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 [...]

Panpsychism: a brief reply to Massimo Pigliucci

 The Side View recently published an essay by Massimo Pigliucci titled "The Stoic God is Untenable in Light of Modern Science." Pigliucci is entering into a critical dialogue with a few other Side View authors, Brittany Polat and Kai Whiting, about how best to inherit from ancient Stoic philosophy.  I don't have a horse in the contemporary interpretations of [...]

On the Matter of Life: Towards an Integral Economics

I'm posting a revised version of a long essay I wrote a decade ago. It draws on thinkers including Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, William Irwin Thompson, Francisco Varela, Alfred North Whitehead, and Alf Hornborg in search of a more integral approach to economics. I had not yet encountered the social ecology [...]

Panpsychist Physicalism

[Written partially as a response to some discussion over in The Skeptical Zone]: Physicalism is the idea that the universe is fundamentally composed of entirely blind, deaf, dumb–DEAD–particles in purposeless motion through empty space. For some reason, these dumb particles follow the orders of a system of eternal mathematical laws that, for some reason, the [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

Science, Religion, and Philosophy: Responding to a conversation b/w L. Krauss, D. Dennett, and M. Pigliucci

Above is my response to the recent conversation between Krauss, Dennett, and Pigliucci. If you don't know the context of their meeting, see the links below. I agree with Dennett that cosmology is an area of natural science where we are not even close to being done with philosophy. My own small contribution to the [...]

Old White Guys Ventriloquising Nature

"Scientists, animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless, constitute an interesting subject for study." - A. N. Whitehead This is a round table discussion called "Moving Naturalism Forward." So far it is somewhat infuriating. There is no one there to problematize who should speak for nature. All of these dudes have signed the [...]

Reflections on Physicist Lawrence Krauss and the Consolations of Philosophy

Below is Lawrence Krauss from a recent interview in the Atlantic (Thanks to Jason/Immanent Transcendence for bringing this controversy to my attention): Krauss: ...Philosophy used to be a field that had content, but then "natural philosophy" became physics, and physics has only continued to make inroads. Every time there's a leap in physics, it encroaches on these areas that philosophers have carefully sequestered [...]

Schelling, Darwin, and the Romantic Conception of Life

I'm not yet midway through a thick tome by Prof. Robert J. Richards at the University of Chicago entitled The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (2002). It is soaked in personal details, the trysts and tears of the friends and lovers responsible for generating a literary and philosophical movement in [...]

A personal correspondence about the universe.

The following is an email exchanged with a good friend of mine doing doctoral work on complexity theory as it applies to neuroscience at Florida Atlantic University. My email is in response to this Science Daily article about a measured variance in a specific physical constant: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909004112.htm Perhaps I'll post his response when it comes [...]