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Citations related to PHILOSOPHY (works cited listed at bottom):

“So long as humanism is constructed through contrast with the object that has been abandoned to epistemology, neither the human nor the nonhuman can be understood.” Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard University Press. 1993. p. 136.


"Without serious, not to say obsessional monotheism and unitarianism, the rationalist naturalism of the Enlightenment might well never have seen the light of day. In all probability, the attachment to a unique Revelation was the historical pre-condition of the successful emergence of a unique and symmetrically accessible Nature. It was a jealous Jehovah who really taught mankind the Law of the Excluded Middle: Greek formalization of logic (and geometry and grammar) probably would not have been sufficient on its own. Without a strong religious impulsion towards a single orderly world, and the consequent avoidance of opportunist, manipulative incoherence, the cognitive miracle would probably not have occurred." Gellner, Ernest, Postmodernism, Reason and Religion, Routledge, 1992, pp. 95-6.


“Moment by moment and situation by situation, each person is moving through a continuum of interaction rituals, real or vicarious, ranging from minimal to high intensity, which bring in a flow of cultural capital and calibrate their emotional energy up or down. These local situations are embedded in a larger structure: in this case the whole intellectual community, spreading as far as the networks happen to extend in that historical period.” Collins, Randall. The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 1999. p. 37.


“The intellectual world at its most intense has the structure of contending groups, meshing together into a conflictual super-community.” Collins, Randall. The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 1999. p. 73.


“Neither totalizing structures that repress differences nor oppositional differences that exclude commonality are adequate in the plurality of worlds that constitute the postmodern condition. To think what post-structuralism leaves unthought is to think a nontotalizing structure that nonetheless acts as a whole. Such a structure would be neither a universal grid organizing opposites nor a dialectical system synthesizing opposites but a seamy web in which what comes together is held apart and what is held apart comes together. This web is neither subjective nor objective and yet is the matrix in which all subjects and objects are formed, deformed, and reformed. In the postmodern culture of simulacra, we are gradually coming to realize that complex communication webs and information networks, which function holisticaly but not totalisticaly, are the milieu in which everything arises and passes away.” Taylor, Mark C. The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture. University of Chicago. 2001. p. 11.


“... it is simply wrong to insist that all systems and structures necessarily totalize and inevitably repress. What Derrida cannot imagine is a nontotalizing system or structure that nonetheless acts as a whole. Taylor, Mark C. The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture. University of Chicago. 2001. p. 65.


"According to the meta-physical framework of contextual realism, reality consists of seemingly inexhaustible levels of semi-autonomous (or 'real') contexts exhibiting a myriad of forms, properties, structures, and processes. Analogous to the innumerable cellular structures disclosed at successive levels by various staining techniques as seen under different optical resolutions through a microscope, the world resolves into endless matrices of relatively stable contexts exhibiting phenomena subject to varying descriptive predicates and explanatory principles. Although these multifarious contexts with their various structures are not entirely discontinuous (otherwise our knowledge of them would be much more difficult than it already is), neither are they merely successive dimensions of essentially the same complexes of elements, as was assumed in the past. Though manifesting some analogous relations and properties, still, the forms and processes of the macroscopic world are not qualitatively similar to those of the atomic-molecular domain, and the conjugate properties of the latter, according to quantum mechanics, are not repeated on the subatomic level. Moreover, as one moves outward to cosmic, as opposed to inner atomic dimensions, one finds that the structural relations between space and time, force fields and mass, or gravitational fields and the space-time continuum become radically altered, as described in the general theory of relativity. Schlagel, Richard H., Contextual Realism; A Meta-physical Framework for Modern Science, Paragon, 1986, pp. 274-5


"Despite the unsatisfactory state of mathematics, the variety of approaches, the disagreements on acceptable axioms, and the danger that new contradictions, if discovered, would invalidate a great deal of mathematics, some mathematicians are still applying mathematics to physical phenomena and indeed extending the applied fields to economics, biology, and sociology. The continuing effectiveness of mathematics suggests two themes. The first is that effectiveness can be used as the criterion of correctness. Of course such a criterion is provisional. What is considered correct today may prove wrong in the next application.

The second theme deals with a mystery. In view of the disagreements about what sound mathematics is, why is it effective at all? Are we performing miracles with imperfect tools? If man has been deceived, can nature also be deceived into yielding to man's mathematical dictates? Clearly not. Yet, do not our successful voyages to the moon and our explorations of Mars and Jupiter, made possible by technology which itself depends heavily on mathematics, confirm mathematical theories of the cosmos? How can we, then, speak of the artificiality and varieties of mathematics? Can the body live on when the mind and spirit are bewildered? Certainly this is true of human beings and it is true of mathematics." Kline, Morris, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, Oxford University Press, 1980, pps. 7-8.


"Lockean natural man, who is really identical to his civil man, whose concern with comfortable self-preservation makes him law-abiding and productive, is not all that natural. Rousseau quickly pointed out that Locke, in his eagerness to find a simple or automatic solution to the political problem, made nature do much more than he had a right to expect a mechanical, nonteleological nature to do. Natural man would be brutish, hardly distinguishable from any of the other animals, unsociable and neither industrious nor rational, but, instead, idle and nonrational, motivated exclusively by feelings or sentiments. Having cut off the higher aspirations of man, those connected with the soul, Hobbes and Locke hoped to find a floor beneath him, which Rousseau removed. Man tumbled down into what I have called the basement, which now appears bottomless. And there, down below, Rousseau discovered all the complexity in man that, in the days before Machiaveli, was up on high. Locke had illegitimately selected those parts of man he needed for his social contract and suppressed all the rest, a theoretically unsatisfactory procedure and practically costly one. The bourgeois is the measure of the price paid, he who most of all cannot afford to look to his real self, who denies the existence of the thinly boarded-over basement in him, who is most made over for the purposes of a society that does not even promise him perfection or salvation but merely buys him off. Rousseau explodes the simplistic harmoniousness between nature and society that seems to be the American premise.

"Rousseau still hoped for a soft landing on nature's true grounds, but one not easily achieved, requiring both study and effort. The existence of such a natural ground has become doubtful, and it is here that the abyss opened up. But it was Rousseau who founded the modern psychology of the self in its fullness, with its unending search for what is really underneath the surface of rationality and civility, its new ways of reaching the unconscious, and its unending task of constituting some kind of healthy harmony between above and below.
"Rousseau's intransigence set the stage for a separation of man from nature. He was perfectly willing to go along with the modern scientific understanding that a brutish being is true man. But nature cannot satisfactorily account for his difference from the other brutes, for his movement from nature to society, for his history. Descartes, playing his part in the dismantling of the soul, had reduced nature to extension, leaving out of it only the ego that observes extension. Man is, in everything but his consciousness, part of extension. Yet how he is a man, a unity, what came to be called a self, is utterly mysterious. This experienced whole, a combination of extension and ego, seems inexplicable or groundless. Body, or atoms in motion, passions, and reason are some kind of unity, but one that stands outside of the grasp of natural science. Locke appears to have invented the self to provide unity in continuity for the ceaseless temporal succession of sense impressions that would disappear into nothingness if there were no place to hold them. We can know everything in nature except that which knows nature. To the extent that man is a piece of nature, he disappears. The self gradually separates itself from nature, and its phenomena must be treated separately. Descartes' ego, in appearance invulnerable and godlike in its calm and isolation, turns out to be the tip of an iceberg floating in a fathomless and turbulent sea called the id, consciousness an epiphenomenon of the unconscious. Man is self, that now seems clear. But what is self?" Bloom, Allan, The Closing of the American Mind, Simon & Schuster, 1987, pp. 176-8.


"The term 'paradigm' enters the preceding pages early, and its manner of entry is intrinsically circular. A paradigm is what the members of a scientific community share, and, conversely, a scientific community consists of men who share a paradigm.... Scientific communities can and should be isolated without prior recourse to paradigms; the latter can then be discovered by scrutinizing the behavior of a given community's members. If this book were being rewritten, it would therefore open with a discussion of the community structure of science,... Most practicing scientists respond at once to questions about their community affiliations, taking for granted that responsibility for the various current specialties is distributed among groups of at least roughly determinate membership. I shall therefore here assume that more systematic means for their identification will be found.

"A scientific community consists, on this view, of the practitioners of a scientific specialty. To an extent unparalleled inn most other fields, they have undergone similar educations and professional initiations; in the process they have absorbed the same technical literature and drawn many of the same lessons from it. Usually the boundaries of that standard literature mark the limits of a scientific subject matter, and each community ordinarily has a subject matter of its own. There are schools in the sciences, communities, that is, which approach the same subject from incompatible viewpoints. But they are far rarer there than in other fields; they are always in competition; and their competition is usually quickly ended. As a result, the members of scientific community see themselves and are seen by others as the men uniquely responsible for the pursuit of a set of shared goals, including the training of their successors. Within such groups communication is relatively full and professional judgment relatively unanimous. Because the attention of different scientific communities is, on the other hand, focused on different matters, professional communication across group lines is sometimes arduous, often results in misunderstanding, and may, if pursued, evoke significant and previously unsuspected disagreement.

"Turn now to paradigms and ask what they can possibly be. My original text leaves no more obscure or important question.... (e.g., Newton's Laws are sometimes a paradigm, sometimes parts of a paradigm, and sometimes paradigmatic)...

"To that question my original text licenses the answer, a paradigm or set of paradigms. But for this use, unlike the one to be discussed below, the term is inappropriate. Scientists themselves would say they share a theory or set of theories,... For present purposes I suggest 'disciplinary matrix': 'disciplinary' because it refers to the common possession of the practitioners of a particular discipline; 'matrix' because it is composed of ordered elements of various sorts, each requiring further specification. All or most of the objects of group commitment that my original text makes paradigms, parts of paradigms, or paradigmatic are constituents of the disciplinary matrix, and as such form a whole and function together. Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Second Edition, The University of Chicago Press, 1970, Postscript, pps. 176-7, 181-2.


"Americans are Lockeans: recognizing that work is necessary (no longing for a nonexistent Eden), and will produce well-being; following their natural inclinations moderately, not because they possess the virtue of moderation but because their passions are balanced and they recognize the reasonableness of that; respecting the rights of others so that theirs will be respected; obeying the law because they made it in their own interest. From the point of view of God or heroes, all this is not very inspiring. But for the poor, the weak, the oppressed--the overwhelming majority of mankind--it is the promise of salvation. As Leo Strauss put it, the moderns 'built on low but solid ground.'

"Rousseau believed that Hobbes and Locke did not go far enough, that they had not reached the Indies of the spirit, although they thought they had. They found exactly what they set out to look for: a natural man whose naturalness consisted in having just those qualities necessary to constitute society. It was too simple to be true.

"'Natural man is entirely for himself. He is numerical unity, the absolute whole which is relative only to itself or its kind. Civil man is only a fractional unity dependent on the denominator, his value is determined by his relation to the whole, which is the social body....

"'He who in the civil order wants to preserve the primacy of the sentiments of nature does not know what he wants. Always in contradiction with himself, always floating between his inclinations and his duties, he will never be either man or citizen. He will be good neither for himself nor for others. He will be one of these men of our days: a Frenchman, an Englishman, a bourgeois. He will be nothing.'

"It was Locke who wanted to preserve the primacy of the sentiments of nature in the civil order, and the result of his mistake is the bourgeois. Rousseau invented the term in its modern sense, and with it we find ourselves at the great source of modern intellectual life. The comprehensiveness and subtlety of his analysis of the phenomenon left nothing new to be said about it, and the Right and the Left forever after accepted his description of modern man as simply true, while the Center was impressed, intimidated, and put on the defensive by it. So persuasive was Rousseau that he destroyed the self-confidence of the Enlightenment at the moment of its triumph.

"It must not be forgotten that Rousseau begins his critique from fundamental agreements with Locke, whom he greatly admired, about the animal man. Man is by nature a solitary being, concerned only with his preservation and his comfort. Rousseau, moreover, agrees that man makes civil society by contract, for the sake of his preservation. He disagrees with Locke that self-interest, however understood, is in any automatic harmony with what civil society needs and demands. If Rousseau is right, man's reason, calculating his best interest, will not lead him to wish to be a good citizen, a law-abiding citizen. He will either be himself, or he will be a citizen, or he will try to be both and be neither. In other words, enlightenment is not enough to establish society, and even tends to dissolve it.

"The road from the state of nature was very long, and nature is distant from us now. A self-sufficient, solitary being must have undergone many changes to become a needy, social one. On the way, the goal of happiness was exchanged for the pursuit of safety and comfort, the means of achieving happiness. Civil society is surely superior to a condition of scarcity and universal war. All this artifice, however, preserves a being who no longer knows what he is, who is so absorbed with existing that he has forgotten his reason for existing, who in the event of actually attaining full security and perfect comfort has no notion of what to do. Progress culminates in the recognition that life is meaningfulness. Hobbes was surely right to look for the most powerful sentiments in man, those that exist independently of opinion and are always a part of man. But fear of death, however powerful it may be and however useful it may be as a motive for seeking peace and, hence, law with teeth in it, cannot be the fundamental experience. It presupposes an even more fundamental one: that life is good. The deepest experience is the pleasant sentiment of existence. The idle, savage man can enjoy that sentiment. The busy bourgeois cannot, with his hard work and his concern with dealing with others rather than being himself.

"Nature still has something of the greatest importance to tell us. We may be laboring to master it, but the reason for mastering nature comes from nature. The fear of death on which Hobbes relied, and which is also decisive for Locke, insists on the negative experience of nature and obliterates the positive experience presupposed by it. This positive experience is somehow still active in us; we are full of vague dissatisfactions in our forgetfulness, but our minds must make an enormous effort to find the natural sweetness of life in its fullness. The way back is at least as long as the one that brought us here. For Hobbes and Locke nature is near and unattractive, and man's movement into society was easy and unambiguously good. For Rousseau nature is distant and attractive, and the movement was hard and divided man. Just when nature seemed to have been finally cast out or overcome in us, Rousseau gave birth to an overwhelming longing for it in us. Our lost wholeness is there. One is reminded of Plato's Symposium, but there the longing for wholeness was directed toward knowledge of the ideas, of the ends. In Rousseau longing is, in its initial expression, for the enjoyment of the primitive feelings, found at the origins in the state of nature. Plato would have united with Rousseau against the bourgeois in his insistence on the essential humanness of longing for the good, as opposed to careful avoidance of the bad. Neither longing nor enthusiasm belongs to the bourgeois. The story of philosophy and the arts under Rousseau's influence has been the search for, or fabrication of, plausible objects of longing to counter bourgeois well-being and self-satisfaction. Part of that story has been the bourgeois' effort to acquire the culture of longing as part of its self-satisfaction.

"The opposition between nature and society is Rousseau's interpretation of the cause of the dividedness of man. He finds that the bourgeois experiences this dividedness in conflict between self-love and love-of-others, inclination and duty, sincerity and hypocrisy, being oneself and being alienated. This opposition between nature and society pervades all modern discussion of the human problem. Hobbes and Locke made the distinction in order to overcome all the tensions caused in man by the demands of virtue, and then to make wholeness easy for him. They thought that they had reduced the distance between inclination and duty by deriving all duty from inclination; Rousseau argued that, if anything, they had increased that distance. He thus restored the older, pre-modern sense of the dividedness of man and hence of the complexity of his attainment of happiness, the pursuit of which liberal society guarantees him while making its attainment impossible. But the restoration takes place on very different grounds, as can be seen in the fact that in the past men traced the tension to the irreconcilable demands of body and soul, not of nature and society. This too opens up a rich field for reflection on Rousseau's originality. The blame shifts, and the focus of the perennial quest for unity is altered. Man was born whole, and it is at least conceivable that he become whole once again. Hope and despair of a kind not permitted by the body-soul distinction arise. What one is to think of oneself and one's desires changes. The correctives range from revolution to therapy, but there is little place for the confessional or for mortification of the flesh. Rousseau's Confessions were, in opposition to those of Augustine, intended to show that he was born good, that the body's desires are good, that there is no original sin. Man's nature has been maimed by a long history; and now he must live in society, for which he is not suited and which makes impossible demands on him. There is either an uneasy acquiescence to the present or the attempt in one way or another to return to the past, or the search for a creative synthesis of the two poles, nature and society." The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom, Simon & Schuster, 1987, pps. 167-170 (and from Emile, Rousseau, pp. 39-40, ed. Bloom, Basic Books, 1979).


