Relationships Between
Natural and Conscious Evolution

Toward a Theoretical and Applied Metaphysics

Anil Mitra PhD, © 1987, 2nd Ed. 1999, Rev. 2004
Retrospect 2007, Reformatted 2010, 2014

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This essay was written in the period autumn 1986 to spring 1987, over twenty years ago. The idea—a range of ideas—had been percolating for a while. I had become familiar with the basic ideas of Darwin’s theory of evolution it about 1961, continued to maintain an interest in it, and found it capable of shedding light on many aspects of the world. I had come to seek, among other goals, to found a metaphysics from the basic ideas—perhaps in analogy to the manner in which Karl Popper, in the Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934, and other writings had found some foundation for epistemology in evolutionary ideas. Naturally, there was no thought that the actual evolution of the universe is that of a living organism, evolving in the way in which organisms evolve—individual organisms do not evolve. Rather, it is the species and, perhaps, other collections that evolve by variation of factors of inheritance and selection of adapted variations

This work is deficient in many respects. The primary deficit is that while the ideas of evolution are employed to explain cosmological variety, there is no explicit formulation of a metaphysics of objects but only an implicit metaphysics of process which acts in the world

The world is not taken to be material in principle but material things form the bulk of the cosmological variety considered in this essay. Even if the world is not all matter, this is not a bad idea because the introduction of non-material objects is often an excuse to not be concerned with explanation or theory at all. The problem with an absence of explanation is not that what is written is invalid but that it is accessible at most to privileged persons and is accepted by others without understanding. There is also a deficit in the idea of materialism but it is not that the universe is not made of matter. It is, rather, the idea that what we know matter to be, i.e. our concept of matter, is final and universal. It is entirely conceivable and perhaps even likely that any ‘final’ physical theory of matter shall be quite different from the present theories. A second deficiency, then, is not in making any mistake of materialism but in tacitly excluding cosmological variety at the outset of investigation. A similar deficiency revealed by my recent thought—e.g., in Journey in Being—is that while process explanation is useful it is by no means the only or the most powerful explanation. Some philosophers insist on explanation that transcends both time and object, preferring these kinds and their explanatory aspects to fall out of, e.g., a metaphysics that is not based in temporal or material nature. That objective is achieved in Journey in Being and the reader is reviewed to that essay for the development itself

The present work has further deficiencies and these include (1) organization and style and (2) content that is often in the form of rough notes

After writing this essay, I became dissatisfied with its approach, its effective basis in materialism and temporality. Years before writing this essay, I had been a materialist—the result of an education in science and engineering. The subsequent years and the thought involved in writing this essay cured me of that but provided no real substitute. In about 1990, I explicitly set out to find an alternative. In the process, my background in science and mathematics, years of reading and reflection, the writing of this essay were extremely useful but not fully adequate—I continued to read, to reflect and to write

I turned to the idea of the absolute—in a metaphysical rather than in any formally religious sense

I considered idealism. In contrast to the typical modern materialist, I found that there is no essential distinction between idealism and materialism unless the nature of mind and matter are taken to be very specific. If some very specific notions of mind and matter are adopted and if it is thought that matter is nothing but the notion adopted and that mind is nothing but its notion, then idealism and materialism are both absurd from the contrary point of view. What is more, mind is not atoms, not buildings, not the cosmos in the standard view and therefore, idealism is absurd (on the assumed view of mind and matter.) Further, while materialism is not patently absurd, it becomes impossible to see how mind could arise in the material world. However, if the notions of mind and matter are not regarded as final, and not regarded in the ‘nothing but’ sense, then there is no reason that the universe can be seen, equivalently, as mind andor matter. That is, the concepts of mind and matter may converge. Perhaps, more accurately, while the sense of the concepts may remain different, the ranges of reference will converge

I studied consciousness—I was initially motivated by John Searle’s essay, The Mystery of Consciousness, that appeared in the New York Review of Books in 1995. I read Searle’s The Rediscovery of Mind published in 1992. I was impressed by the thought of many writers in the field, especially that of Searle, but I was not persuaded by Searle’s commitment to evolution and atomism as a basis of—an understanding of—all being

I wrote a number of essays—see essays on being and essays on mind. In the process, I sharpened my conceptions of a number of fundamental ideas including being, mind, matter, consciousness, substance, and read much including the writing of Heidegger and Wittgenstein

Starting around 1997 till 2002, I had been thinking that the void, i.e. nothingness, might form the basis of a metaphysics. It was a somewhat mystical position. Even hard nosed scientists will agree that mysticism is acceptable as inspiration though not of proof. However, it was not entirely mystical for, even in fundamental physical science, it is known that the emergence of a cosmos from the void does not violate the principles of physics when the positive energy of matter cancels the negative energy of the gravitational field. I was also encouraged by some reflections of Heidegger and Robert Nozick. (I was disappointed to find nothing of worth regarding metaphysics in the thought of Sartre.) However, I was unable to prove the equivalence of the void and the universe and I did not get very far with use of the idea as a working hypothesis

However, in 2002, I saw how to show the equivalence of the void and all being. I had been trying to show that the—known—world is equivalent to the void. The key idea of 2002 was to focus on the void, its properties, rather than, first, on the universe. This was the essential idea that made it possible to show the equivalence of the void and all being and, encouraged by this development, was able, incrementally over the five years since 2002, to develop the ultimate metaphysics of Journey in Being and its implications for the theory of objects, for logic and meaning, for mind, for cosmology and for a study of the human world

It seems that the new development is infinitely advanced beyond where I was at the completion of the present essay on evolution and design. Yet this essay remains of interest to me primarily as a way station in the journey to the present and especially as a source of ideas, later much refined, on the emergence of mind and the capacities of mind from a state that does not—appear to—involve mind and, more generally, as a source of ideas on the equivalence of manifest being from the void state. The essay is also of interest in that it is my first system—it attempts to be systematic and it attempts to write down, to formulate, a comprehensive set of categories of kinds of being



Preface And Introduction

Introduction, Objectives, Structure

Evolution And History





Learning...And Transformation

The Future Of Evolution And Design

New Version Of Destinations




Page Numbering

Section and Paragraph Numbering




1.1.1        Four Levels of Design        Level I - Problem solving and objective design        Level II - Social and human process        Level III - Evolutionary design        Level IV - Design is evolution


1.2.1        FORMAL STATEMENT        Objective 1 - Design as fundamental in society and universe     Idea A - Practical and objective design     Idea B - Social process as design     Idea C - Evolution in design     Idea D - General evolution        Objective 2 - Use of design        Objective 3 - Design as universal process

1.2.2        DISCUSSION AND FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS        Objective 1 - objective design     Idea A - Objective design is a fundamental human and social process     Idea B: Objective design generalizes to social process     Idea C - Evolution in Design     Idea D - General Evolution        Objective 2 - Use of Design        Objective 3 - Design As Universal Process


1.3.1        There is a human motive to the universal

1.3.2        This resolution requires vision


1.3.4        objective design must include holistic values

1.3.5        Generalization of the basic design leads to more inclusive and universal processes

1.3.6        The idea evolution = design [Level IV] universalizes and hierarchizes design

1.4        OUTLINE

1.4.1        LOGIC OF THE ORDER

1.4.2        COMPLETENESS

1.4.3        WHERE ARE THE OBJECTIVES TREATED?        Objective 1        Objective 2        Objective 3



2.1.1        As the universal process of unfolding reality

2.1.2        To show levels of understanding:        [A] Knowledge As Static        [B] Knowledge as evolving        [C] Knowledge As An Element Of Evolution        [D] Evolution Of The Processes Of Knowledge

2.1.3        To establish “the” dimensions of being

2.1.4        Provides learning for design

2.1.5        To study my own life

2.1.6        To understand relation of universal to human Being

2.1.7        Relation to objectives of the present work

2.1.8        Provides insight into culture and human institutions

2.1.9        As a foundation for design        [1] Design is within evolution        [2] Design is analogous to evolution        [3] Design is part of evolution


2.2.1        Origins, continuation and destination of all entities in our physical and speculative universes

2.2.2        Processes of evolution are not different than ordinary processes

2.2.3        Evolution need not be distinguished from or equated with creation, guidance, or destruction

2.2.4        Time and space evolve

2.2.5        Universal processes

2.2.6        Evolution does refer to specific set of mechanisms or theories

2.2.7        Evolution is not a social or political program

2.2.8        Evolution is not a philosophical program

2.2.9        Evolution includes emergence of order by natural processes        Is not essential        Mechanisms includes:


2.3.1        Special

2.3.2        Linguistic / symbolic

2.3.3        Mathematical - a special case of the symbolic

2.3.4        Computer

2.3.5        Mechanistic

2.4        HISTORY

2.4.1        Purpose of the section

2.4.2        Meaning of History




2.5.1        Reasons for studying organic accounts of creation, guidance and destruction        [1] As archetypes of origins        [2] As archetypes of psyche        [3] Continuity with the past        [4] Some functions are still valid        [5] Organic knowledge of human origins        [6] Symbolic-organic knowledge is valuable        [7] If science should decay        [8] Insight organic knowledge

2.5.2        Function

2.5.3        Sources

2.5.4        Types        [1] Creation        [2] Continuance        [3] Dissolution



2.6.1        Reasons for studying systematic accounts        [1] Centering        [2] The Study Itself is Part of Human Evolution        [3] As a Source of Knowledge and Its Systematization        [4] Knowledge for Design        [5] Learning about the processes and meanings of design        [6]. A continuation of the organic accounts discussion of evolution        [7] Centering Humankind in Nature        [8] As a Framework for a Unified Concept of Evolution

2.6.2        General comments on evolution and mechanisms

2.6.3        Universal evolution

2.6.4        Cosmological evolution. Known and speculative universe

2.6.5        Evolution of the phenomenal and physical objects of the known universe

2.6.6        Geophysical evolution

2.6.7        Geochemical evolution

2.6.8        Biological Evolution        Relation of biology and biological evolution to science and general evolution     Objectives of Science     Discovery and Method in Science     Special Features of Biology     The Problem of Teleology     Special Features of Life     Reduction in Biology     Constitutive Reductionism     Explanatory Reductionism     Theory Reductionism     Conceptual Structure of Biology     Philosophy of Biology     Some Principles of a Basis for Philosophy of Biology     Biology and Human Thought     Biology and Human Values     Philosophical Implications of Darwin's Theories        Theoretical and Empirical Problems of Biological Evolution     [1] Outline of the Course of Evolution - Evolution and Descent of the Major Biological Types     A Four-Kingdom Scheme based On the Notion of Common Tree-Like Descent     A Three Level, Five Kingdom Scheme based On Descent, Morphology and Ecology     [2] Provision of Evidence:     [3] Methodological Problems        Outline Treatment of the Problems     Darwin's Theory and it's Five Strands     Early Criticisms of Darwin's Theory     Darwin's Responses     An Outline of the Theory of Evolution     [1] Variation     [2] Selection     [3] The Synthetic Theory of Evolution     [4] Major Stages of Evolution     [1] Origin of life     [2] Multi-cellular Organisms     [3] Colonization of Land     [4] Human Evolution     [5] Post Synthesis Development     [1] Population Genetics     [2] Molecular Biology     [3] Natural Selection - Evidence     [4] Modes of Speciation     [5] Macroevolution - the Subject of Paleontological Study     [6] Human Evolution     Eugenics        Outstanding Problems of Biological Evolution     [1] The Problem of Mechanisms     [2] Questions of Interaction     [3] Genetic Variability in Populations     [4] Rates of Evolution     [5] Origin of Life     [6] Relationship and Phylogeny of Major Types of Plants and Invertebrates     [7] Interaction among Fields and Levels of Evolution     [8] Specialist Questions     [9] The Question of Gradual Change

2.6.9        Evolution or emergence of levels of organization and interactions

2.6.10       Human and psychosocial evolution: descent and development

2.6.11       Evolution of human society

2.6.12       Evolution of individuation and independence

2.6.13       Possibilities and speculations: universal again

2.6.14       Open and fundamental problems of evolution


2.7.1        Why study these aspects of evolution?

2.7.2        Evidence for origin and growth, equilibrium, decline and death


2.8.1        Conflicts and resolutions

2.8.2        The ultimate nature of things

2.8.3        Analogies and conceptual synthesis

2.8.4        Value synthesis


2.9.1        Generalized characteristics models of systems undergoing evolutionary CYCLES

2.9.2        Requirements for models

2.9.3        Problems to be modeled

2.9.4        Relation with type of causation


2.10.1       General questions

2.10.2       Specific theories

2.10.3       Does evolution approach perfection?













3.3.1        METAPHYSICS

Outline of the Section

3.3.2        EPISTEMOLOGY - the THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE        The Nature of Knowledge...and of Truth, Logic and Reason

Outline of the Section        The Universe of Being, Action and Thought

Outline of the Section        Perception, Reason and Knowledge...and their Modes        Issues in Epistemology


3.3.4        PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY: AN OUTLINE        Speculative Philosophy        Critical Philosophy


3.4.1        OBJECTIVES

Outline of the Section

3.4.2        VALUE OF PHILOSOPHY        Comments From Whitehead's Process and Reality        An Advertisement for Philosophy by Bertrand Russell in relation to the eternal questions        Social Change and Creative Personality

3.4.3        Philosophical Method        Brief Criticism of Invalidation Theory        Whitehead on Speculative Philosophy. The following quotation is from Process and Reality:        Speculative Method - An Outline

Outline of the Section




3.5.3        VALUE: AXIOLOGY, ETHICS AND AESTHETICS        Types of Ethics and Ethical Study     Meta-ethics     Metaphysical ethics     Deontological ethics     Teleological ethics     Evolutionary ethics        General Foundations of Value

3.5.4        SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY        Philosophical Anthropology        Philosophy of cultural institutions - Art, Religion, Learning and Discovery, Education        Philosophy of social organization and relation of individual to the group     Political philosophy     Economic philosophy     Philosophy of law

3.5.5        PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE...As distinct from “academic” philosophy        The Well Lived Life        Existentialism        Religion and the Philosophy of Religion        Philosophy of action        Role of instinct, mind, spirit        Role of truth        Relationship to psychology

3.5.6        PHILOSOPHY OF EVOLUTION AND DESIGN MATERIALISM, MECHANISM, CHOICE        Evolution as a Framework for Knowledge...and Method     Value of such a framework     Nature and evolution of knowledge     Role of knowledge in culture     Level I: Mythic Cultures     Level II: Post-mythic Cultures     Actual Cultures     Further comments on evolution of knowledge. Models of change     Origins of knowledge     Changes in the process or mechanism of knowledge at the socio-cultural level     Changes in socio-cultural knowledge     Models of change at level I - mythic thought     Models of change at level II - post-mythic thought     Further comments on the selection or evolutionary theory of knowledge and science     Relation of evolutionary framework to the question and nature of a priori and synthetic knowledge     Relation of evolution to other aspects of knowledge     [1] Accidental knowledge     [2] Social theory of knowledge     [3] Relation between cognition and emotion     [4] Science and religion        Evolution as a Framework for Social Process and institutions of society        Evolution as a Framework for Consciousness        Evolution as a Framework for Design     Evolution in designs     Evolution in design methods and capabilities        Evolution as a Framework for the Universal     On Universality        Consistency among the Frameworks and Points of View

3.5.7        THE OPEN PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY        Problems and Problem Areas in Metaphysics, Epistemology, Design, Motivation and Action        Problems and Problem Areas for Philosophy and Human Enterprise as a Whole     Problems relating to unity     [1] Foundation in physical cosmology     [2] Synthesis of all modes of knowledge     [3] Motivation, value, psychology and religion     [4] Design and action     [5] A study of unity and diversity     [6] Equivalence of metaphysical and epistemological systems     [7] Structure of knowledge     Problems relating to evolutionary origin     [8] The philosophic, open outlook     [9] The universal in the particular and the symbolic     [10] Evolutionary foundations of philosophy     [11] Development of a philosophy of evolution and design     [12] Foundation for a sequence of philosophies        The Fundamental Problems of Humankind; the Value of Philosophical Perspectives     On Problems and Solutions     [1] The human situation must be seen and felt in its full context     [2] On choice of values     [3] Humankind and environment in balance in relation to a full spectrum of needs

3.6        CONCLUSION

3.6.1        Emergence of a new naturalistic view of cognition, emotion, philosophy, knowledge and design

3.6.2        TRANSITION to the Realm of Knowledge

3.6.3        FUTURE work for the Realm of Philosophy

4        KNOWLEDGE



4.2.1        PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION        Concepts of the Nature of Knowledge     System Theory of Knowledge     Adaptive-Evolutionary Theory of Knowledge        An Ideal Organization of the Object of Knowledge        Conventional, Practical and Cultural Factors        General Principles of Classification     Logical principles     Material principles     Dependence on domain

4.2.2        PROBLEMS OF LINGUISTIC and POETIC EXPRESSION and of ART        Modes of Human Experience with Preliminary Discussion of Art     [1] Levels of existence     [2] Levels of experience     [3] Levels of consciousness and levels of cognition:     [4] Symbolic modes of representation:     [5] Modes of coding, expression, communication:        The Elements of Art     Art is expression of experience     Art contains existential elements of experience     Art is a form of knowledge     Art integrates the modes of human being        Art and Global Design        Analysis of Language and Logic and Relation to Art

4.2.3        AN EXTENDED CLASSIFICATION OF PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION OF KNOWLEDGE WITH EXAMPLES        Natural and Chronological Classifications     Plato [428-324BC]     Aristotle [384-322BC]     Francis Bacon [1561-1626]     French Encyclopaedists: Diderot and d'Alembert     Immanuel Kant [1724-1804]     Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834] and the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana     Andrė Marie Ampere [1775-1836]     Auguste Comte [1798-1857]     Wilhem Dilthey [1833-1911]     Twentieth-Century Efforts     Fifteenth Edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica     Propaedia - A Detailed Topical Outline of Knowledge     Discussion of the 15 Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica with Logical Modifications     An arrangement in super-divisions     Great Books of the Western World; Syntopicon     Comments on Knowledge and Design     Learning from the Historical Sequences of Organizations and Their Philosophies: Evolution of Knowledge and Organization        Classifications Based on Practical, Design, and Special Considerations     Some Practical Considerations: Retrieval, Administrative, and Special Purposes such as Projects and fields of learning     Knowledge of design     Knowledge for Design        Actual Classifications     [1] Universities and academies     [2] Libraries     [3] Encyclopaedias     [4] Knowledge bases        Design of a Knowledge Base     Need     Functional Considerations, Problem Definition, Decisions     [1] General function and economics     [2] General vs. Special Purpose     [3] Levels of treatments     Performance or Design Specifications - Including Format; Synthesis: Decisions     [4] Length - Estimate     [5] Principals of organization     Natural vs. Practical     Single or multiple principles of organization     Hybrid-matrix organization is one approach     Unitary:     Analysis and optimization     General or general and specialized base?     Dual levels or multiple index systems - table of contents system?     Information level     Knowledge level     Systematic [natural vs. logical-material] vs. Alphabetic arrangement of knowledge level     The Index     The Systematic Outline     Encyclopaedia Britannica - 15th Edition as a model     Cross reference systems     Update     Verification     Principles of generation     Evaluation and feedback: Presentation

4.2.4        MAJOR DIVISIONS OF SYMBOLIC KNOWLEDGE        Concepts from Evolution. Effect of Culture     Culture        Main Divisions of Knowledge     Main Divisions of Knowledge - 1     Symbolic systems     [1] General purpose; descriptive metaphysics     [2] Natural systems: for art     [3] Special purpose: for science and technology     Symbolically coded knowledge     [1] Philosophy; symbolic systems     [2] Humanities; arts     [3] Sciences; technology     The Main Divisions of Knowledge - 2     Symbolic Systems     [1] General purpose symbolic systems-languages; language of thought; descriptive metaphysics     [2] Symbolic systems for arts and natural languages; generally: phylogenetic-mythic knowledge     [3] Special purpose symbolic systems for science and technology; generally: synthetic a priori     Symbolically Coded Knowledge     [1] Philosophy; knowledge of symbolic systems     [2] Humanities; arts     [3] Science; technology


4.3.1        SYMBOLIC SYSTEMS        General        Language and Related Systems        Special Purpose Symbolic Systems

4.3.2        KNOWLEDGE - SYMBOLICALLY CODED KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD        Philosophy        Humanities and Arts        The Sciences        Technology        Summary of 4.3.2


4.4.1        LEVEL II

4.4.2        LEVEL III


4.5.1        NATURE AND METHOD





4.7.1        A general plan of approach:

5        DESIGN


5.1.1        ROLE OF DESIGN IN SOCIETY        Objective Design        Social and Global Design. Design for Diversity. Social Process as Design        Evolutionary Design



5.2.1        MANAGEMENT. Role of Management in Design




5.2.5        CONTROL

5.2.6        APPLICATIONS





5.3.3        TOP ® DOWN DESIGN: DESIGN AND PLANNING LEVELS. PRIORITIES DESIGN        A Set of Global Design and Planning Levels

5.3.4        Outline of Methodologies        Component Design - The Basic Procedure        System and Subsystem Design        Industrial Operations        Business Organization, Planning and Management        Technology and Technological Systems        Social Systems and Institutions: Global, Environmental and Human Concerns: Toward Complete Specification of Planning     Levels of global-social planning

5.3.5        Sciences of Design and Problem Solving: Formalizing Creativity and Evaluation of Design and Priorities        Area A. Modes of Analysis        Area B Analysis of Systems        Area C. Evaluation        Area D. Problem Solution     Area D.1 Search for and Generation of Alternatives     Area D.2 Problem Solving for Complex Systems        Area E. Open problems in science of design     Problems outlined in 5.3.5     Transformation of General Problems of Design to Science

5.3.6        A Classification of Application Areas        Planning Levels - Constraints        Planning Levels - Constraints and interactions for which control is possible

5.3.7        Examples of Design and Planning Activities...Towards a Complete and Structured Set        Global Planning and Design        Social Planning and Design        Engineering and Technology. Professions        Research Systems        Educational and Learning Systems        Individuals and Groups

5.4        Some Application Areas: Detailed Considerations

5.4.1        GLOBAL, SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN AND PLANNING        Fundamental Problems

5.4.2        ENGINEERING AND ENGINEERING DESIGN. PROFESSIONS        History of Engineering        Trends        Engineering Activities        Engineering Design     The process of design and its context     Creativity     Tools knowledge, and language for design     Design elements


5.4.4        DESIGN FOR KNOWLEDGE AND INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING        What are the fundamental problems of knowledge?        Design of a Knowledge Base






6        ACTION


6.1.1        Philosophies and psychologies of action

6.1.2        Philosophies of life

6.1.3        Action as philosophy



6.4        OPEN PROBLEMS



7.1.1        Was the design or plan implemented?

7.1.2        Is design or planning effective?

7.1.3        Is the design efficient?










8.2.1        Objectives

8.2.2        General outline of considerations and priorities for planning

8.2.3        Detailed outline of considerations        Intrinsic dimensions        External dimensions: Publicity and Publication Administration, Financial, Facilities, Auxiliary and Other Support        Leadership, Administration and Management for an Effective Research Environment     Effective research environment on individual, institutional and large scales     Considerations

8.2.4        Supplementary Topics

8.3        MANAGEMENT


8.4.1        A listing of some grant and contract sources

8.4.2        Plan for research and related funding


8.5.1        The idea of a research group

8.5.2        Background work towards forming a group

8.5.3        Outline of budget - an example

8.5.4        Further sources of information and special problems

8.5.5        Further possibilities for a group or institute


8.6.1        Introduction: old and new rhetoric

8.6.2        Practical rhetoric: the art of persuasion and communication

8.6.3        Rhetorical design

8.6.4        Rhetoric and philosophy





April 2003

Evolution and Design began with the observation that an evolutionary perspective – fact and theory – is vastly simplifying for understanding the world and therefore also in planning and design. The text outlines the sources and foundations and provides some details of that understanding and some of its applications

I used to say that Evolution and Design is about the relations between blind and conscious evolution

Some people regard natural evolution as something like the most important fact about the world and there are others who think that it is not a fact at all. I find it reasonable to hold that life emerged from the physical world; that all known forms of life have a common origin and that theories that originated with Darwin satisfactorily explain much of the qualitative and some of the quantitative features of the natural world. I think that the explanatory power of natural evolution carries over, to some extent, to the social world which is not distinct from the natural world. The possibilities that and the ways in which evolution may occur at the physical level is not treated to a significant degree in Evolution and Design

Naturally, evolutionary explanation and functional explanation must complement one another

For those who hold that evolution is not a fact, it is still possible to view evolutionary explanation introducing economy into understanding

Despite my enthusiasm for material explanation – evolutionary and functional – I have not found it to be the end of even scientific understanding. After I wrote Evolution and Design in 1987, I spent many years looking for a more comprehensive but still universal and unifying view. That has culminated, now, in 2003 search culminated in Journey in Being

June 1998: From the Revised Original Introduction

Evolution and Design is, first, an open vision of my world. It is a view - and a record of my experience, learning and entry into a dynamics - of my being, my vision and my process in the universe of being, vision and process. Being, knowledge and action are not seen as separate and part of the origin of Evolution and Design is in my own drives to knowledge, knowing and action

The first philosophy of Evolution and Design is evolutionary

It has a view - or metaphysics - that sees the world in an evolutionary process

Its epistemology, the text itself, and the concept of text are informed by the metaphysics

As knowledge and its instruments are part of the world, so are its processes within the processes of evolution. That does not imply that the nature of knowledge is fully determined by any a priori specified evolutionary base

Imagination and discrimination - hypothesis, deduction and criticism...experiment and testing...i.e., proper criteria - must be applied in drawing conclusions from evolutionary - or any - considerations. But the criteria are the means to the ends of validity, truth, pragmatics, groundedness, relatedness, being in

The criteria of epistemology are applied to epistemology. This generalizes: in grounding knowledge, we are required to ground epistemology, metaphysics, knowledge and its disciplines - which include evolution - and the nature of our being. Knowledge is of the world - not alien or impressed. We are required to consider the elements also in totality and in their relations

Evolution is not employed as a doctrine. Concepts and science of evolution are critiqued. This starts with biology and is extended to the realm of the universe and the mind. In metaphysics, or knowledge of the universe or of being as a whole, evolution - that is origins - is used to show relations among the elements of the universe, being and knowing

Evolution and Design writes this philosophy and seeks to elaborate it in all spheres

As an open account it is not limited to one paradigm. The first emphasized paradigm was evolutionary. Other trends - existential, idealistic... - appear. It is not limited to paradigmatic knowledge and seeks grounding in being and action. These trends, begun in Evolution and Design, continue in my thought and life and especially in the natural consequences of my life and thought as expressed in the tentatively titled Evolution, Design and the Absolute. The latter work - in progress - takes Evolution and Design and the alternate and perhaps inclusive principles to natural and logical conclusions

If it were possible for me to provide a full meaning, with implications, origins and sources of my thought in a brief preface then the text that follows this preface might be unnecessary. Brief elaboration of sources and contents...follow

Evolution and Design

Entertains issues of value, choice and action...and therefore, while not an axiological, ethical, social, political, legal, or educational philosophy per se it cannot and does not seek to avoid implications for meaning and action in these spheres...and therefore it is...A philosophy of and an approach to understanding, action, change and choice, values, planning, organization, and design...At all levels of material, social-cultural, human, and universal processes and institutions

Derives from and informs my life, attitudes and action, from my experience, thought and learning, in the worlds of nature, society, mind and learning, and the universal

Derives from and informs science...primarily biology, then physics, cosmology, geology, and the sciences of mind

Derives from and informs philosophy and humanities

[The language of dialog may be preferred to that of derivation, information, and instruction. But to force a view of relationship on the disciplines is a prior sin...]

Sees and derives from the elements of being as intimately related, the elements of process - knowing, design and action - as being intimately interactive...and develops, deploys and generalizes these relationships

This process is reflected in the outline of the contents: 1. Origins, 2. Evolution, 3. Philosophy, 4. Knowledge, 5. Design, 6. Action, 7. Learning, 8. The Future

The same process informs ontology and epistemology. Ontology finds being as diverse, structured, related and in process between equilibria and transition. Epistemology finds the unity of knowledge to be multi-modal and possessed of degrees rather than polarizations in the mode of truth

That the work is evolutionary implies that it is open. The openness also derives from my attitudes. Complementary and alternate paradigms are sought, integration is sought but contradiction - where resolution is not known - is allowed, all modes, levels, categorizations of being, process, knowing - implicit and formal - are sought for impact, inclusion, instruction, juxtaposition in harmony or in opposition and contradiction

Paradox may shake our foundations of knowledge but can only illuminate being

For the future

For the future I seek...discovery, learning: alternative paradigms...experience and study of and action within all disciplines, cultures, modes of being and process and through all modes and means of knowing, action...including exploration of dissolution of the distinction - whether apparent or real - between the subject and the object, or between knower and known, or between consciousness-awareness and their contents

Related work appears in the following articles and essays

Reflections on Metaphysics and the Problems of Consciousness,

Assist - on a design for uses of computer systems in my conceptual work, its organization and application,

Dynamic Uses of Computers in Universal, Global and Personal Process - and ongoing work on the uses of a computer in conceptual and related work which investigates some aspects of the computer as a dynamic link in these processes...and reflect on the issue of “What is machine intelligence and consciousness?”...”If possible can such intelligence be fabricated or will evolution be necessary?”...”Can intelligence or consciousness be transferred from human to machine?”

