Enacting Ecological Aesthetics

/ Events: Seminar

Evan Thompson and Bruce Clarke in conversation with Dulmini Perera

Mind, Ecology, Enaction: Encounters between Gregory Bateson and Francisco Varela

In this conversation, we explore the relationships between Gregory Bateson and Francisco Varela’s work, particularly the ways in which their work contributed to expanding our understanding of the ‘mind’ in the context of living. Starting from their time at Lindisfarne Association in the 1970s, a context that had multiple relationships to their intellectual projects, we will explore how they reformulated concepts such as wholes, boundaries, and recursion in their respective critiques of mainstream Western science/epistemology. The discussion would end with a focus on action. How does their expansion of the notions of ‘cognition’, ‘mind’, and consciousness’ enable us to think about (design) action within the context of the present ecological crises? 

All interested are welcome.

Evan Thompson is a writer and professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He works on the nature of the mind, the self, and human experience. His work combines cognitive science, philosophy of mind, phenomenology, and cross-cultural philosophy, especially Asian philosophical traditions. He is the author of Why I Am Not a Buddhist (Yale University Press, 2020); Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 2015); Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind (Harvard University Press, 2007); and Colour Vision: A Study in Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Perception (Routledge Press, 1995). He is the co-author, with Francisco J. Varela and Eleanor Rosch, of The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (MIT Press, 1991, revised edition 2016). Evan is an Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Bruce Clarke is the Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor of Literature and Science Emeritus at Texas Tech University and the 2019 Baruch S. Blumberg/NASA Chair in Astrobiology at the Library of Congress. He explores critical ecologies of narrative and systems theory in relation to posthumanism and Gaia theory. Together with Henry Sussman he is the editor of the book series Meaning Systems at Fordham University Press. With David McConville and Dawn Danby he curates the website Gaian Systems: Planetary Cognition Lab.

This event is a collaboration between the Enacting Ecological Aesthetics( EEA) project and the Speaker Series of the American Society of Cybernetics(ASC).

Venue: Zoom

Date: 10 February 2024

18.00-19.30 CET

Zoom link: Join here