•  21
    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
  •  94
    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
  •  33
    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
  •  91
    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
  •  177
    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
  •  34
    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
  •  45
    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
  •  22
    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
  •  171
    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
  •  68
    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
  •  118
    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
  •  40
    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.
  •  140
    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
  •  204
    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
  •  86
    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
  •  117
    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
  •  199
    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
  •  69
    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'.
  •  303
    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
  •  92
    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.
  •  190
    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
  •  143
    Prior to the nineteenth century, those who are now regarded as scientists were referred to as natural philosophers. With empiricism, science was claimed to be a superior form of knowledge to philosophy, and natural philosophy was marginalized. This claim for science was challenged by defenders of natural philosophy, and this debate has continued up to the present. The vast majority of mainstream scientists are comfortable in the belief that through applying the scientific method, knowledge will …Read more
  •  129
    With the early success of the deep ecology movement in attracting adherents and with the increasing threat of a global ecological catastrophe, one would have expected this movement to have triumphed. We should be in the process of radically transforming society to create a harmonious relationship between humans and the rest of nature. Instead, deep ecology has been marginalized. What has triumphed instead is an alliance of managerialism, transnational corporations and neo-liberalism committed to…Read more
  •  90
    The central aim of this thesis is to confront the world-view of positivistic materialism with its nihilistic implications and to develop an alternative world-view based on process philosophy, showing how in terms of this, science and ethics can be reconciled. The thesis begins with an account of the rise of positivism and materialism, or ‘scientism’, to its dominant position in the culture of Western civilization and shows what effect this has had on the image of man and consequently on ethical …Read more
  •  17
    The Biosemiotic Glossary Project: Intentionality
    with Donald Favareau
    Biosemiotics 10 (3): 413-459. 2017.
    In 2014, Morten Tønnessen and the editors of Biosemiotics officially launched the Biosemiotic Glossary Project in the effort to: solidify and detail established terminology being used in the field of Biosemiotics for the benefit of newcomers and outsiders; and to by involving the entire biosemiotics community, to contribute innovatively in the theoretical development of biosemiotic theory and vocabulary via the discussions that result. Biosemiotics, in its concern with explaining the emergence o…Read more
  •  407
    From 'Sustainable Development' to 'Ecological Civilization': Winning the War for Survival
    Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 13 (3): 130-153. 2017.
    The central place accorded the notion of ‘sustainable development' among those attempting to overcome ecological problems could be one of the main reasons for their failure. ‘Ecological civilization' is proposed and defended as an alternative. ‘Ecological civilization' has behind it a significant proportion of the leadership of China who would be empowered if this notion were taken up in the West. It carries with it the potential to fundamentally rethink the basic goals of life and to provide an…Read more
  •  5
    Affirming Life
    Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 13 (3): 1-7. 2017.
    Editorial to the edition on Advancing Life.
  •  99
    Editorial Introduction to the First Edition of Cosmos and History
    with Paul Ashton
    Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 1 (1): 1-2. 2005.
    This is the editorial to the first edition of the journal Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy
  •  200
    Philosophical Anthropology, Ethics and Political Philosophy in an Age of Impending Catastrophe
    Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 5 (2): 264-286. 2009.
    In this paper it is argued that philosophical anthropology is central to ethics and politics. The denial of this has facilitated the triumph of debased notions of humans developed by Hobbes which has facilitated the enslavement of people to the logic of the global market, a logic which is now destroying the ecological conditions for civilization and most life on Earth. Reviving the classical understanding of the central place of philosophical anthropology to ethics and politics, the early work o…Read more
  •  172
    Introduction: The Future of Philosophy
    Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 8 (1): 1-17. 2012.
    This is the editorial introduction to the special edition of Cosmos & History on the future of philosophy.