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

Category: Levi Bryant

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

    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 […]


  • Philosophy of Mythology and Revelation (h/t Schelling)

    I meant to post this back in August when Levi Bryant finally started blogging again, but it somehow got stuck in my drafts (a veritable grave yard of unfinished thoughts and undead ideas). The philosophical spirit Bryant expresses in his writing is rather unique in its capacity to inspire me to resist. I am very grateful to him for this. […]


  • Towards an Aesthetic Ontology: Beauty, Sublimity, and Infinity

    “Two things fill the mind with ever-renewing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind is drawn to think of them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” So says Kant in the conclusion to his Critique of Practical Reason. He goes on to explain that neither the […]


  • Beyond Materialism and Idealism, a Philosophy of Organism?

    Levi Bryant offered some ideas about materialism earlier this week over at Larval Subjects. I read and commented on his post while screeching through the BART transbay tube on my commute home from work. My comment, asking about “ontological constructivism,” was rushed and ill formed. Now that I’m moving more slowly, and have a keyboard large enough for all ten of […]


  • Shaviro on Harman and Whitehead: Process- vs. Object-Oriented Philosophies

    Harman credits Whitehead for being one of the few daring philosophers “to venture beyond the human sphere” (Guerrilla Metaphysics, 190). Both thinkers share a commitment to anthrodecentrism. They de-center the human by insisting upon a flat ontology, a theory of Being wherein every being exemplifies the same set of metaphysical categories, whether that being be God, or human, […]


  • The Pluralism Wars Return: Towards a Diplomatic Ontology of Organism

    I was wondering how long the cease fire would last… The pluralism wars flared up again this afternoon over on FaceBook (this link may not work for everyone). Misunderstandings abound, or so it seems to me. My position–which is greatly indebted to thinkers like James and Whitehead, and more recently, Bruno Latour–is that of ontological pluralism. What is finally real […]


  • Process, Relationality, and Individuality: Graham Harman and Alfred Norht Whitehead (response to Jonathan Cobb)

    Relevant links to the argument between me, Levi Bryant, and Graham Harman: Levi Bryant Mis-reading Whitehead? Harman’s response to me Whitehead’s Process Atomism (Response to Graham Harman) Object as subject-superject, or why Harman is wrong about Whitehead Occasionalism in Whitehead and Harman Harman’s Crucified Objects and Whitehead’s God: More on Withdrawal    


  • Letters on Cosmology and Theodicy

    Below, I’ve copied an email thread with Dan Dettloff, who blogs at Re(-)petitions. I thought some of our other readers might want to chime in. Actually, I’d really like to hear other people’s responses to Dan’s question. I’ve not arrived at a satisfying answer to it, but I do think getting past “the problem of evil” will require a far […]


  • Building Shared Environments: Towards a Pluriversal Theory and Practice

    The videos below are philosophical dialogues, first with the artist and YouTuber Mike Vahl and second with Professor Corey Anton. Both a relevant preface for the third video on pluralism and process-relational cosmology, which is largely a response to the recent blogosphere pluralism wars:


  • Life in the Pluriverse: Towards a Realistic Pluralism

    Levi Bryant recently called for a cross-blog discussion concerning what he perceives to be the problematic relationship between ethnographic pluralism and ontological realism. His call was instigated by Jeremy Trombley’s post on the so-called “ontological turn” in contemporary anthropology and ethnography. Trombley articulated what might be described as an ontology of the concept, wherein concepts […]


  • Towards a “Thermopolitics” (question for Levi Bryant)

    Levi Bryant just posted on what he is calling “thermopolitics.” He wants to shift the discourse in philosophy away from its exclusive focus on linguistic analysis and the critique of ideological superstructures toward the energetics of the universe that provide the condition for their possibility. Bryant writes: This is not a metaphor.  At this very […]


  • The Varieties of Materialism: Matter as the Play of Form

    Following up on my contribution to the Latour/AIME reading group, I wanted to say a bit more about the confused concept called “matter.” There are many varieties of materialism, but for the sake of time, let’s follow Robert Jackson by dividing them up into two basic categories: 1) that variety of materialism which understands matter […]


  • Thinking on a Walk in the Woods: The Ideality of Matter and the Materiality of Ideas

    Something of a response to Levi Bryant/LarvalSubjects on “hylephobia.” See also this post on the Astrality of Materiality.


  • Responding to Levi Bryant on the Question of Religion

    I’ve copied my response to Levi below: I’m glad you are not reducing all religion to the sort of literalism we’re both trying to critique (you from a scientific standpoint aimed at religion, me from a spiritual standpoint aimed at scientism). Regardless of what the majority of “believers” may think about the ontological status of […]


  • Reflections on nihilism as a belief system

    Levi Bryant initiated a string of blog posts on nihilism with his “axioms for a dark ontology.” Attempts at Living followed HERE, and Bill Rose Thorn HERE. Both of them accept Bryant’s ontological purposelessness, but raise the important issue of developing a “post-nihilistic praxis” (see this great post by Michael/Archive Fire from last year on what […]


  • Vitalism in Philosophy: “The stars are the fountain veins of God.” -Böhme

    Levi Bryant is pulling his hair out about vitalist philosophy (a title he gives to the work of Bergson, Whitehead, and Deleuze, among others). I read all three as materialists, though of course it is a rather strange sort of materialism replete with God-making machines, physical feelings, and alchemical metallurgy. Nonetheless, their philosophical work, especially Whitehead’s, couldn’t […]


  • The Varieties of Naturalistic Philosophy

    If a pushy philosopher were to back me into a corner and force me to choose one or the other, naturalism or supernaturalism, I would choose naturalism. But I’d find myself wanting to ask, as Socrates might, what is meant by “nature”? Physics becomes metaphysics as soon as the word–”nature”–is pronounced. The logos of language […]


  • Whitehead’s Process Atomism (response to Graham Harman)

    Graham Harman has jumped in offering his own response to my recent comment directed at Levi Bryant regarding his interpretation of Whitehead. The core issue, for Harman, is whether Whitehead’s position is ultimately reducible to some form of relationism, wherein an actual occasion is no more than the sum of its prehensions, or whether Whitehead’s […]


  • Levi Bryant Misreading Whitehead?

    Re-posting my comment to Bryant’s recent criticism of Whitehead and process-relational thought below: Levi, I’m not so sure treating an actual occasion as a “bundle of prehensions” is at all faithful to Whitehead’s scheme. Maybe you arguing that some other aspect of his thought forces him into an inconsistency on this point? If that’s not […]


  • Whitehead’s Endo-Theology

    Levi Bryant/Larval Subjects has laid down a clear and clarifying plumb-line definition for a contentious word that finds itself being thrown around the OOO blogosphere from time to time:  Correlationism. It has a fascinating biography. Harman recently offered his version of its history and conceptual origin. Bryant’s was a very helpful post for me. His […]


  • Immanent Law, Transcendent Love, and Political Theology

    I’m going to attempt to clarify my own position in relation to that of Levi Bryant’s on the issue of the potential role of religion in revolutionary politics. Bryant has toned down the diatribe, offering two substantive posts over at Larval Subjects, as well as several comments to me here at Footnotes. I’ll try to lay […]