Special Issue "Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic

1 Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
2 School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Computer Science Laboratory, Mälardalen University, Sweden
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Interests: computing paradigms; computational mechanisms of cognition; philosophy of science; epistemology of science; computing and philosophy; ethics of computing; information ethics; roboethics and engineering ethics; sustainability ethics
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marcin J. Schroeder

Akita International University, 193-2 Okutsubakidai, Aza Tsubakigawa, Yuwa, 010-1211 Akita, Japan
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Phone: +81188073699
Interests: philosophy of information and computation; philosophy and history of science and logic; foundations of physics and mathematics; mathematical formalization of scientific theories

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue "Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies" addresses necessity for the revival of Natural Philosophy and aims at contributing in building the ground for this Phoenix’s rebirth. It is an extended synthesis, bringing new elements into classical discipline of Newton and Leibniz, building the idea of unity of nature and human as its integral part, on various levels of organization, and from different perspectives of sciences, humanities and liberal arts from their cultural contexts, including technology. More information is given in the Editorial.

Prof. Dr. Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic
Prof. Dr. Marcin J. Schroeder
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040042
Received: 21 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 26 November 2018
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Abstract
In this Editorial note, Guest Editors introduce the theme of the Special Issue of the journal Philosophies, titled Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)

Research

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Open AccessArticle MES: A Mathematical Model for the Revival of Natural Philosophy
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
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Abstract
The different kinds of knowledge which were connected in Natural Philosophy (NP) have been later separated. The real separation came when Physics took its individuality and developed specific mathematical models, such as dynamic systems. These models are not adapted to an integral study [...] Read more.
The different kinds of knowledge which were connected in Natural Philosophy (NP) have been later separated. The real separation came when Physics took its individuality and developed specific mathematical models, such as dynamic systems. These models are not adapted to an integral study of living systems, by which we mean evolutionary multi-level, multi-agent, and multi-temporality self-organized systems, such as biological, social, or cognitive systems. For them, the physical models can only be applied to the local dynamic of each co-regulator agent, but not to the global dynamic intertwining these partial dynamics. To ‘revive’ NP, we present the Memory Evolutive Systems (MES) methodology which is based on a ‘dynamic’ Category Theory; it proposes an info-computational model for living systems. Among the main results: (i) a mathematical translation of the part–whole problem (using the categorical operation colimit) which shows how the different interpretations of the problem support diverging philosophical positions, from reductionism to emergentism and holism; (ii) an explanation of the emergence, over time, of structures and processes of increasing complexity order, through successive ‘complexification processes’. We conclude that MES provides an emergentist-reductionism model and we discuss the different meanings of the concept of emergence depending on the context and the observer, as well as its relations with anticipation and creativity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
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Open AccessArticle Exceptional Experiences of Stable and Unstable Mental States, Understood from a Dual-Aspect Point of View
Received: 16 January 2019 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
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Abstract
Within a state-space approach endowed with a generalized potential function, mental states can be systematically characterized by their stability against perturbations. This approach yields three major classes of states: (1) asymptotically stable categorial states, (2) marginally stable non-categorial states and (3) unstable acategorial [...] Read more.
Within a state-space approach endowed with a generalized potential function, mental states can be systematically characterized by their stability against perturbations. This approach yields three major classes of states: (1) asymptotically stable categorial states, (2) marginally stable non-categorial states and (3) unstable acategorial states. The particularly interesting case of states giving rise to exceptional experiences will be elucidated in detail. Their proper classification will be related to Metzinger’s account of self-model and world-model, and empirical support for this classification will be surveyed. Eventually, it will be outlined how Metzinger’s discussion of intentionality achieves pronounced significance within a dual-aspect framework of thinking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
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Open AccessArticle The Digital and the Real Universe. Foundations of Natural Philosophy and Computational Physics
Received: 6 October 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 3 January 2019
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Abstract
In the age of digitization, the world seems to be reducible to a digital computer. However, mathematically, modern quantum field theories do not only depend on discrete, but also continuous concepts. Ancient debates in natural philosophy on atomism versus the continuum are deeply [...] Read more.
