We trace the history of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, and of genetic Darwinism generally, with a view to showing why, even in its current versions, it can no longer serve as a general framework for evolutionary theory. The main reason is empirical. Genetical Darwinism cannot accommodate the role of development (and of genes in development) in many evolutionary processes. We go on to discuss two conceptual issues: whether natural selection can be the “creative factor” in a new, more (...) general framework for evolutionary theorizing; and whether in such a framework organisms must be conceived as self-organizing systems embedded in self-organizing ecological systems. (shrink)
Extending the modernsynthesis with ants: Ant encounters Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s10539-011-9267-1 Authors Heikki Helanterä, Department of Biosciences, University of Helsinki, POB 65, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867.
In 1937, just as Dobzhansky published the book that later generations would laud as the foundation of the modernsynthesis, the American Naturnlist published a symposium on "supraspecific variation in nature and in classification." Alfred C. Kinsey, who later became one of America's most controversial intellectuals for his study of basic behaviors in another sort of WASP,1 led off the symposium with a summary of his extensive work on a family of gall wasps, the Cynipidae. In his article, (...) Kinsey strongly advocated the central theme of the developing synthesis: Evolution at all scales, particularly macroevolution, could be explained by the genetic mechanisms observed in laboratories and local populations. He first complained that some geneticists and naturalists were still impeding a synthesis with their insistence upon causal separation of levels: "Just as some of the geneticists have insisted that the laboratory genetics may explain the nature and origin of Mendelian races, but not of natural species, so others indicate that the qualities of higher categories must be explained on bases other than those involved in species" (1937, p. 208). He then defended the central postulate. (shrink)
A common criticism of punctuated equilibria as an evolutionary theory is that it erects a straw man by characterizing the modernsynthesis as being devoid of mechanisms that bring about rapid speciation and abrupt changes in morphology. Thompson supports this view and argues that the modernsynthesis does not entail gradualism, all-pervasive adaptationism, or extrapolationism and that punctuationists have mischaracterized the theory on all these points; properly understood the synthetic theory is hierarchical and able to explain (...) phenomena at all levels of the hierarchy, thus rendering macroevolutionary theories, such as punctuated equilibria, unnecessary. I argue in this paper that Thompson's approach is overly dependent upon rational reconstruction in the style of the logical empiricists, and as such ignores important sociological and historical factors that when taken into account justify punctuational criticism of the synthetic theory. (shrink)
This paper locates the contributions of Kauffman and Ayala to this symposium in the context of recent discussions of the adequacy of the ModernSynthesis. The neglect of morphology and development described by Kauffman is understandable in view of the belief that selection is the most powerful evolutionary force. His idea that properties of order may be explained by nonselective mechanisms is also examined. The paper subsequently takes up Ayala's criticism of S.J. Gould's view that macroevolution is a (...) process "decoupled" from microevolution. It is argued that the idea of species selection makes Gould's antireductionism ontological in character; this contrasts with Ayala's contention that the decoupling is merely epistemological. (shrink)
Ernst Mayr (1980) provided an influential picture of the nature of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis and of the debate and changes occurring prior to its completion. Mayr intended his account to be applicable to comparable cases. Sociobiology should be evaluated both as a comparable case, an attempt to produce a synthesis which undergoes development of the sort Mayr described, and as an extension of the ModernSynthesis itself. Examination of what the explanatory goals and development (...) of the New Sociobiological Synthesis would be, if it is to achieve a fruitful synthesis which fits Mayr's account, undermines Richard Lewontin's critique of sociobiology. Although Lewontin speaks for many in viewing sociobiology as the latest historical manifestation of social Darwinism, genetic determinism, biological reductionism, and vulgar adaptationism, sociobiology's effort to produce a synthesis does not entail commitment to those positions. (shrink)
What role does non-genetic inheritance play in evolution? In recent work we have independently and collectively argued that the existence and scope of non-genetic inheritance systems, including epigenetic inheritance, niche construction/ecological inheritance, and cultural inheritance—alongside certain other theory revisions—necessitates an extension to the neo-Darwinian ModernSynthesis (MS) in the form of an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES). However, this argument has been challenged on the grounds that non-genetic inheritance systems are exclusively proximate mechanisms that serve the ultimate function (...) of calibrating organisms to stochastic environments. In this paper we defend our claims, pointing out that critics of the EES (1) conflate non-genetic inheritance with early 20th-century notions of soft inheritance; (2) misunderstand the nature of the EES in relation to the MS; (3) confuse individual phenotypic plasticity with trans-generational non-genetic inheritance; (4) fail to address the extensive theoretical and empirical literature which shows that non-genetic inheritance can generate novel targets for selection, create new genetic equilibria that would not exist in the absence of non-genetic inheritance, and generate phenotypic variation that is independent of genetic variation; (5) artificially limit ultimate explanations for traits to gene-based selection, which is unsatisfactory for phenotypic traits that originate and spread via non-genetic inheritance systems; and (6) fail to provide an explanation for biological organization. We conclude by noting ways in which we feel that an overly gene-centric theory of evolution is hindering progress in biology and other sciences. (shrink)
The debate of nativisim versus empiricism is over the relative importance of evolutionary versus ontogenetic mechanisms. This is mostly seen today as a false dichotomy. The synthesis of these positions provides a modern viewpoint of grounded category formation. This combined view places equal importance on feedback between these levels in guiding development, and is more appropriately compared to culturalist positions.
