Philosophy 310=Biology 310
Bryn Mawr College
Re-Thinking Philosophy of Science?
II. Emergence: Alogorithmic Processes and Their Potential for Transcendencehttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_cult/philsci/s05/5april.html
- Realism vs constructivism - is there a world out there? if so, what is its character? can we know it? how? ... metaphysics vs epistemology ... validity of a correspondence theory of truth; issue of imputationalism (Berkeleyan "idealism")
- Singularism vs multiplism - there could be a world out there that doesn't admit of a single interpretation ... or even be "inchoate" in absence of intepretation?"
- Coordinate frames, conceptual frameworks ... existence, ability to transcend, existence of (necessity for) "transcendental", short turn, long run, eternal?
- Trees and translatability
- "Philosophy is its own time raised to the level of thought" ... Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, 1821
- [this system of logic] is not something distinct from its object and content; for it is the inwardness of the content, the dialectic which it possesses within itself, which is the mainspring of its advance ... Hegel, Science of Logic (paragraph 63), 1815
- Thus the dialectical movement of substance through causality and reciprocity is the immediate genesis of the Notion, the exposition of the process of its becoming ... Hegel, Science of Logic (paragraph 1281), 1815
- Granted, then, that empty space extends without limit in every direction and that seeds innumerable are rushing on countless courses through an unfathomable universe ... It is in the highest degree unlikely that this earth and sky is the only one to have been created ... Lucretius, c 99-55 BC
- Popper/Kuhn/etc largely draw from physics from Copernicus to present
A period of success in transcending coordinate frames but raises as questions
- is there a truly transcendent coordinate frame?
- is there a sustainable observer/object distinction?
- is there an "out there" that has properties independent of the observer?
- Would philosophy of science be different, yield different issues if it reflected different science/period? Could it transcend itself by that route (progress without absolute reference frame)?
- An alternative science/period: Darwin (1860) and following (see also Adam Smith, 1723-1790, Thomas Malthus, 1766-1834, Charles Lyell, 1797-1875)
- Evolution as conceptual scheme "incomensurable" with Popperian "realism"? perhaps somewhere between "realism" and "idealism" (not imputational but Platonic?)
- no designer, blueprint, conductor
- algorithmic exploration, what is depends on what has been and randomness
- no final state (asymptotic or otherwise)
- no "essentialism", no "immutables"
- species (at any given time) themselves examples of "incomensurables"
- no form/content distinction?
- Is "struggle for life" an "essential" property? (seriously over-emphasized for biological evolution, may be necessary in some ways (but not as generally as thought) for "adaptiveness", is not for exploration)
- Politically (philosophically?) a problem in absence of "consolation/solace" (and "meaning"?). Can that be dealt with, philosophically? politically? Along with "reality"?
How far can one get without the "Word", the "Notion" (ie without blueprint/conductor/"intentionality"/"meaning")?
Some examples ....
- Infinite organizational generativity from randomness, without a blueprint or conductor - The Game of Life
- Purposive behavior in the absence of "purpose" ("intentionality"?) - Langton's Ant
- Purposive group behavior in the absence of "purpose" or "conductor" (adding in randomness) - Termites
- Conflict, the reality of the distinction between purposive behavior and purpose - Segregation and Integration
- Adaptation (adding in randomness and selection) - Methinks it is like a weasel
Philosophical implications of emergence ... some incomensurable? possibilities
- deism vs atheism
- big bang as expansion of both form and context
- big bang as "intentional" or "random" plus selection
- An evolving but deterministic "reality", "the word"/"intentionality" epiphenomena ... starting conditions "real", everything else in some sense already there but being "discovered" ... Wolfram
- A non-deterministic evolving "reality"? Intentionality/the word an epiphenomenon ... everything else in some sense etc ... Dennett, but see "If ... a brain were truly capable of non-algorithmic activity ..."
- An evolving, non-deterministic, somewhat inchoate "out there", which in turn discovers, brings into existence causally significant "intentionality", "word", "meaning"? Some things don't exist until created ...
- Differing implications for "reality" of "time" ...
Following branch 3 to "Word", "Notion", "meaning" and "reality"
Note model builders both derive from and alter the active inanimate; similarly story tellers, once in existence can alter both active inanimate and model builders.
Unitariness gives rise to conflict/counter-factuals which in turn solves hill climbing problem and gives rise to "intention", "meaning", "reality" (all brought into being by existence of differences between "conceptual frameworks" without a reference framework).
Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942
"There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that"
All Sisyphus' silent joy in contained therein ... Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling."
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Sunday, 03-Apr-2005 18:28:42 EDT