Theology of Nature Templeton research proposal, shelved : (

Several weeks ago, I submitted a proposal for a Templeton Foundation research fellowship called "God and the Book of Nature: Science-engaged Theology of Nature." I just heard back from the review committee that my proposal was not selected. : ( Oh well. I thought I'd share my cover letter and shelved (for now) research proposal. [...]

Genes v. Organisms in Biological Explanation (responding to the Dawkins v. Weinstein debate)

Here's the recent debate between Richard Dawkins and Bret Weinstein on the relationship between cultural and biological evolution: Here are two response videos from me arguing for the relevance of Francisco Varela and Evan Thompson et al.'s theory of autopoiesis and Alfred North Whitehead's Philosophy of Organism:   Some relevant essays that [...]

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 [...]

Towards a new root image in natural science…

Here is anthropologist Anne Buchanan on the post-truth era in natural science. I was reminded of my post on the federally-funded Brain Initiative a few years ago. Buchanan includes geneticist Ken Weiss' list of facts that do not fit the reductionistic paradigm of "normal science" in biology at the end of her post. Weiss and Buchanan [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

No Newton of the Grass Blade: On the impossibility of scientific genius in Kant’s “Critique of Judgment”

In preparation for a lecture on mind and nature in German Idealism, I'm working my way through Kant's third of three critiques, the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790). Prior to this sitting, I've only ever spent time with small sections of this text. For example, sections 75 and 76 in the second part [...]

“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 [...]

Robert Rosen and Friedrich Schelling on Mechanism and Organism

I've been reading some of the theoretical biologist Robert Rosen's essays on the relationship between biology and physics and can't help but compare him to Friedrich Schelling. Rosen writes: [Contemporary physics embodies] a mechanistic approach to biological phenomena, whose only alternative seems to be a discredited, mystical, unscientific vitalism. [It] supposes biology to be a [...]

On the need for mediating concepts…

I posted this on FaceBook in a thread about humanities departments needing to get over Aristotle's biology and was told to stop spamming, so I suppose I'd better just post it here instead. ................. If contemporary biology is going to throw out "purpose" and "essence" as concepts, it needs to throw out correlate concepts like [...]