According to Mark Rubinstein ‘In 1952, anticipating Kenneth Arrow and John Pratt by over a decade, he [de Finetti] formulated the notion of absolute risk aversion, used it in connection with risk premia for small bets, and discussed the special case of constant absolute risk aversion.’ The purpose of this note is to ascertain the extent to which this is true, and at the same time, to correct certain minor errors that appear in de Finetti's work.
Here I advance two related evolutionary propositions. (1) Natural selection is most often considered to require competition between reproducing “individuals”, sometimes quite broadly conceived, as in cases of clonal, species or multispecies-community selection. But differential survival of non-competing and non-reproducing individuals will also result in increasing frequencies of survival-promoting “adaptations” among survivors, and thus is also a kind of natural selection. (2) Darwinists have challenged the view that the Earth’s biosphere is an evolved global homeostatic system. Since there is only (...) one biosphere, reproductive competition cannot have been involved in selection for such survival-promoting adaptations, they claim. But natural selection through survival could reconcile Gaia with evolutionary theory. (shrink)
“The Gaia Hypothesis: Science on a Pagan Planet tells a story that comes out of the 1960s, a story that reflects all of the beliefs and enthusiasms and tensions of that decade.” So begins Michael Ruse’s fascinating, if at times puzzling, exploration of James Lovelock’s famous idea that our planet is, in a serious scientific sense, a living organism with a tendency of taking care of self. But why tell this particular story, especially considering that Gaia hardly makes (...) an appearance in today’s scientific or philosophical publications, and doesn’t even seem quite that popular with the lay public as it used to be? Because, as Ruse tells us near the end of the book, at the onset of chapter seven: “the paradox .. (shrink)
First, we will address the unnecessary link between symbio-studies and Gaia, asking for the historical and epistemological reasons why they become associated. In particular, we contend that the association is mediated by the common interest in large-scale physico-chemical and biochemical patterns, rather than by an emphasis on harmony, equilibrium, and cooperation (Visvader 1992). Second, we will ask what Gaia is in a metatheoretical sense: is it a scientific hypothesis, a theory, a metaphor, an inspired invention, or a resurgence (...) of antiscientific attitude? After examining some alternatives that show the importance of metatheorizing, we will define Gaia a ‘scientific narrative’, this being a technical term in a sketchy metatheory. Let us just say, for now, that by narrative we don’t mean fairytale or artistic fiction, but rather a way of telling the history of our planet. We are not going to answer the question whether or not we should ban Gaia from any scientific discourse, nor the question how symbio-students should deal with the traditional association of their field with Gaia. But we hope to frame the dilemma in which symbio-students and the scientific community at large are held in a better way than simply insisting on classic demarcations between science and non-science. (shrink)
Aunque construir el mundo humano implica violencia, hemos de reducir la depredación de la naturaleza y los riesgos de la industrialización y consumo masivos que amenazan con destruir totalmente nuestro soporte biótico. La necesidad de reconciliarnos con Gaia es imperativa, y para ello debemos const..
