- Series: Series on Knots and Everything (Paperback) (Book 18)
- Paperback: 292 pages
- Publisher: World Scientific Pub Co Inc (February 28, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9812835814
- ISBN-13: 978-9812835819
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,347,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Self-evolving Cosmos: A Phenomenological Approach to Nature's Unity-in-diversity (Series on Knots and Everything) (Series on Knots and Everything (Paperback)) (Volume 18)
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The Self-Evolving Cosmos is an exciting, creative, interdisciplinary, and scholarly work recalling the collaboration between Hermann Weyl and Edmund Husserl on the function of mathematical intuition in cosmological physics ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ¦ It is a major, ground-breaking, poetic work of powerful intelligence illustrating the use of a promising new research tool in the challenging areas of quantum and cosmological physics. --Patrick A Heelan, PhD, William A Gaston Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University
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Though trained in experimental psychology and (formerly) employed by a traditional department of psychology, Rosen’s interests have taken him across the borders and into adjacent academic disciplines. His interdisciplinarity is apparent throughout the text. One does not get the impression that Rosen is writing as a phenomenologist who is making a first foray into the world of contemporary physics, nor is it the reverse. It should be noted that Rosen’s suggestion for a phenomenologically informed physics is distinct from those that have become increasingly popular in the heavily mathematically-based field of string theory. Rosen’s approach is in suggesting that a phenomenological ontology provides a useful amendment to contemporary physics—namely, by reconceiving the relationship between experimenter (subject) and experiment (object; e.g. physical particle). The subject-object relationship is one that has stymied physicists for several generations, and one that has received much attention from phenomenological philosophy.
The nineteenth century relationship between subject and object had been biased in the direction of the object—the object was the emanation of cosmological truth and it was up to the experimenter to gather its material qualities without error. Here one finds that the object stands over and above the subject. Another way of stating this is that the object remains what it is regardless of the interacting subject. Moreover, it was (and still is) largely the assumption that subjects could be understood as an aggregate of mini-object-processes. This changes at the turn of the twentieth century; Rosen explains the quantum physical experiments of Michelson and Morley, but I prefer Whitehead’s (1920) pithy reference to the periodicals of this day that were reporting this shift: “Space caught bending!” Ontologically, the shift from classical physics to contemporary physics marks an emphasis on the role played by the subject. The classical ideal of third-person objectivity is impossible when the experimenter (subject) must necessarily interact with and change the experiment (object). The crumbling ontology of classical physics is supplanted by that of contemporary physics—one that corrects for the subject-object imbalance. This may be seen in the quantum physics and neuroscience work of Henry Stapp and Jeff Schwartz (whose papers are not difficult to find). Such efforts have replaced object-centric ontologies with subject-centric ones. Rosen argues that a shift from classical to contemporary physics that merely reverses the direction of the object-subject relationship is insufficiently radical. This problem is the emphasis of Self Evolving Cosmos.
Rosen calls for a phenomenologicalization of this relationship. Instead of subjects-over-objects or objects-over-subjects, Rosen calls for the sub-object. As sub-object, Subjects and objects are found comprising the same ontological material—Merleau-Ponty’s flesh. Such a consideration is sure to challenge even those most liberal of scientific temperaments. This is what makes Rosen’s proposal so bold. Great care is taken in demonstrating how subject and object—historically opposed—may be found unified as a sub-object. Rosen does so through his description of the Moebius strip and Klein bottle—figures that resist geometrical representation in Euclidean space, and figures that challenge the long taken-for-granted beliefs about opposites in space-time like inside/outside.
Finally, on a note that is not entirely unrelated, Rosen’s writing is a pleasure to read. