Guest Speaker Professor Alison Peterman (University of Rochester)


Location: DeBartolo Hall, Room 131 (View on

Guest speaker Professor Alison Peterman from the University of Rochester will be giving a talk on Wednesday, December 14,

Alison Peterman Poster

at 3:00pm in DeBartolo Hall, room 131.

Talk Title: Cavendish on Matter and the Mind


Margaret Cavendish claims that things like ferns and planets are 'perceptive and knowing' and that matter is 'sensitive and rational'. So she is usually described as a panpsychist, but as I will argue in this talk, she is not. Drawing on Cavendish's unique version of materialism, I offer an interpretation of her theory of human and other animal minds that reflects her resistance to human exceptionalism, capturing the distinctive features of minds while considering them as just some among the countless ways that different things have of interacting with the world around them. We have no reason to think that all of those ways are mind-like because we have no reason to think, as we like to, that minds provide a privileged window onto nature.