For many years essentialism was considered beyond the pale in philosophy, a relic of discredited Aristotelianism. This is no longer so. Kripke and Putnam have made belief in essential natures respectable once more. Harré and Madden have argued against Hume's theory of causation and developed an alternative theory based on the assumption that there are genuine causal powers in nature. Dretske, Tooley, Armstrong, Swoyer, and Carroll have all developed strong alternatives to Hume's theory of the laws of (...) class='Hi'>nature. And Shoemaker has developed a thoroughly non-Humean theory of properties. The "new essentialism" has evolved from these beginnings and can now reasonably claim to be a metaphysic for a modern scientific understanding of the world - one that challenges the conception of the world as comprising passive entities whose interactions are to be explained by appeal to contingent laws of nature externally imposed. (shrink)
In "The Philosophy of Nature," Brian Ellis provides a clear and forthright general summation of, and introduction to, the new essentialist position. Although the theory that the laws of nature are immanent in things, rather than imposed on them from without, is an ancient one, much recent work has been done to revive interest in essentialism and "The Philosophy of Nature" is a distinctive contribution to this lively current debate. Brian Ellis exposes the philosophical and (...) scientific credentials of the prevailing Humean metaphysic as less than compelling and makes the case for new essentialism as an alternative metaphysical perspective in lucid and unambiguous terms. This book develops this alternative metaphysic and considers the consequences for philosophy, and for some other areas of investigation, of working with such a metaphysic. Ellis argues that these consequences are profound and that a new essentialism provides a comprehensive new philosophy of nature for a modern scientific understanding of the world. (shrink)
Preface to paperback edition -- Why Schelling? why naturephilosophy? -- The powers due to becoming: the reemergence of platonic physics in the genetic philosophy -- Antiphysics and neo-Fichteanism -- The natural history of the unthinged -- "What thinks in me is what is outside me". phenomenality, physics and the idea -- Dynamic philosophy, transcendental physics -- Conclusion: transcendental geology.
The present investigation brings into view the philosophy of nature of German Idealism, a philosophical movement which emerged around the beginning of the nineteenth century. German Idealism appro- priated certain motivations of the Kantian philosophy and developed them further in a "speculative" manner (Engelhardt 1972, 1976, 2002). This powerful philosophical movement, associated above all with the names of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel - and moreover having nothing whatsoever to do with the "subjective idealism" of George Berkeley - (...) was replaced by philosophical positions designated roughly as metaphysics of the will, Marxism, life-philosophy, phenomenology and existentialism, as well as positivism, empiricism, philosophy of science, the linguistic turn, and analytic philosophy. These philosophical positions more or less still shape us today. German Idealism amounts to a virtual intellectual-historical antithesis to these movements and thus presents itself in retrospect as a striking alternative. The basis of Idealism - in its various respective forms - is the ideal <Ideelle>, and thus the opposite of that which is real. It continually takes as its task explaining the real in terms of the ideal, and this is especially true of the Idealists' philosophy of nature.' Is this a hopeless undertaking? Does Idealism not lack an empirical basis? Can one secure any solid ground whatsoever in the ether of the ideal? In what follows, I explain how, more than anyone else, Schelling and Hegel sought to handle this problem and to cope with it. By way of anticipation, a clear preference for the Hegelian philosophy of nature will emerge in what follows, a preference which may come as some surprise considering how much controversy has surrounded the significance of that view. The project of renewing a thoroughgoing philosophy of nature can meaningfully begin here. (shrink)
In our time, Ted Toadvine observes, the philosophical question of nature is almost entirely forgotten—obscured in part by a myopic focus on solving "environmental problems" without asking how these problems are framed. But an "environmental crisis," existing as it does in the human world of value and significance, is at heart a philosophical crisis. In this book, Toadvine demonstrates how Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology has a special power to address such a crisis—a philosophical power far better suited to the questions (...) than other modern approaches, with their over-reliance on assumptions drawn from the natural sciences. The book examines key moments in the development of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of nature while roughly following the historical sequence of his major works. Toadvine begins by setting out an ontology of nature proposed in Merleau-Ponty’s first book, _The Structure of Behavior. _He takes up the theme of the expressive role of reflection in _Phenomenology of Perception, _as it negotiates the area between nature’s own "self-unfolding" and human subjectivity. Merleau-Ponty’s notion of "intertwining" and his account of space provide a transition to Toadvine’s study of the philosopher’s later work—in which the concept of "chiasm," the crossing or intertwining of sense and the sensible, forms the key to Merleau-Ponty’s mature ontology—and ultimately to the relationship between humans and nature. (shrink)
