This paper intends to give a philosophical analysis of the concepts of consciousness and rationality, and particularly to display the correlation existing between what is usually called the “normal state of consciousness” and what should be called the “normal state of rationality”. Eventually, it draws consequences for the correlation existing between “altered/aberrant states of consciousness” and “altered/aberrant rationality”. Although it argues from a broad phenomenological perspective, its grounding technicalities belong to the field of process thought, as fleshed out by the (...) later Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947). (shrink)
Although Whitehead’s particular style of philosophizing--looking at traditional philosophical problems in light of recent scientific advances--was part of a trend that began with the scientific revolutions in the early 20th century and continues today, he was marginalized in 20th century philosophy because of his outspoken defense of what he was doing as “metaphysics.” Metaphysics, for Whitehead, is a cross-disciplinary hermeneutic responsible for coherently integrating the perspectives of the special sciences with one another and with everyday experience. The program of such (...) a meta-discipline is challenging to philosophical orthodoxy because it enlarges, rather than narrows, the range of empirical evidence that philosophy must acknowledge. This places Whitehead’s philosophy in a perennial tradition that seeks to resolve fundamental antinomies through synthesis and reconciliation rather than reduction or elimination. (shrink)
The Introduction highlights the three main themes of the book: (1) the ontological and epistemological status of everyday human consciousness, (2) the distribution of consciousness in the natural world, and (3) panpsychism. The individual contributions to the book are summarized and related literature is briefly discussed.
This collection opens a dialogue between process philosophy and contemporary consciousness studies. Approaching consciousness from diverse disciplinary perspectives—philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, neuropathology, psychotherapy, biology, animal ethology, and physics—the contributors offer empirical and philosophical support for a model of consciousness inspired by the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947). Whitehead’s model is developed in ways he could not have anticipated to show how it can advance current debates beyond well-known sticking points. This has trenchant consequences for epistemology and suggests fresh and (...) promising new perspectives on such topics as the mind-body problem, the neurobiology of consciousness, animal consciousness, the evolution of consciousness, panpsychism, the unity of consciousness, epiphenomenalism, free will, and causation. Contents: Introduction, Michel Weber & Anderson Weekes I. Setting the Stage 1. Process Thought as a Heuristic for Investigating Consciousness, Michel Weber & Anderson Weekes 2. Whitehead as a Neglected Figure of 20th Century Philosophy, Michel Weber & Anderson Weekes 3. Consciousness as a Topic of Investigation in Western Thought, Anderson Weekes 4. Whitehead’s Unique Approach to the Topic of Consciousness, Anderson Weekes II. Psychology and Philosophy of Mind 5. Consciousness as a Subjective Form, David Ray Griffin 6. The Interpretation and Integration of the Literature on Consciousness from a Process Perspective, Michael W. Katzko 7. Windows on Nonhuman Minds, Donald R. Griffin III. From Metaphysics to (Neuro)Science and Back Again 8. Panexperientialism, Quantum Theory, and Neuroplasticity, George W. Shields 9. The Evolution of Consciousness, Max Velmans 10. The Carrier Theory Of Causation, Gregg H. Rosenberg IV. Clinical Applications: Consciousness as Process 11. The Microgenetic Revolution in Contemporary Neuropsychology and Neurolinguistics, Maria Pachalska and Bruce Duncan MacQueen 12. From Coma to Consciousness, Avraham Schweiger, Michael Frost, Ofer Keren 13. Consciousness and Rationality from a Process Perspective, Michel Weber V. History (and Future?) of Philosophy 14. Consciousness, Memory, and Recollection according to Whitehead, Xavier Verley 15. Consciousness and Causation in Light of Whitehead’s Phenomenology of Becoming, Anderson Weekes. (shrink)
The authors argue that the consciousness debate inhabits the same problem space today as it did in the 17th century. They attribute the lack of progress to a mindset still polarized by Descartes’ real distinction between mind and body, resulting in a standoff between humanistic and scientistic approaches. They suggest that consciousness can be adequately studied only by a multiplicity of disciplines so that the paramount problem is how to integrate diverse disciplinary perspectives into a coherent metatheory. Process philosophy is (...) well qualified to attempt such a synthesis. The rationale for the volume is summed up in the book's unifying thesis: normal, focal-attentive consciousness is not the sui generis phenomenon it is usually taken to be, but part of a wider spectrum of experience (including marginal, deviant, and non-human experience) that can only be studied by approaches as diverse as phenomenology, psycho- and neuropathology, biology, and zoology. (shrink)
This essay argues for two complementary theses, one pertaining to epistemology and the other to politics. First, unless philosophy adopts a radical empiricist standpoint and seeks the uttermost generalities, it cannot differentiate itself from yet another form of limited expertise and becomes useless. Second, both radical empiricism and imaginative pragmatism lead the philosopher towards the left end of the political spectrum, i.e., to a radically progressive politics.
This article is a review essay on James Maffie's recent book titled Aztec Philosophy: Understanding a World in Motion. I try to understand the nature and significance of Aztec philosophy when interpreted as a version of process philosophy.
Rationality and consciousness are strictly correlated. If one evolves, the other necessarily changes accordingly. Of all the possible modes of inquiry, this paper adopts a process genetic perspective informed by the historical speculations of Julian Jaynes. First, we co-define consciousness and rationality. Second, we take up again Jaynes’s insight: consciousness has a history, or consciousness has a pre-history. Third, we underline that the sharpening of operational rationality has involved a palpable impoverishment of consciousness over the ages and nefarious consequences for (...) our future. (shrink)
Cette étude introduit au problème de la vie dans l’œuvre d’Alfred North Whitehead à l’aide d’un examen de ses conférences de Chicago . D’une part, il s’agira de comprendre l’inertie, voire l’inanition, dans laquelle la nature fut plongée par la science renaissante. D’autre part, on verra comment, et pourquoi, Whitehead propose de la ranimer à la suite de la physique des champs. Cinq traits seront respectivement mis en évidence et une courte conclusion ouvrira le débat science/sens commun.This paper provides an (...) introduction to the problem of life in the work of Alfred North Whitehead through an examination of his Chicago lectures . On the one hand, the objective is to understand the inertia, indeed, the lifelessness into which nature was plunged by Renaissance science. On the other, it will be seen how, and why, Whitehead proposes to reanimate it consequent to a physics of fields. Five specular characteristics will be dealt with, and a short conclusion will open the debate between science and common sense. (shrink)
Cette étude dégage la critique de James de l’ontologie et de la psychologie de la substance en suivant une double piste : après avoir spécifié le contexte dans lequel se déploie l’argumentation jamesienne, on montre les difficultés qu’affronte la pensée substantialiste et la réponse qu’apporte, parfois implicitement, James. On montre particulièrement la corrélation qui existe entre la pensée du processus et une nouvelle conception de la conscience.