Evolution and Design contains extended analysis of the processes of knowledge, design and planning. Some projected applications:

A support group for work on the different aspects of the Evolution and Design Project as an ongoing work. Establishment as an institute with programs and funding


Work on the concept of knowledge resources. Work on an encyclopedia along the lines of the evolutionary or open text. Incorporation of modern computer information storage, processing, and networking

Expansion of the institute to a self-supporting enterprise

Knowledge, design, planning, and government consulting, application and support

...from the individual to national and world levels, from technical to personal, social, global and universal dimensions


Evolution and Design was written November 1986 to March 1987. This was an intense period of study, reflection and writing. The work has eight parts. I called the parts “Areas” since they were each ambitious in scope and relatively independent. Each Area had its own foci, emphases and problems or issues. My thought has traveled far since the original writing. However, except proofing, some minor changes to the section on an evolutionary analysis and extension of Kant's treatment of the synthetic a priori, a new title for Area 7 and addition of a introductory section to Area 8 there are as of this date no changes in the text. This new preface incorporates the essence of the original one and begins to supplement it with information, further elaborated in §8.1, on the trends of my thought since 1987 and on plans for further work and application

Before writing the work had been incubating for a long period. This happened originally and without intent - except a call to fullness of being that would later become a principle - or explicit plan in my studies and reflections in a wide variety of fields. This is detailed in Area 1. By 1984 many of the elements were present - engineering, evolution, experience of the natural world at first hand through living in it, philosophy, and feeling of a need for a universal perspective on knowledge and human and social processes. Summer of 1985 to summer 1986 was a period of study on a wide variety of topics on evolution, planning and design in engineering, other professions, government and human and social process

The inspiration for the structure and contents of the work came during two weeks at an isolated lake cirqued by ridges and peaks two thousand feet above, in the Trinity Alps Wilderness in Northwestern California, September 1986. I have returned to this place of magic many times and sought and received renewal and inspiration. I am in awe of and yet at home in such places

Upon return to my home - shared with good friends - in a shaded green place just off Dow's Prairie Road in McKinleyville, California I felt ready to write a brief synoptic essay. That was October 1986. Then, in November, I began the work of research, extensive library study, reflection, synthesis and writing. What was planned as short, preparatory essay manifested itself as Evolution and Design

Anil Mitra
, California
June 20, 1998

Page Numbering

Page Numbering

The current version is essentially the original manuscript, word-processed by my friend Joan Elk on a Mac 512K, then imported to my Pentium PC and word processed with Microsoft Word 97 - with the minor changes noted above in “origins.” Conversion to HTML was accomplished by custom macros and conversion to HTML by Microsoft Word 97. It was then necessary to make a number of fine adjustments manually

There are two sets of page numbers:

Normal page numbering for the word-processed version - the numerals are on the lower margins of the pages. Arabic numerals begin with the first page of Area 1, which is page 1. Pages before page 1 are assigned lower case Roman numerals. This system of numbering is unnecessary in the HTML version - the document you are now reading - and is, therefore, currently omitted

The page numbering of the original hand manuscript is retained. These allow the use of the original page number references without need for update. Update is a possible task for the future and would be part of major revision. Since I plan a successor, Evolution, Design and the Absolute, that revision may never be done by me. The successor text would include the entire essential and what I see as valid ideas of Evolution and Design - with appropriate revision. Portions of text may also be incorporated- again with possible revision

The original page numbers are placed at the right margin of the text at the locations of the original page breaks. The form is as follows:


Section and Paragraph Numbering

In the original hand manuscript the text was divided into Areas and sub-areas or sections. The section numbering has been retained except that some of the lower level section identifiers were alphabetic. An example of an old section “number” is 3.5.6.B. The alphabetic marking has been replaced by numeric marking thus the new number for the same section would be

Some paragraphs and low-level sections were marked by single numbers or letters. These have been replaced by section numbering that is consistent with the higher level numbering. The single letters have been replaced by numbers and then single numbers replaced by the multiple numeral format so that the section number identifies all the higher level sections to which the sub-section belongs. An attempt has been made to update all cross-references but this may not be complete and therefore the old numbering has been retained along with the new. Thus if a paragraph or low level section within was B, then the new number would normally be However, in order to also retain the old numbering, it would be [B]. Reference to this would then be either or B or, within, just B

While the sequential section numbering was consistent, a number of variants were used in the individually numbered paragraphs. Therefore the previous paragraph is a guide rather than a complete map





I have always enjoyed understanding at deep and broad levels, and I have enjoyed the effort related to understanding. As a child, I had an unusual curiosity. In high school, I preferred to study the material directly from the sources over listening to instruction. My main interests were chemistry, poetry, and avid reading, in addition to sports and outdoor activities

In college, my propensities led to a sequence of nonsystematic, but enjoyable and valuable excursions into engineering, mathematics, physics, and evolutionary biology, into the foundations of these topics and into logic and philosophy. My interest in philosophy was quite general. In graduate school, I was able to significantly further my technical skills in mathematics, physics, and the applied sciences of engineering - including computer implementation of modeling approaches. I continued to browse in the literature of biology, logic, philosophy and foundations

As a member of the research and instructional faculty at a number of universities, I continued to develop these interests, and to do original studies in the development and application of mathematical


and computer methods in physical science. I came, through other associations, to develop interests in individual development and psychology, social sciences and sociology, and in the nature and values of religious experience. At this time, I also began to concern myself with the modes of perception and the ways in which knowledge is formulated and incorporated in the organism. Throughout this development, my favorite subjective experiences in art have been in music, literature and poetry, theatre and cinema. I have had occasional creative experiences in theatre, poetry and writing. Related to these were my direct experiences with mystery and beauty in nature and cosmos, and the manner in which the organism, that is, my body attunes itself to the rough and primitive natural environments into which I enter

To this point, my development was formally nonsystematic in the sense that I never had a perfectly complete and well-defined program. The level of my achievement in the different disciplines was uneven. However, my development has been characterized by the following. [1] An informal and evolving rational and intuitive sense of coherence and purpose. This is undoubtedly derived, in part, from culture. [2] A continued interest in the use and meaning of my studies and researches. [3] A diffuse sense of beauty and mystery in the enterprise. [4] An emphasis, to a significant degree, on breadth, logic, foundations and synthesis, and fundamental problems in the nature and


limitations of mind [“mind”]. [5] Undoubtedly the items use, meaning, aesthetics and logic are related. I originally felt this idea to be true, but later developed it as a formal thesis. This means that function, value, beauty and consistency are not competing values when each is truly understood in relation to the whole picture. [6] A broad understanding of the methods and foundations of science. The emphasis has been on physics, but a well-developed outline in evolutionary biology is also included. Such an outline should refer to physical, cosmological, geological, and social evolution. [7] The emphasis of my first serious understanding - beginning at college - was in the area of natural science and mathematics. This understanding was later broadened through my interest in psychology, sociology, philosophy - east and west, and religion. [8] Development of original ideas, systems of ideas, synthesis and anticipation in the areas of interest

In 1984, I decided that a clear statement of the fundamental issues, with which I was dealing, was essential to full development. I felt that it would also be valuable to make a careful assessment of the fundamental problems of humankind. Such feelings were not new, except for the essential way in which I now felt them. At this point, I was working at Humboldt State University and the prevailing environment there has a valuable influence on this development. Unfortunately, the mode of operation and the expectation at Humboldt was to import ideas from elsewhere. I found this stifling. In June 1985, my connection with Humboldt was severed, and this offered me an opportunity for careful and systematic development of my ideas and interests


This did not begin immediately. Further assembly of the constituent concepts was essential. I did not realize this explicitly and formally at the time - but, although I felt a need for organization, I must have felt that I had the full system of concepts and the organizing principles for which I was looking. These principles would synthesize the different parts

It turned out that, in addition to the very general concepts of philosophy, value and knowledge, which, to that point, represented the dimensions of my development, including planning and anticipation, the additional concepts of design, action, and evaluation, were necessary

I found two organizing principles. The first is social process or problem solving which organizes and displays value, knowledge [and philosophy], design both formal and reflective, action, evaluation, and feed back as a unity

The second is evolution which organizes and displays [1] social process as a method of adaptation involving elements of conscious foresight, intelligence and choice, and of blind trial and error; and [2] social process as coming out of and a unity with physical, cosmological, geophysical, geo-chemical, biological and human evolution

Before turning to a description of these developments, I should point out that unity does not imply identity. Each level of abstraction omits some facts of experience. Nor does the truth of a system of abstraction imply completeness. It is thus absurd to say that life is completely physical - even if the physical level of description were true and exact. It could turn out that biology is completely founded in physics but that


foundation might involve some new biology and some new physics. Until the foundation is performed, we have neither need nor reason to believe it to be true, or untrue. This is the essential reason for not subscribing to materialism - determination of biology and sociology by physical science, or to biological determinism - determinism of social structure or behavior by biology. Choice and potential are among the primary facts of experience. It would not be inconsistent for social behavior to be completely based in material behavior but only partially based in biology of organism. The fact of the partial basis could be explained as the interaction of biology with a complex environment, and the fact of choice could be explained by incompleteness of “mind” or of biology or, perhaps, by an intrinsic indeterminism at the material level

The development and synthesis of my ideas as an organic system will now be described. In this system of my ideas, no indication of finality is intended

[1] In June 1985, I decided to formulate an outline of the modern engineering disciplines and to form an estimate of basic or essential activities of engineering. This would provide a basis of my further development in engineering and match my interest in the foundations of the knowledge-oriented disciplines. Engineering is more directly oriented toward action than are the humanities and sciences. I decided that the essence of engineering is design - the transitional process between knowledge and action. This was the first step, the recognition that the central process and problem of engineering is design

[2] I decided to study the


process of design. As I did this, I came to recognize that the application of the design process is of much more general than I had previously thought. This becomes clear when design is viewed as problem solving. The fundamental process is equally applied to personal situations, technical problems, social, global and environmental problems - to design, planning, and policy analysis. The idea of problem solving is not new. It goes back, undoubtedly, to the origins of humans. However, there is an array of modern techniques that can be used in design. First is our knowledge and knowledge in general, of system behavior - the sciences, modeling and experiment. Second is a collection of methods for determining maximal performance according to criteria. Third, is the management of the design process; this involves determination of the criteria, streamlining the steps in design - optimality of the design process, and enhancing the creative response through psychology. I found that there have been deep studies of the problem solving process in the literature of cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence. I decided to collect information on the design process, on application. I decided to think carefully about the nature of the design process

[3] I also began to reflect on the role of design in the total social future. I recognized the existence of a fundamental social process that begins with value formation and knowledge, which lead into design and is completed by action and feed back. I recognized the fundamental unity of these processes: design links thought and action, design completes what knowledge begins, knowledge is potential design, knowledge is a process of design applied to states of knowledge. I continued to


collect information and to reflect - and as I did, so my concept of design deepened and evolved. That is, in addition to new areas of application as outlined above, my concept of design came to include new spheres of human and non-human activity. The sequence of concepts of design is discussed below


The first meaning of design is the process of coming up with a plan to solve a problem. It involves seeing and creating viable alternatives and in making choices from among the alternatives. Related means of design are the completed plan, the completed implementation, the relationship - in the senses of function, value, aesthetics - of the parts to each other and to the completed whole. My focus is on the process of design. This is the creative process; it includes the formal and informal techniques of problem solving and aesthetics and, in its full sense, the ideas of dance and of destruction. Dance, in this sense, includes action - especially action in the face of ignorance and despair. To have full meaning for humans, design must balance the ways of Apollo and Dionysius, and the ways of Vishnu and Shiva. Design, the process, includes being. What we learn about the process from various designs can be generalized and used in other designs. One of the aims of this work is to display the common elements of design - some of the models of design - and their application in a variety of situations, including definition and resolution of the fundamental problems. At the same time, one of the ideas of dance is the intrinsic value of each situation - we will not always find formal design appropriate. This is the first meaning of design

Design uses knowledge, is used to act toward solution, and thus integrates human and social institutions in the composite and looping or repetitive process: thought-value-knowledge --> design --> action --> reflection and learning. As I


made this realization, my formal interest in sociology, politics, technology, art, religion and philosophy deepened. These disciplines would provide a background to a careful definition of the problems of humans, and to a provision and evaluation of solutions. The unity of the processes of knowledge now becomes clear; in facing so complex a situation as the problems of humans, knowledge and design must condition each other - despite the value of their separation. The value of their separation includes division of labor - efficiency, division of power, creation of a fund of knowledge, and a method of design. There is also a unity of these cognitive processes with action; they are a type of internal action which anticipates the total process of humans and environment; they take the place of additional external action which would otherwise be required; this accomplishes the objectives of humans with minimal expense of resources. This unity has an existential value: against alienation. A second objective of this work is to study and display this unity and its value, and the elements of the unity. The total process knowledge --> design --> action is a more inclusive design: total process of society as a mode of negotiation and being in the environment. This is a second meaning of design

New designs [and knowledge] include new elements and new variations of successful ideas. The new aspect is often discovered through non-conscious factors. A new design must be implemented before we can be sure it will work. This is because knowledge and design processes are not “perfect” - they improve the chance of success but do not guarantee it. Some designs work, others fail. The information from success or failure can be used to improve designs through learning: knowledge --> design --> action --> learning, or, simply, design --> learning. Thus both variation and selection in design involve rational [conscious, choice of future] and blind [trial and selection] factors. The pace of change is sometimes slow [small modifications], and sometimes fast [new idea]. This is a third meaning of design: evolutionary design. A third objective of this work is to display evolution in design, and to show how an understanding of this factor can lead to better design


The idea of evolution that I will use is emergence of stable order by processes that are not improbable. This would rule out the chance formation of a complex structure through proximity of its constituents. It implies that we should demonstrate reasonable mechanisms of formation. This is an idea of evolution also includes more than the processes of a universe, an earth, and its life and society

There are three parts to this idea. [1] Stability means existence for a period greater than transience. [2] Emergence of ordered structures from an environment. This includes the import of order from the environment. If the environment is ordered or if it contains ordered structures, the emerging order of evolution must be new. There is nothing in the idea of evolution which implies slow change or increasing order; rapid change and decrease in order are also included; such as, catastrophe and devolution [e.g., DNA\RNA --> virus]. [3] The processes of evolution are not improbable. Stated positively this means that we should be able to demonstrate reasonable mechanisms for evolution, that the mechanisms of evolution are the known mechanisms of nature [whose natural rates are the rates of evolution]. This does not rule out indeterministic mechanisms or random descriptions of mechanisms, provided the probability is sufficient. Randomness is not a property of events or of processes although we do refer to random events and random processes. The word random refers to our knowledge of a situation and not of the situation itself. A random occurrence is one we would describe in terms of probabilities. In this discussion, I will not need to refer to the concepts of indeterminism or randomness. However, there must be some qualification on the extent to which it can be shown that emergence of a complex order proceeded by known mechanisms of nature. We do not know the facts of such evolution or the mechanisms of nature [especially in their detailed unfolding] sufficiently well. Hence, evolutionary theory must confine itself to a generalized description of mechanisms applied to an abstract of evolutionary history. For example, it would be useful to know that evolution of complex biological structure by natural processes acting over the history of earth is reasonable even if only in outline. It would be valuable to know if the principles of quantum or classical and other behavior of matter would be sufficient. In addition, since the elementary processes of nature show, apparently, no intrinsic orientation toward order, we would like to show that order is be produced despite this indifference. Success or failure in this will affect confidence in our understanding of the basic natural processes


The primary or driving mechanism of evolution is change or variation. Some systems have accessible ordered states through which they pass during evolution. Examples are [A] alignment of the planets, and [B] spontaneous separation of air into its constituent gasses. These examples of emergence of order do not constitute evolution. In either case the order is very transitory; the second case though possible “in principle” is too improbable to reasonably occur over the history of Earth; therefore, variation alone is insufficient for evolution. A second mechanism is preferential stability or selectivity. When the new ordered states are stable [for a period of time, in the environment which may contain other ordered structures], this increases the likelihood that a system which passes through such a state will stay there; or, in a large environment the population of ordered structures of the given type will be relatively high. Variation and selection explain a number of ordered structures in nature; on the cosmic scale: galaxies, stars, solar systems; on an intermediate scale: relaxation oscillations in nature, fluid convection patterns; on the microscopic level: elementary particles, atoms, molecules

Variation and selection are sufficient for evolution. Other mechanisms enhance the variation and selection. A third mechanism of evolution, one that enhances variation and delays selection, is reproduction. This is the mechanism by which an ordered structure can copy its structure into the elements of the environment and so, even though the physical entity which carries the order ceases to exist, the order itself is perpetuated in time and space. In order to be a factor in evolution, reproduction must copy variations. Reproduction enhances the ability of nature to access complex stable ordered states by enhancing the cumulative effect of variations. This does not rule out large individual variations: the idea of evolution includes that large changes can come about by combinations of large individual variations and cumulation of small variations. Thus, structures that reproduce are at an obvious advantage over those produced by raw variation


One of the basic questions of biology is the origin of reproduction. The mechanisms that produced reproduction must include raw variation and selection; these mechanisms are pre-biological and represent one area of interface between physical and biological science. With reproduction, individuals and populations are the bearers of order: individuals and populations are “units” of evolution. Without reproduction, the individual is the unit of evolution; this excepts “cooperative phenomena” - perhaps such phenomena are the origin of reproduction. In addition to biological systems, reproduction occurs in growth of crystals, societies, and ideas

A fourth mechanism of evolution, which enhances variations, is interaction between ordered structures of similar and different types. Such interactions produce complex and composite structures to produce new variations. Some examples are [1] symbiotic structures, [2] composite structures: very weak interactions - populations; weak interactions - societies; intermediate interactions - colonies; strong interactions - organisms1; [3] sex, [4] mapping of space-time and material structure of environment into organism - instinct, knowledge, consciousness, mind. [5] The complex of interacting organisms in an environment also moves toward a stable ordered state, thus giving environment the character of an organism [though not a biological one as usually understood]. This opens further possibilities for variation and selection; we could consider the sun in the same light or, since the sun is hardly affected by biological evolution, regard it as one of the drivers of variation

The mechanisms of evolution are nature traversing through complex, but natural, paths to nature's own complex, stable and ordered states. To those who seek natural explanations and theories, these mechanisms seem necessitated by the improbability of order in a neutral or chaotic universe. This improbability is the same as saying that most states in the universe are unordered. Perhaps, however, ordered states are more common than imagined and the explanation of evolution is to be found in a composite of [1] mechanisms that access the complex, stable, ordered states and [2] the frequency of such states

One of the objectives of this discussion of evolution has been to provide a general framework for the understanding of design, its different - but related - meanings, and its role in and relation to evolution. It has been implied, and it will be


seen, that the concepts are so close and interwoven that a full consideration of one must include the other. I will now summarize the general framework

The nature of evolutionary theory is to understand the existence of complex physical and biological structures as elements of nature, nature as understood by humans; hence, theory is a programmatic toward understanding. Evolution is the emergence of order by natural processes. We usually understand these natural processes to have no preference for the end product of order; however, there is a natural tendency2 of a system that comes close to an equilibrium state to go to that state. The evolutionary equivalent of this is the idea that variations have no preference for order: selection provides the preference; the process-equilibrium and variation-selection ideas are rough approximations to each other, and the separation into non-preferential variation and preferential selection is, perhaps, an approximate3 but useful idea which preserves the notion of “blind” nature. The fundamental mechanisms of evolution are then, variation and selection. In the standard version, variation shows no preference for order. Derived mechanisms are reproduction and interaction. The explanation of evolution is to be found in its mechanisms and in the distribution and density of stable ordered states. A fourth objective of this work is to develop evolution as a framework for understanding the different levels of design. Those levels identified so far are specific problem solving, social process, and evolutionary design

Evolution is emergence of stable order; the essential mechanisms are variation and selection; in the standard version, variations have no preference for order and selection is due to causes outside the organism. These statements are undoubtedly approximate: in addition to that pointed out above, the organism is composite [gene, DNA, cell, creature...] and “outside” is ambiguous; also, in a sense, organism is part of environment. On the account of the standard version, evolution is said to be “blind” to its destiny; this also being approximation. However, even if evolution is initially blind, it evolves rationality and design that modify subsequent evolution. Perhaps rationality


and design are an alternative description of some aspects of mechanism, or perhaps both rationality and mechanism are approximations to the same actual process and perhaps rationality and design are the evolved expression of [possible] small scale tendencies of variations toward order. What is being said amounts to this: If evolution and design are defined according to their standard meanings then, although the language of the definition makes them appear distinct, and if the above considerations are valid; the actual processes are not, in fact, distinct. For, in the standard version, [1] evolution is emergence of order by [blind] natural process, and [2] design is at least partial use of rationality in variation and selection; and rationality is consciousness, knowledge [perhaps symbolic knowledge], prediction of alternate futures [variation] and choice [selection] of viable, good. Better, or best ones. Now, evolution can evolve design - our evolution has - and universal evolution therefore involves design. Therefore, the idea of design at the universal level is not paradoxical. Even if we do not need this concept to explain our experience, these factors suggest the implicit and explicit presence of design in evolution. However, if we accept that “the separation of evolution into variations that have no preference for order and selections that prefer order” is an approximation, then evolution is design. At the same time real design is [rational] variation and selection which is [the essence of] evolution. Hence “design is evolution” - meaning that the two concepts are much closer than is commonly thought. I will make a thesis that they are identical. Of course, I do not present this as a definite conclusion because of questions about the premises and the language used in forming the conclusion

A fifth objective of this work is to consider carefully the meaning and truth of design is evolution; this is included in the fourth objective which can be restated: study the relationships of the different meanings of evolution and design. This naturally includes a study of evolution; and approximate meaning: evolution is emergence of order by natural process; design is use of rationality in variation and selection; and rationality includes knowledge and value choice. [Different interpretations are appropriate, as approximations, at different stages of evolution.]

Although design is evolution can be questioned, there are strong similarities of their fundamental meanings, and this provides a fourth meaning of design. A sixth objective of this work is to study this meaning of design in its most general and basic sense - it includes all the other senses, for design as problem solving grows out of human intelligence, grows out of evolutionary biology


as does design as social process. Also the basic mechanism evolution is variation and selection is a basic paradigm of problem solving4 [trial and error, better called trial and selection; induction and deduction; hypothetico-deductive; creativity and criticism; synthesis and analysis]. However, a fundamental meaning of design as evolution is as follows...design immersed in evolution...evolution immersed in design...history and evolution are intertwined...values have real sources

One of the ideas inherent in this discussion has been the unity of the human and universal processes. The seventh objective of this work is to study, understand, and experience5 and to display this unity. This is essentially the same as the sixth objective

I now realize what I have set out to do - synthesize all worldviews of being and action. I also realize the enormity of this. I want it. It will make me happy, but [a] I must approach it intelligently and [b] I need help. This is the eighth and final objective of this work. This is essentially the same as the sixth and seventh objectives. Eight objectives of this work and four concepts of design have been stated. Out of this synthesis, I hope something new comes. In addition to insight, it seems to me that I do have points of view that have originality and that are worth sharing



Introduction to the Concept of Design

DESIGN - Resource intensive tasks can be made efficient by defining the task to be design and implementation:

Process of coming up with a plan, planning

Important activity: industrial design, social design, planning and reconstruction, personal planning, policy analysis, strategic planning

Rational choice making and decision analysis

Transition from thought to action

As a verb, design is the characterizations above, the process, and as noun, is the completed plan or the structure of the implementation

As an element in process and change [in human activity] is variation and selection, design works by direction variation and selection, by rationalizing selection

Problem solving [objective design], search, information gathering [objective-free or general design]

Aspects are management, procedural, technical, psychological [creation, invention], analytical

1.1.1        Four Levels of Design

The list of descriptions above suggests generalized concepts of design; example, the idea of a process “thought-knowledge --> design --> action” suggests a new meaning. Design is thought --> decision --> action. Such generalized meanings will provide insight for [and into] design. Generalized definitions are needed         Level I - Problem solving and objective design

Problem solving and objective design [objectives reasonably clear or can be clarified, that is, conscious design...This is the meaning above         Level II - Social and human process

Social and human process = knowledge and thought --> design --> action         Level III - Evolutionary design

Evolutionary design = Level I and learning or feedback and correction = dynamic design

Or, Level III = Level II and learning or feedback and correction = social change and evolution


Learning and correction are needed because of [1] imperfection in design and

Knowledge6 - the problem solving element, and [2] changing environment and circumstances - the dynamic element

Designs [Dionysian and Apollonian] are the fundamental social activity of

Levels I, II, and III         Level IV - Design is evolution

Design is evolution

Design as evolution [pp. 11 - 17]. Similar to choice as mechanism, or

design as evolution and... choice as mechanism and

Design and evolution as the essential action of the universe

Cosmological - physical - geophysical - chemical


Human - social - mind or mental - consciousness


Shows the origins of Levels I, II, III; provides lessons in value and method for these levels and indicates the essential nature of these levels of design

Provides meaning, for the unity is anti-alienating; shows unity [interaction] of all process

Meaning in process [Dionysius] vs. meaning in ends [Apollo]

Design is evolution as emergence of order

Levels I, II, III as localization, specialization

Variation and selection



The “General Statement” [pp. 4 - 17] is a narrative description of my objectives for this work, how my ideas evolved through different levels to include universal process, and how this grew out of my early interests. Here: an organized, more formal statement

1.2.1        FORMAL STATEMENT         Objective 1 - Design as fundamental in society and universe

OBJECTIVE 1. Design as fundamental in society and universe, and for the individual. Ideas of design, development of the ideas, uses; relations, unities and transitions among the ideas and characterization [Section 1.1], and use of these relations, etc., in elucidating the different ideas; evolution, process, interaction as unifiers        Idea A - Practical and objective design

IDEA A: Practical and objective design; design as specific problem identification and solution; design as search, information gathering        Idea B - Social process as design

IDEA B: Social process as design; design [noun and verb] and foundation [noun and verb] of society and social - group process        Idea C - Evolution in design

IDEA C: Evolution in design. From Idea A, dynamic design [dynamic due to incomplete adaptation and changing circumstance]. From Idea B, social evolution

The process of design evolves. This is analogous to “evolution of evolution.”        Idea D - General evolution

IDEA D:; unity of process; design as evolution, as variation and selection; resolution of the dualisms: matter vs. consciousness, materialism vs. choice

Evolution of the process of design is an example of “evolution of evolution.”         Objective 2 - Use of design

OBJECTIVE 2. Use of design: process; strategy; use of the relations among the levels: analogies, possibilities, values, alienation; applications

Focus on fundamental problems...the fundamental problems of humankind, of global process...material and existential problems. Focus on design in definition and resolution of these issues

1-21         Objective 3 - Design as universal process

OBJECTIVE 3. Design as universal process. Criticism, synthesis, continuing development and evolution of all personal and worldviews7, intrinsic and organismic attitudes of being, action and motivation. This includes ideal religion, “dance” - play, destruction - devolution

Unfolding of consequences, considerations on the fundamental problems of humankind


The objectives are equipotent development of design is not different from use; development is potential or generic use; development incorporates being, in full, where, previously, in technology material considerations dominated. Practical design is not apart from universal process

Design has many meanings - design as cosmic creation, design as day to day, bootstrap, hanging-on to existence. Design is responsible to the whole. Knowledge is [conceived as] responsible to itself. Therefore, knowledge can seem pure: hence its appeal as sophistication. But even in the halls of academic sophistication in the Western world, design has come of age - a return to the engineering curriculum; the development of problem solving [and its equivalence to concept formation] within cognitive science and artificial intelligence studies; the clamor within the towers of ivory to solve “practical” problems         Objective 1 - objective design

OBJECTIVE 1. There is a need, from the limited point of view of objective design of different characterizations and generalizations. The unities and relations among the various levels provide insights. Some examples, [1] the generalization design --> social process provides perspective and value for


objective design and extends the range of applications of the objective design-problem solving process; shows a unity of the social processes, shows the mesh and to a degree shows each phase of social process as a model of the total process. [2] The relation objective design --> objective design implies a self-relation: what is the optimum sequencing and creative enhancement of design; what is the optimum level of resources to be allocated to design. This suggests an infinite regress and, indeed, this question must be handled dynamically as the character of the particular problem unfolds. Such questions are questions of management of design, or design of design

[3] Various aspects of knowledge impinge on design; this can be seen as an aspect of the relation design, « social process, since production of knowledge and knowledge are aspects of the process; the branches of technical science and mathematics are useful in modeling behavior of systems for design; aspects of management and cognitive science - artificial intelligence are useful in modeling - enhancing design itself. [4] The concept of evolutionary design provides a perspective on the further generalization objective design --> evolution = universal process; although not always explicitly recognized, evolution must always be a part of design for two reason: first, imperfections in design and knowledge, and, second, formal completion is not actual completion. Therefore, Idea C, below, should be a part of Ideas A and B - and in actuality, it is

[5] The equivalence design =? evolution gives insight in view of the meanings, evolution = emergence of order by natural processes and incorporation of rationality in variation and selection. This gives reciprocal insight into the problem-solving nature and search aspects of design and evolution. In addition, values for design are provided: e.g., variety and diversity. Others should be sought. These would include the meaning and value of a search for and cooperation among the levels of evolution and design. The relation shows the unity of the design, social process [for example, by demonstrating a common origin]


and provides new meaning for both design and evolution. Some of these meanings have been discussed in the General Statement, and in the essay “Life, Unity, Meaning”8. It is probable that we can never construct a single finite rational scheme of design that would match evolution [Gödel-type arguments]: I think not - at least in principle [considering evolutionary automata]. This means, first, evolution is “greater” than rational system [obviously]; second, organism is greater than rational system; but not, in itself, that organism is greater than rationality. Rationality = the faculty which produces rational systems _ a collection of rational systems        Idea A - Objective design is a fundamental human and social process

IDEA A: Objective design is a fundamental human and social process        Idea B: Objective design generalizes to social process

IDEA B: Objective design generalizes to social process; since the world and universe is a web of connections, other parts of the social process could equally generalize. However, in various senses design is natural for this: it is a more flexible concept than knowledge or value. In its original form, it incorporates knowledge or elements of knowledge. It bridges knowledge-thought and action and this leads to the ideas of analysis and experiment        Idea C - Evolution in Design

IDEA C: The idea evolution is intended to include non-rational and blind elements in variation and selection; incremental, new and large variations are included        Idea D - General Evolution

IDEA D: I am concerned to see the unity9, the universal pervasions of the dimensions of being [inasmuch as these are not mere artifacts of language], the resolution of the dualisms directly [direct vision], but also to understand them rationally. There is a rational explanation of the dual approaches to “knowledge”: there are stages of information processing from perceptual to cognitive [central]; and levels of awareness from organismic to conscious. Mystic vision has to do with processes that are closer to automatic-autonomic-perceptual and whole-organismic rather primarily than fragmentary-conscious-rational; the emotional peak related to direct vision could be universal or a result of the temporary holism of a fragmented self10. These remarks are not in any way prejudicial to the character of direct or mystic vision         Objective 2 - Use of Design

OBJECTIVE 2. Some applications include Objective design models, techniques, and use of paradigms developed in one field for critical use in others. In this sense, mathematics is a generalized design tool, and optimization and control theory are specific instances. There are many specific potential applications in product and process development, social and personal planning, and professions of engineering, economics, and medicine. Social process distinguished from objective design by greater multiplicity and ambiguity of objects and higher inclusivity of process. Application in unification of the multiplicity of social effort; special applications in social and global planning and policy, government and government agencies, health, economics, education and national policies for progress in knowledge. Evolutionary design is use of knowledge of evolutionary principles in development of “designs”, resource allocation for design. Design as evolution unification, synthesis, resolution of problems of alienation and inequity, values for more specific levels of design, long-range planning values and synthesis of possibilities and adventure, ideal motivational systems [as James: religion]         Objective 3 - Design As Universal Process

OBJECTIVE 3. Includes all dimensions of design, dimensions of being, modes and categories of knowledge and perception, methods of advance; application to fundamental problems of humans - practical and existential and motivational - balance in dimensions of being; incompleteness of


top --> down [T --> D], generic --> down [G --> D], self --> out [S --> O], path identification, rational systems, and open [objective free] design and process - evolution - devolution - dance as resolution

I realize the enormity of this – it is an adventure...there are adventures, holistic visions and unitary insights to be had to synthesize rational design-scapes. One of the objectives of the synthesis of Objective 3 is:

I felt it worthwhile to offer him [the individual] that his personal design for life should include designs, as far as his power permits for his wider system; and information, as far as his knowledge permits, of that wider system. I also felt it valuable to offer for his consideration the idea of search for the broadest and highest of all possible views.11

There is adventure and action in this search. The idea applies to society



1.3.1        There is a human motive to the universal

There is in humankind a motive to know and resolve its fundamental practical and existential problems at all levels of organism, individual, society and universe

1.3.2        This resolution requires vision

This resolution requires humankind to see, First, the actual unity of reality and of itself with reality; and to know the essential dimensions of [its] being and processes. This requires openness and flexibility


DESIGN, as problem solving is an essential activity in political process, social planning and various phases of global and local society and environment. This includes the professions, and individual life - civilized, primitive, organic

1.3.4        objective design must include holistic values

Such objective design can be performed as a rational activity, but must include holistic values. Good design includes arational approaches - intuitive, organismic, and direct approaches to knowing and creativity

1.3.5        Generalization of the basic design leads to more inclusive and universal processes

Generalization of the basic design process by a clear recognition of its essential elements and context leads to more inclusive and universal processes that include universal evolution. The relationships among the levels of being have significance for the levels of design. This includes provision of truer values for the objective level. The process of inclusion is ongoing and essential and has value for all levels. Understood as design, all levels have application

1.3.6        The idea evolution = design [Level IV] universalizes and hierarchizes design


The idea evolution = design [Level 4] universalizes and hierarchizes design. The universalization could start from any point in the cycle: awareness --> value --> knowledge --> design --> action --> learning or feedback --> awareness. THUS, all processes and activity are synthesized. A SYNTHESIS THAT STARTS FROM OBJECTIVE DESIGN THUS provides a perspective on design and a design perspective overall. Such a synthesis does not unduly exalt design. Alternative syntheses, such as provided in this WORK and perspectives could start from any point in the cycle since each element includes the whole in micro-process form - with different emphases. These “systems” provide approaches to value, knowledge, design, and action and to resolution of the fundamental problems of humankind

1.4         OUTLINE

1.4.1 TOPICS

Area 1 and Area 8 are INTRODUCTION and CONCLUSION. Evolution is the genesis of design and social process, and so Area 2, EVOLUTION, is first in the body of the work...A model of social process is: awareness and perception --> reflection --> value --> knowledge --> design and planning --> action, observation, control and implementation --> learning or feedback, evaluation and correction. Contract the first three elements to philosophy to obtain the remaining areas in order: Areas 3 PHILOSOPHY, 4. KNOWLEDGE, 5 DESIGN, 6. ACTION, and 7 EVALUATION