Proclus’ interpretation of the Timaeus confronts the question of whether the living being that is the Platonic cosmos percieves itself. Since sense perception is a mixed blessing in the Platonic tradition, Proclus solves this problem by differentiating different gradations of perception. The cosmos has only the highest kind. This paper contrasts Proclus’ account of the world’s perception of itself with James Lovelock’s notion that the planet Earth, or Gaia, is aware of things going on within itself. This contrast illuminates (...) several key differences between contemporary theories of perception and the neoplatonic world view. In particular, it argues that the neoplatonists had a radically different view of these matters because they assigned the property of truth not only to representations, but to objects as well. (shrink)
Proclus' interpretation of the Timaeus confronts the question of whether the living being that is the Platonic cosmos perceives itself. Since sense perception is a mixed blessing in the Platonic tradition, Proclus solves this problem by differentiating different gradations of perception. The cosmos has only the highest kind. This paper contrasts Proclus' account of the world's perception of itself with James Lovelock's notion that the planet Earth, or Gaia, is aware of things going on within itself. This contrast illuminates (...) several key differences between contemporary theories of perception and the neoplatonic world view. In particular, it argues that the neoplatonists had a radically different view of these matters because they assigned the property of truth not only to representations, but to objects as well. (shrink)
Neste artigo, discutimos o papel das explicações teleológicas na teoriaGaia. Mostramos que seu principal proponente, James Lovelock, pretendeevitá-las devido a uma interpretação equivocada da natureza de taisexplicações. Na tentativa de evitar compromissos com a teleologia,Lovelock recorre ao conceito de propriedades emergentes. Esta não é,contudo, uma saída consistente, porque os conceitos de propriedadesemergentes e teleologia não são mutuamente excludentes. Discutimostambém as dificuldades de uma interpretação de Gaia de uma perspectivateleonômica, considerando problemas como o da noção de superorganismo.Para avaliar o estatuto (...) das explicações teleológicas em Gaia, examinamoso caso da interação entre algas e nuvens, que resultou num novo campo depesquisas e expõe as contribuições teóricas e empíricas que Gaia podeoferecer. Com base nos argumentos apresentados ao longo do artigo,sugerimos uma reorganização da estrutura do programa de pesquisa Gaia,visando à continuação de seu progresso teórico e empírico.In this paper, we discuss the role of teleological explanations in Gaia theory.We show that its main proponent, James Lovelock, intends to avoid themdue to a misinterpretation of the nature of teleological explanations. Inorder to avoid a commitment to teleology, Lovelock appeals to the conceptof emergent properties. This is not a consistent solution, however, since the concepts of emergent properties and teleology are not mutuallyexclusive. We also discuss difficulties in an interpretation of Gaia from ateleonomic perspective, discussing problems such as that of the notion ofsuperorganism. In order to appraise the status of teleological explanationsin Gaia, we examine the case of the interaction between algae and clouds,which gave birth to a new research field and show the theoretical andempirical contributions that Gaia can bring. Based on the argumentsdeveloped in the paper, we suggest a reorganization of the structure ofGaia research program, in order to go on with its theoretical and empiricalprogress. (shrink)
«Questo è il vero fenomenalismo e prospettivismo, come lo intendo io», scrive Nietzsche in FW 354, chiudendo una lunga riflessione sul tema della coscienza e del bisogno di comunicazione dell’uomo. Mantenendo sullo sfondo le questioni più strettamente legate alla dimensione psicologica, vorrei partire da questa dichiarazione per considerare alcuni aspetti della teoria della conoscenza di Nietzsche ed intervenire in una nuova determinazione del suo carattere prospettico. In particolare, vorrei soffermarmi sul tema del gregge umano e della specie come reale soggetto (...) della visione prospettica, per poi discutere il riferimento al fenomenalismo rintracciabile in alcuni appunti dedicati ad una declinazione del Wille zur Macht come conoscenza. (shrink)
Nigel Clark’s ‘ex-orbitant globality’ concerns the incalculability of other-than-human forces we typically fail to acknowledge, yet which haunt all considerations of environmental change. This article considers Gaia theory as a useful heuristic to register the ubiquity of bacteria to environmental activity and regulation. Bacteria are Gaia theory’s fundamental actants, and through symbiosis and symbiogenesis, connect life and matter in biophysical and biosocial entanglements. Emphasizing symbiosis might invoke the expectation of a re-inscription of the human insofar as the ubiquitous (...) inter-connectivity of life ultimately connects everything to the human. I want to argue toward the opposite conclusion: that bacterial liveliness suggests a profound indifference to human life. As such, symbiosis does not efface difference, nor its vigorous refusal to be absorbed within human formulations of world-remaking, including environmental change. Bacterial indifference’s radical asymmetry suggests the need for non-human centred theories of globality. (shrink)
