Zeyad El Nabolsy
Cornell University
This paper seeks to show that Charles Sanders Peirce's interest in an evolutionary account of the laws of nature is motivated both by his desire to extend the scope of the application of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) and by his attempt to explain the success of our deployment of the PSR, which presupposes the existence of determinate causal structures. One can situate Peirce's concern with the explanation of the laws of nature in relation to the influences of Naturphilosophie on Peirce. I then show that some strands of contemporary physics can be understood as resurrections of Peirce's evolutionary cosmology. I show that we can understand Lee Smolin's theory of "cosmological natural selection" as a version of Peirce's evolutionary cosmology that is characterized by greater refinement and determinacy. However I argue that, contrary to Smolin's claim, an evolutionary account of the laws of nature need not require the abandonment of the relativity of simultaneity as established by the special theory of relativity. I also argue that Lee Smolin and Roberto Unger's characterization of the "original state" in their account of evolutionary cosmology raises philosophical problems of individuation that are best approached from the perspective of Chinese process metaphysics. Finally I turn to the wider consequences of evolutionary cosmology in relation to how we traditionally "rank" fields of knowledge that deal with atemporal structures as "more rigorous" than fields that deal with historical phenomena.
Keywords Charles Sanders Peirce  Philosophy of Science  Natural Philosophy  Philosophy of Physics  History and Philosophy of Science  Schelling  Chinese Philosophy  Philosophy of Cosmology
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Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time.Tim Maudlin - 2012 - Princeton University Press.
What Is This Thing Called Science?A. F. Chalmers - 1979 - Erkenntnis 14 (3):393-404.

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