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Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False

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This book argues that the widely accepted world view of materialist naturalism is untenable. The mind-body problem cannot be confined to the relation between animal minds and animal bodies. If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such. No such explanation is available, and the physical sciences, including molecular biology, cannot be expected to provide one. The book explores these problems through a general treatment of the obstacles to reductionism, with more specific application to the phenomena of consciousness, cognition, and value. The conclusion is that physics cannot be the theory of everything.

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... This argument is an old and well-established one, going back in academic circles at least to Bertrand Russell and Arthur Eddington (Russell [1927(Russell [ ] 1992Eddington 1928), although the roots stretch much further, possibly traceable even to Ancient Greece (depending on the leeway one is willing to grant). Given this depth and breadth we cannot offer the position a full treatment in our current study, and thus instead we simply point the reader towards two exemplary contemporary representatives and titles whose works are provocative and have become commonly known: firstly is Thomas Nagel again with his Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, and secondly is David J. Chalmers' The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (Nagel 2012;Chalmers 1996) (we will also give some examples of researchers who align themselves with biophysics as presently being able to, or as will shortly become able to, explain consciousness in the below). ...
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The question of self-aware artificial intelligence may turn on the question of the human self. To explore some of the possibilities in play we start from an assumption that the self is often pre-analytically and by default conceptually viewed along lines that have likely been based on or from the kind of Abrahamic faith notion as expressed by a “true essence” (although not necessarily a static one), such as is given in the often vaguely used “soul”. Yet, we contend that the self is separately definable, and in relatively narrow terms; if so, of what could the self be composed? We begin with a brief review of the descriptions of the soul as expressed by some sample scriptural references taken from these religious lineages, and then transition to attempt a self-concept in psychological and cognitive terms that necessarily differentiates and delimits it from the ambiguous word “soul”. From these efforts too will emerge the type of elements that are needed for a self to be present, allowing us to think of the self in an artificial intelligence (AI) context. If AI might have a self, could it be substantively close to a human’s? Would an “en-selved” AI be achievable? I will argue that there are reasons to think so, but that everything hinges on how we understand consciousness, and hence ruminating on that area—and the possibility or lack thereof in extension to non-organic devices—will comprise our summative consideration of the pertinent theoretical aspects. Finally, the practical will need to be briefly addressed, and for this, some of the questions that would have to be asked regarding what it might mean ethically to relate to AI if an “artificial self” could indeed arise will be raised but not answered. To think fairly about artificial intelligence without anthropomorphizing it we need to better understand our own selves and our own minds. This paper will attempt to analyze the self within these bounds.
... As we will see below, there are accounts of emergence that endorse physicalism and yet reject generative atomism. It is also possible to reject physicalism but accept generative atomism as it seems to be the case in some varieties of panpsychism (Nagel, 2012). When arguing against generative atomism and hence, for emergence, one is not necessarily arguing against physicalism. ...
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This paper offers a practical argument for metaphysical emergence. The main message is that the growing reliance on so-called irrational scientific methods provides evidence that objects of science are indecomposable and as such, are better described by metaphysical emergence as opposed to the prevalent reductionistic metaphysics. I show that a potential counterargument that science will eventually reduce everything to physics has little weight given where science is heading with its current methodological trend. I substantiate my arguments by detailed examples from biological engineering, but the conclusions are extendable beyond that discipline.
... Existential wellbeing (EWB), a dimension of MacDonald's (2000aMacDonald's ( , 2000b ESI model focuses on concerns of positive self-appraisal or 'ego-evaluative' spirituality (MacDonald, 2009(MacDonald, , 2011(MacDonald, , 2020. Accordingly, Klein (2015) and Nagel (2012) suggest specific phenomenological qualities are involved in the SE(y) experience as an individual's sense of self is modified that include both contentful (e.g., objects of awareness) as well as experiential qualitative experiences. The authors further stipulate, subjectivity is the very thing that makes the scientific pursuit of any knowledge possible. ...
