Wahida Khandker: Prehensive Unification and Symbiogenesis: From Whitehead to Margulis

This week, the Scottish Centre for Continental Philosophy has the pleasure of welcoming Dr Wahida Khandker from the University of Manchester.

Wahida Khandker will be giving a talk on “Prehensive Unification and Symbiogenesis: From Whitehead to Margulis”.

Date and Location:

Wednesday, December 18.


2.84 Sir Kenneth and Lady Noreen Seminar room.



Alfred North Whitehead gives us some metaphysical insight into the organic interconnectedness of different levels of process, but how does his discussion of the opposition between a ‘blindly running’ materialism and a doctrine of organism in Science and the Modern World contribute to our understanding of the intertwined development of living and non-living processes? This paper seeks an answer to this problem in a brief survey of the concept of symbiosis, as both a biological category and a theoretical tool for analysing the relation between different levels of process, cutting across time (geological, evolutionary) and the geographical organization of ecosystems. In order to articulate further the concrete configurations of these multiple levels, the paper will look at examples from Lynn Margulis’ work on the phenomenon of symbiogenesis and her collaboration with James Lovelock on the concept of Gaia.


Biographical note:

Dr Wahida Khandker is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on intersections between process thought, particularly the work of Henri Bergson, and biology. She is the author of Philosophy, Animality, and the Life Sciences (Edinburgh University Press, 2014), and Process Metaphysics and Mutative Life: Sketches of Lived Time (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).

More on Wahida Khandker here.