This book examines the philosophies of nature of the early Greek thinkers and argues that a significant and thoroughgoing shift is required in our understanding of them. In contrast with the natural world of the earliest Greek literature, often the result of arbitrary divine causation, in the work of early Ionian philosophers we see the idea of a cosmos: ordered worlds where there is complete regularity. How was this order generated and maintained and what underpinned those regularities? What analogies (...) or models were used for the order of the cosmos? What did they think about causation and explanatory structure? How did they frame natural laws? Andrew Gregory draws on recent work on mechanistic philosophy and its history, on the historiography of the relation of science to art, religion and magic, and on the fragments and doxography of the early Greek thinkers to argue that there has been a tendency to overestimate the extent to which these early Greek philosophies of nature can be described as 'mechanistic'. We have underestimated how far they were committed to other modes of explanation and ontologies, and we have underestimated, underappreciated and indeed underexplored how plausible and good these philosophies would have been in context. (shrink)
"Hegel's Philosophy of Nature was for a long time regarded as an outdated historical curiosity. Yet if systematic completeness is given up, the value of Hegelian arguments and of Hegelian logic generally becomes uncertain. In this book, John Burbidge reveals the abiding significance of the Philosophy of Nature as the intermediate movement in Hegel's system." "Burbidge looks at three specific texts in Hegel's work: the two chapters of the Science of Logic that deal with the concept (...) of chemism, and the section on chemical process in the Philosophy of Nature. Through his detailed commentary, he clarifies Hegel's distinction between a strictly theoretical philosophy and one that understands the natural world. He shows that Hegel does not presume to derive natural data a priori, nor is he simply dependent on the explanatory theories arrived at by chemists themselves. Experience provides the data, but thought sets the parameters. Burbidge sets Hegel's thought in context with sketches of what Kant, Fichte, and Schelling had to say about chemistry, and with background outlining the stage chemistry had reached at the time Hegel was writing. He also reveals how Hegel changed his mind as he revised each section for succeeding editions of his work, thus providing a fascinating case study of the development of Hegel's ideas."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved. (shrink)
The present investigation brings into view the philosophy of nature of German Idealism, a philosophical movement which emerged around the beginning of the nineteenth century. German Idealism appro- priated certain motivations of the Kantian philosophy and developed them further in a "speculative" manner (Engelhardt 1972, 1976, 2002). This powerful philosophical movement, associated above all with the names of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel - and moreover having nothing whatsoever to do with the "subjective idealism" of George Berkeley - (...) was replaced by philosophical positions designated roughly as metaphysics of the will, Marxism, life-philosophy, phenomenology and existentialism, as well as positivism, empiricism, philosophy of science, the linguistic turn, and analytic philosophy. These philosophical positions more or less still shape us today. German Idealism amounts to a virtual intellectual-historical antithesis to these movements and thus presents itself in retrospect as a striking alternative. The basis of Idealism - in its various respective forms - is the ideal <Ideelle>, and thus the opposite of that which is real. It continually takes as its task explaining the real in terms of the ideal, and this is especially true of the Idealists' philosophy of nature.' Is this a hopeless undertaking? Does Idealism not lack an empirical basis? Can one secure any solid ground whatsoever in the ether of the ideal? In what follows, I explain how, more than anyone else, Schelling and Hegel sought to handle this problem and to cope with it. By way of anticipation, a clear preference for the Hegelian philosophy of nature will emerge in what follows, a preference which may come as some surprise considering how much controversy has surrounded the significance of that view. The project of renewing a thoroughgoing philosophy of nature can meaningfully begin here. (shrink)
Philosophical understandings of Nature and Human Nature. Classical Greek and modern West, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, by 14 authors, including Robert Neville, Stanley Rosen, David Eckel, Livia Kohn, Tienyu Cao, Abner Shimoney, Alfred Tauber, Krzysztof Michalski, Lawrence Cahoone, Stephen Scully, Alan Olson and Alfred Ferrarin. Dedicated to the phenomenological ecology of Erazim Kohák, with 10 of his essays and a full bibliography. Overall theme: on the question of the moral sense of nature.