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As clinicians, we find ourselves in the role of helping others and collectively we have the systemic power to help improve the health and well-being of our communities through our clinical work and the inherited admonition to ‘do no harm.’ This help includes the support of life-changing and potentially life altering experiences that have the potential to change an individual’s worldview (Brook, 2017; Harris, 2018). Individually and as a society, we are moving forward into a new health and wellness paradigm never seen in human history (Johnson & Armour, 2018). At this time, there is a deeper understanding within the clinical community that we must rise to meet the needs of our clients. The new vision of clinical work is a more comprehensive view that includes the practice of a global psychotherapy that supports indigenous beliefs and practices honoring the emic ‘voices’ of indigenous knowledge of self, well-being, and spirituality while considering clinically proven methods of understanding behavior and health. The purpose of this compendium is to explore the intersection between spiritual and mental health experiences, to bring light to how the two are often confused by healthcare providers, and to provide clinicians with alternative models for treatment. This compendium supports competent clinical psychotherapy treatment that imparts the spiritual/religious/transpersonal (S/R/T) beliefs and practices of clients (Barnett, 2016). Therefore, understanding a client’s symptoms (e.g., cultural, spiritual, or religious) is important to developing competence in the delivery of effective and ethical clinical care (Barnett, 2016; Frisby, 2018; Hodge, 2018). Spiritual emergence (SE) and spiritual emergency SE(y) are categorized throughout this compendium under the broad term’s spiritual, religious, and transpersonal (S/R/T) experiences. In some cases, reference to spiritual emergence (e.g., SE) or spiritual emergency SE(y) will be used to specify a particular type of experience, and other times spiritual, religious, or transpersonal (i.e., S/R/T) will be used to define broader categories of spiritual emergence.
... Existential wellbeing (EWB), a dimension of MacDonald's (2000aMacDonald's ( , 2000b ESI model focuses on concerns of positive self-appraisal or 'ego-evaluative' spirituality (MacDonald, 2009(MacDonald, , 2011(MacDonald, , 2020. Accordingly, Klein (2015) and Nagel (2012) suggest specific phenomenological qualities are involved in the SE(y) experience as an individual's sense of self is modified that include both contentful (e.g., objects of awareness) as well as experiential qualitative experiences. The authors further stipulate, subjectivity is the very thing that makes the scientific pursuit of any knowledge possible. ...
... The point is to be seen if we compare the problems of phenomenology with current problems of consciousness, qualia, or subjectivity in contemporary philosophy. It seems that these problems were not only accessed and evaluated in philosophical cultures linguistically different from the contemporary English culture but even resolved on a level only approximated by contemporary authors-such as the relationship between the mind and the universe (Nagel 2021;cf. Husserl 1965, pp. ...
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In this article, I delineate a notion of phenomenology, which differs in many ways from earlier approaches. I term this understanding apocalyptic in the sense that this phenomenology discloses not only the essences of particular things, logical entities, ideas, and transcendental processes, but beyond them, it reveals reality in its essential openness to newness. The term apocalupsis refers not simply to the unveiling of something unknown earlier, but more importantly to the central determinant of reality in that it discloses irreducible newness. I show that the phenomenon of self-disclosure or revelation was at the center of the work of the first phenomenologists, such as Franz Brentano and Edmund Husserl; I emphasize the notion of phenomenological revelation in the thought of Max Scheler and Martin Heidegger. In this context, I offer an interpretation of the phenomenologies of Emmanuel Lévinas, Michel Henry, and Jean-Luc Marion. I argue that the notion of nouveauté novatrice of Miklos Vetö is a phenomenologically inspired insight into the nature of the essence of phenomenology. I claim that newness is the core of reality engendering a new conception of phenomenology as a philosophy of reality–a phenomenology aptly termed neology, a development of what is known as “the phenomenological movement”.
... En palabras de Descartes en su segunda meditación (Descartes, 2013), «cogito ergo sum», la que en opinión del autor es la realidad más evidente y absenta de discusión de la que un observador particular puede dar crédito. Negar la existencia de la consciencia al no ser modelizable por el método científico es una postura propia del reduccionismo materialista, que asume el determinismo como propiedad del universo que nos rodea y eliminar cualquier fenómeno que no pueda ser trabajado por el método científico genera los problemas en ciencia natural descritos por Thomas Nagel en La mente y el cosmos (Nagel, 2012). ...