Following the revival in the last decades of the concept of “organism”, scholarly literature in philosophy of science has shown growing historical interest in the theory of Immanuel Kant, one of the “fathers” of the concept of self-organisation. Yet some recent theoretical developments suggest that self-organisation alone cannot fully account for the all-important dimension of autonomy of the living. Autonomy appears to also have a genuine “interactive” dimension, which concerns the organism’s functional interactions with the environment and does not (...) simply derive from its internal organisation. Against this background, we focus on a family of natural philosophical approaches that historically have already strongly taken in account this aspect of autonomy, notably going beyond Kant’s perspective on self-organisation. We thus review Hegel, Plessner, and Jonas’ different perspectives on living beings, focussing in particular on four points: the distinction between organic and inorganic, the theory of biological organisation, the processuality of the living, and the “boundary” between inside and outside, through which the organism establishes its relationship to the environment. We, then, compare the three perspectives on these four points, and finally address the question of what advantages their contribution present—especially compared to Kant’s theory—with respect to the topic of organism’s autonomy. This could help—we hope—to better understand what is at the stake still today. (shrink)
The first part of the paper is a metatheoretical consideration of such philosophy of nature which allows for using scientific results in philosophical analyses. An epistemological 'judgment' of those results becomes a preliminary task of this discipline: this involves taking a position in the controversy between realistic and antirealistic accounts of science. It is shown that a philosopher of nature has to be a realist, if his task to build true ontology of reality is to be achieved. (...) At the same time he cannot be a realist ˗ a possibility that science itself is capable of deciding what beings really exist (a typical realistic claim is that scientific notions refer to something external and truly describe its characteristics) has to be denied, if the philosophy of nature is seen as a discipline investigating the natural world, while being epistemologically different from the natural sciences. A possibility of weakening this opposition is explored in the second part of the paper, where the idea of so-called "postulated ontology" of scientific theories is brought to the consideration. This idea appears in the context of a well-known thesis of the underdetermination of scientific theories by empirical data. It is argued in the paper, that the conviction of the existence of some kind of relation between a given theory and ontological ideas can be derived from this thesis, regardless of its particular form. Therefore, certain solutions to classical philosophical questions can be obtained, in principle, by careful inspection of scientific achievements. However, if the thesis of underdetermination holds, such philosophical solutions are not imposed by science itself. In order to arrive at some kind of ontology based on science, it seems necessary to accept certain philosophical presuppositions in the first place. This and the fact that scientific theories change in time show that although such a kind of ontology is possible, and perhaps desirable, it can never be ultimate. (shrink)
Philosophical understandings of Nature and Human Nature. Classical Greek and modern West, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, by 14 authors, including Robert Neville, Stanley Rosen, David Eckel, Livia Kohn, Tienyu Cao, Abner Shimoney, Alfred Tauber, Krzysztof Michalski, Lawrence Cahoone, Stephen Scully, Alan Olson and Alfred Ferrarin. Dedicated to the phenomenological ecology of Erazim Kohák, with 10 of his essays and a full bibliography. Overall theme: on the question of the moral sense of nature.
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity has a copyright on the body of the work. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and (...) made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)
This is a much-needed reissue of the standard English translation of Hegel's Philosophy of Nature, originally published in 1970. The Philosophy of Nature is the second part of Hegel's Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences, all of which is now available in English from OUP (Part I being his Logic, Part III being his Philosophy of Mind). Hegel's aim in this work is to interpret the varied phenomena of Nature from the standpoint of a dialectical (...) logic. Those who still think of Hegel as a merely a priori philosopher will here find abundant evidence that he was keenly interested in and very well informed about empirical science. The Philosophy of Nature is integral to his philosophical system and deserves the most serious attention. Students and scholars of Hegel and the history of European philosophy will welcome the availability of this important text, which also includes a translation of Hegel's Zusatze or lecture notes. (shrink)
My presentation begins with Kant's philosophical project, which played a key role in understanding German Idealism, and then considers in detail the philosophical approaches developed by Schelling and Hegel.
