Many Windows: Reflections on Robert Ulanowicz’s Search for Meaning in Science

Axiomathes 22 (2):195-205 (2012)

This paper is an extended discussion of Robert Ulanowicz’s critique of mechanistic and reductionistic metaphysics of science. He proposes “process ecology” as an alternative. In this paper I discuss four sets of question coming out of Ulanowicz’s proposal. First, I argue that universality remains one of the hallmarks of the scientific enterprise even with his new process metaphysics. I then discuss the Second Law of Thermodynamics in the interpretation of the history of the universe. I question Ulanowicz’s use of the terms “random” and “chance” in his definition of process. Finally, I discuss what difference a relational and process metaphysics might make in addressing the political and practical problems in the twenty-first century
Keywords Robert Ulanowicz  Process  Ecology  Reductionism  Materialism  Determinism  Newtonian mechanics  Darwinian evolution  Thermodynamics  Universality  Epistemology  Chaisson  Complexity  Whitehead  Bateson  Historical sciences  Sagan
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DOI 10.1007/s10516-011-9173-9
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Wonderful Life; The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History.Stephen Jay Gould - 1992 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 23 (2):359-360.
Science and the Quest for Meaning.Alfred I. Tauber - 2009 - Baylor University Press.

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