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Humanities 2014, 3(4), 740-765; doi:10.3390/h3040740

Humanities’ Metaphysical Underpinnings of Late Frontier Scientific Research

School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Humber College, 205 Humber College Boulevard, Toronto, ON M9W 5L7, Canada
Received: 26 May 2014 / Revised: 1 December 2014 / Accepted: 2 December 2014 / Published: 22 December 2014
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The behavior/structure methodological dichotomy as locus of scientific inquiry is closely related to the issue of modeling and theory change in scientific explanation. Given that the traditional tension between structure and behavior in scientific modeling is likely here to stay, considering the relevant precedents in the history of ideas could help us better understand this theoretical struggle. This better understanding might open up unforeseen possibilities and new instantiations, particularly in what concerns the proposed technological modification of the human condition. The sequential structure of this paper is twofold. The contribution of three philosophers better known in the humanities than in the study of science proper are laid out. The key theoretical notions interweaving the whole narrative are those of mechanization, constructability and simulation. They shall provide the conceptual bridge between these classical thinkers and the following section. Here, a panoramic view of three significant experimental approaches in contemporary scientific research is displayed, suggesting that their undisclosed ontological premises have deep roots in the Western tradition of the humanities. This ontological lock between core humanist ideals and late research in biology and nanoscience is ultimately suggested as responsible for pervasively altering what is canonically understood as “human”. View Full-Text
Keywords: Duns Scotus; Giambattista Vico; Francis Bacon; simulation; artificiality; machine; cybernetics; Culture Wars; nanotechnology; transhumanism Duns Scotus; Giambattista Vico; Francis Bacon; simulation; artificiality; machine; cybernetics; Culture Wars; nanotechnology; transhumanism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Malapi-Nelson, A. Humanities’ Metaphysical Underpinnings of Late Frontier Scientific Research. Humanities 2014, 3, 740-765.

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