In the age of digitization, the world seems to be reducible to a digital computer. However, mathematically, modern quantum field theories do not only depend on discrete, but also continuous concepts. Ancient debates in natural philosophy on atomism versus the continuum are deeply involved in modern research on digital and computational physics. This example underlines that modern physics, in the tradition of Newton’s Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis, is a further development of natural philosophy with the rigorous methods of mathematics, measuring, and computing. We consider fundamental concepts of natural philosophy with mathematical and computational methods and ask for their ontological and epistemic status. The following article refers to the author’s book, “The Digital and the Real World. Computational Foundations of Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Philosophy.” Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
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Open AccessArticle The Coming Emptiness: On the Meaning of the Emptiness of the Universe in Natural Philosophy
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
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Abstract
The cosmological relevance of emptiness—that is, space without bodies—is not yet sufficiently appreciated in natural philosophy. This paper addresses two aspects of cosmic emptiness from the perspective of natural philosophy: the distances to the stars in the closer cosmic environment and the expansion [...] Read more.
The cosmological relevance of emptiness—that is, space without bodies—is not yet sufficiently appreciated in natural philosophy. This paper addresses two aspects of cosmic emptiness from the perspective of natural philosophy: the distances to the stars in the closer cosmic environment and the expansion of space as a result of the accelerated expansion of the universe. Both aspects will be discussed from both a historical and a systematic perspective. Emptiness can be interpreted as “coming” in a two-fold sense: whereas in the past, knowledge of emptiness, as it were, came to human beings, in the future, it is coming, insofar as its relevance in the cosmos will increase. The longer and more closely emptiness was studied since the beginning of modernity, the larger became the spaces over which it was found to extend. From a systematic perspective, I will show with regard to the closer cosmic environment that the Earth may be separated from the perhaps habitable planets of other stars by an emptiness that is inimical to life and cannot be traversed by humans. This assumption is a result of the discussion of the constraints and possibilities of interstellar space travel as defined by the known natural laws and technical means. With the accelerated expansion of the universe, the distances to other galaxies (outside of the so-called Local Group) are increasing. According to the current standard model of cosmology and assuming that the acceleration will remain constant, in the distant future, this expansion will lead first to a substantial change in the epistemic conditions of cosmological knowledge and finally to the completion of the cosmic emptiness and of its relevance, respectively. Imagining the postulated completely empty last state leads human thought to the very limits of what is conceivable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle Temporality Naturalized
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040045
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
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Abstract
The Schrödinger equation for quantum mechanics, which is approachable in third-person description, takes for granted tenseless time that does not distinguish between different tenses such as past, present, and future. The time-reversal symmetry grounded upon tenseless time globally may, however, be broken once [...] Read more.
The Schrödinger equation for quantum mechanics, which is approachable in third-person description, takes for granted tenseless time that does not distinguish between different tenses such as past, present, and future. The time-reversal symmetry grounded upon tenseless time globally may, however, be broken once measurement in the form of exchanging indivisible quantum particles between the measured and the measuring intervenes. Measurement breaks tenseless time locally and distinguishes different tenses. Since measurement is about the material process of feeding and acting upon the quantum resources already available from any material bodies to be measured internally, the agency of measurement is sought within the environment in the broadest sense. Most indicative of internal measurement of the environmental origin are chemical reactions in the reaction environment. Temporality naturalized in chemical reactions proceeding as being subjected to frequent interventions of internal measurement is approachable in second-person description because of the participation of multiple agents of measurement there. The use of second-person description is found in the appraisal of the material capacity of generating, distinguishing, and integrating different tenses. An essence of the temporality to be naturalized is within the genesis of different tenses. A most conspicuous exemplar of naturalized temporality is sought in the origins of life conceivable exclusively on the material ground. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle The Urgent Need of a Naturalized Logic
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040044
Received: 14 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
The naturalization of logic aims at a revision of mainstream logic. In this article, I contend it is an urgent task to be completed. This new project will permit a new collaboration between logic and cognitive science. This can be accomplished doing for [...] Read more.