The status of population genetics has become hotly debated among biologists and philosophers of biology. Many seem to view population genetics as relatively unchanged since the ModernSynthesis and have argued that subjects such as development were left out of the Synthesis. Some have called for an extended evolutionary synthesis or for recognizing the insignificance of population genetics. Yet others such as Michael Lynch have defended population genetics, declaring "nothing in evolution makes sense except in the (...) light of population genetics" (a twist on Dobzhansky's famous slogan that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution"). Missing from this discussion is the use of population genetics to shed light on ecology and vice versa, beginning in the 1940s and continuing until the present day. I highlight some of that history through an overview of traditions such as ecological genetics and population biology, followed by a slightly more in-depth look at a contemporary study of the endangered California Tiger Salamander. I argue that population genetics is a powerful and useful tool that continues to be used and modified, even if it isn't required for all evolutionary explanations or doesn't incorporate all the causal factors of evolution. (shrink)
Systems Biology and the ModernSynthesis are recent versions of two classical biological paradigms that are known as structuralism and functionalism, or internalism and externalism. According to functionalism (or externalism), living matter is a fundamentally passive entity that owes its organization to external forces (functions that shape organs) or to an external organizing agent (natural selection). Structuralism (or internalism), is the view that living matter is an intrinsically active entity that is capable of organizing itself from within, with (...) purely internal processes that are based on mathematical principles and physical laws. At the molecular level, the basic mechanism of the ModernSynthesis is molecular copying, the process that leads in the short run to heredity and in the long run to natural selection. The basic mechanism of Systems Biology, instead, is self-assembly, the process by which many supramolecular structures are formed by the spontaneous aggregation of their components. In addition to molecular copying and self-assembly, however, molecular biology has uncovered also a third great mechanism at the heart of life. The existence of the genetic code and of many other organic codes in Nature tells us that molecular coding is a biological reality and we need therefore a framework that accounts for it. This framework is Code biology, the study of the codes of life, a new field of research that brings to light an entirely new dimension of the living world and gives us a completely new understanding of the origin and the evolution of life. (shrink)
Benton Stidd has defended the position that punctuationists are not wrong about the inadequacy of the synthetic theory of evolution for explaining evolution. The thrust of his defense is that arguments to the contrary by Thompson (1983a) involve a rational reconstruction along logical empiricist lines, which is insensitive to historical and social forces in a way that the Kuhnian Weltanschauung view that he espouses is not. I argue in this paper that Stidd has entirely misunderstood my arguments, that the (...) soundness of my arguments does not depend on acceptance of logical empiricism (they are just as sound on a Kuhnian view), and that Stidd fails to establish that punctuated equilibria is a new "paradigm". (shrink)
This is the first of two articles in which I reflect on “generalized Darwinism” as currently discussed in evolutionary economics. I approach evolutionary economics by the roundabouts of evolutionary epistemology and the philosophy of biology, and contrast evolutionary economists’ cautious generalizations of Darwinism with “imperialistic” proposals to unify the behavioral sciences. I then discuss the continued resistance to biological ideas in the social sciences, focusing on the issues of naturalism and teleology. In the companion article (Callebaut, Biol Theory 6. doi:10.1007/s13752-013-0087-1, (...) 2011, this issue) I assess generalized Darwinism, concentrating on the roles of theory and model building, generative replication, and the relation between selection and self-organization; and I point to advances in biology that promise to be more fruitful as sources of inspiration for evolutionary economics than the project to generalize Darwinism in its current, “hardened ModernSynthesis” form. (shrink)
