“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
–Alfred North Whitehead

Tag: life

  • Human Energy Project podcast interview by David Sloan Wilson

    Bruce Damer and I joined David Sloan Wilson on the Human Energy Project podcast for a conversation about the Hot Spring Abiogenesis Hypothesis and its cosmological implications. This was recorded late last year. Transcript available.


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

    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 expand on the […]


  • Panpsychist Physicalism

    Panpsychist Physicalism

    [Written partially as a response to some discussion over in The Skeptical Zone]: Physicalism is the idea that the universe is fundamentally composed of entirely blind, deaf, dumb–DEAD–particles in purposeless motion through empty space. For some reason, these dumb particles follow the orders of a system of eternal mathematical laws that, for some reason, the […]


  • What is Life? (Response to Joe Norman)

    Sharing my reply below to a brilliant series of thoughts concerning the essence of life at Joseph W. Norman’s blog (CLICK HERE TO READ IT). Joe, Thanks for pointing out the relevance of N. Taleb’s distinction between randomness and an agent’s exposure to randomness for the question of “life.” Much to ponder here… My friendship with […]


  • Panpsychism and Emergentism: a discussion with ProfessorAnton

    I posted Neil Theise’s video “Complexity Theory & Panpsychism” on FaceBook last week, and Corey Anton posted a response criticizing panpsychism and defending his own emergentist perspective. Their videos are below. Corey and I have gone back and forth on this issue a number of times over the years. I posted a set of responses to […]


  • Ongoing Dialogue with Professor of Media Theory Corey Anton

    Corey’s video: My response:


  • 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 […]


  • Thinking with rocks.

    These rocks, stacked by human hands along a canyon creek near Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, are not simply aggregates or piles. Neither are they simply the freely created artwork of humans. The left-hand stack of eleven rocks (if you count earth) towers toward the sky, together with its local and cosmic ecologies achieving […]


  • Response to Knowledge-Ecology about Dawkins, Evolution, and Creationism

    Knowledge-Ecology recently posted his lament about the scientific ignorance of GOP presidential candidate Gov. Perry, who denies both evolution and climate change. Adam also mentioned his support for Richard Dawkins’ rebuttal. I might also count Dawkins as a political ally, but not as a cosmological ally. And since I, like Adam, struggle to avoid separating […]


  • Stories of Life, Tails of Spirit

    A set of videos exchanged this week between Fred (ConferenceReport on YouTube) and myself about the use-value of terms like “life,” “consciousness,” and “matter” in philosophical and scientific discourse:


  • 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 […]


  • Wittgenstein and Language

    What is language? Wittgenstein’s early project was to define language in the terms most familiar to the Western tradition, running through Augustine up until Russell. His aim was to show that all philosophy consisted in defining the logical form of sentences. A certain proposition was thought to be isomorphic to a certain event in the […]