Towards a new root image in natural science…

Here is anthropologist Anne Buchanan on the post-truth era in natural science.

I was reminded of my post on the federally-funded Brain Initiative a few years ago.

Buchanan includes geneticist Ken Weiss’ list of facts that do not fit the reductionistic paradigm of “normal science” in biology at the end of her post.

Weiss and Buchanan have co-authored the book The Mermaid’s Tale: Four Billion Years of Cooperation in the Making of Living Things

Though I haven’t read their book yet, Buchanan and Weiss’ perspective seems to dovetail nicely with what I argue (with Whitehead’s help) in Physics of the World-Soul: that the paradigm shift required to make sense of self-organizing dynamics active at the biological scale will also need to make sense of the self-organizing dynamics active at the quantum and astrophysical scales. In short, mechanical models describable solely in terms of efficient causation cannot account for the observable facts of physics or of biology. Organism must replace mechanism as the root image, and formal and final causation must be reincorporated into a more adequate naturalistic ontology—a naturalism wherein value and experience are intrinsic to every process of realty.

3 Replies to “Towards a new root image in natural science…”

  1. I like mermaids! This seems like an interesting book. The paradigm shift away from mechanism reminds me of Nietzsche saying something about how we shouldn’t think that the universe is a machine. The point isn’t that the universe is better than a machine but quite the opposite: “machine” is too honorable a word for the whirling world. Here’s Freddy from the Gay Science:
    Let us now be on our guard against believing that the universe is a machine; it is assuredly not constructed with a view to one end; we invest it with far too high an honor with the word “machine” […] The general character of the world, on the other hand, is to all eternity chaos; not by the absence of necessity, but in the sense of the absence of order, structure, form, beauty, wisdom, and whatever else our aesthetic humanities are called. […] Let us be on our guard against ascribing to it heartlessness and unreason, or their opposites.

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