Metaphysics and Things

Last week’s “Metaphysics and Things” conference, sponsored by the Whitehead Research Project, was one of the most intellectually intense conferences that I have ever been to. The keynote address was delivered by Isabelle Stengers, with a response by Donna Haraway. This was followed by a day and a half of presentations by several of my fellow Whiteheadians (Michael Halewood, Andrew Goffey, Jude Jones, James Bono, and the conference organizer, Roland Faber), by other theorists whose work I greatly admire (Jeff Bell, Nathan Brown, James Bradley), by some brilliant graduate students whom I had not met before (Michael Austin, Beatrice Marovich, Melanie Sehgal), and by 3/4 of the OOO crew (Graham Harman, Levi Bryant, Ian Bogost). Graham Harman and I were paired in what some characterized (here and here) as a grudge match (OK, I’m kidding), but it was a friendly rather than acrimonious argument, and I think we both agreed that the session went well. 

In any case, my own paper for the conference is available here (pdf) — though I regard it as a work in progress rather than a polished essay. Though it contains a continuation of my interchange with OOO, the real focus of the paper is on panpsychism, and what it might bring to current debates regarding “objects,” “things,” and “life” (sorry for the scare quotes, but they seem necessary in this context, to connote particular areas of contemporary discussion). 

4 thoughts on “Metaphysics and Things”

  1. Does Whitehead tell any jokes in his books? I went through a couple but I couldn’t find any jokes.

    I always like to find the jokes that philosophers tell.

    Hegel tells two fairly good ones in the Phenomenology. You’d probably have to be there, though.

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