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Reductionism and Life

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Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Abstract

As was emphasized in the first chapter of this book, the nexus between nonlinear science and philosophy can be traced back to Aristotle’s four categories of causality [29], because nonlinearity mixes strands of causal implication. Although fully aware of Newtonian physics, modern thinkers often overlook the implications of nonlinear science, tacitly believing that chains of logical inference can always be traced from whatever happens back to the sources of what made it so and thereby supporting the devotion to explanatory reductionism that pervades our Western culture. Here we will see that the reductive perspective ignores emergent and chaotic phenomena that arise in much of physical science and most of the biological and social sciences. In the course of their current attempts to understand the nature of Life, it is hoped that philosophers of science and the literate public will begin to see how complicated reality is, and thus to recognize the implications of the nonlinear-science revolution.

Keywords

Rogue Wave Synthetic Model Downward Causation Ball Lightning Causal Loop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

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