Welcome to the very first newsletter of The Institute of Transactional Philosophy! This newsletter will come to you a few times a year to share thought-provoking inquiries, announcements about upcoming events, opportunities, and with any luck, some levity to uplift us all.
2023 started with the much anticipated Institute Studies hosted at Influential U’s Annual Conference in Hollywood, CA in January. This live event featured philosophers Matt Segall, PhD and Kirkland Tibbels, PhD-candidate along with Institute Programs Co-Chairs Lauren Robertson and Sarah Shepherd. The afternoon of discussion spanned a variety of topics from the modern day value of philosophical inquiry to the nature of an organism / environment metaphysics and the application of our recent worldviews study in our day to day transactions.
The Institute also hosted a salon-style fundraising dinner, supported by the generosity of Influential U and emceed by the most charming duo we know, Josh Damigo and Doug Robertson. During the dinner - where most agreed we had the best hotel banquet short rib any of us had ever had - we heard stories of how adopting a transactional approach had affected the lives of Khush Cooper, PhD, and Doug Robertson, and Matt Segall spoke on what it has been like to be embraced by folks outside his world of philosophy and academia. In the end, donors contributed to raise over $30,000 to fund the programs and operations of the Institute in 2023, for which we are very grateful as we work to make a difference through our work here.
Looking forward, the Institute is at work planning our next event, to be held May 19th, once again featuring Matt Segall, PhD, who will be facilitating an inquiry about the relationship between sympathetic imagination and worldviews, and how we might utilize these distinctions as tools to help us become more effective transactors. We are also in the midst of planning a fun social engagement event at Influential U’s Mid-Year Summit in Dove Mountain that we intend to provide us all with a much needed dose of play, as well as another virtual event featuring Matt Segall in the early fall.
Outside of upcoming events and scholarship, the Institute is at work on:
Completing development of the long-term strategic plan for the Institute’s future;
Inviting and nurturing relationships with academics and other ecologies that demonstrate transactional approaches;
Building new programs and opportunities for you all to come play with us;
Continuing to build and hone the administrative infrastructure to support and fulfill the vision and mission of the Institute; and
Developing the Institute’s fitness in metrics and assessment to measure its impact over the long term.
We look forward to sharing more about each of these in future newsletters.
Trisha & Lauren
Chairperson & Editor
The Condition of Life: Activity
Labor, Work, Play, and Action
by Kirkland Tibbels
In the study of transactional philosophy, we think of any situation or concern that living organisms must confront in order to survive or avoid suffering as a “Condition of Life.” These inescapable circumstances are, on one end, as foundational as our biological needs for water, food, shelter and the like, and on the other, can emerge as social needs, including those more material or even aspirational. In this essay, I will be attempting to distinguish the unavoidable aspects and forms that constitute one of our “biological” Conditions of Life, referred to as “activity.”
The Spread Mind – Why Consciousness and the World Are One
By Riccardo Manzotti
Book review by Dr. Gary Ward MBBS BMedSci, BSc
Professor Riccardo Manzotti is a philosopher, psychologist, and AI expert and the author of The Spread Mind: Why Consciousness and the World Are One published in 2017.
Manzotti, currently professor of theoretical philosophy at IULM University (Milan), originally specialized in robotics and artificial intelligence, particularly in the field of artificial vision, where he started to wonder “how can matter have experience of the surrounding world?”
Intrigued by this question, he focused his research on the nature of phenomenal experience, how it emerges from physical processes, and how it is related to the object perceived.
In 2014, while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Manzotti presented the Spread Mind Theory (elsewhere dubbed the Mind-Object Identity Theory) which addresses the “hard problem” of consciousness in a completely radical, challenging way.