“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kauffman on Mind

An essay by Stuart Kauffman that looks like it rehabilitates Aristotle's formal cause...in the Edge stable, which is often a scientistic place in a bad way. Brilliant. I need to read this carefully but it looks exciting. HT Bill Benzon, who excerpts this paragraph:

I will present four lines of reasoning and candidate evidence suggesting that reductionism is very powerful, but powerfully inadequate. I will thus argue that there can be no 'theory of everything' that can explain all that unfolds in the universe by logical entailment, hence that the universe and biosphere in their evolution are not machines, and that the Turing-Church-Deutsch does not hold (4, 13). In such a world, the evolutionary advantages of consciousness may be stunning, for if we cannot, in principle, calculate the behavior of a universe, biosphere, animal and human life that is partially lawless yet wonderfully non-random then there may be a profound advantage to conscious experience. It is one way we can understand a partially lawless, non-random, hence non-calculable, universe, biosphere, and free willed human life, and flourish in it.
Unbelievable, fascinating conversation with Douglas Kahn today, notably on transduction. More on this soon. And a Sydney post. The Opera House—gasp—

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