The naturalization of logic aims at a revision of mainstream logic. In this article, I contend it is an urgent task to be completed. This new project will permit a new collaboration between logic and cognitive science. This can be accomplished doing for logic what many decades ago Quine and other philosophers undertook in the case of epistemology. First of all, this article analyzes how the naturalization can be achieved thanks to some insights provided by the recent John Woods’ book Errors of Reasoning: Naturalizing the Logic of Inference; important concepts that regard a naturalized logic are synthetically analyzed: errors (and the problem of fallacies), paradigm creep, third-way reasoning, consequence-having and consequence drawing, agent based reasoning. The article also takes advantage of my own studies, which are aimed both at exculpating the negative fallacious character of abduction (it is the fallacy of the affirming the consequent) and at illustrating the EC-model (Eco-Cognitive model) of it, I have recently proposed. Aiming at encouraging the project of naturalization of logic, the article specifically recommends the increase of logical research on abduction, and emphasizes how current philosophical and logical research on human inferences is indebted towards Charles Sanders Peirce, a philosopher whose importance and modernity are too often underestimated. The final part of the article will introduce an analysis of the importance of the so-called optimization of situatedness, a concept that is necessary to understand that maximization of “abducibility”, which characterizes modern science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle Categories and Dispositions. A New Look at the Distinction between Primary and Secondary Properties
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040043
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
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Abstract
The distinction between primary and secondary properties establishes the absolute priority, both ontological and epistemological, of quantity (objective and measurable) over quality (subjective and ineffable). In between the two properties, primary and secondary, are the dispositional properties, for example fragility, malleability, rigidity, and [...] Read more.
The distinction between primary and secondary properties establishes the absolute priority, both ontological and epistemological, of quantity (objective and measurable) over quality (subjective and ineffable). In between the two properties, primary and secondary, are the dispositional properties, for example fragility, malleability, rigidity, and so on. But, from an ontological point of view, what are dispositional properties? This contribution takes into consideration two possible answers to this question: the one according to which the dispositional properties are invariant in variation and another according to which they are powers. The second answer is in turn subject to two different interpretations. We can consider dispositions, or powers, as integrally reducible to behavioral events (solubility, for example, is reduced to the fact that a certain substance melts when immersed in a certain liquid), or physical (the fragility of glass, for example, is reduced to the physical structure underlying it). However, we can consider powers as ontologically autonomous and not-grounded. This contribution aims to investigate the latter solution, with particular reference to the apparently oxymoronic notion of physical intentionality. This notion will provide a new, dynamic, and evolutionary version of the concept of disposition and at the same time offer a new look at the distinction between primary and secondary properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle The Naturalization of Natural Philosophy
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040041
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 1 October 2018 / Accepted: 4 October 2018 / Published: 24 November 2018
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Abstract
A new demarcation is proposed between Natural Philosophy and non-Natural Philosophy—philosophy tout court—based on whether or not they follow a non-standard logic of real processes. This non-propositional logic, Logic in Reality (LIR), is based on the original work of the Franco-Romanian thinker [...] Read more.
