Cosmic Pessimism: Response to a post by S.C. Hickman

The Visions of Eternity, by reason of narrowed perceptions, Are become weak Visions of Time & Space, fix’d into furrows of death. -William Blake Read the engaging and wide-ranging post here: The Cosmology of Nick Land: Bataille, Gnosticism, and Contemporary Physics I have noticed my own tendency to waver between a less extreme version of the cosmic pessimism Hickman describes…

Entheogens and Cosmos, the sequel [a lecture for ERIE @ CIIS this Sunday on psychedelics and the extended mind thesis]

The Entheogenic Research, Integration, and Education student group at the California Institute of Integral Studies has invited me to speak again about the philosophical, cosmological, and psychological significance of psychedelics. In case you missed it, here is my first talk for ERIE back in September called “The Psychedelic Eucharist–toward a pharmacological philosophy of religion”: I attempted to link Plato…

Soul-Making vs the Blind Brain Theory

Steven Craig Hickman recently posted a fascinating commentary on the fantasy writer R. Scott Bakker’s “Blind Brain Theory.”  I’ve offered several of my own commentaries in the past (see HERE). My general sense of unease seems to be shared by Hickman, who ponders towards the end of his post whether Bakker’s BBT might be more…

Responding to comments about Bakker’s “blind brain theory”

Discussion has continued beneath my last post about Bakker. Below are a few of my comments there: rsbakkar writes: I advert to common idiom when discussing theoretical incompetence, but it certainly doesn’t turn on any commitment to representationalism – even less correspondance! The fact is, people regularly get things wrong in what appear to be…

Speculations on Obama’s Brain Initiative

Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Health and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006), introduces President Obama as the “scientist-in-chief.” Collins’ “BioLogos” theory is a brand of theistic evolution I have to admit I am not all that familiar with. But I do think he is…

Conversations about consciousness…

…with John Searle last night. Related articles Consciousness: Problem, Paradox, or Practice? (footnotes2plato.com) The Mystery of Consciousness (samharris.org)

James Hillman on the folly of reducing mind to brain.

From The Soul’s Code by James Hillman, p. 150-154: The upshot of genetic studies leads in two (!) directions: a narrow path and a broad one. The narrow road heads toward simplistic, monogenic causes. It wants to pinpoint bits of tissue and correlate them with the vast complexity of psychic meanings. The folly of reducing…

Pushing back against Positivism

I felt like giving my two cents over at Pharyngula again. My response is copied below. I fear I repeat myself too much, but I just can’t help offering philosophical resistance whenever I come across scientism. Humanity has no future if meaning continues to be reduced to the measurable and culture to the technologically useful….