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The Orders of Nature Paperback – January 2, 2014
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"Every once in a while a book appears that presents in systematic form the current state of human knowledge. The Orders of Nature is such a book. While it includes concise summaries of prominent theories in the natural sciences and to a lesser extent in the social sciences and humanities, it is much more than a general compendium of thought today. Its presentations are organized and interpreted according to the perspective of a naturalistic metaphysics. The result is an unusually impressive achievement worthy of wide dissemination and discussion." -- American Journal of Theology and Philosophy"In a book of impressive scope and clarity, Cahoone presents a strong case for a pluralist, naturalist metaphysics that aims to systematically account for the physical, material, biological, mental, and sociocultural levels of nature ... This is a rare, valuable book synthesizing the latest results of study of the natural and human sciences through the tradition of emergentist metaphysics. It is a great example of the sort of transdisciplinary inquiry encouraged in the liberal arts tradition ... Highly recommended." -- CHOICE
About the Author
Lawrence Cahoone is Professor of Philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross. His many books include Cultural Revolutions: Reason versus Culture in Philosophy, Politics, and Jihad and From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology.
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The key to understanding all this is concept of "emergence", how complex systems arise from simpler components, & exhibit behavior unpredictable from components. This book carefully works through "emergence" from fundament levels of physics to human social behavior. Fascinating & authoritatively documented.
Conclusion even goes on to argue "naturalism" doesn't rule out a higher power (or whatever), just one that's not somehow "in" nature. Interesting, even if a difficult sell to those disinclined to mysticism. Overall, a positive view of a universe in which just "being here" is it's own reward..
I admire his courage too. He takes the plunge into a wide range of scientific disciplines and brings his best understanding of them—which he humbly acknowledges to be cursory and incomplete—to bear on some of the most profound and fundamental questions of existence; questions (and some tentative and speculative answers) which most of the modern philosophers I’ve read seem unwilling to discuss in public. He seems like a very brilliant, yet very human and unpretentious man.
If you’re the kind of person who spends a significant portion of your time pondering what it all might mean, where it all came from, and what your part might be, and you’re interested I reviewing a wide range of current knowledge from a variety of disciplines, this book may be for you!