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Tano Posteraro

by rmb529 Aug 27, 2018
Tano Posteraro

2019 Spring Center and Institute Fellow

Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy

College of the Liberal Arts


Tano Posteraro’s research interests constellate around questions of evolution and symbiosis in the Continental tradition of philosophies of nature, as well as in the way these questions are worked out through the contemporary life sciences—all against the background of ecological crisis. He is currently working on a set of projects that bring together French philosophers Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, and Raymond Ruyer as philosophers of biology with resources to help us think through the developments that are transforming the study of life today.

Dissertation:  "The Virtual and the Vital: Bergson’s Philosophy of Biology Reconsidered"

Project Description: His dissertation—“The Virtual and the Vital: Bergson’s Philosophy of Biology Reconsidered”—refocuses the recent resurgence of enthusiasm for Bergson’s philosophy in particular around Bergson’s response to Darwinism, and reconstructs on that basis a philosophy of evolution that can be made to accommodate and respond to the problems that have animated the study of evolution since Darwin. The aim of the dissertation is twofold: first, to reclaim Bergson as a serious philosopher of biology, whose process metaphysics remains relevant to contemporary concerns, by systematically updating his critiques of mechanistic science and re-motivating the positive philosophical programme that he posits as an alternative; and, second, to bring some of the facets of that programme into dialogue with developments in the study of symbiosis as a driving evolutionary force. The dissertation concludes by opening this dialogue onto the various environmental-ethical issues that remain attendant upon questions of the status of the biological individual, the significance of relationality, and the value of ecological community in the philosophy of life.