Holism in the New Physics

Developments in science in the last few decades have led to doubts about the validity of the mechanical paradigm that has dominated science since the Scientific Revolution. The new views, coming from recently founded disciplines like non-equilibrium thermodynamics, chaos theory and the theory of dynamical systems, are rooted in physics. Nonetheless, much of their motivation comes from fields as diverse as weather prediction, ecology, economics, the study of traffic flow, and the growth of cities. Although Quantum Mechanics also led to doubts about the validity of the mechanical paradigm, the new views reveal problems within classical physics itself. The implications of these developments for our understanding of space have been largely unexamined. But the close connection between the Newtonian view of space and the mechanical paradigm means that the demise of the mechanical paradigm will require a re-evaluation of our understanding of physical space.
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