•  25
    Integrating Biosemiotics and Biohermeneutics in the Quest for Ecological Civilization as a Practical Utopia
    Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 18 (2): 23-47. 2022.
    : ‘Ecological civilization’ has been put forward as a utopia, as this notion has been defended by Ernst Bloch and Paul Ricoeur. It is a vision of the future that puts into question that which presently exists, revealing its contingency while offering an inspiring image of the future that can mobilize people to create this future. Ecological civilization is a vision based on ecological thinking, seeing all life as interdependent communities of communities. Humanity’s place in nature is redefined …Read more
  •  211
    Creating a New Mathematics
    In Ronny Desmet (ed.), Intuition in Mathematics and Physics, Process Century Press. pp. 146-164. 2016.
    The focus of this chapter is on efforts to create a new mathematics, with my prime interest being the role of mathematics in comprehending a world consisting first and foremost of processes, and examining what developments in mathematics are required for this. I am particularly interested in developments in mathematics able to do justice to the reality of life. Such mathematics could provide the basis for advancing ecology, human ecology and ecological economics and thereby assist in the transfo…Read more
  •  58
    In “An introduction to phytosemiotics”, a masterwork of integration, Kalevi Kull defended Martin Krampen’s notion of phytosemiotics. In doing so, he developed the notion of vegetative semiosis. In a later work, he argued that vegetative semiosis is not a branch of semiotics, and so should not be identified with phytosemiotics. Rather, vegetative semiosis is a basic form of semiosis and the condition for animal semiosis, which in turn is the condition for cultural semiosis. All multi-celled organ…Read more
  •  116
    Life Processes as Proto-Narratives: Integrating Theoretical Biology and Biosemiotics through Biohermeneutics
    Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 18 (1): 210-251. 2022.
    The theoretical biology movement originating in Britain in the early 1930’s and the biosemiotics movement which took off in Europe in the 1980’s have much in common. They are both committed to replacing the neo-Darwinian synthesis, and they have both invoked theories of signs to this end. Yet, while there has been some mutual appreciation and influence, particularly in the cases of Howard Pattee, René Thom, Kalevi Kull, Anton Markoš and Stuart Kauffman, for the most part, these movements have de…Read more
  •  99
    The Hippocratic Oath is a code of ethics defining correct behaviour by physicians they are required to commit themselves to before being accepted into the profession. It was the first code of ethics for any profession. While originating in Ancient Greece, it subsequently evolved, but the current code still embodies many of the core injunctions of the original code. The most widely accepted current form is the 2006 The Declaration of Geneva by the World Medical Association to be taken before …Read more
  •  88
    Re-Embedding the Market: Institutionalizing Effective Environmentalism
    In Andrew M. Davis, Maria-Terisa Teixeira & Andrew Schwartz (eds.), Nature in Process: Organic Proposals in Philosophy, Society and Religion, Process Century Press. pp. 145-169. 2022.
    Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation diagnosed what had happened in the Nineteenth Century that led to poverty, increasingly wild economic fluctuations, increasingly severe depressions, and social dislocation and oppression on a massive scale – the market had been disembedded from communities which were then subjected to the imperatives of a supposedly autonomous market. In fact, such disembedding and imposition of these imperatives was a deliberate strategy developed as a means to impose ex…Read more
  •  85
    Civilization in Crisis: Editorial Introduction
    Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 17 (3): 1-7. 2021.
    This is the editorial introduction to the edition of Cosmos & History on Civilization in Crisis.
  •  106
    Internalizing Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic The Communitarian Perspective on Ecological Sustainability and Social Policy
    Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 17 (3): 397-420. 2021.
    It is clear that environmentalist are failing in their efforts to avert a global ecological catastrophe. It is argued here that Aldo Leopold had provided the foundations for an effective environmental movement, but to develop his land ethic, it is necessary first to interpret and advance it by seeing it as a form of communitarianism, and link it to communitarian ethical and political philosophy. This synthesis can then be further developed by incorporating advanced ideas in ecology and human eco…Read more
  •  204
    Ecological Civilization: What is it and Why it Should be the Goal of Humanity
    Culture Della Sostenibilità 27 (1): 8-23. 2021.