Aldo Leopold's 1949 Land Ethic is seminal in academic environmental ethics and the environmental-ethic-of-choice among professional conservationists and environmentalists. After sixty years, the sciences that inform the land ethic have undergone much change. The land ethic can be revised to accommodate changes in its scientific foundations, but it cannot be scaled up to meet the challenge of global climate change. Fortunately, given the prominent place of Leopold in all circles environmental, he also faintly sketched an Earth Ethic in a paper (...) written in 1923 and published posthumously in 1979. The Earth Ethic is informed less by ecology and evolutionary biology than by biogeochemistry and anticipates the Gaia Hypothesis, viz., that the Earth is a whole, living being. If so Leopold thought it a worthy object of moral respect. (shrink)
Advances in analytical understanding of the biosphere’s biogeochemical cycles have spawned concepts of Gaia and noosphere. Earlier in this century, in concert with the Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the natural scientist Vladimir Vernadsky developed the notion of noosphere-an evolving collective human consciousness on Earth exerting an ever increasing intluence on biogeochemical processes. More recently, the chemist James Lovelock postulated the Earth to be a self-regulating system made up of biota and their environment with the capacity to maintain (...) a planetary steady state favorable to life. This is the Gaia hypothesis. To many, Gaia and noosphere represent contradictory interpretations of humanity’s relation to planetary ecology. Noosphere emphasizes a free will and obligation to shape the destiny of humanity on Earth through technology and new kinds of social relations. In contrast, Gaia invokes mysterious mechanisms of planetary evolution that lie beyond human control and understanding. I argue that if brought together, noosphere and Gaia can provide a useful symbol for guiding human interventions in global ecology because the contradictions of a nature-centered view of Gaia and a human-centered view of noosphere are coming to be irrelevant with the emergence of an analytical science of the biosphere. (shrink)
The Gaia hypothesis emerged from two interpenetrating traditions, the mechanist and the organicist, with the former tending to reductionism and the latter to holism. While mechanist James Lovelock is the acknowledged father, he collaborated with the organicist Lynn Margulis in the early 1970s when the first papers appeared in the scientific literature. Both continued to be active in Gaia-related conferences until Margulis’s premature death in late 2011. In a very readable exposition, Michael Ruse succeeds brilliantly in tracing the (...) philosophical roots of this concept continuing in the histories of modern geology and biology to its formulation in the late twentieth century.This is Lovelock and Margulis’s definition of the Gaia hypothesis quoted in this book: “We conclude from the fact that the temperature and certain other environmental conditions on the earth have not altered very much from what is an optimum for life on surface, that life must actively maintain these conditions”. (shrink)
Nature always refers to something inasmuch as it relates to something else. This « something else » is highly variable. The role of Nature as the respondent of judgements which are both hierarchical and moral is always present in modern science, without thereby being deducible from modern science. Today it presents new contrasts, new oppositions which involve multiple natures, interlinked and historical, which does not result in anything like a neutral Nature. The best example, linked to the idea of (...) class='Hi'>Gaia, is the greenhouse effect. Our interventions, even if they take place over a very short period of time, might disturb situations which arose over very long periods. Gaia is a new figure of Nature which must be respected because we are dependent on her, not in the sense that she must be respected as a goddess, but in the sense of her sensitivity. Now, a Nature that could thus be defined once and for all, with an identity that could be opposed to humanity’s, does not exist. Nature in the other sense does not exist objectively either, but is more interesting because it participates in human historicity. It exists in the sense in which it forces us to think, negotiate, take into account, imagine, take note without saying that Nature, too, thinks, negotiates, takes into account, imagines, and takes note. We must think and imagine with something that does not do so. This is the beginning of a culture of non-symmetry. If Nature as Gaia teaches us something, it is that we must take care : the fact the current regimen of interdependence suits us is in no way a privilege of this regiment. Gaia has no innate reason to care about us ; rather, we must care about her. Non-symmetry, then, is this interesting situation in which Nature interests us while we do not interest her. (shrink)
In this article, the author describes his sense of synchronicity with Edgar Morin's concepts of complexity. Although Morin only briefly addresses Gaia per se, the implications of Morin's work may reveal the Gaia concept as an element of the general breakthroughs of complexity science. Morin demonstrates a phase transition that is gaining momentum right now, whereby the new, more benign science is overwhelming the old Cartesian world.