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Los últimos avances de la ciencia invitan a pensar en la posibilidad práctica del transhumanismo. Pero quizá es pertinente estudiar una pregunta a la que todavía ni la ciencia ni la filosofía han sabido dar respuesta. En concreto, la naturaleza de la consciencia fenoménica de Ned Block o del concepto de vigilancia de Stanislas Dehaene. Pese a los últimos avances en neurociencia y en inteligencia artificial, seguimos sin pistas para responder a la pregunta del problema fuerte de la consciencia de David Chalmers, del como y por qué estamos aquí. Somos capaces de discriminar de que información somos conscientes, pero no hemos conseguido averiguar por qué somos conscientes o como se genera esa consciencia. El problema es mas grave de lo que parece, ya que no somos capaces de medir, definir ni replicar la consciencia fenoménica. Sin medición, si el objeto de estudio es subjetivo y cualitativo, no se puede aplicar el método científico. Luego, pese a que podríamos replicar la información de nuestro cerebro en un artefacto mecánico, nada garantiza que nuestra consciencia fenoménica se replique ahí, ya que no podemos medir la consciencia fenoménica. Este artefacto hecho a imitación nuestra podría no ser mas que un zombie filosófico, en palabras de David Chalmers, un ser sin consciencia fenoménica, un ser sin alma. Ante esta realidad, cabe preguntarnos: ¿es seguro explorar la alternativa de trascender en un sistema independiente de nuestro cerebro biológico, como un ordenador, sino tenemos ninguna herramienta para medir si ese sistema puede ser consciente de si mismo o producir consciencia fenoménica como un epifenómeno? Si la respuesta, como se defiende en este trabajo, es negativa, una alternativa mas segura para el transhumanismo es explorar la ingeniería genética, los implantes artificiales o embeber el cerebro en sistemas artificiales.
... Indeed, "matter" itself as classically conceived does not exist, and space and time can no longer be conceptualized as providing a pre-existing container for events. Furthermore, we have no credible understanding of how consciousness could be manufactured by physical processes occurring in brains, and recent work in philosophy of mind has convinced many that we can never achieve one (Chalmers, 1996;Nagel, 2012). ...
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The Integrated Information Theory of consciousness (IIT) has generated much excitement inside and outside the scientific community, and seems to many the leading contender for a satisfactory theory grounded in systems neuroscience. It is a bold theory, one that provides plausible explanations for various recognized neuroscientific facts, makes surprising predictions that go beyond current scientific orthodoxy but are potentially testable, and has inspired development of what appears to be an effective technique for detecting the presence of consciousness in organisms incapable of verbal report, such as non-human animals, neonates, and severely brain-damaged adults. Despite these virtues, IIT appears fundamentally flawed: This paper first revisits some key conceptual and technical issues that have been raised previously but remain unresolved—in particular, issues concerning IIT’s concept of “information” and its approach to the “hard problem”—and then focuses on several empirical phenomena that IIT seems unable to handle satisfactorily. These include: 1. cases of multiple personality or dissociative identity disorder in which complex and overlapping centers of consciousness co-occur in single human organisms; 2. the failure of the intense phenomenology of psychedelic states to be straightforwardly reflected in accompanying neuroelectric activity; and, most critically; 3. the occurrence of profound and personally transformative near-death experiences (NDEs) under extreme physiological conditions such as cardiac arrest, in which IIT predicts that no conscious experience whatsoever should be possible. These empirical arguments show that IIT itself is untenable, and they apply also to its physicalist competitors. Scientifically and philosophically respectable alternatives, however, are available.
... Either way, as most scholars agree, consciousness is a hard problem to crack (Chalmers 2002, Nagel 2012, and no view regarding it is settled. Anthropologically, it is just the absence of convincing accounts of what it is that opens up an undetermined realm in which speculative ideas grow, giving shape to current transhuman practices and subjectivities. ...
... They too may produce many meanings, while we often see them as more predictable. This view has also produced a critical account of materialism in science, as pointed out by Nagel (2012). ...
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"This article analyses traditional Italian fairy tales retold by Italo Calvino in 1956 and their relationships to nature and culture. Zoosemiotics, a branch of both semiotics and animal studies, argues that nature and culture are not separated and in contrast and that, instead, culture is a limited part of nature. This conceptual change envisions different relationships between humans and animals as well as more broadly the end of animal anthropomorphism. Methodologically, the article applies a zoosemiotic analysis to the Italian fairy tales retold by Calvino. The article concludes that some animals in the fairy tales are still anchored to the old view while others move towards the cultural terrain, showing cultural attitudes and inhabiting a cultural area usually reserved for human animals. This shift leads to an inverted semiotic destiny of humans and animals in fairy tales: while animals are traditionally represented as symbols, Calvino’s rewriting turns them into icons, representing only themselves, marked by a neat individuality and independence from their species; while humans are, conversely, usually represented as icons, Calvino’s stories turn them into symbols, such as ingratitude or jealousy. The article shows the usefulness of zoosemiotics and nature/culture in analysing non human-animals in fairy tales and adds to earlier studies considering non-human animals in Calvino’s fairy tales as an epitome of Anthropocene. Keywords: animal studies, fairy tales, Italo Calvino, zoosemiotics, nature and culture, anthropomorphism, Puss in Boots "
