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

Tag: nature

  • Reflections on Latour, Tarnas, and the Misenchantment of the World

    Before you read this post, go watch Bruno Latour’s recent Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, titled “Facing Gaia: A New Enquiry into Natural Religion” (or read the PDF version). I’ve written a few short commentaries on these lectures that may help bring you up to speed if you don’t have the 7 or 8 hours to […]


  • Bruno Latour’s 1st Gifford Lecture – “Once Out of Nature: Natural Religion as a Pleonasm”

    Bruno Latour (the infamous sociologist of science, …or famed political ecologist and anthropologist of the moderns) is delivering the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh. Above is his first lecture, “Once Out of Nature: Natural Religion as a Pleonasm.” In these lectures, Latour is attempting to prepare us (we moderns? we humans?) to meet […]


  • The Varieties of Naturalistic Philosophy

    If a pushy philosopher were to back me into a corner and force me to choose one or the other, naturalism or supernaturalism, I would choose naturalism. But I’d find myself wanting to ask, as Socrates might, what is meant by “nature”? Physics becomes metaphysics as soon as the word–”nature”–is pronounced. The logos of language […]


  • Thinking With Whitehead: Science, Sunsets, and the Bifurcation of Nature

    Thinking with Whitehead: The Scientific Revolution and the Bifurcation of Nature   The scientific revolution, beginning perhaps with Copernicus’ rediscovery of the heliocentric model of the solar system early in the 16th century, and culminating perhaps with Newton’s formulation of the laws of motion and universal gravitation towards the end of the 17th century, fundamentally […]


  • Isabelle Stengers on Cosmopolitics


  • Cosmic Self: a Uni-Verse

    It is with my own self-consciousness that I must begin… but I will confess, I am not yet certain of my own beginning, or even of my own uncertainty. Already I seem to have said too much: “I am”–how do I know that? Do I really exist? Can I claim self-consciousness as “my own” if […]


  • [Rough Draft] “The Re-Emergence of Schelling” – The difference between Hegel’s and Schelling’s system of philosophy

    For a PDF of the entire essay, click The Re-Emergence of Schelling: Philosophy in a Time of Emergency. The difference between Hegel’s and Schelling’s system of philosophy  Early in his philosophical career while still a high school teacher in Nuremberg,116 Hegel suggested that, as a schoolmaster of philosophy, he is committed to the belief that philosophy […]


  • Rough draft of research paper on Schelling’s Contemporary Re-Emergence

    I’ve just finished the rough draft of a comprehensive exam on the context of Schelling’s thought and the reasons for his contemporary resurgence (a list of recent scholarship). The most difficult section to write was definitely the one on the difference between he and Hegel’s approaches. I didn’t want to caricature Hegel, but nor did […]


  • Schelling on Nature, Humanity, and God (re-reading Iain Hamilton Grant)

    Last year, some colleagues and I at CIIS participated in a panel discussion on Speculative Realism called “Here Comes Everything.” My lecture drew primarily upon Grant’s text Philosophies of Nature After Schelling (2006). This summer, I’ve been doing research for a comprehensive exam on the recent resurgence of Schellingian philosophy (HERE is my reading list). I […]


  • Towards an Eco-Ontology

    Adam over at Knowledge Ecology has posted about the need for a pluralistic ontology in thinking the differences between nature and culture. I’ve copied my response to him below: ——————————————— Another stimulating post, Adam. I love the thinkers you are bringing into conversation. I have not yet read Carolan’s essay, but I have a few […]


  • Schelling and the Transcendental Abyss of Nature

    “What is essential in science is movement; deprived of this vital principle, its assertions die like fruit taken from the living tree.” –Schelling, The Ages of the World ——————————– The Copernican Revolution had the exoteric effect of throwing the Earth into motion, decentering human consciousness in the Cosmos. We, like the other planets, became a […]


  • Phenomenology and Reality, Philosophy and Nature

    Professor Corey Anton’s video about the impossibility of speculative realism, of an account of nature that doesn’t already include consciousness: My response, ending with an excerpt from Schelling‘s “Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature” :


  • Schelling’s Geocentric Realism

    I’ve been reading Iain Hamilton Grant‘s Philosophies of Nature After Schelling. He laments that most commentators treat Schelling as either a biocentric vitalist or a logocentric idealist. These characterizations ignore the extent to which his naturephilosophy corrects the eliminative idealism of Fichte’s and Hegel’s systems (which made nature’s externality entirely determined by intelligence) by grounding […]


  • Nature as Spirit’s Symbol

    Emerson believed that Nature was emblematic of Spirit, that Her productivity and instinctuality were symbolic expressions of Its creative intelligence. If this be true, then the philosopher’s desire for a romantic partner is analgous to his or her desire for wisdom. The two are both erotic desires, though the one be for flesh and blood, […]