I. Our Earthuman Edition: A 21st Century, PhiloSophia, eLibrary of eCosmos, PediaPedia Resource
B. An Earthropo to Ecosmo Sapience Finds a Phenomenal, Independent. UniVerse to WumanVerse
Cognitive Biology: Dealing with Information from Bacteria to Minds.
Oxford: Oxford University Press,
This erudite opus, some 900 pages and 2,500 references, is by a Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, philosopher of science, with degrees and interests in physics, biology, linguistics, and theology. Three main parts: Acquiring Information, Controlling Information, and Interpreting Information, offer a comprehensive survey of a dynamic cosmos that exists so complex, conscious beings can lately inquire of it. From his background, and for its audience, it prefers academic and technical terms as it ranges across quantum theories, nonlinear systems, neuroscience, semiotics, Darwinian mores, and so on. However if to delve, the work rewards with a directional evolutionary creativity tracked from a fertile material origin to microbial life and onto aware intelligence by virtue of an informational quality.
Quantum-mechanical systems provide both the informational pool and the basic interconnections of our universe. Quantum-mechanical systems can be considered as the sources of any information in our world. (34) Therefore, organisms show a complementarity between modularity (discontinuity) and connectedness (continuity), which allows for the integration of different levels of organization. (177) So, an organism, by integrating in a new way systems that can be found separately in the physical world somehow duplicates the world and is constituted as a universe apart. (271)
Bainbridge, William and Mihail Roco, eds. Handbook of Science and Technology Convergence. Switzerland: Springer, 2016. The editors are Washington, DC based social futurists (search each). Amongst an eclectic chapters are Self-Organization and Emergence of Dynamic Systems, Biocognitive Evolution, Convergence of Curation, Citizen Science, Human Computation, Astrosociology, and Whole Earth Monitoring.
Scientists and engineers have long been aware of the tension between narrow specialization and multidisciplinary cooperation, but now a major transformation is in process that will require technical fields to combine far more effectively in the service of human benefit. Nature is a single coherent system and diverse methods of scientific and engineering investigations should reflect this interlinked and dynamic unity. Accordingly, general concepts and ideas should be developed systematically in interdependence, with cause-and-effect pathways. This handbook will represent the culmination of fifteen years of workshops, conferences and publications that initially explored the connections between nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and new technologies based on cognitive science.. (Publisher)
Barrow, John, et al, eds. Science and Ultimate Reality: Quantum Theory, Cosmology, and Complexity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. A significant volume from a 2002 conference about the frontier physics of John Archibald Wheeler, for his 90th birthday. By so doing, it makes a notable contribution to a 21st century quantum physics with an informational essence, which Wheeler advocated for many years. Its six parts range over an overview by Paul Davies, a tribute by Jaroslav Pelikan, theoretical and experimental facets of quantum lineaments, big questions in cosmology, and the subsequent self-organized emergence of life and mind. In regard, the prime concept is Wheeler’s special vision of a universe that is somehow “participatory” in kind so as to require eventual human-like sentient observership to bring it into full manifestation. Papers by Andreas Albrecht, Andrei Linde, and Philip Clayton are noted elsewhere.
Thus emerged Wheeler’s idea of the participatory universe, one that makes full sense only when observers are implicated; one that is less than fully real until observed. He envisaged a meaning circuit, in which atomic events are amplified and recorded and delivered to the minds of humans – events transformed into meaningful knowledge – and then conjectured a return portion of that meaning circuit, in which the community of observers somehow loops back into the atomic realm. (Davies, 8)
Bayram, Baris. How an Ethics-Based Approach Works with Global Agendas. IMPAKTER. Online June 19, 2017. From this unique multi-generational website (see below) for a sane, peaceable, humane world, we cite for example, this manifesto for a novel 21st century moral, public and environmental guidance by a Yeditepe University, Istanbul, PhD philosophy candidate. The entry continues the vital concerns and advances of the quote, but the complex systems literacy he rightly calls for needs gain more substance, which is our aim. The whole IMPAKTER.com site is a luminous beacon of thoughtful intentions with a Sustainable Development Goals emphasis. Click on TEAM is to find many accomplished young persons, more women than men, such as Courtney Storm a cancer care lawyer, along with an older generation such as Arni Mathiesen, Asst. Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
This is why we need a strong theoretical literacy to deal with complexity and contextual ambiguity towards needed directions. We also need scientific knowledge to understand the needs and goals to ensure our well-being and develop effective and accurate responses. Finally, we need to hone our thinking skills to use such literacy and knowledge more effectively to autonomously address any issue or event as needed. To improve our responses, deliberations, theories and forecasts, we must have access to quality information, such as, for example, expert reports provided by the United Nations. And these requirements are just the beginning to enable us to generate quality deliberations, designs and decisions aimed at enhancing our own level of well-being. (Bayram)
Beinhocker, Eric. The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006. Reviewed more in A Planetary Physiology, this work parallels Robert Reid’s new evolutionary theory with a similar placement of a self-organizing impetus in front of later, secondary selection.
Beloussov, Lev. Morphomechanics of Development. Switzerland: Springer, 2016. The Moscow State University biologist has collaborated with the embryologists Richard and Natalie Gordon for many years, and concurrently with their opus (search) offers his own theoretical treatise. The Russian holistic penchant is evident in the lead chapter named From Strict Determinism to Self-Organization.