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Yanılsamacılık (illüzyonizm) düşüncesi fenomenal bilincin var olmadığını savunur. Buna göre bilince atfedilen fenomenal özellikler sadece aldatıcı bir görünüşten ibarettir. Öznel deneyim sadece bir yanılsamadır. Bu nedenle biz hiçbir türden öznel deneyime sahip değiliz, sadece öznel deneyimin yanıltıcı bir algısına sahibiz. Fenomenal bilinç gerçek olmadığı için bilinç hakkında açıklanması gereken şey fiziksel bir organizmanın nasıl olup da bilinç sahibi olduğu değil, öyle olmadığımız halde neden kendimizi bilinçli olarak algıladığımızdır. Cevaplanması gereken soru nasıl fenomenal deneyime sahip olduğumuz değil, neden fenomenal deneyime sahip gibi göründüğümüzdür. Soruyu bu şekilde sorduğumuzda bilincin zor problemi yerini yanılsama problemine bırakmaktadır. Yanılsamacılık, bilinçle ilgili araştırmalar için teorik bir çerçeve olarak öne sürülmektedir. Bu düşünce, fenomenal deneyimin fiziksel açıklamasının onun aslında bir yanılsamadan ibaret olduğu şeklinde bir teorik çerçeve içinde yapılmaya çalışılmasının, sorunu paradoksal yapısından kurtaracağını savunmaktadır. Bu makalede yanılsamacı argümanların ve bazı teorik yaklaşımların incelenmesi yoluyla yanılsamacı düşüncenin içsel yapısını ortaya koyacağız. Böylece yanılsamacılığın, bilinç paradoksu adını verdiğimiz muammayı nasıl ele aldığına dair bir anlayış geliştirmeye çalışacağız. Diğer taraftan, yapısal nitelikleri bakımından indirgemeci fizikalist yaklaşımların yanılsamacı özellikler taşıdıklarını açıklayacağız. Sonuç olarak, bilincin zor probleminin karakteristik olarak paradoksal olduğu ve yanılsamacılığın bilince bakış açısının Zenon’un hareket ve zaman hakkındaki kanaatleri ile ortak yönlere sahip olduğu açıklanmış olacaktır.
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The popular field of 'science and religion' is a lively and well-established area. It is however a domain which has long been characterised by certain traits. In the first place, it tends towards an adversarial dialectic in which the separate disciplines, now conjoined, are forever locked in a kind of mortal combat. Secondly, 'science and religion' has a tendency towards disentanglement, where 'science' does one sort of thing and 'religion' another. And thirdly, the duo are frequently pushed towards some sort of attempted synthesis, wherein their aims either coincide or else are brought more closely together. In attempting something fresh, and different, this volume tries to move beyond tried and tested tropes. Bringing philosophy and theology to the fore in a way rarely attempted before, the book shows how fruitful new conversations between science and religion can at last move beyond the increasingly tired options of either conflict or dialogue.
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The argument from design, the proof of the existence of God from the design-like nature of the world, especially organisms, dates back to Plato in the Phaedo. Despite problems, namely the existence of evil, thanks particularly to Archdeacon William Paley’s Natural Theology, the argument was highly influential in British thought at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, as given in his Origin of Species, challenged this hegemony. It is important to note what Darwin did and did not challenge. He accepted fully that organisms are design-like; that, in the language of Aristotle, they show “final causes”. Natural selection explains why this is so. He denied that this feature demands the hypothesis of a designing consciousness, namely God. Darwin was an agnostic, so did not want to deny the existence of God as such. Rather, he thought that the argument failed to prove this. Darwin’s conclusion has led to much subsequent discussion. Generally, however, the world — including Christians — agrees with him. In the words of the English theologian John Henry Newman, as a Christian one can accept that God explains design, one cannot accept that design proves God.
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This volume of new essays is the first English-language anthology devoted to Chinese metaphysics. The essays explore the key themes of Chinese philosophy, from pre-Qin to modern times, starting with important concepts such as yin-yang and qi and taking the reader through the major periods in Chinese thought - from the Classical period, through Chinese Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism, into the twentieth-century philosophy of Xiong Shili. They explore the major traditions within Chinese philosophy, including Daoism and Mohism, and a broad range of metaphysical topics, including monism, theories of individuation, and the relationship between reality and falsehood. The volume will be a valuable resource for upper-level students and scholars of metaphysics, Chinese philosophy, or comparative philosophy, and with its rich insights into the ethical, social and political dimensions of Chinese society, it will also interest students of Asian studies and Chinese intellectual history.