Describing Kant’s view in Critique of Judgment (his 3rd Critique): “According to the principle of ‘intrinsic finality,’ ‘an organized natural product is one in which every part is reciprocally both end and means.” Taylor, Mark C. The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture. University of Chicago. 2001. p. 85. Quotes are to Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment, translated by James Meredith. Oxford University Press. p. 22.


“Modernity harbored the ideas of individual emancipation, the generalized secularization of values, and the distinction between the true, the beautiful, and the good. However, individualism henceforth no longer only meant autonomy and emancipation but also atomization and anonymization. Secularization meant not only liberation from religious dogmas but also loss of foundations, anxiety, doubt, and nostalgia for the great certitudes. The distinctiveness of values led not only to moral autonomy, aesthetic exaltation, and the free search for truth but also to demoralization, frivolous estheticism, and nihilism. The erstwhile rejuvenating virtue of the idea of the new (new = better = necessary = progress) was exhausting itself and was typically reserved for detergents, television screens, and automobile performance.” Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth: A Manifesto for a New Millennium. 1999. Hampton Press. p. 58.


“To begin with, we could say that reality is that which is immediate. Yet this immediacy itself refers to two different realities: the one temporal, the other factual.

“The first has to do with the reality of the present. This reality is quite strong and has abolished a part of yesterday’s reality, but it is also very weak, as it will itself be partially abolished by the reality of tomorrow.”

“...The factual meaning of the term reality refers to situations, facts, and events that are visible in the present. Yet perceptible facts and events often hide facts or events that go unperceived and can even hide a still invisible reality.” Morin, Edgar. Homeland Earth: A Manifesto for a New Millennium. 1999. Hampton Press. p. 99-100.


"Again, we have watched with interest Jung developing his concept of a 'collective unconscious' of humanity as a whole, a concept which is inherently repugnant to the foundation of idolatry on which he had to build it. Yet, because of that very idolatry, the traditional myths and the archetypes which he tells us are the representations of the collective unconscious, are assumed by him to be, and always to have been neatly insulated from the world of nature with which, according to their own account, they were mingled or united.

"The psychological interpretation of mythology is, it is true, a long way nearer to an understanding of participation than the old 'personified causes' of Tylor and Frazer and Lempriere's Classical Dictionary. But it is still a long way off. In the last resort, when it actually comes up against the nature-content of the myths, it still relies on the old anthropological assumption of 'projection'. I believe it will seem very strange to the historian of the future, that a literal-minded generation began to accept the actuality of a 'collective unconscious' before it could even admit the possibility of a 'collective conscious--in the shape of the phenomenal world." Barfield, Owen, Saving the Appearances: A Study of Idolatry, Harcourt Brace, pps. 134-5.


"How far one will carry a set of categories into detail is a more arbitray matter here [contextualism] than in any other relatively adequate world theory. In other theories one can pretty clearly distinguish categories (the basic univesal structural features of nature) from subcategoreies, which are clearly derivative from the former and lead down into the minor detailed structures of limited portions of nature. There is an orderliness about such theories. Even formism has it, dispersive as it is in categorial structure. But, so to speak, disorder is a categorial feature of contextualism, and so radically so that it must not even exclude order. That is, the categories must be so framed as not to exclude from the world any degree of order it may be found to have, nor to deny that this order may have come out of disorder and may return into disorder again--order being defined in any way you please, so long as it does not deny the possibility of disorder or another order in nature also. This italicized restriction is the forcible one in contextualism, and amounts to the assertion that change is categorial and not derivative in any degree at all.

"Change in this radical sense is denied by all other world theories. If such radical change is not a feature of the world, if there are unchangeable structures in nature like the forms of formism or the space-time structure of mechanism, then contextualism is false. Contextualism is constantly threatened with evidences for permanent structures in nature. It is constantly on the verge of falling back upon underlying mechanistic structures, or of resolving into the overarching implicit integrations of organicism. Its recourse in these emergencies is always to hurry back to the given event, and to emphasize the change and novelty that is immediately felt there, so that sometimes it seems to be headed for an utter skepticism. But it avoids this impasse by vigorously asserting the reality of the structure of the given event, the historic event as it actually goes on. The whole universe, it asserts, is such as this event is, whatever this is." Pepper, Stephen C., World Hypotheses, University of California, 1942 & 1970, pp. 234-5.


"Whereas in formism and mechanism it is taken for granted that any object or event can be completely analyzed into its constituents, no such assumption is made in contextualism. According to contextualism only events exist and since they are totally interwoven with their context (which includes the observer), they cannot be completely analyzed. Hence one cannot get to the bottom of things. The world is bottomless and there is no ultimate nature of things because there is no-thing. There is only oneness. Since in this oneness every so-called event is interconnected with the whole cosmos, 'blowing your nose is just as cosmic and ultimate as Newton's writing down his gravitational formula. The fact that his formula is much more useful to many people does not make it any more real'.

"The implications of contextualism for the question 'what is life?' are far-reaching. Probably the question would be considered inadequate because it is too abstract and does not arise out of concrete events in their contexts. Living organisms must be understood in their context which is their environment, which includes other organisms as well as so-called abiotic components.

"Since in contextualism change is fundamental we should use verbs instead of nouns to indicate more appropriately the acting and changing. Thus the noun 'life' is better replaced by the verb 'to live' or its gerund 'living,' which refer to an activity that occurs always in concrete situations immensely rich, complex and fluid.

"Operation(al)ism, which can be assimilated to contextualism, also emphasizes activity in terms of operations. Meaning cannot be found in static abstraction as, for example, in formism, but must be expressed in terms of concrete operations." Sattler, Rolf. Bio-Philosophy. Springer Verla. 1986. Pp. 245-6.


"About fifty years of work in which thousands of clever men have had their share have, in fact, produced a rich crop of several hundred heuristic concepts, but, alas, scarcely a single principle worthy of a place in the list of fundamentals.

"It is all too clear that the vast majority of the concepts of contemporary psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, and economics are totally detached from the network of scientific fundamentals....

"No man, after all, has ever seen or experienced formless and unsorted matter; just as no man has ever seen or experienced a 'random' event....

"...my critical comments above about the metaphoric use of 'energy' in the behavioral sciences add up to a rather simple accusation of many of my colleagues, that they have tried to build the bridge to the wrong half of the ancient dichotomy between form and substance. The conservative laws for energy and matter concern substance rather than form. But mental process, ideas, communication, organization, differentiation, pattern, and so on, are matters of form rather than substance." Bateson, Gregory, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Ballantine, 1972, p. xix, xxv.


"Kant's penetrating critique had effectively pulled the rug out from under the human mind's pretensions to certain knowledge of things in themselves, eliminating in principle any human cognition of the ground of the world....

"From Hume and Kant through Darwin, Marx, Freud and beyond, an unsettling conclusion was becoming inescapable: Human thought was determined, structured, and very probably distorted by a multitude of overlapping factors--innate but nonabsolute mental categories, habit, history, culture, social class, biology, language, imagination, emotion, the personal unconscious, the collective unconscious. In the end, the human mind could not be relied upon as an accurate judge of reality. The original Cartesian certainty, that which served as foundation for the modern confidence in human reason, was no longer defensible.

"Henceforth, philosophy concerned itself largely with the clarification of epistemological problems, with the analysis of language, with the philosophy of science, or with phenomenological and existentialist analyses of human experience. Despite the incongruence of aims and pre-dispositions among the various schools of twentieth-century philosophy, there was general agreement on one crucial point: the impossibility of apprehending an objective cosmic order with the human intelligence." Tarnas, Richard, The Passion of the Western Mind, Harmony, New York, 1991, pp. 340-353.


"Kant had offered his definition [of enlightenment] in an essay that addressed the question 'What is enlightenment?' It was first published in 1784, three years after the first edition of his Critique of Pure Reason had appeared. 'Enlightenment is man's exit from his self-incurred tutelage,' Kant had written. 'Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! [Dare to know!] 'Have courage to use your own reason'--that is the motto of enlightenment.'

"As Foucault reads this definition--which he tacitly endorses as a fitting description of his lifework--the emphasis falls on courage, as the specific virtue of the 'will to know'; and, above all, on the admonition 'to use your own reason,' a stress that, in effect transforms Kant's injunction into a precursor of Nietzsche's injunction, to discover 'the meaning of your own life.'

"After Kant, it is indeed Nietzsche who perhaps came closest to describing 'the problem of enlightenment' as Foucault himself understood it. Philosophers, Nietzsche had written some one hundred years after Kant's essay, 'must no longer accept concepts as a gift, nor merely purify and polish them, but first make and create them, present them and make them convincing. Hitherto one has generally trusted one's concepts as if they were a wonderful dowry from some sort of wonderland.' But this trust must be replaced by mistrust. 'What is needed above all'--and this is where the Nietzschean 'will to know' finds its true vocation--is an absolute skepticism toward all concepts.' Hence 'critique.'" Miller, James, The Passion of Michel Foucault, Simon & Schuster, 1993, pp. 302-3.


"Philosophy is the attempt to be at home everywhere in the universe." Corvalis, Romantic poet


"Difference, being of the nature of relationship, is not located in time or in space. We say that the white spot is 'there,' 'in the middle of the blackboard,' but the difference between the spot and the blackboard is not 'there.' It is not in the spot; it is not in the blackboard; it is not in the space between the board and the chalk. I could perhaps lift the chalk off the board and send it to Australia, but the difference would not be destroyed or even shifted because difference does not have location.

"When I wipe the blackboard, where does the difference go? In one sense, the difference is randomized and irreversibly gone, as 'I' shall be gone when I die. In another sense, the difference will endure as an idea--as part of my karma--as long as this book is read, perhaps as long as the ideas in this book go on to form other ideas, reincorporated into other minds. But this enduring karmic information will be information about an imaginary spot on an imaginary blackboard.

"Kant argued long ago that this piece of chalk contains a million potential facts (Tatsachen) but that only a very few of these become truly facts by affecting the behavior of entities capable of responding to facts. For Kant's Tatsachen, I would substitute differences and point out that the number of potential differences in this chalk is infinite but that very few of them become effective differences (i.e., items of information) in the mental process of any larger entity. Information consists of differences that make a difference....

"If there are readers who still want to equate information and difference with energy, I would remind them that zero differs from one and can therefore trigger response. The starving amoeba will become more active, hunting for food; the growing plant will bend away from the dark, and the income tax people will become alerted by the declarations which you did not send. Events which are not are different from those which might have been, and events which are not surely contribute no energy." Bateson, Gregory, Mind and Nature; a Necessary Unity, Bantom, 1980, pp. 109-111.

"When we come to contextualism, we pass from an analytical into a synthetic type of theory. It is characteristic of the synthetic theories that their root metaphors cannot satisfactorily be denoted even to a first approximation by well-known common-sense concepts such as similarity, the artifact, or the machine. We are too likely to be misunderstood at the start, even though the basic synthetic concepts do originate in common sense or are, at least, discoverable there. The best term out of common sense to suggest the point of origin of conextualism is probably the historic event. And this we shall accordingly call the root metaphor of this theory.

"By historic event, however, the contextualist does not mean primarily a past event, one that is, so to speak, dead and has to be exhumed. He means the event alive in its present. What we ordinarily mean by history, he says, is an attempt to re-present events, to make them in some way alive again. The real historic event, the event in its actuality, is what it is going on now, the dynamic dramatic active event. We may call it an 'act,' if we like, and if we take care of our use of the term. But it is not an act conceived as alone or cut off that we mean; it is an act in and with its setting, an act in its context.

"To give instances of this root metaphor in our language with the minimum risk of misunderstanding, we should use only verbs. It is doing, and enduring, and enjoying: making a boat, running a race, laughing at a joke, persuading an assembly, unraveling a mystery, solving a problem, removing an obstacle, exploring a country, communicating with a friend, creating a poem, re-creating a poem. These acts or events are all intrinsically complex, composed of interconnected activities with continuously changing patterns. They are like incidents in the plot of a novel or drama. They are literally the incidents of life. The contextualist finds that everything in the world consists of such incidents. When we catch the idea, it seems very obvious. For this reason, it is sometimes easy to confuse the historic event of contextualism with common-sense fact, and some contextualists have encouraged the confusion. But there are lots of things in common sense that are not events. Common sense is full of animistic, formistic, and mechanistic substances. But contextualism holds tight to the changing present event. This event itself, once we note it, is obvious enough, but the tightness of the contextualists' hold upon it is not usual. It is this hold that makes contextualism a distinctive philosophic attitude and a world theory. World Hypotheses, Stephen C. Pepper, University of California, 1942 & 1970, pp. 232-3.


“Before long the problem of human action which is the concern of tragedy was to become a matter for intellectual cognition; Socrates insists on solving the problem through knowledge of the good. That is the ultimate abstraction of the real, its transformation into a teleological concept. Where a divine world had endowed the human world with meaning, we now find the universal determining the particular.” Snell, Bruno. The Discovery of the Mind in Greek Philosophy and Literature, p. 112.


“What we see around ourselves in recent decades has been an enormous expansion of cultural production. There are over 1 million publications annually in the natural sciences, over 100,000 in the social sciences, and comparable numbers n the humanities (Price, 1986: 266). To perceive the world as a text is not too inaccurate a description, perhaps not of the world itself, but of the life position of intellectuals: we are almost literally buried in papers. As the raw size of intellectual production goes up, the reward to the average individual goes down–at least the pure intellectual rewards of being recognized for one’s ideas and of seeing their impact on others. The pessimism and self-doubt of the intellectual community under these circumstances is not surprising.

“Which of the three types of stagnation do we exemplify? Loss of cultural capital (Stagnation A), certainly, marked by the inability of today’s intellectuals to build constructively on the achievements of their predecessors. Simultaneously there exists a cult of the classics (Stagnation B): the historicism and footnote scholarship of our times, in which doing intellectual history becomes superior to creating it. And also we have the stagnation (C) of technical refinement: to take just a few instances, the acute refinements and formalisms of logical and linguistic philosophy have proceeded apace in little specialized niches; in the same way among all factions of the intellectual world today we find the prevalence of esoterica, of subtleties, and of impenetrable in-group vocabularies.” Collins, Randall. The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 1999. p. 521.


“Modern philosophy, in stressing the illusory nature of sensory appearances, has congratulated itself on having fulfilled its duty to be suspicious by distinguishing between primary and secondary qualities while accepting unquestioningly the deeper illusion: the notion of instantaneous bits of matter simply located in space.” Griffin, David Ray. Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem. University of California Press. 1998. p. 120.


“Before the notion of articulation, it was impossible to answer no to the question ‘Did the ferments (or the microbes) exist before Pasteur’ without falling into some sort of idealism. The subject-object dichotomy distributed activity and passivity in such a way that whatever was taken by one was lost to the other. If Pasteur makes up the microbes, that is, invents them, then the microbes are passive. If the microbes ‘lead Pasteur in his thinking’ then it is he who is the passive observer of their activity. We have begun to understand, however, that the pair human-nonhuman does not involve a tug-of-war between two opposite forces. On the contrary, the more activity there is from one, the more activity there is from the other. The more Pasteur works in his laboratory, the more autonomous his ferment becomes. Idealism was the impossible effort to give activity back to the humans, without dismantling the Yalta pact which had made activity a zero-sum game–and without redefining the very notion of action, as we will see in Chapter 9. In all its various forms–including of course social constructivism–idealism had a nice polemical virtue against those who granted too much independence to the empirical world. But polemics are fun to watch for only so long. If we cease to treat activity as a rare commodity of which only one team can have possession, it stops being fun to watch people trying to deprive one another of what all the players could have aplenty.” Latour, Bruno. Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard University Press. 1999. p. 147.


“Nonhumans stabilize social negotiations. Nonhumans are at once pliable and durable: they can be shaped very quickly but once shaped, last far longer than the interactions that fabricated them. Latour, Bruno. Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard University Press. 1999. p. 210.


“Because it believes in the total separation of humans and nonhumans, and because it simultaneously cancels out this separation, the Constitution has made the moderns invincible. If you criticize them by saying that Nature is a world constructed by human hands, they will show you that it is transcendent, that science is a mere intermediary allowing access to Nature, and that they keep their hands off. If you tell them that we are free and that our destiny is in our own hands, they will tell you that Society is transcendent and its laws infinitely surpass us. If you object that they are being duplicitous, they will show you that they never confuse the Laws of Nature with imprescriptible human freedom. If you believe them and direct your attention elsewhere, they will take advantage of this to transfer thousands of objects from Nature into the social body while procuring for this body the solidity of natural things. If you turn round suddenly, as in the children’s game ‘Mother, may I?’, they will freeze, looking innocent, as if they hadn’t budged; here, on the left, are things themselves; there, on the right, is the free society of speaking, thinking subjects, values and of signs. Everything happens in the middle, everything passes between the two, everything happens by way of mediation, translation and networks, but this space does not exist, it has no place.” Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard University Press. 1993. p. 37.


