On Experiential Togetherness

An exploration of connectedness and 'togetherness' through readings of William James, Alfred North Whitehead, and others


Fields of Knowledge
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy / Theory

Organizing Institutions



Jean-Michel Rabaté


Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania

Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


25% Formal - 75% Informal

Slought is pleased to announce "Advanced Conversations in Theory," a series of dialogues exploring philosophy and critical theory. On on March 26, 2012 from 6-7:30pm, Steven Meyer will explore connectedness in a lecture and conversation titled "On Experimental Togetherness." The conversation will engage a forthcoming three-volume project by Meyer that explores the concept of experiential togetherness through readings of William James, Alfred North Whitehead, Gilles Deleuze, and Isabelle Stengers.

Meyer's overarching argument is that James and Whitehead are more robust when regarded together than taken separately. One feature that James and Whitehead share is that they are both major figures in multiple disciplines usually divided up across the humanities/sciences divide: psychology and philosophy, in James's case; mathematics, mathematical physics and philosophy, in Whitehead's. This is highly unusual in the past century and a half with the only exceptions of Peirce and Russell. And Russell was no particular scientist nor an especially good mathematician, rather a brilliant logician and influential philosopher. Peirce wasn't really a scientist or mathematician, though he had a superb grasp of both.

The combination of science and philosophy was the norm through Kant and Hegel. One has to go back to Leibniz to find someone who possesses a significance in both arenas comparable to that of James and Whitehead. Both James and Whitehead start from Anglo-American empiricism and nonetheless insist on taking rationalism seriously, and specifically the non-reducible character of connectedness or 'togetherness.'

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Steven Meyer is the author of Irresistible Dictation: Gertrude Stein and the Correlations of Writing and Science, which seeks to establish the interdisciplinary contours of Stein's writing: philosophical, psychological, neurophysiological, literary. In addition to the primary focus on Stein, Irresistible Dictation also contains chapters on Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, Alfred North Whitehead and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Among current projects Professor Meyer is completing Robust Empiricisms: Jamesian Modernism between the Disciplines, 1878 to the Present, a three-volume account of investigations in philosophy, the sciences, and literature and literary criticism. He is an Associate Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis.