Introduction -- The significance of story -- Morphogenic fields -- The universe story and Christian story -- Morphic resonance : two stories converge -- The "kingdom of God" -- Emerging capacities -- Meditation -- The power of intention -- The fields converge -- A field of compassion -- Manifesting a field of compassion -- Engaging the grace we imagine.
A most unusual guide to the solar system, A Little Book of Coincidence suggests that there may be fundamental relationships between space, time, and life that have not yet been fully understood. From the observations of Ptolemy and Kepler to the Harmony of the Spheres and the hidden structure of the solar system, John Martineau reveals the exquisite orbital patterns of the planets and the mathematical relationships that govern them. A table shows the relative measurements of each planet in eighteen (...) categories, and three pages show the beautiful dance patterns of thirty six pairs of planets and moons. (shrink)
Physical cosmology purports to establish precise and testable claims about the origin of the universe. Thus, cosmology bears directly on traditional metaphysical claims -- in particular, claims about whether the universe has a creator (i.e. God). What is the upshot of cosmology for the claims of theism? Does big-bang cosmology support theism? Do recent developments in quantum and string cosmology undermine theism? We discuss the relations between physical cosmology to theism from both historical and (...) systematic points of view. (shrink)
Two and a half thousand years ago Greek philosophers "looked up at the sky and formed a theory of everything." Though their solutions are little credited today, the questions remain fresh. Early Greek thinkers struggled to come to terms with and explain the totality of their surroundings, to identitify an original substance from which the universe was compounded, and to reconcile the presence of balance and proportion with the apparent disorder of the cosmos. M. R. Wright examines cosmological theories of (...) the "natural philosophers" from Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes to Plato, the Stoics and the NeoPlatonists. The importance of Babylonian and Egyptian forerunners is also emphasized. Cosmology in Antiquity is a comprehensive introduction to the cosmological thought in ancient times. (shrink)
Although a great deal has been written on Plato's ethics, his cosmology has not received so much attention in recent times, and its importance for his ethical thought has remained under-explored. By offering integrated accounts of Timaeus, Philebus, Politicus and Laws X, the book reveals a strongly symbiotic relation between the cosmic and the human sphere. It is argued that in his late period Plato presents a picture of an organic universe, endowed with structure and intrinsic value, which both (...) urges our respect and calls for our responsible intervention. Humans are thus seen as citizens of a universe that can provide a context for their flourishing even in the absence of good political institutions. The book sheds new light on many intricate metaphysical issues in late Plato, and brings out the close connections between his cosmology and the development of his ethics. (shrink)
The questions that were purely in the realms of philosophy are now beginning to be answered by science. The second Venice Conference on Cosmology and Philosophy explores the anthropic principle which states that the Universe has the conditions we observe because we are here. Out of all possible universes we can only experience the restricted class that permits observers. This realization has profound implications for cosmology, philosophy and theology; all of which are explored in this book by thirteen (...) contributors who gathered to discuss and share their theories within the context of science. The result is a unique collection of papers of great value to professional astronomers and philosophers interested in the role of observers in the Universe. (shrink)
". . . one of the masterpieces of classical scholarship. . . . Contemporary work on the Timaeus will inevitably take Plato's Cosmology as its starting point." -- Charles H Kahn, University of Pennsylvania.
In Ennead II.1 (40) Plotinus is primarily concerned to argue for the everlastingness of the universe, the heavens, and the heavenly bodies as individual substances. Here he must grapple both with the philosophical issue of personal identity through time and with the rich tradition of cosmology which pitted the Platonists against the Aristotelians and Stoics. What results is a historically informed cosmological sketch explaining the constitution of the heavens as well as sublunar and celestial motion. This book contains an (...) extensive introduction aimed at providing the necessary background in Platonic, Aristotelian, and Stoic cosmology, the text itself, and a line-by-line commentary designed to elucidate its philosophical, philological and historical details. (shrink)
This radical reinterpretation of the formative stages of Chinese culture and history traces the central role played by cosmology in the formation of China's early empires. It crosses the disciplines of history, social anthropology, archaeology, and philosophy to illustrate how cosmological systems, particularly the Five Elements, shaped political culture. By focusing on dynamic change in early cosmology, the book undermines the notion that Chinese cosmology was homogenous and unchanging. By arguing that cosmology was intrinsic to power (...) relations, it also challenges prevailing theories of political and intellectual history. (shrink)
This book is the first comprehensive attempt to explain Ibn ‘Arabî’s distinctive view of time and its role in the process of creating the cosmos and its relation with the Creator. By comparing this original view with modern theories of physics and cosmology, Mohamed Haj Yousef constructs a new cosmological model that may deepen and extend our understanding of the world, while potentially solving some of the drawbacks in the current models such as the historical Zeno's paradoxes of motion (...) and the recent Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox (EPR) that underlines the discrepancies between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. (shrink)
Exploring the decisive steps taken by Anaximander of Miletus, this book details the transition from the archaic cosmological world-picture of a flat earth with a celestial vault to the Western world-picture of a free floating earth in an ...
Abstract I develop the idea that there exists a special dimension of depth, or of scale. The depth dimension is physically real and extends from the bottom micro-level to the ultimate macro-level of the Universe. The depth dimension, or the scales axis, complements the standard three spatial dimensions. I discuss the tentative qualities of the depth dimension and the universal arrangement of matter along this dimension. I suggest that all matter in the Universe, at least in the present cosmological epoch, (...) is in joint downward motion along the depth dimension. The joint downward motion manifests itself in the universal contraction of matter. The opposite direction of motion, upward the dimension, would cause the expansion of matter. The contraction of matter is a primary factor, whereas the shrinking of space in the vicinity of matter is a derivative phenomenon. The observed expansion of the Universe is explained by the fact that celestial bodies become smaller due to matter contraction, while the overall space remains predominantly intact. Thus, relative to the contracting material bodies, the total span of cosmic space appears to be becoming vaster. I attempt to explain how the contraction of matter engenders the effect of universal gravity. I use over thirty animated and graphical color visualizations in the text to make the explanation of the proposed ideas more lucid. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-39 DOI 10.1007/s10516-011-9178-4 Authors A. Alyushin, Department of Philosophy, The Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Street, 101000 Moscow, Russia Journal Axiomathes Online ISSN 1572-8390 Print ISSN 1122-1151. (shrink)
The cosmos exists just because of the ethical need for it We, and all the intricate structures of our universe, exist as thoughts in a divine mind that knows everything worth knowing. There could also be infinitely many other universes in this mind....It may be hard to believe that the universe is as Leslie says it is--but it is also hard to resist his compelling ideas and arguments.
Contemporary science presents us with the remarkable theory that the universe began to exist about fifteen billion years ago with a cataclysmic explosion called "the Big Bang." The question of whether Big Bang cosmology supports theism or atheism has long been a matter of discussion among the general public and in popular science books, but has received scant attention from philosophers. This book sets out to fill this gap by means of a sustained debate between two philosophers, William Lane (...) Craig and Quentin Smith, who defend opposing positions. Craig argues that the Big Bang that began the universe was created by God, while Smith argues that the Big Bang has no cause. Alternating chapters by the two philosophers criticize and attempt to refute preceding arguments. Their arguments are based on Einstein's theory of relativity and include a discussion of the new quantum cosmology recently developed by Stephen Hawking and popularized in A Brief History of Time. (shrink)
Inflationary cosmology won a large following on the basis of the claim that it solves various problems that beset the standard big bang model. We argue that these problems concern not the empirical adequacy of the standard model but rather the nature of the explanations it offers. Furthermore, inflationary cosmology has not been able to deliver on its proposed solutions without offering models which are increasingly complicated and contrived, which depart more and more from the standard model it (...) was supposed to improve upon, and which sever the connection between cosmology and particle physics that initially made the inflationary paradigm so attractive. Nevertheless, inflationary cosmology remains a promising research program, not least because it offers an explanation of the origin of the density perturbations that seeded the formation of galaxies and other cosmic structures. Tests of this explanation are underway and may settle the issue of whether inflation played an important role in the early universe. (shrink)
Recent developments in cosmology indicate that every history having a non-zero probability is realized in infinitely many distinct regions of spacetime. Thus, it appears that the universe contains infinitely many civilizations exactly like our own, as well as infinitely many civilizations that differ from our own in any way permitted by physical laws. We explore the implications of this conclusion for ethical theory and for the doomsday argument. In the infinite universe, we find that the doomsday argument applies only (...) to effects which change the average lifetime of all civilizations, and not those which affect our civilization alone. (shrink)