The object of this paper is to reply to Morrison's () claim that while ‘structural unity’ was achieved at the level of the mathematical models of population genetics in the early synthesis, there was explanatory disunity. I argue to the contrary, that the early synthesis effected by the founders of theoretical population genetics was unifying and explanatory both. Defending this requires a reconsideration of Morrison's notion of explanation. In Morrison's view, all and only answers to ‘why’ questions which (...) include the ‘cause or mechanism’ for some phenomenon count as explanatory. In my view, mathematical demonstrations that answer ‘how possibly’ and ‘why necessarily’ questions may also count as explanatory. The authors of the synthesis explained how evolution was possible on a Mendelian system of inheritance, answered skepticism about the sufficiency of selection, and thus explained why and how a Darwinian research program was warranted. While today we take many of these claims as obvious, they required argument, and part of the explanatory work of the formal sciences is providing such arguments. Surely, Fisher and Wright had competing views as to the optimal means of generating adaptation. Nevertheless, they had common opponents and a common unifying and explanatory goal that their mathematical demonstrations served. Introduction: Morrison's challenge Fisher v. Wright revisited The early synthesis Conclusion: unification and explanation reconciled. (shrink)
I propose we abandon the unit concept of "the evolutionary synthesis". There was much more to evolutionary studies in the 1920s and 1930s than is suggested in our commonplace narratives of this object in history. Instead, four organising threads capture much of evolutionary studies at this time. First, the nature of species and the process of speciation were dominating, unifying subjects. Second, research into these subjects developed along four main lines, or problem complexes: variation, divergence, isolation, and selection. Some (...) calls for 'synthesis' focused on these problem complexes (sometimes on one of these; other times, all). In these calls, comprehensive and pluralist compendia of plausibly relevant elements were preferred over reaching consensus about the value of particular formulae. Third, increasing confidence in the study of common problems coincided with methodological and epistemic changes associated with experimental taxonomy. Finally, the surge of interest in species problems and speciation in the 1930s is intimately tied to larger trends, especially a shifting balance in the life sciences towards process-based biologies and away from object-based naturalist disciplines. Advocates of synthesis in evolution supported, and were adapting to, these larger trends. (shrink)
The German synthesis of evolutionary theory that grew out of opposition to idealistic morphology has been anchored in the systematic work at the species level and below pursued by the Berlin School around Erwin Stresemann (involving Bernhard Rensch and Ernst Mayr), in the 1939 German translation of Dobzhansky’s Genetics and the Origin of Species, and in a 1943 anthology on evolution edited by Gerhard Heberer. The latter volume opened with a philosophical essay written by Hugo Dingler that was intended (...) to provide the theoretical foundation for the theory of descent. Dingler and Heberer not only shared a commitment to the Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection, but also drew from Darwinism the justification for racial hygiene and eugenics. Dingler’s “unequivocal-methodological system” is a meta-scientific construct that offers no ontological grounding of evolutionary theory. Dingler’s voluntarism is subjectivist and stipulative and for those reasons ineffective in a critique of idealistic morphology. Dingler claimed descent with modification as a historical fact, but dealt only marginally with evolutionary mechanisms, and did not touch on issues of phylogeny reconstruction. (shrink)
This contribution starts from Max Scheler’s claim that modern philosophy holds two differing views on feelings. The first view, which Scheler attributes to René Descartes, presents them in their intentional role but rejects their independence; the other view, which Scheler attributes to Immanuel Kant, holds that they cannot be reduced to the rational part of the soul and thus affirms their independence, but deprives them of all cognitive powers. After considering both views, I discuss the views of Franz Brentano (...) and Edmund Husserl. Husserl takes an ambivalent approach to attunement, which opens the possibility of understanding Martin Heidegger’s thought of fundamental attunement. (shrink)
I argue that Darwinian evolutionary theory has a rhetorical dimension and that rhetorical criticism plays a role in how evolutionary science acquires knowledge. I define what I mean by rhetoric by considering Darwin’s Origin. I use the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis to show how rhetoric conceived as situated and addressed argumentation enters into evolutionary theorizing. Finally, I argue that rhetorical criticism helps judge the success, limits, and failures of these theories.
