Classical neo-Darwinian explanations do not fully account for changes in biological forms, and new theories have emerged, primarily in maths and physics, that offer new approaches to the problem of the origin of life and phenomena of order in evolution. This volume focuses on the role of closure at various hierarchical levels as the catalyst between self-organization and selection. Participants addressed special areas of the closure problem such as autopoiesis and autocatalysis and function and selection, and semiosis. Presentations on physical (...) and mathematical modelling are included. The book seeks to clarify the role closure plays in explaining the emergence, development and evolution of structurally stable systems at the thermodynamic, chemical and biochemical, biological, psychological and cultural levels. (shrink)
Living organisms are currently most often seen as complex dynamical systems that develop and evolve in relation to complex environments. Reflections on the meaning of the complex dynamical nature of living systems show an overwhelming multiplicity in approaches, descriptions, definitions and methodologies. Instead of sustaining an epistemic pluralism, which often functions as a philosophical armistice in which tolerance and so-called neutrality discharge proponents of the burden to clarify the sources and conditions of agreement and disagreement, this paper aims at analysing: (...) (i) what has been Kant's original conceptualisation of living organisms as natural purposes; (ii) how the current perspectives are to be related to Kant's viewpoint; (iii) what are the main trends in current complexity thinking. One of the basic ideas is that the attention for structure and its epistemological consequences witness to a great extent of Kant's viewpoint, and that the idea of organisational stratification today constitutes a different breeding ground within which complexity issues are raised. The various approaches of complexity in biological systems are captured in terms of two different styles, universalism and (weak and strong) constructivism, between which hybrid forms exist. (shrink)
To understand how complex dynamic systems, living or non-living, linguistic or non-linguistic, come to be organized as systems, to understand how their inherent dynamic nature gives rise to organisations and forms that have found a balance between potentiality for change and evolution on the one hand, and requisite stability in a given environment on the other, is the main ambition of the study of evolutionary systems. The aim of the present volume is to elucidate the scientific and philosophical backgrounds that (...) play a role in one of the major debates taking place in that field, namely that on the relation between selection and self-organization. The book represents a genuine interdisciplinary forum in which the major representatives of evolutionary systems take part. Audience: This volume will be interest to biologists, philosophers of science, systems scientists, mathematicians, physicists, sociologists of science. It is highly recommended to those interested in an interdisciplinary and complex approach to evolution, as well as to those interested in developing a genuinely historical viewpoint in the sciences. (shrink)
This volume sets out to address the question as to whether and how the critical conception of objectivity could still be relevant in contemporary philosophy. This means reflecting on the validity of the ascription of certaindefects to the Kantian system, as well as on their very description as defects. In order to do so, the volume brings together presentations that treat Kantian objectivity from many different angles. Some are more traditionally exegetical in nature, and discuss the interpretation of concepts within (...) or traits of Kant’s philosophy. Others trace the fate of the Kantian legacy in later philosophical and scientific thought. Still others reflect on the potential of transcendental perspectives for con-temporary philosophy and science. It is this variety in focus that makes the engagement with critical objectivity in this volume of interest not only to professional historians of philosophy and science, but to researchers engaged with the philosophical aspects of objectivity in their fields in general. (shrink)
In Logique du Fantasme, Lacan argues that the compulsion to repeat does not obey the same discharge logic as homeostatic processes. Repetition installs a realm that is categorically different from the one related to homeostatic pleasure seeking, a properly subjective one, one in which the mark “stands for,” “takes the place of,” what we have ventured to call “an event,” and what only in the movement of return, in what Lacan calls a “thinking of repetition,” confirms and ever reconfirms this (...) point of no return, which is also a qualitative cut and a structural loss. The kind of “standing for” Lacan intends here with the concept of repetition is certainly not something like an image or a faithful description. No, what Lacan wishes to stress is that this mark is situated at another level, at another place, it is “entstellt,” and as such, it is punctually impinging upon the bodily dynamics without rendering the event, without having an external meta-point of view, but cutting across registers according to a logics that is not the homeostatic memory logics. This paper elaborates on this distinction on the basis of a confrontation with what Freud says about the pleasure principle and its beyond in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, and also takes inspiration from Freud’s Project for a Scientific Psychology. We argue that Lacan’s theory of enjoyment takes up and generalizes what Freud was after in Beyond the Pleasure Principle with the Wiederholungszwang, and pushes Freud’s thoughts to a more articulated point: to the point where a subject is considered to speak only when it has allowed the other, through discourse, to have impacted and cut into his bodily pleasure dynamics. (shrink)