1.4.1        LOGIC OF THE ORDER

There is one point of explanation that deserves further discussion. Philosophy includes universal, foundational and genetic aspects of knowledge and is, in this sense, logically before the specific disciplines of Area 4. However, it would be useful to consider the specific disciplines before philosophy to provide a base on which to build - to provide substance. This is provided in part by placing EVOLUTION before PHILOSOPHY. It is also logically desirable to have PHILOSOPHY before EVOLUTION; this need is partial resolved by placing a second on Abstract Evolution at the head of Area 1. This is an account of the linguistic elements of an outline of evolution and possibilities for basis of evolution in [what is assumed to be] mechanism. This is taken up again in a later sub-area on emergence of order


1.4.2        COMPLETENESS

The contents, including discussion in this introduction, should provide a complete implementation of the objectives of this work [§1.2] and the General Statement - explicit and implicit, and a complete foundation of the theses and postulates [§1.5]

Examination of the detailed outline areas shows that the objectives have been incorporated. The work should do justice to the areas outlined, the stated objectives, and the theses and postulates of this work

A full treatment of the theses and postulates will include [1] their foundation; this is done specifically in the General Statement and in PHILOSOPHY OF EVOLUTION AND DESIGN [3.5.6]; and [2] their vitality to the objectives and to life. A general treatment of these two items is included throughout the work


Treatment is throughout the work. The indications below are a partial guide. In the current outline form, it is not the objective to present such solutions to the implied problems as are possible, but to provide a framework, an atlas, to such solutions         Objective 1

Objective 1. Identifying levels of design General Statement, Areas 1.1, 2, 5

Relations among the levels All areas


Using the relations 1.2.2

Item l 5.3.3, 5.4.1, 4, 7

Item 2, 5.2.1, 5.3.1,, 4, 5;; 5.3.6 - 7; 5.4.1 - 2

Item 3 4, 5.3.5, 5.4.1,2,4; 5.5

Item 4 2, 5, 7

Item 5 2, 3, 5         Objective 2

Objective 2. Applications of design 1.2.1 Objective 1

Idea A 5

Idea B 4.3.3, 5

Idea C 4, 5, 7

Idea D 2, 3, 6, 7

Fundamental problems Application to definition

Item 2.1, 2.5 - 6, 2.8, 3.1,3; 3.5.2,5 - 7; 4.1 - 2; 5.2 - 5; 6.1, 7         Objective 3

Objective 3. Synthesis 2.5 - 6, 3, 4.1 - 2, 5.3 - 4, 6.1,3

Fundamental problems- toward solution

See “Fundamental problems Objective 2” above

Item 5.3.1, 4, 7, 5.4.1,3,5; 6.1,3; 7





In this section, I review my reasons to study and to further the understanding of evolution, personal and social. These reasons are additional to those considered in the Introduction, the General Statement, and the remaining sub-areas under Evolution

2.1.1        As the universal process of unfolding reality

As the universal process of unfolding reality12...evolution provides or can or could provide knowledge and understanding of the total picture; one of three or four ways to see unity and structure

Others are direct knowledge and vision, through identity, through homology and analogy or similarity, as part of a larger and total process, through the containing of the larger and total process in micro-process, and a putting back together of the initially separated categories of rational and other process. This discussion shows and gives insight into the bounded or limited nature of rationality and the resolution of this question. The true nature of rationality and knowledge = provision of adaptation [variation, selection and replication, interaction of individual and cultural ideas and solutions] and not certitude [though evaluation of certitude has its appropriate place], as well as resolution through synthesis; and the setting of rationality and knowledge in more comprehensive processes and structures - the existential foundation of rationality and knowing and knowledge

2.1.2        To show levels of understanding:

2-2         [A] Knowledge As Static         [B] Knowledge as evolving         [C] Knowledge As An Element Of Evolution

Knowledge as an element in a more general evolution - a connection between knowledge and knowledge and evolution         [D] Evolution Of The Processes Of Knowledge

Evolution of the processes of knowledge and of the integration of modes of knowledge and perception; examples, the model: random association and natural selection against non-adapted cultures and groups --> systematic association and process applied to sub-process and elimination or abeyance [because an idea may be fruitful later] of non-adaptive ideas and knowledge; or the model: random association --> systematic association --> experimental association in the present --> historical and evolutionary associations...an approach to the foundations of the hypothetico-deductive method or method of speculative philosophy [Whitehead]

2.1.3        To establish “the” dimensions of being

To establish “the” dimensions of being, the categories of language - innate, natural and artificial, the categories of thought - mental and organismic, and the relations among these. I believe there to be some evolutionary convergence and, therefore, provision of at least partial basis. Evolution integrated knowledge - science, history, life, and process

2.1.4        Provides learning for design

To what extent is there evolution in design, design in evolution; to study the evolution of design; to what extent can evolution tell us about the nature of design, the nature of creativity, the “true” nature of humans and value for design; mutual natures and interactions of design and evolution; need to know nature of evolution to use it and study, analyze, criticize its theory to advance it and improve adaptivity of knowledge of it

2.1.5        To study my own life

2.1.6        To understand relation of universal to human Being

To understand relation of Universal to Human Being, the unity of humankind with nature and universe; to provide meaning; René Dubos' “transitions matter --> life --> consciousness are articles of faith and not scientific knowledge” is reasonable but discounts mystical awareness of universal pervasion of matter, life, mind and consciousness, design and choice. The religious motive in the sense of William James' “Religion is the total motivational system of men” in contrast to church, creed, dogma, or opium of the masses

2.1.7        Relation to objectives of the present work

Relation to objectives of the present work and theses, characterization of design as stated in the General Statement, and sub-areas Characterization, Objectives, and Theses; specific motives provided in the sub-areas of evolution; specific relations to all the other six Areas

2.1.8        Provides insight into culture and human institutions

Study of evolution provides insight into culture and human institutions. This includes tradition, values and morals, knowledge and art, language and so on, but this is not a substitute for cultural determinism

2.1.9        As a foundation for design

As a foundation for design         [1] Design is within evolution         [2] Design is analogous to evolution

Design is analogous to evolution - its mechanism is variation and selection. Successful knowledge and design is reproduced. Foresight can be seen as reading the future from the past or, more accurately, an ability to predict repeating patterns from having adapted to them. Even knowledge can be interpreted this way: the repeating pattern is an ability to negotiate an unknown environment whether in space or in time. This leads us to ask, because it begs the question, what - therefore - are the limitations on such human knowledge? Alternatively, foresight is the repetition of dominant behavior         [3] Design is part of evolution

Higher design is evolutionary...and is part of general evolution



2.2.1        Origins, continuation and destination of all entities in our physical and speculative universes

Origins, continuation and destination of all entities in our physical and speculative universes... The idea of an entity is something which on some scale of human awareness has existence13 or being. The idea of evolution is that on a longer scale these entities come into existence, maintain existence and have an indefinite-infinite or finite existence. Evolution includes origination, being and dissolution. Included in the idea of being is process. The processes of society have evolved - according to the idea of evolution

2.2.2        Processes of evolution are not different than ordinary processes

When distinguished from creation, guidance, and destruction ideas, evolution implies that the processes of origination, maintenance, and destination are, in ultimate nature, not different from the ordinary-everyday processes. Such ordinary-everyday processes may include [1] common sense, [2] the elementary processes of physics, and [3] the basic processes of biology. Any final notion of evolution in this sense, and clear and full distinction from creation, etc., must wait for completion of understanding of the ordinary processes. An example of a difficulty is that the ordinary processes as we understand them may themselves be actually evolving. As far as evolution is to be regarded as an open chapter in a dialogue among people committed to truth, it must be regarded as incomplete


2.2.3        Evolution need not be distinguished from or equated with creation, guidance, or destruction

In general, for various reasons, evolution need not be distinguished from or equated with creation, guidance and destruction. There are a number of reasons For this: [1] knowledge of ordinary processes is incomplete, [2] ordinary processes, because of incomplete knowledge either of their nature or their implications, may have extraordinary implications; e.g., mechanism, usually regarded as indifferent to order may be not so, [3] as a generalization a language of evolution and a language of creation are equivalent; it may be argued that a language of [indifferent] evolution is more economical but it could also be argued that this language is not complete, [4] even if biophysical mechanisms are indifferent to order and biophysical evolution was initially indifferent to direction then, if these mechanisms are complete, they have evolved design. Perhaps the elements of mechanism and design pervade all being. This applies equally to consciousness, choice, mind, etc. [whichever of these concepts are essential]; perhaps they are always there as unity or plurality - sometimes latent to our observation

Some of us associate ideas of creation, guidance, and destruction with dogmatism. As far as this is true, it is not essential but a function of present and recent history


2.2.4        Time and space evolve

Time and space are involved in evolution; that is, they evolve. One of the unifying ideas in science, religion and philosophy is that the ordinary processes, when properly understood, on earth and the neighboring parts of the universe, and at this time and over known history extend over all space and time. This idea was used in discussing evolution [2.2.2]. It is equally valid that what we learn from the far reaches should pervade here and now. The ultimate truth is a process of approximation and acceptance based on a balance of information from all places and times in physical and inner universes. We learn from relativity that our notions of space and time are modified; they lose their complete distinction in an accurate mapping of events of reality. Space-time evolves, too, and may have had an origin and may have a destination. The original singularity does not imply an original instant. It may be more mathematical, an artifact of description, than physical - so it does not even imply loss of information. Originations and destinations of the universe we know remain uncertain and ambiguous at the boundaries of its being and our knowledge. Space-time itself need not be a final entity of reality or description but it is currently appropriate [November 1986] to include evolution of space-time or quantum-field as elements of physical and universal evolution

2.2.5        Universal processes

The processes of evolution can be recognized on a number of levels. The “mechanisms” of the levels include greater and lesser degrees of universality


Detailed understanding of the mechanisms may be approximate. This may hide some universality. Mechanisms that seem to be distinct may be related - equivalent or reducible. Reductionism holds that the mechanisms of one level are reducible to those of “lower” levels. Partial reduction may be the case. Philosophically there need be no ultimate need for assignment of hierarchy and we may regard all mechanisms as universally pervasive until the contrary is demonstrated as necessary. In practice, we recognize the necessity of practical convenience. A set of possible levels:


Space-time-field and evolution of physics

Universe [“physical”]

Galaxy clusters, super galaxies, galaxies and interstellar matter

Star and planetary systems

Planetary evolution; geology

Geo-chemical evolution


Human and social evolution



Universal evolution

Cartesian-reductionist compositionist-holistic-synergistic and unitarian-reconstructed-hierarchy-mystic approaches are valid and complement one another. Approaches to composition include organization, and process-evolution


2.2.6        Evolution does refer to specific set of mechanisms or theories

Evolution - understanding, fact, and theory - is not a specific set of mechanisms or theories...although understanding, mechanisms, and theories are important. It is not some specific hierarchy, although hierarchy may be employed. For example, if we say evolution = variation AND selection and that variation is indifferent to order or adaptation and that selection is without destiny, we mean to attempt an explanation of, say, biology on these grounds; and that this principle has had some degree of success. However, an affirmative extension to the completeness of this mechanism re universal evolution, or even biology, is not intended. Yet, evolution and theory provide mutual insight

2.2.7        Evolution is not a social or political program

Evolution [understanding, fact, and theory] is not a social or political program such as social Darwinism. Evolution is intended as a study of natural order and not as a justification of a social or socio-environmental order as natural or right. Undoubtedly we can learn from evolution. We can learn something about possibilities and limitations, about freedom and the use of freedom. However, this information is probably going to be incomplete and should, I believe, be used as input into our designs [and this includes morality and ethics], but not as a substitute for design. Evolution is not a theory of universal, biological, historical, social or human determinism. In the nineteenth century evolution [in the sense of Darwinism] was used as an unfounded justification for a wide variety of beliefs to the extent that “Darwinism came to mean all things to all men.” However, there is a social evolution; and this provides insight into social institutions and processes

2-9 and 2-10

2.2.8        Evolution is not a philosophical program

Evolution [understanding, fact, and theory] is not a philosophical program such as emergent evolutions of C. Lloyd Morgan, creative evolution of Henri Bergson, or the evolutionary ideas of Herbert Spencer or George Santayana. The negating characteristics of emergent evolutionism are interesting: evolution is supposed to be not [1] mechanistic, [2] vitalist, [3] preformationist - actualization of pre-existing tendencies, [4] reductionist - reducible to the shuffling of a few elemental elements. Nor do I affirm the affirmative ideas of emergent evolutionism: [1] emergence, [2] levels, [3] novelty...which are, in effect, the affirmation of the process of evolution as an essential category. All of these ideas may be used in either affirmative or negative form, but I do not restrict evolution to any set of them until some completeness and its necessity be demonstrated or laid bare. Evolution and philosophy may enhance each other

2.2.9        Evolution includes emergence of order by natural processes

Evolution includes emergence of order by natural or ordinary processes...processes that seem reasonable and non-exceptional. It is the emergence, continuation, and dissolution of the categories of nature and the dimensions, types and processes of being which on first sight seem static. It is implied that a full attempt at understanding of “ordinary” is required, and that the ordinary processes may be in evolution. This evolution includes an understanding of the long-time story of reality, of a record of the events of the human and universal past together. This evolution attempts to use that understanding of this record of reality

2-11         Is not essential

Blind mechanism or indifferent variation is not essential, nor is direction or directed mechanism. Mechanism, however, is the more efficient explanation - it is the weaker hypothesis!

It has been said that purpose is an illusion since matter, which underlies everything, is mechanistic in its processes. The argument is made in more and in less subtle ways

Grant the hypothesis of mechanistic materialism. It then follows that mechanism has given rise to design since animals including humans do design. In 2.6.8, there is much mention of the distinctions among the concepts of teleological, teleonomic and teleomatic processes. It remains that mechanistic matter has given rise to design. However while matter does not design [except when it manifests as certain animals, humans...] it must have something in it that permits it in certain combinations to design. Matter does design

Rethink this

Regardless, there is no refutation of cosmic teleology. Rather, Darwinism is shown the more efficient hypothesis relative to life. Combined with the success of the physical sciences, the argument is most persuasive and successful in explanatory, predictive, and pragmatic senses but not in an ultimate sense         Mechanisms includes:

Mechanism - physical and chemical

Description of change - variation and selection

Guidance - design as in social change and evolution


For further discussion of nature and mechanisms of evolution, see §1, especially pp. 10-17



In order to understand evolution, it will be useful to have a sequence or collection of modes of talking about it. None of these modes will be complete or final descriptions and models, but will be use vehicles, each at various levels of generality. This point is made [2.2.6-8, 1.4.2] and an abstract of evolution is provided in the General Statement [pp. 10-17]

Models and descriptions of evolution provide examples of evolution, though not “natural” ones...but rather symbolic ones


2.3.1        Special

Creation and evolution as independent categories

2.3.2        Linguistic / symbolic

Includes language and terminology of evolution and creation, and revisions of natural language to account for new learning regarding being, process and evolution

2.3.3        Mathematical - a special case of the symbolic


Discrete - infinite or finite [von Neumann]

2.3.4        Computer


Simulative - approximations to infinite [continuous or other]; finite automata

2.3.5        Mechanistic

Physical, chemical, biological, psychosocial


2.4         HISTORY14

First, I must be clear about meaning. [1] This is an account of progression of facts from origins to present, of universes of being and discourse. [2] It is done with the bare minimum of philosophical, linguistic, mechanistic, scientific, etc. base to make the information intelligible. Deviations are permissible provided they are in addition to the minimally interpreted versions. In brief, I am referring to a minimally interpreted account of the universe and not an interpreted account of humankind

All levels are to be included: universal --> universal. The history of humankind is a chapter. The classic tables of universal, geologic, social, classical historical evolution are included

2.4.1        Purpose of the section

Before understanding, system and philosophy, comes assemblage15

Contemplation --> meditation --> action...followed by iteration and sub-iteration

2.4.2        Meaning of History16

The meaning of history here is described above [2.4, 2.4.1]. For reference, a discussion of classical history is attached





The ancients, living and evolving in the world, had powers of observation and body-Earth-knowledge [elsewhere I call this type of knowledge organic or organismic] and were capable of powerful and synthetic insight into cosmography and history - synthetic in its effect on action and social organization and interaction with nature, psyche and universe

Positive - Existential knowledge forms a motivational, existential, practical system: centering humankind in the universe, in being [i.e., making humankind feel at home, as in part of and with; not necessarily above or over]; taking care of all dimensions of human existence

Negative - incompleteness and dogma


An alternative title I had considered is “Mythic Accounts...” but I decided that title would have been prejudicial to an understanding and evaluation of the nature, origin, meaning and value of such accounts. Mythical is often construed as “false” and “irrational”. Of course, mythology does contain non-rational elements and this is precisely one of its values, provided we do not rationalize or make dogma

2.5.1        Reasons for studying organic accounts of creation, guidance and destruction         [1] As archetypes of origins

They are suggestive of the archetypes of originations and destinations. This is a valuable learning, for further development, and other reasons         [2] As archetypes of psyche

They are suggestive of human archetypes and archetypes of psyche and imagination. This, too, is valuable         [3] Continuity with the past

They provide continuity with the past         [4] Some functions are still valid

Some of the historical “functions” of the mythical-organic accounts are still valid - culturally speaking. The images of organic mythology still speak directly to men and women         [5] Organic knowledge of human origins

They are sources of organic or organismic and cultural knowledge of human origins and environment expressed in organic symbols; nor are they devoid of rationality         [6] Symbolic-organic knowledge is valuable

Such symbolic-organic knowledge has been valuable to men and women in modern times of stress when the liberal and rational approach has failed. There are, it is true, misuses of the organic doctrines, but so are there of the rational. Perhaps we could develop a valuable synthesis. It has been claimed such syntheses have


been failures or, at best, disappointments. However, by synthesis I do not think of the organic added on to the rational; but, perhaps, the expression of the rational in an organic language or a conditioning of the organic accounts to be consistent with the essence of rational knowledge. In formulating this expression, it will be valuable to remember the limitations of rational synthesis at the boundaries of our universes of experience and knowledge         [7] If science should decay

If science and the rational approach should decay, because of either inadequacy or incompleteness, disuse, or, perhaps, a failure of nerve, the organic myths would be of value         [8] Insight organic knowledge

The study will be a source of insight into a form of organic knowledge

2.5.2        Function

Function. First, as suggested [2.5.1], as a source of organic or implicit behavioral knowledge [self-knowledge, too] of the total system of humankind's exterior [includes physical, social] and interior [includes rational, emotional] universes. Second, and related to the first, as a motivational system in the interior and exterior worlds. The third function is related to the first two. It is a centering or placing humankind in its place and time - empirically and symbolically. Fourth, related to the second, as a source of cultural and individual archetypes. Fifth, related to the first, as an initial flowering of language and as a source of later development of language in a culture - this would explain a lot of the power of myth and language despite their inadequacies, adaptively or comparatively: they are based, partially, in pre-rational and organic development of individual and culture. There should be nothing essentially prejudicial


about the notion of pre-rationality. Do we control the function of each cell or origin in our bodies at a rational level? There are essential pre-rational processes. Sixth, and somewhat more specifically, as “narrative expressions of the basic valuations of a religious community”. Note William James' idea of religion as, essentially, the full motivational system of the individual, to which we can add society and culture

2.5.3        Sources17

Religion; pre-religion18

Myth and mythology

Magic, witchcraft, shamanism, alchemy and astrology, ancestor, hero, nature worship

Folklore [George Frazier and others held that the myth of creation occurred at the “highest” stage of development of a culture. This was challenged by Scottish folklorist Andrew Lang, based on accounts of cultures classified as “most primitive”]

Art [includes symbolic, visual, tonal, sensual expression]

History [possibly - based on analyses of generalized historical accounts]

Philosophy and science [surely have organic and holistic elements, however rational]

In individuals - creative combination of experience, action, imagination and criticism

2-19, 2-20, 2-21

2.5.4        Types19         [1] Creation

Creation by a Supreme Being [masculine type, usually]

Creation through emergence [feminine, Earth]

Creation by world parents [combined symbols of masculine and feminine]

Creation from the cosmic egg

Creation by Earth drivers

Note: Evolution could be interpreted as several of these creation types. Review major religions and mythical systems. Individuals form their own personal experiential, imaginative, and critical [separate or synthesized] accounts of creation, continuance and guidance, and dissolution         [2] Continuance

...The kinds are similar to the kinds of creation         [3] Dissolution

...The kinds are similar to the kinds of creation. Also refer to “Religious Doctrines and Dogmas” including eschatology [the doctrine of last things]. This essay includes modern interpretations - utopian, Marxist, and Revived Christian eschatologies


Final dissolution





This area is divided into a number of sub-areas. These are of two types: [1] general [as 2.6.1-2] and specific treatments of “the” levels of evolution - according to mechanism or level of organization, from universal [2.6.3] through cosmological, geophysical, geo-chemical, biological and to universal [2.6.13] again. A break in the sequence of areas on levels is 2.6.9 on evolution [emergence] of levels of organization and interactions; this is of Type 1. Interactions are interactions between “individual” to form composite; this provides a key to interactions between levels

A general plan, not completely followed, for treatment of the specific levels is:

History... Sub-levels; special considerations... Mechanisms... Speculations

Connections to other levels


2.6.1        Reasons for studying systematic accounts         [1] Centering         [2] The Study Itself is Part of Human Evolution

The study is a continuing process in evolution of humankind. Related aspects of the study are philosophy, knowledge, design, action, and evaluation; therefore, furthering of the study is relevant to the same purpose; this applies also to organic accounts of evolution         [3] As a Source of Knowledge and Its Systematization

As a source of knowledge and its systematization in all fields, especially biology         [4] Knowledge for Design

Knowledge for design; design within the boundaries of bio-genetic and evolutionary potential in a more general sense; entering, using the evolutionary process; bio-genetic technology; evolutionary technology at other levels; “design with nature”; meaning and direction...value, ethics, morals, standards evolve, too         [5] Learning about the processes and meanings of design         [6]. A continuation of the organic accounts discussion of evolution         [7] Centering Humankind in Nature

Centering humankind in nature; humankind comes from, is, is in, and goes to nature. Fear is natural. Time is a concept and the physical space-time-field levels may tell us about the dimensions of being that are behind the categories of space-time-etc         [8] As a Framework for a Unified Concept of Evolution

To provide a base or framework, along with organic accounts of evolution, for a unified concept or language of evolution... Such a language would probably be very general, and could not be used for specific results, at least as a generalization. Underlying physical mechanisms of various types could be incorporated. This includes any language that would emerge from a general science of order and evolution of order [2.9]

The use of unified concepts of evolution would be [1] learning, systematizing and synthesizing for the different levels of evolution and related disciplines of knowledge, and [2] learning for design and the different levels of design


2.6.2        General comments on evolution and mechanisms

Evolution is emergence, continuance and dissolution of recognizably, perhaps, stable and semi-stable structure[s] by non-exceptional processes...processes accessible to understanding20

General mechanisms = uniform language = variation [simple variation from nonbeing, replication, interaction - of some level of being or organization] and selection --> mutual adaptation or evolution of ordered structures and environment. I emphasize again, evolution cannot be understood without including continuance and dissolution, processes of varying rates; although generally we expect magnitude of change to be small compared to total order, and rate of change to be slow compared to intrinsic process and life of the structures. However, we remain open-minded and expect exceptions. We saw in the General Statement that aspects of physical evolution “ simple variation and selection of stable state and to improve the accuracy of the approximation, variation must, or probably should, [based in large-scale physics] include some preference for order [stability]


Chemical evolution = simple variation and reproduction and selection; and now, with quantum states and thermal, chemical, radiation noise as drivers of variation, non-preferential variation provides [probably] a good approximation. In this context, the theory of neutral variation is of interest. Because of the universal presence of thermal noise, perhaps the bearer of order should be [relatively, perhaps] insensitive to thermally driven variation. This carries over to biology: biological evolution = simple variation [and recombination] and reproduction and interaction [and recombination] and selection. The General Statement discusses implications of interaction

We see a trend: physical evolution = simple variation [in some cases replication, as crystals, convection cells] and selection; chemical evolution “=“ physical evolution and [later] reproduction; biological evolution “=“ chemical evolution and interaction. What of social and psychosocial evolution... We can see it as imposed on biological evolution:

Social evolution - loose interaction of organisms and variations

Arising in complexity of biosocial structure and environment and creative thought, plus possible weak effect of biological change as variation [weak because relatively slow], plus replication by memory and social institution, plus selection of stable groups and populations. Clearly there are many factors in social evolution besides bio-potential


2.6.3        Universal evolution

Universal evolution; the unknown; the potential; a dimension of the sacred, in which good and evil remain undifferentiated; nature of being, including being behind categories: space-time-matter-field-life-consciousness

2.6.4        Cosmological evolution. Known and speculative universe21

1. Evolution as a whole - based on modern knowledge and speculative physics and philosophy; evolution of space-time-field; large and small scale; arrays of universes; evolution of elementary particle or atomic structure, of laws of physics as known to us; questions of origins and destinations and before and after and beyond - meaning of the real mathematical singularities and boundaries of field theory - are they not physical? Nature of space-time-matter field

2. Evolution of the known universe as a whole; origins, destinations and large-scale structure

2.6.5        Evolution of the phenomenal and physical objects of the known universe

Origins, quantum fluctuations, punctuated equilibria, and “excess” matter

Super-galaxies and inter- [galactic and stellar] matter


Stars and other objects; star clusters

Star systems; planetary systems

Fundamental questions and speculations; stability; connections to geophysical evolution


2.6.6        Geophysical evolution

Origin of the solar system

Origins and long-term evolution of Earth

Development of the layers; origin of Earth's magnetic field; developing nature of land, ocean, atmosphere and outer atmosphere

History of oceans, continents and land forms; drivers of continental drift, climate

2.6.7        Geochemical evolution

Early and continued evolution of chemical forms in land, atmosphere and waters of the Earth

Origins of complex chemical environments

Origins of replicating molecules

Speculations; connection with biological evolution


2.6.8        Biological Evolution

Preface to Discussion

This section is long because:

1. I need to learn some of the central ideas of philosophy of biology

2. Philosophy of biology contributes to philosophy of knowledge through a number of new “paradigms”

3. Physics, biology, science of humankind and society are three fundamental sciences. I am familiar with physics and have studied some of the basic aspects of social science, psychology, and anthropology

4. It will be a source of information

Some of the information is from Growth of Biological Thought by E. Mayr. Although his ideas are interesting, I do not endorse all, especially his notion of super-biological processes

An outline of biology may be useful

1. Variety of life and environment; class

2. Form, process and level of organization

3. Evolution of items 1-2

4. Class according to 1-3

Outline of biological evolution... origins and continuing evolution of the following:

Process [and complexity]: Life - biological environment and replicating molecules

Form: viruses, prokaryotes, autotrophs, and eukaryotes

Diversity: phylogenetic tree - species, kingdoms

Information processes: emotion, mind, and consciousness

Relations to human and social evolution; speculations


Biological Evolution: Main Discussion

The complex and varied life forms on Earth, of today or of earlier times, can be approximately classified by their observable characteristics into various groupings and sub-groupings. Of the levels22 of classification, some stand out as fundamental. One is the kingdom which represents in some basic and distinctive sense one of a few, usually two to five, major divisions of life; a second is the species which is a division of [similar] individuals forming a reproductively isolated group, isolated not in the sense of geographic barriers, but to biological barriers such as genetic, structural, and behavioral. Of course, all meaningful schemes are approximate. There are exceptions to rules, unclear cases, incomplete theoretical foundation and sometimes little theoretical foundation. Although the taxa in higher categories are well delimited, it is not possible to give a non-arbitrary [objective] definition. Even the distinction population between and individual is not always clear - being relative to some purposes; e.g., level of focus in a hierarchy with varying degrees of interaction and integration. Some of the major units of biology are individuals - [1] the fundamental chemical structures, [2] cells, [3] organisms as individuals, and populations - [4] species, and [5] kingdoms. These structures and affinities have an approximate [and evolving] basis in observation and are useful in studying, understanding and advancing the basis and range of life and its processes


The major thesis of biological evolution is that the life forms came about, over the life of the universe, from a few elementary forms; a standard version holds there to have been one fairly localized Earth-origin of replicating chemical molecules - perhaps one molecule. This strictest version is not obvious, nor is it essential to any concept and nature of evolution. However, one aspect of this version is essential to one of the prominent worldviews of science; i.e., philosophical materialism. The aspect in question is the origin in physico-chemistry. The appeal of this view is the provision toward a unitary structure to the universe - and the security that such a belief brings. So much of science is so neatly explained on this unitary basis. However, this specific unitary basis has not been demonstrated in “fact” [in this context fact cannot mean certainty], either in the origin of life [yet] or in unification of all categories of science and knowledge. Should the aim of biological theory relative to philosophical materialism, then, be one of confirmation and belief or one of openness to all possibilities? I find both attitudes acceptable, each being amiable to a group of personality types and each being productive of advance, provided not held as absolute dogma

The remaining discussion is divided into four parts:

1. Relation of biology and biological evolution to science and general evolution, and the nature of biology

2. Problems of biological evolution

3. Outline treatment of the problems

4. Outstanding problems of biological evolution

2-31         Relation of biology and biological evolution to science and general evolution23        Objectives of Science

[1] Understand the world [provision: of explanations and predictions], [2] economic organization of understanding [patterns of relationship among phenomena and processes are organized into concepts and relations among concepts - includes law], [3] formulation of hierarchies of certitude [testability and falsifiability]: introspection ¬ reflection ¬ experiment ¬ historical evidence ¬ evolutionary interpretation; and of ambiguity: probability --> certainty; and authority --> independent verification]        Discovery and Method in Science

Nothing was said about discovery and or method in science: the fundamental method [I recognize] is the reflective-speculative [] approach. This is the method of speculative philosophy, extended by reflection. Speculative philosophy is the formulation of a speculative system, explanation [includes prediction] of a field of phenomena [biological, physical, general] and selection of the system which currently is “best”. This is augmented by a process in which a need to resolve understanding arises, questions are asked, information is assembled. This composite process is reflection. The separations are not perfect...there are inner iterations. Neither reflection nor speculation comes first. There is an iterative-interactive process: reflection « speculation

This includes as special cases the following methods and aspects of methods:

Deduction... Induction... Hypothetico-deductive... Creative... And many others        Special Features of Biology

Special features of biology, biological science and biological evolution, according to Mayr:

Advance in understanding through concepts [e.g., in systematics - classification, species, category, and taxon; and in evolution - descent, selection, variation, fitness]

Importance of comparative method compared to the experimental: comparison [observe --> compare --> classify... iterate] is a powerful approach to dealing with uniqueness and diversity

The use of concepts and processes over mechanism, mathematics, and law... Concept and process is not mere classification and description

Population thinking...individuals are unique; means are constructs; variances are important] vs. essentialism ...identity of individuals, variance due to measurement

2-33        The Problem of Teleology

Problem of teleology - resolved by recognizing four different meanings: [1] teleonomic, or goal-directed activities...due to operation of a program; not found in inanimate nature, but in artifacts - computers, [2] teleomatic processes - in which a definite end is reached “through” the operation of time-local physical-chemical law, [3] adapted systems - due to selection, an example of which is Item 1 above, but not Item 2 as far as is known; [4] cosmic teleology - there is purpose in the universe, based [Aristotle] on the false dichotomy purpose vs. chance in relation to adaptation        Special Features of Life

Special features of life, according to Mayr:

Complexity - generally greater than inorganic species

Organization - the subsystems or parts of an organism function interdependently

Chemical uniqueness...many macromolecules are unique... that they occur in all life whenever their function is needed

Quality and qualitative reasoning and classification essential [though not exclusive]

Uniqueness and high variability of individuals in populations [from cells to ecosystems]

Possession of a genetic program which regulates cell and individual reproduction, function and process and growth... Unlike inanimate nature [analogy: artifact - computer program]. [Perhaps, therefore, some level of outline should be “regular”.]


