Friday, August 19, 2011

The First International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism

On April 1st and 2nd of 2011 Drew University in Madison, New Jersey hosted the First International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism to explore Professor Corrington's works. .  In addition to the ten papers his play 1,2,3 had a staged reading.  The play brings Peirce's three categories of firstness, secondness, and thirdness to life through the characters of Madam Egg, Buster, Weaver, and the Unknown Stranger.  The Second Congress will be held at Drew University on April 6th and 7th, 2012.  There will be a call for paper proposals shortly.


  1. For some reason the above link doesn't work. Just Goggle: The First International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism.

  2. Currently, I am writing a book entitled "Pansophia" that will, among other things, develop a semiotic cosmology in dialogue with aesthetics and Darwinian evolution. One goal is to reconstruct the understanding of art and aesthetic experience to eventually serve as an alternative to religion, which has a deep evolutionary link to violence against non-tribe members. A radicalized concept of Form, in dialogue with Schopenhauer, Santayana, and Cassirer, will reveal the depth-connection of art and genius to the unconscious of nature, here known as natura naturans (nature naturing).

  3. Schopenhauer's theory of human character strikes me as being profound. The key idea is that we all have a deeply embedded "intelligible character" that functions prior to our phenomenal world which lives in the triad of space, time, and causality. In this latter empirical order we have a form of character that is partly knowable but is largly determined. The intelligible character is fully determined and reminds me of karma in that it is inherited and shapes all that we do, shape, undergo, or contrive. For Schopenhauer, the contour of the self is always imposed upon it by the depth-dimension of the form of the Will that governs the transition from the chaos of pure willing to the objectivity of my particular unconscious intelligible character. While consciousness feels free, that feeling is a delusion. Our so-called motives are not chosen by us, rather, they are imposed upon us by the intelligible character.

  4. 1) There can be no theory of nature.
    2) Nature has neither inside nor outside.
    3) Nature thus cannot have a purpose or telos.
    4) Purposes are rare 'in' nature and vulnerable.
    5) Sacred orders are 'in' nature or not at all.
    6) Nature cannot have a creator.
    7) Nature cannot be an order or order of orders.
    8) Nature cannot be defined as it cannot be a specific difference within a genus.

  5. The questions for me are:

    1) what is form?
    2) does form occupy a special realm?
    3) do forms evolve, and if so, through natural selection?
    4) does everyone have access to forms or only the creative artist?
    5) can forms die?
    6) are forms fully in time or pre- and post-temporal?
    7) are forms morally neutral or good per se?
    8) are forms related to final causality?
    9) are forms intra-psychic or extra-psychic or both?
    10) are forms intersubjective?
    11) are forms somehow operative but self-masking--and if so, how could we ever know that?
    12) are forms secondary to the One of Plotinus for whom they emerge out of the secondary Nous?

  6. I am persuaded that the human unconscious, both personal and collective (objective), provides access to nature naturing (nature eternally creating itself out of itself alone), primarily through dream content. There is an uncanny kind of consciousness 'within' the unconscious insofar as it recognizes the psychic structure and spiritual contour of its attending consciousness. Further, the unconscious has a kind of in-born developmental teleology (Peirce) that responds to external environmental changes and reshapes its goals via adaptation to its micro-niches. These teloi are not some kind of extra-natural divine gifts nor, at the other extreme, merely random bits of semiotic noise. Rather, these goals are extruded by the human process as it seeks a more encompassing mode of attunement to current powers in and of the world, the domains of nature natured.

  7. Will this kind of argument work: C.S. Peirce was severly manic-depressive and this affected the way he built his cosmology by hiding the chaos of his life under the category of "thirdness," that is, the category of concrete reasonableness that will always conquer any chaos that is found in nature. Were he not manic-depressive he might have envisioned thirdness differently. What is valid and what invalid about an argument of this type?

  8. I'm curious on the mention of "forms" and the influence of the individual and collective unconscious on the perception of "nature natured": Does the work of Carl Jung play into this at all, if so, how?

  9. Justin,

    Yes, Jung's work is key to how we know the essences or forms of the world. He argued that we can never see an archetype per see, rather, we see the image of the archetype as it partially manifests the hidden pure archetype. Nature natured is saturated with essences, forms, and archetypes--most known instinctively and through a kind of evolutionary common sense. My big question is about their origin within nature. For now I am prepared to say that archetypes operate in the human unconscious and what I am inclined to call the unconscious of nature. But these are dark waters.