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Why science needs to break the spell of reductive materialism – Stuart Kauffman | Aeon Ideas

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

 We all sense something deeply deficient in our modern civilisation. Is it an absence of spirituality? Partly. A greedy materialism beyond what we really need? Yes, we are riding the tiger of late capitalism, where we make our living producing, selling and buying goods and services we often do not need on this finite planet. We cannot see ourselves, in part blinkered by unneeded scientism. The central framework of current physics is that of entailing laws. The central image is the billiard table as boundary conditions and the set of all possible initial conditions of position and momenta of the balls on the table. Then, given Isaac Newton’s laws in differential form, we deduce the deterministic trajectories of the balls. Our model of how to do science is to deduce new consequences, test them, accept or reject the results by diverse criteria, then retain or modify our theories. Science proceeds as Aristotle might have wished, in part as deduction. My aim is to begin to demolish this hegemony of reductive materialism and its grip on our scientific minds, and a far wider elicitation of a grossly misplaced scientism in modernity. Science is sciencia, knowledge. Being and becoming are more fundamental to all life and our humanity. We are, first of all, alive, and alive in a becoming biosphere. Despite bursts of extinction events and the fact that 99.9 per cent of all species that ever lived are gone, the biosphere flowers on. This flowering of the biosphere, more than a metaphor for human history, begins to suggest a mythic structure beyond that by which we currently live.We all sense something deeply deficient in our modern civilisation. Is it an absence of spirituality? Partly. A greedy materialism beyond what we really need? Yes, we are riding the tiger of late capitalism, where we make our living producing,

See on aeon.co



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