies in modern and postmodern philosophy since Descartes. The metaphysical merits of Whitehead’s philosophy of organism are unpacked in …

The Place of Life in the Cosmos (draft of 11th International Whitehead Conference paper)

Below is the draft of a paper I'll present at next week's International Whitehead Conference in the Azores. Feedback appreciated! 2017 International Whitehead Conference   Matthew T. Segall   The Place of Life in the Cosmos: Feeling the Origin of Organism   “A philosophic outlook is the very foundation of thought and of life. The …

“What if we talked politics a little?” By Bruno Latour

"If we are to accomplish the impossible feat of (re)composing a group from a multiplicity or, equally impossible, making a plurality obey a common order, it is necessary above all not to start with beings with fixed opinions, firmly established interests, definitive identities and set wills. This would guarantee failure, for any work of composition …

Slavery and Capitalism in America

I'm about halfway through The Half has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (2014) by Edward Baptist. Baptist's book embeds an economic history of post-revolutionary America in the personal stories of slaves. He brings into question the still dominant version of American history, "the half that has ever been told," which argues that slavery …