“Native Americans were not mistaken when they accused the Whites of having forked tongues. By separating the relations of political power from the relations of scientific reasoning while continuing to shore up power with reason and reason with power, the moderns have always had two irons in the fire. They have become invincible.”

“You think that thunder is a divinity. The modern critique will show that it is generated by mere physical mechanisms that have no influence over the progress of human affairs. You are stuck in a traditional economy? The modern critique will show you that physical mechanisms can upset the progress of human affairs by mobilizing huge productive forces. You think that the spirits of the ancestors hold you forever hostage to their laws? The modern critique will show you that you are hostage to yourselves and that the spiritual world is your own human - too human - construction. You then think that you can do everything and develop your societies as you see fit? The modern critique will show you that the iron laws of society and economics are much more inflexible than those of your ancestors. You are indignant that the world is being mechanized? The modern critique will tell you about the creator God to whom everything belongs and who gave man everything. You are indignant that society is secular? The modern critique will show you that spirituality is thereby liberated, and that a wholly spiritual religion is far superior. You call yourself religious? The modern critique will have a hearty laugh at your expense!” Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard University Press. 1993. p. 38.



“It seems to me that only in the seventeenth century did both trends converge into one world picture: namely, the Nominalists’ passion for unequivocation with the Renaissance sense of the homogeneity of nature–one nature with forces to replace the many Aristotelian static natures.” Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 72.


“Only ‘the idealized experiment shows the clew which really forms the foundation of the mechanics of motion–namely that bodies would continue moving forever if not hindered by external obstacles. This discovery taught us that intuitive confusions based on immediate observation are not always to be trusted.’” Einstein and Infeld. The Evolution of Physics, pp. 6-9; quoted in: Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 153.


“Alternative worlds are, in Aristotle’s eyes, strictly disjunctive; and since ours exists, they do not. Our universe is unique, and nothing in it could profitably be taken out of its context and examined under ideal, non-existence conditions. These are the deeper reasons why Aristotle was not willing, as Clauberg rightly observed, to see things ‘as they are in themselves’ but always insisted that we should see them ‘as they are in respect to each other.’” Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 163-4.


“Galileo, as Blumenberg rightly emphasized, does not compare an ‘ideal’ state to a ‘deficient’ reality; the very deviation of the real from the ideal can be measured and explained with an ever more complicated model. Rather than comparing reality to the ideal, he compares the complex to the simple. The scientific revolution of the seventeenth century learned to assert the impossible as a limiting case of reality.” Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 177-78.


“The study of nature in the seventeenth century was neither predominantly idealistic nor empirical. It was first and foremost constructive, pragmatic in the radical sense. It would lead to the conviction that only the doable–at least in principle–is also understandable: verum et factum convertuntur. Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 177.


“Together with the ideal of absolute rigor, the seventeenth century also gave up the ideal of absolute exactness of measurement–only in such a way, as Anneliese Maier observed, were the exact sciences made possible.” Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 313 (because science freed itself from the mathematics of perfect forms–circles, etc. to let natural things dictate the math including much inexactness of measure)


“The seventeenth century did not abandon the notion of perfection, or harmony, of the cosmos; it replaced the geometric-statical symmetry of the Platonic and Peripatetic tradition with a notion of dynamic consonance. With the growing insight into the symbolic-formal character of mathematics, ‘simplicity’ came to mean generality rather than absolute symmetry.” Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 313-4


“It may appear ironic that the medieval, elitist image of knowledge was coupled with Aristotelian philosophy–basically a common-sense philosophy that aims to explicate ‘what everyone knows, only better’; while the new, egalitarian image of an open, systematic knowledge was coupled with sciences that in part were now derived from counter-intuitive premises and soon proliferated and became so technical that they could hardly be mastered by the educated layperson. The tension was not as pronounced in the seventeenth century as it became in the eighteenth; and it found temporary relief in the slowly emerging image of a common ‘culture’ or ‘education.’ A new entity, ‘culture,’ connoted more than ‘mores’ and less than ‘learning.’” Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 359


“Perhaps one might say that the theocentric theologies of the Middle Ages gave way to cosmocentric theologies in the seventeenth century, which again were superseded by a variety of anthropocentric theologies down to our century.” Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 360


"What is it, finally, that we hope for? A way of seeing things that would value each individual, recognize each individual's unique contributions, empower each individual--ending the psychological circle of hierarchy and competition. A new social contract not only with each other but also with the planet and the other creatures who share the earth.

"This alternative system, with its new spirit and aura, is still in the process of formation. Like a star, twinkling with light and motion, it is radiating out waves of energy to all around it, particles of light and illumination. This is the third step of the process that has been building for so long, and one that will continue far into the future. Hite, Shere, The Hite Report; Women and Love; A Cultural Revolution in Progress, Alfred A. Knopf, 1987, p. 765.


“Ockham’s emphasis on unequivocal terminology was even stronger than that of Duns Scotus. Only discrete entities, singulars, exist and they do not need the mediation of universals either for their existence or for their immediate, ‘intuitive’ cognition.” Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton University Press. 1986. p. 27.


“In sum, disembodied consciousness, a social position of domination, and the very production of idealist thought and philosophy strictly converge.” Brown, Wendy. Politics Out of History. Princeton University Press. 2001. P. 82.


“The aggression and paralysis entailed in conviction, its urgency and anxiety, remind us again that enlightenment is always bounded by encroaching dark, that in modernity truth has never really been fully convinced of itself.” Brown, Wendy. Politics Out of History. Princeton University Press. 2001. P. 93.


"The division of labour has endowed cognition with autonomy; autonomous cognition has engendered a nature within which no activity can be autonomous. That is the problem." Gellner, Ernest. Plough, Sword and Book: The Structure of Human History. University of Chicago Press. 1988. p. 136.



“...Putnam’s semantic externalism may be variously summarized. Negatively described, it says that the notion of meaning is not ambiguous between intension and extension; that individual psychological states do not determine extensions; that an individual in isolation cannot in principle grasp any arbitrary concept whatsoever; that an individual’s grasp of his or her concepts does not totally determine the extension of all the individual’s terms; that knowledge of meanings is not private property; and – perhaps most radically – that meanings are best not conceived as entity- or object-like at all. Positively described, the position has three central strands. First, our notion of meaning is object- or reality-involving in the sense that, at least in central cases, it is significantly determined by reference rather than vice versa; second, much concept-possession, and much grasp of meaning is essentially social in character; third, our individuation of meanings, concepts, beliefs, and what they are true of are and ought to be settled in multifarious ways, by a range of culture- and environment-involving factors, including the purposes and context(s) of a speaker’s assertion, her causal links with the objects, the use of stereotypes within a community to generate linguistic obligation, the linguistic division of labor, and ultimately judgments as to reasonableness and charity available to speakers in virtue of their ‘agent-centered’ self-conceptions as participants in a variety of practices.” Floyd, Juliet. 2005. “Putnam’s ‘The Meaning of ‘’Meaning’‘: Externalism in Historical Context.” Pps. 17-52. Ben-Menahem, Yemima, ed. Hilary Putnam. Cambridge University Press. P. 18.


“I shall say that entities may have intrinsic quiddity without intrinsic haecceity. Electrons possess such a quiddity – an electron is not a proton, or a logarithm or anything else – but there is no way intrinsic to electrons to single one out from all others; so it lacks haecceity.” Stachel, John. 2005. “Structural Realism and Contextual Individuality.” Pps. 203-219. Hilary Putnam. Edited by Yemima Ben-Menahem. Cambridge University Press. P. 204.


“Reading this chain [from field quanta to galaxies and super-clusters] from the top down, one is struck by the loss of individuality as we proceed downward. In Bernal’s biological examples, one organism is certainly distinct from another, even if both are of the same species; and this feature of distinctive individuality persists all the way down to the macromolecules containing an organism’s genetic code. But in our physical chain, while one star is certainly distinct from another, by the point at which we get down to the atoms – let alone the nuclei and electrons of which an atom is composed – this feature of distinctive individuality (haecceity) has been lost.”

“Conversely, if we read the physical chain from the bottom up, the striking thing is the emergence, first of indistinguishable units – field quanta – from the quantum fields; then the organization of these units into still indistinguishable complexes, but all possessing quiddity; and, only further up the chain, the emergence of complex units with a distinctive individuality.” Stachel, John. 2005. “Structural Realism and Contextual Individuality.” Pps. 203-219. Hilary Putnam. Edited by Yemima Ben-Menahem. Cambridge University Press. P. 209.


“Putnam’s current position can then be seen, in his own words, as the attempt ‘to recover our ordinary notion of representation (and of a world to be represented)’ without committing the ‘philosophical error of supposing that the term reality must refer to a single superthing.’” Mueller, Axel & Arthur Fine. 2005. “Realism, Beyond Miracles.” Pps. 83-124. From Ben-Menahem, Yemima, Editor. Hilary Putnam. Cambridge University Press. P. 84. Subquotes are from Putnam, Hilary. 1994. Words and Life. Harvard University Press and from 1999. The Threefold Chord: Mind, Body, and World. Columbia University Press respectively.


“What is required for ‘sharing’ a situation and considering it as shared is the elaboration of an overlap in respective partial extensions (of the respective correlated concept-signs) as applied to the environment (as parsed by each version into their relevant parameters). It does not rely on shared descriptions. Since the partial extensions are accessible, in ordinary inductive ways, to the users of either description, there is also no supposition of direct access. Finally, since in case the correlated descriptions disagree this can produce a revision of one of the descriptions by way of the other, Putnam’s view requires no incorrigibility. Thus access to a situation as shared is not through neutrality or direct intuition, but through common inductive practices involving communication and cooperation. To this effect, Putnam cites Dewey by saying that ‘the whole interaction is cognitive.’” Mueller, Axel & Arthur Fine. 2005. “Realism, Beyond Miracles.” Pps. 83-124. From Ben-Menahem, Yemima, Editor. Hilary Putnam. Cambridge University Press. P. 114.


“... our practices of making empirical claims and taking them to be objectively correct descriptions of a publicly accessible environment do not presuppose any such superthing (a uniquely structured realm of underlying reality). Each claim does presuppose a variously accessible, richly conceptualized and sometimes multiply organizable local environment for its evaluation, an environment that, for all these reasons, can be common to many differently predisposed human beings.” Mueller, Axel & Arthur Fine. 2005. “Realism, Beyond Miracles.” Pps. 83-124. From Ben-Menahem, Yemima, Editor. Hilary Putnam. Cambridge University Press. Pps. 117-8.


“He [Mill] acknowledge that people often make a distinction between a cause, which supposedly takes an active role in bringing the event about, and the conditions, which supposedly take a somehow humbler role in the whole process. But Mill argued that this distinction was spurious: ‘The real cause is the whole of these antecedents; and we have, philosophically speaking, no right to give the name of cause to one of them exclusively of the others.’ Rockwell, W. Teed. Neither Brain nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory. 2005. MIT Press. P. 51. Subquote is from J.S. Mill. 1851. A System of Logic, Rationcinative and Inductive. vol. 1. John W. Parker. P. 214.


“They [Ernst Nagel and Bertrand Russell] argued that causality was a commonsense concept that had to be radically revised, and sometimes even dispensed with, for us to be truly scientific. But the revisions they proposed left no room for the concept of intrinsic causal powers. For there to be such powers, there must be some sense in which the cause has power over its effect and is distinct from it. Supposedly, the cause resides in the object, and the effect is the impact that the cause has on the outside world. But if the cause and the effect are equally dependent on each other, we have a causal network, rather than a community of autonomous objects with intrinsic causal powers.” Rockwell, W. Teed. 2005. Neither Brain nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory. MIT Press. P. 62.


“Chairs are chairs, just as hearts are hearts, because there is a network of relationships in the real world that makes them that way. Certain entities are constituted by relationships that do not obviously refer to or presuppose the existence of human beings. But even such entities as the chemical elements presuppose certain relationships to laboratory procedures and measurements. It would make no sense to say that this substance is still sulfur, even though it does not behave the way sulfur would behave in the laboratory.” Rockwell, W. Teed. 2005. Neither Brain nor Ghost: A Nondualist Alternative to the Mind-Brain Identity Theory. MIT Press. P. 143.
 

“The vocabulary reveals our assumptions. Subjects are treated as radically separable from objects. Design, or form, originates either inside or outside the subject-agent. A strict distinction is made between active creation and passive imitation, between originating a design and serving as a conduit through which it passes.

“But we are not committed to these assumptions in order to consider nature and design. We can admit our interactive role in the definition of problems, in the choice and conceptualization of model, in the mode of investigation, in the construction of knowledge itself. I would even playfully suggest that we should increase the ambiguity of design by including imitation or study, or even perception, in the semantic complex that already embraces the creation of a design, the design created, and the design that guides our work.” Oyama, Susan. 2000. Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide. Duke University Press. P. 144.


“Two incidents prompted my own thinking about these issues. One was a comment by Mary Catherine Bateson about the much-used metaphor of the earth as mother. She offered some alternatives – the earth and ourselves as co-parents, for example, or the earth as child – and made the gentle suggestion that we needn’t insist on only one.” Oyama, Susan. 2000. Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide. Duke University Press. P. 145.


“Science’s ability to predict and control (the twin goals of contemporary science – whatever happened to the ability to understand?) often seems inadequate to the cascade of unintended consequences that frequently follows technological advance. These two, excessive power and inadequate power, are not contradictory. Both are aspects of our embeddedness in the world, an embeddedness denied by conventional accounts of objective scientific knowledge.” Oyama, Susan. 2000. Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide. Duke University Press. P. 151.


“Biology speaks of behavior in terms of the body, largely in the language of causes, while nonscientists tend to use the language of mind and reasons. It is psychologists’ uneasy task to mediate between these realms, between the biological discourses of evolution, function, mechanism, and physiology, and the political and ethical discourses of persons and acts. Psychology serves, in short, as a sort of disciplinary pineal gland.

Building on a distinction between necessary nature and contingent nurture, however, psychologists frequently oscillate between the two realms, patching together an unintegrated combination of the biological and the cultural, the physical and the mental, and, as we shall see, even the determined and the free. Insofar as it is committed to being scientific, which today often means being biological (and, increasingly, cognitivist, in the sense of thinking in terms of information-processing mechanisms modeled on computer technology), psychology affords less and less room for human subjects. Indeed, part of the mission of modern science is the replacement of mentalistic explanation with mechanistic accounts, of intentions with causes.” Oyama, Susan. 2000. Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide. Duke University Press. P. 167.


“To accentuate the irrelevance of the nature-nurture opposition to these processes, I have suggested a recasting of the terms. Nature then refers not to some static reality standing behind the changing characteristics of the phenotype, but to the changing organism itself. It is plural in a number of senses: Many ‘natures’ (organisms-in-transition) constitute a species, rather than some single species essence, and an organism has as many ‘natures’ as it has situational and developmental moments. Nurture becomes a cover term for all interactions that produce, maintain, and change natures. At the scale that interests most psychologists, it is primarily people’s exchanges with each other and their surroundings that are relevant.” Oyama, Susan. 2000. Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide. Duke University Press. P. 181.


“Rather than contrasting autonomously acting persons with passive objects, perhaps we can consider these to be two stances toward certain human interactions. One is oriented more toward considerations and consequences as seen from the agent’s point(s) of view and occurring in a social context in which that agent is able to communicate acceptable, or at least intelligible, reasons for acting. The other takes the point of view of some (third-person) observer. Moral agency does not require freedom from causes (what could this mean?) or even from biological causes. Rather, it requires, precisely, embeddedness in a causal world. Only there can one be subject to the joys, pains, desires, and perplexities that give rise to action; only there can one affect the world; only there can one be engaged by the exchanges that constitute human life; only there can one be moved to encourage some outcomes and prevent others; and only there can one be positioned among others who regard one as responsible. Such positions are not foregone, however. The earlier discussion of homosexuality shows how some people are attempting a strategic repositioning while others oppose it. In Shotter’s ‘political economy of selfhood,’ people enhance and limit each other’s opportunities for development.” Oyama, Susan. 2000. Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide. Duke University Press. P. 183. Subquote is from Shotter, John. Social Accountability and Selfhood. Blackwell. 1984.
 