Using the context of controversies surrounding evolutionary developmental biology (EvoDevo) and the possibility of an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, I provide an account of theory structure as idealized theory presentations that are always incomplete (partial) and shaped by their conceptual content (material rather than formal organization). These two characteristics are salient because the goals that organize and regulate scientific practice, including the activity of using a theory, are heterogeneous. This means that the same theory can be structured differently, in part (...) because theory presentations (as idealizations) intentionally depart from different features known to be present in a theory. Since there are diverse and potentially incompatible theory structures derived from heterogeneous goals found in scientific practices, a question arises about the absence of a unifying theory structure in the background. The notion of a “theory façade” offers a fruitful perspective on this potentially unsettling result. (shrink)
Evolutionary theory is undergoing an intense period of discussion and reevaluation. This, contrary to the misleading claims of creationists and other pseudoscientists, is no harbinger of a crisis but rather the opposite: the field is expanding dramatically in terms of both empirical discoveries and new ideas. In this essay I briefly trace the conceptual history of evolutionary theory from Darwinism to neo-Darwinism, and from the ModernSynthesis to what I refer to as the Extended Synthesis, a more (...) inclusive conceptual framework containing among others evo–devo, an expanded theory of heredity, elements of complexity theory, ideas about evolvability, and a reevaluation of levels of selection. I argue that evolutionary biology has never seen a paradigm shift, in the philosophical sense of the term, except when it moved from natural theology to empirical science in the middle of the 19th century. The Extended Synthesis, accordingly, is an expansion of the ModernSynthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, and one that—like its predecessor—will probably take decades to complete. (shrink)
The ModernSynthesis (MS) is the current paradigm in evolutionary biology. It was actually built by expanding on the conceptual foundations laid out by its predecessors, Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. For sometime now there has been talk of a new Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES), and this article begins to outline why we may need such an extension, and how it may come about. As philosopher Karl Popper has noticed, the current evolutionary theory is a theory of genes, and (...) we still lack a theory of forms. The field began, in fact, as a theory of forms in Darwin’s days, and the major goal that an EES will aim for is a unification of our theories of genes and of forms. This may be achieved through an organic grafting of novel concepts onto the foundational structure of the MS, particularly evolvability, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetic inheritance, complexity theory, and the theory of evolution in highly dimensional adaptive landscapes. (shrink)
In the six decades since the publication of Julian Huxley's Evolution: The ModernSynthesis, spectacular empirical advances in the biological sciences have been accompanied by equally significant developments within the core theoretical framework of the discipline. As a result, evolutionary theory today includes concepts and even entire new fields that were not part of the foundational structure of the ModernSynthesis. In this volume, sixteen leading evolutionary biologists and philosophers of science survey the conceptual changes that (...) have emerged since Huxley's landmark publication, not only in such traditional domains of evolutionary biology as quantitative genetics and paleontology but also in such new fields of research as genomics and EvoDevo. Most of the contributors to Evolution—The Extended Synthesis accept many of the tenets of the classical framework but want to relax some of its assumptions and introduce significant conceptual augmentations of the basic ModernSynthesis structure—just as the architects of the ModernSynthesis themselves expanded and modulated previous versions of Darwinism. This continuing revision of a theoretical edifice the foundations of which were laid in the middle of the nineteenth century—the reexamination of old ideas, proposals of new ones, and the synthesis of the most suitable—shows us how science works, and how scientists have painstakingly built a solid set of explanations for what Darwin called the "grandeur" of life. (shrink)
One foundational question in contemporarybiology is how to `rejoin evolution anddevelopment. The emerging research program(evolutionary developmental biology or`evo-devo) requires a meshing of disciplines,concepts, and explanations that have beendeveloped largely in independence over the pastcentury. In the attempt to comprehend thepresent separation between evolution anddevelopment much attention has been paid to thesplit between genetics and embryology in theearly part of the 20th century with itscodification in the exclusion of embryologyfrom the ModernSynthesis. This encourages acharacterization of evolutionary developmentalbiology as (...) the marriage of evolutionary theoryand embryology via developmental genetics. Butthere remains a largely untold story about thesignificance of morphology and comparativeanatomy (also minimized in the ModernSynthesis). Functional and evolutionarymorphology are critical for understanding thedevelopment of a concept central toevolutionary developmental biology,evolutionary innovation. Highlighting thediscipline of morphology and the concepts ofinnovation and novelty provides an alternativeway of conceptualizing the `evo and the `devoto be synthesized. (shrink)
