THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE FUTURE, #26–Beyond The Mechanistic Worldview I: The Neo-Organicist Worldview.
By Robert Hanna
This book, THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE FUTURE: Uniscience and the Modern World, by Robert Hanna, presents and defends a critical philosophy of science and digital technology, and a new and prescient philosophy of nature and human thinking.
It is being made available here in serial format, but you can also download and read or share a .pdf of the complete text–including the BIBLIOGRAPHY–of THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE FUTURE HERE.
This twenty-sixth installment contains sub-section 2.4.2.
We know the truth not only through our reason but also through our heart. It is through the latter that we know first principles, and reason, which has nothing to do with it, tries in vain to refute them. (Pascal, 1995: #110, p. 28)
If there is any science humankind really needs, it is the one I teach, of how to occupy properly that place in [the world] that is assigned to humankind, and how to learn from it what one must be in order to be human. (Rem 20: 45)
Natural science will one day incorporate the science of humankind, just as the science of humankind will incorporate natural science; there will be a single science. (Marx, 1964: p. 70, translation modified slightly)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A NOTE ON REFERENCES TO KANT’S WORKS
0. Introduction: Science, The Four Horsemen of The New Apocalypse, and The Uniscience
0.0 How Uncritical and Unreformed Science Is Literally Killing The Modern World
0.2 The Uniscience and Pascal’s Dictum
Chapter 1. Natural Piety: A Kantian Critique of Science
1.0 Kantian Heavy-Duty Enlightenment and The Uniscience
1.1 Kant’s Neo-Aristotelian Natural Power Grid
1.2 Kant, Natural Piety, and The Limits of Science
1.3 From Kant’s Anti-Mechanism to Kantian Anti-Mechanism
1.4 In Defense of Natural Piety
1.5 Scientific Pietism and Scientific Naturalism
1.6 How to Ground Natural Science on Sensibility
1.7 Sensible Science 1: Natural Science Without Natural Mechanism
1.8 Sensible Science 2: Natural Science Without Materialism/Physicalism
1.9 Sensible Science 3: Natural Science Without Scientism
1.10 Frankenscience, the Future of Humanity, and the Future of Science
Chapter 2. This is the Way the World Ends: A Philosophy of Civilization Since 1900, The Rise of Mechanism, and The Emergence of Neo-Organicism
2.1 Wrestling with Modernity: 1900–1940
2.1.1 Six Sociocultural or Sociopolitical Developments
2.1.2 Two Philosophical Developments: Classical Analytic Philosophy and First Wave Organicism
2.1.3 Architectural and Artistic Trends
2.2 The Historical Black Hole, The Mechanistic Mindset, and The Mechanistic Worldview: 1940–1980
2.2.1 Formal and Natural Science After 1945, The Mechanistic Mindset, and The Rise of The Mechanistic Worldview
2.2 The Emergence of Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy
2.2.3 The Two Images Problem and its Consequences
2.2.4 Modernism and Countercurrents in the Arts and Design
2.3 The Philosophical Great Divide, Post-Modernist Cultural Nihilism, and Other Apocalyptic Developments: 1980–2022
2.3.1 The Rise of Po-Mo Philosophy
2.3.2 Po-Mo Architecture: Unconstrained Hybridity
2.3.3 Other Apocalyptic Developments: Crises in Physics and Big Science, and The One-Two Punch
2.4 From The Mechanistic Worldview to Neo-Organicism
2.4.0 Against The Mechanistic Worldview
2.4.1 Seven Arguments Against The Mechanistic Worldview
18.104.22.168 Logical and Mathematical Arguments
22.214.171.124 Physical and Metaphysical Arguments
126.96.36.199 Mentalistic and Agential Arguments
2.4.2 Beyond The Mechanistic Worldview: The Neo-Organicist Worldview
Chapter 3. Thought-Shapers
Chapter 4. How To Complete Physics
Chapter 5. Digital Technology Only Within The Limits of Human Dignity
00. Conclusion: The Point Is To Shape The World
Appendix 1: A Note on The Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem, “Skolem’s Paradox,” and Neo-Organicism
Appendix 2: A Neo-Organicist Approach to The Nature of Motion
Appendix 3: Sensible Set Theory
Appendix 4: Neo-Organicism and The Rubber Sheet Cosmos
2.4.2 Beyond The Mechanistic Worldview: The Neo-Organicist Worldview
Here are three fundamental problems in metaphysics:
(i) the mind-body problem: what explains the existence and specific characters of consciousness, intentionality, mental causation, and rationality, in a purportedly essentially non-mental physical world?,
(ii) the free will problem: what explains the existence and specific characters of real free choice and practical agency, in a purportedly essentially deterministic or indeterministic physical world?, and
(iii) the cosmological fine-tuning problem: what explains the existence and specific characters of the very special initial conditions, natural laws, and causal-evolutionary developments required for the emergence of organismic life, minded animals in general, and rational human minded animals in particular, in a purportedly essentially purposeless physical world?
And here’s how Thomas Nagel has responded to these fundamental problems in Mind and Cosmos:
[R]ational intelligibility is at the root of the natural order. (Nagel, 2012: p. 17)
On a teleological account, the existence of value is not an accident, because that is part of the explanation of why there is such a thing as life, with all its possibilities oif development and variation. In brief, value is not just an accidental side effect of life; rather, there is life because life is a necessary condition of value.
Even though natural selection partially determines the details of the forms of life and consciousness that exist, and the relations among them, the existence of the genetic material and the possible forms it makes available for selection have to be explained in some other way. The teleological hypothesis is that these things [are] determined not merely by value-free chemistry and physics but also by something else, namely a cosmic predisposition to the formation of life, consciousness, and the value that is inseparable from them. (Nagel, 2012: p. 123)
I’m fully onboard with what Nagel is proposing here, which is what I’m calling the new wave organicist, aka neo-organicist, worldview.
In view of the seven arguments I presented in section 2.4.1, it follows that the mechanistic worldview is false. Diametrically to the contrary, according to Nagel and me, the neo-organicist worldview is true. Otherwise put, in order to understand the nature of organismic life, minded animals in general, rational human mind animals in particular, human free agency, and above all human dignity, we need radically to re-think what Whitehead so aptly called our concept of nature itself (Whitehead, 1971), thereby radically re-conceiving the cosmos in neo-organicist terms. More specifically, the neo-organicist worldview says (i) that the cosmos is essentially processual, purposive, and self-organizing, and (ii) that there’s a single, unbroken metaphysical continuity between The Big Bang Singularity, temporally asymmetric/unidirectional non-equilibrium negentropic thermodynamic matter/energy flows, organismic life, conscious minded animals of all kinds including conscious minded human animals, human free agency, human rationality, and human dignity (see also Torday, Miller Jr, and Hanna, 2020). For convenience and simplicity’s sake, I’ll call this the neo-organicist thesis.
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