Philosophers have postulated the existence of God to explain (I) why any contingent objects exist at all rather than nothing contingent, and (II) why the fundamental laws of nature and basic facts of the world are exactly what they are. Therefore, we ask: (a) Does (I) pose a well-conceived question which calls for an answer? and (b) Can God's presumed will (or intention) provide a cogent explanation of the basic laws and facts of the world, as claimed by (II)? We (...) shall address both (a) and (b). To the extent that they yield an unfavourable verdict, the afore-stated reasons for postulating the existence of God are undermined. As for question (I), in 1714, G. W. Leibniz posed the Primordial Existential Question (hereafter ‘PEQ’): ‘Why is there something contingent at all, rather than just nothing contingent?’ This question has two major presuppositions: (1) A state of affairs in which nothing contingent exists is indeed genuinely possible (‘the Null Possibility’), the notion of nothingness being both intelligible and free from contradiction; and (2) De jure, there should be nothing contingent at all, and indeed there would be nothing contingent in the absence of an overriding external cause (or reason), because that state of affairs is ‘most natural’ or ‘normal’. The putative world containing nothing contingent is the so-called ‘Null World’. As for (1), the logical robustness of the Null Possibility of there being nothing contingent needs to be demonstrated. But even if the Null Possibility is demonstrably genuine, there is an issue: Does that possibility require us to explain why it is not actualized by the Null World, which contains nothing contingent? And, as for (2), it originated as a corollary of the distinctly Christian precept (going back to the second century) that the very existence of any and every contingent entity is utterly dependent on God at any and all times. Like (1), (2) calls for scrutiny. Clearly, if either of these presuppositions of Leibniz's PEQ is ill founded or demonstrably false, then PEQ is aborted as a non-starter, because in that case, it is posing an ill-conceived question. In earlier writings (Grünbaum , p. 5), I have introduced the designation ‘SoN’ for the ontological ‘spontaneity of nothingness’ asserted in presupposition (2) of PEQ. Clearly, in response to PEQ, (2) can be challenged by asking the counter-question, ‘But why should there be nothing contingent, rather than something contingent?’ Leibniz offered an a priori argument for SoN. Yet it will emerge that a priori defences of it fail, and that it has no empirical legitimacy either. Indeed physical cosmology spells an important relevant moral: As against any a priori dictum on what is the ‘natural’ status of the universe, the verdict on that status depends crucially on empirical evidence. Thus PEQ turns out to be a non-starter, because its presupposed SoN is ill founded! Hence PEQ cannot serve as a springboard for creationist theism. Yet Leibniz and the English theist Richard Swinburne offered divine creation ex nihilo as their answer to the ill-conceived PEQ. But being predicated on SoN, their cosmological arguments for the existence of God are fundamentally unsuccessful. The axiomatically topmost laws of nature (the ‘nomology’) in a scientific theory are themselves unexplained explainors, and are thus thought to be true as a matter of brute fact. But theists have offered a theological explanation of the specifics of these laws as having been willed or intended by God in the mode of agent causation to be exactly what they are. A whole array of considerations are offered in Section 2 to show that the proposed theistic explanation of the nomology fails multiply to transform scientific brute facts into specifically explained regularities. Thus, I argue for The Poverty of Theistic Cosmology in two major respects. Why is there something rather than nothing? 1.1 Refined statement of Leibniz's Primordial Existential Question (PEQ) 1.2 Is it imperative to explain why there isn't just nothing contingent? 1.3 Must we explain why any and every de facto unrealized logical possibility is not actualized? 1.4 Is a world not containing anything contingent logically possible? 