Friday, February 16, 2018

Evolution, Subjectivity and Purpose

[edit December 2018: This post is based on a recently published paper in Cosmos and History.]

'I think there is a bomb lodged in the foundations of science that may be about to go off. It is a bomb that Charles Darwin inadvertently set ticking, William James exposed for all to see - and which 20th century thought has done its best to try and bury.'

So wrote organic chemist and author Graham-Cairns Smith nearly twenty years ago. The bomb which he was referring to is William James'  evolutionary argument for the causal efficacy of consciousness (hereafter, ‘the evolutionary argument’). Although no bomb has gone off since Cairns-Smith's words, the issues the evolutionary argument present for scientific materialism remain.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Hope, Panpsychism and Utopia

Two of the principal concerns of German philosopher Ernst Bloch (1885 - 1997) were the concepts of hope and utopia. Bloch argued that a future utopia, whilst not a certainty, was a distinct possibility. Integral to this argument was the view there was a dynamic subjectivity  inherent in the natural world.