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 [...]

Evolutionary Panpsychism v. Eliminative Materialism: Towards an Anthrodecentric Philosophy of Nature

A talk I gave at my graduate program's retreat at Esalen a few weeks ago. Part 1: Part 2: A comment by media theorist and professor of communication Corey Anton about what I say around the 3 minute mark of part 2 about the death/rebirth mystery of cosmogenesis: Corey Anton: Hi Matt, Thanks again. A [...]

Unnecessary Mechanism: A Reply to R. Scott Bakker

"The machinery of the brain does all the work–after all, what else is there? What [Cain] calls ‘thinking of science in normative terms’ is a mechanistic enterprise, something our brains do. Since metacognition is all but blind to the mechanistic nature of the brain, it cognizes cognition otherwise, in nonmechanical, acausal, magical terms. Normative judgements, intentional relations, and so [...]

Centropy, Entropy, and Ethics in the Universe

Levi Bryant recently posted about Entropy. He writes: Entropy is the measure of order in any system. In this regard, to take a rough and ready criterion, the more probable it is that a particular element is located anywhere in a system the more entropy that system embodies. By contrast, the more improbable the location of an element in a system, theless entropic that system is. [...]

After Finitude and Fideism comes Speculative Christianity?

Quetin Meillassoux is an important philosopher, according to Graham Harman, "not from the fact that he is plausibly right about so many things, but because his philosophy offers such a treasury of bold statements ripe for being radicalized or reversed. He is a rich target for many still-unborn intellectual heirs, and this is what gives [...]

Religion and Philosophy: The God Problem

The discussion continues over on Levi Bryant's blog. Bryant agrees with me that Whitehead's conception of God does not fall prey to many of the ethical and epistemological criticisms he levels against traditional theism. But he fails to understand the problem that Whitehead's God is purported to have solved. Whitehead's style of philosophizing has much [...]

SR/OOO and Nihilism: a response to Harman and Bryant

I've already posted a short response to Harman, but I wanted to re-visit the issues explored in that post concerning the difference between Homo Sapiens, as an object among objects, and the Anthropos, as an ideal toward which every object tends. I will also try to disentangle my own "cosmotheandric" position from the generic anti-nihilism [...]

Thinking etho-ecology with Stengers and Whitehead

I've been reading Stengers' recently translated book Thinking with Whitehead (2011) with an eye to developing an eco-ontology, or ecological realism. Adam and I are still in the process of searching for an adequate characterization for this project, but in nuce, we want to untangle the ethical, epistemological, cosmological, and ontological knot that is the ecological [...]

The Myth of Eliminativism

Tim Morton drew my attention to this post about the demise of the humanities due to neoliberal economic policies grounded in the supposed truth of neurocomputational eliminativism. I agree with Morton's appraisal, that the eliminative materialism that seems to be gaining favor among philosophers (like Ray Brassier) offers little in the way of new theoretical [...]

The Logic of Life and the Life of Logic

I've just finished Eugene Thacker's After Life, wherein he surveys the positions of key pre-modern thinkers, including Aristotle, Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysius, Eriugena, Duns Scotus, Aquinas, and Nicholas of Cusa. Despite the often illuminating nature of their thoughts, it seems that none of these men were able to articulate a workable account of life-in-itself, at least not [...]

Towards a Christological Realism: Thinking the Correlation with Teilhard and Barfield

Preface Quentin Meillassoux's lucid text, After Finitude (2008), comes at a time when Continental philosophy finds itself engaging more closely with what might be called  "poetico-religious" modes of thought. Rationality of the Cartesian sort has been thoroughly deconstructed, and no longer seems capable of providing what it once promised: a clear and distinct picture of [...]

“Here Comes Everything” Speculative Realism Panel summary (via Knowledge-Ecology)

Adam Robbert has written a nice summary of the panel discussion last week (4/8) on Speculative Realism. I've pasted it below. For the audio from the event, click HERE. Here are a few reflections on last Fridays event “Here Comes Everything: An Introduction to Speculative Realism.” Video of the event will be posted later today (hopefully!). The [...]

The Ears, Eyes, and Mind of the Wor(l)d

What is language, and how did it evolve? The flurry of recent posts concerned with media ecology and the way the content of philosophical thinking depends upon the form in which it is expressed has redirected my attention to the significance of the Word. I think grammatically, which is to say that my alphabetic consciousness, [...]