1.5 Christian doctrine as an inspiration of PEQ 1.6 Henri Bergson 1.7 A priori justifications of PEQ by Leibniz, Parfit, Swinburne and Nozick 1.7.1 Leibniz 1.7.2 Derek Parfit 1.7.3 Richard Swinburne and Thomas Aquinas vis-à-vis SoN 1.7.4 The ‘natural’ status of the world as an empirical question 1.7.5 Robert Nozick 1.8 Hypothesized psychological sources of PEQ 1.9 PEQ as a failed springboard for creationist theism: the collapse of Leibniz's and Swinburne's theistic cosmological arguments Do the most fundamental laws of nature require a theistic explanation? 2.1 The ontological inseparability of the laws of nature from the furniture of the universe 2.2 The probative burden of the theological explanation of the world's nomology 2.3 The theistic explanation of the cosmic nomology 2.4 Further major defects of the theological explanation of the fundamental laws of nature Conclusion * Editorial note: Fifty-one years ago, Professor Grünbaum published his first paper in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, in the issue for 1953. It was entitled ‘Whitehead's Method of Extensive Abstraction’ (British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 4, pp. 215–26). The Editor wishes to acknowledge Grünbaum's extraordinary achievement in philosophy of science and in particular the debt that this journal owes to so distinguished and productive an author. This essay originated in the first two of my three Leibniz Lectures, delivered at the University of Hanover, Germany, 25–27 June 2003. (shrink)
The claims of some authors to have introduced a new type of explanation in cosmology, based on the anthropic principle, are examined and found wanting. The weak anthropic principle is neither anthropic nor a principle. Either in its direct or in its Bayesian form, it is a mere tautology lacking explanatory force and unable to yield any prediction of previously unknown results. It is a pattern of inference, not of explanation. The strong anthropic principle is a gratuitous speculation with (...) no other support than previous religious commitment or the assumption of an actual infinity of universes, for which there is no the slightest empirical hint. But even assuming so much, it does not work. In particular, the assumption of an infinity of different universes is no guarantee of finding among them one like this one. The loose anthropic way of reasoning does not stand up to the usual methodological standards of empirical science. And it does not signal any anthropocentric turn in contemporary science. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is not only to deal with the concept of infinity, but also to develop some considerations about the epistemological status of cosmology. These problems are connected because from an epistemological point of view, cosmology, meant as the study of the universe as a whole, is not merely a physical (or empirical) science. On the contrary it has an unavoidable metaphysical character which can be found in questions like “why is there this universe (or (...) a universe at all)?”. As a consequence, questions concerning the infinity of the universe in space and time can correctly arise only taking into account this metaphysical character of cosmology. Accordingly, in the following paper it will be shown that two different concepts of physical infinity of the universe (the relativistic one and the inflationary one) rely on two different ways of solution of a metaphysical problem. The difference between these concepts cannot be analysed using the classical distinctions between actual/potential infinity or numerable/continuum infinity, but the introduction of a new “modal” distinction will be necessary. Finally, it will be illustrated the role of a philosophical concept of infinity of the universe. (shrink)
In a recent Analysis article, Quentin Smith argues that classical theism is inconsistent with certain consequences of Stephen Hawking's quantum cosmology.1 Although I am not a theist, it seems to me that Smith's argument fails to establish its conclusion. The purpose of this paper is to show what is wrong with Smith's argument. According to Smith, Hawking's cosmological theory includes what Smith calls "Hawking's wave function law." Hawking's wave function law (hereafter, "HL") apparently has, among its consequences, the following (...) claim. (1) The unconditional probability that a universe like this one - i.e., a universe with the metric hij and matter field Φ - should begin to exist is 95%.2 Smith then argues that the theist who accepts HL must also accept that the following sentence was once true.3.. (shrink)
'In principle, one can predict everything in the universe solely from physical laws. Thus, the long standing 'first cause' problem intrinsic in cosmology has finally been dispelled.' Fang and Wu, (1986):3).
