Joining the New Center for Medical Humanities at Uppsala University

I am delighted to announce that from January 2021, I will officially be part of the new Center for Medical Humanities team at Uppsala University, led by Dr Ylva Söderfeldt.

I will be personally working on philosophical health. My topic will be The Rediscovery of Philosophy as a Way Toward Health and the “Mind over Matter” Idea.

“The preservation of health has always been the principal end of my studies.” Descartes to the Duchess of Newcastle (cited in Health, a History, 2019, Oxford Philosophical Concepts, OUP).

My project is to contribute to the transnational contemporary intellectual history of the ideas of ​​philosophical health and “mind over matter” and explore how explicit or implicit philosophising is or can be used in contexts of care. In order to contribute to current interdisciplinary efforts to form a sustainable, holistic and critical concept of health, I am performing a genealogy (or “histosophy”: see my article in Global Intellectual History) of the idea of “mind over matter” (and variants such as “mind over body”) as it unfolded in the last 200 years and the ideal of philosophical health as it is being rediscovered and practiced in the last decades by practitioners called “philosophical counselors”, a practice in which I am also empirically and humanly engaged since 2018. I am also interested in the intellectual history of philosophical medicine, the French-German Romantic idea (1750-1850) that medicine should be grounded in cosmology and unifying philosophical or existential principles rather than on mere empirical data. I’ll be also looking at what the intellectual history of process philosophy (Hegel, Whitehead, Bergson, Deleuze, among others) has to say about healthy living.

Creation of the Possible (Bergson)

“The artist in executing his work is creating the possible as well as the real…” 

H. Bergson, “Le possible et le réel,” in La Pensée et le Mouvant. Essais et conférences, Paris, Félix Alcan, 1934, translated by Mabelle L. Andison, “The possible and the real,” in The creative mind, The Philosophical Library, 1946.

Creative Meta-Dialectics

Around 2001 I expressed my desire for a book that would be called, in French, Système du Vécu, a System of the Lived Experience. I believe I have the same desire today, expressed under another label: a theory of crealectics. But whose lived experience are we talking about? Mine? If it is a theory, it should refer to any lived experience, human, animal, any living being to a certain degree. There is here the assumption that all living beings share the same fundamental way of being or becoming, although with variations in a continuum.

We are talking about an embodied theory, one that is experiential and not only intellectual or abstract. If a theory of crealectics is possible, everything that I do, or think, may be part of the same narrative, the same symbolic network. All events can be explained and interrelated under the same worldview. But there is also the possibility that theories are metamorphic, therefore ultimately inconsistent, or consistently indeterminate.

I coined the concept of crealectics, as I have written elsewhere, as a combination of Creal and (dia)lectics. Creal is the name I gave a long time ago in the French novel Paridaiza (to be published in English translation in October 2020) to the feeling and conviction that there is one cosmological ground to everything there is, a creative given or flux, a divine immanent stream of infinite possibility or plenitude, of which we are, more or less actively, co-agents. The ultimate Real, I wrote, is a Creal, a generous and loving – sometimes apparently destructive – possibilisation furnace, a continuous creation of multiplicities, potentialities and actualities. Alfred North Whitehead called it “Creativity”, and Bergson “creative evolution”. A theory of everything should be possible if we accept that the core of the universe is the fact that potentially everything is possible, although not everything gets actualised in the same world. Leibniz would say: everything is possible but not everything is compossible.

Hegelian or Marxian dialectics is, in simplified terms, the idea that reality unfolds historically via a process of contradiction and agonism of opposites which generate new temporary conciliations. Crealectics is meta-dialectical because the ground of apparently contrarian forces at play in lived experience is not necessarily dual, binary, made of couples of opposites, but multiple, chaotic, made of multidirectional conjunctions that are only contradictory for a surface perspective. Moreover, I wrote in Being & Neonness that the hypothesis of the absolute Creal presupposes the hypothesis of the idea of absolute One; unity is the implied horizon of the infinitely diverse, and vice versa. This is logical, ontological and cosmological, since these three aspects, to be truthful, must be one in crealectics or any monist view of the world for that matter.

I also wrote that the universe is a love story between Creal and One, Multiplicity and Unity, in a hyper-dialectical dance. The dynamics and tensions between multiplicity and Unity are enough to create worlds, orders, evolution, matter, mind. This is probably what a theory of crealectics should explain more clearly. I am also aware that Plotinus among other Greek Platonists might have had similar views. Merleau-Ponty suggested en passant, in his unfinished last book, the necessity of a “hyper-dialectics”. 

Histosophy as Method

Luis de Miranda: “Histosophy as Method”, Talk at Uppsala University, Live and via zoom, 5 November 2020.

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  • Datum: 5 november, kl. 13.15–15.00
  • Plats: Engelska parken – Rausingrummet
  • Arrangör: Institutionen för idé- och lärdomshistoria
  • Kontaktperson: Sven Widmalm
  • Seminarium

Higher Seminar

Luis de Miranda, Uppsala universitet: “Histosophy as Method: How I Used It and How I Plan to Use It Again Now”

Underlag: “Big data, small concepts: histosophy as an approach to longue-durée history”

A Brief Critique of the Projected European Vision Regarding Artificial Intelligence (HLEG)

I was invited today to participate in the 1st International Workshop on New Foundations for Human-Centered AI, with some members of the “High Level Expert Group in AI” appointed by the European Commission. There was an interesting (virtual and written) discussion about the European HLEG ethics guidelines for Artificial Intelligence. Here are (a bit out of context) my 3 skeptical comments in the form of post-its. I also add the PDF of the Projected European guidelines, which are still being discussed.

Ethical Guidelines for Trustworthy AI – Download