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Philosophies, Volume 3, Issue 4 (December 2018)

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Open AccessArticle Sciences of Observation
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040029
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 1 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
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Abstract
Multiple sciences have converged, in the past two decades, on a hitherto mostly unremarked question: what is observation? Here, I examine this evolution, focusing on three sciences: physics, especially quantum information theory, developmental biology, especially its molecular and “evo-devo” branches, and cognitive science,
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Multiple sciences have converged, in the past two decades, on a hitherto mostly unremarked question: what is observation? Here, I examine this evolution, focusing on three sciences: physics, especially quantum information theory, developmental biology, especially its molecular and “evo-devo” branches, and cognitive science, especially perceptual psychology and robotics. I trace the history of this question to the late 19th century, and through the conceptual revolutions of the 20th century. I show how the increasing interdisciplinary focus on the process of extracting information from an environment provides an opportunity for conceptual unification, and sketch an outline of what such a unification might look like. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies)
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Open AccessArticle We Need to Recreate Natural Philosophy
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040028
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
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Abstract
Modern science began as natural philosophy, an admixture of philosophy and science. It was then killed off by Newton, as a result of his claim to have derived his law of gravitation from the phenomena by induction. But this post-Newtonian conception of science,
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Modern science began as natural philosophy, an admixture of philosophy and science. It was then killed off by Newton, as a result of his claim to have derived his law of gravitation from the phenomena by induction. But this post-Newtonian conception of science, which holds that theories are accepted on the basis of evidence, is untenable, as the long-standing insolubility of the problem of induction indicates. Persistent acceptance of unified theories only in physics, when endless equally empirically successful disunified rivals are available, means that physics makes a persistent, problematic metaphysical assumption about the universe: that all disunified theories are false. This assumption, precisely because it is problematic, needs to be explicitly articulated within physics, so that it can be critically assessed and, we may hope, improved. The outcome is a new conception of science—aim-oriented empiricism—that puts science and philosophy together again, and amounts to a modern version of natural philosophy. Furthermore, aim-oriented empiricism leads to the solution to the problem of induction. Natural philosophy pursued within the methodological framework of aim-oriented empiricism is shown to meet standards of intellectual rigour that science without metaphysics cannot meet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies)
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Open AccessArticle Natural Philosophy and Natural Logic
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040027
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
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Abstract
1. Nature has its own logic, which does not follow the human will. Nature is itself; it exists, moves, changes, and evolves according to its own intrinsic ways. Human and human society, as a product of a specific stage of natural development, can
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1. Nature has its own logic, which does not follow the human will. Nature is itself; it exists, moves, changes, and evolves according to its own intrinsic ways. Human and human society, as a product of a specific stage of natural development, can only be a concrete manifestation of the logic of nature. 2. In the broad sense, nature refers to all, both phenomena and processes, in the universe. It includes human society spiritual phenomena. In a narrow sense, nature refers to the world outside the society and opposed to society as well, or refers to the research objects of natural sciences 3. The narrow natural philosophy is in the intermediary position between the natural sciences and the overall philosophy (the supreme philosophy, an advocation of Kun Wu’s philosophy of information. For further detail, please refer to the subscript in the following.). Furthermore, it is an independent sub-level philosophical discipline; the broad natural philosophy is a meta-philosophy or supreme philosophy, stipulating the entire world from the dimensions of nature itself. 4. Natural philosophy reveals the laws of nature’s own existence, movement, change, and evolution. This determines that the way of expressing natural philosophy is necessarily natural ontology. The construction of the theoretical system of natural philosophy is inevitably a process of abandoning cognitive mediums of human beings through reflection. It is necessary for us to conclude that natural philosophy is the stipulation of nature itself, which comes out of the nature itself. So, we must explain the nature from the standpoint of the nature itself. 5. The true philosophy should move from the human world to the nature, finding back Husserl’s suspended things, and establish a brand-new philosophy in which man and nature, substance, information, and spirit are united. This kind of philosophy is able to provide contemporary ecological civilization with a reasonable philosophical foundation, rebuilding natural philosophy in a new era, which is a very urgent task for contemporary philosophers. 6. The unity of philosophy and science cannot be seen merely as an external convergence, but also as an intrinsic fusion; a true philosophy should have a scientific character, and science itself must have a philosophical basis. The unity of such an intrinsic fusion of science and philosophy can be fully demonstrated by the practical relationship of development between human philosophy and science. 