Anthropic arguments in multiverse cosmology and string theory rely on the weak anthropic principle (WAP). We show that the principle, though ultimately a tautology, is nevertheless ambiguous. It can be reformulated in one of two unambiguous ways, which we refer to as WAP_1 and WAP_2. We show that WAP_2, the version most commonly used in anthropic reasoning, makes no physical predictions unless supplemented by a further assumption of "typicality", and we argue that this assumption is both misguided and unjustified. (...) WAP_1, however, requires no such supplementation; it directly implies that any theory that assigns a non-zero probability to our universe predicts that we will observe our universe with probability one. We argue, therefore, that WAP_1 is preferable, and note that it has the benefit of avoiding the inductive overreach characteristic of much anthropic reasoning. (shrink)
Modern cosmology treats space and time, or rather space-time, as concrete particulars. The General Theory of Relativity combines the distribution of matter and energy with the curvature of space-time. Here space-time appears as a concrete entity which affects matter and energy and is affected by the things in it. I question the idea that space-time is a concrete existing entity which both substantivalism and reductive relationism maintain. Instead I propose an alternative view, which may be called non-reductive relationism, by (...) arguing that space and time are abstract entities based on extension and changes. (shrink)
In "A Cosmological Argument for a Self-Caused Universe ," one of us (Smith) argued that the universe explains its own existence because (i) its existence is entailed by (and so explained by) the existence of the infinitely many instantaneous universe states that compose it, and (ii) each of those states is caused by (and so explained by) infinitely many earlier universe states. Moreover, (ii) is true even if the universe is finitely old because, given standard Big Bang cosmology (Friedmann (...)cosmology), the universe does not exist at t0 (i.e., the Big Bang singularity is not real) and no matter how close some moment tn (at which the universe does exist) is to t0, there are infinitely many (indeed continuum-many) moments at which the universe exists that are even closer. Thus, even a finitely old universe has no beginning in the sense of a first moment, and hence its state at any moment is (sufficiently) caused by (all of) the universe states that precede it. Further, since this explanation of the existence of the universe is complete despite making no reference to God, and since God by definition is a part of any complete explanation of the universe, it follows that God does not exist. (shrink)
The revolution in science inaugurated by quantum physics has made us aware of the role of observation in the construction of data. Eugene Wigner remarked that in quantum physics we no longer have observables (invariants), only observations. Tongue in cheek, I asked him whether that meant that quantum physics is really psychology, expecting a gruff reply to my sassiness. Instead, Wigner beamed understanding and replied "Yes, yes, that's exactly correct." David Bohm pointed out that were we to look at the (...) cosmos without the lenses of our telescopes we would see a hologram. I extend Bohm's insight to the lens in the optics of the eye. The receptor processes of the ear and skin work in a similar fashion. Without these lenses and lenslike operations all of our perceptions would be entangled as in a hologram. Furthermore, the retina absorbs quanta of radiation so that quantum physics uses the very perceptions that become formed by it. In turn, higher-order brain systems send signals to the sensory receptors so that what we perceive is often as much a result of earlier rather than just immediate experience. This influence from inside out becomes especially relevant to our interpretation of how we experience the contents and bounds of cosmology that come to us by way of radiation. (shrink)
Scientific cosmology is an empirical discipline whose objects of study are the large-scale properties of the universe. In this context, it is usual to call the direction of the expansion of the universe the "cosmological arrow of time". However, there is no reason for privileging the ‘radius’ of the universe for defining the arrow of time over other geometrical properties of the space-time. Traditional discussions about the arrow of time in general involve the concept of entropy. In the cosmological (...) context, the direction past-to-future is usually related to the direction of the gradient of the entropy function of the universe. But entropy is a thermodynamic magnitude that is typically associated with subsystems of the universe: the entropy of the universe as a whole is a very controversial matter. Moreover, thermodynamics is a phenomenological theory. Geometrical properties of space-time provide a more fundamental and less controversial way of defining an arrow of time for the universe as a whole. We will call the arrow defined only on the basis of the geometrical properties of space-time, independently of any entropic considerations, the "cosmological arrow of time". In this paper we will argue that: (i) it is possible to define a cosmological arrow of time for the universe as a whole, if certain conditions are satisfied, and (ii) the standard models of contemporary cosmology satisfy these conditions. (shrink)