“Delight in the Medieval Model is expressed by Dante or Jean de Meung rather than by Albertus and Aquinas. Partly, no doubt, this is because expression of whatever emotion, is not the business of philosophers. But I suspect this is not the whole story. It is not in the nature of things that great thinkers should take much interest in Models. They have more difficult and more controversial matters in hand. Every Model is a construct of answered questions. The expert is engaged either in raising new questions or in giving new answers to old ones. When he is doing the first, the old, agreed Model is of no interest to him; when he is doing the second, he is beginning an operation which will finally destroy the old Model altogether.

“One particular class of experts, the great spiritual writers, ignore the Model almost completely. We need to know something about the Model if we are to read Chaucer, but we can neglect it when we are reading St Bernard or The Scale of Perfection or the Imitation. This is partly because the spiritual books are entirely practical–like medical books. A man concerned about the state of his soul will not usually be much helped by thinking about the spheres or the structure of the atom.” Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 1964. Cambridge University Press. P. 18.


“Nature may be the oldest of things, but Natura is the youngest of deities. Really ancient mythology knows nothing of her. It seems to me impossible that such a figure could ever arise in a genuinely mythopoeic age; what we call ‘nature-worship’ has never heard of what we call ‘Nature.’ ‘Mother’ Nature is a conscious metaphor. ‘Mother’ Earth is something quite different. All earth, contrasted with all the sky, can be, indeed must be, intuited as a unity. The marriage relation between Father Sky (or Dyaus) and Mother Earth forces itself on the imagination. He is on top, she lies under him. He does things to her (shines and, more important, rains upon her, into her): out of her, in response, come forth the crops–just as calves come out of cows or babies out of wives. In a word, he begets, she bears. You can see it happening. This is genuine mythopoeia. But while the mind is working on that level, what, in heaven’s name, is Nature? Where is she? Who has seen her? What does she do?

“The pre-Socratic philosophers of Greece invented Nature.” Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 1964. Cambridge University Press. P. 37.


“One is what I call the Principle of the Triad. The clearest statement of it in Plato himself comes from the Timaeus: ‘it is impossible that two things only should be joined together without a third. There must be some bond in between both to bring them together’ (31b-c). The principle is not stated but assumed in the assertion of the Symposium that god does not meet man. They can encounter one another only indirectly; there must be some wire, some medium, some introducer, some bridge–a third thing of some sort–in between them. Daemons fill the gap. We shall find Plato himself, and the medievals, endlessly acting on their principle; supplying bridges, as it were, ‘third things’–between reason and appetite, soul and body, king and commons.” Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 1964. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 43-4.


“The Medieval Model is, if we may use the word, anthropo-peripheral. We are creatures of the Margin.” Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 1964. Cambridge University Press. P. 58.


[To understand the Medieval Model, a reader must:] “He will find his whole attitude to the universe inverted. In modern, that is, in evolutionary, thought Man stands at the top of a stair whose foot is lost in obscurity; in this, he stands at the bottom of a stair whose top is invisible with light. He will also understand that something besides individual genius (that, of course) helped to give Dante’s angels their unrivaled majesty. Milton, aiming at that, missed the target. Classicism had come in between. His angels have too much anatomy and too much armour, are too much like the gods of Homer and Virgil, and (for that very reason) far less like the gods of Paganism in its highest religious development. After Milton total degradation sets in and we finally reach the purely consolatory, hence waterishly feminine, angels of nineteenth-century art.” Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 1964. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 74-5.


“Whatever else a modern feels when he looks at the night sky, he certainly feels that he is looking out–like one looking out from the saloon entrance on to the dark Atlantic or from the lighted porch upon dark and lonely moors. But if you accepted the Medieval Model you would feel like one looking in. The Earth is ‘outside the city wall.’ When the sun is up he dazzles us and we cannot see inside. Darkness, our own darkness, draws the veil and we catch a glimpse of the high pomps within; the vast lighted concavity filled with music and life.” Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 1964. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 118-9.


“A glance at the Hereford mappemounde suggests that thirteenth-century Englishmen were almost totally ignorant of geography. But they cannot have been anything like so ignorant as the cartographer appears to be. For one thing the British Isles themselves are one of the most ludicrously erroneous parts of his map. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of those who looked at it when it was new, must at least have known that Scotland and England were not separate islands; the blue bonnets had come over the border too often to permit any such illusion. And secondly, medieval man was by no means a static animal. Kings, armies, prelates, diplomats, merchants, and wandering scholars were continually on the move. Thanks to the popularity of pilgrimages even women, and women of the middle class, went far afield; witness the Wife of Bath and Margery Kempe. A practical knowledge of geography must have been pretty widely diffused. But it did not, I suspect, exist in the form of maps or even of map-like visual images. It would be an affair of winds to be waited for, landmarks to be picked up, capes to be doubled, this or that road to be taken at a fork. I doubt whether the maker of the mappemounde would have been at all disquieted to learn that many an illiterate sea-captain knew enough to refute his map in a dozen places. I doubt whether the sea-captain would have attempted to use his superior knowledge for any such purpose. A map of the whole hemisphere on so small a scale could never have been intended to have any practical use. The cartographer wished to make a rich jewel embodying the noble art of cosmography, with the Earthly Paradise marked as an island at the extreme Easter edge (the East is at the top in this as in other medieval maps) and Jerusalem appropriately in the center. Sailors themselves may have looked at it with admiration and delight. They were not going to steer by it.” Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 1964. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 143-4.


“We have noticed that the term angels sometimes covers all the aetherial beings and is sometimes resticted to the lowest of their nine species. In the same way the word reason sometimes means Rational Soul, and sometimes means the lower of the two faculties which Rational Sould exercises. These are Intellectus and Ratio.

Intellectus is the higher, so that if we call it ‘understanding’, the Coleridgean distinction which puts ‘reason’ above ‘understanding’ inverts the traditional order. Boethius, it will be remembered, distinguishes intelligentia from ratio; the former being enjoyed in its perfection by angels. Intellectus is that in man which approximates most nearly to angelic intelligentia; it is in fact obumbrata intelligentia, clouded intelligence, or a shadow of intelligence. Its relation to reason is thus described by Aquinas: ‘intellect (intelligere) is the simple (i.e. indivisible, uncompounded) grasp of an intelligible truth, whereas reasoning (ratiocinari) is the progression towards an intelligible truth by going from one understood (intellecto) point to another. The difference between them is thus like the difference between rest and motion or between possession and acquisition’ (Ia, LXXIX, art. 8). We are enjoying intellectus when we ‘just see’ a self-evident truth; we are exercising ratio when we proceed step by step to prove a truth which is not self-evident. A cognitive life in which all truth can be simply ‘seen’ would be the life in which all truth can be simply ‘seen’ would be the life of an intelligentia, an angel. A life of unmitigated ratio where nothing was simply ‘seen’ and all had to be proved, would presumably be impossible; for nothing can be proved if nothing is self-evident. Man’s mental life is spent in laboriously connecting those frequent, but momentary, flashes of intelligentia which constitute intellectus.” Lewis, C.S. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. 1964. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 156-7.


"The Greek word theoria meant 'contemplation' and is the term used in Aristotle's psychology to designate the moment of fully conscious participation, in which the soul's potential knowledge (its ordinary state) becomes actual, so that man can at last claim to be 'awake'. This is no guide to its present, or even recent meaning, but it does emphasize the difference between a proposition, the truth or untruth of which is irrelevant. The geometrical paths and movements devised for the planets were, in the minds of those who invented them, hypotheses in the latter sense. They were arrangements--devices--for saving the appearances; and the Greek and medieval astronomers were not at all disturbed by the fact that the same appearances could be saved by two or more quite different hypotheses, such as an eccentric or an epicycle or, particularly in the case of Venus and Mercury, by supposed revolution round the earth or supposed revolution round the sun. All that mattered was, which was the simplest and the most convenient for practical purposes; for neither of them had any essential part in truth or knowledge. Barfield, Owen. Saving the Appearances: A Study of Idolatry, Harcourt Brace, p. 49.


"It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. ...there can be any amount of energy, at least as presently understood. So we do not understand this energy as counting something at the moment, but just as a mathematical quantity, which is an abstract and rather peculiar circumstance." Feynman, Richard. The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1975, pp. 4-2 - 4-7.


"...one can respond to this human/nature dualism by attempting to draw the human into the realm of nature, thus effectively eliminating subjectivity altogether; or one can attempt to pull individual species of animals into the realm of the human, and populate our landscape with the pets and puppets that these pseudo-humans inevitably become. But to actually encounter the other beings as other, as living subjects of significance, requires some loosening of the conceptual bindings of nature so that subjectivity can flow back in, like water to a scorched garden. This is resisted in the everyday defense of dualism and by the strictures of empirical investigation which dictate that we treat nature 'as an invading army treats an occupied country, mixing as little as possible with the inhabitants.'

"Yet here is the paradox: although we treat nature as the antithesis of order, we also attribute to it a secret order. That is, by claiming that there is a reasonable, regular structure behind all the appearances of nature, an order discernible only by the human mind, we also claim it for our own system; we have ordered it by claiming privileged access to the 'system' within. By 'systemizing' nature, we make it ours, a part of the ordered world, a part of culture. So, curiously, we both accept it--the hidden part at least--as an ordered realm, while simultaneously rejecting the 'dirty' manifestations of that hidden order that are actually encountered in the chaotic domain that strives against the backyard fence. Given this, perhaps the only action a concerned person could take in support of the nonhuman world is to demonstrate a tolerance of the 'divine chaos'--including weeds and dirt. To do so would not only expand the habitat of innumerable creatures, but would also confront the system that sustains this organic apartheid."

"Wildness, however, lies beyond the objects in question, a quality which directly confronts and confounds our designs. At root, it is wildness that is at issue: not wilderness, not polar bears, not whooping cranes or Bengal tigers, but that which they as individuals exemplify. These creatures are 'made of' wildness, one might say, before they are made of tissue or protein. But perhaps even wildness is an inadequate term, for that essential core of otherness is inevitably nameless, and as such cannot be subsumed within our abstractions or made part of the domain of human willing."

When Richard Jefferies concluded, at the end of a life of trying to understand the creatures he so greatly admired, that he could not 'know' nature, he liberated himself from a lifelong deceit. In doing so, he also freed nature, as if he were releasing a songbird. He gave up the pretense to knowledge that delimits what a creature may be, and which protects us thereafter from the uncertainties of strangeness: we hide from wildness by making it 'natural.' Inevitably, what we know is largely our own symbolic representations, which will behave as they were designed to. But of that which they purport to represent, they tell a partial story at best." Evernden, Neil. The Social Creation of Nature. John Hopkins University Press. 1992. pp. 108-9, 119, 121, 129.


"If the early modern natural philosopher or Renaissance physician conducted an exegesis of the text of nature written in the language of geometry or of cosmic correspondences, the postmodern scientist still reads for a living, but has as a text the coded systems of recognition - prone to the pathologies of mis-recognition - embodied in objects like computer networks and immune systems. The extraordinary close tie of language and technology could hardly be overstressed in postmodernism. The 'construct' is at the centre of attention; making, reading, writing, and meaning seem to be very close to the same thing. This near-identity between technology, body, and semiosis suggests a particular edge to the mutually constitutive relations of political economy, symbol, and science that 'inform' contemporary research trends in medical anthropology.

Bodies, then, are not born; they are made. Bodies have been as thoroughly denaturalized as sign, context, and time. Late twentieth-century bodies do not grow from internal harmonic principles theorized within Romanticism. Neither are they discovered in the domains of realism and modernism. One is not born a woman, Simone de Beauvoir correctly insisted. It took the political-epistemological terrain of postmodernism to be able to insist on a co-text to de Beauvoir's: one is not born an organism. Organisms are made; they are constructs of a world-changing kind. The constructions of an organisms's boundaries, the job of the discourses of immunology, are particularly potent mediators of the experiences of sickness and death for industrial and post-industrial people." Haraway, Donna J. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge. 1991, Pp. 207-8.


"The movement toward a 'postmechanistic' paradigm, a paradigm suitable for twenty-first-century science, is taking place across a broad front: in cosmology, in the chemistry of self-organizing systems, in the new physics of chaos, in quantum mechanics and particle physics, in the information sciences and (more reluctantly) at the interface of biology with physics. In all these areas scientists have found it fruitful, or even essential, to regard the portion of the Universe they are studying in entirely new terms, terms that bear little relation to the old ideas of materialism and the cosmic machine. This monumental paradigm shift is bringing with it a new perspective on human beings and their role in the great drama of nature." Davies, Paul & J. Gribbin. The Matter Myth. Simon & Schuster, 1991, p. 8,


"Muslim fundamentalism is an enormously simple, powerful, earthy, sometimes cruel, absorbing, socially fortifying movement, which gives a sense of direction and orientation to millions of men and women, many of whom live lives of bitter poverty and are subject to harsh oppression. It enables them to adjust to a new anonymous mass society by identifying with the old, long-established High Culture of their own faith, and explaining their own deprivation and humiliation as a punishment for having strayed from the true path, rather than a consequence of never having found it; a disruption and disorientation is thus turned into a social and moral ascension, an attainment of identity and dignity.

"Postmodernism, by contrast, is a tortuous, somewhat affected fad, practiced by at most some academics living fairly sheltered lives; large parts of it are intelligible only and at most (and often with difficulty) to those who are fully masters of the nuances of three or four abstruse academic disciplines, and much of it is not intelligible to anyone at all. But it happens to be the currently fashionable form of relativism, and relativism as such is an important intellectual option, and one which will continue to haunt us, even if the form it assumes will vary - probably with great speed - with the rapid turn-over of academic modes. Relativism was approached through its current avatar in the interests of a certain concreteness.

"And yet, though so very incomparable, the two specimens chosen do provide a neat contrast in the logic of their ideas. First, a simple and uncompromising monotheism, maintaining that God has made His Will easily accessible and known to the world and that His Will is to be implemented, and to constitute the only possible base of a uniquely just and legitimate social order. An absolute Authority, severely external to this world and its various cultures, dictates Its Will to Its Creation: and that transcendent Will derives its legitimacy precisely from its unsullied, extraneous and absolute origin. The firmness, simplicity and intelligibility of the doctrine gives it dignity. Millions find it satisfying to live under its rules: that must signify something.

"Next, there is a movement which denies the very possibility of extraneous validity and authority. Admittedly, it is specially insistent in this denial, when the contrary affirmation of such external validation comes from fellow-members, non-relativists within their own society. Relativist pudeur and ex-colonial guilt expiation on the other hand inhibit stressing the point to members of other cultures. The absolutism of others receives favoured treatment, and a warm sympathy which is very close to endorsement.

"Knowledge or morality outside culture is, it claims, a chimera: each culture must roll its own knowledge and morality. Meanings are incommensurate, meanings are culturally constructed, and so all cultures are equal. Cross-cultural or cross-semantic investigation is only possible if the dignity and equality of the 'other' culture is respected. If it were characterized and dissected with lucidity and confidence, this would constitute at the very least an implied devaluation of it. So it must be studied with tremulous obscurity, with confused and contradictory approaches. So obscurity is turned into a sign, not merely of putative depth, but of intercultural respect and abstention from domination....

"The relativists-hermeneutists are really very eager to display their universal, ecumenical tolerance and comprehension of alien cultures. The more alien, the more shocking and disturbing to the philistines, to those whom they deem to be the provincialists of their own society, the better. Very, very much the better, for the more shocking the other, the more does this comprehension highlight the superiority of the enlightened hermeneutist within his own society. The harder the comprehension, the more repellent the object destined for hermeneutic blessing, the greater the achievement, the illumination and the insight of the interpretive postmodernist. However, our hermeneutist has to pussy-foot a bit around the fact that those whom he would so eagerly tolerate and understand are not always quite so tolerant themselves. The relativist endorses the absolutism of others, and so his relativism entails an absolutism which also contradicts it....

"The fundamentalists, on the other hand, are not very much concerned with our relativists. I doubt whether they give them a great deal of thought. What they have noticed is that the society which harbours hermeneutists, as it harbours so much else (it can afford it), is pervaded by pluralism, doubt, half-heartedness and an inability to take its own erstwhile faith literally and practice it to the full. They are not quite clear whether they despise it for its tolerance, or rebuke it for not being tolerant enough, notably of their own intransigence:....

"There is a position which shares something with each of the two previous protagonists, but it is also endowed with features profoundly distinguishing it from them. What is it?

