Dr Wahida Khandker (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK) – Prehensive Unification and Symbiogenesis: From Whitehead to Margulis

Co-presented by Philosophy & the School of Life Sciences University of Dundee

17th December 2019, 3pm in the Sir Kenneth and Lady Noreen Murray Seminar Room, CTIR

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.

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