Historical nature - of organisms, based on inheritance from primeval form[s]; taxa recognized by descent, biological classes supposedly distinct from logical classes

Selection - natural “and” sexual; unlike inanimate nature

Indeterminacy - temporal prediction rare; logical prediction possible; causality not disproved but not used as much as in physical science because of the following related factors: randomness24 and uniqueness of events and entities, magnitude of stochastic perturbations, complexity of organic systems - interrelations and feedback, emergence of new or “unpredictable” features at hierarchical levels        Reduction in Biology

According to many philosophers of physical science and physical scientists, biology is “reducible” to physics25 and this restores the unity of science. This is reinforced by the claim that the only alternative to reductionism is vitalism. Mayr rejects all of these claims. He does so by identifying three types of reduction and confusion among them        Constitutive Reductionism

[1] Constitutive reductionism asserts that the material composition of organisms is exactly as found in the inorganic world [it is not clear


this has a precise meaning]; further, none of the events and processes encountered in living organisms is in conflict with the physico-chemical phenomena at the level of atoms and molecules. These claims are accepted by modern biologists... and except for the vitalists, and all biologists for the last two hundred years or more. The difference between inorganic matter and living organisms does not consist in the substance of which they are composed but in the organization of biological systems. Constitutive reductionism is thus not controversial [Mayr's view]        Explanatory Reductionism

[2] Explanatory reductionism is the idea that one cannot understand a whole except to reduce it to its parts and these parts into theirs and so on. This is often illuminative but there are severe limitations: where do we stop? Lower level units may be so completely integrated as to make high level function almost independent of the lower level [this seems to contradict Item 1, so what should be said is “...almost independent of the details or 'atoms' of the lower level[s]”. Extreme analytical reductionism is a failure because it cannot give proper weight to the [integrative] interaction of the components. Lower levels in systems or hierarchies can only supply a limited amount of information on characteristics and processes at the higher levels. It is misleading to apply the term reduction to an analytical method. How is analysis of complex biological systems facilitated? There are numerous ways. As an example, the study of genetics was speeded up by going to more numerous generations per year: large mammals --> fowl and rodents --> 1910 species of drosophila [especially melanogaster] --> 19302 neospora and other species of fungi [yeast] --> molecular genetics with bacteria --> viruses. Extrapolation to the higher species was successful except that the genetic system of prokaryotes and viruses is not fully comparable to that of eukaryotes

2-36        Theory Reductionism

[3] Theory reductionism is showing that the laws and theories in one field of science are special cases of laws and processes of some other field. Clearly, explanatory and theory reductionism are related. Attempts to reduce biology to physics have been unsuccessful. As an example, discovery of the chemical structure of DNA, RNA, and certain enzymes fills in certain black boxes of the transmission theory of genetics [and this is illuminating and useful] but is not a reduction of genetics to chemistry. The essential concepts of genetics: gene, genotype, mutation, diploidy, heterozygosity, segregation, recombination, and so on, are not genetic concepts. Theory reductionism is a fallacy because it confuses processes and concepts: biological concepts such as meiosis and predation are also chemical and physical processes but they are only biological concepts and cannot be reduced to physical and chemical concepts. There are levels of meaning

Thus, Mayr refutes reductions. It is interesting that he denies the existence, or utility, of supra-biological categories “mind” and “consciousness” as indefinable and universally present. Are his motives parochial after all, or is he simply an inadequate philosopher?

Mayr claims reductionism to be futile, and this is exemplified by:

Emergence is the appearance of new, irreducible, characteristics in the whole. There are two interesting aspects of wholes: [1] Hierarchy - there are levels of wholes and explanation such as macromolecular, cellular, organelle, cell, tissue, organ, and so on, or “constitutional hierarchies” and such as species, genus...kingdom or “aggregational hierarchies”; and [2] holism-organicism [an alternative to vitalism]

2-37        Conceptual Structure of Biology

Conceptual structure of biology - historically “for thousands of years”, biological phenomena were labeled physiology [medicine] and natural history; and this division was much more perceptive than later labels zoology, botany, mycology, cytology, genetics, and such. The historical distinction corresponds to the conceptual division into proximate causes [physiological science broadly conceived] and ultimate or evolutionary causes [the subject matter of natural history]. The same systems can be studied in both contexts. The basis of evolutionary biology is comparison and observation: observation --> description --> comparison...or “qualitative”. The transition from reduction and mathematical science to qualitative, historical science is incomplete

Supposedly, historical narratives, not theories, provide explanation in evolutionary biology. The ideas of central subject, and singular event are fundamental in historical narratives which are explanatory in the sense of showing causal connections [either in relation to mechanism; e.g., variation and selection, or singular events - relative to the discipline, such as extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous which vacated a large number of ecological niches and set the stage for the spectacular radiation of mammals in the Paleocene and Eocene]. Historical narratives have predictive value [in the sense of logical if not not-temporal prediction]. Some other sciences that are historical and employ observation and comparison are cosmogony, geology, paleontology [phylogeny], and biogeography. Mayr does not point out the rise of history in physics. In sciences that involve both theory and history, no aspect is understood completely until both aspects of causation have been elucidated

2-38        Philosophy of Biology

The two modes are [1] theoretical-essential-quantitative-cybernetic-functional-organizational, [2] historical-population-qualitative, and program-uniqueness-adaptedness... Philosophy of biology is more a manifesto rejecting logical positivism, essentialism, reductionism, physicalism, vitalism, but hesitant and inchoate in its major theses; e.g., acceptance and reception of emergentism

“Life”, “mind”, “consciousness” merely refer to reifications of activities and have no separate existence as activities. Consciousness cannot even be defined approximately. Avoidance of nouns that are nothing but reifications of processes greatly facilitates the analysis of the phenomena that are characteristic of biology. [Reification means to “make” or treat as “concrete”.] Biologists like Rensch, Waddington, Simpson, Bertalanffy, Medawar, Ayala, Mayr, and Ghiselin have made a far greater contribution to a philosophy of biology than an entire older generation of philosophers like Cassirer, Popper, Russell, Bloch, Bunge, Hempel and Nagel. Only the youngest philosophers, Beckner, Hull, Munson, Wimsatt, Beatty, and Brandon have been able to get away from the obsolete reifications and biological theories of vitalism, orthogenesis, macrogenesis, dualism, and positivist-reductionism        Some Principles of a Basis for Philosophy of Biology

[1] A full understanding of organisms cannot be secured by the theories of physics and chemistry alone,

[2] The historical nature of organisms must be fully considered, in particular their possession of a historically acquired genetic program,

[3] That individuals at most hierarchical levels, from the cell up, are unique and form populations, the variance of which is one of their major characteristics

[4] There are two biologies: functional biology, which asks proximate questions; and evolutionary biology, which asks ultimate questions

[5] The history of biology has been dominated by establishment of concepts, by their modification, maturation and - sometimes - rejection

[6] The patterned complexity of living things is hierarchically organized and higher hierarchic levels are characterized by emergence of novelty

[7] That observation and comparison are methods in biological research that are as fully scientific and heuristic as experiment and theory

[8] An insistence on autonomy of biology does not mean an endorsement of vitalism, orthogenesis, or any theory that is in conflict with the laws of physics

[9] A philosophy of biology should include consideration of all major specifically biological concepts of molecular biology, physiology, development, and evolutionary biology [such as natural selection, inclusive fitness, adaptation, progress, and descent]. Systematics [species, category, classification], behavioral biology and ecology [competition, resource utilization, ecosystem]

[10] Do not: waste time on theory reduction, laws, vitalism and other unscientific ideologies

I will say again that Mayr is odd in including biology as a separate paradigm of science, making biology exclusive and rejecting meta-biology [e.g., “mind”]     Biology and Human Thought

In reference to C. P. Snow's two cultures, Mayr says Snow is right about the gap between physics and humanities; but there is a similar gap between physics and biology, and that biology being historical and closer to the nature of the human being is something of a bridge between the physical sciences and the social sciences and humanities26

Some of the supposed difference between history and science27 are [1] history deals exclusively with the unique, science with the general, [2] history teaches no lessons, [3] history is unable to predict [temporally]. [4] History is necessarily subjective, and [5] history, unlike science, involves issues of religion and morality. These claims are true only for physical science, says Mayr. Differences 1,3, 4 and 5 are largely true for evolutionary biology...and 2 is not even true for history. Therefore, says Mayr, the sharp break between science and the non-sciences does not exist

Copernicus, Darwin, Freud have profoundly altered human thinking; mathematical physicists Einstein, Bohr not so much - scientists must be read by lay people to affect popular thought. Probably, since biology, psychology, anthropology will have more impact on human thought than the physical sciences since they are of immediate concern

Mayr calls for a joining of biology and philosophy in a rekindling of the interest in the basic philosophical areas of metaphysics, ontology and epistemology. These areas had been abandoned in the English-speaking countries due to the Positivist influence of physical science and mathematics     Biology and Human Values

Mayr's points are:

[1] Unlike physical science [he does not say this categorically], biology is not detached from humankind, objective, and therefore, affects human values, society and traditional belief. [Of course, physical science has affected belief - heliocentricity, etc. - and its conclusions are value laden, but biology is directly value related.]

[2] Socio-political thinking developed under the influence of essentialist thinking: essential identity of members of a class; “all men are created equal”, whereas biology says “no two individuals are created equal” and therefore social provision is necessary for equality of opportunity, rights, and before the law

[3] He regrets the condemnation of sociobiology over its divergence with “democratic thinking”. Mayr does not outright endorse sociobiology, but that is its thrust28. The scientific aspects of sociobiology are unresolved; but, to me, it does seem excessively in some arguments for biological determination of social behavior and anti-historical. The question is not whether biology determines behavior [homosexuality, altruism, male-female roles, violence, and such] at all, but to what extent is variation due to - and what is - individual potential, species variability and social and other input

[4] The individual is not “merely on animal”, but ego is not essential: instead consider humankind, the species or culture, and resolve issues of cultural inheritance [in addition to biological], inclusive fitness29 and ethics

2-42     Philosophical Implications of Darwin's Theories

Mayr lists:

[1] Replacement of a static by an evolving world [not original with Darwin]

[2] Implausibility of creationism

[3] Refutation of cosmic teleology

[4] Abolition of any justification for absolute anthropocentrism

[5] Explanation of “design” by non-directed variation and opportunistic reproductive success entirely outside Christian dogma

[6] Replacement of essentialism by population thinking

[7] Various philosophical-methodological innovations: consistent application of hypothetico-deductive method, a new evaluation of prediction. This brings study of ultimate [evolutionary] causation into science

[In several of the points above, biological evolution and its theories contribute - as opposed to independently imply.]

2-43         Theoretical and Empirical Problems of Biological Evolution

Nothing has yet been said about the course of and evidence for evolution and its mechanisms; these are the main conceptual problems:

[1] Outline of the course of evolution,

[2] Provision of evidence of evolution

The two problems are interdependent. In the content of the speculative method [hypothesis and deduction], evidence is empirical and theoretical: empirical - experimental, observational and experiential, theoretical - organization of data and information through comparison, concept, mechanism, law and theory so as to permit summary representation, interpretation of old and new data, and prediction of logical and or temporal types

These two problems are the main conceptual problems of biological evolution. There is another

[3] Methodological problems [] of biological evolution

These, of course, touch upon other areas of evolution and knowledge. The three problems are elaborated further below. Although separated, the problems are interdependent

2-44        [1] Outline of the Course of Evolution - Evolution and Descent of the Major Biological Types

We will probably never know, nor need to know, the full details of evolution of biology and the universe - at least in our finite manifestations. Further, what knowledge we have will not be certain and it is because of this essential incompleteness and uncertainty that theory and concept30 formation is useful...so our knowledge of the course of evolution is necessarily, and should be, in outline. Of course, degree of certainty will improve; detail will expand. Here I mention some main points of this outline:

Evolution and Descent of the Major Biological Types: Remember that evolution includes origins, growth, maintenance or equilibrium, decay and death or extinction. The idea of descent refers to relations among origins of taxa. There are a number of possibilities for types of descent: [a] Common descent vs. creation or special creation - common descent is the idea that members of a taxon are descendents of a common ancestor. According to this “species descended from a single progenitor are grouped into genera; and genera are included in, or subordinate to, subfamilies, families, and orders all united into one class...” Creation is the violation of common descent through independent [and or special, that is not evolution] origin. [b] Tree like or more generalized descent - tree structure permits branching. A generalized version permits mixing of taxa. The types are:

Life: complex chemical processes, environments, and replicating molecules

Division I: viruses and cells, biological form and process, auto- or heterotrophy

Division II: phylogenetic tree, kingdoms, and species...evolution of complexity, systems, bio-systems; independence


We know that categories above species can be fairly clearly demarked, but objective definition is not possible, nor is there yet any criteria according to which such criteria would be meaningful; close to the origins of life, under the assumption of common tree-like descent, species --> genus --> ... --> kingdom        A Four-Kingdom Scheme based On the Notion of Common Tree-Like Descent

The four-kingdom scheme of Encyclopedia Britannica is 1. Monera - the prokaryotes [bacteria and blue-green algae], 2. Protista - eukaryotic single cells and non-photosynthetic plantlike eukaryotes [protophyta - algae other than blue-greens, molds and fungi, protozoa - unicellular animals], 3. Plantae - photosynthetic multi-cellular plants [bryophytes and vascular plants], 4. Metazoa - multi-cellular eukaryotic animals [parazoa - sponges and metazoa-higher animals]

The four-kingdom scheme is based on the notion of common tree-like descent. The divisional scheme is not fully clear. Even allowing for common descent [at least beyond the earliest of replicating molecules - groups of replicators may have originated independently but merged or one became dominant or chemistry was similar, so we would then have mixed descent. Even if this were true,31 the principle of common tree-like descent would operate over large portions of evolution; there could be confusion if descent, though common, had merging or convergence. Whittaker32 and Margulis33 have argued that plants evolved at least four separate times from protistan ancestors, fungi at least five times, and animals at least three times

2-46        A Three Level, Five Kingdom Scheme based On Descent, Morphology and Ecology

Based on these ideas, a classification based on morphology and ecology can make sense. The following three level, five-kingdom scheme reflects these factors as well as, naturally, convergence and descent:

Level 1 [Kingdom - Monera]

Prokaryotic one-cells - bacteria, blue-green algae, and viruses

Level 2 [Kingdom - Protista] eukaryotic one-cells

Subkingdom Protophyta - includes unicellular non-blue-green algae

Subkingdom protozoa - unicellular animals: amoeba, some flagellates, ciliates,

Parasitic protozoa

Level 3 [3 Kingdoms - Multi-cellular Eukaryotes]

Kingdom - Fungi34

Kingdom - Metaphyta [plantae] - all other plants: true algae, mosses, liverworts, and ferns and related forms, conifers and allies, flowering plants

Kingdom - Metazoa [animalia] - all other animals: sponges, corals, flatworms, flukes, tapeworms, wheel animalcules, round-worms, mollusks, arthropods [joint-legged animals], sea mats, arrow-worms, lamp shells, sea squirts, lancelets, all the vertebrates from lampreys to humans

2-47        [2] Provision of Evidence:



Structural similarities

Developmental similarities - embryonic

Behavioral similarities - among different species

Comparative biochemistry - e.g., similarity with human blood decreases along the sequence - gorilla, orangutan, baboon, deer, horse, and kangaroo according to an immunologic blood test from parasitology. The alternative explanation is that hosts and parasites were created together. Similarity of parasites confirms similarity according to other criteria

Biogeographical - Buffon's evidence on difference between flora and fauna of New and Old

Worlds despite climates being similar implies common descent and led Darwin to question fixed species


Paleontology [but only a small percentage of record remains]



Concepts - categories, functional biology, common descent, species

Mechanisms - variation, selection of adapted offspring from excess, slow evolution of complexity through adaptive intermediate stages, occurrence of singular events and filling of ecological niches, mechanisms of speciation

2-48        [3] Methodological Problems

See for discussion of reflective-speculative method. One obvious enhancement can be mentioned here: inclusion of evidence of factual nature. The reflective-speculative method is obviously applied to evidence, which is accumulated or discovered:

Empirical Activity « Speculation « Reflection « Empirical Activity

The nonlinear arrangement shows complex learning35 process as simultaneous or sequential interaction. The problem is one of coordinating multiple partial evidence with multiple partial hypotheses

2-49         Outline Treatment of the Problems        Darwin's Theory and it's Five Strands

Darwin's theory is a theory of evolution of life through common descent and by natural selection. His theories had five strands:36

Evolution as such

Evolution through common descent

Gradual nature of evolution

Populational speciation

Natural selection        Early Criticisms of Darwin's Theory

A number of criticisms arose:37

[1] Darwin had no direct evidence for the effectiveness of natural selection, let alone for the origin of new species

[2] Darwin could not show a single species that was transitional between two known species

[3] Complex organs, such as the vertebrate eye, could not have evolved by stages, since they would have been useless at any preliminary stage and hence would have given their possessor no selective advantage

[4] If evolution has taken place, then some evolutionary trends must have continued past the point of usefulness to the organism. Such trends could not be accounted for by Darwinian selection

[5] The earth is not old enough for evolution to have taken place

[6] Evolution by natural selection is incompatible with the laws of inheritance

[7] There is no inheritance of acquired characters        Darwin's Responses

[1] Darwin pointed out that direct evidence is not possible - but we now know that direct evidence of selection is available

[2] The existence of polytypic species

[3] Adaptation through intermediate adaptive stages can be shown by comparison and speculation

[4] Orthogenesis is an unnecessary component of evolutionary theory, nor is it implied by the mechanisms of variation and natural selection

[5] The earth is now known to be much older than was assumed in Darwin's time


[6] Not as understood since Mendelian-biogenetics

[7] Inheritance of acquired characters is unnecessary, because of genetic variation        An Outline of the Theory of Evolution

Not only is natural selection adequate to explain the features discussed above, it is thought circumstantially adequate to address the problems of The best way to show the success of evolution through common descent, by natural selection, is to provide an outline of evolutionary theory. However, it should be realized that there are unresolved problems relating to the course and nature of life. My understanding of the theory as a logical structure needs reworking. Note that for operation of natural selection, it is sufficient. [1] Some variations must occur. These will be inherited

[2] Organisms produce more offspring than can survive. [3] Offspring that vary most strongly in the direction favored by their reproductive ability [ability to survive in environment, to reproduce] will propagate; favorable variation will accumulate by natural selection. However, for natural selection, not variation, to be the creative force of evolution [a] variations must not prefer adaptation, and [b] variations must be small compared to chance to a new species [if natural selection is to be responsible for speciation]

Outline of the Theory of Evolution: the Process of Evolution        [1] Variation

Variation is heritable in Darwin's theory        [2] Selection

The most reproductively successful individuals selectively propagate. Sexual and natural factors are important. For selection to cause change [and not just eliminate the unfit], there must be a surfeit of offspring. If these three circumstances are true, there will be adaptation

For natural selection to be the creative force of evolution, variations must be small and non-preferential or non-directed to adaptation. These processes must produce complexity, speciation, and diversity

2-51        [3] The Synthetic Theory of Evolution

In 1930, there was a controversial situation between naturalists and experimental geneticists. Perhaps the most important differences were: The naturalists believed in soft inheritance, that evolution and species formation are gradual, due to natural selection. They minimized the importance of Mendelian genetics in evolution

The experimentalists and Mendelians thought in terms of mutation as the moving force in evolution, change in species due to large mutations [saltations], hard inheritance, individual variation and recombination as unimportant to evolution, and most continuous individual variation as non-genetic

A synthesis was accomplished in which the italicized states above are true. According to Mayr, [1] evolution is gradual and can be explained by natural selection acting on small genetic variation equaling changes or mutations and recombination; and [2] by considering species as reproductively isolated aggregates of populations and analyzing the effect of ecological factors [niche occupation, competition, adaptive radiation] on diversity and the origin of taxa, one can explain all evolutionary phenomena in a way consistent with the known genetic mechanisms and observations of naturalists

This involved, according to Encyclopedia Britannica:

Mutations can be adaptive and deleterious; most are deleterious. [This may have been an argument for negating the importance of selection.]

The deleterious are nearly always recessive [because they are deleterious]

Fisher showed that under a system of Mendelian gene complexes [multiple factors] for variation, selection and not mutation rate control direction and rate of evolution


Arise of apparently non-adaptive characters can be explained through changing conditions; allotropic growth [size of one part of an organism is more than proportional to size as a whole]; genes with multiple effects; the adaptive outweigh the deleterious; and sexual selection        [4] Major Stages of Evolution       [1] Origin of life

Origin of life; simple and complex unicellular organisms

Complex environments

Phosphates Energy

Enzymes Synthesis of Complex Compounds

Nucleic Acids Replication

Lipids Membrane Structure

--> Replicators

--> Prokaryotic cells [DNA not in nuclei]

--> Heterotrophs [food takers]: Bacteria Primitive sex: incomplete interchange of genetic material

--> Autotrophs [food makers]: Blue-green algae [Photosynthesis?]

--> Symbiosis of prokaryotes --> Eukaryotic cells

[DNA as chromosomes, DNA in nuclei]       [2] Multi-cellular Organisms

Single cells

To exchange genetic material: temporary fusion of one-cells:

--> Small germ cells with mobility: “male”

--> Large germ cells with food: “female”

--> Division of labor

--> Multi-cells

--> Differentiation of function       [3] Colonization of Land

Patterns of evolution

Improvement and adaptive radiation

Paedomorphosis and clandestine evolution:

Paedomorphosis - adults of variants are like previous young; since young are shell-less, there is no fossil record of the variants; so, later fossils reappear without “paleontological warning”

Mosaic evolution occurs in transition: e.g., reptile --> part bird, part reptile [the “mosaic”] --> bird

Parallel and convergent evolution

2-54       [4] Human Evolution

Hominization: bipedalism, immaturity of newborn; and neoteny, similarity of adult to newborn

Humanization: Newborn, young of other species are plastic and adaptive, not rigid and instinctual; therefore, humanization leads to plasticity of adult human beings which leads to very rapid psychosocial evolution

Species - Origins

Allopatric - due to geographic isolation

Sympatric - due to inhabitation of different sub-environments in some geographic area; e.g., the apple moth and the hawthorn moth

Phylogeny - The Lines of Descent

This explanation must be uncertain as long as there is uncertainty of the phylogenetic divisions. We saw in the existence of more than one basic scheme - a four-kingdom scheme based on common descent, and a five-kingdom scheme based on form as well as descent, and form represents uncertainty of descent


Review of Synthetic Theory

In the Darwinian era, evolutionists were united in a sort of common front. After evolution had been accepted by the scientific and, to a significant degree, the religious establishment, a program of detailed analysis and verification began. It was out of this that the differences arose between the geneticists and the natural historians. As we have seen, according to E. Mayr, the synthesis included elements of both parties - a counter example of Thomas Kuhn's boring paradigm of paradigm change and more similar to Hegel's thesis leads to antithesis leads to synthesis. The main architects of the synthesis were R. A. Fisher and Theodore Dobzhansky. Other names were those of Julian Huxley, Ernst Mayr, George Simpson, Bernhard Rensch, and G. Ledyard Stebbins who, in major publications, constructed bridges among the fields. Other evolutionists who prepared the scene for drama: in USSR, Chetverikov, Timofeeff-Ressovsky; in England, Fisher, Haldane, Darlington, Ford; in USA, Sumner, Dice, Sturtevant, Wright; in Germany, Bauer, Ludwig, Stressemann, Zimmermann; in France, Teissier, L' He'ritier; and in Italy, Buzzati-Traverso. Two multi-author volumes also contributed to the synthesis: Heberer's Die Evolution der Organismen [1943] and Julian Huxley's The New Systematics [1940]. Probably the most central publication in the synthesis was Dobzhansky's Genetics and the Origin of the Species [1937]        [5] Post Synthesis Development

E. Mayr, in The Growth of Biological Thought, identifies four periods:

1859-about 1895: Proof of evolution and mainlines of descent; phylogenetic research

1895-1936: Period of controversy resulting in evolutionary synthesis of hard Mendelian genetics, gradual change due to natural selection, etc

1936-1960s: Working out of fine details in light of evolutionary synthesis; population thinking, interest in population and species level diversity; adaptational aspects of variation due to selection forces, but all genetic interpretations dominated by gene-frequency concept

1960s-present: Diverse - 1. Stochastic components of variations, 2. Molecular biology, 3. Issues in natural selection - types of selection, 4. Modes of speciation, 5. Macroevolution, human evolution, and 6. New controversy and unresolved problems

The fourth period is the post synthesis period. Mayr identifies six post synthesis developments       [1] Population Genetics

Experimental and stochastic study of natural selection in populations       [2] Molecular Biology

1953 - Watson and Crick...precision of replication, self-correction of errors. Identity [on the whole] of genetic code is additional evidence, pointing to a common and relatively localized origin of life, complex chromosomal structure of DNA in eukaryotes different from simple structure in prokaryotes, structure of genetic code 1961- Nirenberg and Matthaei, threshold of possible new discoveries - control of evolutionary trends, stability of phenotype in many evolutionary lines, rapid shifts to new evolutionary grades in genetic revolutions


Many kinds of DNA - enzyme genes, structural protein genes, regulatory genes, transposable genes, “introns” that are not copied to MRNA and “exons” that are spliced together. Are introns parasitic or do they help regulate gene splicing? Drastic differences in repetitive DNA, etc., between closely related genera or species without much visible morphological change or sometimes even loss of ability to hybridize, enormous differences of amount of DNA seemingly unrelated to complexity

Origin of life - identity of genetic code leads to “all organisms now living on earth unquestionably had a common origin; perhaps there was competition of molecular stock?”...Origin not spontaneous, many different intermediate molecular stages between inanimate matter and life would not be “eaten” and or oxidized but would survive in the primeval reducing atmosphere...of course problems remain. What is the origin of the symbiosis between nucleic acids and proteins?       [3] Natural Selection - Evidence

A. Selection in experiments and work of plant and animal breeders, B. refutation of soft inheritance by geneticists leading to natural selection is the only alternative to explain gradual evolution, C. refutation of claim that most attributes of an organism are without selective value; many thought to be neutral, turn out selective on close observation, D. calculations of Norton, Fisher, Haldane, and others show even very slight selective advantages over many generations, E. population thinking shows discontinuities among species and higher taxa can be explained as originating gradually through geographic speciation and extinction, hence not requiring saltations. Dobzhansky's work in this area, Genetics and the Origin of Species [1937], was central-


He demonstrated selection as a process observationally, removed the conflict between gradual adaptive geographic variation and selection, and so eliminated the need for Lamarckian explanations. Mayr in Growth of Biological Thought [1982] discusses five problems of selectionism: kinds of selection- stabilizing, directing, diversifying; statistical nature of selection; target of selection - individual [including population as individual since gene pool is the same] and holism of the internal-external; product of selection as a compromise among parts of a whole, one cannot discuss selection of one feature in isolation; and, selection as a creative force       [4] Modes of Speciation

Mayr's theory is that “Decisive evolutionary events occur most often, by way of genetic revolutions, in peripherally isolated founder populations.” Mayr claims that the evidence [as of writing about 1982] supports this. This is allopatric speciation. Geographic isolation can be due to rivers, mountains, and vegetation. In geographic isolation, under different conditions, there is selection pressure and change from a heterozygous individual can spread rapidly through a small founder population. Sufficient change results in reproductive isolation [by which Mayr means genetic incompatibility]. Polyploidy is a process in which the chromosomes double in number and a new species can originate in a single step. However, chromosomal rearrangement is not a normal mechanism. Some speciation can occur without visible change in chromosomes. There is mounting evidence that there are special genetic mechanisms and or regulatory systems that control the degree of reproductive isolation, and it is possible that just a limited portion of the DNA controls isolation...but enough to make speciation gradual. Genetic change and geographic isolation go together. They are not alternate mechanisms. There is a question as to why genetic revolutions occur in some and not all founder populations


This might have to do with which parts of the DNA are affected by the selection pressure on the founder population. Some genes are, perhaps, less susceptible to genetic revolution

Clearly, geographic isolation is not essential, just the opportunity for the heterozygyte to establish. This could occur [1] due to isolation in geographically coincident ecological-subsystems, [2] when the original population is very small, [3] when the initial population is or becomes sparsely distributed and isolates into a number of founder populations [without “expatriation”]. Replacement of a species could occur by [2] or by any other mechanism and subsequent competition between two or more populations in which one of the new ones “wins” through some sort of pressure for resources       [5] Macroevolution - the Subject of Paleontological Study

Mayr proposes that it has been demonstrated that, for purposes of all evolution, including macro-evolution - that is, evolution of higher taxa, above species level - are explainable on the notions that [1] saltations are unnecessary in explaining the origin of new species and higher taxa; small variation and gradual selection is sufficient, [2] autogenesis - that is, the built-in drive to increasing perfection - is not required to explain the degree of complexity and adaptation, [3] inheritance is hard


Some of the topics considered are evolutionary novelties, behavior and evolution, phylogenetic research, role of essential character and grades. A central topic is origin of macro-evolutionary diversity - the answer had been available since Mayr's work on species origin but had to wait until Eldredge and Gould's [1972] model of “punctuated equilibria” which amounts to Mayr's idea that new species originate in isolation. In this connection, Eldredge and Gould propose, in effect, that the change in a founder population is through a single step saltation-like. Mayr maintains gradual process in founder populations: the process may seem saltational on a geologic time scale. Since regulatory systems may be involved, their breaking up makes way for new ones and rapid acquisition of new adaptations. The rate of evolution is perhaps several orders of magnitude faster than in traditional phyletic, evolutionary thinking but still very slow on a human time scale

A related problem is extinction. This is a complex problem. Why did a whole taxon of, say dinosaurs, become extinct in a short period? Some people have suggested catastrophic events. One of my ideas is the burden of success. Mayr has expressed this very tentatively by suggesting a genotype [for the taxon] that is so well integrated that the rate of mutation or variation is not sufficient to produce departures from the norm that might permit a major switch in resource utilization or in answer to a challenge from a competitor or a pathogen. Of course, says Mayr, we must first learn more about the eukaryotic genotype and its regulatory system. Mayr discusses the periods of equilibrium and explosions of numbers of species [due to specialists versus generalists?]; mass extinction [due to catastrophe? - he questions this; why did mammals, birds, non-dinosaurian reptiles, and angiosperms survive?]       [6] Human Evolution

Mayr discusses [1] the fossil evidence; recounts the well-known data; observes that a complete story awaits further evidence; [2] molecular and chromosomal similarity between humankind and ape-kind- an example of mosaic evolution with varying rates of evolution; [3] knowledge of the steps; bipedalism, tools, hunting, level of intelligence, integration of perceptual systems, language and language-based culture


rapid changes to this state 100,000 years ago...no further evolutionary change, but psychosocial development. Mayr states his belief that these processes are consistent with gradualism

Finally, Mayr discusses:       Eugenics

Mayr says [1] there are two types: negative - reducing the deleterious genes... positive - enhancing the reproductive capacity of “superior” human beings. [2] It is politically-socially impossible to discuss eugenics rationally. [3] It is impossible to apply artificial selection because, first, we do not know to what extent nonphysical characteristics have a genetic basis, and, second, we do not know what mix of talents and characters are good for humankind and society [nor do we even have fully developed criteria for such]; but, third, we do know that diversity is good         Outstanding Problems of Biological Evolution

Some problems are explicit or implicit in the earlier sections        [1] The Problem of Mechanisms

The fundamental problem: of mechanisms; variations - ordered? Indifferent? Natural selection as the creative element; common descent, tree-like descent. Rates of evolution appear to have been resolved. However: [A] the essence of information --> reflection --> speculation --> is knowledge as probable, [b] an open mind is appropriate in all situations - to alternatives, [C] continued search for loopholes will suggest alternates or confirm the current theories        [2] Questions of Interaction

Questions of interaction: interaction of genes, regulation, genotype as an active system, evolution through colony --> individual, co-evolution, evolution through symbiosis, sociobiology as interaction of biology and society, ecology.38        [3] Genetic Variability in Populations

Level of genetic variability in populations. What proportion of variability is due to selection and what to stochastic processes - “Random walk evolution.”        [4] Rates of Evolution

Rates of evolution, extinction, and mechanisms of speciation and formation of taxa. Why is the rate of extinction so high?        [5] Origin of Life

Origin of life [symbiosis of nucleic acids and polypeptides], origin of viruses, prokaryotes, details of prokaryotes --> eukaryotes, functioning of eukaryotic chromosome, classification of different kinds of DNA and roles in evolution and speciation

2-63        [6] Relationship and Phylogeny of Major Types of Plants and Invertebrates

Relationship and phylogeny of major types of plants and invertebrates; roles of inter- and intra-species competition in evolution; evolution and roles of behavior in evolution        [7] Interaction among Fields and Levels of Evolution