"It is a position which, like that of the religious fundamentalists, is firmly committed to the denial of relativism. It is committed to the view that there is external, objective, culture-transcending knowledge: there is indeed 'knowledge beyond culture'. All knowledge must indeed be articulated in some idiom, but there are idioms capable of formulating questions in a way such that answers are no longer dictated by the internal characteristics of the idiom or the culture carrying it but, on the contrary, by an independent reality. The ability of cognition to reach beyond the bounds of any one cultural cocoon, and attain forms of knowledge valid for all - and, incidentally, an understanding of nature leading to an exceedingly powerful technology - constitutes the central fact about our shared social conditions.

"This position, on the other hand, also does have something in common with our relativists: it does not believe in the availability of a substantive, final, world-transcending Revelation. It does believe in the existence of knowledge which transcends culture, and it is also committed to the mundane origin of knowledge and its fallible status; but it firmly repudiates the very possibility of Revelation. It does not allow any cultures to validate a part of itself with final authority, to decree some substantive affirmation to be privileged and exempt from scrutiny....

"Enlightenment Rationalist Fundamentalism, of which I am a humble adherent, repudiates any substantive revelations. It repudiates that substantive absolutization so characteristic of some post-Axial world religions which attribute an extra-mundane and trans-cultural standing and authority to given substantive affirmations and values; and, to this extent, at any rate, it resembles our relativists....

"The precise details of scientific method, of the cognitive procedure discovered in the course of the Scientific Revolution and codified by the Enlightenment, continue to be contentious. But in rough outline, it is possible to specify them: there are no privileged or a priori substantive truths. (This, at one fell swoop, eliminates the sacred from the world.) All facts and all observers are equal. There are no privileged Sources or Affirmations, and all of them can be queried. In inquiry, all facts and all features are separable: it is always proper to inquire whether combinations could not be other than what had previously been supposed....

"The mild rationalist fundamentalism which is being commended does not attempt, as the Enlightenment did, to offer a rival counter-model to its religious predecessor. It is fundamentalist only in connection with the form of knowledge, and perhaps in the form of morality, insisting on symmetry of treatment for all. Otherwise, on all points of detail and content, it compromises. This, if you like, is its concession to nihilism, its similarity to relativism. Where no good reasons are available one can go along with the contingencies of local development, the accidents of local balance of power and taste. Serious knowledge is not subject to relativism, but the trappings of our cultural life are." Gellner, Ernest. Postmodernism, Reason and Religion. Routledge, 1992, pp. 72-95.
 

“The notorious Liu Ling (ca. 221-300) used to go naked in his house. To a shocked Confucian visitor he retorted, ‘The world is my house, and these walls are my garments. What, then, are you doing standing in my pants?’” Collins, Randall. The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. 1998. Harvard University Press. P. 171.


“According to Leibniz, relation gave rise to substance, not, as Newton had it, the other way around. Our universe had been selected from an infinity of possible universes, explained Leibniz, so that a minimum of laws would lead to a maximum diversity of results. God was the supreme intelligence at both extremes of the scale. As Olaf Stapledon would later put it, ‘God, who created all things in the beginning, is himself created by all things in the end.’” Dyson, George. Darwin among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence. 1997. Perseus Books. Pp. 35-6.


“The foundational quarrel of intellectual perspectives in Western culture is the one between the rhetoricians and the philosophers.” Lanham, Richard. The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. 2006. University of Chicago Press. P. 27.


“In the hominization of the primates, there is a logarithmic progression in the rates of evolutionary changes. Hominization, from primate to hominin, takes place over millions of years – from Proconsul to Archaic Homo sapiens. Symbolization takes place over hundreds of thousands of years, from roughly 200,000 BCE to 20,000 BCE. Agriculturalization occurs over thousands of years, from 10,000 BCE to 3500 BCE. Civilization takes place also over thousands of years from 3500 BCE to the fifteenth century CE. Industrialization takes place over centuries from the fifteenth to the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but Planetization takes place over decades, sped up by electronics and genetic engineering – or from natural selection to cultural intrusion.” Thompson, William I. “Natural Drift and the Evolution of Culture.” Journal of Consciousness Studies. 14, No. 11, 2007. Pp. 96-116. P. 100.


“Only one real difference distinguishes a scientific theory from a religious doctrine, but it is an important one. In science, we are supposed to search deliberately for data that undermines our theories. In this way we test our theories and eliminate those that do not fit the facts. In religion, we attempt, almost as deliberately, to ignore or reject any data that contradicts the doctrine.” Burling, Robbins. The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved. 2005. Oxford University Press. P. 229.


“... at its core, to think of oneself as modern is to define one’s being in terms of time. This is remarkable. In previous ages and other places, people have defined themselves in terms of their land or place, their race or ethnic group, their traditions or their gods, but not explicitly in terms of time. Of course, any self-understanding assumes some notion of time, but in all other cases the temporal moment has remained implicit. Ancient peoples located themselves in terms of a seminal event, the creation of the world, an exodus from bondage, a memorable victory, or the first Olympiad, to take only a few examples, but locating oneself temporally in any of these ways is different than defining oneself in terms of time. To be modern means to be ‘new,’ to be an unprecedented event in the flow of time, a first beginning, something different than anything that has come before, a novel way of being in the world, ultimately not even a form of being but a form of becoming. To understand oneself as new is also to understand onself as self-originating, as free and creative in a radical sense, not merely as determined by a tradition or governed by fate or providence. To be modern is to be self-liberating and self-making, and thus not merely to be in a history or tradition but to make history. To be modern consequently means not merely to define one’s being in terms of time but also to define time in terms of one’s being, to understand time as the product of human freedom in interaction with the natural world. Being modern at its core is thus something titanic, something Promethean.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 2.


“Petrarch’s thought is a response to the crisis of late medieval civilization. He finds an answer to this crisis in a vision of man as a finite individual capable of self-mastery and self-perfection. However, for Petrarch such self-mastery is only possible outside of political life. At its foundations, the modern notion of the individual and thus the modern age is intensely private and apolitical.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 46-7.


“According to Petrarch, only virtue can make us victorious in our never-ending war with fortune. Fortune batters us continually with its two weapons, prosperity and adversity, and the wounds these weapons inflict are the passions or affects. Struck by the passions, we cease to be masters of ourselves and are pulled this way and that.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 51.


“Petrarch was convinced by his encounter with scholasticism that morality could not rest merely on true knowledge. Human beings had to will moral action. Humans thus had to have a moral purpose and want to attain it. Thinking in this sense is the pursuit of the good. The moral problem that thought confronts in a world that is characterized by strife rather than order, however, is that there are no natural ends for humans to pursue.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 52.


“As a result of his quarrel with Luther, Erasmus fell into a pessimism from which he never entirely recovered. His pessimism was justified. Humanism would continue to exercise an important influence on intellectuals and on some members of the upper classes, but as an agent of social change it had been surpassed by the religious passions unleashed first by the Reformation and then a few years later by the Counter-reformation. These passions reached a much broader population than humanism and moved them in more immediate and more violent ways. The humanist project in which Erasmus had placed such great hopes would be revived, but only in a world that had been radically transformed by the Wars of Religion, the exploration and colonization of the New World, the Copernican Revolution, and the development of a new mathematical natural science. The intervening period was a time of unparallel violence and religious fanaticism. Humanism would survive in a variety of forms and places, but it was generally driven from the public square into private towers and Epicurean gardens, out of ducal courts into secret societies and the privacy of individual households.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 167-8.


“Descartes saw man as res extensa but also as res cogitans. He did not thereby mean to suggest that human bodies were not subject to natural causes but only that they were also moved by a free human will. Hobbes, by contrast, argues that humans are governed by the same mechanical causality that governs all beings. He rejects the idea that humans have a supernatural component as a ploy of priests to gain power over others.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 234.


“As we discussed above, Hobbes denies that we have a free will. However, he does not therefore subscribe to the Lutheran doctrine that man is nothing other than an ass ridden by God or the devil. There is no freedom God bestows on us with an infusion of his will. Hobbes believes such pious hopes merely subordinate us to the passions of priests and religious fanatics. Humans are bodies driven by passions, and to be free for Hobbes is to pursue the objects of our passions without external constraints. This is practical but not metaphysical freedom. Human beings are the motions that are imparted to them. Like all other beings they are manifestations of divine will that foreknows and forewills every event. While we are thus predestined to be the kinds of beings we are and to have the passions that we have, this does not affect our freedom because it is precisely these passions that define our identity.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 236.


“For Hobbes reason means something different than what it did for his predecessors. It is not a separate power that can discern the appropriate ends of life and guide us in the proper direction. It is thus not teleological but instrumental, the spy and scout of the passions. It thus helps us to maximize the satisfaction of our desires but not to train, direct, or control them. To live by right reason, for Hobbes, is thus not an end but a means.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 236.


“Kant first considered the problem of the antinomies in his dissertation, [but] he did not appreciate their full significance until after reading Hume. In the period before he began writing the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), he came to understand their deeper significance. He explained this in a letter to Garve on September 26, 1798, asserting that it was ‘not the investigation of the existence of God, of immortality, etc. but the antinomy of pure reason ... from which I began.” ‘The world has a beginning –: it has no beginning, etc., to the fourth[?] There is freedom in human being,–against there is no freedom and everything is natural necessity’; it was this that first woke me from my dogmatic slumber and drove me to the critique of reason itself to dissolve the scandal of the contradiction of reason with itself.’ The central reference here is to the Third Antinomy (the seventy-four year old Kant misspeaks himself in his reference to the Fourth Antinomy). This antinomy purports to show that it is impossible to give a meaningful causal explanation of the whole without the assumption of a first cause through freedom, and yet that the very possibility of such freedom undermines the necessity of any causal explanation. In other words, modern natural science, which analyzes all motion in terms of efficient causes, is unintelligible without a freely acting first cause such as God or man, but such causality through freedom, which is essential to morality, is incompatible with natural necessity. Freedom is thus both necessary to causality and incompatible with it. Kant recognized that if this conclusion were correct, the modern project was self-contradictory and that modern reason could give man neither the mastery of nature nor the freedom that he so desired.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 259.


“As we have seen, modernity in the broadest sense was a series of attempts to answer the fundamental questions that arose out of the nominalist revolution. These questions were both profound and comprehensive, putting into doubt not merely the knowledge of God, man, and nature, but reason and being as well. The humanist movement and the Reformation were comprehensive attempts to answer these questions. They both accepted the nominalist ontology of radical individualism, but they disagreed ontically about which of the traditional realms of being was foundational. The humanists began their account with man and interpreted the other realms of being anthropomorphically. The Reformers, by contrast, believed that God was primary and interpreted man and nature theologically. As we have seen, however, neither the humanists nor the Reformers were willing to eliminate either God or man. The humanists did not suggest that God did not exist, and the Reformers did not deny the independence of human beings. However, such qualifications, especially in times of persecution, are often merely camouflage for deeper claims. To the extent that their differences were foundational, each position denied the ground of the other, as we saw in our examination of the debate between Erasmus and Luther. If one begins as Erasmus does with man and asserts even a minimal efficacy for human freedom, divine omnipotence is compromised and the reality of the Christian God is called in question. Morality in this way renders piety superfluous. If one begins with a doctrine of divine freedom and omnipotence manifested as divine grace, no human freedom is possible. Religion crushes morality and transforms human beings into mere marionettes, The Luther/Erasmus debate thus actually ends in the same unsatisfying juxtaposition of arguments as the later Kantian antinomy. If we were to schematize that debate in a logical form corresponding to the antinomy, the thesis position (represented by Erasmus) would be that there is causality through human freedom in addition to the causality through divine will, and the antithesis position (represented by Luther) that there is no causality through human freedom but only through divine will. There is no solution to this problem on either a humanistic or a theological basis that can sustain both human freedom and divine sovereignty. As we saw above, the gulf that is opened up by this contradiction was unbridgeable. It was also unavoidable since each claim is parasitic on the other. This antinomy, which played an important role in propelling Europe into the Wars of Religion, was thus in a certain sense inevitable.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 261-2.


“As prototypical modern thinkers, both Descartes and Hobbes agree that in our analysis of the world we must grant ontic priority to nature. Insofar as they represent opposing poles within modernity, they disagree about the way in which we should interpret the human and the divine within this naturalistic horizon. As we have seen, Descartes sees human beings as corporeal (res extensa) and thus as comparable to all other natural beings, but he also sees humans as incorporeal (res cogitans) and thus as comparable to God. Hobbes, by contrast, argues that human beings are no different than the rest of nature, mere bodies in motion that can no more act like God than create something out of nothing. Descartes is thus able to retain a space for human freedom, while Hobbes concludes that everything happens as the result of necessity.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 262-3.


“For Descartes, the human body is a mechanical thing, but the human self or soul is independent of this realm and its laws, a res cogitans, a thinking thing. For Hobbes, man like all other created beings is matter in motion and nothing besides.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. P. 266.


“If we are essentially incorporeal, then true knowing cannot be derived from the images formed as a result of our interactions with bodies. For Descartes, the realm of pure thought is thus independent of body and of the corporeal imagination. In the fourth objection, Hobbes denies the possibility of such non-imagistic thinking. Reasoning, he argues, is a connecting of names, and names are merely the signs of images. We have no immediate or even mediate knowledge of what is. Words are merely tools that we use to obtain power over and manipulate things. Therefore, as Hobbes tells us elsewhere, all thinking is hypothetical and is measured not by its truth or correspondence to what ultimately is, but by its effectiveness. For Descartes by contrast, we reason not about words but about the objects that they signify, and mathesis universalis aims not merely at probably knowledge that gives us an effective mastery of nature at this time and place but at apodictic knowledge that can guarantee our mastery everywhere and always.

“If Hobbes is correct about the nature of reasoning, then as Descartes well knows, we can never be certain that our ideas correspond to the things themselves. For Descartes, the guarantee of such a correspondence is provided by God, but only if God is not a deceiver. Mathesis universalis thus depends on the demonstration of this fact, but such a demonstration itself depends on our being able to know God, on having an idea of God in us. Hobbes considers this impossible because God is infinite, and all of our ideas are drawn from the imagination of finite bodies.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 266-7.


“Viewed from this perspective, the process of secularization or disenchantment that has come to be seen as identical with modernity was in fact something different than it seemed, not the crushing victory of reason over infamy, to use Voltaire’s famous term, not the long drawn out death of God that Nietzsche proclaimed, and not the evermore distant withdrawal of the deus absconditus Heidegger points to, but the gradual transference of divine attributes to human beings (an infinite human will), the natural world (universal mechanical causality), social forces (the general will, the hidden hand), and history (the idea of progress, dialectical development, the cunning of reason).” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 272-3.


“The German Romantics, early German idealists, and their nineteenth-century followers were convinced that the Enlightenment had misconstrued nature as a mechanical rather than as an organic or spiritual process. They believed that if nature were grasped in a pantheistic fashion as the product of a world-spirit (Goethe), a world-soul (Emerson), and absolute I (Fichte), or a primordial will (Schelling, Schopenhauer), it would be compatible with human freedom, since both natural motion and human action would spring from a common source. The real barrier to human freedom in their view lay not in nature but in the institutions and practices that had been created and propagated by the Enlightenment with its dedication to a mechanistic understanding of nature, universal rights, bureaucratic politics, the development of commerce, and bourgeois morality. True human freedom for these thinkers thus could only be attained by expressing one’s will (including one’s natural passions and desires) regardless of the consequences for social, political, or moral order. The truly free ‘natural’ man thus asserts his will against all bounds and consequently appears to enlightened society to be a moral monster (Tieck’s William Lovell, Byron’s Manfred, Goethe’s Faust) or a criminal (Stendhal’s Julian Sorel, Balzac’s Vautrin, Shelley’s Prometheus). A life led in harmony with nature is a life in contradiction to convention. To live in this way it is thus necessary to liberate oneself from Enlightenment rationalism and reconceptualize nature as the motion of spirit rather than the motion of matter. Hence in place of reason these thinkers put passion or will; in place of mathematics, art; in place of universal rights, national mores; and in place of the bureaucratic state, the charismatic leader. Romantic nationalism and later Fascism and Nazism were among the consequences of this development.

“In contrast to these thinkers, natural scientists such as Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell sought to give a comprehensive account that saw the motion of matter as the result of the interplay of natural forces. This led to the development of the chemical and physical sciences, but also, and more importantly, to a new biological science that tied the development of man to the chemical and physical development of the universe as a whole. In the first instance this took the form of an evolutionary theory that saw man as a moment in the development of life as such, but this was followed in the twentieth century by a molecular biology that saw life itself as merely a subset of material motion. In this way the distinctiveness of humans and of life itself was effaced, as the difference between the animate and inanimate was eliminated.” Gillespie, Michael Allen. The Theological Origins of Modernity. 2008. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 278-9.