    In 2007 the Chinese government embraced ‘ecological civilization’ as a central policy objective of the government. In 2012, the goal of achieving ecological civilization was incorporated into its constitution as a framework for China’s environmental policies, laws and education, and was included as a goal in its five-year plans. In 2017, the 19th Congress of the Communist Party called for acceleration in achieving this goal. Expenditure on technology to ameliorate environmental damage, reduce po…Read more
  •  322
    This is Part 1 of an article aimed at defending Marx against orthodox Marxists to reveal the possibilities for overcoming capitalism. It is argued that Marx’s general theory of history as technological determinism along with his call for the dictatorship of the proletariat is inconsistent with his profound insights into alienation and commodity fetishism as the foundations of capitalism. Humanist Marxists focused on the latter in opposition to Orthodox Marxists, but without fully acknowledging t…Read more
  •  80
    This is Part 2 of an article aimed at defending Marx against orthodox Marxists to reveal the possibilities for overcoming capitalism. It is argued that Marx’s general theory of history is inconsistent with his profound insights into alienation and commodity fetishism as the foundations of capitalism. Humanist Marxists focused on the latter in opposition to Orthodox Marxists, but without fully acknowledging this inconsistency and its implications, failed to realize the full potential of Marx’s wo…Read more
  •  263
    It should now be recognized that codes are central to life and to understanding its more complex forms, including human culture. Recognizing the ‘conventional’ nature of codes provides solid grounds for rejecting efforts to reduce life to biochemistry and justifies according a place to semantics in life. The question I want to consider is whether this is enough. Focussing on Eigen’s paradox of how a complex code could originate, I will argue that along with Barbieri’s efforts to account for the …Read more
  •  741
    One of the most influential recent developments in supposedly radical philosophy is ‘posthumanism’. This can be seen as the successor to ‘deconstructive postmodernism’. In each case, the claim of its proponents has been that cultures are oppressive by virtue of their elitism, and this elitism, fostered by the humanities, is being challenged. In each case, however, these philosophical ideas have served ruling elites by crippling opposition to their efforts to impose markets, concentrate wealth an…Read more
  •  105
    Creating the Future
    Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible. 2021.
    “Creating the future” is a notion introduced by Alfred North Whitehead to define the task of universities and the function of philosophy. Implicitly, it is a rejection of the idea that the future is already determined, and in some sense, already exists, with the appearance of temporal becoming an illusion. “Creation” originally meant “the action of causing to exist”, or “a coming into being”. The “future” is not normally considered to be what can be created. Originally, it meant “yet to be”. It …Read more
  •  141
    The theoretical biologist Waddington drew attention to the damage to scientific progress by COWDUNG – the Conventional Wisdom of the Dominant Group. Despite Popper’s attack on what he called “the bucket theory of science”, that scientific knowledge accumulates incrementally, adding one fact after another, this is now conventional wisdom among biologists. Denis Noble is challenging not only the Neo-Darwinist orthodoxy dominating biology, but revealing the distortions of science produced by this b…Read more
  •  74
    The Liberal Arts, the Radical Enlightenment and the War Against Democracy
    In Luciano Boschiero (ed.), On the Purpose of a University Education, Australian Scholarly Publishing Ltd. pp. 67-102. 2012.
    Using Australia to illustrate the case, in this paper it is argued that the transformation of universities into businesses while the undermining of the liberal arts is motivated by either contempt for or outright hostility to democracy. This is associated with a global managerial revolution that is enslaving nations and people to the global market and the corporations that dominate it. The struggle within universities is the site of a struggle to reverse the gains of the Radical Enlightenment, t…Read more
  •  430
    The Eco-socialist Roots of Ecological Civilization
    Capitalism Nature Socialism 32 (1): 37-55. 2021.
    The notion of ecological civilisation has become central to Chinese efforts to confront and deal with environmental problems. However, ecological civilisation is characterized by its proponents in different ways. Some see it as simply an adjunct to the existing system designed to deal with current ecological crises. Its more radical proponents argue for a socialist ecological civilisation that should be developed globally and transform every part of society, changing the way people perceive, liv…Read more
  •  177
    In Palgave Encyclopedia of the Possible, Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1-9. 2020.
    ‘Speculation’ originally meant ‘reflective observation’. It came to mean ‘conjecture’ or ‘mere conjecture’ as philosophers strove for certainty, consecrating science as rigorously acquired knowledge accumulated through application of the scientific method and devalued the cognitive status of other discourses. The present conventional meaning of speculation, where the place of observation has disappeared, is a by-product of this consecration. In this entry I show how through efforts to defend the…Read more
  •  227
    Cosmos and History 16 (2): 165-181. 2020.