The first part of the paper is a metatheoretical consideration of such philosophy of nature which allows for using scientific results in philosophical analyses. An epistemological 'judgment' of those results becomes a preliminary task of this discipline: this involves taking a position in the controversy between realistic and antirealistic accounts of science. It is shown that a philosopher of nature has to be a realist, if his task to build true ontology of reality is to be achieved. (...) At the same time he cannot be a realist ˗ a possibility that science itself is capable of deciding what beings really exist (a typical realistic claim is that scientific notions refer to something external and truly describe its characteristics) has to be denied, if the philosophy of nature is seen as a discipline investigating the natural world, while being epistemologically different from the natural sciences. A possibility of weakening this opposition is explored in the second part of the paper, where the idea of so-called "postulated ontology" of scientific theories is brought to the consideration. This idea appears in the context of a well-known thesis of the underdetermination of scientific theories by empirical data. It is argued in the paper, that the conviction of the existence of some kind of relation between a given theory and ontological ideas can be derived from this thesis, regardless of its particular form. Therefore, certain solutions to classical philosophical questions can be obtained, in principle, by careful inspection of scientific achievements. However, if the thesis of underdetermination holds, such philosophical solutions are not imposed by science itself. In order to arrive at some kind of ontology based on science, it seems necessary to accept certain philosophical presuppositions in the first place. This and the fact that scientific theories change in time show that although such a kind of ontology is possible, and perhaps desirable, it can never be ultimate. (shrink)
For many years essentialism was considered beyond the pale in philosophy, a relic of discredited Aristotelianism. This is no longer so. Kripke and Putnam have made belief in essential natures respectable once more. Harré and Madden have argued against Hume's theory of causation and developed an alternative theory based on the assumption that there are genuine causal powers in nature. Dretske, Tooley, Armstrong, Swoyer, and Carroll have all developed strong alternatives to Hume's theory of the laws of (...) class='Hi'>nature. And Shoemaker has developed a thoroughly non-Humean theory of properties. The "new essentialism" has evolved from these beginnings and can now reasonably claim to be a metaphysic for a modern scientific understanding of the world - one that challenges the conception of the world as comprising passive entities whose interactions are to be explained by appeal to contingent laws of nature externally imposed. (shrink)
Preface to paperback edition -- Why Schelling? why naturephilosophy? -- The powers due to becoming: the reemergence of platonic physics in the genetic philosophy -- Antiphysics and neo-Fichteanism -- The natural history of the unthinged -- "What thinks in me is what is outside me". phenomenality, physics and the idea -- Dynamic philosophy, transcendental physics -- Conclusion: transcendental geology.
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity has a copyright on the body of the work. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and (...) made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)
In this work Ivor Leclerc argues for the contemporary need for a philosophy of nature, a discipline which he takes to be a casualty of the acceptance of the early nineteenth century conception of physics as a mechanics, the science of matter in locomotion in space and time. One of the main consequences of this conception of physics, which grows out of the seventeenth century conception of nature, has been that philosophy cannot have "nature" as (...) its object; rather, the object of philosophy is "science" itself, not nature. The result of this consequence has been, according to Leclerc, "an obscuring, indeed a blocking, of the realization of the full magnitude and extent of the twentieth-century developments in science, in particular of the most fundamental respects, namely, the ontological and metaphysical, in which those developments have affected the conception of nature". This has worked to the disadvantage of both the philosopher and the scientist. In Part 1 Leclerc is primarily concerned with making the above case, while Part 2 is devoted to a historical investigation into the development of the concepts involved in the conception of "physics as a mechanics" and Part III is primarily devoted to a criticism of this view of physics and a suggestion concerning the direction a philosophy of nature should take in the later part of the twentieth century. (shrink)
The Encyclopädie der Philosophischen Wissenschaften contains what is rightly called the system of Hegel's philosophy, his other treatises being, in the main, more detailed developments of certain sections of the Encyclopädie. For him the body of philosophical knowledge consists of three main divisions, Logic, Nature-philosophy and the Philosophy of Spirit, forming the supreme triad of the Dialectic and continuous with each other in the dialectical movement of thought. The Philosophy of Nature, however, has been (...) held suspect even by followers of Hegel who adhere to the doctrine of Absolute Idealism; in fact, by some of his most ardent disciples. For the development of the view by both contemporary and later thinkers has led to a position according to which Hegel's excursion into Nature-philosophy appears inconsistent with his own idealism. Whether the alleged inconsistency is supposed to affect the Philosophy of Spirit also is not clear, but it does, at least, throw doubt upon the claim of the second science of the Encyclopædia to be a genuine branch of philosophy. The view which leads to this condemnation of the Naturphilosophie was first voiced by Schelling, but it follows also from what will be called, in the sequel, the 'Bradleian' version of Absolutism, though this should not be taken to imply that Bradley was responsible for the statement of it which follows or that he voiced the objection to Hegel's philosophy here considered. (shrink)
In "The Philosophy of Nature," Brian Ellis provides a clear and forthright general summation of, and introduction to, the new essentialist position. Although the theory that the laws of nature are immanent in things, rather than imposed on them from without, is an ancient one, much recent work has been done to revive interest in essentialism and "The Philosophy of Nature" is a distinctive contribution to this lively current debate. Brian Ellis exposes the philosophical and (...) scientific credentials of the prevailing Humean metaphysic as less than compelling and makes the case for new essentialism as an alternative metaphysical perspective in lucid and unambiguous terms. This book develops this alternative metaphysic and considers the consequences for philosophy, and for some other areas of investigation, of working with such a metaphysic. Ellis argues that these consequences are profound and that a new essentialism provides a comprehensive new philosophy of nature for a modern scientific understanding of the world. (shrink)
My presentation begins with Kant's philosophical project, which played a key role in understanding German Idealism, and then considers in detail the philosophical approaches developed by Schelling and Hegel.
