Humanity in a Creative Universe

ISBN : 9780199390458

Stuart A. Kauffman
312 Pages
163 x 239 mm
Pub date
Apr 2016
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In the hard sciences, which can often feel out of grasp for many lay readers, there are "great thinkers" who go far beyond the equations, formulas, and research. Minds such as Stephen Hawking philosophize about the functions and nature of the universe, the implications of our existence, and other impossibly fascinating, yet difficult questions. Stuart A. Kauffman is one of those great thinkers. He has dedicated his lifetime to researching "complex systems" at prestigious institutions and now writes his treatise on the most complex system of all: our universe. A recent Scientific American article claims that "philosophy begins where physics ends, and physics begins where philosophy ends," and perhaps no better quote sums up what Kauffman's latest book offers. Grounded in his rigorous training and research background, Kauffman is inter-disciplinary in every sense of the word, sorting through the major questions and theories in biology, physics, and philosophy. Best known for his philosophy of evolutionary biology, Kauffman coined the term "prestatability" to call into question whether science can ever accurately and precisely predict the future development of biological features in organisms. As evidenced by the title's mention of creativity, the book refreshingly argues that our preoccupation to explain all things with scientific law has deadened our creative natures. In this fascinating read, Kauffman concludes that the development of life on earth is not entirely predictable, because no theory could ever fully account for the limitless variations of evolution. Sure to cause a stir, this book will be discussed for years to come and may even set the tone for the next "great thinker."


Part I: Beyond The Entailing Laws Of Physics and Reductive Materialism
A Creative Universe: No Entailing Laws, but Enablement in the Evolution of the Biosphere
A Creative Universe: The Social World
Part II: Towards the Subjective Pole
Are We Zombies With At Best Witnessing Minds?
A New Proposed Dualism: Res potentia and Res extensa, Linked by Quantum Measurement
Beyond the Stalemate: Answering Descartes With The Poised Realm
Towards a Quantum, Poised Realm, Classical Theory of Mind Body
Toward an Ontological Basis for a Responsible Free Will
The Strong Free Will Theorem, Toward The Subjective Pole
The Subjective Pole and The Quantum Enigma
The Creative and Unentailed Quantum Evolution of The Universe
Beyond Pythagoras: Must We Have Foundations?
Part III: Who Are We Knowing, Doing, Living Humans In A Creative Universe?
Self Organization In The Origin of Life, Agency, and Ontogeny
Knowing and Being in the World, Aspects of our Humanity
Beyond Modernity? Can We Partially Co-Create A Civilization That Serves Our Humanity?

About the author: 

Stuart A. Kauffman was educated in Philosophy, Psychology and Physiology at Dartmouth and Oxford, obtained his medical degree from UCSF in 1968 and has devoted himself to often seminal work in biology and areas of physics and economics since.

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