Interaction of biological evolution with other fields and levels of evolution. Development of a philosophy and language of evolution        [8] Specialist Questions

There is a multiplicity: pluralism and multiple pathways, evolutionary constraints, and fusion of ecology, evolutionary, and behavioral and molecular biology        [9] The Question of Gradual Change

This is related to Item 4. Mayr emphasizes, throughout, gradual change due to natural selection. Darwin had emphasized uniform and gradual change. Paleontological evidence is at odds with some of these ideas, and Eldredge and Gould [1972]39 have given a model of punctuated equilibrium to account for the paleontological evidence. I have two observations: [1] the source of the conflict is the concept of uniformity, not gradualism, and [2] the word “punctuated” is apt. Explanation: I have introduced the idea [General Statement] of natural systems evolving to or through stable states; let the natural system in question be a major bio-ecological system consisting of various species, environment; the more stable, the more likely we are to have evidence; equilibrium remains the order for a long time until some major change or singular event - break-up of continents, ice age, perturbation due to comet, pathogen, etc.; the stability is so well self-adapted that recovery from minor de-stabilization is probable but improbable from major destabilization; the singular result results in mass extinction and there is room for much new adaptive evolution


until a new equilibrium is obtained; relative to human, social, and biological time scales the “explosion” is slow [very little change per generation], but on geological [paleontological] time scales, it is very rapid; the equilibrium state is gradual [zero = gradual and is a special case of, not the opposite of, change40]; the whole situation is gradual on biological scales; and so on. Other “explosions” could be due to preparatory events - setting the stage. For instance, the Pre-Cambrian development of eukaryotic cells permitted [real] sex, diversity and multi-cellularity, which set up the Cambrian explosion

Supplementary information is included on evolutionary terminology; and phylogeny: major systems, chordates, and mammals.41


2.6.9        Evolution or emergence of levels of organization and interactions

As pointed out in the General Statement, interaction is a mechanism of evolution. Further, also pointed out in the General Statement, interaction leads to complex structures or levels of organization. The typical route may be: very weak interaction - populations --> weak interactions - societies --> intermediate interactions - colonies and symbiosis --> strong interactions - organisms. Here is another example of emergence of novelty through gradual process: population --> organism is a large step and unlikely, but the introduction of intermediate steps removes this from being unlikely

Examples of interaction are in the General Statement and 2.6.8. Some are [1] nucleic acids [replicators] and enzymes [synthesizers] and phosphates [perhaps] [energy releasers] --> viable replicators; [2] replicators and lipids and ... --> prokaryotes; [3] genetic interactions between bacteria --> primitive sex; [4] symbiosis between prokaryotes --> eukaryotes; [5] [possibly] genetic interactions between eukaryotes [and differentiation] --> sex [and male and female]; [6] --> societies --> colonies --> multi-cellular organisms --> societies and schools of multi-cellular organisms...and from this final stage, possibly, humans and human society

Society is also an “individual” [species and common gene pool] and one may speculate whether there is any evolution to stronger interactions between humans

Comparison between society and organism is interesting:

Organism - Tendency to central control, reproduction, strong interactions, structure and longevity definite and coded [programmed]

Society - Tendency to decentralized control, “tradition”, weak interactions, structure and longevity indefinite and not coded


2.6.10    Human and psychosocial evolution: descent and development


Kingdom: metazoa [higher animals: subkingdoms parazoa, metazoa]

Subkingdom: metazoa

Phylum: chordata

Subphylum: vertebrata

Class: mammalia

Subclass: theria


Order: primates - prosimians, monkeys, apes, ape-men, and men

Suborder: anthropoidea - monkeys, apes, ape-men, men

Super-family: Hominoidea - apes, ape-men, men

Family: Hominidae - ape-men, men

Genus: Homo - men, archaic and modern

Species: sapiens; race: Homo sapiens-sapiens 42

Relations to social evolution

Development: It is not thought that the development of Homo was uniform. There was a sequence and the sequence probably had “elements of cause”. The earlier steps were instrumental in the subsequent ones. Primary in this scheme is bipedalism leading to increased cranial capacity. However, it should be noted [1] social factors were significant in development, and [2] the sequence is not strictly linear but contains feedback and interactive elements. The development contains elements of conjecture


Stages of Development:

Hominization: Bipedalism, immaturity of newborn = plasticity Neoteny - adults are more like newborn = more plasticity in adult stage

Humanization: Hominization of adults --> adult plasticity --> very rapid psychosocial evolution

Speculations: This sequence is conjectural, based of study of psychology, society, and religion

Psychosocial evolution

Arboreal life --> descent and bipedalism --> gather --> social organization

--> hunt technology [tools]  – emotivity adaptive

integrative of perception --> large brain adaptive --> neoteny and plasticity

--> adaptability --> language and language

[general]  – based culture

climatic adaptability nomadism psychosocial evolution

agriculture and leisure --> culture and civilization

2.6.11    Evolution of human society

Evolution [origin, maintenance, decline] of

Social groups

Social organization and chance

Social institutions [problems of stability vs. quality and equity]

Speculations; relation to evolution of the individual


Social institutions

Economic, political [and military], legal


Self evolution of computer systems

Molecular technology

Cultural institutions

Development, application [objective design] and transmission of knowledge through educational and academic institutions, and the like; includes

Art and religion

Discussion: The technologies mentioned here represent a novelty - a new manifestation of evolution that can interact with biological levels of evolution. The cultural institutions are also involved

2.6.12    Evolution of individuation and independence


In biological evolution

In evolution of humankind

In evolution of human society


Plasticity vs. hierarchy




Awareness of dimensions of being - construction of categories of existence - schemmas - atlases


Knowledge [a history of origins and speciation of organismic and symbolic knowledge is useful in foundations] and design and their modes, integration-unity, replication

2.6.13    Possibilities and speculations: universal again

Actuality of self-directed evolution arising from intelligence and ability to plan

Ideals as provided by philosophy and knowledge [including sociology, psychology, anthropology, politics, religion]...constraints of material science

Unknown or sacred; extrapolations to the unknown based on the known

Possibilities - evaluations

Relations to organic accounts [2.5]; ideal religion [includes motivational systems] [4.2]; action philosophies [6]

Teleology... the will to the unknown, sacred, universal. Search for such a will [as an intrinsic phenomenon]. Criteria of recognition

Connections between universal and biophysical evolution

Begin by assuming that only matter exists and is governed by mechanism. Then materialism has evolved life; this includes human life, and so design and choice. Hence, materialism, mechanism and design are certainly consistent in immediate nature. As a generalization, materialism, choice and design are not inconsistent. What of good? In immediate nature, good has [at least partial] origin in evolution = variation and selection, and the same must be true in any universal design. If


immediate nature is part of universal evolution and design, the good at the two levels must have some connection - there will be such connections for any interacting levels. However, evolution is not perfection and divergence of perfection, and there will always exist evil-bad-detrimental as part of the condition of emergence. Thus, we expect good and evil in universal design

In this way, without justifying any specific organic system of cosmology, we see the connection between system and myth. A systematic universal evolution provides a general framework for mythology

Scientific, rational conclusive evidence for universal design has not been given, nor is this the intention. However, we have demonstrated that we may speculate on this and related issues without being irrational. Such speculation is an aesthetic and rational adventure at the boundary of our universes of matter and knowledge. It is also an ethical adventure if we choose further evolution as a higher value than security. Further, in making this choice and related valuations, we remember that while there are risks in evolution, there are also risks in the refuge of security

Further speculations:

In addition to universal good and evil; universal recurrence - simple vs. complex cycles; relation between such recurrence and universal good and evil

Related to this discussion is an interesting comparison between some of the ideas of theism and materialism. This is natural, given that the superstructures of philosophical positions have similar motivations; indeed, materialism43 arose as an alternative to theism in the wake of the rise of science. Now, the comparison:





No creation or destruction45




Original cause Everything originates in matter

Nothing created God

Nothing caused matter


There are no non-material powers

What God wills must be

What mechanical laws determine must be


More to matter than in any of its parts


Matter exists in each part of nature


All knowledge exists in material brains


Since matter is all, all goodness is contained in matter


Matter is personal

Table 1 Theism and Materialism


2.6.14    Open and fundamental problems of evolution

Continue search for:

Mechanisms and language...see §2.6.2

Reality and what is realizable...see §2.6.3

Physical reality: its nature - behind space, time, matter field...see §2.6.4

Phenomenal descriptions of space, time, matter field...see §2.6.4

Evolution of nature; boundaries of nature - “space”, “time”- and beyond these boundaries...see §2.6.4

Origins of replicating molecules; Dyson's concept of fault-tolerant chemical systems predating genes...see §2.6.7

Descent; origins of bipedalism, neoteny, cranial capacity, language; origin of social interactions...see §2.6.10

Origin of civilization - agriculture...see §2.6.11

Origins of social institutions and groups - economic, political, and legal; and of cultural, mythic, traditional, and rational knowledge expressed in religion, art, tradition, philosophy, symbolic, and scientific knowledge

Origin of consciousness...see §2.6.12

Phylogenetic and ontogenetic learning

Evolution of knowledge





Origins are not the whole story to evolution. There is also equilibrium and decay. The sequence, or cycle of life of an evolutionary structure or process, could be expanded to origins, growth, equilibrium, decay and death. Alternate words and ways of thinking are, for origins - creation, genesis; for growth - progress, fulfillment of opportunity, radiation; for equilibrium- balance, stability [unstable equilibrium cannot be sustained], guidance; for decay - decline, retrogression, fulfillment of evil; and for death - destruction, dissolution, fulfillment of nonbeing or latent existence. I am not subscribing to these definitions

I do not imply the cycle of life in a deterministic sense. Rather, the phrases are states or processes in which entities may be; a given phase may be recognized as another; regular progression can be interrupted by catastrophe or a change to a new order. It seems to me that the alternative to static being is change, and the consequence of no change non-constancy is non-being --> being; static being --> growth or decay, but initially growth and so on. Thus any philosophy of change must imply origin --> growth --> equilibrium --> decay --> death, not deterministically or in any regular or smooth way, but surely or essentially

2.7.1        Why study these aspects of evolution?

1. Scientific and philosophical reasons - understanding

2. Religious, psychological and social reasons - understanding, acceptance and design


3. As possible elements in growth of understanding

State --> process --> reality that transcends and integrates time [time --> time and space as relationship]

4. An elaboration of Item 2: openness to, joy in

Equilibrium, decline and death

Preparation for decline and death

New beginnings

5. Completion of understanding of physical, biological and social cycles


2.7.2        Evidence for origin and growth, equilibrium, decline and death

1. Religion

Hinduism - Creator Brahma, Maintainer Vishnu, Destroyer Shiva, cyclicity

Buddhism - Web of causation, every thing that has a beginning has an end, ends, too

Christianity - God guides the world, Apocalypse and revelation

2. Philosophy

Philosophy of change implies Non-being --> Being, Being --> Non-Being, --> cyclicity

Comment: Life cycle is complex; cyclicity is complex cyclicity and interaction

Criticism: Philosophy of change has its origin in the empirical observation of being

3. Observation

Elementary particles, cosmological objects, many geological forms, organisms46 [cells, higher forms], species [birth, long equilibrium, extinction - most], ecosystems [most], societies [not implying determinism], ideas and ideologies [many - until now]



2.8.1        Conflicts and resolutions

God created the world and the classes of living things as they are. Life has evolved from the primitive earth-universe. Surely, these two statements are contradictory, surely creation and evolution are incompatible. Evolution and creation could or ought to be synonymous, because creation does not necessarily imply absence - or presence - of evolution, and evolution does not necessarily imply absence or presence of a creator, designer, or guide

The conflict between creation and evolution can be resolved: even in “creation” we recognize grades and class of structure, and evolution can be understood by an open-minded creationist who looks at the world and says, “What is God's design?” The Bible can be interpreted to fit or to negate evolution. There is no fundamental conflict with evolution, except that “evolution” is perhaps conducive to economy of thought and creation to “needs” of some psyches. The “facts” are equally conducive to open and generalized notions of evolution and creation - but to different aspects of evolutionary theories than of creationist ideas. Only due to dogma or ego is there conflict. These comments are a beginning. [1] A better convergence of science and religion is possible. [2] An improved interpretation of creation, evolution and design is possible

2.8.2        The ultimate nature of things

We think we do not know the ultimate nature of things, and I suspect we do not either. However, some observations are possible. Above, a creationist interpretation of evolution was made; improvement is possible. Is an evolutionary interpretation possible? Evolution


evolved humankind; humankind can plan for the future; therefore, evolution has evolved design. At least it is conceivable that design can be a universal dimension of being and of category of explanation. Questions remain

2.8.3        Analogies and conceptual synthesis

Organic accounts of creation --> archetype [metaphor, simile, essential model]

--> Systematic, adaptive, and open [science, philosophy] accounts

--> Organic accounts

2.8.4        Value synthesis

Organic accounts provide moral and motivational systems [or attempts at such], which are missing in the scientific47 accounts which provide hierarchic Organizations of certainty [or attempts at this] which may be missing in the organic ones...although factual syntheses are possible as are motivational ones. There must be some motivation to the scientist from within science; e.g., relation to the world and universe. A proper synthesis will be one that recognizes that the two types of account provide complementary things. This might be preceded by internal changes in each, or eclectic selection from each



2.9.1        Generalized characteristics models of systems undergoing evolutionary CYCLES

Generalized characteristics and models of systems undergoing [a] evolutionary cycles that include the phases of origin --> growth --> equilibrium --> decay --> death, and [b] the phases...that follow

Mechanistic: Physical [classical, quantum, and statistical; relativistic - space, time, field]; chemical, biological, psycho-social and social; general and special ad hoc mechanisms

Mathematical: Differential equations, oscillators, stability, catastrophes, chaos, and automata

Philosophical, linguistic, general symbolic

2.9.2        Requirements for models

Explain: variation, reproduction and recombination, interaction, selection; nature of stable or relatively stable ordered states; growth and equilibrium and decline, and also origin and death of systems

2.9.3        Problems to be modeled

Specific patterns of growth, equilibrium, decay and conditions; e.g., sigmoid growth; problems of success and centralization; evolution and inherence of design, relations between evolution and design; explanations and reductions of various types; relation to different levels of actual evolution, and relation to whole


2.9.4        Relation with type of causation

1. Deterministic

2. Probabilistic

3. Causal - classical and relativistic

4. Synchronistic

5. Future depends on present: [a] State, [b] State and rate of change; Hamiltonian systems, [c] other

Ergodic, mixing character

6. Future depends on past [history] or on past and present

Nature of physical and symbolic reality which corresponds to these relations



2.10.1    General questions

Indeterminism “due” to ignorance vs. essential indeterminism [at all levels of evolution]

Interaction of levels, explanations and theories [reductions] []

Determinism vs. potential

Constraints [and possibilities]

Necessity and contingency of cycles and or growth, equilibrium, and decay

Punctuated equilibrium as determinism with inessential indeterminism [possibly]

2.10.2    Specific theories

Materialism [quantum vs. classical concepts, relevance of quantum “fluctuations” in cosmological evolution]

Dualism. Ontic and epistemic - similar to the ontic and epistemic categories of subjectivity i.e. consciousness is ontologically subjective but epistemologically subjective

Social Darwinism

Sociobiology and psychology

A. As biological determinism

B. As interaction of material-biological and social elements

Social determinism [of individual nature, potential, and values]

Historical determinism

Marxism vs. capitalism

2.10.3    Does evolution approach perfection?

My present opinion is that I do not think so

This is only an opinion

What is perfection?

Within the standard concepts, perfection does not have a clear meaning

To have a meaning there would have to be a reference framework of metaphysics and values



3           PHILOSOPHY

Philosophy seeks ultimates and endeavors to display these as clear, transcendent or universal, connected and simple48. The notion of clarity is that the ultimate should be shown as immediate, evident without recourse to excess demonstration. In actuality, philosophy will be related to individual and culture. The ideal of transcendence is to seek universals. A condition of connectedness is that all existence - being and process; experience, expression, knowledge; value and design - should appear as a unity, as interdependent aspects of the ultimate. Simplicity is that the notions of philosophy will not contain too many elements. Philosophy seeks these ideals; actuality may fall short of the ideal. Understanding and nature are always changing. Philosophy, however, incorporates this dynamic element; this may be the key to realizing the ideals

In its search, philosophy considers and uses all elements: evolution, philosophy itself, knowledge, design, action, evaluation. In its concern for clarity and for validity, a form of clarity, philosophy seeks the essence and truth of each element. Therefore, philosophy provides a critical function, with value to knowledge. However, philosophy also seeks to synthesize the elements and to go beyond them. This is the essential value of philosophy: for the individual elements of experience, which in original being were a unity, have become separate and thus are incomplete truths; and the mere collection of half truths does not provide truth

It is valuable to emphasize that philosophy contains, in addition to the critical element, a creative one: in criticism itself, in synthesis and in going beyond original circumstances

It is also valuable to note that, in its ultimate form, philosophy is not exclusive; all aspects of experience, reality are included, all points of view - and ways of viewing - merit consideration: in order to use them as potential elements in the creative function and to subject them [or the ideas that they suggest] to the criteria of clarity, transcendence, connectedness, and simplicity



Why include philosophy in considerations for design? In the General Statement, I have indicated four levels of design. These levels are nested. The hierarchy starts with a very specific type - simple objective design, and generalizes by degrees to the fourth level: design = evolution. As the hierarchy generalizes, objectives proliferate and lose specificity, control decreases, and design by planning, analysis and foresight decreases. Objectives have become as diffuse and numerous as the phenomena of the “ecosystem.” At the very simplest level, there is a single clear objective subject to complete control by analysis; such cases are trivial. In realistic cases of design-by-objectives, there is more than one objective. These objectives may be hard to define, and design includes analytical and actual trial and error. At intermediate levels - social process - the objectives are not completely clear; only partial control is possible, and trial and error is an essential part of the process: design for a viable society, as an example. There must be room for trial and error. At the most general level there are, it seems49, no objectives - at least no clear objectives; there is no apparent control, no foresight, no planning

Perhaps the most general level, evolution, should not be called design since there seems to be no designer, according to standard biological and physical evolutionary theory in 1986; yet the levels do interact, all levels involve evolution, the most general level includes the more specific. If there is no high designer then design itself evolves - there is foresight in natural systems: human, insect colonies as wholes. Further, we cannot rule out design at universal levels. Use of the word design is certainly valid at all levels provided it is accepted that, consistent with current 1986 understanding of physical and biological evolution, design is manifest at the specific levels and latent at the general levels. This latency may later turn out to be essential or, instead, it may turn out to have actual manifestations at the general or universal level - or it may not

There are unresolved philosophical issues within the specific levels of design: for human designers - on the nature or existence of mind as a manifestation or separate metaphysical category; in


biology the following questions arise: “what is evolving and what are its interactions, and can read evolution be read into the universe?” On the question of interactions between levels, there are clear philosophical issues: to what extent, and by what criteria, are the specific levels “contained” within the general; how is foresight identified - related to this, is there foresight in insect colonies - not in individual insects but in whole colonies: perhaps, but not as flexible and “free” as in “higher” animals; in what sense can we justify use of the concept design at a level of evolution; is humankind to be considered a part of nature - I think so, obviously; to what extent are languages of design and evolution possible apart from mechanism; are these languages identical - e.g., design = generation and selection of ideas and artifactual actualities, evolution = variation and selection of natural actualities; should the distinctions generation vs. variation and artifactual vs. natural be essential; are these languages “precise”, adequate approximations; how will we decide whether latency is essential? Other questions, of course, remain

Additionally, as discussed in the introduction [3], the elements of social process, which link together in evolutionary social design, have partial foundation in philosophy

A more specific statement is given next [3.1.1]. Other values to inclusion of philosophy are given in the subsequent subdivisions



This includes evolution, value, knowledge, design, action, and evaluation...definition of evolutionary philosophy...knowledge, all dimensions of being and process...foundation of the parts [processes] and subparts and their interrelations, especially as processes

Objective design is immersed in a social process or an individual's life: knowledge [awareness, value, being and disciplines] --> design --> action --> evaluation. Philosophy provides an understanding of the nature and foundation of the different aspects of the process and of the total process, and similarly to other interacting levels of design and evolution. Philosophy also contributes to the sub-processes - the branches of knowledge, modes of action, and so on. The provisions of philosophy should be in interaction with the individual disciplines but while focusing on totality, purpose, meaning, and setting

The contribution of philosophy is complementary to the understanding provided by evolution and, if we choose, we can contribute the lessons of evolution and organicity into evolution. Thus philosophy and evolution enhance each other and these enhancements interact, making it legitimate to introduce an evolutionary philosophy


...of this work have been stated [1.2, 1.3]



All levels of design are included and therefore all areas of human endeavor. Examples are philosophy of science, political philosophy, philosophy of “life”

Philosophy includes general schemes of understanding, knowing, being, predicting and choosing and, as such, is useful in design. For example, in engineering or social design, we would like to know something about what values are relevant and how they affect choice. Such questions are considered critically and creatively in philosophy. The creative element is valuable because design is not merely reflection of values but also calls values into question certain general philosophical criteria: coherence, logical connectedness, adequacy, and applicability are relevant, with appropriate interpretation to design models. In personal design, there is a need to know the accessible dimensions of being. “Complete” answers to such questions would include a philosophical one

Given the pace and tempo of modern 1986 design and change, we can question the value of philosophy. Philosophy questions the pace itself, for the pace is a philosophy - of action. One way, a reasonable way, to counter such a philosophy is with a philosophy of reflection; and, certainly, there are sufficient warnings and signs to warrant the question of pace. Philosophy provides a context for understanding pace, its interrelations and values, implications of change. More generally, society has long left the arena of mythic and intuitive philosophy of action and being; and while such philosophy remains durable, the more reflective and independent forms of philosophy - critical and creative - are essential

The input from philosophy will be general and further considerations will come from specific experience and disciplines. Philosophy through personal philosophical reflection,


accumulated and generalized experience of others; indeed, through the experience of evolution itself, will provide a general framework that will avoid the circular and self-referential logic of special disciplines

In short, “philosophy first” is an aspect of top-down design

How practical!



There can be but one process [3.1.1]; we classify, see and know sub-processes and aspects. The following representation is foundation for further development:

Being and process



[Creative evolution]


Awareness and manifest process


Design and action


Knowledge [awareness, fact, value] --> design --> action --> evaluation

This structure includes whole social process - and not merely cognition and related institutions; and life and nature. Evolution shows the connections through knowledge, which is also evolving; these elements are essential to complete design

Philosophy can understand the nature and provide a foundation for this composite as a unity, directly through critical and creative contribution to the elements of understanding and through provision of a foundation for evolution. Philosophy can encourage direct vision of this unity, for nature itself has no assumptions, axioms or contradictions. One of the tasks of philosophy is to remove the vagueness in origins [and hence axioms], and the contradictions of our modes of thought and feeling, of our separate realities, and provide eclectic synthesis. In addition, as philosophy shows the incompleteness of our thoughts, it clears paths to direct vision, which includes cognition. In this way, through reflection on being and process as a unity, we become open to the whole of existence. This is valuable - and the pragmatic and the sacred combine in this value because the future is unknown, and, perhaps, largely unknowable to any static system



However, why is a framework for philosophy of value in design? As understood here, philosophy is a part of design. Here we are considering all levels of design. Philosophy founding philosophy is design founding design. The general study is an essential complement to the specific studies; for the latter, while paying essential attention to specifics, can, in their involvement, omit the more global connections. Philosophy provides a framework for [1] the large-scale connections at levels corresponding to all appropriate dimensions of being, and [2] the interconnections between, and appropriate balance among, degrees of scale and level

Integration of social process, and design and evolution is an organic framework for understanding and seeing nature and the induced unity on our understanding of the process is of a philosophical character...out of this, and together with other philosophical approaches such as organicity, evolutionism, we can develop a philosophy of knowledge, design, action, evaluation and of philosophy. To this end, it will be useful to understand existing philosophy. The objective will be to include whatever is valuable in existing philosophy, knowledge, art, religion, and so on and to add to the relative truths50 of these systems by founding in original existence [being and process]



Approaches to definitions should not be ad hoc or based merely on accumulations of old definitions and ideas on the nature of the concept involved. Two rational approaches can be used: [1] a general one is which a whole context is delineated, studied, classified, compared and applied; repeated use of this approach including historical and evolutionary principles available from a study of such repeated use. For a topic as general as philosophy, no final definition can be given but only contributory characterizations as a part of changes in culture [history] - while such changes occur; and [2] specific or specifiable definitions rooted in specific contexts or related to specific purposes or conceptual schemes. Such definitions will be useful but limited, at least somewhat, to the specific time and purpose. These definitions will be among those that contribute to the general, evolving concepts

The full objectives of this work include all of philosophy. This becomes clear when it is noted that evolution, knowledge and design, action, and so on, are included. Philosophy includes synthesis and foundation of these aspects of life. However, there is value to a consideration of the nature of philosophy in a way that is independent of the slant and objectives of this work. This independent consideration may be synthesized with a philosophy that is slanted toward the objectives of this work...some specific purposes were given [3.1]. General purposes are implied by “nature of philosophy”. While the explicit design objectives here cannot be used as the basis of a full understanding of philosophy, they can provide a start: the content of 3.1 suggests the following characteristics of philosophy



A. Philosophy is [or should be] grounded in and useful for life [application], but seeks a whole picture and avoids over-concern with immediate application. These features, in combination with more immediate disciplines and arts, make philosophy useful and adaptive to the general situation of humankind. Philosophy provides a general framework for action and design - including all aspects, levels, organismic and symbolic knowledge - as they interface the unknown and the known. This is a motivation for the development of philosophy

B. Philosophy provides general schemes of understanding, knowing, being, acting, predicting, choosing; inclusive generality partly motivated by large unknowns and partly by need for holism and inclusion of organic knowledge, including evolution, in such understanding

C. Complemented by special disciplines; implies [1] philosophy does not get into details where accurate specialized disciplines are available - unless there is some special need [e.g., understanding, suggestion, testing]; and [2] can get into analysis of details where special disciplines have not been developed and, perhaps, given the nature of the aspect of experience under consideration, are not likely to be developed. This is the origin of physics and biology, psychology, sociology and social studies such as political, educational analysis, logic, linguistics, analysis of religion, value, art and esthetics. At any given time it is difficult to say which specialized disciplines are emerging; possible modern 1987 examples are cognitive science,51 evolutionary analysis - since Hegel and Darwin - including foundations of knowledge [and value], design, action, synthesis of idea, religion and general evolutionary synthesis of the elements of social process - not to the exclusion of the biophysical; further, philosophy remains important in frontier studies as in the interactive meaning of space and time and the pre-perceptual and cognitive foundation of these concepts, foundations of science, meaning and possibility, and nature of human motivation


D. Study of true or ultimate nature; generally and in special disciplines, even where accuracy is available; accuracy itself is not understanding

E. Study of foundations, criticism of knowledge whether special or general; unified understanding of separate dimensions or aspects of reality by eclectic syntheses of the corresponding disciplines - phenomenology as a basis of synthesis; thus includes concern with consistency and logic

These views are preliminary and partial characterizations with respect to both accuracy and completeness. Below, sections 3.2.2 through 3.5, are a number of other characterizations and observations to complement and correct the ones made above



A number of characterizations of philosophy are considered in an article by J. Passmore52

The characterizations in this article range from Plato's to Russell's. Most are rejected as inadequate; but are interesting and valuable for their insight and contribution. Finally, philosophy characterized as “theory of critical discussion.”

This is a good characterization of one philosophic tradition [method] [English-speaking philosophers; analytic and critical philosophy], but leaves out much that is valuable. Much original Western philosophy, modern 20th century Continental philosophy, and Eastern philosophy are excluded. Entire traditions in philosophy are omitted; e.g., speculative philosophy which provides the content which can be critically formulated, and examined critically and empirically [from data including specific theory]; and the more direct approaches to knowledge such as intuitive, mystic, transcendental. The speculative method [3.4.3] is a more complete model of philosophic method than the critical method; the speculative method is a generalization of hypothesis-deduction and verification or selection [which includes “falsification”].53 It is trial and error and includes the critical [more algorithm like] as well as direct approaches. A more complete characterization of philosophic method is the speculative-critical approach - a synthesis; this includes all standard varieties of scientific method, especially the hypothetico-deductive method as special cases

Also omitted from the idea of philosophy as method is the whole of philosophic knowledge. There is a sense in which all knowledge is philosophy but, to be useful, restriction should be made to knowledge that is in some sense ultimate, eternal, general, synthetic, the result of critical analysis and so on. While it is true that the content of philosophy is evolving due to creative speculation, criticism, evolution of culture and knowledge generally; and while it is also true that specialized disciplines break away


from philosophy as their content crystallizes and becomes more secure; there is still a place, within philosophy itself, for knowledge. For, the importance of method is, in addition to its being a process, in its ability to provide content, as both method and content intertwine and evolve. At any time philosophy is, perhaps, best characterized by some happy, “best” combination of methods and contents [3.3-3.5]. Further, it remains that there is a core of philosophy, the sacred or eternal problems [3.3.1-2, 3.5.2] whose contemplation transforms individuals by a centering in the greatness of creation and which is constant or changes very slowly



Some of the observations of 3.2.1 and 3.2.2 will be repeated for their relevance to a general characterization of philosophy. In any analysis which is a part of evolving “knowledge,” “culture” and so on, concepts are modified [and introduced] even though, often, the words remain the same. Introduction of new meaning is through seeing new connections - in this work particularly, from holism [knowledge in nature and organism], organic holism [organism in nature], whole process and by metaphor, speculation, trial construction. The old words are both necessary [to connect the new to the old - except when the old must be completely discarded], and a hindrance [I must carefully attend to specification]

A. Includes generalized knowledge; whole world, universal views

B. Has an inclusive function; holistic: organism a whole, organism and environment a whole; knowledge has many dimensions including intuitive, emotive, feeling, organismic, and knowledge a part of organism and environment, of evolution; is open to entire universes of experience and knowledge. Inclusion includes polarities and continua, polarities within continua - polarities as opposites or discrete entities, as “actualities” and ideas. In many situations a polarity is most economically and beautifully understood as a continuum with one pole a special case, not opposite, of the other - examples: knowledge, and therefore philosophical knowledge, as separate from nature versus knowledge as a part of nature, that is of organism, ecosystem; and, therefore, of evolution. Knowledge and nature as discrete are largely ingrained in modern 1986 naive thinking - knowledge is information, found in libraries but not process. This discreteness is related to Descartes' mind and matter; corresponds to the “critical” theory of knowledge and philosophy which accepts, as given, some ultimate form of discourse which is complete - though not completely discovered [Platonism] - and within which assertions, theories are clear in their meaning and true or false. In contrast there is the “speculative” theory of knowledge and philosophy which does or should root knowledge in organism, environment and evolution - either through “hardwiring” or potential - knowledge and organism are part of the same whole, accepts no current mode of discourse within which meaning is absolutely clear and assertions and theories are characterized by ambiguity and probability [the actual situation is complex since theories have philosophical as well as factual content; see 3.3.2 and 3.5.6]: meaning itself evolves as knowledge and society [and organism evolve]. Examples: [polarity]: fact vs. theory.54


C. Is open to criticism at the deepest levels, for philosophy and language often labor under the inadequacies and misconceptions of ancient thought. This is more a problem in the more “developed” cultures in which [1] language is the primary medium of philosophy and [2] philosophy is a profession

D. An approach to the “problems” of polarity, inclusion or exclusion, ambiguity and probability is to start with the most inclusive scheme of philosophy of knowledge possible. In such a scheme all experience and potential experience, fact or potential fact, and assertions and potential assertions about such would be included. Then a number of criteria for classifying, grading, or hierarchical organization would be specified. In cases where a criterion is applicable with ambiguity or inapplicable, this could be specified. System would then be introduced into the schemes. Since time will be one of the means of grading, evolution is an implied concept. For the selection of criteria, and specification of experience, fact, and assertion, some primitive theoretical-empirical system is used. The meta-scheme is tested by appeal to the panorama of available fact, experience, and theory. This approach is not greatly different from conventional except: [a] level of inclusion, [b] flexibility in grading, [c] explicit recognition of elements of the process

The basis of a meta-scheme upon a simpler scheme is a model of evolutionary process including [a] variation and selection, [b] reproduction and interaction [carefully thought out], and [c] emergence of levels. Basis in social [knowledge] is immediate and basis in primal evolution is not apparent55 except as knowledge makes contact with such evolution and through levels of social evolution, Levels I and II

E. Uses the “speculative approach” to constructing language and systems of understanding, explaining, generalizing, predicting, and choosing. This consists in using formal, algorithmic, heuristic, intuitive means to constructing such systems and testing for consistency and truth by application to factual and theoretical systems


F. Philosophy provides its own motivation:

[1] As an attitude toward knowledge philosophy includes - or attempts to develop and include - an invariant language which is unaffected by sciences and science, knowledge, psychology. This seems like a resurrection of the critical function as the whole of philosophy and as such seems antithetical to evolutionary-speculative philosophy. This is not so. There is value to the critical attempt in that it attempts to provide an independent reference for knowledge. But such a reference probably falls in between the ideal [and perhaps nonexistent - even potentially] ultimate and invariant and the ephemeral nature of science; and it is undoubtedly, in this way, part of some implicit evolutionary-speculative system, and some actual and explicit, if forgotten, speculative scheme. Perhaps all symbolic knowledge, even symbolic expression of intuitive knowledge, begins as speculation; futile speculations are discarded, fertile speculations “become” knowledge

To the degree that an invariant language, perhaps a language of thought, is possible, it is useful and provides one characterization of metaphysics:56 whereas the speculative cosmology of the scientist describes the world in terms of elementary physical objects and processes [to what degree this is no longer true in modern 1987 physics, is problematic]. The speculative cosmology and descriptive metaphysics of the philosopher is expressed in terms of logical concepts as thing, individual, process; but note that the language of metaphysics, however distanced from some original physical real or class of reals, is not totally devoid of reference to reals [3.5.6] and therefore we can have hierarchies of descriptive metaphysics which may find universes of application. If a descriptive metaphysics is abstracted from some real and intuitive physics [etc.], it may apply to imagined processes

[2] As an attitude toward life: There are philosophies of life and action [Area 6]; these are philosophies by virtue of advocating some view other than consensus value and showing by discussion literary exposition, or example how the alternative value provides a good basis for life, thought, action, creation. The “normal” value system could also be treated in this way - and often is; philosophy is not anti or pro “norm.”


