II. Pedia Sapiens: A Planetary Progeny Comes to Her/His Own Actual Factual Knowledge
4. Whole World Philosophy: An Ubuntu Universe
Verlardo, Valerio. Recursive Ontology: A Systemic Theory of Reality. Axiomathes. 26/1, 2016. As readers know, human sapience has long been trying to comprehend and articulate this phenomenal existence of which we come to find ourselves. In this science of philosophy journal, from our late global vantage a University of Huddersfield, UK doctoral student (see below) joins many voices and themes to reach this unified vista. As the quotes broach, it really seems to be composed of a nested, self-similar scale of entities and emergence. In some way, this lively development proceeds by referrals to a prior state or memory, which is a general recursive scheme. As such, an incipient cosmos seems to be trying to attain its own cognizance, so as to bring itself into full actuality.
The article introduces recursive ontology, a general ontology which aims to describe how being is organized and what are the processes that drive it. In order to answer those questions, I use a multidisciplinary approach that combines the theory of levels, philosophy and systems theory. The main claim of recursive ontology is that being is the product of a single recursive process of generation that builds up all of reality in a hierarchical fashion from fundamental physical particles to human societies. To support this assumption, I provide the general laws and the basic principles of recursive ontology as well as a semi-formalised model of the theory based on a recursive generative grammar. Recursive ontology not only actively promotes a multidisciplinary investigation of reality, but also can be used as a general framework to develop future domain-specific theories. (Abstract)
Walsh, Denis. Organisms as Natural Purposes: The Contemporary Evolutionary Perspective. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 37/4, 2006. A paper from a special issue on Kantian Teleology and the Biological Sciences edited by Joan Steigerwald. A University of Toronto philosopher seeks to revive and resolve the long-standing dichotomy from the 18th century of Immanuel Kant between a mechanical model of an organism which is then at odds with an entities’ teleological behavior. Today, a mechanistic emphasis on “sub-organismal” replicators does not accord with life’s just realized self-organizing, modular, autopoietic qualities. By carefully sorting this out and defining terms, a more faithful view of self-active, purposeful beings can be articulated.
Wen, Haiming. One and Many: Creativity in Whitehead and Chinese Cosmology. Journal of Chinese Philosophy. 37/1, 2010. A Renmin University, Beijing, scholar finds deep affinities between the organic developmental, and personal universe of Alfred North Whitehead from the early 20th century with the genesis essence and vision of Buddhism and Taoism. Over the millennia, might we then witness a single human endeavor to express a living, quickening creation now at its hour of global realization?
Linyu Gu (JCP 32/2) suggests that Chinese cosmology represented in the Book of Changes (the Yijing) shares with Whitehead a similar insistence on the importance of dipolarity. This emphasizes that the Chinese cosmological sense of indeterminacy sees yin and yang as both complementary and contrastive at once. Explicitly, the proper way to understanding yin and yang is not to treat them as mere opposites, but instead as two names for an autogenerative continuous process of creativity. (109)
Whitfield, John. Group Theory. Nature. 455/720, 2008. A look at what helps make a successful, productive team in this day of massive online databases and interactive networks.
Flip through any recent issue of Nature, including this one, and the story is there in black and white; almost all original research papers have multiple authors. So far this year, in fact, Nature has published only six single-author papers, out of a total of some 700 reports. And the proportions would be much the same in any other leading research journal. (720)
Wilder, Gary. Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015. The CUNY cultural anthropologist achieves an insightful survey of African social philosophy by way of the life and thought of the mid 20th century scholar sages Aime Cesaire (1913-2008) and Leopold Senghor (1906-2001). (Search for Senghor to reach more content and select writings, see also my Teilhard, Senghor, and Africa (2005) in Section XI.) The prime chapter is African Socialism and the Fate of the World in a turbulent 1960s much betwixt Christianity and Marxism. Their essential vision was to define a truly African organic cosmology of “symbiotic becoming” (217), a “dialectical” dynamic but as a communal reciprocity community of persons rather than polar communist or individualist. Senghor is noted to have drawn on Pierre Teilhard’s evolutionary theology as a way to join Marxist humanism and futurity with the divine transcendence of traditional religions. By virtue of this unique synthesis, a panhuman convergence, indeed a planetary civilization, and even a cosmic reconciliation might accrue (233).
