Sunday, May 31, 2015

quote of the day

"Metaphysics is a body of necessary truths that no experience can contradict but that any experience must be able to illustrate."

- Charles Hartshorne

"Metaphysics gives us no fact ordinary or superior, but gives us the keys to fact, the clue or ideal by which factual experience is to be interpreted."

-Charles Hartshorne

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Black bear mother and cubs are latest visitors to my back yard (Photos and Video)

My TG-2 Tough Camera certainly isn't made for long shots, which is why they sell an extension lens, and unfortunately I do not have it.  My camera takes great still shots, mostly for point and shoot to landscapes, mountains, groves, etc. while hiking.  The video on my camera is atrocious as you can see, and hear.

If I can (or if readers want) I can post some of those photos here, we have many woods' creatures visit each day.  Usually a flock of turkeys will visit, many, many deer, a red tail hawk lives in a visible tree back in the oak forest, and occasionally you'll see black bear.  Oh, and given that that is 80 acres of oak forest we're talking about back there (not all ours by the way, it runs into others' lands and then state park), eerily at night you hear coyotes yip and even sometimes howl.  That'll make your skin crawl.

I'll watch numbers on this post to see if there is interest.

Anyway, black bear are extremely quiet for their size.  This mother (called a "sow") and her fairly large cubs were looking for food but must usually take a pass through our yard at earlier times in the morning.  This time they passed about 11am.

Thankfully I wasn't outside - because I was going to take a walk just around the time that I happened to see these bear, glancing out my window.  You don't want to get in between a sow and cubs, ever.  Even if just a 300+/- pound black bear, which probably is more afraid of you than you it.  Still, things have happened.  Especially when cubs are involved.

My apologies for the shakiness of the camera, and the focus.  But enjoy what you can.  I certainly enjoyed their visit.  And after I shot those video clips I crept downstairs and out on to the deck to watch them venture off into the neighbors yard and then off into the woods.

Close up, Black Bear in my back yard by deck

Larger photo of Black Bear (mother with cubs, cubs are on my car in driveway)

Trailing off into woods by clothesline

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Turkey in back yard and CV hike

Another view from a hike in Cherry Valley, followed by a "Where's Waldo" type photo of a turkey hiding while pruning itself within the shadow of a tree in my backyard. See if you can't spot it.

My latest pub (book review)

Friday, May 22, 2015

"What Has Kant Ever Done for Us? Speculative Realism and the Kantian Heritage" (book chapter)

Gironi is one of the founders/editors of Speculations journal.  Anyway, lots of C.S. Peirce in here actually, and in many ways that makes sense. Also Sellars and Kant.  HERE.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"The Vatican still refuses to endorse evolutionary theory – setting a billion believers at odds with modern science" (Aeon article)

Aeon has up a great article on the panentheist process Catholic theologian Teilhard de Chardin. Highlights then link.  But first, one might also want to check out THIS podcast which features some of the scholars mentioned below discussing Teilhard.

Quickly I should mention that for a long time I was very much interested in how process philosophy and panentheism could be appropriated by the Catholic church.  As it turns out, there are many scholars - mostly Jesuits, of course - who do just that.  Names and books that come to mind are Fr. James Felt (see his Coming to Be, a book that knits together Whiteheadianism and NeoThomism), Fr. Frank Oppenheim (much of what he writes is process Catholic), Fr. Walter Stokes (alot), Fr. Joseph A. Bracken (again, pretty much everything), Fr. Lewis Ford (everything), Fr. Joseph Koterski (much), Fr. Norris Clarke (everything), Fr. Hosinski (Stubborn Fact and Creative Advance) but also Daniel Dombrowski (much), John Haught (everything). Or THIS is a useful link of Roman Catholic process theologians.

Finally, Kinast's Process Catholicism and Korsmeyer's God-Creature Revelation are pretty much definitive statements on any possible future for Catholic process theology.  I've read both and each are top notch.