The concept of plasticity has always been present in the history of developmental biology, both within the theory of epigenesis and within morphogenesis studies. However this tradition relies also upon a genetic conception of plasticity. Founded upon the concepts of “phenotypic plasticity” and “reaction norm,” this genetic conception focuses on the array of possible phenotypic change in relation to diversified environments. Another concept of plasticity can be found in recent publications by some developmental biologists (Gilbert, West-Eberhard). I argue that these (...) authors adopt a “broad conception of plasticity” that is closely related to a notion of development as something that is ongoing throughout an organism’s lifecycle, and has no clear-cut boundaries. However, I suggest that given a narrow conception of plasticity, one can define temporal boundaries for development that are linked to specific features of the morphological process, which are different from behavioral and physiological processes. (shrink)
Did people in early modern Europe have a concept of an inner self? Carla Mazzio and Douglas Trevor have brought together an outstanding group of literary, cultural, and history scholars to answer this intriguing question. Through a synthesis of historicism and psychoanalytic criticism, the contributors explore the complicated, nuanced, and often surprising union of history and subjectivity in Europe centuries before psychoanalytic theory. Addressing such topics as "fetishes and Renaissances," "the cartographic unconscious," and "the topographic imaginary," these essays (...) move beyond the strict boundaries of historicism and psychoanalysis to carve out new histories of interiority in early modern Europe. Contributors: Ann Rosalind Jones, Peter Stallybrass, James R. Siemon, John Guillory, Eric Wilson, Karen Newman, Tom Conley, Jeffrey Masten, Carla Mazzio, Katharine Eisaman Maus, Jonathan Goldberg, Douglas Trevor, Kathryn Schwarz, David Hillman, Marjorie Garber. (shrink)
Evolutionary biology is a field currently animated by much discussion concerning its conceptual foundations. On the one hand, we have supporters of a classical view of evolutionary theory, whose backbone is provided by population genetics and the so-called ModernSynthesis (MS). On the other hand, a number of researchers are calling for an Extended Synthe- sis (ES) that takes seriously both the limitations of the MS (such as its inability to incorporate developmental biology) and recent empirical and theoretical (...) research on issues such as evolvability, modularity, and self-organization. In this article, I engage in an in-depth commentary of an influential paper by population geneticist Michael Lynch, which I take to be the best defense of the MS-population genetics position published so far. I show why I think that Lynch’s arguments are wanting and propose a modification of evolutionary theory that retains but greatly expands on population genetics. (shrink)
One foundational question in contemporary biology is how to integrate evolution and development. The emerging synthesis (evolutionary developmental biology or ‘evo-devo’) requires a meshing of disciplines, concepts, and explanations (inter alia) that have been developed largely in independence over the past century. The nature of the hoped for synthesis is not wholly agreed upon due to divergent viewpoints resulting from this disciplinary independence and, consequently, the mechanics for accomplishing the task are not clearly specified. This paper utilizes historical (...) investigation for philosophical purposes in order to explore the question of synthesizing evolutionary and developmental biology. In the attempt to comprehend the present separation between evolution and development much attention has been paid to the split between genetics and embryology in the early part of the century with its codification in the exclusion of embryology from the ModernSynthesis. This encourages a characterization of "evo-devo" as the integration of developmental genetics with Neo-Darwinism. But there is a largely untold story about the significance of morphology and comparative anatomy (also minimized in the ModernSynthesis). I will attempt to reconstruct part of this story, focusing on the rebirth of functional (and evolutionary) morphology after the 1950s. Functional morphology is critical for understanding the development of a concept central to "evo-devo", evolutionary innovation. Understanding the story about morphology and innovation reveals a different conception of the foundational problem, providing alternative ways of conceptualizing the "evo" and the "devo" to be synthesized. (shrink)
Charney's target article continues a critique of genetic blueprint models of development that suggests reconsideration of concepts of adaptation, inheritance, and environment, which can be well illustrated in current research on infant attachment. The concepts of development and adaptation are so heavily based on the model of genetics and inheritance forged in the modernsynthesis that they will require reconsideration to accommodate epigenetic inheritance.