On formal anticipation: the object in Kant and Wittgenstein This article discusses the affinity between Kant’s notion of objectivity and Wittgenstein’s view on the limitations of language by addressing both philosophers’ relation to the constitutive space at work in a transcendental logic. For both, the system and conceptual room hosting the activity of subjective conditionality is dynamically connected to what can be seen as an object in response to the heterogeneity between concepts and sensibility. In his work On the Genealogy (...) of Universals. The Metaphysical Origins of Analytic Philosophy (2018) Fraser MacBride makes a plea for the importance of Kant in the history of the origin of analytical philosophy, more specifically, the philosophies of Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein. He nevertheless does so in an inadequate way, because he understands Kant from a realist perspective striving to see ‘objects’ as an awaiting reality ‘out there’ to be made our own. Contrary to that, we make the case that a transcendental dynamics of a ‘lost’ primordial captivity is at work in the process of the constitution of objects. We look into Wittgenstein’s notion of substance and the problematic subreptitious exchange between the notions of substance and attribute on the one hand and the relation between the particular and the universal according to MacBride on the other. We propose that both Kant and Wittgenstein sharpen the awareness for the transcendental anticipatory activity of a presupposition, to be seen as a crucial moment within pure formalization and logical strictness, built on a minimal ontology of openness to what is determinable within the action of determination, opposite to a realism of what is simply determined as ‘what is the case’ without taking into account the constituting subject-pole. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to clarify the meaning of a naturalistic position within philosophy of biology, against the background of an alternative view, founded on the basic insights of transcendental philosophy. It is argued that the apparently minimal and neutral constraints naturalism imposes on philosophy of science turn out to involve a quite heavily constraining metaphysics, due to the naturalism’s fundamental neglect of its own perspective. Because of its intrinsic sensitivity to perspectivity and historicity, transcendental philosophy can avoid (...) this type of hidden metaphysics. (shrink)
This paper analyses the actual meaning of a transcendental philosophy of biology, and does so by exploring and actualising the epistemological and metaphysical value of Kant's viewpoint on living systems. It finds inspiration in the Kantian idea of living systems intrinsically resisting objectification, but critically departs from Kant's philosophical solution in as far as it is based in a subjectivist dogmatism. It attempts to overcome this dogmatism, on the one hand by explicitly taking into account the conditions of possibility at (...) the side of the subject, and on the other hand by embedding both the living and the knowing system into an ontology of complexly organized dynamical systems. This paper fits into the transcendental perspective in acknowledging the need to analyse the conditions of knowability, prior to the contents of what is known. But it also contributes to an expansion and an actualisation of the issue of transcendentality itself by considering the conditions of possibility at the side of the object as intrinsically linked to the conditions of possibility at the side of the subject. (shrink)
This edited volume presents papers on this alternative philosophy of biology that could be called “continental philosophy of biology,” and the variety of positions and solutions that it has spawned. In doing so, it contributes to debates in the history and philosophy of science and the history of philosophy of science, as well as to the craving for ‘history’ and/or ‘theory’ in the theoretical biological disciplines. In addition, however, it also provides inspiration for a broader image of philosophy of biology, (...) in which these traditional issues may have a place. The volume devotes specific attention to the work of Georges Canguilhem, which is central to this alternative tradition of “continental philosophy of biology”. This is the first collection on Georges Canguilhem and the Continental tradition in philosophy of biology. The book should be of interest to philosophers of biology, continental philosophers, historians of biology and those interested in broader traditions in philosophy of science. (shrink)
Starting from Denis Noble’s criticism on the modern synthesis, this article argues that the author’s presentation of the modern synthesis focusses too one-sidedly on the phenomenal characteristics of the living, whereby it is made easily suitable to his criticisms, but risks to remain trapped in a territory-struggle; this criticism lacks an explicit focus on logical matters, and more in particular on the synthetic principles required to situate the relevancy or irrelevancy of phenomenal characteristics beyond territory-struggles. A brief sketch of how (...) the principle of teleology calls for reflexivity allows us to reveal the tension in Noble’s account between, on the one hand, the way in which he stresses the importance of metaphors and language, and, on the other hand, the way in which he invokes empirical arguments to assess the illusory character of certain metaphors. (shrink)
This commentary addresses the question of the meaning of critique in relation to objectivism or dogmatism. Inspired by Kant’s critical philosophy and Husserl’s phenomenology, it defines the first in terms of conditionality, the second in terms of oppositionality. It works out an application on the basis of Salthe’s (Found Sci 15 4(6):357–367, 2010a ) paper on development and evolution, where competition is criticized in oppositional, more than in conditional terms.
