No, not really… But the Chronicle of Higher Ed has an interesting piece on leading panpsychist philosopher David Skrbina called The Unabomber’s Pen Pal. It turns out that Skrbina has been corresponding with Ted Kaczynski as part of his study of the philosophy of technology.
Tag Archive: panpsychism
Since there isn’t much available in English about Philippe Descola’s writings on animism, I thought I would share a piece of the cosmopolitics argument I mentioned in my last post. It will appear, in modified form, in the concluding chapter of the SAR Press volume mentioned there. Most of the volume will consist of ethnographic case studies from around the world, but these will be informed by the theoretical conversations of the week we spent at the School of Advanced Research in Santa Fe.
Following this excerpt I have added some comments relating the ideas (discussed here) of Descola, Latour, and Stengers to some of the concepts I’ve been working with from Whitehead, Peirce, and the fields/discourses of biosemiotics and panpsychism. I haven’t seen these connections made (in this way, at least) in any of the literature by or on these authors, and I’m still working out these ideas myself, so that part is work-in-progress.
From animism to cosmopolitics
Animism, like the “primitive,” “pagan,” and “savage,” but also like “religion” itself, is a term has been used to classify cultural difference into a hierarchically valenced series: animists, for Edward Tylor and other evolutionists, were thought to have maintained a “lower” and more “primitive” conception of the universe, one peopled by spirits and with objects being ascribed human characteristics. In Tylor’s view, the animist “stage” of belief was followed by a polytheistic one, and in turn by a monotheistic one. This evolutionism has since been largely rejected, and more recently, a loose coterie of anthropologists and scholars of religion have reappropriated the term “animism” to mean something rather more interesting (Bird-David 1999; Descola 2005, 2006, 2009; Harvey 2006; Ingold 2000; Viveiros de Castro 1992, 2004). View full article »
I’ve been perusing Kvond’s wonderful Spinozist blog Frames /Sing, which synthesizes in-depth readings of Spinoza alongside a broad interest in ontology, biology, semiosis (including biosemiotics), Deleuze, Latour, Heidegger, and much else, and generates insightful discussion with a coterie of other bloggers. For anyone interested, here’s a short list of some possibly entry points into his thinking, which resonate with some of what I’ve been trying to get started here:
Why Spinoza? A historical, sociological argument – A good place to start.
The problem with Spinoza’s panpsychism – I’m working on figuring out the relations and distinctions between panpsychism or panexperientialism (in their different forms, including Whitehead’s), pantheism, panentheism, poly-isms of various sorts (polytheism, polypsychism), and systems theories ranging from Gregory Bateson’s semiotics, Joanna Macy’s (and others’) Buddhist ontology, Manuel DeLanda’s Deleuzianism, et al., so expect more on all these topics.