Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Philosophical Ecology: Invited talks in Korea this October

I have been invited to Korea to deliver lectures at three different universities (two at Yonsei University, one at Anjou University). Presumably I am also presenting at an annual international Whitehead Conference as well.

One of my talks will center on Plato, Schelling, and a Speculative Philosophical Ecology. The other will be a version of a paper that I presented one or two years ago here in the states but have since re-worked. While John William Miller is mostly an unknown figure in the still-developing tradition of environmental and ecological aesthetics, I feel that philosophical ecology might withstand great benefit from him. And the same is true of Susanne Langer - whom I plan to post about within the next few days (Langer being a student of Alfred North Whitehead.)

For those interested in philosophical ecology, perhaps the below abstract might be of interest. Again, I hope to deliver *some* form of this during my invited travels in Korea this October.

"Naturalistic Idealism: John William Miller and Philosophical Ecology" 

In this paper I attend to the naturalism (and idealism) of the American philosopher John William Miller (1895-1978).  I explore Miller's concept of the "midworld" and attempt to uncover its relationship to the notion of ontological "scale" within philosophical ecology.  Specifically, I argue that just as reality is ontologically flat - so "ordinal" and of "ontological parity" pace the ontologies of Justus Buchler and Robert S. Corrington - reality's ontological depth and breadth stretches to meet axiological value as well, most especially considering the reality of relational value. Relations on the level of the ant and its environment, for example, are not only "just as real as" but are also "just as axiologically ecologically significant as" the human relation to its world, thus forming a common world of environmental value.  To say that these relations are each as important as the other is not to say a.) that they are absolutely relative to the agents involved or b.) that relations collapse into the flat reality of one, univocal relation.  Rather, there are varying "scales" of ontological relation where each varying scale has just as much value as the next.  I think Miller's notion of "midworld" can add something to philosophical ecology in this respect: one gains a better appreciation for how other agents interact with their own environments, and yet those particular environments affect other particular environments within a larger scale of universal value. Axiological value is one although the perspectives and relations between perspectives are many.