Teilhard laid out the most ambitious synthesis of Christianity and evolution by a Catholic scholar up to that time. His view was truly cosmic, embedding humanity in a dynamic universe whose evolutionary direction from the very beginning of life on Earth was groping its way towards consciousness. In his view, the evolution of consciousness in humanity was but a first step toward the entire cosmos achieving its own universal consciousness, or what he termed an Omega Point.
After Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species (1859), some bold theologians sought to reconcile those ideas with Christianity, arguing that, as long as Catholics retained the notion of humanity’s exalted status as a special creation of God, there was nothing wrong with accepting the notion of the world having been created through a gradual process of evolution, as Darwin had outlined. Their efforts were quickly muzzled, although the Church was careful not to repeat its highly publicised mistreatment of Galileo. Between the years 1878 and 1899, books on evolution and Christianity by Father Raffaello Caverni in Italy, Father Dalmace Leroy in France and Father John Zahm in the US were censured.
Teilhard incurred the particular displeasure of Rome because he suggested that the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and their Fall from grace as the ultimate origin and explanation for evil in the world, needed to be reinterpreted. Once you adopted an evolutionary perspective, Teilhard argued, evil can be considered a natural feature of the world – a sort of inevitable secondary effect of the creation process itself.
For as long as he lived, Teilhard’s work was suppressed by the Congregation of the Index, the Vatican office that collaborated with the Holy Office (formerly known as the Inquisition) in monitoring books. After he died, his friends and students began publishing his work – but the Church’s position on evolution remained grudging and reserved.
Ilia Delio, a Franciscan nun and director of Catholic Studies at Georgetown University, suggests that the notion of an immortal soul, in its classical formulation at least, is difficult to reconcile with evolutionary theory. ‘Teilhard de Chardin described evolution as a “biological ascent” from matter to spirit, a movement toward more complex life forms,’ she writes in The Emergent Christ (2011). But from the beginning, Teilhard insisted that spirit is present, even in lifeless matter. There’s no absolute separation between the two.
With doctorates in pharmacology and historical theology, Delio has written several books on the interface between science and religion, most recently editing the collection From Teilhard to Omega: Co‑creating an Unfinished Universe (2014). In her view, theologians need to forge a deeper synthesis between the science and the faith, but almost all of them tacitly accept the old cosmos of the medieval church, the old view of spirit and matter as completely distinct.
‘When I ask theologians,’ she told me, ‘many of them say to me: “Oh… I don’t have time to read on science. I’m not a trained scientist, I would have to take a sabbatical and read up.”’ Few want to venture outside of their comfort zone. An exception is one of her colleagues at Georgetown: the theologist John Haught, author of Deeper Than Darwin (2003), and Making Sense of Evolution (2010).
[John] Haught sees himself as picking up where Teilhard left off. In his view, the problem of the immortal soul and the physical body being distinct entities is a holdover from old theology, which tends to divide reality between the eternity of Heaven and the time-bound vicissitudes of life on Earth. Such a view, Haught told me, is almost destined to see the human being as a lonely exile.
It’s a beautiful story,’ he admitted. ‘The problem is it leaves out the dramatic history of the development of humans from the Big Bang up until today.’ And that story is not over, he said. Not by a long shot. If Catholic theologians would take seriously the fact that the Universe is a drama still unfolding, and that we are a key part of the drama, they could rekindle people’s sense of hope for the future.
How are such facts to be incorporated into the faith? How are they to be treated? A new papal encyclical? Pope Francis has already got conservatives worried about his upcoming encyclical on the environment. Is he the pope to finally write a new Letter on Darwin and the Church? Would the Vatican officially mothball its vague and embarrassing disclaimer on Teilhard’s work? Would it consider whether the French Jesuit is a candidate for sainthood?

Link to the full article HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2015

entire archive of CCRU completed writings 1997-2003 published

Nick Land gives us the update, HERE. (HT Land). For those unfamiliar with the "Cyber Culture Research Unit" you can bring yourself up to date HERE or see how CCRU connects to accelerationism HERE (interview with Robin Mackay).

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Theory of the Absolute (NDPR review)

HERE.  May be of interest to those who have a penchant for Hegelian theologies of nature (as I do).

See also a link to two other Hegel NDPR reviews HERE, or After Nature posts including...

* "Bad Infinity" HERE
* "Hegel and Hegel's God" HERE
* "Would Hegel Be a Hegelian Today?' HERE

Of course we also have the upcoming Bonn Summer School in German Philosophy on the "Idealism" in German Idealism (see HERE).

Friday, May 1, 2015

"Chaosmic Naturalisms: Exploring the Pantheist Philosophies of Roland Faber and Robert Corrington" (paper on ecstatic naturalism & process thought by Austin Roberts)

Friend Austin Robert's has posted an interesting paper HERE discussing connections between ecstatic naturalism and process thought. As he writes in his post, "If you are interested in religious naturalism, metaphysics, process thought, pantheism, or speculative realism, I invite you to take a look at the paper."

I met Austin for the first time at this past year's EN conference and he was great.  One of those few times I've met someone in person only after having interacted with them online first.