This book outlines a unified theory of embryonic development, assuming morphogenesis to be a multi-level process including self-organizing steps while also obeying general laws. It is shown how molecular mechanisms generate mechanical forces, which in the long run lead to morphological changes. Questions such as how stress-mediated feedback acts at the cellular and supra-cellular levels and how executive and regulatory mechanisms are mutually dependent are addressed, while aspects of collective cell behavior and the morphogenesis of plants are also discussed. The morphomechanical approach employed in the book is based on the general principles of self-organization theory. (Publisher)
Ben Jacob, Eshel and Yoash Shapira. Meaning-Based Natural Intelligence vs. Information-Based Artificial Intelligence. http://star.tau.ac.il/~eshel/bacterial_linguistic.html. In a late 2008 document posted as a draft synopsis of a book The Cradle of Creativity, Tel Aviv University microbiologists propose a definitive contrast of diametric universe models. The current physical paradigm is traced to Laplace’s deterministic machine, which since the 1950s has become more of a Turing-like computational automaton. As a result, life, evolution, and cognition are, to much deficit, considered in mechanical terms. While this ‘constructivist’ AI view reduces, a natural intelligence (NI) is rightly ‘generativist’ at all hierarchical levels. In such regard, bacterial communities can serve as an icon of cooperative self-organization, which as members chemically crosstalk and sense quorums, can imply a rudimentary cognitive ability. As an editorial comment, the authors seem burdened by the very machine terminology they quite seek to surpass.
In this chapter, we reflect on the concept of Meaning-Based Natural Intelligence – a fundamental trait of Life shared by all organisms, from bacteria to humans, associated with: semantic and pragmatic communication, assignment and generation of meaning, formation self-identity and of associated identity (i.e., of the group the individual belongs to), identification of natural intelligence, intentional behavior, decision-making and intentionally designed self-alterations. These features place the Meaning-Based natural Intelligence beyond the realm of Information-based Artificial Intelligence. Hence, organisms are beyond man-made pre-designed machinery and are distinguishable from non-living systems.
Berry, Thomas. The Great Work. New York: Bell Tower, 1999. In his newest collection of essays, Berry offers his luminous perspective on the Earth story, wilderness, the university, and reinventing the human. The path ahead must involve a fourfold wisdom of indigenous peoples, the nurturing empathy of women, classic Western and Asian traditions, and the scientific story of evolution.
History is governed by those overarching movements that give shape and meaning to life by relating the human venture to the larger destinies of the universe. Creating such a movement might be called the Great Work of a people. (1) The Great Work now, as we move into a new millennium, is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period when humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner. (3) The historical mission of our times is to reinvent the human - at the species level, with critical reflection, within the community of life-systems, in a time-developmental context, by means of story and shared dream experience. (159)
Bird, Richard. Chaos and Life: Complexity and Order in Evolution and Thought. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. A British mathematician finds science now poised between two diametric conceptions of the universe. The old Newtonian/Darwinian school, with an emphasis on quantum, linear and chance events, is no longer appropriate for an organically complex, self-emergent cosmos. Bird’s contribution is then to distinguish in this nonlinear nature the presence of an innate, repetitive universality. With fractal self-similarity as a model, everything in the physical, biological and human realms is seen to result from a sequential iteration of basic mathematical rules. As a new articulation of original wisdom, these understandings once again define a constantly recurrent property and code by which the world can be known. Here is the cosmic Copernican Revolution which this website seeks to document.
Rather than the old Newtonian picture, a new worldview is arising: one of nature as an organic rather than an atomic process and the organizations of events as sequential rather than random. (viii) Is there a way in which these viewpoints can be brought together so that the science of biology can progress? I believe they can, but such a synthesis implies no less than a paradigm shift in our thinking, the consequence of abandoning a random-selection worldview in favor of an iterative-sequential worldview. (97) The most basic process in the world is iteration: iteration produces sequence and gives rise to the complexity of pattern that forms the world we perceive. (236)
Boff, Leonardo. Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997. In the pursuit of social justice and liberation, this Brazilian theologian advises that the new science of self-organizing systems can teach interdependence, complementarity, interiority, and common good, so as to reveal the spiritual depth and destiny of creation.
Borner, Katy. Atlas of Forecasts: Modeling and Mapping Desirable Futures. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2021. As the quote notes, every five years or so it seems Katy Borner gifts us with a unique, informative, visual display all about humankind’s on-going scientific edification. This latest volume then offers an expansive guide looking ahead to a better world guided by what we have learned so far. The five main modules, Introduction and History, Methods, Models in Action, Science Maps, and Envisioning Desirable Futures, are filled with images and graphs about topics such as Fractals via Reaction-Diffusion Dynamics, Epidemic Tipping Points, Knowledge Webs, and Polar Bear Habitats. But a reader may wonder over an absence of any inquiry, as many other works also, into whatever phenomenal Earthwise actuality and significance might be found.
To envision and create the futures we want, society needs an appropriate understanding of the likely impact of alternative actions. Data models and visualizations offer a way to understand and intelligently manage complex, interlinked systems in science and technology, education, and policymaking. Here the creator (search) of Atlas of Science (2010) and Atlas of Knowledge (2015), shows how we can factually predict, communicate, and attain viable futures. The models and maps illuminate key processes and outcomes of complex systems dynamics, what progress in science and technology is likely to be made; and how policymakers can better guide regions or nations.
Brockman, John, ed. The New Humanists. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2003. In an introductory essay, Brockman notes that academic intellectuals are usually uninformed of major scientific accomplishments, which has trapped them in a postmodern “swelling spiral of commentary.” Brockman again predicts an “emerging third culture” wherein scientists and other empirical thinkers, through their work and writing, redefine the nature of the human and the universe. As an update to the 1995 book, more contributors to this frontier such as Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Marvin Minsky, and many others are assembled.