G. Philosophy and language are related. Whitehead:57 “Every science must devise its own instruments. The tool required for philosophy is language. Thus, philosophy redesigns language...At this point appeal to facts is a difficult operation. This appeal is not solely to the expression of facts in current verbal statements. The adequacy of such statements is the main question at issue...” Hence, the essential nature of speculative philosophy. [Algorithms for developing adequate general languages are probably impossible.]

The relation between language and analytic philosophy is clear [Whitehead was never merely an analytical or critical philosopher]. However, there are questions as to whether language is the only vehicle for philosophy. In addition to symbolic communication, there is sensual communication - visual, tonal, etc., aesthetic and artistic communication, communication by example and action. An important point is - while knowledge and philosophy are incomplete, new forms of communication and expression are needed

H. “Schemes of speculative philosophy dominate the sciences; one aim of philosophy is to make such schemes explicit.”58

I. “In philosophy, the merest hint of dogmatic certainty is exhibition of folly.” The value of this assertion may be questioned. [Does it include the transcendental? Is the transcendental communicated or implanted without physical and temporal communication? Does the transcendental evolve? Why should transcendental be different? Is not transcendental knowledge self-communication between symbolic and intuitive modes...?] The point: The evolutionary, speculative, probable natures of philosophy, knowledge are underlined again

J. One aim of philosophy is “self-correction by consciousness of its own initial excesses of philosophy.”


K. Analytic knowledge and philosophy, expressed in symbolic language, work by recording and abstraction from nature. Abstraction is essential to avoid eternal concern with detail, to provide clarity and understanding, to make it “easier to conceive the infinite variety of specific instances resting in the womb of nature.” However both recording and abstraction involve incompleteness and inaccuracy; therefore, analytic knowledge can never be fully complete or correct - unless the universe is actually much simpler than we commonly think it to be - except by accident. [Does this apply to the transcendental? I think so, but am not sure because of my uncertainty about the nature of transcendental communication as reported.]

In the speculative model advance is evolutionary = variation and selection and speculation and test [critical and empirical]; in fact, I question whether “the function” of knowledge is absolute meaning, clarity, certainty; rather the function, in all circumstances, is adaptive to some purpose. Such purposes include but are not restricted to evolutionary “purposes.” Because of freedom within physical-bio-psychosocial constraints, we are free to choose perfect accuracy as a value, except that the speculative model questions the final meaning of accuracy

L. There is in addition to descriptive metaphysics, a real metaphysics. Aristotle, in Metaphysics: “There is a science which investigates being as being, and the attributes which belong to this in virtue of its own nature. Now this is not the same as any of the so-called special sciences, for none of these treats universally of being as being. They cut off a part of being and investigate the attributes of this part.”



The discussion of 3.1 and 3.2 has suggested the nature of the divisions of philosophy. It includes what there is in the universe [metaphysics] and how we know it [epistemology]. Metaphysics includes existence as a whole and those parts of existence which are not covered within “established” knowledge - the special problems and applications of philosophy. Epistemology seeks a critical approach to understanding and knowledge. Epistemology is a study of the processes [reason] and apparatus [perception] by which knowledge is obtained and is closely related to method. Metaphysics and epistemology are at least partially inclusive of each other. Despite these connections, I will show metaphysics, epistemology and method separate in classification tree below

It is not my intent to justify this scheme of Philosophy



METHOD 3.3.3 and 3.4

APPLICATIONS AND SPECIAL PROBLEMS...continued to the next table


Knowledge of existence as a whole 3.3.1


Theory of knowledge 3.3.2




myth, fire and sacrifice








Table 2 The Divisions of Philosophy









3.5.3, 5.3.2, and 5.3.5

160, 2.6, 3.5.4, and 3.5.6

3.5.1, and 4

1, 2, 3.5.6, and 5


Ideal Religion, The Sacred

Axiology, Ethics, Aesthetics

Economic, Political, Legal, and Cultural

Sciences, Humanities





Culture refers to all modes of knowledge, institution and tradition




Table 3 The Divisions of Philosophy - Applications and Special Problems

Links to Charts on the Divisions of Philosophy

The Divisions of Philosophy [10 Kb]

Applications and Special Problems of Philosophy [6 Kb]


3.3.1        METAPHYSICS

Nature of existence, reality, being as being; in full; as a whole; the ultimate nature of things... “We hope to find in experience and elements intrinsically incapable as examples of metaphysics”61 The metaphysical characteristics of an entity are those that apply to all entities: include descriptive metaphysics as the appropriate language for analytic metaphysics. Speculative metaphysics is the speculative and speculative-critical method applied to being and results in analytic metaphysics if language is the medium of expression of the speculative system. Transcendental metaphysics is direct knowledge of ultimate being

Metaphysics includes all special sciences but the special sciences do not imply metaphysics. There is one reality; the analytic-rational process - of necessity - takes this apart descriptively and analyzes each part. The parts can be synthesized in a number of ways; such syntheses reflect some aspect of their original unity. Syntheses are possible because of the original unity that is manifest in evolutionary convergence of “mind and matter.” The unity is seen through the existence of hybrid sciences: biophysics, physical chemistry, and molecular biology. Re-linking is one approach to showing unity - and a special case is hierarchy; an alternative to re-linking aspects of being is to reconnect sub-processes. In this way [1] the number of connections is smaller, and [2] the dimensions of being need not be sought. Yet, this is not, in itself, a guarantee of fullness. Perhaps there is an evolutionary path to fullness, evolutionary metaphysics

Divisions of metaphysics:

▪ General Metaphysics: Being and process as a whole. Speculative and or critical and transcendental metaphysics - approaches ontology: ultimate nature of being

Values are [1] as a source of insight, and [2] provision of an invariant language or descriptive metaphysics62 or general framework of understanding


▪ Cosmology: The science that includes all sciences; based in physical, biological...constructs. Includes speculative and critical cosmology

Cosmology is satisfied by explanations and theories; metaphysics by ultimates

▪ Epistemology and Psychology: Epistemology pertains to the relationship between knower-and- known, and [1] so includes the relevant aspects of psychology. Among these are psychologies of perception and value, including affect; and [2] both epistemology and psychology could be considered as part of metaphysics since knower-and-known is part of the universe

The value of epistemology to metaphysics is clear, for [a] it is not obvious that there are ultimates in nature, but, if there are, epistemology has something to say about recognition of the ultimates; and [b] irrespective of whether there are ultimates in nature, epistemology has something essential to say on perception and knowledge, and whether there are any ultimates in perception and knowledge

In other words, regarding knower-and-known as part of a composite system of interactions, there may be ultimates in states of knowledge and processes of knowing and perception. These ultimates may be inherent in composite nature everywhere or accessible through a process of evolution. If such ultimates do not exist then epistemology still has much to say on the results of the processes of knowing; i.e., on knowledge and metaphysics

We are thus lead to a dual view:

[1] Metaphysics as the knowledge of ultimates includes epistemology, or

[2] Epistemology as the science of ultimates in the composite relation or process of knower-and-known includes metaphysics

There is an identity between metaphysics and epistemology. However, in their psychologies, emphases and approximations, they may be different and there may be practical reasons to prefer one set of emphases, etc. over the other in actual situations. Some preferences are as follows. Individuals with object emphasis - prefer metaphysics; those with subject-object emphasis - prefer epistemology


▪ Evolutionary Metaphysics and Epistemology: Metaphysics is the attempt to deal with final truths behind knowledge and epistemology includes the attempt to elucidate final forms of knowledge. Both include and occur within a cosmological scheme. Evolution is emergence of order; current knowledge of biological evolution recognizes no finality or end but the same is by no means truly known of universal evolution

Advance in epistemology and metaphysics may occur because of [1] evolution or growth of an individual, [2] evolution of the social and ecological framework within which individuals live, [3] biological evolution of species and life, and [4] evolution of the universe or cosmological63 evolution. The latter includes the material substrate. We cannot predict or limit knowledge with finality - at least within analytic rational frameworks as currently understood. However, it may be possible to predict and secure advance by reading evolution

To understand the need for metaphysics - as, metaphysics of Western philosophy, an individual must understand the motive to perfection and finality in the enterprise in general, including knowledge. Even if this aim is not possible, the motive to advance and progression remains. Direct or indirect involvement in the advance of a single discipline, or synthesis of more than one, provides an example and motivation toward metaphysics; thus there is elegance and economy in advance and synthesis. Additionally, by analyzing the evolution of one's own growth and thought, insights into the growth of metaphysics occur. This, too, fashions the growth of metaphysics. Similar advance occurs through analysis of the remaining processes and interactions among all four. Physics is beginning to have insight into the evolution of the universe and its structure as we understand it. [There may come a time when we understand the dynamics of this evolution and then this dynamics will become part of the “the” structure of the universe.] The insight of physics may give us insight into new frameworks for metaphysics. There is a role for philosophy here but those who develop it will have to have a deep understanding of science and philosophy

The first process above [Item 1] occurs on a time scale about that of a human life span. The time scales of the remaining processes increase in order of presentation. We may learn about metaphysics by reading progressions through the levels of process. If the gaps between levels are too high, there may be intermediate levels. Such progressions may be dynamic and causal; others may be analogical


An example of analogy follows. Evolution of the physical universe is thought to have occurred through a number of phases. Cosmologists liken the transitions to phase changes. We can also liken the transitions to emergence of new types of order. The evolution of the universe could then be compared to the punctuated equilibrium model of biological evolution

▪ Comparative Metaphysics and Epistemology: Analogy, similarity and difference form the basis of comparing studies. In addition to introspection and evolutionary study, metaphysics may be advanced by studying the cosmologies of all sciences, religions and so on

▪ Metaphysics of Design and Choice: Most biologists accept biological evolution but reject mentalism. Most scientists would reject mentalism saying that mind is not a thing but a process

This latter observation is actually an argument for mentalism - in the sense of mind as a process. Many “things” that one thinks of as things “are” processes; this does not mean I adhere to process philosophy. In some sense mind [the process] must be inherent in the “inert” nature that is the substance of biological evolution. An assumption of materialism is more wonderful than mentalism [mind as matter]: the processes of nature evolved mind

The same applies to the consciousness, choice making, design and planning faculties. It does not do to explain these concepts away. These faculties are among the primary64 facts of our experience, even when they cannot be verbalized. The materialists and biologists and neurologists who would explain them away, would do so on the basis of secondary and tertiary facts of analytic or linguistically expressed science

If nature is “inert”, “blind”, or “material” then it is this nature which has evolved mind, choice, design. We have no logic that will rule out design on other scales of space-time-being. Perhaps design and choice are part of the ultimate or progress to the ultimate in being and understanding; material being or process is a special case and not opposite to design


▪ Content and Process: Some modes of description employ a language of entities. These emphasize the constants of nature or of perception and knowledge. Other modes of description employ a language of process. These emphasize flux, change and shifting. Perceptually content is recognized through contrast in extension and process is recognized through contrast in time. Psychologically, content emphasizes permanence and security; process emphasizes transience and openness. Both modes of perception, knowledge and psychological being exist and have their place, The distinction is not intrinsically political, but it could have political implications

It is desirable to incorporate both modes and perhaps better to fuse and unite them where possible. In some sciences this is done as follows: Content and Interaction = Dynamics --> Process; Process = Variation [includes Interaction] and Selection --> Emergence of Content

Perhaps the two types of contrast are interwoven; beginnings in this direction are part of relativity theory

We can recognize local patterns of contrast and global patterns. The local patterns have been called “proximate” and the global ones “ultimate.” We expect the ultimate to be “built up” [in the analytical method] out of the local. Out of convenience, we do use different languages - in biology the distinction has been interpreted as the distinction between functional and evolutionary biology

▪ Nature of Metaphysics - Again: We “learn” about the modes and dimensions of being and their processes, especially in the more [most] universal [mechanistic, evolutionary, and so on] and general forms; also the modes of description of this metaphysics makes contact with epistemology. The multiple categories of knowledge do not imply a duality of nature


▪ Sources of Metaphysics. [1] In written works. The writings and records of philosophers, religious leaders and mystics, the great works of science and knowledge are sources of metaphysics - through either content or suggestion. The concerns of philosophy and the visionaries of ideal religion include the boundaries and unions of the known and unknown, and so the metaphysical

The sciences, too, are concerned with metaphysics. Within the domain of science there are two metaphysical questions: first, the question of unification, and second, of validation. This is metaphysical at the same time that it is epistemological. The discussion of these questions must include metaphysical notions to progress. Unification requires concepts belonging to no science; validation brings us face to face with the general lack of certain proof. The character of scientific assertions is probabilistic in a specific sense; the generalizations incorporate all the relevant known information. At the boundaries of science, metaphysical notions are essential. Even the established notions of science point to a reality quite different from the naive one. It is, perhaps, psychologically necessary for the practicing scientist to eschew metaphysical ideas as “dangerous”; but without a history of metaphysics behind us, we would be without language, culture, civilization, science, and technology

[2] In evolution. See especially the Area 1, and refer to sub-areas 2.6.1, .2, .3, .9, .13... and items in this area that pertain to evolutionary-comparative metaphysics and epistemology

[3] In attitudes of openness, adventure...in the wish to live on the edge of creation. The antitheses of these are closed-mindedness and dogma, conservatism, the desire for security. Of course, reality requires the presence of balance and all progress is an alternate tipping of the balance in the directions of openness and contraction


▪ Authors of Metaphysics in Western Philosophy.65

Many of the great Western philosophers are [were] metaphysical thinkers. We see from the writings of these individuals, the value of metaphysics as an invariant framework of thought. Heisenberg was able to appeal to Plato. This does not imply the absolute nature of metaphysics and metaphysical knowledge. The Western world still labors under the errors and omissions of its linguistic and metaphysical traditions. This points to the value of metaphysics and metaphysical thinking and reconstruction, as well as linguistic reconstruction in at least two ways: [1] the hidden and implicit foundation [in addition to the explicit ones] of Western civilization and thought, including common sense, in Western metaphysics and language, including corruptions of the same, and [2] the deprivation and poverty of the Western tradition in comparison with its own origins; this includes attitudes

The authors can be divided into a number of periods:





Middle Ages


John Scotus Erigena

St. Anselm

William of Champeux

St. Bonaventure

Peter Abelard

Revival of Classical Philosophy


Duns Scotus

William of Occam


Rise of Modern Philosophy







Post Kantian Philosophy

Evolutionary Pantheism



C. S. Pierce

John Dewey

Origins of Logical Positivism

Ernst Mach

Ordinary Language Philosophy



Henri Bergson

A. N. Whitehead


Martin Heidegger

J.P. Sartre


NOTES. Ordinary language philosophy - the notion that ordinary language has more to it than philosophers have formally recognized, and that ordinary language is sufficient for philosophical discourse; logical positivism - science is a convenient summary formalism; phenomenology - observational science and ordinary sense presuppose a primitive experience that can be grasped by a deliberately naive description of actual entities; existentialism - metaphysics is a reality which cannot be described in an emotionally neutral way, but is in some sense possessed or encountered in commitment to a cause, or in facing the certainty of one's death

3.3.2        EPISTEMOLOGY - the THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE         The Nature of Knowledge...and of Truth, Logic and Reason

There is a close relation to metaphysics: theory of reality - for theory of knowledge includes nature of knowledge of reality, ways in which such knowledge is arrived and verified individually, socially. In fact, in the last section we saw how metaphysics and epistemology could be formally seen as including each other: metaphysics includes knowledge and knowing because minds, brains, memories, processes and their evolution are part of reality; epistemology includes the valid processes of knowing and therefore, potentially, all metaphysics [for the unknowable, when we include the organic processes of knowledge either directly or through their communication with thought, is not part of the universe of metaphysics]. However we regard this mutuality, we can make a distinction of emphasis: metaphysics emphasizes content and process of reality in general and in which mind66 is a chapter; epistemology emphasizes content and process of mind and metaphysical content and process is a topic. As suggested in 3.3.1, there may be advantages in regarding epistemology and metaphysics - knower and known - as a composite system of interacting and or inclusive states and processes; this will go toward understanding the natures of being and knowledge in general and the question of the unknowable and unknown in particular

Relevant to the nature of knowledge are the notions of truth and of logic.67

Truth, rationally, is the agreement of a proposition with the facts. In analytic philosophy, a proposition is expressed verbally and this brings in to question the ability of each linguistic system to adequately express each, or all propositions. Some argue that a proposition is its linguistic expression; this would be so if each level of evolution proceeded in exact synchronicity with one another, and this includes the case of no evolution. However, I do not believe this to be true; actual language and actual mind66 evolve at different rates

Classically, a proposition is true or false: there are only two levels of agreement - agreement and disagreement. In reality, we can recognize degrees of agreement, and so there is a role for extending the notion of truth to incorporate degrees of truth [or falsity]. This is an


everyday situation. In more complex areas of thought and activity, agreement between the propositions of thought [conscious and organic] and facts cannot always be complete. However, it is valuable to know whether a proposition is close to true. We can introduce a measure of quantification as a basis of comparison or a relation such as “more true” or, if that seems contradictory, “closer to truth.”

▪ Logic:68 Analysis of relationships between truth - or degrees of truth - of propositions. Classically, the only truth-values were “true” and “false”. Multiple-valued Logics pertain to relationships between degrees of truth of propositions. When different criteria of truth are used within the same system, we have “modal” Logics; example, a system of propositions in which we recognize both necessary and contingent truth

When truth pertains to fact [the “I am”], the logic is “declarative.” When truth pertains to value [the “I should”], the logic is “imperative.” Herbert Simon, in The Sciences of the Artificial, has shown the reduction of imperative logic to declarative logic through optimization theory. This reduction depends on the applicability of a particular class of optimization theory. Perhaps the reduction can be formally extended. However, we have existential reasons to believe in the identity of the nature of fact and value [simply, if “I should do this” is true, then “...” is the proposition of a fact; of course not every value is “I should...” “or “...should...”?] The identity of fact and value has been called a pragmatic notion - I do not agree, because I do not think of all facts as material, biological, and the like; that is, I am not being a reductionist in this issue

The idea that proof is central in philosophy has been criticized. If philosophy is to talk about notions beyond the special disciplines, proof cannot be central. One of the aims of philosophy is to provide notions, general analytic, rational, mystic, and so on;


Philosophy can provide frameworks within which fruitful discussion about world, knowledge, affect, aesthetics, ethics, and such can be conducted. In addition to logic, meta-logic, and various philosophical principles, there are various suggestive, illustrative, analogical direct69 - mystical and other - ways of knowing or reasoning to truth. These types of “logic” can be called heuristic,70 as distinguished from formal logic. Of course, the heuristic includes the formal. Heuristic pertains to discovery - and more, as explained - and formal logic to verification; and so existence is objection to excluding direct from formal

In connection with the previous comments, Whitehead [Process and Reality , p 10], has said:

The primary method of mathematics is deduction; the primary method of philosophy is descriptive generalization. Under the influence of mathematics, deduction has been foisted onto philosophy as its standard method, instead of taking its true place as an essential auxiliary mode of verification whereby to test the scope of generalities. This misapprehension of philosophic method has veiled the very considerable success of philosophy in providing generic notions that add lucidity to our apprehension of the facts of experience. The depositions of Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Kant, Berkeley, Hume, Hegel, merely mean that the ideas which these men introduced into the philosophic tradition must be construed with limitations, adaptations, and

inversions, either unknown to them, or even explicitly repudiated by them

We begin to see philosophy as process

▪ Epistemology and Logic. Logic is clearly connected with epistemology, but excludes the empirical aspect. It is often regarded a part of epistemology even when it is treated separately. Clearly, in so far as philosophy and knowledge are processes, logic is an essential part of epistemology. For logic plays a role in the production of knowledge through the coordination of information as proposition[s] into concepts and the development of consequent knowledge and information through suggestion [and pattern], generalization and deduction. Whitehead's exception to the use of formal deduction is not an argument against this essence if we include heuristic as an aspect of logic


▪ Direct and Transcendent Modes of Knowledge. In a direct mode of knowing, the “medium” of knowledge - the knower [e.g., the “mind”] - directly apprehends the object of knowledge. It is not implied that there is no processing. Intuition is a form of direct knowledge

In a transcendent mode, there is no processing, or process is not accessible either subjectively or rationally. The direct and transcendent modes include organismic and “feeling”; e.g., the body knows itself kinesthetically, but this kinesthetic knowledge of self includes knowledge of gravity, ground, water properties, and such

Other modes of knowledge discussed are analytic, rational, and symbolic

▪ What Is Knowledge?71 I prefer not to tackle this question first under “epistemology.” I do not feel it sufficient to consider a single approach to explanation. There are four approaches below. These are not intended as exclusive

[1] Knowledge - not process, now definition - as justified true belief. This is a definition of knowledge by reduction to constituent concepts. The concepts should be explained. We take truth as agreement of a proposition with the facts. If we agree with Whitehead [Process and Reality, p 11] that “there are no self-sustained facts, floating in nonentity” and “every proposition refers to a universe exhibiting some general systematic metaphysical character...a proposition can embody a partial72 truth because it only demands a certain type of systematic environment which is presupposed in its meaning,” then we must ask what these environments are. Explanations 2, 3, 4 following are approaches to this environmental question. Four is, perhaps, the ultimate answer to this question, if not to the actuality of knowledge then to the potential for knowledge. Note that Whitehead is not saying that propositions are essentially partial, but that they are partial when the systematic environment is partial. He does imply elsewhere that such environments must always be limited. Certainly, evolution provides an environment that is systematic. It is not obvious however, that it is total even though evolution can be traced back to cosmic sources - for the order that has, or could or may have, emerged elsewhere or even in our own environment, may be different - we do not quite know


Of course, speculation on the possible may lead to a more “positive” type of thinking. This possible includes completeness as well as incompleteness, the metaphysics inherent in [our] evolution. Either way we may imagine blocks to process and breaking through. [This can be a subject of metaphysics [3.3.1]]

Another question in relation to truth: “are” propositions necessarily linguistic, analytic, symbolic? Other modes: preconscious, emotional intuitive, organismic...learned, innate or “learned” during evolution [e.g., instinct]

Belief is the “feeling”73 that a certain proposition is true. But we can remove the distinction between feeling and analysis as seen above, and so a somewhat alternative approach to knowledge would be to identify different modes; e.g. “thinking,” “feeling” - and regard individual knowledge as agreement among the individual modes: rational-empirical, intuitive, “feeling”-empirical and feeling, etc

Justified means according to some criterion. In relation to an individual, we can regard rational-empirical as justification, and “feeling” as believing. For some, “feeling” is justification. See previous parts of this section and 3.2 and 3.4 for further observations on rationality. Criteria for justification are not absolute and universal, but can be arranged according to ideal and hierarchy. There is individual knowledge and “public”: justification accepted by some type of majority. However, it is not preferable to define public in some unthinking statistical criterion, such as 100%, 99.9%, or 50%. I would rather have some criterion “intrinsic” to the general metaphysical-epistemic universe, such that when used the “actuality” of the resultant knowledge has value - a quantum jump in quality - for significant numbers of people and purposes; examples: ideal science, ideal religion. Such knowledge[s] are not necessarily universal or universally “better.” They are adapted differently, to different universes - “general” attitudes to such systems are issue involving more than “pure” epistemology

We can thus formulate the idea behind the definite “justified true belief” somewhat differently. There are systems of public knowledge: art, religion, and science...involving various modes of knowledge


These systems, though not exclusive, do not refer to identical data. The truth of ideal science [in a limited sense] does not conflict the truth of large parts of ideal religion because it cannot; religion and science [limited senses] refer to largely different data. An individual has access to these modes and systems; forms his or her personal interpretations and special systems in reference to experience that includes the public systems. He or she forms fusions from experience, public systems, and imagination. These fusions include inclusion, synthesis, generalization, and extension. These are subject to personal criteria, public criteria. Some fusions, advances “succeed.” No stage is absolute. Each stage is progress toward a general metaphysics or knowledge without qualification [because it satisfied all appropriate qualifications]. Thus, knowledge is knowledge when it satisfies sets of criteria; justified true belief [with publicly-individually justified truth according to rational-empirical74 criteria and at least individual belief] is a wide spread and for many purposes an appropriate set

This approach to definition, formally unpolished, is an analytical approach based on a minimum of assumptions on the nature of reality. It is justified as such. However, it makes no reference to objectives, the knower, or origins of knowledge. These considerations may provide alternates, modifications, improvements, restrictions, and generalizations

[2] Knowledge as a Goal Directed Activity. Begin by breaking the achievement of a goal into stages: pre-execution and execution. Pre-execution can be divided into intentional - the stage in which the execution toward the goal is a definite objective and pre-intentional in which the individual has other goals and or more diffuse or generalized “goals” but no special emphasis or awareness of the specific goal in question


Of course, there is no perfectly sharp break between activities - at least not in all situations. With this proviso, and abbreviating “activity not directed to any specific goal” to “being,” we have: goal achievement = being --> intention --> execution. Being includes activity not directed to any goal as well as activity directed toward general goals which arise from “primal being” through evolution. The activities directed toward general goals include storage of “resources” and related activities of environmental [social and natural] “modeling.” Such generalized activities are advantageous and it is natural that they should “feel good” to individuals. These processes come to be of value in themselves, but must remain in balance - in society as a whole. Now:

Goals =

primal being75 --> “resources” and “modeling” --> intention --> execution --> actualization

Resources provide the base for specific activity. Modeling provides the base for specific and later for general activity. Specific goal achievement is, in general, contribution to general goals - of course, variety and multiplicity of approach is also of value: hence, the advantage of evolution of generalized potential as contrasted to specific capability. Modeling, models, generalized models and the capability for such are “knowledge”; organismic, intuitive modes are not excluded. We can now say:

Goal achievement =

primal being --> “resources” and knowledge --> intention --> execution



Dashed line: provides base; not “explicitly,” as I recognize it, part of the process


So, achievement of specific goals =

knowledge --> intention --> execution





The first meaning of execution is “physical” action, but we find that pre-execution activities can themselves be the subject of knowledge and intention; hence execution does include action, does not exclude knowledge and intention - even the mental aspects. Knowledge includes cognitive as well as emotive, intuitive aspects and physical action. Intention includes the same aspects as knowledge but more specific and directed toward execution. Intention includes planning and design

This entire discussion is descriptive rather than deductive or axiomatic


Knowledge = any generalized modeling through simulation or conceptualization and pattern recognition of total environment and process: physical, natural, social, mental; includes

Empirical activity

Intention = Design and planning; similar to knowledge but related to specific goal

Execution = Direct activity towards specific goal - includes physical, and mental

Discussion: The modeling activities include learning [from nature] and the result of this learning is knowledge. We cannot “know” all the facts and, so, knowledge must include concepts as its entities and patterns as its contrasts [spatial structure, temporal process]


In the sense of the present concept, knowledge is related, but not subject to a purpose, is adaptive, though not to any specific purpose and not solely to survival: the purpose of well being is included. Well-being is included but not limited to proliferation; abundance and inner defined values are included - within bounds and in balance. What additional criterion of truth [as in “justified true belief”] does the present concept provide - it is of adaptation to generalized purposes of “being” and “well-being” [i.e., survival, security, and happiness: perhaps belonging, status, actualization, transcendence; the mulberry bush: transcendence --> evolution] and adaptability to specific purposes of themselves [value of variety, diversity, special purposes --> survival and expansion and emergence] and as they contribute to general purpose

The present discussion contains circular elements on a strictly logical level and can be tightened up - though primitives - conceptual atoms and processes would remain76 - since description, information and understanding have been provided

[3] System Theory of Knowledge. The idea is that knower [“mind”] and known [“mind and universe or sub-system”] are regarded as a composite system in which the subsystem mind has states and processes which correspond to states and processes of the universe [including mind]. This does not distinguish conceptual nature of knowledge, but could. This theory explains the nature of symbols and symbolic atoms, but does not give them a foundation or explain their origins. The origins of knowledge are not explained, but its operation as a steady or, perhaps, near steady process are

[4] Evolutionary Theory of Knowledge. The origins of knowledge are explained through emergence. Here is an approach to a full and complete foundation of knowledge - rational and descriptive. There is a possibility for deduction that is finite [if reality behaves in a finite way]. Here is a full approach, potentially, to the origin and nature of knowledge


It is not clear how deep into evolution to go: certainly to the first point of symbolic knowledge; probably to the origin of organic knowledge and organic and organismic information processes for we shall probably need to explain the origin of symbolic atoms on this or some related, simulated, similar, or simplified basis; perhaps to the origin of biological evolution for here is the origin of organic evolution and reactivity, that is original knowledge, but only “perhaps,” because it does not seem to matter that we go back quite this far - cellular level may be adequate. Then, again, the explanation may be simplest and most obvious at the molecular level with DNA, RNA and nucleic acids staring us in the face. It may be necessary to go before chemistry to the elemental physical level, but this seems very improbably. However, if it is necessary, the explanation would be simple, probably too simple and hence the improbability of the explanation at this level. It may be necessary to invoke some model of consciousness as well, as some subset of total process, pragmatically, because the need for autonomic organic processes are essential because knowledge is generalization

“The” evolutionary theory does not maintain that survival is the only object of knowledge; nor does it or any adaptive theory necessarily deny that any of awareness --> knowledge --> design --> action --> evaluation --> feedback lack value [in face of complexity, uncertainty] as separate or integrated institutions. The previous meanings - justified true relief, goal directed activity, and system theory - are included, at least potentially, and even with truth, certainty. Bio-environmental interactions bring out the development of potential [in social context - society and organism being part of environment] and potential is developed in a socio-environmental context [within bio-potential limits, but not necessarily to the extremes of the limits]

▪ Location of Knowledge. State and process descriptions are relevant. Where is knowledge [noun] stored? “Memory”! Where does knowledge [verb or process] occur? “Intelligence”! Words of this type are anathema to behaviorists and to those who recognize misuse. Also, memory is not static - it decays and underlying these slow and fast decays are micro-processes. Where does knowledge reside? Who, what originates [starts] the process?