7. In addition to the narrow path along epistemology, linguistics, and phenomenology, the development of human philosophy has another path. This is the development of philosophy itself that has been nurtured and demonstrated during the development of general science: On the one hand, the construction of scientific rationality requires philosophical thinking and exploration; On the other hand, the progress of science opens the way for the development of philosophy. 8. In the real process of the development of human knowledge, science and philosophy are regulated, contained, and merged with each other in the process of interaction. The two are inlaid together internally to form an interactive dynamic feedback loop. The unified relationship of mutual influence, regulation, promotion and transformation presented in the intrinsic interplay of interaction between science and philosophy profoundly breeds and demonstrates the general way of human knowledge development: the philosophicalization (a term used in Kun Wu’s philosophy of information. For more details please see in Kun Wu, 2016, The Interaction and Convergence of the Philosophy and Science of Information, https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1030228) of science and scientification (a term used in Kun Wu’s philosophy of information. For more detail, please see in Kun Wu, 2016, The Interaction and Convergence of the Philosophy and Science of Information, https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1030228) of philosophy. 9. We face two types of dogmatism: one is the dogmatism of naturalism, and the other is the dogmatism of the philosophy of consciousness. One of the best ways to overcome these tendencies of dogmatism is to unite natural ontology, and epistemic constructivism. The crisis of contemporary philosophy induced by the western consciousness philosophy seems like belonging to the field of epistemology, but the root of this crisis is deeply buried in the ontology. The key to solving the crisis of contemporary philosophy lies precisely in the reconstruction of the doctrine of natural philosophy centering to the nature itself and excluding God. The task to be accomplished by this new natural philosophy is how to regain the natural foundation of human consciousness after the God has left the field. 10. Since the 1980s, the philosophy of information established and developed in China has proposed a theory of objective information, as well as the dual existence and dual evolution of matter and information (a key advocation in the ontological theory of Kun Wu’s philosophy of information). It is this theory that has made up for the vacancy existing between matter and mind, which apparently exists in Cartesian dualism, after the withdrawal of the God’s from the field. Philosophy of information in China is first and foremost a natural philosophy that adheres to naturalistic attitudes. Second, this natural philosophy explains the human, human mind and human society in the interpretation of the process and mechanism of natural evolution. In this connection, philosophy of information (a key advocation of Kun Wu’s philosophy of information) in China is a system of meta-philosophy or supreme philosophy. This system undoubtedly has the nature of a new natural philosophy. At the same time, this philosophy can better reflect the philosophical spirit of the information age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies)
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Open AccessArticle Human Cognition, Patterning and Deacon’s Absentials: The Value of Absent-Mindedness in the Sense of Minding What Is Absent
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040026
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
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Abstract
Important aspects of human cognition are considered in terms of patterning, which we claim represents a shift from focusing on what is present to what is absent. We make use of Deacon’s notion of absentials and apply it to the patterning that underscores
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Important aspects of human cognition are considered in terms of patterning, which we claim represents a shift from focusing on what is present to what is absent. We make use of Deacon’s notion of absentials and apply it to the patterning that underscores human cognition. Several important aspects of human cognition are considered that represent a shift from focusing on what is present to what is absent, namely, language as representing the transition from percept to concept-based thinking, mathematical grouping and patterning of items into sets that gave rise to verbal language, as well as imaginative thinking which is so critical for the development of the arts, mathematics and science. The connection between information and absence is also examined, in which we claim that information is an absential, paralleling an idea of Deacon’s. Full article
Open AccessEssay The Utterly Prosaic Connection between Physics and Mathematics
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040025
Received: 5 September 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
Eugene Wigner famously argued for the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” as applied to describing physics and other natural sciences in his 1960 essay. That essay has now led to some 58 years of (sometimes anguished) philosophical soul searching—responses range from “So what? Why
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Eugene Wigner famously argued for the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” as applied to describing physics and other natural sciences in his 1960 essay. That essay has now led to some 58 years of (sometimes anguished) philosophical soul searching—responses range from “So what? Why do you think we developed mathematics in the first place?”, through to extremely speculative ruminations on the existence of the universe (multiverse) as a purely mathematical entity—the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis. In the current essay I will steer an utterly prosaic middle course: Much of the mathematics we develop is informed by physics questions we are trying to solve; and those physics questions for which the most utilitarian mathematics has successfully been developed are typically those where the best physics progress has been made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies)
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