“Thus we cannot characterize political ecology by way of a crisis of nature, but by way of a crisis of objectivity. The risk-free objects, the smooth objects to which we had been accustomed up to now, are giving way to risky attachments, tangled objects.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 22.


“Far from globalizing all that is at stake under the auspices of nature, the practice of political ecology can be recognized precisely by the ignorance it turns out to manifest about the respective importance of the actors. Political ecology does not shift attention from the human pole to the pole of nature; it shifts from certainty about the production of risk-free objects to uncertainty about the relations whose unintended consequences threaten to disrupt all orderings, all plans, all impacts. What it calls back into question with such remarkable effectiveness is precisely the possibility of collecting the hierarchy of actors and values, according to an order fixed once and for all. An infinitesimal cause can have vast effects; an insignificant actor becomes central; an immense cataclysm disappears as if by magic; a miracle product turns out to have nefarious consequences; a monstrous being is tamed without difficulty. With political ecology, one is always caught off-guard, struck sometimes by the robustness of systems, sometimes by their fragility.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 25.


“Now, it is precisely in its failures, when it deploys matters of concern with unanticipated forms that make the use of any notion of nature radically impossible, that political ecology is finally doing its own job, finally innovating politically, finally bringing us out of modernism, finally preventing the proliferation of smooth, risk-free matters of fact, with their improbable cortege of incontestable knowledge, invisible scientists, predictable impacts, calculated risks, and unanticipated consequences.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 27.


“As soon as we add to dinosaurs their paleontologists, to particles their accelerators, to ecosystems their monitoring instruments, to energy systems their standards and the hypothesis on the basis of which calculations are made, to the ozone holes their meteorologists and their chemists, we have already ceased entirely to speak of nature; instead, we are speaking of what is produced, constructed, decided, defined, in a learned City whose ecology is almost as complex as that of the world it is coming to know. By proceeding in this way, we add the history of the sciences, shorter but even more eventful, to the infinitely long history of the planet, the solar system, and the evolution of life. The billions of years since the Big Bang date from the 1950s; the pre-Cambrian era dates from the mid-nineteenth century; as for the particles that make up the universe, they were all born in the twentieth century. Instead of finding ourselves facing a nature without history and society with a history, we find ourselves thus already facing a joint history of the sciences and nature. Each time one risks falling into fascination with nature, one has only, in order to sober up, to add the network of the scientific discipline that allows us to know nature.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 35.


“This paradox has been noted often: the concern for the environment begins at the moment when there is no more environment, no zone of reality in which we could casually rid ourselves of the consequences of human political, industrial, and economic life. This historical importance of ecological crises stems not from a new concern with nature but, on the contrary, from the impossibility of continuing to imagine politics on one side and, on the other, a nature that would serve politics simultaneously as a standard, a foil, a reserve, a resource, and public dumping ground.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 58.


“Let us remember that non-humans are not in themselves objects, and still less are they matters of fact. They first appear as matters of concern, as new entities that provoke perplexity and thus speech in those who gather around them, discuss them, and argue over them.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 66.


“We are thus going to associate the notion of external reality with surprises and events, rather than with the simple ‘being-there’ of the warrior tradition, the stubborn presence of matters of fact.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 79.


“How should we designate the associations of humans and non-humans of this collective in the process of coming together? The term I have been using up to now is very awkward, for no one imagines addressing a black hole, an elephant, an equation, or a jet engine, with the resounding label ‘citizen’! We need a new term that has no whiff of the Old Regime about it, one that allows us to recapitulate in a single expression the speech impedimenta, the uncertainty about actions, and also the variable degrees of reality that define civil life from now on. I am offering the term propositions: I am going to say that a river, a troop of elephants, a climate, El Niño, a mayor, a town, a park, have to be taken as propositions to the collective. The word has the advantage of being able to pull together the meanings of the four preceding sections. ‘I have a proposition for you’ indicates uncertainty and not arrogance; it is the peace offering that puts an end to war; it belongs to the realm of language now shared by humans and nonhumans alike; it indicates wonderfully that what is in question is a new and unforeseen association, one that is going to become more complicated and more extended;” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 83.


“It is not because they know what must be done and not done that the moralists can contribute to the civic virtues, then, but only because they know that everything that will be done well will necessarily be done badly, and as a result will have to be done over again right away. ‘No one knows what an environment can do,’ ‘no one knows what associations define humanity,’ ‘no one can assume the right to classify ends and means once and for all, the right to lay down the boundary between necessity and freedom without discussion’–such are the concerns that the moralists are going to introduce into all the procedures of the collective.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 156.


“Let us not forget the fairy Carabosse! On the pile of gifts offered by her sisters, she put down a little casket marked Calculemus! But she did not specify who was supposed to calculate. It was thought that the best of all possible worlds was calculable, provided that the labor of politics could be short-circuited. This was enough to spoil all the other virtues, given how much heroism would have been needed to resist the attractions of that facile approach. Now, neither God nor men nor nature forms at the outset the sovereign capable of carrying out this calculation. The requisite ‘we’ has to be produced out of whole cloth. No fairy has told us how. It is up to us to find out.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 164.


“Modernism thought itself highly virtuous because it thought it did not have to eliminate excluded parties from the collective through violence. It was content to note, sanctimoniously, their radical nonexistence in the form of fictions, beliefs, irrationalities, nonsense, lies, ideologies, or myths. In this we can clearly see the extent of its perversion: it thought itself more moral because it did not believe it had any enemies, while it was so thoroughly scornful of those it excluded that it considered them lacking in any real existence at all! The accusation of irrationality made it possible to reject beings, to consign them to limbo, without due process, and to believe this arbitrariness more just than the meticulous procedure of the State of law ... A hefty dose of audacity is required to prefer this exclusion based on the nature of things–on the things of nature–over an explicit, progressive, deliberative process of excluding certain entities for the time being as incompatible with the common world.

“The second manner, that of the lower house, has the immense advantage of being civil: if it creates enemies for itself, it does not claim to humiliate them by withdrawing existence, in addition to their presence in the collective, from them. It simply tells them this: ‘In the scenarios attempted up to now, there is no room for you in the common world. Go away: you have become our enemies.’ But it does not say to them, draped in its cloak of high morality: ‘You do not exist; you have lost forever any right to ontology; you will never again be counted in the construction of a cosmos’–which modernism, imbued to the core with virtue, repeated to them over and over without the slightest scruple. By excluding, the lower house trembles at the possibility of committing an injustice, for it knows that the enemies that threaten to put it in danger one day can become its allies the next.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. Pp. 178-9.


“I have sought to explore a different solution. Instead of eliminating the requirements that bear on the constitution of the facts by sending them back to the private sphere, why not, on the contrary, lengthen the list of these requirements? The seventeenth-century solution, the simultaneous invention of indisputable matters of fact and of endless discussion, ultimately did not offer sufficient guarantees for the construction of the public order, the cosmos. The two most important functions were lost: the capacity to debate the common world, and the capacity to reach agreement by closing the discussion–the power to take into account along with the power to put in order....

“If we need less Science, we need to count much more on the sciences; if we need fewer indisputable facts, we need much more collective experimentation on what is essential and what is accessory. Here, too, I am asking for just a tiny concession: that the question of democracy be extended to nonhumans. But is this not at bottom what the scientists have always most passionately wanted to defend: to have absolute assurance that facts are not constructed by mere human passions? They believed too quickly that they had reached this goal by the short-cut of matters of fact kept from the outset apart from all public discussion.” Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. 2004. Harvard University Press. Translated by Catherine Porter. P. 223.


“Emergentism is a form of nonreductionism that accepts the ontological position of materialism. With regard to the complex natural phenomena under study, emergentism accepts that nothing exists except the component parts and their interactions, and thus it avoids the ontological problems of holism. However, the emergentist also rejects atomism and argues that reductionism, physicalism, mechanism, and epiphenomenalism are not necessary consequences of materialism. Some complex natural phenomena cannot be studied with reductionist methods; these phenomena are complex systems in which more complex and differentiated ‘higher-level’ structures emerge from the organization and interaction of simpler, ‘lower-level’ component parts.” Sawyer, R. Keith. Social Emergence: Societies as Complex Systems. 2005. Cambridge University Press. P. 29.


“Bergson referred to the human tendency to fixate on stable forms as the ‘cinematographical illusion,’ a metaphor for the false belief that reality is a succession of fixed structures.” Sawyer, R. Keith. Social Emergence: Societies as Complex Systems. 2005. Cambridge University Press. P. 33.


“How can a theory represent reality objectively if fundamental features of its representation, such as the number of objects it postulates, can vary from one interpretation to another? Model-theoretic considerations thus played a significant role in the transition to internal realism. Putnam now maintains that for the metaphysical realist who believes there must be an objective criterion singling out a uniquely correct reference relation from a range of possibilities, the model-theoretic problem, the problem of the availability of multiple interpretations, is insurmountable. From the perspective of internal realism, however, reference, being an essential component of our conceptual apparatus, is unproblematic; it cannot and need not be anchored in ‘objective’ reality by yet another layer of theory.” Ben-Menahem, Yemima. Hilary Putnam. 2005. Cambridge University Press. P. 7.


“Taken together, these mind-boggling concepts comprise the participatory anthropic principle. The principle offers an explanation for the life-friendly qualities of our cosmos that is, at least superficially, diametrically opposed to the notion encapsulated in the strong anthropic principle (i.e., that the laws of nature were somehow fine-tuned from the outset to eventually yield life and intelligence). In Wheeler’s remarkable vision, the device that fine-tunes the universe consists not of a precise initial blueprint, but of a vast assembly of billions upon billions of living observer-participants, the overwhelming majority of whom inhabit the distant future. It is the collective and retroactive effect of their countless acts of observation that reaches backward in time and creates our world, along with all of its physical laws and constants.” Gardner, James. Biocosm: The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life is the Architect of the Universe. 2003. Inner Ocean Publishing. P. 45.


“It is no exaggeration to say that the Newtonian worldview is in tatters. Unfortunately, surprisingly few of us seem willing to admit this condition. It is poignant to ask, therefore, what has arisen that can take the place of the Newtonian framework. As we shall see, there have been a number of thinkers who have suggested fertile new directions, but none has been accorded widespread attention. Rather, what one encounters among the scientific community is that most of us by and large cling to some dangling threads of the Newtonian worldview. It’s just that there remains no widespread consensus about how much weight, if any, should be given to each assumption.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. 25.


“The limits on Darwinian theory are related to the antagonism between change and the goals of science. Whereas science aims to codify, simplify, and predict, the interjection of chance into the narrative results in conspicuous exceptions to regularity, complications in specifying the system, and degradation of the ability to predict. In the last chapter, we discussed two instances (statistical mechanics and the grand synthesis) of how science has attempted to mitigate the challenges posed by stochastic interference. Both reconciliations rested upon the same mathematical tool–probability theory–to retrieve some degree of regularity and predictability over the long run....”

“Because probability theory works only on simple, generic, and repeatable chance, most tacitly assume that all instances of chance share these characteristics. But, if the burgeoning field of ‘complexity theory’ has taught us anything, it is that matters cannot always be considered simple. Complex systems exist, so why shouldn’t complex chance? In fact, as regards living systems, it seems fair to assert that complexity is more the rule than the exception. Are complex chance events to be precluded from the discourse on nature, as if they don’t exist, just because they don’t conform to known methods for measuring and regularizing?” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. Pp. 42-3.


“Most recent estimates agree that there are about 1081 simple particles throughout all of known space. Now the simplest physical events we can observe would happen to the simplest of particles over an interval that is characteristic of subatomic events (about a nanosecond or a billionth of a second). Because the universe has been around for some 13-15 billion years, or about 1023 nanoseconds, Elsasser, therefore, concluded that at the very most 1081 X 1023, or 10106 simple events could have transpired. One can safely conclude that anything with less than one in 10106 chances of reoccurring simply is never going to do so, even over many repetitions of the lifetime of our universe. The take-home lesson is that one should be very wary whenever one encounters any number greater than 10106 or smaller than 10-106 because such frequencies simply cannot apply to any known physical reality. Elsasser calls any number exceeding 10106 an enormous number....”

“... one asks how many different types or characteristics are required before a random combination can indisputably be considered unique....”

“Reliable uniqueness happens to require only about seventy-five distinct tokens because the combinations of types scale roughly as the factorial of their number. Because 75! = 10106, whenever more than seventy-five distinguishable events co-occur by chance, one can be certain that they will never randomly do so again.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. Pp. 44-5.


“Elsasser’s result is important to ecologists because it is almost impossible for anyone dealing with real ecosystems to consider one that is composed of fewer than seventy-five distinguishable individuals.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. 45.


“As mentioned, in order to estimate a legitimate probability of an event, that event must reoccur at least several times. If an event is unique for all time, it evades treatment by probability theory. Now if the density of unique events overwhelms that of simple ones, as it does in complex systems, then most of reality lies beyond the ken of probability theory.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. Pp. 46-7.


“To delve deeper into the insufficiency of physical laws, we turn to Elsasser’s second argument as to why they cannot apply to biology. Elsasser stresses the heterogeneity inherent in biological systems. He notes that, in physics, one always deals with a continuum, whereas, in biology, the dominant concept is that of a class (such as a taxonomic species or an ontogenetic stage)....”

“More specifically, Whitehead and Russell proved that lawful behavior within the continuum can correspond only to operations between perfectly homogeneous sets.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. Pp. 48-9.


“Although the metaphysic [exaggerated materialism] arose out of the palpable need to put as much distance as possible between the activities of the scientist and anything transcendental, it is legitimate to ask whether far more distance was placed between the two than was necessary. The separation became a veritable chasm–an abyss that far exceeded the requirements of methodological naturalism. It could be said of the ensuing gulf that it was so wide that it swallowed any number of perfectly natural phenomena, most notably, life.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. 137.


“... there also exist gaps that are part of the formal structure of science, which reflect the ontic openness of nature. Examples include Goedel’s incompleteness theorem, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, the Pauli exclusion principle, and Elsasser’s unique events.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. 159.


“Causes act primarily bottom-up at microscales, whereas top-down influence provides more relevant explanation at higher levels.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. 165.


“What nature uses is not a Law of Pattern but a palette of principles.  And there is, I submit, much more wonder in a world that weaves its own tapestry using countless elegant and subtle variations, combinations and modifications of a handful of common processes, than one in which the details become irrelevant and in which a few recondite equations are supposed to explain everything.”  Ball, Philip.  Nature’s Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts - Branches.  2009.  Oxford University Press.  P. 180.
 

“Spontaneous patterns typically represent a compromise between forces that impose conflicting demands.”  Ball, Philip.  Nature’s Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts - Branches.  2009.  Oxford University Press.  P. 182.
 

“Competition lies at the heart of the beauty and complexity of natural pattern formation.  If the competition is too one-sided, all form disappears, and one gets either unstructured, shifting randomness, or featureless homogeneity–bland in either event.  Patterns live on the edge, in a fertile borderland between these extremes where small changes can have large effects.”  Ball, Philip.  Nature’s Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts - Branches.  2009.  Oxford University Press.  P. 183.
 

“Thus, stripe-like patterns are often the first to appear from a uniform, flat system.  That is what we see for sand ripples and in the appearance of convection and Taylor-Couette roll cells.

“After breaking symmetry periodically in one dimension, the next ‘minimal’ pattern in a two-dimensional system involves breaking it in the other, dividing up the system into compartments or grids.  If the state is to remain ordered and as symmetric as possible, there are only two options: to impose the periodic variation perpendicular to the rolls, creating square cells, or to impose two such variations at 60o angles, creating triangles or hexagons.  So the square, triangular and hexagonal patterns that we have seen in Turing patterns, in convection and in shaken sand are no mystery.  They arise simply because the geometric properties of space constrain the ways in which symmetry can be broken.”  Ball, Philip.  Nature’s Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts - Branches.  2009.  Oxford University Press.  P. 198.
 

“Ten years ago, when I began writing Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems (1988), I was working within the empiricist tradition.  In this tradition, probabilistic relationships, constitute the foundations of human knowledge, whereas causality simply provides useful ways of abbreviating and organizing intricate patterns of probabilistic relationships.  Today, my view is quite different.  I now take causal relationships to be the fundamental building blocks both of physical reality and of human understanding of that reality, and I regard probabilistic relationships as but the surface phenomena of the causal machinery that underlies and propels our understanding of the world.