Clearly, the location of knowledge is a diffuse thing if we take the adaptive, systemic and or evolutionary theories instead of the human-cognition


centered point of view of “justified true belief” - the latter is a specialized version of the former. We find diffuse elements of mind and intelligence everywhere. In nature , all life reacts adaptively to information in a way that includes some acquired or inherited state [of “knowledge”] and or processing of information. In advance organisms there are the organismic, diffuse-feeling, centralized emotional, and the conventional intuitive and symbolic-cognitive-rational modes. The conventional modes and centralized emotional and, perhaps, certain pre-limbic aspects, are highly centralized or focused, highly specialized, very complex and powerful, related to “consciousness” - another word that makes pseudo-sophisticates bristle or cringe, and a central element of civilization. For these reasons, as well as the anthropocentric ones, we tend to focus on the specialized modes. However, there may be essential loss of information in suppressing the feeling-organismic modes [as knower or known] and so these modes are important in themselves and for their interaction with the more centralized-conscious modes. In addition, the organismic-feeling modes exist in all of life with which we are interdependent and which fact tends to be suppressed by excess emphasis on the “higher” modes

Where else do we find intelligence and mind? In artifacts of life: libraries and books [very static], modern information systems [less static], societies - human and other; and in institutions and certain artifacts of societies or, better, in the social structure that enhances production of artifacts: beaver colonies producing beaver dams

In inert matter as it is? Potentially, insofar as “inert” matter is the progenitor of life, yes; and mystics claim to see mind and consciousness pervading all of creation - and there is a point to this. We might well ask ourselves when we “rationally” judge inert matter as without “mind”: are we confusing rationality and egocentrism? Of course, and even though this would be neat, I do not expect a stone to solve a differential equation. However, we may consider whether an inclusive hierarchy of intelligence, mind, consciousness attributed to all “creation” or “being” is a more accurate description than the simple polarization: conscious-unconscious

What about computers? They are inert - but, whatever we feel about our experience now, I do not think we can say that they will not progress, evolve, or self-evolve to the point of being intelligent in the multifaceted, flexible way of humans. And what of evolution in the universe? We cannot logically [or any way that I know of] rule out large design


Philosophy of Mind and Nature. Philosophy of mind is important in relation to the nature of knowledge and its theory. Hence, I think it is appropriate to discuss mind as an issue in epistemology. However, I do not think of mind and nature as separate. Mind is equally an issue in metaphysics. The distinction “mind” and “matter” beginning with Descartes, permitted development of a science of nature independently of church doctrine, and continues, in modified form to modern times [1986]. I believe this distinction to be a convenient one for certain purposes, but a misleading one for others [for example, parts of psychology]. Therefore, it is inessential

Those who regard [or have regarded] the “mind”-”matter” distinction as essential have been unable or unwilling to distinguish between actuality of being and descriptive categories, and or have been motivated by religion or politics. However, I do not think, as do some empirical-positivist-analytic philosophers and scientists, that the concept of mind should be banished. I believe that such opinions originate in some combination of reaction, fear, ego, extension of linguistic forms [language, logic, mathematics, etc.] and science beyond their domains of descriptive and predictive ability

Banishment of concepts and essential dualisms are irrelevant to understanding - except in the sense that strident statements and rigid positions can spark development. Concepts and understanding evolve even when words remain unchanged. Concepts and understanding are dynamic and shifting in spite of apparent stability due to psychological [need] and social [political, cultural - example, in a society largely dependent on material technology, science may seem to be more real than life]. If a concept is outmoded, it will usually die a natural death

The distinction between mind and nature is a particularization, in the human context, of the distinction between epistemology and metaphysics. However, discussion in 3.3.1 and 3.3.2 indicates the essential connection of epistemology and metaphysics - of mind and nature


Mind and nature are part of a composite system-process and, no matter the scientific disposition to nature or mind as matter, it is not the function of philosophy to mimic science. One function of philosophy, the critical function, is to found and explain science. Another function, part of the speculative one, is to maintain an independence from science [and any specific discipline or specific group of disciplines]; among other things this provides balance, understanding, framework for development and evolution of the specialized disciplines, wholeness and integration of the full dimensions of humankind and nature, adventure and essentiality in thought. This diversity of approach is appealing and perhaps so because it is also an adaptation against an unknown future; and this is called an argument for balance in thought and “other” function, such as action. This may be provided by design. Perfect balance is never obtained - nor is it ideal. “Nature” permits, within limits, and encourages variations; and the human institutions in which this process is most dynamic is also a mixture of balance and variation

We need a composite philosophy - mind and nature rather than a philosophy of mind or a philosophy of nature. Such a philosophy would begin as a neutral composite of all elements thought to be irreducible. Various combinations, reductions and “consequences” would be considered - a theory structure approach to philosophy. The structural relations of different “schools” will be included as “meta-philosophy” - although “meta” in this term is superfluous. Aspects that are similar to the metaphysics of existentialism will be included - but the psychological and political doctrines of existentialism will not be essential

Earlier in 3.3.1 I have suggest analytic, adaptive, system theory, and evolutionary approaches to a theory of knowledge


A philosopher of the speculative tradition might object to the adaptive, system, evolutionary approaches as excessively restrictive, pragmatic and anti-philosophy. This is not so - and this follows from the type of composite approach just suggested...and to be explained further. We could view the derived [by philosophic generalization] systems: pragmatism from adaptation, organicism from system theory, evolutionary emergentism from evolutionary theory and other speculative systems such as spiritualism, materialism, etc., as well the more specific doctrines, disciplines and sciences as mutually restrictive. This would be due to a need for dogmatic belief. The specific philosophic schemes can be viewed as a hierarchic system arranged according to inclusiveness and generality - with sciences as the specific forms and philosophies etc. as the more general ones. The various philosophical hierarchies so obtained will be seen as mutually restrictive when analyzed as antithetical. However, the generalized versions of the different schemes will begin to show similarities, which will be the basis of synthesis; further, since each specific discipline can be the source of more than one vertical line [resulting in a “hierarchic tree”] of generalization, experimentation will be an element of the process. We may wish to consider a subset of the totality of syntheses. The different philosophic schemes will be seen as mutually expansive when seen as coherently synthetic. In addition to generalization and imaginative synthesis, some schemes will coexist as descriptions of independent [as such, or at the level of understanding] aspects or categories which are not antithetical [a theory structure] or incompatible. In view of the non-ultimate [tentative] nature of some of our categories of description etc., a “theory” of partial incompatibility [partial logic] will be useful

This approach encourages a view of language, idea, word, proposition, logic, syntax, knowledge that is dynamic, adapting, adjusting


▪ Types of Theories of Knowledge

▪ Intrinsic vs. relational

Relational leads to developmental approaches



▪ Dualistic [knowledge separate from and therefore about nature] vs. monistic [knowledge is part of nature, or is nature, and therefore “about” knowledge-in-nature]

▪ Transcendental vs. understanding

▪ Certain vs. probabilistic


1. Knowledge is accurate [at least in principle, in part]

2. Knowledge is accurate within domains of validity

3. Knowledge is highly certain, accurate [in principle, in part]

4. Knowledge is highly certain within domains of validity

5. Knowledge is probable [this is not in reference to quantum theory which refers to probability of the data of knowledge] - not inconsistent with Items 1 through 4, depending on the nature of the distribution function

Items 4 and 5 are more compatible with the reflective-empirical-speculative, hypothetico-deductive method. Hypothetico-deductive is a form of reflective- empirical-speculative; empirical includes testing against theories - with respect to data and concept

▪ Dynamic vs. structured theories [See 3.3.3, Philosophy of Mind and Nature]

▪ Combinations


▪ Origins of Knowledge can be sought in a variety of causal patterns and locations:

▪ In the individual

▪ Genetics as a source of innate knowledge and bio-potential for acquired learning; effect of biological environment on development of the biological organism. Levels of such knowledge: organismic and centralized

▪ Effect of physical and social environment on acquisition of knowledge; levels: feeling, emotion and symbolic-emotional, cognitive

▪ Individual and universal motivation

▪ In society

▪ Social institutions explicitly for transmission, “storage” and development of knowledge [“wisdom” not included] and learning; formal educational systems and institutions, informal groups and institutions - family

▪ Other institutions as sources for transmission, storage, and development of knowledge and learning

▪ Social evolution of institutions and systems of knowledge; symbolic systems - language, logic, mathematics, algorithmic and heuristic systems - formal deduction, computers, creativity, special disciplines - philosophy, sciences, humanities

▪ In biological evolution

▪ Origins of individual capabilities for learning and development, and innate capacities of the types mentioned above, in biological evolution; levels chemical, cellular, organismic, centralized, conscious and “psychological” levels

▪ Pre-chemical levels [perhaps]

▪ Interactions

▪ Biological constraints on psycho-social evolution

▪ Effect of society, social evolution on biological change


▪ History of understanding and development of nature and processes of knowledge [related to previous point “In society.”

1. Random association

2. Systematic introspection; origins of logic

3. Systematic observation; origins of experiment

4. Synthesis of 2 and 3; hypothetico-deductive [includes comparative and predictive schemes; concept formation, induction], reflective- empirical-speculative method; controlled, designed experiment; science

5. Extension of 2 and 3,4 to history; evolutionary theory

Art and religion as knowledge [not prejudicial, restriction to meaning of art, religion since knowledge is interpreted very inclusively; not pragmatic, for the same reason]; parallels to the sequence 1 --> 5; a common sequence

▪ Evolution and intelligence; some observations

1. Intelligence and rationality are apparently limited in their ability to provide understanding; there are numerous ways in which there is limitation: comprehensiveness, accuracy, and others

2. However, intelligence arose in evolution where its primary object was not “perfection” but advantage, flexibility, improved accuracy, enhanced probability of correctness. This is not to question the value of ideas in knowledge and other enterprises, but to emphasize that such ideals are not absolutes


3. The proper workings of intelligence include adaptivity, observation, feedback and correction, in addition to the ideal; in other words, intelligence incorporates evolutionary features - on the social, physical levels. The question of “best” or “appropriate” mix adaptation and ideal is a valid one

4. We can probably enhance intelligence by understanding its evolutionary bases:

▪ As a process; the Hegelian, adaptive and punctuated equilibrium models

▪ As a component of social evolution

▪ As a factor in individual evolution and growth

▪ As a product of biological and bio-social evolution

By understanding these bases, we can make proper designs; however, these understandings are to be taken as potentials and possibilities and not determinisms; much is unknown in our universes of being and by feeling back into the depths of origin and merging with them we add true rationality to our destination; this includes adventure and risk

3-46         The Universe of Being, Action and Thought

▪ Propositions, Language.77 This is a “very” preliminary and rough, but formal, description. I am not trying to present precise definitions or complete systems; nor am I assuming that such are possible or necessary

There is a universe U of Being within which actions -or processes- occur and relations exist. Within U there are beings x, y,...that [1] are centers of independent action, [2] have a type of internal structure and relation whose elements PR potentially map or model some of the relations and processes of U, [3] have types of interactions G, P with U resulting in the creation of potential maps PR, [4] have a type of internal action T involving transformations of PR, which provide atlases of U in the following sense - Collections [PR, T] - atlas the beings, relations and actions of U. We can now identify:




The total universe

x, y

“Higher” organisms [in transition]




Genetic, “innate” establishment of a part of the collection of propositions...The total collection is not fixed


Perception - includes but by no means limited to channels and processing of “sensation”


Thought...not limited to symbolic, rational, analytic; here includes emotion, feeling, intuition

Truth has been defined as agreement of a proposition with the “facts” [data and datum]. But a fact is a certain structure [being], relation or process in U. The relation [e.g., a G or P] between a PR and a fact, cannot be defined in terms of anything else78


at the present level of discussion since the perceptions are not simple maps. What we are talking about when we are talking about truth is an agreement among the different propositional expressions of a fact: organismic, feeling, emotional, cognitive, symbolic, and empirical-observational-experimental. Thus, in relation to simple facts, the distinction “knowledge” vs. “truth” is void. Also, we can introduce an evolutionary, adaptive definition of “knowledge” and “truth”79 but these also involve a type of propositional expression. Therefore, perhaps, an appropriate definition of truth is agreement [consonance, coherence] between the different propositional expressions of a fact - which may alternatively be expressed as the synthetic unity of the single [total] proposition

What is being said above includes that truth of propositions can be arrived at by a synthesis of elementary perception, thought [reason, defined below] and an active combination of elementary perception and thought: experiment, observation, empiricism and the hypothetico-deductive method. In other words, truth is also affirmed through knowledge. Perception and thought are not completely independent, are fairly dependent and interdependent. There is a certain continuity between perception and thought

Learning is the growth of truth and knowledge that is not “innate.” Learning is the growth of adaptivity. The growth of innate knowledge can be regarded as evolutionary learning. Philosophically we do not have to distinguish the acquired from the innate. Beings x, y are in transition whether they are thought of as individuals or as populations

In the discussion above, I have used the term “expression of a proposition.” Perhaps “manifestation” or “location” or “locus” of a proposition is more suggestive of the “intent.” I want to use “expression” slightly differently


Language is a symbolic mode of expression, representation, and communication of propositions. Just as there is a truth of propositions [agreement with facts, consonance among the manifestations, adaptive to action, evolution, and so on], there is a truth of thought and this is another reason why perception and thought are interwoven and form a continuum. We can think of logic in two ways: [1] Reason or logic of thought is the relation between truths as propositions [by processes of thought]. [2] Formal logic is [study of, science of] relations between linguistic expressions of true propositions. [In this sense, some informal Logics are formal.] The ideas expressed earlier, relating to degrees of truth [multiple valued Logics], different conceptions or standards of truth [modal Logics], probable validity of logical process instead of certain validity [heuristic Logics of discovery and reduction are relevant here - also the imperative and declarative]. One of the implications of the present discussion is that the distinction of truth from logic is not perfectly sharp

Commonly, in logical theory, “proposition” stands for a type of linguistic expression. However, a proposition is a map or a collection of maps of a “fact,” and the linguistic proposition is a symbolic expression of the proposition. Hence the question of the adequacy of language80, or of a language, to express propositions arises: is the language broad enough to express all [or a sufficiently large class of propositions and is the expression of each proposition accurate, faithful - or, perhaps more appropriately, do linguistic propositions fit in with the overall scheme of truth of propositions? A similar question arises regarding the adequacy and validity of formal logic. As before, the question of separation of propositional and logical process arises; in axiomatic logic they are separated, but in general, analysis perhaps not; additionally the symbolic scheme, language and logic, may be thought of as fitting into the existential scheme of proposition and reason. Reason is the truth


function of thought; i.e., study of, systematization of, feel for relations among true propositions. All that was said about types of logic [multiple-valued, etc.] is inherent in reason.81 Just as perception and thought, linguistic [propositional] truth and logic are interwoven and form a continuum, so are propositional truth and reason

The question regarding adequacy and accuracy of language-logic is in regards to breadth and accuracy as a model of proposition-reason

▪ A language of thought. Because of the inadequacy of formal languages of thought, it is valuable to speculate a pre-formal language of thought. For retention of word language, the language would have to be symbolic. Formal languages are a possible basis. Much reasoning about “reality” occurs as reasoning about language and much perception is translation into symbolic form. It has been suggested that there is inborn, in all humans, a native language of thought

Note that formal languages are symbolic and iconic; this is also true for any natural pre-formal language

There is an artificiality, prejudicial to [poor] reason, to an essential split: formal and pre-formal

3-50         Perception, Reason and Knowledge...and their Modes

▪ Perception. According to the discussion immediately concluded, it is an approximation to analyze

knowing --> perceiving and thinking [reasoning]82


epistemology --> perception and reason [theory of]

However, there is some value to this scheme. Perception “is the process from fact to proposition.”

Note: Knowledge is knowledge of knower x about universe U that includes x. Therefore perception includes “self-perception.”

▪ Modes of perception




Direct or mystic


Organismic or genetic



Symbolic - visual, tonal


Entering - the perceptual aspect of intuition


▪ Modes of reason83





Mystic, direct






▪ Modes of knowledge83 - Again, includes synthetic combinations of perception-reason

3-51         Issues in Epistemology

Issues raised by science; classical, quantum, relativistic

Dimensions of being; categories

Ultimates vs. evolution

Ultimates and unity

Value of unity; holism; economy: anti-alienation; adequacy

Multiple categories do not imply dualism

Approaches to unity84


Part of a whole [being-process]

Evolved from unity

Synthesis of the analyzed categories and concepts85



Theories of scientific truth, advance

Certainty --> probability --> evolutionary

Issues discussed in Area 3



Critical and speculative philosophies represent two broad classes of philosophical method

Simply stated, speculative philosophy seeks advance by expanding the framework of understanding as well as the system of facts that are coordinated by the framework. Critical philosophy accepts a certain framework [a particular level of vocabulary, language, and logic] as final and coordinates facts within the confines of the framework [“the perfect dictionary”]

There is a critical school of philosophy, which requires that all analysis must be critical analysis; there is also a speculative school that allows speculative analysis. The word “speculative” is liable to misinterpretation. Speculation does not mean wild, uncontrolled opinion. A speculation is a tentative formulation; speculation is necessary when we have no formal approach to coming up with such formulations. We do have heuristics. There are heuristic approaches: insight, philosophic generalization; but the speculative method is rigorous in its testing of its schemes. It is analogous to the hypothetico-deductive method in science, and others

To me the choice [if there must be one] is speculative philosophy for it can explain the origin of philosophy; the critical approach cannot

Critical philosophy is analogous to “problem solving” [search in a fixed space] while speculative philosophy is like “creative analysis” [search in a space which is generated as part of the solution process]. In this connection, recall the space of philosophic systems generated by hierarchic generalization and multiple theories; this space is not well defined

Critical philosophy is conservative, safe; speculative philosophy is openness, adventure. Critical philosophy is not evolving, and does not accept or understand evolution as applied to philosophic method; the speculative method is evolving

There are problem areas that can, over periods, be analyzed by the critical method; however, a foundation of philosophic method requires something more general - the speculative method is one approach to rational foundation



The problems indicated by ▪ have not yet been considered in this work. They will be briefly discussed in 3.5         Speculative Philosophy

What is the nature of philosophy?

Coordination of the disciplines; metaphysics

Understanding and developing frameworks for knowledge; epistemology

▪ Eternal problems of philosophy [God, nature of being...]

▪ Value problems [axiology, aesthetics, and ethics]         Critical Philosophy

Aspects of all problems can be analyzed by the critical approach, but the problems mentioned above cannot be adequately treated

▪ The specialized disciplines of knowledge can be adequately treated by the critical approach - to a point; this is because the foundations of the disciplines can often be analyzed and revised within a fixed set of philosophical concepts and ideas. However, when the revision of the specialized disciplines is significant, it may be necessary to modify concepts at the philosophic level of generality

Comment On Value

Within critical philosophy, fact and value are often regarded as distinct. Pragmatism, acting within the critical framework, can identify fact and value by reducing one to the other; e.g., value is a biological imperative arising out of bio-social evolution and is therefore factual. The utility of this observation can be criticized: value may be fact, but we do not and cannot necessarily always know the facts. We can also criticize the reduction that speculative philosophy can answer both objections: [1] knowledge is not regarded as absolute according to the speculative


approach, [2] there is no necessary reduction in the speculative method. Given a state of knowledge-data [“raw” perception], speculation proceeds: questioning, reflection --> speculation - raw [source of concepts], philosophic generalization [expansion, modification of concepts], synthesis [eclectic] --> test against data-knowledge expansion of field of application --> new knowledge data



The process of understanding is tied to the process of creating and so, in a changing cultural environment, understanding is always incomplete. This discussion continues my characterization of nature and value of philosophy and philosophic method

3.4.1        OBJECTIVES

When knowledge became an independent institution, it developed internal criteria for validity. One objective of philosophy is the understanding and foundation of these criteria, and of the disciplines of knowledge

However, knowledge forms a whole; the disciplines are part of a general framework and a proper framework is not founded as a whole by mere founding of the components. Thus philosophy endeavors to provide criteria and foundation for knowledge as a whole, and is, at the same time, concerned with the content of such knowledge. As A. N. Whitehead claimed, “The useful function of philosophy is to promote the most general systematization of civilized thought.” Thus, philosophy reflects upon, founds and provides civilized knowledge, at its general level, and philosophical reflection, indirectly, a base for affect and action

Knowledge is part of a larger scheme of processes. First, the concept of knowledge itself is appropriately expanded to include affect, feeling, and intuition. Second, knowledge is part of a larger adaptive process: awareness --> knowledge and value --> design --> action --> evaluation --> feedback.87 Thus there is, in addition a philosophy of existence [being-process...], a philosophy of human existence, recognized in the simplicity, true economy, equanimity and grace of the individual, or alternately in the passion-selflessness which unites individual and whole - or results from such unity


In this connection, education is important. Some of the considerations:

Top --> down


Method = attitude

Open, non-dogmatic

Rhythm of development



Value and objectives are closely tied together. Briefly, philosophy provides foundation for knowledge, belief, and action. In this connection review previous discussion in Area 3 and see, particularly, 3.4.1. See also 6: Action

As pointed out earlier, philosophy includes an attempt to provide an invariant language or framework of special disciplines, etc. It includes provisions of mind and introspection in “creating” or discovering and evaluating knowledge. Though such attempts are incomplete, they are valuable

Philosophy has “applications”: See 3.3.4, and 3.5         Comments From Whitehead's Process and Reality

“Metaphysical categories are not dogmatic statements of the obvious; they are tentative formulations of the ultimate generalities.”

“Rationalism never shakes off its status as an experimental adventure. The combined influences of mathematics and religion, which have so greatly contributed to the rise of philosophy, have also had the unfortunate effect of yoking it with didactic dogmatism. Rationalism is an adventure in the clarification of thought, progressive, and never final. But it is an adventure in which even partial success has importance.”

“One practical aim of metaphysics [descriptive metaphysics] is the accurate analysis of propositions; not merely of metaphysical propositions, but of quite ordinary propositions. It is merely credulous to accept verbal phrases as adequate statements of propositions. The distinction between verbal phrases and complete propositions is one of the reasons why the logicians' rigid alternative, “true or false”, is so largely irrelevant for the pursuit of knowledge.”

“A precise language must await a completed metaphysical knowledge.”88

“Philosophy frees itself from the taint of ineffectiveness by its close relations with religion


and science, natural and sociological. It attains its chief importance by fusing the two, namely religion and science, into one rational scheme of thought.”         An Advertisement for Philosophy by Bertrand Russell in relation to the eternal questions

From “The Problems of Philosophy”:

“Philosophy is studied not for the sake of answers but for the questions. These questions enlarge our imagination and our knowledge of the possible, reduce dogmatic assurance against such speculation which closes the mind but, above all, because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind is rendered great and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.”

From “Why Men Fight”:

“So long as we think of the immediate future, it seems that what we can do is not much...We cannot destroy the excessive power of the state or of private property. We cannot, here and now, bring new life into education, in such matters, though we may see the evil, we cannot cure it by any of the ordinary methods of politics. If we have courage and patience, we can think the thoughts and feel the hopes by which, eventually, men will be inspired. For this reason, the first thing we have to do is be clear in our own minds as to the kind of life we think good and the kind of change that we desire in the world.”

“The ultimate power of those whose thought is vital is far greater than it seems to men who suffered from the irrationality of contemporary politics. Religious tolerance was once the solitary speculation of a few bold philosophers. Democracy, as a theory, arose among a handful of men in Cromwell's army. By them, after the restoration, it was carried to America...the power of


thought, in the long run, and greater than any other human power.”

“Without some willingness to be lonely, new thought cannot be achieved, and it will not be achieved to any purpose if the loneliness is accompanied by aloofness, so that the wish for union with others dies, or if intellectual detachment leads to contempt. It is because the state of mind required is subtle and difficult, because it is hard to be intellectually detached and yet not aloof, that fruitful thought on human affairs is not common, and that most theorists are either conventional or sterile.”

“In seeking a political theory which is to be useful at any given moment, what is wanted is not the invention of a utopia, but the discovery of the best direction of movement...in judging what is the right direction, there are two general principles which are applicable

1. The growth and vitality of individuals and communities is to be promoted as far as possible

2. The growth of one individual or one community is to be as little as possible at the expense of another.”

“Men's impulses and desires may be divided into those that are creative and those that are possessive...'Take no thought, saying what shall we eat? or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?' Whoever has known a strong creative impulse has known the value of this precept in its exact and literal sense: it is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.”


“The supreme principle, both in politics and in private life, should be to promote all that is creative, and so to diminish the impulses and desires that center round possession.”         Social Change and Creative Personality


3.4.3        Philosophical Method89

At the mythic level knowledge and culture are intimately intertwined; the life of some piece of mythic knowledge continues as long as the culture or society continues. Mythic “knowledge” does have survival value even when it is not “true” - it bonds culture; more generally mythic knowledge may have adaptive value even when “false” or neutral. In this sense, the overall cultural system is “true,” in some appropriate sense, because of mythic knowledge. It is not implied that all mythic knowledge has such value. It should be remembered that [1] mythic knowledge may satisfy rational criteria, or be suggestive of truth, and [2] rational knowledge may have mythic value

At a certain stage in cultural development, knowledge detaches itself from the cultural milieu. This detachment is always present in some degree and is never complete. As a rough approximation we can call the detached knowledge science-philosophy or pre-science and pre-philosophy. The knowledge that remains bound to culture can be called “value.” The distinction is not clear for: [1] not all “science” is true, [2] some value may be “true,” [3] some knowledge may serve both functions

In order to serve an adaptive function, knowledge [potential knowledge] which is detached from mere cultural expression is judged by its “truth.” The process of selection that applies indirectly to mythic knowledge through the selection of the mythic cultures is, in modified form, applied to knowledge itself in post-mythic cultures. This is very close to the problem solving, design methods of the artificial intelligence and design literature; is an adaptation of the overall social process [evolution] in microcosm. A number of different descriptions apply [but not equally]:


[1] Evolution = variation and selection

= creation and invalidation90

[2] Creation = induction

= search in a dual space of concepts and laws and of instances

[3] Hypothetico-deductive method

= formation of hypothesis [concepts, laws]

and deduction of consequences

and test of consequences

[4] Speculative Method

= formation of speculative systems [propositional, linguistic, action,

conceptual frameworks]

and drawing of consequences

and testing of consequences against sub-conceptual systems - [theories] and facts

The speculative method is most general. It includes scientific method, philosophical construction and artistic creation. What is the “essence” of the method? This depends on the inclination of the individual; some emphasize the creative. Some the deduction-explanation, some the testing and discarding of invalid systems; some eschew method altogether

3-63/64         Brief Criticism of Invalidation Theory

This is also known as falsification91 theory. It is not falsifiability per se that makes a theory “scientific” or a scheme “philosophic,” but its survival of attempts at falsification and its prediction of positive information [for a coherent domain of experience]

The main criticisms of falsification are [1] it is a pessimistic approach or implies a pessimistic approach in which certainty is overvalued, [2] in its limited sense it rests on narrow notions of truth and falsity - and is appropriate for aspects of science and mathematics, but not for all mathematics and science or for all knowledge and philosophy, [3] related to [1] and [2], as a philosophy it devalues mythic and intuitive knowledge in situations where such knowledge is “proper” and adaptive and overextends the application of rational knowledge, and [4] for various reasons, knowledge is hard to falsify

These criticisms can be overcome, at least in part, by providing a hierarchy of notions of unacceptability

Popper later replaced the idea of falsifiability with testability or the property of being selectable. In other words, knowledge is an evolutionary category

3-65         Whitehead on Speculative Philosophy. The following quotation is from Process and Reality:

“Speculative philosophy is the endeavor to frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted...Everything of which we are conscious as enjoyed, perceived, willed, or thought, shall have the character of a particular instance of the general scheme. Thus the philosophical scheme should be coherent, logical, and, in respect to its interpretation, applicable and adequate. Here “applicable” means that some items of experience are thus interpretable, and “adequate” means that there are no items incapable of such interpretation

“'Coherence', as here employed, means that the fundamental ideas, in terms of which the scheme is developed, presuppose each other so that in isolation they are meaningless ...In other words, it is presupposed that no entity can be conceived in complete abstraction from the system of the universe, and that it is the business of speculative philosophy to exhibit this truth

“The term 'logical' has its ordinary meaning, including 'logical' consistency, or the lack of contradiction, the definition of constructs in logical terms, the exemplification of general logical notions in specific instances, and the principles of inference. It will be observed that logical notions must themselves find their places in the scheme of philosophic notions

“ ...This ideal of speculative philosophy has its rational side and its empirical side. The rational side is expressed by the terms 'coherent ' and 'logical.' The empirical side is expressed by the terms 'applicable' and 'adequate.' However, the two sides are bound together by clearing away an ambiguity that remains in the previous explanation of the term adequate. The adequacy of the scheme over every item does not mean adequacy over such items as happen to have been considered. It means that the texture of observed experience, as illustrating the philosophic scheme, is such that all related experience must exhibit the same texture


Thus the philosophic scheme should be 'necessary ,' in the sense of bearing in itself its own warrant of universality throughout all experience, provided we confine ourselves to that which communicates with immediate matter of fact. But what does not so communicate is unknowable, and the unknowable is unknown; and so this universality defined by 'communication ' can suffice

“This doctrine of necessity in universality means that there is an essence to the universe which forbids relationships beyond itself, as a violation of its rationality. Speculative philosophy seeks that essence.”92

“Philosophers can never hope finally to formulate these metaphysical first principles

“There is no first principle which is in itself unknowable...But, putting aside the difficulties of language...the difficulty is in the empirical side...We habitually observe by a method of difference

“The metaphysical first principles can never fail of exemplification. We can never catch the actual world taking a holiday from their sway. Thus...the method of pinning down thought to the strict systematization of detailed discrimination...breaks down...In natural science this rigid method is the Baconian method of induction, a method which, if consistently pursued, would have left science where it found it. What Bacon omitted was the play of a free imagination [variation and selection], controlled by the requirements of coherence and logic...The negative judgment is the peak of mentality...conditions for the success of imaginative construction must be rigidly adhered to

“...The first requisite is to proceed by the method of generalization so that certainly there is some application...beyond the immediate origin. In other words some synoptic vision has been gained


“...The term 'philosophic generalization' has meant 'the utilization of specific notions, applying to a restricted group of facts, for the divination of generic notions which apply to all facts.'

“In its use of this method natural science has shown a curious mixture of rationalism and irrationalism. Its prevalent tone has been ardently rational within its own borders, and dogmatically irrational beyond those borders. In practice such an attitude tends to become a dogmatic denial that there are any factors in the world not fully expressible in terms of its own primary notions of void of any further generalization. Such a denial is the self-denial of thought

“The second condition of the success of imaginative construction is unflinching pursuit of the two rationalistic ideals, coherence and logical perfection

“Logical perfection does not require any detailed explanation

“The requirement of coherence is the great preservative of rationalistic sanity

“Incoherence is the arbitrary disconnection of first principles, in modern philosophy Descartes' two kinds of substance, corporeal and mental, illustrate coherence

The attraction of Spinoza's philosophy lies in its modification and Descartes' position into greater coherence. He starts with one substance, causa sui, and considers its essential attributes and its individualized modes; i.e., the 'affectiones substantiae.' The gap in the system is the arbitrary introduction of 'modes . ' And yet, a multiplicity of modes is a fixed requisite, if the scheme is to retain any direct relevance to the many occasions in the experienced world


“The philosophy of organism is closely allied to Spinoza's scheme of thought. But it differs by the abandonment of the subject-predicate forms of thought, so far as concerns the presupposition that this form is a direct embodiment of the most ultimate characterization of fact. The result is that the 'substance-quality' concept is avoided; and that morphological description is replaced by description of dynamic process. Also Spinoza's 'modes' now become sheer actualities; so that though analysis of them increases our understanding, it does not lead to discovery of any higher grade of reality. The coherence, which the system seeks to preserve, is that the discovery that the process, or concrescence, of any one actual entity involves other actual entities among its components. In this way the obvious solidarity of the world receives its explanation

“In all philosophic theory there is an ultimate which is actual in virtue of its accidents. It is only then capable of characterization through its accidental embodiments, and apart from these accidents is devoid of actuality. In the philosophy of organism this ultimate is termed creativity; and God is its primordial non-temporal accident. In monistic philosophy, Spinoza's or absolute idealism, this ultimate is God, who is also equivalently termed 'The Absolute.' In such monistic schemes, the ultimate is illegitimately allowed a final, 'eminent' reality, beyond that ascribed to any of its accidents. In this general position the philosophy of organism seems to approximate more to some strains of Indian, or Chinese, thought than to Western, Asiatic, or European thought. One side makes process ultimate; the other side makes fact ultimate.”

