The unity of the natural sciences: Comment on Portmann

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 15 (5):473-480 (1990)

Is Portmann's concept of inwardness objectively useful in understanding biological phenomena? If it is, it would seem that there is no unity to the physical sciences, because biology is as fundamental as physics. On the other hand, Portmann's interpretation of inwardness as a meaning or significance that we have to give our interpretation of biological phenomena suggests that it is sheerly subjective, and so should be reduced to objective correlates. This dilemma is false, however. One should realize that scientists construe physical and chemical processes as processes devoid of intrinsic meaning, just as they construe biological processes as having this meaning, which is Portmann's inwardness. From this angle we can integrate the significance of physical and biological processes in a way which does not reduce the latter to the former. Keywords: inwardness, unity of natural sciences CiteULike Connotea What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/15.5.473
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