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This volume of new essays is the first English-language anthology devoted to Chinese metaphysics. The essays explore the key themes of Chinese philosophy, from pre-Qin to modern times, starting with important concepts such as yin-yang and qi and taking the reader through the major periods in Chinese thought - from the Classical period, through Chinese Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism, into the twentieth-century philosophy of Xiong Shili. They explore the major traditions within Chinese philosophy, including Daoism and Mohism, and a broad range of metaphysical topics, including monism, theories of individuation, and the relationship between reality and falsehood. The volume will be a valuable resource for upper-level students and scholars of metaphysics, Chinese philosophy, or comparative philosophy, and with its rich insights into the ethical, social and political dimensions of Chinese society, it will also interest students of Asian studies and Chinese intellectual history.
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Aristotle's study of the natural world plays a tremendously important part in his philosophical thought. He was very interested in the phenomena of motion, causation, place and time, and teleology, and his theoretical materials in this area are collected in his Physics, a treatise of eight books which has been very influential on later thinkers. This volume of new essays provides cutting-edge research on Aristotle's Physics, taking into account recent changes in the field of Aristotle in terms of its understanding of key concepts and preferred methodology. The contributions reassess the key concepts of the treatise (including nature, chance, teleology, art, and motion), reconstruct Aristotle's methods for the study of nature, and determine the boundaries of his natural philosophy. Because of the foundational nature of Aristotle's Physics itself, the volume will be a must-read for all scholars working on Aristotle.
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This book presents a strong case for substance dualism and offers a comprehensive defense of the knowledge argument, showing that materialism cannot accommodate or explain the 'hard problem' of consciousness. Bringing together the discussion of reductionism and semantic vagueness in an original and illuminating way, Howard Robinson argues that non-fundamental levels of ontology are best treated by a conceptualist account, rather than a realist one. In addition to discussing the standard versions of physicalism, he examines physicalist theories such as those of McDowell and Price, and accounts of neutral monism and panpsychism from Strawson, McGinn and Stoljar. He also explores previously unnoticed historical parallels between Frege and Aristotle and between Hume and Plotinus. His book will be a valuable resource for scholars and advanced students of philosophy of mind, in particular those looking at consciousness, dualism, and the mind-body problem.
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Aristotle's study of the natural world plays a tremendously important part in his philosophical thought. He was very interested in the phenomena of motion, causation, place and time, and teleology, and his theoretical materials in this area are collected in his Physics, a treatise of eight books which has been very influential on later thinkers. This volume of new essays provides cutting-edge research on Aristotle's Physics, taking into account recent changes in the field of Aristotle in terms of its understanding of key concepts and preferred methodology. The contributions reassess the key concepts of the treatise (including nature, chance, teleology, art, and motion), reconstruct Aristotle's methods for the study of nature, and determine the boundaries of his natural philosophy. Because of the foundational nature of Aristotle's Physics itself, the volume will be a must-read for all scholars working on Aristotle.
Chapter
Aristotle's study of the natural world plays a tremendously important part in his philosophical thought. He was very interested in the phenomena of motion, causation, place and time, and teleology, and his theoretical materials in this area are collected in his Physics, a treatise of eight books which has been very influential on later thinkers. This volume of new essays provides cutting-edge research on Aristotle's Physics, taking into account recent changes in the field of Aristotle in terms of its understanding of key concepts and preferred methodology. The contributions reassess the key concepts of the treatise (including nature, chance, teleology, art, and motion), reconstruct Aristotle's methods for the study of nature, and determine the boundaries of his natural philosophy. Because of the foundational nature of Aristotle's Physics itself, the volume will be a must-read for all scholars working on Aristotle.
Chapter
Aristotle's study of the natural world plays a tremendously important part in his philosophical thought. He was very interested in the phenomena of motion, causation, place and time, and teleology, and his theoretical materials in this area are collected in his Physics, a treatise of eight books which has been very influential on later thinkers. This volume of new essays provides cutting-edge research on Aristotle's Physics, taking into account recent changes in the field of Aristotle in terms of its understanding of key concepts and preferred methodology. The contributions reassess the key concepts of the treatise (including nature, chance, teleology, art, and motion), reconstruct Aristotle's methods for the study of nature, and determine the boundaries of his natural philosophy. Because of the foundational nature of Aristotle's Physics itself, the volume will be a must-read for all scholars working on Aristotle.
Chapter
Aristotle's study of the natural world plays a tremendously important part in his philosophical thought. He was very interested in the phenomena of motion, causation, place and time, and teleology, and his theoretical materials in this area are collected in his Physics, a treatise of eight books which has been very influential on later thinkers. This volume of new essays provides cutting-edge research on Aristotle's Physics, taking into account recent changes in the field of Aristotle in terms of its understanding of key concepts and preferred methodology. The contributions reassess the key concepts of the treatise (including nature, chance, teleology, art, and motion), reconstruct Aristotle's methods for the study of nature, and determine the boundaries of his natural philosophy. Because of the foundational nature of Aristotle's Physics itself, the volume will be a must-read for all scholars working on Aristotle.
