THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE FUTURE, #31–Beyond The Mechanistic Worldview VI: How The Mechanical Comes To Be From The Organic.

By Robert Hanna

“FUTUREWORLD,” by A. Lee/Unsplash


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 thirty-first installment contains sub-section


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)





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

0.1 My Aim In This Book

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

2.0 Introduction

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 Logical and Mathematical Arguments Physical and Metaphysical Arguments Mentalistic and Agential Arguments

2.4.2 Beyond The Mechanistic Worldview: The Neo-Organicist Worldview The Neo-Organist Thesis 1: Solving The Mind-Body Problem Dynamic Systems Theory and The Dynamic World Picture The Neo-Organicist Thesis 2: Solving The Free Will Problem Dynamic Emergence, Life, Consciousness, and Free Agency How The Mechanical Comes To Be From The Organic

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 Neo-Organicist Turn in Formal Science: The Case of Mathematical Logic

Appendix 2. A Neo-Organicist Note on The Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem and “Skolem’s Paradox”

Appendix 3. A Neo-Organicist Approach to The Nature of Motion

Appendix 4. Sensible Set Theory

Appendix 5. Neo-Organicism and The Rubber Sheet Cosmos

BIBLIOGRAPHY How The Mechanical Comes To Be From The Organic

If, according to the neo-organicist worldview, the cosmos is essentially processual, purposive, and self-organizing — i.e., organic — then how do mechanical systems come to be? The answer I’m proposing is that all formal and natural mechanical systems are (either logically or naturally/nomologically) strongly supervenient on the fundamentally processual, purposive, and self-organizing (aka organic) nature of the manifestly real world. In short, if I’m correct, then colloquially put, the materialist/physicalist metaphysics that’s been an unquestioned assumption of scientific naturalist philosophy since the 17th century, and also of the mechanistic worldview since the early 20th century, in fact has always gotten, continues to get, and will forever get, the true modal dependency relation between the mechanical and the organic aspects of the cosmos completely and precisely (as my grandfather liked to put it) bass-ackwards.

Another and somewhat less colloquial way of saying that all formal and natural mechanisms are (either logically or naturally/nomologically) strongly supervenient on the fundamental processual and purposive (i.e., organic) nature of the cosmos, is to say that all formal and natural mechanisms are systematic abstractions from the fundamentally processual and purposive character of the cosmos. For example, in mathematical logic, as Gödel, Church, Tarski, Thoralf Skolem, and Turing collectively demonstrated, all computable/decidable, consistent, sound, and complete systems of logic are all either truth-functional or primitive-recursive-arithmetical and therefore (in effect, logically supervenient) fragments of systems at least as rich as Principia Mathematica-style systems, containing the Peano axioms for arithmetic, which are themselves inherently uncomputable/undecidable and incomplete, and cannot prove their own consistency or contain their own truth-definitions (Gödel, 1931, Church, 1936; Turing, 1936/1937; Tarski, 1943, 1956; Skolem, 1967b; Boolos and Jeffrey, 1989: ch. 15). And in mathematics, as Cantor demonstrated, the natural, whole, and rational number systems are all discontinuous, denumerably infinite, share the same cardinality, and therefore (in effect, logically supervenient) fragments of the system of real numbers (Cantor, 1891, 2019; Hallett, 1984). Similarly, as Prigogine demonstrated, thermodynamic systems that obey The 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics are all closed, non-complex, entropy-enslaved, time-reversible when entropy is maximal at the equilibrium state of the system, and therefore (in effect, naturally/nomologically supervenient) fragments of open, complex, non-equilibrium, negentropic, time-irreversible thermodynamic systems (Nicolis and Prigogine, 1977; Prigogine and Stengers, 1984; Prigogine, 1997). Indeed, from the anti-mechanistic, Prigogine-style point of view, the wrongheaded assertion made by contemporary physicists who are committed to the Standard Models of cosmology and particle physics, that increase in entropy somehow “explains” the asymmetry/ unidirectionality of time, aka time’s arrow, is precisely analogous to the wrongheaded logical-formalist assertion that Turing-computable/decidable algorithms or recursive functions somehow “explain” logical or mathematical truth. Doubly on the contrary, the asymmetric/ unidirectional character of time is an essential feature of open, complex, non-equilibrium, negentropic, time-irreversible thermodynamic systems, just as undecidability and incompleteness, including a logical system’s inability either to prove its own consistency or to contain its own truth-definition, are essential features of all systems of mathematical logic at least as rich as Principia Mathematica-style systems plus the Peano axioms for arithmetic.

Nevertheless, if we start out with the systematically abstracted or strongly supervenient fragments of formal or cosmological systems, and mistakenly take them to be concrete and fundamental, then we’ve again flagrantly committed the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. A prime example of this malign theoretical effect, taken from mathematical logic, is systems that are inherently self-contradictory or paradoxical, for example: systems like Frege’s Basic Laws of Arithmetic, that falsely assume the naïve comprehension axiom for set theory; systems of Principia Mathematica-style logic plus the Peano axioms that falsely assume completeness; systems of first-order predicate logic that falsely assume decidability; and systems of Principia Mathematica-style logic that falsely assume they can contain their own truth-definitions. Zermelo’s well-ordered set theory, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, Church’s undecidability result for classical first-order predicate logic, and Tarski’s metalinguistic semantic definition of truth, respectively, all bear theoretical witness to the malign theoretical effects of these false assumptions.

Another prime example of this malign theoretical effect, now taken from contemporary physics, are the paradoxes of relativity and quantum mechanics that depend on the stipulative assumptions, characteristic of the Standard Models of cosmology and particle physics, (i) that causally efficacious atomic and sub-atomic facts must be composed either of waves or of particles, but not both, (ii) that the speed of light is an absolute causal limit in the cosmos, and, as a consequence of that, on the assumption of locality, and (iii) that The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics has unrestrictedly universal scope. But what if the complementarity of waves and particles, quantum entanglement, non-locality effects, and the essentially restricted scope of The 2nd Law, are all simply inherent and pervasive features of a fundamentally organic cosmos whose causal powers are neither absolutely limited by the speed of light nor universally enslaved by entropy? For much more on these cosmologically fundamental and indeed literally Earth-shaking issues, see sections 4.1 to 4.4 below.


Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Monday 25 July 2022

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Mr Nemo

Mr Nemo

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.