The purpose of this brief essay is twofold: (1) to clarify what it is to study anything scientifically and show that consciousness cannot, in principle, be studied scientifically, and (2) to examine the aim and methods of cosmology and show that cosmology cannot, in principle, be a science. The essay can be read by ignoring any and all references to Advaita Vedānta (non-dualistic Vedānta). My reason for referring to Advaita Vedānta is simply the fact that these two truths (...) were long ago discovered and taught by Advaita Vedānta, which is at once Jñāna-Yoga (The Way of Knowledge) and mysticism, unsurpassed and unsurpassable. (shrink)
The cosmology of Charles Peirce has traditionally been amongst the least celebrated aspects of his thought. It is typically considered far too anthropomorphic to be a serious contribution to our understanding of the evolution of reality. While this anthropomorphism may or may not disqualify the cosmology from serious scientific consideration, it is possible that the cosmology does offer philosophical insights about the very human experience that inspired it. In this paper I offer a “reclaiming” of the Peircean (...)cosmology. My intent is to look to the Peircean cosmology not for insights about the growth of the cosmos as such, but for insights about the growing self. Specifically, the paper attempts to apply Peirce’s thoughts about abduction and the growth of cosmic ideas to the growth of the self. Taking cue from Peirce’s three-fold distinction between models of evolutionary growth in “Evolutionary Love,” I contrast authentic growth of the self with two models of degenerate growth. (shrink)
As noticed recently by Winsberg (2003), how computer models and simulations get their epistemic credentials remains in need of epistemological scrutiny. My aim in this paper is to contribute to fill this gap by discussing underappreciated features of simulations (such as “path-dependency” and plasticity) which, I’ll argue, affect their validation. The focus will be on composite modeling of complex real-world systems in astrophysics and cosmology. The analysis leads to a reassessment of the epistemic goals actually achieved by this kind (...) of modeling: I’ll show in particular that its realistic ambition and the possibility of empirical confirmation pull in opposite directions. (shrink)
According to some cosmologists, the big bang cosmogony and even the (now largely defunct) steady-state theory pose a scientifically insoluble problem of matter-energy creation. But I argue that the genuine problem of the origin of matter-energy or of the universe has been fallaciously transmuted into the pseudo-problem of creation by an external cause. A fortiori, it emerges that the initial "true" and "false" vacuum states of quantum cosmology do not vindicate biblical divine creation ex nihilo at all.
In , Quentin Smith claims that `the Hartle Hawking cosmology' is inconsistent with classical theism in a way which redounds to the discredit of classical theism; and, moreover, that the truth of `the Hartle Hawking cosmology' would undermine reasonsed belief in any other varieties of theism which hold that the universe is created.
If cosmology is to obtain knowledge about the whole universe, it faces an underdetermination problem: Alternative space-time models are compatible with our evidence. The problem can be avoided though, if there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle (CP), because, assuming the principle, one can confine oneself to the small class of homogeneous and isotropic space-time models. The aim of this paper is to ask whether there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle in order to avoid (...) underdetermination in cosmology. Various strategies to justify the CP are examined. For instance, arguments to the effect that the truth of the CP follows generically from a large set of initial conditions; an inference to the best explanation; and an inductive strategy are assessed. I conclude that a convincing justification of the CP has not yet been established, but this claim is contingent on a number of results that may have to be revised in the future. (shrink)
Recent developments in astrophysical cosmology have revived support for the design argument among a growing clique of astrophysicists. I show that the scientific/mathematical evidence cited in support of intelligent design of the universe is infected with a mathematical sharp practice: the concepts of two numbers being of the same order of magnitude, and of being within an order of each other, have been stretched from their proper meanings so as to doctor the numbers evidentially. This practice started with A. (...) S. Eddington and P. A. M. Dirac in the 1920s and 1930s, but it is still very much alive today. 1 Introduction 2 The birth of a sharp practice 3 High tide for the anthropic principle 4 How not to do things with numbers 5 The recalcitrant sloppiness of crud 6 How excited can excited carbon-12 be? 7 Is a pile of doubts a doubtful pile? 8 Conclusion. (shrink)
I discuss how modern cosmology illustrates underdetermination of theoretical hypotheses by data, in ways that are different from most philosophical discussions. I confine the discussion to the history of the observable universe from about one second after the Big Bang, as described by the mainstream cosmological model: in effect, what cosmologists in the early 1970s dubbed the ‘standard model’, as elaborated since then. Or rather, the discussion is confined to a (very!) few aspects of that history. I emphasize that (...) despite the underdetermination, a scientific realist can, and should, endorse this description. (shrink)