Quantum Fluctuation, Self-Organizing Biological Systems, and Human Freedom

Idealistic Studies 24 (3):269-281 (1994)
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Abstract

I now understand why the invitation to contribute an article on “chaos theory” invoked both my excitement and reticience. Let me first explain my excitement in terms of intriguing developments generated by the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite. Since COBE strengthened an “inflationary” Big Bang Theory wherein the structure of the universe was induced by random statistical fluctuations, there are implications inter alia of thermodynamics for chaotic fluctuations in both the structure and biological systems formed from it. I shall then explain my reticence concerning a chaosladen cosmology. Though it seems to call for an epistemological revision of deterministic scientific truth, the cosmology is as likely as one influenced by quantum mechanics to lead to either a pseudo-scientific connection of indeterminism to freedom and purpose or their dogmatic exclusion as possible “realities” by the natural and social sciences. What I will be concerned about are the conflation of physics with metaphysics and the need to metaphysically articulate the continuity between a primordial quantum fluctuation, biological “possibilities,” and human freedom.

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Robert Trundle
University of Colorado, Boulder (PhD)

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