Organic Science in Schelling and Whitehead

A lecture from last week’s class Brief History of Western Thought on Romanticism and the crisis of modern science as it played out in the organic nature philosophy of Schelling and Whitehead.

response to R. Scott Bakker on transcendental phenomenology and BBT

Anyone who posits some form of efficacy or constraint outside the natural order on the basis of some kind of interpretation of ‘experience’ has the same argumentative burden to discharge: How do you know? What justifies such an extraordinary (supernatural) posit?…What makes the question so pressing now is that their instrument, reflection, has finally found…

Ecologies of Space-Time in Organic Ontologies

Adam over at Knowledge-Ecology threw a great post up concerning ethology, ecology, and time. Here is a sneak peek: “The organism is not an entity acting from within space and time; rather, the organism is an active generator of space-time, enfolding both into a complex ecology that flows from organisms and their behavior. The ecosystem,…

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…

On the need for mediating concepts…

I posted this on FaceBook in a thread about humanities departments needing to get over Aristotle’s biology and was told to stop spamming, so I suppose I’d better just post it here instead. …………….. If contemporary biology is going to throw out “purpose” and “essence” as concepts, it needs to throw out correlate concepts like…

Responding to Michael about Root Images in the Philosophy of Nature

Several months ago, Michael (who blogs at Archive Fire and contributes to synthetic_zero) posted a comment on a post of mine about philosophical vitalism. I’m just now getting around to responding to what for me were really helpful questions as I try to further flesh out my thoughts on etheric imagination. Michael writes: I like…

Is the Universe Alive?

In this episode of the “Through the Wormhole” series put together by Discovery Channel, Morgan Freeman asks, “Is the Universe Alive?” He builds on the ideas of a motley crew of scientists in order to learn to see life at multiple scales, including the computer scientists Juergen Schmidhuber (machines are alive) and Seth Lloyd (atoms think),…

[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…

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…

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….

Tilting at windmill materialism: Towards an Ontology of Organism (OoO)

Adam at Knowledge-Ecology has posted some reflections on the issues at stake in the confrontation between philosophical realism and philosophical materialism. Levi Bryant (Larval Subjects) and Michael (Archive-Fire) place their bets on materialism, while Graham Harman (Object-Oriented Philosophy) and Steven Shaviro (Pinocchio Theory) prefer realism. This isn’t the whole story, however. When we shift to…