- freely available
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040042
2. Obstacles to a New Synthesis
- The demise of natural philosophy: this is a very conservative position, still quite common, held by those who believe, as was fashionable in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that science needs to emancipate itself from the "philosophical nonsense” that conflates philosophy with metaphysics, where metaphysics is understood as a priori knowledge about the nature of reality. Philosophy is of course much more than metaphysics understood in this narrow sense. Recently, a strong interest in ontology and epistemology within artificial intelligence and robotics has demonstrated how important those branches of metaphysics can be not only for science but even for technology. The study of space and time, causality, necessity, and chance are other examples where sciences (physics, biology) expand into traditional territories of metaphysics.
- “Idol of Numbers": today, this can be added to Bacon’s four Idols of the Mind (Idols of the Tribe, Idols of the Cave, Idols of the Marketplace, and Idols of the Theater) . This is not less conservative, and possibly even more dangerous in the era of “big data” and data-driven science. Followers of this cult dismiss everything that is not presented in terms of numbers and trust only in the “objective character” of that which is given in numerical form, for example, as expressed in the maxim “let the data speak for themselves”. It became more important “that” we can provide numerical values than “what” these numerical values represent and “what” these numbers tell us about reality.
- Isolationism and the self-sufficiency of research disciplines: Along with the previous two obstacles to this new synthesis, a third, associated one must also be added. This relates to the difficulty of communication between different domains of knowledge, which makes the role of interdisciplinarity/crossdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity central to the construction of our contemporary knowledge of the world.
3. Possible Avenues of Re-Connection
4. Possible Topics of Interest
- What is the current state of the philosophy of nature / natural philosophy?
- What might be the role of the philosophy of nature / natural philosophy?
- Can the philosophy of nature be based on our best current scientific knowledge? (the thesis of the book “Everything Must Go” );
- How can interdisciplinarity/crossdisciplinarity/ multidisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity help tie knowledge from different disciplines and interdisciplines at different levels of abstraction in a common intelligible philosophy of the universe with cosmos and chaos, non-living and living parts in it? [11,12]
- What would be the new role of research methods in this new high-level take on human knowledge?
- Can we imagine any higher authority in matters of truth and existence than the consensus view of our current humanity?
- How do the sciences of the artificial , AI, relate to the philosophy of nature?
- Informational universe—Floridi—Deutsch—Wu Kun—epistemology—ontology;
- “Mechanism” and “materialism” as bases for our understanding of nature;
- Nature and mind—the role and character of the mind/cognition agency in the development of the universe;
- Evolving universe—being and becoming in contemporary philosophy of nature;
- Emergent universe;
- Connecting a variety of levels of abstraction;
- The role of life sciences, with biology and cognitive sciences, in the new natural philosophy;
- The role of the observer in the new synthesis;
- The role of formal sciences and methods—logics, mathematics, computing, simulation;
- The ecological view of knowledge .
Conflicts of Interest
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