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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYzU-DoEV6k 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jx06_OY6gU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DnL0_fydic   Some relevant essays that [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]