For Love of Matter: A Contemporary Panpsychism

Freya Mathews
SUNY Press, Albany NY,

ISBN: 0 7914 580 83

In For Love of Matter: A Contemporary Panpsychism, it is argued that the environmental crisis is a symptom of a larger, metaphysical crisis in the relationship between Western civilization and its world. The Western episteme rests on the premise that the world is an inert backdrop to the human presence rather than a communicative presence in its own right, capable of dialogical congress with us. Freya Mathews explores the implications of replacing the old, materialist premise with a new, panpsychist one, which affirms the possibility of dialogue with world. To exist in a dialogical modality is, she suggests, to enter an expanded realm of eros in which self and world are mutually kindled into a larger, more incandescent state of realization. The historical retreat from a panpsychist orientation and the consequent fall from eros is traceable to a key psycho-developmental strategy for the avoidance of suffering via repression and control. Clues to a different developmental pathway, a way of negotiating difficulty and danger without resorting to repression and control, are elaborated via archaic sources. The overarching thesis is that any adequate philosophical response to the so-called 'environmental crisis' cannot be encompassed within the minor discipline known as 'environmental philosophy' but must address the full range of existential questions. A sequel to For Love of Matter, entitled Reinhabiting Reality (also forthcoming from SUNY Press), will explore the praxis of panpsychism in a modern context.

Read Chapter One

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