“Accordingly, I see no greater impediment to scientific progress than the prevailing practice of focusing all of our mathematical resources on probabilistic and statistical inferences while leaving causal considerations to the mercy of intuition and good judgment.”  Pearl, Judea.  Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference.  2000.  Cambridge University Press.  Pp. xiii-xiv.
 

“The philosopher Bertrand Russell made this argument in 1913:

 “‘All philosophers,’ says Russell, ‘imagine that causation is one of the fundamental axioms of science, yet oddly enough, in advanced sciences, the word ‘cause’ never occurs....  The law of causality, I believe, is a relic of bygone age, surviving, like the monarchy, only because it is erroneously supposed to do no harm.’

“Another philosopher, Patrick Suppes, who argued for the importance of causality, noted that:

“‘There is scarcely an issue of ‘Physical Review’ that does not contain at least one article using either ‘cause’ or ‘causality’ in its title.’

“What we conclude from this exchange is that physicists talk, write, and think one way and formulate physics in another.”  Pearl, Judea.  Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference.  2000.  Cambridge University Press.  P. 337.
 

“Take, for instance, Newton’s law:

F = ma.

“The rules of algebra permit us to write this law in a wild variety of syntactic forms, all meaning the same thing – that if we know any two of the three quantities, the third is determined.

“Yet, in ordinary discourse we say that force causes acceleration – not that acceleration causes force, and we feel very strongly about this distinction.”  Pearl, Judea.  Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference.  2000.  Cambridge University Press.  P. 338.
 

Deep understanding means knowing not merely how things behaved yesterday but also how things will behave under new hypothetical circumstances, control being one such circumstance.  Interestingly, when we have such understanding we feel ‘in control’ even if we have no practical way of controlling things.  For example, we have no practical way to control celestial motion, and still the theory of gravitation gives us a feeling of understanding and control, because it provides a blueprint for hypothetical control.  We can predict the effect on tidal waves of unexpected new events – say, the moon being hit by a meteor or the gravitational constant suddenly diminishing by a factor of 2 – and, just as important, the gravitational theory gives us the assurance that ordinary manipulation of earthly things will not control tidal waves.  It is not surprising that causal models are viewed as the litmus test for distinguishing deliberate reasoning from reactive or instinctive response.  Birds and monkeys may possibly be trained to perform complex tasks such as fixing a broken wire, but that requires trial-and-error training.  Deliberate reasoners, on the other hand, can anticipate the consequences of new manipulations without ever trying those manipulations.”  Pearl, Judea.  Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference.  2000.  Cambridge University Press.  Pp. 345-6.
 

“If you wish to include the entire universe in the model, causality disappears because interventions disappear – the manipulator and the manipulated loose their distinction.  However, scientists rarely consider the entirety of the universe as an object of investigation.  In most cases the scientist carves a piece from the universe and proclaims that piece in – namely, the focus of investigation.  The rest of the universe is then considered out or background and is summarized by what we call boundary conditions.  This choice of ins and outs creates asymmetry in the way we look at things, and it is this asymmetry that permits us to talk about ‘outside intervention’ and hence about causality and cause-effect directionality.

“This can be illustrated quite nicely using Descartes’ classical drawing [human pointing at an object and perceiving it through eyeballs connected through nerves to hand which is overlaid by two boxes one of which captures hand and object and the other of which captures the eyeballs and nerves].  As a whole, this hand-eye system knows nothing about causation.  It is merely a messy plasma of particles and photons trying their very best to obey Schroedinger’s equation, which is symmetric.

“However, carve a chunk from it – say, the object part – and we can talk about the motion of the hand causing this light ray to change angle.

“Carve it another way, focusing on the brain part, and lo and behold it is now the light ray that causes the hand to move – precisely the opposite direction.  The lesson is that it is the way we carve up the universe that determines the directionality we associate with cause and effect.  Such carving is tacitly assumed in every scientific investigation.  In artificial intelligence it was called ‘circumscription’ by J. McCarthy.  In economics, circumscription amounts to deciding which variables are deemed endogenous and which exogenous, in the model or external to the model.

“Let us summarize the essential differences between equational and causal models.  Both use a set of symmetric equations to describe normal conditions.  The causal model, however, contains three additional ingredients: (i) a distinction between the in and the out; (ii) an assumption that each equation corresponds to an independent mechanism and hence must be preserved as a separate mathematical sentence; and (iii) interventions that are interpreted as surgeries over those mechanism[s].  This brings us closer to realizing the dream of making causality a friendly part of physics.  But one ingredient is missing: the algebra.  We discussed earlier how important the computational facility of algebra was to scientists and engineers in the Galilean era.  Can we expect such algebraic facility to serve causality as well?  Let me rephrase it differently: Scientific activity, as we know it, consists of two basic components:

“Observations and interventions.”

“The combination of the two is what we call a laboratory, a place where we control some of the conditions and observe others.”  Pearl, Judea.  Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference.  2000.  Cambridge University Press.  Pp. 349-351.
 

“Geometrically, a causal network can be represented by a directed graph with nodes for variables, e.g. X and Y of data and directed edges X -> Y as causal relations.  If no common causes are omitted from a set of variables, the set is causally sufficient.  A network is acyclic if there are no connected sequences of arrows in the same direction that enters and exits the same node.  A node with no edge directed into it is called exogenous or an independent variable.”  Mainzer, Klaus.  “Causality in Natural, Technical, and Social Systems.”  2010.  European Review.  Vol. 18, No. 4, 433-454.  P. 436.
 

“For each pair of variables X and Y, there are four possible kinds of causal networks:

 1.  X -> Y, non X <- Y
 2.  Y -> X, non X-> Y
 3.  X -> Y, Y -> X
 4.  non X -> Y, non Y -> X

“In general, the number of possible causal models of n variables is 4 raised to the power of the number of pairs [of] variables (e.g., for three variables, 43; for four variables, 46; for five, 410;...”  Mainzer, Klaus.  “Causality in Natural, Technical, and Social Systems.”  2010.  European Review.  Vol. 18, No. 4, 433-454.  Pp. 437-8.
 

“Control is the inverse problem of causality for engineers.”  Mainzer, Klaus.  “Causality in Natural, Technical, and Social Systems.”  2010.  European Review.  Vol. 18, No. 4, 433-454.  P. 445.
 

“Neural nets can represent causal behavioral patterns as probability relations corresponding to cognitive stimuli or responses.”  Mainzer, Klaus.  “Causality in Natural, Technical, and Social Systems.”  2010.  European Review.  Vol. 18, No. 4, 433-454.  P. 446.
 

“In computer technology, it is a challenge to guarantee the causality between input and output of data streams and to avoid causal loops with endless repetitions.  Data streams of input and output channels I and O describe the I/O-behavior F of information systems.  The I/O-behavior F is deterministic if for each input x there is exactly one output F(x).  The timing of inputs and outputs depends on the chosen scaling of time intervals.  F is called weakly causal if the output in the tth time interval does not depend on input that is received after time tF is called strongly causal if the output in the tth time interval does not depend on input that is received after the (t-1)th interval.  In this case, F reacts to input received in the (t-1)th interval.  Thus, causality between input and output is guaranteed.”  Mainzer, Klaus.  “Causality in Natural, Technical, and Social Systems.”  2010.  European Review.  Vol. 18, No. 4, 433-454.  P. 448.
 

“Descartes and his contemporaries were living in a culture saturated by Aristotelianism, where, if one was not a total sceptic, one was likely to believe that the external world actually possessed the properties ascribed to it by an observer, so that anything which, for example, looked red was really red, in the same sense that it might be said to be really a certain size or shape.

“Descartes, however, denied this, without becoming a complete sceptic. Instead, he insisted that there need be no resemblance between what we experience and the external world: the sequence of images that constitutes our continuous life of perception does not necessarily represent in a picture-like way the world outside us. In The World he used the analogy of language: words refer to objects, but they do not resemble them; in the same way, he argued, visual images or other sensory inputs relate to objects without depicting them. The external world is in fact incapable of being experienced in its true character. By contrast, we can have an absolutely compelling knowledge of our own internal life, and of the images which flicker in front of us.

“The difference between Descartes and a sceptic arose from this last point, and it is a subtle but nevertheless crucial divergence. For the sceptics, the fact that one person thought an apple was green and another thought it was brown illustrated our incapacity to know the truth: the apple, they believed, must be a determinate colour, but human perception could not decide what it was. To that extent, the sceptic was still a kind of Aristotelian, who simply insisted on the irremediable character of human fallibility: an ideal, non-human observer might see the world as it really was, and it would still be a world of colours, smells, tastes, and so on. Descartes, on the other hand, argued that we have no reason to suppose that there are colours, etc., in the real, external world at all, and therefore no reason to conclude that colour-blindness (for example) means that we cannot know the truth about that world. Colour is solely an internal phenomenon, caused no doubt by something external, but neither fallibly nor infallibly representing it.” Tuck, Richard. Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction. 1989. Oxford University Press. Pp. 20-1.


“For Bacon, but not for Aristotle, the causes of material processes are themselves material – they are no different in kind from their effects – and one thing a method should provide is a means of working back from manifest physical effects to their underlying physical causes.” Gaukroger, Stephen. Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early-Modern Philosophy. 2001. Cambridge University Press. P. 135.


“Natural philosophy, for Aristotle, was concerned to explain the properties of things in terms of their essences. What lies at the basis of his schema is the distinction between those things that have an intrinsic principle of change, and those things that have an extrinsic principle of change. Acorns, and stones raised above the ground, both come in the first category; the former has within itself the power to change its state, into an oak tree, the latter has the power to change its position, to fall to the ground. In neither case is anything external required for the change/motion to occur. Aristotle thought that we explain and understand things by understanding their natures, where to give the nature of something is to give the ultimate characterisation of it. If we ask why a stone falls, the answer is that stones are heavy and heavy things fall: That is all there is to it. If we are asked why this tree puts out broad flat leaves in spring and keeps them through the summer, we may reply that it does this because it is a beech. In other words, we do not feel it is necessary to look outside the thing to account for its behaviour. And wherever we feel that we can explain a thing’s behaviour, partly at least, without looking outside the thing, we think that its behaviour, and the feature that it acquires or retains, is natural. It is natural for stones to fall, it is the nature of beeches to have broad flat leaves. Such explanations are explanations of unconstrained, internally generated natural processes, and explanations of this kind lie at the core of Aristotle’s natural philosophy. Unnatural or constrained or ‘violent’ states and processes might be caused by any number of extrinsic processes, and natural philosophy cannot be expected to account for these: A stone falling to the ground when released from constraints has a single explanation which refers us to an intrinsic cause, whereas a stone rising from the ground can have any number of causes, and natural philosophy cannot be expected to enumerate or account for these. This does not mean that Aristotle does not deal with violent motions at all, but they are not the central cases for his analysis and they cannot be dealt with in a systematic way.” Gaukroger, Stephen. Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early-Modern Philosophy. 2001. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 136-7 (Note).


“In natural philosophy, Aristotle makes explanations prior to causes. His famous ‘four causes’ are in fact four kinds of explanation, the combination of which is designed to yield a complete understanding of the phenomenon. If we know what something is, what it is made from, how it was made, and for what end it was made, we have a complete understanding of the phenomenon.” Gaukroger, Stephen. Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early-Modern Philosophy. 2001. Cambridge University Press. P. 149.


“I have further argued that Descartes separated metaphysics from natural theology by making the eternal truths more radically dependent on God than had others before him. In a deft bit of metaphysics, he explained how we can have knowledge of the essences of natural things without insight into the divine mind. Metaphysics and physics were to proceed without claiming any special knowledge of God’s purposes and without presupposing comprehension of God’s creative power. Descartes effectively widened the range of the natural light with respect to the world but narrowed it with respect to God.” Hatfield, Gary. “Reason, Nature, and God in Descartes.” Pp. 259-287. From Voss, Stephen. Essays on the Philosophy and Science of Rene Descartes. 1993. Oxford University Press. Pp. 277-8.


“Unlike a substance, an actant is not distinct from its qualities, since for Latour this would imply an indefensible featureless lump lying beneath its tangible properties.” Harman, Graham. Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. 2009. Re.press. P. 17.


“If the most obscure Popperian zealot talks of ‘falsification’, people are ready to see a profound mystery. But if a window cleaner moves his head to see whether the smear he wants to clean is on the inside or the outside, no one marvels.” Latour, Bruno. The Pasteurization of France. 1988. Harvard University Press. P. 217. Quoted in: Harman, Graham. Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. 2009. Re.press. P. 31.


“For Latour, modernity is the impossible attempt to create a radical split between objective natural fact and arbitrary human perspective.” Harman, Graham. Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. 2009. Re.press. P. 31.


“Fact construction is so much a collective process that an isolated person builds only dreams, claims and feelings, not facts.” Latour, Bruno. Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. 1987. Harvard University Press. P. 41. Quoted in: Harman, Graham. Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. 2009. Re.press. P. 50.


“Here we find a tension between events and trajectories that Latour’s metaphysics never fully resolves. An event happens in a single time and place and is fully concrete, since it cannot be analyzed into essential and inessential elements. This entails that even the tiniest shift in a thing’s interactions, as always occurs in every moment, suffices to transform an event into something altogether new. Whether I jump, unbutton my shirt, or lose the least hair from my head, my existence in each case will become an entirely different event, since Latour leaves no room to speak of ‘accidental’ variation in the same enduring thing. For this reason, events are effectively frozen into their own absolutely specific location and set of relationships, and cannot possibly endure outside them. By contrast, the notion of trajectories teaches the opposite lesson. When considering a trajectory, we never find a thing in a single time and place, but get to know it only by following its becomings, watching the details of its curriculum vita. We learn of the successive trials from which it emerges either victorious or stalemated. And here is the paradox: in one sense, Latour’s objects are utterly imprisoned in a single instant; in another sense, they burst all boundaries of space and time and take off on lines of flight toward ever new adventures.” Harman, Graham. Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. 2009. Re.press. P. 65.


“Relationism, the view that a thing is defined solely by its effects and alliances rather than by a lonely inner kernel of essence, is the paradoxical heart of Latour’s position, responsible for all his breakthroughs and possible excesses....”

“... Let those who attack Latour attack him for relationsism, and not on false charges of antirealism and social constructionism.” Harman, Graham. Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. 2009. Re.press. P. 75.


“Why is it that academics who claim to seek the truth want to pretend that they have always had it? What are they paid for, anyway?” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 3.


“Any adequate account of reason must see it as the adaptation that it is: fallible, but self-correcting. And self-correcting not just through reason alone, but in the way that DNA is self-replicating–when embedded in a larger supporting complex that is both of the world and self-continuing in the world.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 7.


“Generative entrenchment (GE) is a third deep principle of adaptive design. A deeply generatively entrenched feature of a structure is one that has many other things depending on it because it has played a role in generating them. It is an inevitable characteristic of evolved systems of all kinds–biological, cognitive, or cultural–that different elements of the system show differential entrenchment.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. Pp. 133-4.


“New systems that facilitate mechanisms by which some elements can come to play a generative or foundational role relative to others are always pivotal innovations in the history of evolution, as well as–much more recently–in the history of ideas. Mathematics, foundational theories, generative grammars, and computer programs attract attention as particularly powerful ways of organizing and producing complex knowledge structures and systems of behavior. They not only produce or accumulate downstream products, but they do so systematically and relatively easily. Once they appear, generative systems become pivotal in any world where evolution is possible: biological, psychological, scientific, technological, or cultural. Generative systems come to dominate in evolution, and are rapidly retuned and refined for increasing efficiency, replication rate, and fidelity, as soon as they are invented.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 135.


“Mathematical biologist Jack Cowan loves to describe the difference between biophysicists and theoretical biologists. A university president once said to him: ‘You both use a lot of math and physics to do biology–you must be doing the same thing. Why shouldn’t I merge your departments?’

“‘I’ll tell you the difference,’ Cowan said, ‘take an organism and homogenize it in a Waring blender. The biophysicist is interested in those properties that are invariant under that transformation.’” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. Pp. 174-5.