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In the present review/literature compilation*, we submit that a cosmological acoustical background field underlies the fabric of reality and that this field was and is instrumental in the guiding of biophysical processes during pre-biotic era's, biological evolution, as well as in the world we know now and anticipate in the future. The idea of some recipe for life, seen as a set of primordial rules, has clear connections with the earlier proposed pilot wave theory of David Bohm, who framed the supposed field as an implicate order. Implicitly, such theories invite the question whether they imply a deterministic and even super-deterministic constellation of the cosmos we live in. Of note, the super-determinism debate is related to quantum mechanical properties such as non-locality, the measurement (observer) problem, statistical independence of the observer, potential vectorial influences on a distance, free will (choice) of observers and the potential involvement of hidden variables in quantum physics, all this related to potential violation of Bell's Theorem. The latter item was recently treated by Hossenfelder, Palmer, t' Hooft, and Smolin among many others. We postulate that the initiation and further evolution of the cosmos was predetermined by an underlying information field that is hidden for us and which is considered as primordial attribute of a cyclic (rebounce) universe. This concept was earlier described by us as a symmetry breaking from a 5D sub-quantum phase space, that is connected to a 4D superfluid quantum domain with features of the known Zero-point-energy Field (ZPEF). Our theory can, in principle, be viewed upon as a superdeterministic phenomenon, as currently debated in physics. Yet, we rather propose that potential super-determinism is relaxed by a dynamic information field that is retro-causally updated(back-reaction). This, through choices made by intelligent life systems that collect, use and dissipate information, including the human species. This dynamic process can be envisioned as a permanent retro-causally actualised information domain that is instrumental in the ongoing evolution of our world. This implies a relaxed superdeterministic mode, collectively defined by us as a retro-causally reconstructive universe, that allows human free choice. It is postulated that crucial processes such as the Primordial Creation of our Universe (so-called Big Bang), Anthropic Fine Tuning of the Universe, Biological Evolution and the Manifestation of Consciousness should not be regarded as coincidental, but rather as a manifestation of a Grand Design on the basis of of an Acoustic Cosmic Recipe for guiding the Fabric of Reality.
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Zusammenfassung Der Essay beschreibt begriffliche Herausforderungen, mit denen die Entwicklung zukünftiger Roboter, die über künstliche Intelligenz verfügen, das traditionelle Konzept vernunftbasierter Menschenwürde konfrontieren könnte. Sollten entsprechende KI-Systeme eines Tages basale Formen genuiner Rationalität aufweisen, indem sie rational vernetzte intentionale Zustände durchlaufen, die als Gründe für ihr zielgerichtetes Verhalten fungieren, so scheinen sie damit auf den ersten Blick auch würdeverleihende Fähigkeiten zu besitzen. Hieraus ergeben sich zwei Probleme: Erstens erscheint ihre instrumentalisierende Indienstnahme für menschliche Zwecke dann problematisch. Gleichwohl stützen Gedankenexperimente, die sich an Robert Sparrows Turing Triage Test anlehnen, das intuitive Urteil, dass solchen Systemen keine wirkliche Würde zukommt, die ihre Instrumentalisierung verbietet. Diskutiert werden drei verschiedene Strategien, diese widerstreitende Intuition durch eine Präzisierung und Vertiefung des traditionellen Konzepts vernunftbasierter Würde zu rechtfertigen, wobei sich alle drei Vorschläge letztlich als problembehaftet erweisen. Hierdurch droht das fragliche Konzept jedoch in eine komplizierte Aporie zu geraten. Im Anschluss daran wird dann dargelegt, dass zweitens auch die althergebrachte Vorstellung einer kollektiven Würde der menschlichen Gattung, die sich dem exklusiven Besitz der Vernunftfähigkeit verdankt, angesichts zukünftiger elaborierter KI-Systeme ihre Grundlage zu verlieren droht.
