Friday, December 31, 2004

Whitehead's Theory of Perception

Whitehead’s theory or perception is integral to Whiteheadian panexperientialism. In particular, his analysis of ‘perception in the mode of causal efficacy’ lays the basis for the generalisation of elements of directly experienced feeling to the whole of nature. His theory of perception can also stand on its own and be fruitfuly utilised by other forms of panexperientialism, which may not be sympathetic to other aspects of Whitehead’s thought.

Whitehead, Abstruseness and Emotion

One of the barriers to the wider appreciation of the philosophy of Whitehead has been the denseness, difficulty and near impenetrability of some of his writings. Secondary commentaries on Whitehead are also often weighed down with technical, obscure and arcane terminology and argumentation.

In my view, Whitehead’s cosmology can be usefully understood as a characterisation of the world as an ocean of interplaying emotions. The best method of comprehending this may often be with an aesthetic frame of mind, rather than with the logician’s scalpel.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Placebo Effect

Here is a (fairly crudely argued) essay I wrote in 1992, which sparked my interest in all things panexperiential:

Mind, Body and Affect: A Reconceptualisation of the Placebo Effect

It is commonplace to say that the placebo effect and related phenomena constitute a nexus at which the natural and social sciences converge. Like psychosomatic disorders, ‘Voodoo Death’, Culture-bound reactive syndromes and so forth, the placebo effect provides valuable material for interdisciplinary research. Yet the inherent mind-body dualism of all the sciences has hampered such research to date. The purpose of this paper is to put forward an alternative conceptual model for analysing these phenomena.