A reading of Kant’s viewpoint on objectivity is suggested that finds inspiration in the second part of the third Critique, on living systems. It develops the idea that the need to articulate the distinction between objectivity and subjectivity only emerges to the extent that something resists the anticipative procedures of a living, actively engaged being. The possibility of objective knowledge, so it is argued, rests on the possibility of developing an adequate orientation in a phenomenal world, i.e., the possibility of (...) actively distinguishing an “outside” from an “inside”—this not on the basis of an a priori principle, but by taking into account the punctual resistances and disappointments that appear within contingent encounters leading to pleasure and displeasure. We consider negation as a constitutive factor in the emergence of this very basic distinction, as well as in more elaborate and complex differentiations between objectivity and subjectivity. (shrink)
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In this paper, it is argued that the question ldquo;What is life?rdquo; time and again emergesmdash;and within the confines of an objectivistic/subjectivistic frame of thought has to emergemdash;as a symptom, a non-deciphered, cryptic message that insists on being interpreted. br /Our hypothesis is that the failure to measure up the living to the standards of objectification has been taken too frequently from an objectivistic angle, leading to a simple postponement of an objective treatment of the living, and meanwhile confining it (...) to the domain of the subjective, the relative and the metaphorical. As a consequence, the truly important question of the co-constitutive relation between objectivity and subjectivity is thereby evaded. A critical, transcendental account can be relevant in this regard, not only because of the fact that objectivity and subjectivity are seen as co-constitutive, but also because it addresses the question of the embeddedness of objectivity and subjectivity from within the living dynamics.br /This hypothesis will be articulated on the basis of Erwin Schrouml;dingerrsquo;s famous little book on ldquo;What is life?rdquo;, in dialogue with Robert Rosenrsquo;s critical reading of it. It appears that Schrouml;dinger considered the living as a genuine challenge for classical objectification procedures. However, it is doubtful whether this brought him to a critical reading of objectivity or to the acknowledgment of a constitutive role of subjectivity in relation to objectivity. We argue that his viewpoint has the merit ofnbsp; expressing the difficulty of the living within the field of the physical sciences, but does not really transcend the objectivism/subjectivism opposition. At this point, Rosenrsquo;s relational account takes up the challenge more radically by acknowledging the need for a new epistemology and a new metaphysics in relation to living systems, and by attributing a place to classical objectivity from within this ldquo;new sciencerdquo;. In conclusion, we return to Kantrsquo;s epistemological proposal, and show its potential relevance in this debate. (shrink)
Dit artikel behandelt de vraag van wat filosofie is vanuit de gelijknamige tekst van Heidegger. Het bespreekt het mogelijk onderscheid tussen continentale en analytische manieren om aan filosofie te doen, evenals het effect van de universitaire institutie op de filosofische bedrijvigheid.
In this Introduction we lay out the context of a ‘Continental philosophy of biology’ and suggest why Georges Canguilhem’s place in such a philosophy is important. There is not one single program for Continental philosophy of biology, but Canguilhem’s vision, which he referred to at one stage as ‘biological philosophy’, is a significant one, located in between the classic holism-reductionism tensions, significantly overlapping with philosophy of medicine, philosophy of technology and other themes moving away from the more common existential and (...) phenomenological motifs of post-war European thought. Chapters examine (among other themes) his relation to Lebensphilosophie, to authors such as Kant, Nietzsche and Marjorie Grene, and to current theoretical biology. (shrink)