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Many scholars of philosophy, aesthetics, religion, history or social science have ventured to offer a comprehensive explanation of music, one of the most intangible and elusive phenomena in the world. A palaeoanthropological approach, which places music into an evolutionary paradigm, can add important perspectives to our understanding of this phenomenon. To begin with, the question whether music is an adaptation that has survival value in the classical Darwinian sense is contemplated. Views on the origin of music in conjunction with the emergence of language and as a domain for the expression of emotion, linked to music’s benefits for social coherence, are discussed. More recent views on the emergence of consciousness, on semiosis and on music as a manifestation of biocultural co-evolution, especially in conjunction with ritual, are then presented. Finally, the merit of exploiting the concept of play to help account for the systematicity of music’s semiosis is examined. Contribution: In line with the intent of this special collection of articles, the above considerations are placed into the context of materialist versus nonmaterialist perspectives on the emergence of the human mind. The overarching argument is that music contributes crucially to what it means to be human.
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Some writers have described human beings as participating in the universe waking up or serving as the means by which the universe comes to know itself. In this paper I argue that this idea can be given a straightforward explanation with minimal metaphysical commitments. As long as one grants that the universe has a kind of unity and that human beings are conscious, it is possible to see human beings as vehicles for the universe's consciousness and knowledge of itself. I also argue that this idea can be useful for atheists because it can satisfy what Thomas Nagel calls ‘the yearning for cosmic reconciliation’ (2010: 3) better than secular humanism can.
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Despite the prominent role that technology plays in twenty‐first‐century societies, the intersections between spirituality and technology have been poorly analyzed. This article develops a cross‐reflection between these two key anthropological aspects, using a philosophical approach that structures the analysis along three classical categories: transcendence, immanence, and relationality. Drawing from ideas of philosophers, such as Heidegger and Merleau‐Ponty, the article sheds light on problematic aspects of technology that spirituality helps identify and for which it suggests solutions. Symmetrically, the analysis shows commonly inadvertent aspects of spirituality that technology brings to the fore. All in all, spirituality appears as an essential dimension to cultivate in technological societies, while technology might reveal spirituality as richer and deeper than has been apparent in traditional settings.
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Stuart Kauffman has, in recent writings, developed a thought-provoking and influential argument for strong emergence. The outcome is his Theory of the Adjacent Possible (TAP). According to TAP, the biosphere constitutes a non-physical domain qualitatively distinct from the physical domain. The biosphere exhibits strongly emergent properties such as agency, meaning, value and creativity that cannot, in principle, be reduced to the physical. In this paper, I argue that TAP includes various (explicit or implicit) metaphysical commitments: commitments to (1) scientific realism, (2) downward causation and teleology, and (3) modal realism. If TAP is to hang together as the kind of robust philosophical thesis it evidently aspires to be, it needs an account-an account that is currently absent-of its metaphysical commitments. It is however unclear how such an account can be developed since various dilemmas present themselves when one explores how subscribers to TAP might do so.
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A “psycho-axiological” model is presented that addresses both the psychological question of subjective “life-meaning” and the philosophical question of “the meaning of life.” The author establishes the relationship between 14 essential “modes of mind” and human values and shows how these modes provide the basis for philosophical theories of the meaning of life and psychological research concerning life-meaning. It is argued that life-meaning involves the actualization of values associated with one or more of the modes of mind and that, because at least certain values are objective, transcultural, and trans-world, such actualization comprises the meaning of life.
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Christianity has understood the environment as a gift to nurture and steward, a book of divine revelation disclosing the divine mind, a wild garden in need of cultivation and betterment, and as a resource for the creation of a new Eden. This Cambridge Companion details how Christianity, one of the world's most important religions, has shaped one of the existential issues of our age, the environment. Engaging with contemporary issues, including gender, traditional knowledge, and enchantment, it brings together the work of international scholars on the subject of Christianity and the Environment from a diversity of fields. Together, their work offers a comprehensive guide to the complex relationship between Christianity and the environment that moves beyond disciplinary boundaries. To do this, the volume explains the key concepts concerning Christianity and the environment, outlines the historical development of this relationship from antiquity to the present, and explores important contemporary issues.
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Frank Jackson's case of Mary the colour scientist, and the knowledge argument against physicalism built upon it, are well known. This paper starts from Jackson's other, more neglected, thought experiment, about Fred, who sees a unique shade of red. It explores two senses in which properties are said to be 'objective', roughly corresponding to the ideas of a property's being intersubjectively accessible, on the one hand, and its being knowable without the need for special experiences, on the other. These senses of the objective are contrasted, and their links to the doctrine of physicalism explored, and it is argued that, in the sense of objectivity we should embrace, mental qualities come out as objective and physical properties. The paper ends up by proposing a novel theory about how mental qualities fit into the world—as determinates of determinable physical properties, a view that is distinguished from the closely related 'Russellian monism'.
