Bruno Latour’s Gaian Political Aesthetics

Excerpted from Waiting for Gaia. “…it became possible for scholars to follow with the same instruments that allow us to trace the production of science (search engines, scientometrics and bibliometric tools, maps of the blogospheres), the people, lobbies, credentials, and money flows of those who insisted on making it a controversy. I am thinking here…

Facing Gaia with Bruno Latour

“…there is nothing about the Earth as Earth that we don’t know through the disciplines, instruments, mediations, and expansion of scientific networks: its size, its composition, its long history and so on. Even farmers depend on the special knowledge of agronomists, soil scientists and others. And this is even truer of the global climate: the…

Organic Science in Schelling and Whitehead

A lecture from last week’s class Brief History of Western Thought on Romanticism and the crisis of modern science as it played out in the organic nature philosophy of Schelling and Whitehead.

Slavery and Capitalism in America

I’m about halfway through The Half has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (2014) by Edward Baptist. Baptist’s book embeds an economic history of post-revolutionary America in the personal stories of slaves. He brings into question the still dominant version of American history, “the half that has ever been told,” which argues that slavery…

The Ecology of Capitalism

This post is largely in response to this interview with the ecological Marxist John Bellamy Foster. Foster spends most of his time responding to criticisms of his work by Jason W. Moore. I haven’t read Moore’s work, so I’m not sure whether the misunderstanding of Latour arose with him or with Foster’s characterization of the latters “constructionism”…

A talk on Ecodelic Philosophy at the Symbiosis Gathering

I’m headed back to the Symbiosis Gathering later this year. I’ll be offering a talk on the role of psychedelics–or “ecodelics” as author Richard Doyle refers to them–and the philosophical insights they engender that may be of service to steering through our planetary crisis. When ingested in carefully crafted ceremonial containers, ecodelics reveal the deeper connections and interpenetration of…

CIIS Commencement Speech 5/22

Thank you, President Subbiondo. Thanks also to our Academic Vice President Judie Wexler, to our honorary degree recipients Angela Davis and Josef Brinckmann, and to all CIIS faculty and staff for the work you have done to make this day possible for me and for my fellow graduates. I am a philosopher, which is not to…

In defense of other possibilities…

I always try to ration myself early in the month since I only get 10 free articles, but Charles Blow’s op-ed in the New York Times this morning–“A Trump-Sanders Coalition? Nah”–seemed worth the read. Blow rightly points out why Trump’s campaign manager is sorely mistaken about the prospects of winning over Bernie’s supporters in the general…

Essay republished in “Center for Ecozoic Studies Musings”

I forgot to link to this back in July, but Herman Greene, editor of the CES Musings newsletter, republished my essay Physics of the World-Soul: The Relevance of Alfred North Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism to Contemporary Scientific Cosmology (2013) in their December 2014 issue. You can find the PDF of the issue by clicking here. Or…

Latour building on Whitehead’s critique of substance

In Latour’s words, Whitehead replaced the concept of substance with that of subsistence. I appreciate Latour’s insistence on the need for the creation of institutions that encourage and sustain themselves through transformation. Question is, what would such institutions look like?

Religion, Ecology, Race, and Cultural Evolution

“Today we cannot ignore that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach and should integrate justice in discussions on the environment to hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” -Pope Francis (n.49) Pope Francis released his encyclical last week. The English translation is HERE. I have only…

Pope Francis an Integral Ecologist?

Next week, Pope Francis will release an encyclical on the role of Catholics in the ecological crisis.  According to John Grimm (Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University), “Francis will likely bring together issues of social justice and economic inequity into relationship with our growing understanding of global climate change and environmental trauma.” By…

Eric Smith on the geochemical inevitability of life on earth

For more from Smith, see this co-authored essay “The Origin of Life”: “As we see it, the early steps on the way to life are an inevitable, incremental result of the operation of the laws of chemistry and physics operating under the conditions that existed on the early Earth, a result that can be understood…