3-69         Speculative Method93 - An Outline

The following outline incorporates some of the ideas of the discussion and quotation in 3.4.3, so far. Also included are: the process of questioning - of existing schemes; reflection; decisions at the level and degree on inclusivity; collection of “information” - assemblage; and entry into evolution. The method includes a constellation of special methods

A flow of the method: doubt --> reflect --> scope --> assemblage --> speculate --> evaluate --> application and selection --> entry into culture and evolution. As with any flow scheme: further evolutionary levels could be included. The process is iterative - any level of feedback and forward is possible [interactive process], but the stated sequence is a first approximation. The process is cyclic [or spiral-helical]


1. Doubt. Question everything - fact, being, knowledge, nature of these, because:

▪ There is no final system

▪ Specific need

▪ Origin of process

▪ Learning is only possible when one accepts that one's believes can be false

Doubt is not merely “rational” - includes intuition, emotion, and mystic

2. Reflect. On need; possibilities

3. Define scope. Decide on inclusion [level and extension]. Fact, being, evolution, knowledge

4. Assemblage. Gather information, facts, and theories, ideas...guided by 1, 2, and 3


5. Speculate. Form concepts and hypotheses-systems

▪ Primitive humankind speculates and symbolizes the speculation. More - the speculation includes the formation of symbol-meaning systems; internal sources of validity - encoding, through evolution, of pre-linguistic and pre-logical structure into organism and the linguistic capacity of the organism. By no means does this guarantee certitude of speculation but, perhaps, there is some identifiable built-in selectivity - natural language or logic which is “learned” in pre-cultural evolution by race, species, life

▪ Two forms of growth of such speculative systems: addition and success. Surely there is pre-formal internal selection even if minimal. Building of meta-schemes - with the primitive scheme providing meaning and cultural evolution. Before thought separates from its mythic origins, this is a primary selective force

▪ Includes variation to zero of philosophical and general knowledge and language because they labor under the inadequacies of ancient thought...however there are limits on how far back in evolution raw variation can go, perhaps

Means-methods [includes science, art and religion] of speculation in post-mythic cultures:

▪ Initially random association and classification; repetition

▪ Reason and perception; and introspection

▪ Creativity and imagination-mythic thought; includes heroic thought

▪ Variation to zero; raw speculation

▪ Modification

▪ Juxtaposition

▪ Direct insight

▪ Transcendent-mystic

▪ Philosophic generalization

▪ Synthesis


6. Evaluation. Philosophy begins when criticism begins, but ends when speculation ends. Philosophy is knowledge-process become aware of its own [excess] subjectivity and lack of adaptation

Modes of evaluation:

Empirical - Against fact [experience, observation, experiment] and fact embodied in knowledge

Rational - Logic, coherence

Evolution of Evaluation:


Speculative [coherence?]

Introspective [includes experience] [logic?]

Observation [beginnings of empiricism-applicability]

Experimental [adequacy]

Historical [extension of adequacy]

Evolutionary [extension of adequacy, perhaps]

7. Application. New realms of experience. Evaluation through application

8. Entry into evolution. Thought is never completely de-mythicized; and even post-mythic thought serves actual [in addition to psychological, which is actual] mythic function: thought remains relevant to selection



The central problems of philosophy are outlined in 3.3 and 3.4. Subsection 3.3.4 includes a brief outline of problems of philosophy; here a more detailed listing of the special problems [of history, nature, scope, methods, divisions, philosophical schools and doctrines] and applications


The following aspects are included:

Method and content of philosophy is applied to disciplines and activities

Philosophical concern is with the half truths and assumptions, fact, method, logic, coherence, completeness; with foundations and interactions

Implications for philosophy are considered; examples, approach to metaphysics through “philosophic generalization”; implications of modern physics and biology94; action and experience

The Disciplines and Activities

Being and Process95




Awareness --> knowledge --> design --> action --> learning and correction

Table 4 Origin of Special Disciplines and Activities

Knowledge includes value, religion, art. Design includes planning. Action and evaluation each include control


Being and process: includes all dimensions: corresponding to levels of knowledge - Area 4, personal dimensions96; processes include particularizations of awareness


Evolution: See 3.5.6; also General Statement, 2, parts of 3.1,2,3,4

Knowledge: See 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.5.4, 3.5.6, and 3.5.7

This section includes science and its disciplines, humanities - including art, philosophy, religion; technology; corresponding symbolic disciplines. See 4 and reference materials

Social institutions: anthropological - groups; cultural - art, religion, knowledge and science, education; organizational - economic, political, legal

Design and planning: See 3.5.6, General Statement, 1, 5

Action: See 6

Evaluation: See 7

By the very nature of philosophy, each philosophical consideration spills over into other philosophical considerations and we soon begin to contemplate existence. This tendency and the opposite tendency to proliferation of detail remain in balance



These are problems of a universal, fundamental and general character, which retain their problematic nature. As Russell said [], it is the questions themselves which are valuable, for through them we are led to consider the greatness of the universe and so derive some greatness

As knowledge, science, and religion progress, understanding is obtained; as the ethos of an era gives way to a new one, the focus of intensity shifts. Yet the intellectual or existential nature of these problems remains

The eternal problems: freedom, choice, will, determinism, fatalism, cause action; mind, awareness, consciousness and sentience, Atman-Brahman, God and Godhead, metaphysical nature of being and process; reality, truth, reason, unity, value



The study of value, the good, is traditionally a separate field of philosophy. It is often held that value and science are separate, but even if this is not true, there is a contribution in understanding from a separate and independent discussion of value. Although I argue that process, evolution, interaction, organicity and holism show a unity of value and knowledge, this does not imply that value is determined by “science.” Philosophical reflection is capable of providing insight into the true relations and ensuring a level of judgment that is commensurate with available knowledge

Traditional Fields

Axiology - The Good

Aesthetics - Beauty

Ethics - The Right

These distinctions are flexible. The good refers to ends or desirable situations and the right to actions...both are both analyzed within ethics         Types of Ethics and Ethical Study        Meta-ethics

The meaning of ethics [vs. normative = “actual” ethics]        Metaphysical ethics

Ethics as a branch of metaphysics: ethical notions are derived from metaphysical notions        Deontological ethics

Any ethics that do not make the right depend entirely on value        Teleological ethics

Teleology: theory of purpose, ends, final causes, opposite of mechanism; teleological ethics: rightness depends on probable conduciveness to some end

3-76        Evolutionary ethics

Any ethical theory in which the doctrine or theory of evolution plays a leading role is an evolutionary ethics. Typical moral standards of evolutionary ethics are adaptiveness, conduciveness to life. The problem is a difficult one because evolution [if true] has given humankind significant freedom from the environment, and this freedom has a generalized adaptivity. Also: should we regard mass extinction and punctuated equilibria as part of evolution? The point is that there is much flexibility in choice of evolutionary phenomenon or other phenomena         General Foundations of Value

Epistemological and metaphysical: any one of a number of philosophical doctrines can form a basis. These include experience, action


Constraints: Physical, biological, and psychosocial

Possibilities: Origins of aesthetics value dimensions in evolution and relation to constraints. Possibilities in general; growth and emergence

Choice: Relating past to future. Creating values



Relevant topics are considered in 3.5.1, 2, and 3. However, social philosophy has traditionally been a division of philosophy. In some periods certain philosophers held: that social philosophy was philosophy. Organization of a field of social philosophy is useful. In addition, social science cannot be considered as complete         Philosophical Anthropology

The philosophy of humankind         Philosophy of cultural institutions - Art, Religion, Learning and Discovery, Education



Learning and discovery: Knowledge, humanities, science and sciences [as form and process]97

Education97         Philosophy of social organization and relation of individual to the group        Political philosophy        Economic philosophy        Philosophy of law


3.5.5        PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE...As distinct from “academic” philosophy         The Well Lived Life

Tells humankind how to live and provides values and maxims to live by; facing the choices and conditions of life; being one's highest being. This is better interpreted as dialog than as instruction and is sometimes interpreted as the meaning of life         Existentialism

Philosophy of Nietzsche and other existentialist thinkers who assert-imply that the “solutions” - such as they are - are inherent in the individual's being         Religion and the Philosophy of Religion

Clearly related to religion conceived as a motivational system; consistent with Nietzsche's opposition to much of Christianity; and related to philosophy of religion         Philosophy of action

See Area 6

General motivational analysis

Hinduism, the Bhagavad-Gita, Buddhism

Philosophy “should” contain its own motivation

Philosophy as an adventure

Generalization of the previous item philosophy as The Adventure

What is happening here? The field of being is an adventure in which every concept is dismantled and rebuilt, in which every being may enter the dynamics of the real         Role of instinct, mind, spirit

Russell         Role of truth

Unity, truth and all true philosophy relevant in some measure         Relationship to psychology

Related to psychology, especially existential psychology




We have seen that design and evolution are related. Each concept has levels of meaning; there are relationships and unities among these meanings. I have given reasons to identify the most inclusive levels: design = evolution, but have attached to this equation a “?”. Philosophical reflection and analysis adds to understanding of the levels of meaning and their relations; its contributions include speculation and suggestion, analysis of concepts and language. Clarification of assumptions, contradictions, and paradoxes, provision of general conceptual frameworks: when “proper” understanding is obtained the different meanings and frameworks coalesce in unity, inclusion [instead of hypercritical exclusion], and coherence. Philosophy includes - or adds to - the scientific and empirical side. In return, understanding evolution - and design - contributes to understanding of nature, knowledge and philosophy. This enhanced understanding is profound and deep, for the universe embodies the signature of its past; it cannot be understood either as whim or as comprehensively planned perfection

Since human action and aspirations are intimately connected with understanding, and this includes belief, this deep progress has momentous consequences for aspirations, designs and plans, and action

The statement in this sub-area [3.5.6] is supplemented by observations, ideas, discussion dispersed throughout this volume [General Statement, Preface, 1,2,3 and 5]. My own understanding is itself evolving, and the content of this work is a preliminary statement. In this sub-area, I include, first, an outline of the evolutionary levels for which a framework is to be provided and then some considerations for a philosophical framework


Evolutionary Levels for Which a Framework Is Provided


Change in “mechanism” from level to level: evolution of evolution

Physical evolution

... =? Mechanism » raw variation and? Selection

Chemical evolution

... =? “Physical” and? Reproduction

The concept physical is in quotes because [1] I want to point out that pre-chemical physical evolution sets the scene and provides constraints for chemical evolution; [2] there is also a pre-reproduction evolution that is chemical. [3] I am not implying that chemical evolution is not physical. Similar comments apply to subsequent stages, with appropriate modifications

Reproduction includes reproduction of variation and this sets the stage for life and evolution of complexity and diversity. Note that reproduction evolves too, and this is an example of evolution of evolutionary mechanisms

Biological evolution

... =? “Chemical” and interaction

Combination of reproduction and interaction permits evolution of complexity: chemical reproduction [hypothetical pre-genetic fault tolerant reproduction concept of Freeman Dyson [Origins of Life], or genetic-structured pre-DNA reproduction] --> genetic-DNA reproduction --> ? Prokaryotes --> photosynthesis... --> eukaryotes --> multi-cellular organisms --> Diversity and complexity. This sets the stage for complex perceptual and information processing forms

Evolution of the physical and chemical environment continues as a system that [1] includes life, [2] regulatory mechanisms: ecosystem concept...Earth as an ecosystem, perhaps


Pre-human social evolution

Social evolution begins very early, conditioned by and conditioning biological evolution and, later, being a significant factor, especially in evolution of psyche: pre-limbic, affective, and cognitive

Human and psychosocial evolution

Descent of humans is an interesting and valuable story; well before appearance of Homo sapiens - psyche and society are important; with appearance of Homo sapiens [but not necessarily only Homo sapiens] a relative independence of social evolution from the pressures of physical, chemical, biological evolution becomes possible. This does not mean there are no constraints from physical, chemical, biological nature - there are; and this does not mean that there are no interactions between social and other levels of evolution. There are and will be. However, these are long-term compared to social change

Socio-cultural evolution

As a rough concept I will define cultural evolution as the free play, independent of immediate interaction, with physical, chemical, biological and pre-human levels but within the constraints of such levels, of social structure and its physical [technology and such], biological [husbandry, agriculture, and so on], and psychological [religion, art, knowledge, tradition] artifacts, and interactions of such artifacts, made possible by specific developments of psyche [pre-limbic, affect and conative, cognitive and perceptual, and so on], homeostatic flexibility, bipedalism, manual dexterity and interactions of such developments. Concern is with origins and development of socio-culture. Interaction with pre-cultural levels is slow but [probably] important. Evolution of language and symbolic information and knowledge are important aspects of cultural evolution and


are probably an example [if not “the” example], dating back to origins of culture, of interplay of culture, society, biology

Historical evolution

History has a number of senses; at this point, I mean the recorded tradition of history of culture and society. Questions of accuracy, interpretation, meaning, significance are of debate. The recorded tradition is related to development of language and script. It points to some phase of chance. An important question is whether that phase represents progress - the interplay of cultural, societal, biological and physical evolution has implication for that concept of progress and its evaluation concerning existence and value

By historical evolution, I do not mean progress; I mean to ask whether history has mechanisms of evolution. Although in any interpretation the “mechanisms” are evaluated through a cultural filter, there is a phase of change and the question is whether we can find a variation and selection principle that is independent of any cultural filter. The question of how we can know or deduce the independence is a valid question, and must be answered before the knowledge can be validly held or deduced. However, it is not the same question as the one being asked here. Further, although “relativism” can validly assert the existence of cultural filters, it cannot


validly assert [because it is subject to similar limitations] the absolute nature of these filters. This leaves open the possibility of indirect intellectual means or, possibly direct means of some type, of answering the question on evolution in history. Whitehead [at least implicitly: see 2.4] and Hegel have asserted the existence of evolution in history

What is “the” relation between progress and evolution in history?

Evolution of knowledge

I treat this separately, because some considerations on the possible natures and consequences for such evolution is given, in

Evolution of the processes and institutions of society


Evolution of consciousness

...and the concept of the individual; evolution of the individual: personal growth - see

Evolution of design


Evolution in the universal



Mechanism and “Paradigms” of Modes of Change

1. Mechanism

...immediate mechanism - physicochemical

“How” does mechanism evolve over the “life” of the universe “?”

2. Purpose and design

Purpose and design as essentially different from mechanism

Purpose and design as expression of mechanism

Purpose and design as expression of evolution

3. Evolution

As expression of mechanism, and or purpose and design

Evolutionary descriptions and mechanisms: Items 4, 5, 6, and 7

4. Evolution

= variation and selection

5. Variation

= raw variation [mechanism?] and reproduction and interaction

6. Selection

= absolute, preferential

e.g., absolute --> “death”; preferential --> in abundance of reproduction

7. Co-evolution

...of systems and environments: ecology

8. Gradualism - synthesis vs. saltation


9. Uniform change vs. punctuated equilibria98

Punctuated equilibrium: relatively rapid [on geological, not evolutionary scales] change occurs when niches are opened up due to emergence of new possibilities due to change in environment and or mass extinction or due to new levels of organizations; other periods are evolutionarily quiet --> explains facts [reasons for extinction open and interesting, 1987, but not an obstacle]

Punctuated equilibrium and gradualism not contrary since change is not necessarily rapid on evolutionary scales

Uniformitarianism: the idea that change in geology [Lyell] and biology [Darwin, perhaps] is “uniform.” This does not seem to be supported by the evidence

New meanings of uniformitarianism: natural law or mechanism is constant and acts throughout evolution. But, is it constant? Perhaps natural “law” evolves and according to a punctuated equilibrium model. Uniformitarianism - is the ideal of search for uniform explanations


10. Evolution of evolution

Levels of evolution have been interpreted as though there is some new essence at each level. If this is true then each level could be completely independent of previous levels. A new essence is only necessary at a level if the level is completely independent. New levels do not seem to be essentially and completely independent so I do not find it necessary to invoke any new essence[s]. Emergent evolution entails certain apparent dualisms. Modern “sociobiology” on the other hand provides for determinism of social behavior in bio-genetics. More than this is said. The following type of claim is often made: for behavior y, there is a biogenetic gene x that determines y; and, y is optimum. Further, if all behavior is determined bio-genetically,99 such genetics cannot “really” bear the mark of social influence, for such influence is itself the expression of biogenetics [except that conditions could be different in periods of rapid change]

Thus, emergent evolution and “sociobiology” represent further extremes. There is a middle ground, which includes each extreme as a possible special case, according to which biogenetics determines much, and in which a significant portion of the determination, especially that of socio-cultural traits, is of constraints or potential

In some sense, each level of evolution offers freedom, but within constraints, from the earlier levels. The earliest level is the material or natural level and hence the freedom is, in significant measure, freedom from the natural environment

Thus, while “natural” selection is the chief selective mechanism for biological evolution, it is not the primary selective mechanism of socio-cultural evolution; here selection acts on the group and its mechanism of bonding and interaction. This is one theory [P. Munz, Our Knowledge of the Growth of Knowledge] and one type [Encyclopedia Britannica, “Social Structure and Change”] of cultural change


Irrespective of which theory of social change that is adopted or true,100 it seems that there is progressive freedom from the environment in levels of evolution, and in later stages of cultural evolution. The situation is so well within environmental, material, biological constraints of the past101 that most of the change is due to socio-cultural factors. At the same time, there is biological change that may be due to environmental selection, which now includes cultural factors; this change must be much slower than cultural evolution and is different from selection of culture. The interaction of these two elements and the question of biological determination of social behavior is, to me, an open question but within the following general observations: [1] pre-social [chemical, biological] evolution determines human potential in much of social behavior, and [2] a wide range of potential and plasticity seems to be one of the fundamental adaptations of humankind

The more independent the levels of evolution are of the environment, the less they bear its signature; thus we should be able to tell more about the environment from human biology than human culture except, perhaps, for the phase of cultural development in which knowledge is de-mythicized [see] and even then it is only certain types of knowledge. Therefore, through knowledge, humankind can re-exploit nature...and the universal

The change from less to more freedom from the environment is: physical evolution and chemical evolution before reproduction: perfect constraint, no trial and error, systems are the environment --> reproduction and biological evolution --> natural selection, systems provide incomplete information on the environment --> cultural evolution: environment has little effect on cultural evolution in so far as it is not a selection mechanism - in most modern theories the mechanism of culture is to provide a bond and it is the groups that are selected;


since the function of culture is the bond, culture is selected for its cohesiveness and not its content. This theory contains elements of truth but seems somewhat simplistic. Certainly the content of culture in Level II cultures is selected for content [se3.5.6.1 - though the selection is still not natural]

11. Tropic Principle

I am not convinced that this principle has content. However, I include it because it seems to have relevance to “evolution of evolution.” My reading of its content: results of evolution are due to mutual constraints of systems and environments that condition and determine the direction of evolution


Language of Evolution

▪ The language should reflect the mechanisms. Physical evolution? Variations and selection...? Emergence...consciousness, plan, design? [See General Statement, Preface, parts of 1, 2, 3, 5.]

▪ Reflecting existence or otherwise of ultimates

▪ Metaphysics of description; synthesis and balance

▪ In an ultimate sense how = what

▪ As a framework of evolution, diachronic reality, culture, value, knowledge

▪ As a framework for the history of the universe [which is recorded in cosmic “fossils”]; and the history of the substructures

3-90         Evolution as a Framework for Knowledge...and Method        Value of such a framework

Because the structure of the universe, nature, life, culture, value includes diachronic elements, change builds on existing structure and is not afresh for each existing structure; i.e., not synchronic. Evolution must be included in study for otherwise structure cannot be understood. Because change builds upon existing structure, evolution does not produce what would be the “optimum” organism for a given circumstance. Knowledge without evolutionary study is incomplete

Knowledge itself is diachronic. New knowledge builds upon existing knowledge. Rationality includes an attempt to overcome the limitations which knowledge has as a consequence of it diachronic nature. However, this attempt is limited by the diachronisms, sometimes predating culture and recorded thought, of the instruments of rationality: mind102 and language whose unrecorded and unremembered origins are pre-rational. This sets a barrier, though not necessarily an insurmountable one, to the ability of rational thought to fathom its own foundations. Further, there are pre-rational forms and instruments of knowledge. In a sense, pre-limbic and emotional types are pre-rational instruments - although they develop along with cognition and rationality. Instinct is a pre-rational form. Such pre-rational forms and instruments developed, not in response to learning of an individual, but in a culture [tradition], a race, a species...a kingdom and so on, as “learning” over its own “life time.” Such pre-rational [or rational] learning, when it occurs over the life of a species [and is biogenetically encoded, tradition not included] is “phylogenetic” learning, and the resulting knowledge is “phylogenetic” knowledge. Knowledge that is learned by an individual is “ontogenetic.”


Thus it may be that knowledge can never be fully “ontogenized”; i.e., synchronized. The reason is that knowledge is so deeply interwoven into the chemical-bio-psycho-social structure of organism-society. Synchronization, especially into consciousness, of knowledge requires too much explicit structure and diachronism overcomes this act: diachronism may not seem “optimum” but it may in fact be the only way to emergence, to complex organic structures and knowledge systems. Rational knowledge can aspire to overcome the barrier of pre-cultural, pre-linguistic and pre-rational origins, but rationality has its own limitations

Even the learning of an individual includes pre-rational and a-rational elements of cognition and affect. This includes the type of intuitive knowledge involved in the direct expression of thought and action without the intermediary of symbolic processing. Some intuition is pre-rational, some is a-rational [kinesthetic, for instance]. Some is post rational: the development of intuition of the structure and process of rational thought: this makes learning of knowledge as a whole and creation possible. The evolution of individual learning and its relationship to phylogenetic learning is interesting and valuable

Can intuitive knowledge be complete? Intuition involves an ability to function in absence of “complete” knowledge. Recall the four “definitions” of knowledge - in 3.3.2 - one definition was adaptivity to a “purpose”: this does not intrinsically require completeness o certainty. Intuition provides holism by recognizing this fact; i.e., intuition provides holism without certainty or completeness. Now rationality, too, can recognize this “fact” - by itself, through introspection, through study of evolution and by reference to intuition. It is not an aspect of rationality to seek completeness, certainty, or security. This is an aspect of a certain type of psyche or a certain type of culture


Now this does not imply that security is undesirable. There are certain areas in which the drive to completeness and certainty is valuable. It is the excess dependence on such security that is undesirable, [1] because it takes the culture out of evolution - static and decaying; [2] because it is probably based on evolution of the nature and objects of knowledge only relatively realizable - despite success in logic and physical science. What is probably desirable is balance: the right range of security in which culture can thrive - evolve and survive

Diachronism gives us a chance to overcome the implied limitations of synchronic thought: all experience is a part of knowledge: no one will deny that realism, idealism, choice are valid - not psychedelic - aspects of experience. However, there are contradictions in our descriptions of these experiences. Pre-evolutionary philosophy has overcome some of these contradictions by eclectic synthesis [which includes discarding]; others by seeing them as different aspects of reality - not actually contradictory. Only superficially so; and he remaining by understanding them as due to incompleteness in knowledge and not in nature itself. Some of these remaining contradictions and incompleteness will be overcome by understanding and revealing reality as diachronic

Use of an evolutionary framework does not exclude form and structure and process, holism and interaction, unity in structure, process, and unfolding; but rather enhances understanding of true nature.103

3-93        Nature and evolution of knowledge        Role of knowledge in culture

We recognize two levels of socio-cultural evolution beyond origins of social process:       Level I: Mythic Cultures

Pre-critical stage: “knowledge” invented, created by mythic speculation. There is no criticism of knowledge - or criticism has been abandoned. The function of knowledge is group bonding, perhaps. Knowledge is maintained by “contract” and cultural indoctrination beginning at a pre-linguistic and pre-rational stage of individual development and reinforced by the structure of individual psychic needs. Such “knowledge” and “thought” can be called mythic knowledge and mythic thought. Individuals not biogenetically different from individuals in post-mythic cultures [see below] and therefore, occasionally and or for periods, there will be “rational” developments, but such development does not become institutionalized. Selection of knowledge is by fate [selection] of group-culture       Level II: Post-mythic Cultures

Critical stage: Knowledge created by similar processes; criticism of knowledge possible [see 3.4.43] and selection by critical process. This overall process = variation and selection = evolution = social process applied in encapsulation to knowledge itself104. Process now applicable to study of knowledge itself and to other design. Similar to selection by falsification: selection by eliminating invalidated knowledge; Popper “Our ideas die instead of us”; reproduction of successful ideas by education, use of established principles; bonding by other means, including areas of “knowledge” not yet subjected to criticism: aspects of value, religion, areas of thought not important to adaptation; acceptance by overcoming attempts at invalidation and by success105 in helping individual and society negotiate “life”; critically “accepted” areas as relatively good representation [signature] of society and environment

3-94       Actual Cultures

As implied by the foregoing discussion, all cultures incorporate aspects of mythic and post-mythic thought. In mythic cultures individuals-groups occasionally “break out” of mythic thought but this does not become institutionalized. It becomes part of the norm in post-mythic cultures. In post-mythic cultures [1] mythic thinking remains a part of actual rational thinking, [2] there are areas of thinking which remain mythic [often, though not always: dogmatic religion, value] but which may be given a rationalistic dressing. [3] There are areas that are and should be mythic or validly retain elements of mythic thought [art, ideal religion]. [4] Mythic thought is a phase of growth. [5] Some individuals and groups remain immersed in mythic life; this is sometimes valid. [6] Such thought and life remains a valid and potentially powerful part of the experience in the life of each individual.106

So what is the difference between mythic and post-mythic? The essential difference is, no doubt, in state of being-mind. Possible measures are [1] extent to which criticism is a habitual reflex in the mass of people, [2] extent of institutionalization of critical function - but not in absence of valid mythic experience and institution. Also: expression of life, joy and being cuts across the mythic divide as does expression of death, denial and decay        Further comments on evolution of knowledge. Models of change

The following will be in telegraphic form       Origins of knowledge

Levels and processes: goes back through cultural, psychic, biological, down to chemical level; nature and unity-diversity of knowledge [see 3.3], origins of feeling, differentiation into emotion, cognition...symbolic...forms

3-95       Changes in the process or mechanism of knowledge at the socio-cultural level

This is more or less the transition from mythic --> post-mythic thought; also see 3.2, 3.4]: random association --> introspection [include rational process, which does include contact-abstraction from data] --> observation and comparison --> directed, controlled, designed experiment --> historical and evolutionary study [old elements are not eliminated in the --> transitions] . . .knowledge frees itself from mere subservience to cultural pattern . . .as pointed out above [“actual cultures”] this process is never complete in areas of “fact”-science vs. value. There is a duality [psychic need-factual persuasion] in individual psychology in relation to “reality” and further this duality has relations to social-individual interaction. There is a tendency to objectify, make concrete, theoretical constructs, to place them on the level of intuitive-organismic knowledge; there is a cycle of confusion in these associations and the consequent refutations       Changes in socio-cultural knowledge

Two mechanisms according to changes in cultural pattern at levels I and II [mythic and post-mythic]; actuality is a combination of mythic and rational creativity [creative imagination as enhanced by its association with creative-critical thought] and selection by cultural and critical selection      Models of change at level I - mythic thought

Social evolution, social interaction, social contract...theories; at this level, the mythic traditional level, and according to an increasingly accepted body of theory,107 the “survival” function of knowledge is formation of social bonds and cohesiveness - whether the knowledge refers explicitly to such cohesiveness, to the gods, or to nature. It should be remembered that actual cultures are a combination of levels I and II      Models of change at level II - post-mythic thought

Mythic thought is not absent - this is not linear progress. Rather, post-mythic thought is superposed on mythic thought. This is not to be thought of as negative. First, this is not an axiological issue. More importantly, the proper integration of the two phases of thought is an efficient response to the construction of modern culture in a world that remains rooted in nature

Theories of history and history of knowledge [including art, ideal religion [which is open to but not dominated by rationality]], history of science; concepts of pro-knowledge; Marxist theories of history and knowledge as ideology; Wittgenstein-types of knowledge as absolute within their own spheres; models of change; theories of Whitehead, Nagel, Feyerabend, Popper, Lorenz, Delbrück, Kuhn, Lakatos... Whitehead and speculative philosophy;108 generalized speculative method; Popper on selection [selection as a generalization of Popper's idea of falsifiability as a criterion and a selective mechanism]; creativity, culture,


world and universe as sources of variation [and types of variation], mythic and organic accounts of creation and phenomena and other sources of archetypal behavior; “optimum” combinations of variation [and types] and selection [and types] [relation to liberalism and conservatism in cultural pattern]; relation to psyche: variation, creative imagination as optimistic, extravert, selection, critical thought as pessimist, introvert, combinations [wheels within wheels], balance and balanced psyche: variation and selection, imagination and critical imagination and criticism and imaginative criticism        Further comments on the selection or evolutionary theory of knowledge and science

Karl Popper109 has presented the following model of advance:

P --> TS --> EE --> P

Problem --> Tentative Solution --> Eliminate Errors --> New Problem. “Eliminate Errors” includes selection and falsification

How does falsification-invalidation work? To simplify, consider a finite sequence of numbers. Our problem is to discover a rule that generates the numbers. In simple cases, especially if we have experience at rule induction, we sense the result immediately. Let us suppose that sequence is sufficiently complex that we need to proceed systematically: we can analyze the process. We guess at rules and if a single instance does not satisfy the rule, we reject the rule: it is falsified. [Falsification is not as simple in science-knowledge where the data are potentially the data of experience and interpretation.] If all instances satisfy the rule, we accept it: it is verified. The first observation of interest is that rules are not unique: actually they are in the sense that the sequence = the rule but the expression, or formula is not unique. On the manifold on which the sequence is defined, all valid formulas are equivalent. Off the manifold110 they are or may be different. The simpler rules will be easier to falsify or to verify. Rules can be guessed haphazardly or by “heuristics” or “algorithms.”


In nature, the collection of instances is effectively infinite; heuristics [but not algorithms] are still available or can be created, discovered. Guesses [i.e., hypotheses] or candidate laws-theories can now be tested against the data. The data is all of experience. It is not possible to check guesses against the whole data. Thus, theories and laws can never be verified by checking against data. They can only be falsified by observation and experiment. More generally, they can be invalidated. When a theory passes many attempts at falsification, it grows in stature. Also: falsifiability provides a test of realism: if a law-theory is, in principle, falsifiable by the outcome of an experiment, or more generally in relation to the manifold experience-of-reality [as a unitary concept], this informs us that the law-theory does in fact say something about nature beyond the obvious, beyond tautology. Further, the easier it is to falsify a law or theory, the fewer are the excuses-evasions permitted and the simpler is the law or theory. This is a very brief summary of Popper's falsifiability notion of science and scientific method. Science [and knowledge] is open

In addition to the criticism of, there are further criticisms [and some replies] and comments

1. Falsifiability is not a theory or understanding of creativity, or of motivation - but it is not intended as such. Nor is falsifiability a theory of the nature of invalidation. However, falsification is difficult and many theories are never actually falsified. They are merely discarded, forgotten. Popper has generalized the notion of falsifiability to that of selection. As an outline of the evolution of science, and this is only an outline, this needs to be enhanced: selection --> variation and selection. Further, as a general “paradigm” of evolution, we should recall that variation and selection is probably approximation

An evolutionary paradigm is no longer to be thought of as implying either gradual or uniform growth


The punctuated equilibrium model of growth [which need not be inconsistent with gradual growth] may be on its way to becoming part of a universal vocabulary of evolution [bifurcation, catastrophe perhaps]. The question of gradualism must be subject to further consideration as regards birth of theories and “paradigms” in individual-cultural context; must be divested of subjective measure: appropriate time scales are required [time to learn a theory, say]. T. Kuhn has provided some thoughts along these lines but a preliminary reading among philosophers and historians of science and scientists shows a tendency to reject Kuhn, accept Popper's outline [not all scientific revolutions are paradigmatic; evaluation of thought in between “revolutions” as puzzles is subjective and inaccurate in that it is more than mere search in a space of instances - there is search for concepts.] The revolutions are the punctuations of equilibrium. Further analogy with bio-cultural evolution may be valuable