In this paper the relationship between Gaia theory and fact/value dualism must be understood from two angles: I shall use Gaia as a case study to show the philosophical limits of dualism, and I shall also use the discussion of fact/value dualism to clarify the contents of Gaia theory. My basic thesis is that Lovelock is right when rejecting the suggestion that he should clear his theory of evaluative considerations. He is right because in his theory facts (...) and moral values are strictly interwoven and therefore cannot be conceptually separated. I shall show this point by arguing that if we dropped the evaluative components from Gaia theory we would not have the same theory cleared of those evaluative components. Instead we would have a theory with a different empirical meaning and different explanatory characteristics. (shrink)
Gaia in Turmoil is the latest collaborative work put forth by the interdisciplinary group of Gaian thinkers. The contributors set out to meaningfully grapple with the bewildering ecological and social crises that humanity faces in this young century. Their work clearly rests on the assumption that such crises not only exist, but are dire—a conviction that unifies the essays in Gaia in Turmoil. By demonstrating how Gaia theory can advance various research projects, Gaia in Turmoil is (...) an alarmist plea to integrate the Gaian perspective into mainstream thought as the next watershed paradigm through which humanity can survive and prosper. (shrink)
I define the Gaia hypothesis as the descriptive claim, supposedly supported by biology and the earth sciences, that there's a fitness for one-and-all, and the owner of that fitness is Gaia. Much of the argument for Gaia turns on the supposed discovery of negative feedback loops serving its fitness. I present an argument against such a fitness, and so against Gaia. I distinguish two types of negative feedback systems. Systems in the engineering sense are information exploiters, (...) whereas systems in the Boolean sense are simply producers of stability. I address three arguments presented by the advocates of Gaia for thinking that they have discovered a special variety of the Boolean system that is most supportive of Gaia's reality. I show that these arguments are specious. Furthermore I show that systems in the engineering sense would be the most supportive of the Gaia hypothesis, and no global feedback systems of that type have ever been found. These analyses have a constructive consequence of fundamental importance to biology: a theory of the way negative feedback, taken in the purely quantitative sense of information theory, comes to acquire the semantic character of being information about various features of an organism's niche. (shrink)
Este breve ensaio é uma interpretação da epígrafe escolhida por Nietzsche para seu livro gaia ciência.Através dela se pretende demonstrar em que medida a noção de 'gaia ciência', erigida a partir da compreensão do mundo como fenômeno essencialmente poético,nos leva a uma reflexão sobre o sentido e a articulação fundamental entre arte, sabedoria,conhecimento,ciêcia, filosofia,ética e educação. .
La criatura viva más grande de la tierra es la Tierra. La hemos visto en las fotografías: esfera de zafiro entre vellones blancos y relucientes casquetes blancos en sus polos. La nueva noción de Gaia -una Tierra viviente. El planeta Tierra, un solo ser vivo todo él. Lo era mucho antes que en su superficie hubiera «vida». No hay donde vivir sino en el cielo, así pues, salido de la región ecuatorial del sol se hizo redondo para girar. Ser (...) vivo que no necesitaba piernas ni brazos ni boca ni ano .. (shrink)
Although Heidegger thinks cybernetics is the “supreme danger,” he also thinks that it harbours within itself poiēsis, the “saving power.” This article providesa justification of this position through an analysis of its relation to Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela’s Santiago theory of cognition and James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis’ Gaia theory. More specifically, it argues that Maturana and Varela’s criticism of cybernetics and their concomitant theory of “autopoiesis” constitutes the philosophical disclosure of “Being itself,” and that the extension of (...) Santiago theory’s various different conceptualizations of poiēsis to Gaia theory makes possible the rise of the “saving power.”. (shrink)
Introductory All through my boyhood I had aprofound conviction that I was no good. that I was wasting my time, wrecking my talents, behaving with monstrous folly and wiclwlness and ingratitude-am'l all this, it seemed, was inescapable, ...