One of the hardest questions to answer for a (Neo)platonist is to what extent and how the changing and unreliable world of sense perception can itself be an object of scientific knowledge. My dissertation is a study of the answer given to that question by the Neoplatonist Proclus (Athens, 411-485) in his Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus. I present a new explanation of Proclus’ concept of nature and show that philosophy of nature consists of several related subdisciplines matching (...) the ontological stratification of nature. Moreover, I demonstrate that for Proclus philosophy of nature is a science, albeit a hypothetical one, which takes geometry as its methodological paradigm. I also offer an explanation of Proclus’ view of what is later called the mathematization of physics, i.e. the role of the substance of mathematics, as opposed to its method, in explaining the natural world. Finally, I discuss Proclus’ views of the discourse of philosophy of nature and its iconic character. (shrink)
This contribution is an essay of formal philosophy—and more specifically of formal ontology and formal epistemology—applied, respectively, to the philosophy of nature and to the philosophy of sciences, interpreted the former as the ontology and the latter as the epistemology of the modern mathematical, natural, and artificial sciences, the theoretical computer science included. I present the formal philosophy in the framework of the category theory (CT) as an axiomatic metalanguage—in many senses “wider” than set theory (...) (ST)—of mathematics and logic, both of the “extensional” logics of the pure and applied mathematical sciences (=mathematical logic), and the “intensional” modal logics of the philosophical disciplines (=philosophical logic). It is particularly significant in this categorical framework the possibility of extending the operator algebra formalism from (quantum and classical) physics to logic, via the so-called “Boolean algebras with operators” (BAOs), with this extension being the core of our formal ontology. In this context, I discuss the relevance of the algebraic Hopf coproduct and colimit operations, and then of the category of coalgebras in the computations over lattices of quantum numbers in the quantum field theory (QFT), interpreted as the fundamental physics. This coalgebraic formalism is particularly relevant for modeling the notion of the “quantum vacuum foliation” in QFT of dissipative systems, as a foundation of the notion of “complexity” in physics, and “memory” in biological and neural systems, using the powerful “colimit” operators. Finally, I suggest that in the CT logic, the relational semantics of BAOs, applied to the modal coalgebraic relational logic of the “possible worlds” in Kripke’s model theory, is the proper logic of the formal ontology and epistemology of the natural realism, as a formalized philosophy of nature and sciences. (shrink)
In modern European culture the explication and the understanding of nature is determined by the specific traits of systemic objects investigated by science. The paper singles out three types of systemic objects, i.e. simple (mechanical) objects, complex self-regulating, and complex self-developing systems. Categorical structures accounting for each of these types are analyzed.The paper shows that the investigation of every new type of systems changes the type of scientific rationality (classical, nonclassical, post-nonclassical).
The subject of the paper is the social function of the philosophy of nature. The author presents briefly his own position in this topic and gives an evaluation of the literature on the philosophy of nature in the recent decades. According to him, the opposition against the abuse of science for the purpose of social mystification stems mostly from (philosophizing) scientists themselves and sociologists of knowledge. Academic philosophers—regardless of the variety of their ontological orientations—are prone rather (...) to cultivate the metaphilosophical mythology (of positivistic origins). (shrink)
In this work Ivor Leclerc argues for the contemporary need for a philosophy of nature, a discipline which he takes to be a casualty of the acceptance of the early nineteenth century conception of physics as a mechanics, the science of matter in locomotion in space and time. One of the main consequences of this conception of physics, which grows out of the seventeenth century conception of nature, has been that philosophy cannot have "nature" as (...) its object; rather, the object of philosophy is "science" itself, not nature. The result of this consequence has been, according to Leclerc, "an obscuring, indeed a blocking, of the realization of the full magnitude and extent of the twentieth-century developments in science, in particular of the most fundamental respects, namely, the ontological and metaphysical, in which those developments have affected the conception of nature". This has worked to the disadvantage of both the philosopher and the scientist. In Part 1 Leclerc is primarily concerned with making the above case, while Part 2 is devoted to a historical investigation into the development of the concepts involved in the conception of "physics as a mechanics" and Part III is primarily devoted to a criticism of this view of physics and a suggestion concerning the direction a philosophy of nature should take in the later part of the twentieth century. (shrink)