A new demarcation is proposed between Natural Philosophy and non-Natural Philosophy—philosophy tout court—based on whether or not they follow a non-standard logic of real processes. This non-propositional logic, Logic in Reality (LIR), is based on the original work of the Franco-Romanian thinker Stéphane Lupasco (Bucharest, 1900–Paris, 1988). Many Natural Philosophies remain bounded by dependence on binary linguistic concepts of logic. I claim that LIR can naturalize—bring into science—part of such philosophies. Against the potential objection that my approach blurs the distinction between science and philosophy, I reply that there is no problem in differentiating experimental physical science and philosophy; any complete distinction between philosophy, including the philosophy of science(s) and the other sciences is invidious. It was historically unnecessary and is unnecessary today. The convergence of science and philosophy, proposed by Wu Kun based on implications of the philosophy of information, supports this position. LIR provides a rigorous basis for giving equivalent ontological value to diversity and identity, what is contradictory, inconsistent, absent, missing or past, unconscious, incomplete, and fuzzy as to their positive counterparts. The naturalized Natural Philosophy resulting from the application of these principles is a candidate for the ‘new synthesis’ called for by the editors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle Philosophia Naturalis Rediviva: Natural Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040038
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
A revitalized practice of natural philosophy can help people to live a better life and promote a flourishing ecosystem. Such a philosophy is natural in two senses. First, it is natural by seeking to understand the whole of nature, including mental phenomena. Thus, [...] Read more.
A revitalized practice of natural philosophy can help people to live a better life and promote a flourishing ecosystem. Such a philosophy is natural in two senses. First, it is natural by seeking to understand the whole of nature, including mental phenomena. Thus, a comprehensive natural philosophy should address the phenomena of sentience by embracing first- and second-person methods of investigation. Moreover, to expand our understanding of the world, natural philosophy should embrace a full panoply of explanations, similar to Aristotle’s four causes. Second, such a philosophy is natural by being grounded in human nature, taking full account of human capacities and limitations. Future natural philosophers should also make use of all human capacities, including emotion and intuition, as well as reason and perception, to investigate nature. Finally, since the majority of our brain’s activities are unconscious, natural philosophy should explore the unconscious mind with the aim of deepening our relation with the rest of nature and of enhancing well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle Hylomorphism Extended: Dynamical Forms and Minds
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040036
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 19 November 2018
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Abstract
Physical objects are compounds of matter and form, as stated by Aristotle in his hylomorphism theory. The concept of “form” in this theory refers to physical structures or organizational structures. However, mental processes are not of this kind, they do not change physical [...] Read more.
Physical objects are compounds of matter and form, as stated by Aristotle in his hylomorphism theory. The concept of “form” in this theory refers to physical structures or organizational structures. However, mental processes are not of this kind, they do not change physical arrangement of neurons, but change their states. To cover all natural processes hylomorphism should acknowledge differences between three kinds of forms: Form as physical structure, form as function resulting from organization and interactions between constituent parts, and dynamical form as state transitions that change functions of structures without changing their physical organization. Dynamical forms, patterns of energy activation that change the flow of information without changing the structure of matter, are the key to understand minds of rational animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle The Natural Philosophy of Experiencing
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040035
Received: 13 October 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
A new philosophy of nature is urgently needed. The received ontological view, physicalism, is unable to account for experiential phenomena and in particular for consciousness in all its varieties. We shall outline the concept of experiencing which should figure as a new conceptual [...] Read more.
A new philosophy of nature is urgently needed. The received ontological view, physicalism, is unable to account for experiential phenomena and in particular for consciousness in all its varieties. We shall outline the concept of experiencing which should figure as a new conceptual primitive in natural philosophy. Experiencing refers to a process which comprises the interaction of an agent with its world through action based on phenomenal experience. This process can be viewed under two different aspects. One regards the subjective aspect of experiencing, the other one regards it in terms of physical objects. The first case illustrates the “what-it-is-likeness” of experiencing, the second illustrates how experiencing gets “objectified” in nature. We furthermore wish to delineate our concept of experiencing from the concept of (meta-cognitive) awareness. Scientific theories that explain how awareness comes about in sufficiently organized brains should respect the distinction between experiencing and awareness. We also sketch how experiencing could be related to theoretical biology in terms of information processing by organisms. Experiencing is non-exclusive; it refers to a primitive and a-personal natural process and not to a property possessed only by humans or other persons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle Discursive Space and Its Consequences for Understanding Knowledge and Information
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040034
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 29 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
The paper develops the idea of discursive space by describing the manner of existence of this space and the world of facts. The ontology of discursive space is based on the idea of discourse by Foucault. Discourse, being a language phenomenon, is a [...] Read more.