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The human species evolved from the earth, constituting its “deep history.” The earth itself changed significantly before human life became feasible in its current form, Homo sapiens (Falkowski 2015). The evolution of humans themselves has been affected by its own forms of knowledge, from the discovery of fire, the invention of tools, the capacity for language and writing. The capacity for accumulation of knowledge outside on an individual person’s memory has enabled the species to develop cognitively, as well as technologically (Tomasello 2008; Kandel 2018). That is, human science has been able to influence human evolution.
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This chapter will present and refute the most frequently claimed empirical and philosophical objections that impede giving the survival hypothesis a fair trial: (1) neuroscience “proves” that the brain generates mind; (2) Principle of Parsimony—we should explain mind solely on a material basis; (3) there is no mechanism for how the mind would influence the brain; (4) science has proved physicalism and survival implies supernaturalism; and (5) survival implies Cartesian dualism that is rejected by learned people. These objections are usually based on misguided metaphysical and philosophical assumptions and often related to previous ideological commitment to physicalism. There is no sound argument or empirical evidence to force us to an a priori rejection of survival as an explanatory hypothesis for the anomalous and spiritual experiences we discuss at this book. In light of that, survival hypothesis should be taken in consideration by a rigorous but open-minded and fair examination. Rejecting to consider this possibility would be dogmatic and, thus, anti-scientific.KeywordsSurvival after deathLife after deathPrejudiceDogmatismSkepticismSurvivalNeuroscienceOccam’s razorMechanismPhysicalismDualismSuperstition
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When explaining the causes of structural variations in local governance reform, regional studies scholars face a trilemma: how to avoid voluntarism that over-inflates individuals’ power to ‘heroically’ reorganize local governance regimes; how to avoid determinism that denies the prowess of local actors in the face of institutional constraints; and how to avoid constructivism that denies the separate existence of both individual actions and local institutions. The question they must answer is: if individuals are embedded in institutions that define their interests and shape their cognitions, how can they ever be able to change institutions? Critical realism suggests a suitable answer to this question by seeing institutional dynamics as consisting of structures, institutions, and actions, each with a distinct existence but nevertheless irreducible to each other. The practical value of this ontology – which avoids voluntarism, determinism and constructivism – is illustrated by an English devolution case study.
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In recent years, philosophical discussions of free will have focused largely on whether or not free will is compatible with determinism. In this challenging book, David Hodgson takes a fresh approach to the question of free will, contending that close consideration of human rationality and human consciousness shows that together they give us free will, in a robust and indeterministic sense. In particular, they give us the capacity to respond appositely to feature-rich gestalts of conscious experiences, in ways that are not wholly determined by laws of nature or computational rules. The author contends that this approach is consistent with what science tells us about the world; and he considers its implications for our responsibility for our own conduct, for the role of retribution in criminal punishment, and for the place of human beings in the wider scheme of things.
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Critique du raisonnement qui consiste a conclure de l'adpatation (fine-tuning) de l'univers a la vie a l'existence d'univers multiples. Refutant les positions de J. Leslie, D. Parfit, J.J. Smart et P. van Inwagen, l'A. examine la conception probabiliste de la confirmation et montre que l'hypothese de Carter concernant la probabilite des evenements est fausse.
An adaptationist programme has dominated evolutionary thought in England and the United States during the past 40 years. It is based on faith in the power of natural selection as an optimizing agent. It proceeds by breaking an oragnism into unitary 'traits' and proposing an adaptive story for each considered separately. Trade-offs among competing selective demands exert the only brake upon perfection; non-optimality is thereby rendered as a result of adaptation as well. We criticize this approach and attempt to reassert a competing notion (long popular in continental Europe) that organisms must be analysed as integrated wholes, with Baupläne so constrained by phyletic heritage, pathways of development and general architecture that the constraints themselves become more interesting and more important in delimiting pathways of change than the selective force that may mediate change when it occurs. We fault the adaptationist programme for its failure to distinguish current utility from reasons for origin (male tyrannosaurs may have used their diminutive front legs to titillate female partners, but this will not explain why they got so small); for its unwillingness to consider alternatives to adaptive stories; for its reliance upon plausibility alone as a criterion for accepting speculative tales; and for its failure to consider adequately such competing themes as random fixation of alleles, production of non-adaptive structures by developmental correlation with selected features (allometry, pleiotropy, material compensation, mechanically forced correlation), the separability of adaptation and selection, multiple adaptive peaks, and current utility as an epiphenomenon of non-adaptive structures. We support Darwin's own pluralistic approach to identifying the agents of evolutionary change.
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The sudden appearance of a large self-copying molecule such as RNA was exceedingly improbable. Energy-driven networks of small molecules afford better odds as the initiators of life