Who is Alfred North Whitehead & What is Process Philosophy?

Environmental lawyer, philosopher, and fellow Whitehead enthusiast Tam Hunt and I started an email exchange a few weeks ago after I stumbled upon his interview with the physicist Carol Rovelli. Our emails grew into a pretty extensive conversation on all things Whitehead, which I am sharing below. We discuss the importance of Whitehead's ideas for [...]

Nietzsche’s and Whitehead’s post-nihilist pluralistic process philosophies (part 2)

Since my post a few days ago ("The 'innocence of becoming': Nietzsche, Whitehead, and Nihilism as a Pathological Transitional Stage between Monism and Pluralism"), I've re-read chapter 4 of William Connolly's The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism (2013). Here is his summation of that chapter, which compared Nietzsche's and Whitehead's process philosophies: "It [...]

[Space-Time in an Ontology of Organism] The Relevance of Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism to Contemporary Scientific Cosmology

Space-Time in an Ontology of Organism “The metrical properties associated with space-time should not be defined a priori, but should characterize the pattern of the environment that is inseparable from [the endurance of organisms].” -Stengers141   Whitehead’s amendments to the general theory of evolution follow from his desire to re-construct the theory on the basis [...]

[Whitehead’s Ontology of Organism] The Relevanceof Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism to Contemporary Scientific Cosmology

Whitehead’s Ontology of Organism “Lo! keen-eyed towering science, As from tall peaks the modern overlooking, Successive absolute fiats issuing. Yet again, lo!, the soul, above all science,...For it the entire star-myriads roll through the sky...For it the partial to the permanent flowing, For it the real to the ideal tends. For it the mystic evolution...” -Walt [...]

The Poetry of Philosophy: Wordsworth’s Poetic Vision of Nature in Light of Whitehead’s Cosmological Scheme

The aim of this essay is to read the nature poetry of William Wordsworth in light of the metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead, such that the epistemological and cosmological implications of the former are brought more fully into philosophical view. According to Victor Lowe, it is probable that no other man, save Plato, shaped the [...]

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 [...]

Whiteheadian thoughts on the thingliness of ideas (responses to Archive Fire and Knowledge Ecology)

Michael/Archive Fire and Adam/Knowledge Ecology are at it again, working to sort through the material, semiotic, and ideational strands of the cosmic mesh to figure out what is real and what isn't. In both positions, I detect a desire for ecological realism, the sort of realism where Santa Claus, mountain pine beetles, global capitalism, black [...]

Whitehead’s Divine Function (response to Knowledge Ecology)

Adam/Knowledge Ecology has responded to my comment about the role of the divine in Whitehead's metaphysical scheme. Let me say at the get go that Whitehead himself acknowledged that he didn't sufficiently work out the relationship between God and the World in Process and Reality. I approach Whitehead's scheme, then, as a hacker might go [...]

Returning to Whitehead…

After finishing my first comprehensive exam on Schelling, its now time to dive back into Whitehead. For starters, Adam over at the new minimalist Knowledge Ecology has recently been posting brilliant snippets of what I believe is a longer tract he is writing about the ecology of ideas. Here is one titled "The Alien Light": On [...]

The Power of Adjectives: Two Poems on Imagination by Patrick Lane and P. K. Page

"Albino Pheasants" (1977) by Patrick Lane  At the bottom of the field where thistles throw their seeds and poplars grow from cotton into trees in a single season I stand among the weeds. Fenceposts hold each other up with sagging wire. Here no man walks except in wasted time. Men circle me with cattle, cars [...]

Asking Terrence Deacon about Whitehead’s Reformed Platonism

A few weeks back, Jason/Immanent Transcendence asked me if I'd like to start a reading group with him this summer for Terrence Deacon's new book. A few days later, I found out he'd be lecturing in San Francisco... I was impressed and hope to encourage more of you to join our reading/discussion group! I've transcribed the [...]

Responses to Archive Fire and Immanent Transcendence: Egos, Ideas, and Eternal Events

Jason/Immanent Transcendence and Michael/Archive Fire have been continuing the discussion that began almost two weeks ago HERE and HERE. In his latest response to me, Michael writes: Matt wants to think the Absolute (unity), with an eye towards cultivating the existential implications which flow from an acquaintance therein, while I want to think the Possible (multiplicity), with a wonky fish [...]

Whitehead and the Role of Ideas in the Universe: A Psychedelic Experiment

"[In the philosophy of organism], the actualities constituting the process of the world are conceived as exemplifying the ingression (or 'participation') of other things which constitute the potentialities of definiteness for any actual existence. The things which are temporal arise by their participation in the things which are eternal. The two sets are mediated by [...]

Formal Causality and Materialism

There have been a flurry of responses recently to an exchange between Michael/Archive Fire and I regarding formal causality (also, be sure to read Adam/Knowledge Ecology's comments over on Archive Fire for a nice defense of Whitehead). Jason/Immanent Transcendence posted some of his reflections, relating the issue to the old debate between realists and nominalists. [...]

Whitehead, Eternal Objects, and God

Those who take the time to familiarize themselves with Whitehead's philosophy are almost always lead to praise him for the originality of his thought. He dissolves many longstanding problems by rooting abstract disembodied reason in concrete feelings of inheritance. The subject-to-object vector of the Kantian school of philosophy is reversed, such that the structure of [...]