As I walked towards the car I formed a question for the brilliant Adrian Johnston, who's visiting today (isn't that always the way).
How come we can't tell scientists what to do? How come our position as humanists is simply to interpret science?
(Especially if the point is not to interpret the world but to change it.)
Because though he put a lot of Hegelian bells and whistles on it, the final point was: science reports, humanists decide (to parody the jingle of Fox News).
Why? Because in the end, Johnston smuggled ontic prejudices, scientistic factoids, into his argument that was supposedly so ontological.
Exhibit A: neuroplasticity. This may tells us, argued Johnston, that within matter itself is some kind of emergent something-else.
What if it were telling us something different? I don't know exactly what. But doesn't this factoid assume that first there is matter, then there is some strange autopoetic business that goes on within that, ontologically “after” matter?
What if, for instance, it was a function of the fact that THERE IS NO MATTER (devoid of form)? A la object-oriented ontology.