What is Life? (Part 2)

Continuing a dialogue in the comments of my last post, particularly the question of whether rocks have agency... An organic realism would suggest that some processes within rocks do have varying degrees of agency. Crystallization is telic. Atoms are self-organizing ecopoietic agents. The periodic table of elements is a taxonomic hierarchy that sorts different species …

Schedule for our track at next week’s Whitehead/Ecological Civilization Conference

Section III: Alienation from Nature, How it Arose Track 3: Late Modernity and Its Re-Imagining (Lebus Hall, 201) Friday, June 5 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM Track Session #1a – Tam Hunt “Absent-minded science and the ‘deep science’ antidote” 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM Track Session #1b – Christian de Quincey “A Radical Science of …

The Threat of Panpsychism?: A response to Bernardo Kastrup

Bernardo Kastrup, a computer engineer who has written a few books on metaphysics, recently posted a short essay called "The Threat of Panpsychism: A Warning." I found the essay somewhat encouraging if only because it is another signal that contemporary philosophy (both within and outside academia) is moving beyond the tired "materialism v. anything else" debate and toward more interesting …

Beyond Materialism and Idealism, a Philosophy of Organism?

Levi Bryant offered some ideas about materialism earlier this week over at Larval Subjects. I read and commented on his post while screeching through the BART transbay tube on my commute home from work. My comment, asking about "ontological constructivism," was rushed and ill formed. Now that I'm moving more slowly, and have a keyboard large enough for all ten of …

Evolutionary Panpsychism v. Eliminative Materialism: Towards an Anthrodecentric Philosophy of Nature

A talk I gave at my graduate program's retreat at Esalen a few weeks ago. Part 1: Part 2: A comment by media theorist and professor of communication Corey Anton about what I say around the 3 minute mark of part 2 about the death/rebirth mystery of cosmogenesis: Corey Anton: Hi Matt, Thanks again. A …

John Cobb, Jr: Whitehead as the ecological alternative to Scientific Materialism

Scientists like to contrast themselves with others by their faithfulness to evidence.  Sadly, they resist evidence that does not fit their pre-commitments.  Aristotelian scientists at the papal court refused to look through the telescope because they would see what did not fit their philosophical convictions about the heavenly bodies.  Modern scientists have all along ignored …