There is Subjectivity Everywhere
Emergentism or Pansychism?
David Rolfe Graeber (born 12 February 1961) is an American anthropologist, author, anarchist and activist who is currently Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Specialising in theories of value and social theory, he was an assistant professor and associate professor of anthropology atYale University from 1998 to 2007, although Yale controversially declined to rehire him. From Yale, he went on to become a Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London from Fall 2007 to Summer 2013.
Philosophers of science, faced with the puzzle of how life might emerge from dead matter or how conscious beings might evolve from microbes, have developed two types of explanations.
Could Playfulness be embedded in the Universe?
Alva Noë (B.Phil, University of Oxford; Ph.D., Harvard University; born 1964) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. The main focus of his work is the theory of perception and consciousness. In addition to these problems in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind, he is interested in phenomenology, the theory of art, Wittgenstein, and the origins of analytic philosophy.
In an essay in The Baffler a couple of weeks ago, David Graeber offers the idea that there is a play principle embedded in all levels of physical reality. His essay, which ranges playfully from Spencer and Darwin to panpsychism and string theory, ponders a deep and serious problem. As he writes:
Whitehead is the philosophical inspiration for process philosophy. Like the panpsychists, he believes that there is something like memory and anticipation all the way down into the depths of reality, even in the molecules and atoms. And he thinks that there is something like play as well: the act of enjoying subjective immediacy in the moment at hand. Accordingly, those of us influenced by Whitehead's philosophy find ourselves agreeing with the panpsychists as described by David Graeber in the column on the left, and also with Alva Noe in the column on the right, where is says that "reality is process and activity." If you are interested in scholarly sources in the Whitehead's version of panpsychism, click here for an online bibliography. And if you are already convinced of the truth of panpsychism, but want to know what it might mean spiritually and ecologically, try Patricia Adams Farmer's The Numinosity of Rocks or try Lesson Five of the online Introduction to Process and Reality. Process philosophers propose that, if we learn to see and feel the world as alive in various degrees and ways, we will live more lightly on the earth and gently with one another. We would know that our vocation in life is to celebrate the multiple forms of life and become wide souls.