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kvond

Crescent to The Whole Creature

Beginning to read Wendy Wheeler’s The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and the Evolution of Culture. I have to say that when the level of my enthusiasm is this high during the first few pages of a book quite often I disappointed at its close. At the very least, the enthusiasm is quite high, and the potential for this line of thinking sparkles. (Thanks to the recommendation of Immanence.)

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6 responses to “Crescent to The Whole Creature

  1. Nick Srnicek April 19, 2009 at 1:42 am

    hey kevin, i’d be very interested to hear how you feel about this book at the end. i read the recommendation at immanence as well, and the whole biosemiotic field sounded really interesting to me. haven’t had a chance to look into it myself though, so it’d be great to hear some thoughts from yourself!

  2. kvond April 19, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Thanks Nick. I’ve just had the first chapter under my belt, and the general themes swim, the writing is tight and so far nothing extravagant (appeals to science by philosophy are often metaphorical or down right misinformed). I wish I was the book/idea review type though, someone like Levi who can flatout explicate a topic with precision and depth, but frankly this kind of writing bores me to do to a near aggrevating level. So I’m not sure at all sure what to do when I’m done with it. Thus far all the right notes are being hit, taking a stance against scientific reductionism and postivism, but also against lingusitic turn restriction of reality to Language. The whole thing, with its appeal to social relatability as foundational to the biology of the species and to what she calls the new Science of Emergence strikes me quite inspired, but also can veer into the wrong kind of writing at any moment. I’m really hoping for a convincing framework for the future.

    (I will say that all those who are so excited about materiality, and “reality” kept popping in my mind, as she presents plenty for them.)

  3. Domingos de Souza Nogueira Neto April 19, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Olá,
    Eu falo do Brasil e tenho acompanhado com grande interesse as matérias deste blog. Abraços, Domingos.

  4. kvond April 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I’m sorry, I don’t read Portuguese. Thank you.

  5. anodynelite April 19, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Yes, please say more about this even if you don’t explicate. I really enjoyed the essay (or was it a chapter? I forget) that you recommended a while ago on biosemiotics and I’d be interested in hearing more of your take on Wheeler…

  6. kvond April 20, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Anodynelite,

    I’ll see what I can do. As is often the case when a philosophical/ideological position likes to appropriate a science as its foundational reference, the book is starting (now on chapter 2) to veer towards some regretable leaps, like the idea that Marxism failed because in some way there was no suitable science to support it, something Wheeler feels has changed. But because the ideological broadbrushing can be easily separated out from the more interesting connections between ideas, it still seems stuffed with wonderful references and interconnections. Like Wheeler I have been drawn to Complexity Theory, we’ll just have to wait and see what she does with it.

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