    There are few philosophers who have been so influential in their own lifetimes and had so much influence, only to be subsequently ignored, as Henri Bergson (1859-1941). When in April 1922, Bergson debated Einstein on the nature of time, it was Bergson who was far better known and respected. Now Einstein’s achievements are known to everyone, but very few people outside philosophy departments have even heard of Bergson. Following Friedrich Schelling and those he influenced, Bergson targeted the Ca…Read more
  •  77
    The argument presented here is that we live in a nihilistic culture founded on a nihilistic metaphysics, and to recover ethics it is not merely a matter of returning to virtue ethics, as called for by Alasdair MacIntyre, but the development of a new metaphysics and the incorporation of this into a new socio-economic order.
  •  330
    The concept of information and its relation to biosemiotics is a major area of contention among biosemioticians. Biosemioticians influenced by von Uexküll, Sebeok, Bateson and Peirce are critical of the way the concept as developed in information science has been applied to biology, while others believe that for biosemiotics to gain acceptance it will have to embrace information science and distance biosemiotics from Peirce’s philosophical work. Here I will defend the influence of Peirce on bios…Read more
  •  288
    Toward an Ecological Civilization - An Interview with Arran Gare
    with A. I. Kopytin
    Ecopoiesis: Eco-Human Theory and Practice 1 1-10. 2020.
    This interview focuses on Arran Gare’s thinking about ecological civilization and its relationship to a new theoretical ecology, strong democracy and political philosophy based on “ecopoiesis” or “home-making.” Gare believes that it is possible to create a global ecological civilization that empowers people to augment their ecological communities. Complex transformations of the social and economic organization of societies and a radical upheaval of our conceptions of what it means to be human ar…Read more
  •  141
    Report on the 19th annual Gathering in Biosemiotics in Moscow
    Sign Systems Studies 47 (3-4): 627-640. 2019.
    The Nineteenth Annual Biosemotics Gathering was hosted by the Philosophy Faculty of Lomonsov Moscow State University. That it was hosted by a philosophy faculty rather than a science faculty, and that it was hosted in Russia, are both significant. Biosemiotics is a challenge to mainstream biology, still struggling to gain acceptance despite the work of a great many researchers and a great many publications, along with nineteen annual biosemiotics gatherings. But it is much more than this, and th…Read more
  •  173
    Ecological Economics and Human Ecology
    In Michel Weber & William Desmond (eds.), Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, . pp. 161-176. 2008.
    While economic theory has been enormously influential since the eighteenth century, the level of dominance of culture, politics and ethics gained by it in the last few decades is unprecedented. Not only has economic theory taken the place of political philosophy and ethical discourse and imposed its own concepts and image of society on other social sciences, it has redefined the natural sciences through its own categories as nothing but instruments of production, investment in which is to be jud…Read more
  •  289
    Consciousness, Mind and Spirit
    Cosmos and History 15 (2): 236-264. 2019.
    The explosion of interest in consciousness among scientists in recent decades has led to a revival of interest in the work of Whitehead. This has been associated with the challenge of biophysics to molecular biology in efforts to understand the nature of life. Some claim that it is only through quantum field theory that consciousness will be made intelligible. Most, although not all work in this area, focusses on the brain and how it could give rise to consciousness. In this paper, I will suppor…Read more
  •  118
    Editorial: Regaining Sanity
    Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 19 (1): 1-9. 2019.
    This is the editorial to the special edition of Cosmos and History on 'Regaining Sanity'.
  •  501
    The fracture in the emerging discipline of biosemiotics when the code biologist Marcello Barbieri claimed that Peircian biosemiotics is not genuine science raises anew the question: What is science? When it comes to radically new approaches in science, there is no simple answer to this question, because if successful, these new approaches change what is understood to be science. This is what Galileo, Darwin and Einstein did to science, and with quantum theory, opposing interpretations are not me…Read more
  •  126
    Editorial: Creating the Future
    Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 14 (3): 1-9. 2018.
    Editorial to a special edition of 'Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy': Creating the Future, December, 2018.
  •  286
    Ethics, Philosophy and the Environment
    Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 14 (3): 219-240. 2018.
    Educated people everywhere now acknowledge that ecological destruction is threatening the future of civilization. While philosophers have concerned themselves with environmental problems, they appear to offer little to deal with this crisis. Despite this, I will argue that philosophy, and ethics, are absolutely crucial to overcoming this crisis. Philosophy has to recover its grand ambitions to achieve a comprehensive understanding of nature and the place of humanity within it, and ethics needs t…Read more