Freedom Time reconsiders decolonization from the perspectives of Aimé Césaire (Martinique) and Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal) who, beginning in 1945, promoted self-determination without state sovereignty. As politicians, public intellectuals, and poets they struggled to transform imperial France into a democratic federation, with former colonies as autonomous members of a transcontinental polity. Refusing to reduce colonial emancipation to national independence, they regarded decolonization as an opportunity to remake the world, reconcile peoples, and realize humanity’s potential. Emphasizing the link between politics and aesthetics, Gary Wilder reads Césaire and Senghor as pragmatic utopians, situated humanists, and concrete cosmopolitans whose postwar insights can illuminate current debates about self-management, postnational politics, and planetary solidarity.
Williams, Daniel. The Career of the Logos. Philosophies. 1/209, 2016. A Baylor University theologian reviews how this conception of “an immanent principle that was omnipresent in things” pervaded Greek, Jewish, and Christian belief systems and later in historic Platonism. Although not cited, Asian, Chinese wisdom was similarly distinguished by this perception, which is lately reappearing in genetic and algorithmic guises, and much needs to be revived and resolved in the 21st century.
Ancient Greek philosophy bequeathed to subsequent cultures its unique methods of investigating the being of the universe through reason. Two of the most important problems generally addressed are well known. The first has to do with proposing realities of stability and permanence in an ever changing world; the second is the problem of the “One and the Many”, that is, how to relate the diversity and plurality of visible things to an orderly and unified cosmos. In their search for such principles, the Greeks argued that the cosmos—from stars to souls—was perfectly arranged, possessed coherence, and could therefore be explained. However, implicit to these problems was the most important question of all: how did the divine, or utterly transcendent, invisible, and immutable interface or intersect with the material, temporal, and mutable world. This was the great philosophical quest—within all the Greek schools and for most religions as well. (1)
Williams, R. John. World Futures. Critical Inquiry. Spring, 2016. A Yale University professor of English and author of The Buddha in the Machine: Art, Technology, and the Meeting of East and West (Yale UP, 2014), reviews an array of perennial and current millennial, cultural, national, and technological prognostications. His contribution is a unique Oriental Systems Theory which sights deep affinities with fractal complexities. A Buddhist mandala is thus shown within a Mandelbrot set whence nature’s nonlinearity seems more in common with Asian wisdom then western mechanics. Surely the scholar is on to something, we look forward to his current work-in-process The Oracles of World Time.
In the 1950s and 1960s a vast number of Anglo-American institutions and strategic planners began turning more aggressively to the question of the future. This new field was called futurology. But as recognizable as the future might have been conceptually to the new discipline, to frame the period in these terms may actually conceal the most transformative quality of the discipline’s discursive practice. I want to argue, rather, that we can more productively refer to this period as having initiated a new mode of ostensibly secular prophecy in which the primary objective was not to foresee the future but rather to schematize, in narrative form, a plurality of possible futures. This new form of projecting forward—a mode I will refer to as World Futures—posited the capitalizable, systematic immediacy of multiple, plausible worlds, all of which had to be understood as equally potential and, at least from our current perspective, nonexclusive. (Abstract)
Wu, Kun. The Developmental of Philosophy and Its Fundamental Informational Turn. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 6/4, 2015. The Xi’an Jiaotong University professor and “founder of information philosophy in China” perceives from this vantage an integral worldwise reflective pursuit. Once again and rightly so, Western schools are one-sided, simplistic, narrow, isolated from scientific evidence and phenomenal reality. While valuable contributions have been made, this humanities field is in historic and planetary disarray, while postmodern excesses are seen as an overcorrection.
Through the rescientification of philosophy and the philosophization of science, an entirely new concept of science and philosophy as part of general human knowledge is developing. In this concept, science and philosophy become intrinsically integrated and unified, forming dynamic feedback-loops which lead to further mutual transformation and integration. (Abstract) Although there are many different schools of philosophy in the West, they all share a common weakness. The essence of this conversion was an increasingly narrow focus on internal subject matter as the main content of philosophical research, leading to the increasing separation of philosophy and science. Such a direction of study made the development of Western philosophy increasingly one-sided, simplistic, and narrow and eventually led to an embarrassing isolation increasingly far from science and in conflict with it. One obvious fact is that, due to the narrowing of its field of discourse, Western philosophy lost the capacity to provide a general view of the world and explain its transformation. If this situation does not change, philosophy will increasingly lose its function. Accordingly, we think it is not surprising that some Western post-modernist scholars take extreme positions, talking about deconstructing or abolishing philosophy completely. (694)