The Encyclopädie der Philosophischen Wissenschaften contains what is rightly called the system of Hegel's philosophy, his other treatises being, in the main, more detailed developments of certain sections of the Encyclopädie. For him the body of philosophical knowledge consists of three main divisions, Logic, Nature-philosophy and the Philosophy of Spirit, forming the supreme triad of the Dialectic and continuous with each other in the dialectical movement of thought. The Philosophy of Nature, however, has been (...) held suspect even by followers of Hegel who adhere to the doctrine of Absolute Idealism; in fact, by some of his most ardent disciples. For the development of the view by both contemporary and later thinkers has led to a position according to which Hegel's excursion into Nature-philosophy appears inconsistent with his own idealism. Whether the alleged inconsistency is supposed to affect the Philosophy of Spirit also is not clear, but it does, at least, throw doubt upon the claim of the second science of the Encyclopædia to be a genuine branch of philosophy. The view which leads to this condemnation of the Naturphilosophie was first voiced by Schelling, but it follows also from what will be called, in the sequel, the 'Bradleian' version of Absolutism, though this should not be taken to imply that Bradley was responsible for the statement of it which follows or that he voiced the objection to Hegel's philosophy here considered. (shrink)
Nietzsche's doctrine of the -eternal recurrence of the same- - the conception that the universe of events repeats itself in the same sequence, to infinity - is often taken to be logically incoherent: if an event recurs, it is not identically the same as the event itself, and if taken as self-identical cannot be the recurrence of anything. This book offers a new interpretation of the doctrine so as to rescue it from the charge of incoherence. It shows that the (...) doctrine is an outgrowth of ideas found in Nietzsche's philosophy of nature, among them that space is Riemannian and that time is relative to events, not an independently existing continuum which underlies events.". (shrink)
The papers deals with philosophical and methodological problems of natural scien-ces articulated in the writings of M. Zigo. In M. Zigo’s view one of the fundamental tasks of philosophy is analyze by philosophical means their conceptional and categorial apparatus, their attitudes and contribution to the conception and understanding of the world in general. The author examines the understanding of scientific concepts, such as cosmological model, the law of the preservation of energy, the world view, scientific rationality and their specific (...) place in the relationship between philosophy and science. (shrink)
I formulate a description of the world of relativity and quantum physics that is independent of classical physics, so that we can bypass some of the unwanted legacies which have accumulated from the theories of material corpuscles. The task of this book is to produce a formulation in sufficient detail that an understanding of quantum physics begins to be possible. Even though the present investigations will not produce a complete physical theory, I hope to show that they are still valuable (...) in providing some general ideas which are reasonable, which can be realistically interpreted, and which contribute in some part to our understanding of the world we live in and its quantum peculiarities. (shrink)
We investigate the fundamental relationship between philosophical aesthetics and the philosophy of nature, arguing for a position in which the latter encompasses the former. Two traditions are set against each other, one is natural aesthetics, whose covering philosophy is Idealism, and the other is the aesthetics of nature, the position defended in this article, with the general program of a comprehensive philosophy of nature as its covering theory. Our approach is philosophical, operating within the (...) framework of the ontology of the process of the production of art, inspired especially by the views of Antonin Artaud, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bakhtin, Deleuze, and Guattari. We interrogate Dilthey and Worringer while outlining an ontology of art based on the production of nonhuman images and a nonpersonal experiential field of nature. (shrink)
For its elliptical style, What is Philosophy? appears to be fragmentary and inscrutable, and its reception has been correspondingly contentious. Following an intimation by Gilles Deleuze himself, this article proposes that his final book, written in collaboration with Félix Guattari, contains a philosophy of nature. To address this proposition, the article begins by outlining the comprehensive system of nature set out in What is Philosophy?, defining it as an open system in motion that conjoins (...) class='Hi'>philosophy with the historical preconditions and intersects it with science and art. The article then addresses the precise method whereby the philosopher as an individual subject, emerging from nature, can succeed in becoming creative – that is, in creating concepts to bring forth new events. Finally, the brain turns out to be the pivot between the system and this method. What is Philosophy? thus presents an account of the brain based on a theory of the three specific planes of philosophy, science and art, and uses it to expand upon the idea of assemblage for a philosophy of nature. (shrink)
In this article I consider whether Hegel is a naturalist or an anti-naturalist with respect to his philosophy of nature. I adopt a cluster-based approach to naturalism, on which positions are more or less naturalistic depending how many strands of the clusternaturalismthey exemplify. I focus on two strands: belief that philosophy is continuous with the empirical sciences, and disbelief in supernatural entities. I argue that Hegel regards philosophy of nature as distinct, but not wholly discontinuous, (...) from empirical science and that he believes in the reality of formal and final causes insofar as he is a realist about universal forms that interconnect to comprise a self-organizing whole. Nonetheless, for Hegel, natural particulars never fully realize these universal forms, so that empirical inquiry into these particulars and their efficient-causal interactions is always necessary. In these two respects, I conclude, Hegel's position sits in the middle of the naturalism/anti-naturalism spectrum. (shrink)