The paper develops the idea of discursive space by describing the manner of existence of this space and the world of facts. The ontology of discursive space is based on the idea of discourse by Foucault. Discourse, being a language phenomenon, is a form of existence of knowledge. The discursive space is a representation of knowledge and can be interpreted as the system of acquiring this knowledge. This space is connected with the world of facts by a relationship of supervenience, which can be interpreted as a flow of knowledge. At the same time, the existence of the world of facts (world of affairs) assumes that it covers all phenomena and processes, and therefore, necessarily, also the discursive space. Hence, this space is not a separate system but a system that emerges from the world in order to allow the gathering of specific knowledge about it. Treating the discursive space as one of the possible cognitive systems, one can imagine other systems of knowledge that emerge from the world (the whole), as parts subordinated to particular goals (the use of knowledge), which can have a multilevel character. The flow of knowledge on the border of such a system and the whole of it can be interpreted as information. This paper tries to justify this possibility, which could lead to a general model of the flow of the knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
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Open AccessArticle Natural Philosophy and the Sciences: Challenging Science’s Tunnel Vision
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040033
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 21 October 2018
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Abstract
Prior to the nineteenth century, those who are now regarded as scientists were referred to as natural philosophers. With empiricism, science was claimed to be a superior form of knowledge to philosophy, and natural philosophy was marginalized. This claim for science was challenged [...] Read more.
Prior to the nineteenth century, those who are now regarded as scientists were referred to as natural philosophers. With empiricism, science was claimed to be a superior form of knowledge to philosophy, and natural philosophy was marginalized. This claim for science was challenged by defenders of natural philosophy, and this debate has continued up to the present. The vast majority of mainstream scientists are comfortable in the belief that through applying the scientific method, knowledge will continue to accumulate, and that claims to knowledge outside science apart from practical affairs should not be taken seriously. This is referred to as scientism. It is incumbent on those who defend natural philosophy against scientism not only to expose the illusions and incoherence of scientism, but to show that natural philosophers can make justifiable claims to advancing knowledge. By focusing on a recent characterization and defense of natural philosophy along with a reconstruction of the history of natural philosophy, showing the nature and role of Schelling’s conception of dialectical thinking, I will attempt to identify natural philosophy as a coherent tradition of thought and defend it as something different from science and as essential to it, and essential to the broader culture and to civilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle Induction and Epistemological Naturalism
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040031
Received: 26 August 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 30 September 2018 / Published: 18 October 2018
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Abstract
Epistemological naturalists reject the demand for a priori justification of empirical knowledge; no such thing is possible. Observation reports, being the foundation of empirical knowledge, are neither justified by other sentences, nor certain; but they may be agreed upon as starting points for [...] Read more.
Epistemological naturalists reject the demand for a priori justification of empirical knowledge; no such thing is possible. Observation reports, being the foundation of empirical knowledge, are neither justified by other sentences, nor certain; but they may be agreed upon as starting points for inductive reasoning and they function as implicit definitions of predicates used. Making inductive generalisations from observations is a basic habit among humans. We do that without justification, but we have strong intuitions that some inductive generalisations will fail, while for some other we have better hopes. Why? This is the induction problem according to Goodman. He suggested that some predicates are projectible when becoming entrenched in language. This is a step forward, but not entirely correct. Inductions result in universally generalised conditionals and these contain two predicates, one in the antecedent, one in the consequent. Counterexamples to preliminary inductive generalisations can be dismissed by refining the criteria of application for these predicates. This process can be repeated until the criteria for application of the predicate in the antecedent includes the criteria for the predicate in the consequent, in which case no further counterexample is possible. If that is the case we have arrived at a law. Such laws are implicit definitions of theoretical predicates. An accidental generalisation has not this feature, its predicates are unrelated. Laws are said to be necessary, which may be interpreted as ‘“Laws” are necessarily true’. ‘Necessarily true’ is thus a semantic predicate, not a modal operator. In addition, laws, being definitions, are necessarily true in the sense of being necessary assumptions for further use of the predicates implicitly defined by such laws. Induction, when used in science, is thus our way of inventing useful scientific predicates; it is a heuristic, not an inference principle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle Time and Life in the Relational Universe: Prolegomena to an Integral Paradigm of Natural Philosophy
Philosophies 2018, 3(4), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3040030
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
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Abstract
Relational ideas for our description of the natural world can be traced to the concept of Anaxagoras on the multiplicity of basic particles, later called “homoiomeroi” by Aristotle, that constitute the Universe and have the same nature as the whole world. [...] Read more.