The papers deals with philosophical and methodological problems of natural scien-ces articulated in the writings of M. Zigo. In M. Zigo’s view one of the fundamental tasks of philosophy is analyze by philosophical means their conceptional and categorial apparatus, their attitudes and contribution to the conception and understanding of the world in general. The author examines the understanding of scientific concepts, such as cosmological model, the law of the preservation of energy, the world view, scientific rationality and their specific (...) place in the relationship between philosophy and science. (shrink)
Peter Godfrey-Smith’s introduction to the philosophy of biology is excellent. This review questions one implication of his book, namely that Darwin’s case for the efficacy of natural selection was hampered by his ignorance of the particulate nature of inheritance. I suggest, instead, that Darwin was handicapped by an inability to effectively engage in quantitative population thinking. I also question Godfrey-Smith’s understanding of the role that Malthusian struggle plays in linking natural selection to the origination of new adaptive traits, (...) and I raise problems for his defence of apparently unproblematic conceptions of human nature. Finally, I highlight the welcome conception of a ‘philosophy of nature’ developed by Godfrey-Smith. (shrink)
Each and every one of us has our personal secrets, secrets which we do not disclose to outsiders. If we do decide to let an outsider into those secrets, we want to be certain that they will be properly understood and respected. Revealing our secrets to someone else is also normally preceded by a long acquaintanceship, which serves to create an atmosphere of trust. If we accept that nature, understood as the entire physical reality of the universe, contains within (...) itself secrets regarding its origins, functioning, and ulterior development, then the study of these secrets is only possible for beings such as ourselves, possessed of consciousness, sensory tools, and intellect. In this context, the history of .. (shrink)
A topical rather than systematic consideration of some key methodological rather than substantive notions in the philosophy of science. The form and strategy of scientific inquiry and explanation, confirmation of hypotheses, laws, and theories are the mainstays of Hempel's discussion. The treatment is lucid in the way an introduction should be. The chapter on concept formation contains a discussion of operational definitions which is especially well done. Perhaps the only drawback is that the student reading this introductory text will (...) not get as much of an impression as would be desirable that there are issues as well as topics in the philosophy of science.—E. A. R. (shrink)
I formulate a description of the world of relativity and quantum physics that is independent of classical physics, so that we can bypass some of the unwanted legacies which have accumulated from the theories of material corpuscles. The task of this book is to produce a formulation in sufficient detail that an understanding of quantum physics begins to be possible. Even though the present investigations will not produce a complete physical theory, I hope to show that they are still valuable (...) in providing some general ideas which are reasonable, which can be realistically interpreted, and which contribute in some part to our understanding of the world we live in and its quantum peculiarities. (shrink)
Nietzsche's doctrine of the -eternal recurrence of the same- - the conception that the universe of events repeats itself in the same sequence, to infinity - is often taken to be logically incoherent: if an event recurs, it is not identically the same as the event itself, and if taken as self-identical cannot be the recurrence of anything. This book offers a new interpretation of the doctrine so as to rescue it from the charge of incoherence. It shows that the (...) doctrine is an outgrowth of ideas found in Nietzsche's philosophy of nature, among them that space is Riemannian and that time is relative to events, not an independently existing continuum which underlies events.". (shrink)