In this podcast with philosopher Renate Schepen, we will explore the ways in which the discourse of Western philosophy is (slowly) changing, how the use of language plays an important role in structuring our society, and why we consider certain types of perspectives more valuable than others. Among all the distinctions that we make, we might find the dotted lines: "What appear to be solid divisions, might appear to be dotted lines and therefore you might find out that things are connected that seemed to be separated/divided. "
According to our everyday experience, the objects that surround us are coloured. Lemons are yellow, cucumbers are green, and our car is black. But according to physical science, lemons, cucumbers, and our car are composed of particles that are not attributed with colour whatsoever. These two pictures of the world seem not entirely compatible, but how come? Is philosophy able to provide us with an answer to this question?
What is the world like beyond human-object relations? If we think of absolute reality as something that is permanent and not bound to time and space, and something that goes beyond the relation of being and thinking, would it be possible for us to perceive it?
Have you ever seen robots that communicate with nonhuman animals and plants, or heard of machines that are programmed to learn from their natural environments? Have you ever encountered technologies that collaborate with nonhuman species? It is not very likely that you have, considering how dominant modes of thinking in the West have a history of putting the human species at center stage – and in sharp contrast to some entity called ‘nature’ – when it comes to framing, designing, programming and using technologies.
Everything around us is part of an ecosystem: the earth, the forests, but also plants are part of the system that sustains life on earth. Plants make oxygen and are food for humans and animals. They are also one of the few living organisms that can make their own food from air and light. Leafy green granules are a crucial part of this and also cause the green color of leaves. With the help of microscopy and do-it-yourself coloring methods, we can expose the cell structures of plants.
When the ‘mind- body debate’ comes to mind, we often mention Descartes in the same breath. But since Descartes, there have been a lot of philosophers who thought about the mind body relation and a few major paradigm shifts around this topic. Wittgenstein for example, offers an introduction on the philosophy of the body and the meaning of body language. Merleau-Ponty, referred to our body as the primary source of knowledge, and Michael Serres praised the body and stated that the mind is born in the metamorphose possibilities by our bodies.