Darwin proposed that evolutionary novelties are environmentally induced in organisms “constitutionally” sensitive to environmental change, with selection effective owing to the inheritance of constitutional responses. A molecular theory of inheritance, pangenesis , explained the cross‐generational transmission of environmentally induced traits, as required for evolution by natural selection. The twentieth‐century evolutionary synthesis featured mutation as the source of novelty, neglecting the role of environmental induction. But current knowledge of environmentally sensitive gene expression, combined with the idea of genetic accommodation of (...) mutationally and environmentally induced change, supports a revival of Darwin's original theory that is consistent with modern molecular and population genetics. †To contact the author, please write to: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, c/o Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Today a change is imperative in approaching global problems: what is needed is not arm-twisting and power politics, but searching for ways of co-evolution in the complex social and geopolitical systems of the world. The modern theory of self-organization of complex systems provides us with an understanding of the possible forms of coexistence of heterogeneous social and geopolitical structures at different stages of development regarding the different paths of their sustainable co-evolutionary development. The theory argues that the evolutionary channel (...) to the observed increasing complexity is extremely narrow and only certain discrete spectra of relatively stable self-maintained structures are feasible in complex systems. There exists a restricted set of ways of assembling a complex evolutionary whole from diverse parts. The law of nonlinear synthesis of complex structures reads: the integration of structures in more complex ones occurs due to the establishment of a common tempo of their evolution. On the basis of the theory, we can see not only desirable but also attainable futures. (shrink)
Preliminaries : the context of modern matter. The visible and the intelligible ; Plato's early and late methods ; Matter and division -- Analysis. Analysis and clarity and distinctness ; A general theory of clarity and distinctness ; The general theory continued ; Enumeration, quantity, and measurement -- Synthesis. Synthesis and system building ; Synthesis and the principle of addition ; Metaphysics, mathematics, and metaphor ; Material structure and calculating machines ; How analysis and synthesis (...) are related -- Sensible and intelligible matter. Is matter real? ; Empirical ideality, reality, and matter ; Empirical reality and intelligible matter ; Transcendental matter -- Tying up the loose ends : closing remarks. (shrink)
It is said that the theory of relativity and quantum theory are independent of each other. Their relationship is like water and oil. Now, it is very important for modern physics to synthesize them. In Physics and mathematics, Super String theory is studied, but instead of it, the tendimensional world appears. Our world is a three-dimensional world . What is the ten-dimensional world? It is more difficult than the string which is of Plank length. In the ten dimensional world, (...) physics is facing darkness and nothingness which man can not explain with the traditional physical words.The solution depends upon philosophy. I tried to synthesize themand succeeded.The following is an outline of my synthesis. 1. Utility and relativity of mathematical truth Mathematical truth is not absolute but relative. In the universe ( outside the solar system ), there is no perfect line. Because, by the gravitation of large astronomical bodies, space and lines are curved. Mathematical figure and numeration depend upon the promise of mankind. These are not absolute. Physics, which is grounded upon mathematics in certainty, is also relative. It expresses not the whole of the universe but a part of the universe. 2. Community and difference between the theory of relativity and quantum theory Community is the negation of absoluteness of physical attributes. Difference is the assessment for mathematics. The theory of relativity relies on mathematics but quantumtheory does not always rely on it. According to circumstances, Niels Bohr and quantum physicists abandoned a frame of reference. 3. The origin of the theory of relativity 4. The origin of quantum theory In short, the theory of relativity and quantum theory are not perfect, they only irradiate a part of the universe. Man can reach the whole of the universe only by the philosophical intuition of nothingness and infinite (the principle of nothingness and love). (shrink)
This paper aims to provide an explication of the meaning of 'analysis' and 'synthesis' in Descartes' writings. In the first part I claim that Descartes' method is entirely captured by the term 'analysis', and that it is a method of theory elaboration that fuses the modern methods of discovery and confirmation in one enterprise. I discuss Descartes' methodological writings, assess their continuity and coherence, and I address the major shortcoming of previous interpretations of Cartesian methodology. I also discuss (...) the Cartesian method in the context of other conceptions of scientific method of that era and argue that Descartes' method significantly transforms these conceptions. In the second part I argue that mathematical and natural-philosophical writings exhibit this kind of analysis. To that effect I examine in Descartes' writings on the method as used in mathematics, and Descartes' account of the discovery of the nature of the rainbow in the Meteors. Finally, I briefly assess Descartes' claim regarding the universality of his method. (shrink)
While Qian Mu intentionally avoided systematic philosophical arguments, his references to memory, language, and emotions, as expressed in a book he wrote in 1948, were suggestive of new interpretations of traditional Chinese, and especially Confucian, ideas such as human autonomy, mind, human nature, morality, immortality, and spirituality. The foremost contribution of Qian’s humanist synthesis rests in its articulation of the idea of the person. Across the context of memory, language, and emotions, the tiyong dynamics of mind and human nature (...) recreate, in modern terms, the traditional Chinese concept of the person who is individually unique and simultaneously interrelated. Avoiding the extreme polarities of individualism and collectivism, he stresses rather their coexistence. His synthesis explains to the Chinese people something about who they are, the meaning in life in the framework of their culture, and how their (revitalized) way of life is at its best in the most important area, that of human relations. (shrink)