Prozessphilosophie in Großbritannien

Ein kurzer Bericht zur Gründungstagung der Association for Process Thought von Paul Stenner.

News of an apt occasion. Conference on Applied Process Thinking held at the Open University inaugurates new Association for Process Thought (APT) in the United Kingdom.

On 26th January 2016 a conference on applied process thinking was held in Camden Town, London at the Open University (OU). The event was supported by funding from the OU’s Centre for Citizenship, Identity and Governance (CCIG). Applied Process Thinking event (OU, 26/01/2016) including, from left-to-right, Johanna Motzkau, Susan Stuart, Cristina Chimisso, Martin Willis, Ian Tucker, Mark Dibben, John Dupré, Katie Anderson, Dominic Mitchell, Sara Millar, Dionysis Seretis, Michael Halewood, Spencer Dean, Martin Savranksy, John Pickering, Helmut Maassen, Maria-Teresa Teixeira. Photo taken by Vesselin Petrov. Also present were Steven Brown, Paula Reavey, Nicky Gregory, Nick Rossiter, Michael Heather, Tina Röck, Michel Weber and Paul Stenner.

The conference was opened by its organiser, Paul Stenner (Professor of Social Psychology at the OU), who summarised process thinking as a mode of thought that a) begins ‘in the middle’ with relations and processes, b) values experience, and c) views stable structures and systems of all kinds as the effect of coordinated streams of events. As discussed in papers by Michel Weber and Maria-Teresa Teixeira (who addressed education), this approach is strongly influenced by A.N Whitehead’s systematisation of the philosophies of Henri Bergson, William James and others. Mark Dibben examined process thinking in management, and John Dupré outlined how process thought is acquiring new vitality in contemporary biology even though the philosophical roots are not routinely recognised – an issue that Vesselin Petrov addressed by foregrounding the relevance of ontology to scientific and applied practice. Michael Halewood discussed the application of Whiteheadian thought in social science and Johanna Motzkau showed its relevance to child protection and welfare problems that can take the form of ‘liminal hotspots’. Michael Heather outlined how category theory might serve better than set theory to formalise process thought. John Pickering introduced a panel discussion on the theme ‘why process thought, why now?’ which included contributions from Ian Tucker (on web-based resources for people with mental health difficulties), Susan Stuart (on enkinaesthesia) and Martin Savransky (on the relevance of the expanded realism of process thought). As argued by Steven Brown and Paula Reavey (who spoke about applying process thought in their research on medium secure forensic wards – see image below), the task of refining and applying process thought remains a live and pressing issue.

Applied Process Thinking event (OU, 26/01/2016) including, from left-to-right, Steve Brown and Paula Reavey, Paul Stenner, Nick Rossiter and Michael Heather.

This event was followed on the 27th of January by a meeting to discuss the establishment of a UK based Association for process thought (APT). In addition to a number of UK based participants (Martin Savransky, Martin Willis, Spencer Dean, Paul Stenner, Michael Heather, Nicky Gregory and Tina Röck), this meeting was attended by several members of the Executive Board of the International Process Network including the Executive Director (Vesselin Petrov, Bulgarian Academy of Science, Sofia,), the Executive Director elect (Maria-Teresa Teixeira, Coimbra University, Portugal), the Finance Director (Helmut Maasen, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf), the Academic Director (Mark Dibben, University of Tasmania, Australia). Rapid progress was made, and during the meeting the new Association (APT) was formally founded, with Paul Stenner nominated as Founding President, and all those present being members.