Western and Russian traditions of big history: A philosophical insight [Book Review]

Big History - an integral conception of the past since the Big Bang until today - is a novel subject of cross-disciplinary interest. The concept was construed in the 1980-1990s simultaneously in different countries, after relevant premises had matured in the sciences and humanities. Various versions and traditions of Big History are considered in the article. Particularly, most of the Western authors emphasize the idea of equilibrium, and thus reduce cosmic, biological, and social evolution to the mass-energy processes; the informational parameter involving all mental and spiritual aspects are seen as epiphenomena of material structures' complication that do not play their own role in evolution. In Russian tradition ascending to A. Bogdanov, E. Bauer, I. Prigogine, and E. Jantsch, sustainable non-equilibrium patterns are used. This implies attention to the pan-material sources and evolution of mental capacities and spiritual culture (as basic anti-entropy instruments) and humans' growing intervention in the material processes on Earth and outside it. The non-equilibrium approach in the context of modern control and self-organization theories, alters the portrayal of the past, and still more dramatically, estimation of the civilization's potential perspectives
Keywords Universe  evolution  Big History  global history  world history  mega-trends  sustainable non-equilibrium  life  intelligence  control  matter  energy  information  techno-humanitarian balance  crises  scenario
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DOI 10.2307/25171304
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P. C. W. Davies (1982). The Accidental Universe. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).

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