Relational ideas for our description of the natural world can be traced to the concept of Anaxagoras on the multiplicity of basic particles, later called “homoiomeroi” by Aristotle, that constitute the Universe and have the same nature as the whole world. Leibniz viewed the Universe as an infinite set of embodied logical essences called monads, which possess inner view, compute their own programs and perform mathematical transformations of their qualities, independently of all other monads. In this paradigm, space appears as a relational order of co-existences and time as a relational order of sequences. The relational paradigm was recognized in physics as a dependence of the spatiotemporal structure and its actualization on the observer. In the foundations of mathematics, the basic logical principles are united with the basic geometrical principles that are generic to the unfolding of internal logic. These principles appear as universal topological structures (“geometric atoms”) shaping the world. The decision-making system performs internal quantum reduction which is described by external observers via the probability function. In biology, individual systems operate as separate relational domains. The wave function superposition is restricted within a single domain and does not expand outside it, which corresponds to the statement of Leibniz that “monads have no windows”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
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, [...] Read more.
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 - Part 1)
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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, [...] Read more.
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 - Part 1)
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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 [...] Read more.
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 - Part 1)
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Open AccessArticle Dimensions Missing from Ecology
Philosophies 2018, 3(3), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3030024
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 6 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
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Abstract
Ecology, with its emphasis on coupled processes and massive heterogeneity, is not amenable to complete mechanical reduction, which is frustrated for reasons of history, dimensionality, logic, insufficiency, and contingency. Physical laws are not violated, but can only constrain, not predict. Outcomes are predicated [...] Read more.
Ecology, with its emphasis on coupled processes and massive heterogeneity, is not amenable to complete mechanical reduction, which is frustrated for reasons of history, dimensionality, logic, insufficiency, and contingency. Physical laws are not violated, but can only constrain, not predict. Outcomes are predicated instead by autocatalytic configurations, which emerge as stable temporal series of incorporated contingencies. Ecosystem organization arises out of agonism between autocatalytic selection and entropic dissolution. A degree of disorganization, inefficiency, and functional redundancy must be retained by all living systems to ensure flexibility in the face of novel disturbances. That physical and biological dynamics exhibit significant incongruencies argues for the formulation of alternative metaphysical assumptions, referred to here as “Process Ecology”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
Open AccessArticle Perspectives on Natural Philosophy
Philosophies 2018, 3(3), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3030023
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 28 August 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a viewpoint on natural philosophy focusing on the organization of substance, as well as its changes as invited by the Second Law of thermodynamics. Modes of change are pointed to as definitive of levels of organization; these include physical, chemical, [...] Read more.
This paper presents a viewpoint on natural philosophy focusing on the organization of substance, as well as its changes as invited by the Second Law of thermodynamics. Modes of change are pointed to as definitive of levels of organization; these include physical, chemical, and biological modes of change. Conceptual uses of the subsumptive hierarchy format are employed throughout this paper. Developmental change in dissipative structures is examined in some detail, generating an argument for the use of final causality in studies of natural systems. Considerations of ‘internalism’ in science are presented along the way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)

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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 [...] Read more.
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 - Part 1)
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Open AccessBook Review In Praise of and a Critique of Nicholas Maxwell’s In Praise of Natural Philosophy: A Revolution for Thought and Life
Philosophies 2018, 3(3), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies3030020
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 20 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1)
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