“What if some properties of the parts and system were invariant no matter how you cut it up, aggregated, or rearranged its parts? For such properties, organization wouldn’t matter. There are such properties–those picked out by the great conservation laws of physics: mass, energy, charge, and so forth. As far as we know, that’s all. These meet very restrictive conditions: for any decompositions of the system into parts, these properties are invariant over appropriate rearrangements, substitutions, and re-aggregations, and their values scale appropriately under additions or subtractions to the system. Meeting these conditions makes them very important properties–properties that became the source of the great unifications of nineteenth-century physics. For these aggregative properties, we are willing to say: ‘The mass of that steer I gave you was nothing more than the mass of its parts.’ And we blame the butcher–not vanished emergent interactions–for any shortfalls. If these four conditions (informally stated above) are met for all possible decompositions of the system into parts, aggregativity must be an extremely demanding relationship, one seldom found in nature.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 175.


“Descriptive complexity has a point, largely because of what I call interactional complexity. This is a measure of the complexity of the causal interactions of a system, with special attention paid to those interactions that cross boundaries between one theoretical perspective and another.

“Many systems can be decomposed into subsystems for which the intra-systemic causal interactions are all much stronger than the extra-system ones. This is the concept of ‘near-complete decomposability’ described by Simon and others.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 184. Reference is to Simon, Herbert. “The Architecture of Complexity.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 106(6): 467-482.


“Naive design procedures in engineering, in which the organization of the designed system was made to correspond to the conceptual breakdown of the design problem into different functional requirements, with a 1-1 correspondence between physical parts and functions, have given way to more sophisticated circuit minimization and optimal design techniques. These methods have led to increases in efficiency and reliability by letting several less complicated parts jointly perform a function that had required a single more complicated part, and, where possible, simultaneously letting these simpler parts perform more than one function (in what might before have been distinct functional subsystems). This has the effect of making different functional subsystems more interdependent than they had been before, and of encouraging still further specialization of function, and interdependence of parts. It is reasonable to believe that the optimizing effects of selection do just this for evolving systems, and if so, that hierarchically aggregating systems will tend to lose their neat S-decomposability by levels and become interactionally complex.

“This argument is buttressed empirically by considering what happens when natural organized systems are artificially decomposed into subassemblies that are the closest modern equivalents of the subassemblies from which the systems presumably came. Few modern men could survive for long outside of our specialized society. The same goes for mammalian cells–at least under naturally occurring conditions, even though multi-cellular organisms are presumably descended from unicellular types. Even many bacteria cannot survive and reproduce outside of a reasonably sized culture of similar bacteria. The current belief of some biologists is that mitochondria and chloroplasts originated as separate organisms, and acquired their present role in animal and plant cells via parasitic or symbiotic association. According to this view these once independent organisms (or subassemblies) are now so totally integrated with their host that only their independent genetic systems are a clue to their origin.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. Pp. 188-9.


“But what holds true of an organism (that many boundaries coincide at its skin) need not hold true of its parts. Inside the complex system there is a hegemony of different constraints and perspectives and boundaries. If what Campbell says is correct, this hegemony leads us to be slow or dubious about objectifying the parts of such a system. What is unobjectifiable is to that extent unphysical, and so functional organization becomes a thicket for vital forces and mental entities. It is no accident that those systems for which vitalisms and mentalisms have received spirited defenses are those systems that are also paradigmatically complex.”

“The difficulties with the spatial localization of function in complexly organized systems suggest a more positive approach to at least one aspect of the psychophysical identity thesis. In 1961, Jerome Shaffer took account of the frequently discussed non-spatiality of mental events and proposed that the spatial location of corresponding brain events could, as a convention, be taken as the location of the corresponding mental events.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 191. References: Campbell, Donald. “Common Fate, Similarity, and Other Indices of the Status of Aggregates of Pesona s Social Entities.” 1958. Behavioral Sciences. 3: 14-25. Shaffer, Jerome. “Could Mental States Be Brain Processes?” Journal of Philosophy. 1961. 58: 813-822.


“Things are robust if they are accessible (detectable, measurable, derivable, definable, producible, or the like) in a variety of independent ways.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 196.


“Indeed, if the checks or means of detection are probabilistically independent, the probability that they could all be wrong is the product of their individual probabilities of failure, and this probability declines very rapidly (i.e., the reliability of correct detection increases rapidly) as the number of means of access increases, even if the means are individually not very reliable.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. Pp. 196-7.


“It follows that our concept of an object is a concept of something that is knowable robustly.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 197.


“These networks [causal networks making up the world] should be viewed as a sort of bulk causal matter–an undifferentiated tissue of causal structures–in effect the biochemical pathways of the world, whose topology, under some global constraints, yields interesting forms. Under some conditions, these networks are organized into larger patterns that comprise levels of organization, and under somewhat different conditions they yield the kinds of systematic slices across which I have called perspectives. Under some conditions, they are so richly connected that neither perspectives nor levels seem to capture their organization, and for this condition, I have coined the term causal thickets.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 200.


“Diamond attempts global and integrated explanations of the rise and character of civilizations essentially from this perspective, providing a mix of contingencies and autocatalytic and hierarchically dependent processes showing rich signs of generative entrenchment. Adaptations (beginning with agriculture) causing and supporting increasing population densities, cities, role differentiation and interdependencies, and governments make generative entrenchment inevitable.” Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. 2007. Harvard University Press. P. 136. Reference is to Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel. 1997. W. W. Norton.


“The medieval university had had four faculties: theology, medicine, law, and philosophy. What happened in the nineteenth century was that almost everywhere, the faculty of philosophy was divided into at least two separate faculties: one covering the ‘sciences’; and one covering other subjects, sometimes called the ‘humanities,’ sometimes the ‘arts’ or ‘letters’ (or both), and sometimes retaining the old name of ‘philosophy.’” Wallerstein, Immanuel. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. 2004. Duke University Press. P. 3.


“The sciences denied the humanities the ability to discern truth. In the earlier period of unified knowledge, the search for the true, the good, and the beautiful had been closely intertwined, if not identical. But now the scientists insisted that their work had nothing to do with a search for the good or the beautiful, merely the true.” Wallerstein, Immanuel. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. 2004. Duke University Press. P. 3.


“Take ‘exploitation.’ In a recent book about it, Alan Wertheimer does a splendid job of seeking out necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of statements of the form ‘A exploits B.’ He does not quite succeed, because the point of saying that middle-class couples exploit surrogate mothers, or that colleges exploit their basketball stars on scholarships–Wertheimer’s prized examples–is to raise consciousness. The point is less to describe the relation between colleges and stars than to change how we see those relations. This relies not on necessary and sufficient conditions for claims about exploitation, but on fruitful analogies and new perspectives.

“In the same way, a primary use of ‘social construction’ has been for raising consciousness.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. Pp. 5-6. Reference is to Wertheimer, Alan. Exploitation. 1996. Princeton University Press.


“Social construction work is critical of the status quo. Social constructionists about X tend to hold that:

“(1) X need not have existed, or need not be at all as it is. X, or X as it is at present, is not determined by the nature of things; it is not inevitable.

“Very often they go further, and urge that:

“(2) X is quite bad as it is.
“(3) We would be much better off if X were done away with, or at least radically transformed.”
Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 6.


“Ideas do not exist in a vacuum. They inhabit a social setting. Let us call that the matrix within which an idea, a concept or kind, is formed. ‘Matrix’ is no more perfect for my purpose than the word ‘idea.’ It derives from the word for ‘womb,’ but it has acquired a lot of other senses–in advanced algebra, for example. The matrix in which the idea of the woman refugee is formed is a complex of institutions, advocates, newspaper articles, lawyers, court decisions, immigration proceedings. Not to mention the material infrastructure, barriers, passports, uniforms, counters at airports, detention centers, courthouses, holiday camps for refugee children.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 10.


“Here are names for six grades of constructionism.

“Historical
“Ironic
“Reformist             Unmasking
“Rebellious
“Revolutionary

“The least demanding grade of constructionism about X is historical.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 19.


“If contingency is the first sticking point, the second one is more metaphysical....”

“It is countered by a strong sense that the world has an inherent structure that we discover....”

“Constructionists think that stability results from factors external to the overt content of the science. This makes for the third sticking point, internal versus external explanations of stability.”

“Each of these three sticking points is the basis of genuine and fundamental disagreement. Each is logically independent of the others. Moreover, each can be stated without using elevator words like ‘fact,’ ‘truth,’ or ‘reality,’ and without closely connected notions such as ‘objectivity’ or ‘relativism.’ Let us try to stay as far as we can from those blunted lances with which philosophical mobs charge each other in the eternal jousting of ideas.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 33.


“Looping effects are everywhere. Think what the category of genius did to those Romantics who saw themselves as geniuses, and what their behavior did in turn to the category of genius itself. Think about the transformations effected by the notions of fat, overweight, anorexic. If someone talks about the social construction of genius or anorexia, they are likely talking about the idea, the individuals falling under the idea, the interaction between the idea and the people, and the manifold of social practices and institutions that these interactions involve: the matrix, in short.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 34.


“The constructionist argues that the product is not inevitable by showing how it came into being (historical process), and noting the purely contingent historical determinants of that process.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 38.


“Kant was the great pioneer of construction.... Kant was truly radical in his day, but he still worked within the realm of reason, even if his very own work signaled the end of the Enlightenment. After his time, the metaphor of construction has served to express many different kinds of radical philosophical theory, not all of them dedicated to reason. But all agree with Kant in one respect. Construction brings with it one or another critical idea, be it the criticism of the Critique of Pure Reason or the cultural criticisms advanced by constructionists of various stripes.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 41.


“Russell wanted to be able to state what we do know, without assuming the existence of such things. That is where the notion of a logical construction comes in....”

“What is the point? When an inferred entity X is replaced by a logical construction, statements about X may be asserted without implying the existence of X’s, since the logical form or deep structure of those sentences makes no reference to X. We are allowed to talk about X’s while being agnostic about the existence of X’s.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. Pp. 41-2.


“Let us record, however, that it has been a constant thrust in moral theory, from Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative to John Rawls’s theory of justice and Michel Foucault’s self-improvement, to insist that the demands of morality are constructed by ourselves, as moral agents, and that only those we construct are consistent with the freedom that we require as moral agents.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. Pp. 46-7.


“Refuting a thesis works at the level of the thesis itself by showing it to be false. Unmasking undermines a thesis, by displaying its extra-theoretical function.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 56.


“For sociologists the processes of science, the scientific activity, should be the main object of study. But for scientists the most controversial philosophical issues are about science, the product, the assemblage of truths.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 67.


“Research scientists have theoretical models, speculative conjectures couched in terms of those models; they also have views of a much more down-to-earth sort, about how apparatus works and what you can do with it; how it can be designed, modified, adapted. Finally, there is that apparatus itself, equipment and instrumentation, some bought off the shelf, some carefully crafted and some jerry-built as inquiry demands it. Typically, the apparatus does not behave as expected. The world resists. Scientists who do not simply quit have to accommodate themselves to that resistance. They can do it in numerous ways. Correct the major theory under investigation. Revise beliefs about how the apparatus works. Modify the apparatus itself. The end product is a robust fit between all these elements.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 71.


“Formally speaking, the contingency thesis is entirely consistent with the ultimate one-and-only picture upon which inquiry in the physical sciences will converge. For there could be many roads to the one true ultimate theory, or none at all. If there were many roads, then the physics at each way station on each road would be different from the physics at way stations on every other road.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 78.


“Anyone antagonistic to both the letter and spirit of constructionism could still agree that the truth of a scientific proposition in no way explains why people maintain, hold, believe, or assent to that proposition.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 82.


“One party hopes that the world may, of its own nature, be structured in the ways in which we describe it. Even if we have not got things right, it is at least possible that the world is so structured. The whole point of inquiry is to find out about the world. The facts are there, arranged as they are, no matter how we describe them. To think otherwise is not to respect the universe but to suffer from hubris, to exalt that pip-squeak, the human mind.

“The other party says it has an even deeper respect for the world. The world is so autonomous, so much to itself, that it does not even have what we call structure in itself. We make our puny representations of this world, but all the structure of which we can conceive lies within our representations. They are subject to severe constraints, of course. We have expectations of our interactions with the material world, and when they are not fulfilled, we do not lie about it, to ourselves or anyone else. In the fairly public domain of science, the cunning of apparatus and the genius of theory serve to keep us fairly honest.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 83.


“If we took the metaphor of ‘construction’ literally, we could hardly call the Edinburgh school constructionist, but they certainly emphasize the social. Latour, while saying more about how construction is done, de-emphasizes the word ‘social,’ saying we have never been modern, never in fact separated ths social from the natural. To the uncommitted, all such writers emphasize factors in science which strike one as external to the content of the sciences they describe....”

“All such protests are in vain at the tribunal of the physicist, because Latour thinks that external factors are relevant to the stability of laws of nature, while Weinberg thinks they are irrelevant.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. Pp. 90-1.


“Constructionists believe that there is an extra-theoretical function for inevitablism, inherent-structurism, and the rejection of external explanations of the stability of the sciences.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 94.


“Hilary Putnam hit the nail on the head, when he wrote about a ‘common philosophical error of supposing that ‘reality’ must refer to a single super thing, instead of looking at the ways in which we endlessly renegotiate–and are forced to renegotiate–our notion of reality as our language and our life develops.’” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 101. Reference is to Putnam, Hilary. 1994. “Sense, nonsense and the senses: An inquiry into the powers of the human mind.” The Journal of Philosophy. 91:445-517. P. 452.


“One of the reasons that I dislike talk of social construction is that it is like a miasma, a curling mist within which hover will-o’-the-wisps luring us to destruction. Yet such talk will no more go away than will our penchant for talking about reality. There are deep-seated needs for both ideas.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 101.


“... a cardinal difference between the traditional natural and social sciences is that the classifications employed in the natural sciences are indifferent kinds, while those employed in the social sciences are mostly interactive kinds.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 108.


“In the end, the ‘real vs construction’ tension turns out to be a relatively minor technical matter. How to devise a plausible semantics for a problematic class of kind terms? Terms for interactive kinds apply to human beings and their behavior. They interact with the people classified by them. They are kind-terms that exhibit a looping effect, that is, that have to be revised because the people classified in a certain way change in response to being classified. On the other hand, some of these interactive kinds may pick out genuine causal properties, biological kinds, which, like all indifferent kinds, are unaffected, as kinds, by what we know about them. The semantics of Kripke and Putnam can be used to give a formal gloss to this phenomenon.

“Far more decisive than semantics is the dynamics of interactive kinds. The vast bulk of constructionist writing has examined the dynamics of this or that classification and the human beings that are classified by it.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 123.


“A precondition for reasoning, in a community, is that by and large classifications are in place and shared, although they can also always be invented and modified. The selection and organization of kinds determines, according to Goodman, what we call the world ...” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 129. Reference is to Goodman, Nelson. 1978. Ways of Worldmaking. Hackett.


“Some metaphors do not catch on. Thus the metaphor of the nutritionally battered child, proposed by the Indian pediatrician to describe malnourished children in the subcontinent and elsewhere, fell by the wayside. This metaphor was not fueled by the deep passions of innocence, incest, and the collapse of nuclear family; it was just millions of hungry children of no significance.

“Child abuse served as a cutting-edge metaphor closer to its home. With its ramifications in sex, beating, and emotions, it does not pick out one kind of behavior. It is a kind whose power is to collect many different kinds, often by metaphor. This power can be put to use by many an interested party. At the time of the 1990 Gulf War the spokesman for the Kuwaiti government in exile stated for television viewers of the West that his country was a small, abused, and molested child. A man in Charleston, West Virginia, unhappy with the way his town was planting trees in the sidewalk growled, ‘We have child abuse–this is tree abuse!’ and founded a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Trees.

“That is a bad joke. Missing children are not. But they too represent a cause that uses child abuse as a metaphor. The advertisements for ‘missing children’ that in the early 1980s plastered American cereal packages, chocolate bars, milk cartons, and other family artifacts, not to mention direct mail and posters at laundromats and bus stations, were presented as trying to save victims of child abuse. In fact a large proportion of the advertised missing children arose from custody disputes....”

“‘Child abuse’ is a potent metaphor because it has the property of instantly concealing its use as metaphor. Once something is labeled child abuse, you are not supposed to say, wait a minute, that is stretching things. Which labels stick depends less on their intrinsic merits than on the network of interested parties that wish to attach these labels.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. Pp. 151-2.


“The idea [“strong thesis of symmetry”] is that an explanation of why a group of investigators holds true beliefs should have a very similar structure to an explanation of why another group holds false beliefs.” Hacking, Ian. The Social Construction of What? 1999. Harvard University Press. P. 202.


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Brown, Wendy. Politics Out of History
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Wimsatt, William. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations

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