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Philosophy of Environmentalism: If nature is alive, what difference does it make? (Postponed)

Thursday 28th May 2020
Tanner Room, Linacre College

Postponed until Michaelmas term. 

The fourth and final seminar in this series. The series is an exploration of the way we conceive of the natural environment, and what implications this has for practical decisions faced by the environmental movement. 

Since the seventeenth century, the mainstream scientific view as been that nature is made up of inanimate matter and is essentially mechanical. Matter is non-conscious and the entire universe is purposeless.  Evolution has taken place through blind physical laws and chance processes. But the evolving universe now looks much more like a living organism and so does the earth, Gaia.  There may be a memory inherent in nature, and self-organising systems may have some kind of mind or consciousness, as the panpsychist philosophy proposes.  We are on the threshold of a major paradigm shift.  Rupert Sheldrake will discuss these questions and ask what difference this post-materialist way of thinking may make to our responses to climate change and the ecological crisis.

Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, is a biologist and author of more than 90 papers in technical journals and nine books including THE REBIRTH OF NATURE and THE SCIENCE DELUSION. He was a Fellow of Clare College Cambridge and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society.  From 2005 to 2010 he was the Director of the Perrott Warrick Project for investigation of unexplained human and animal abilities, funded by Trinity College, Cambridge. He is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, in California, and of Schumacher College, in Devon. His website is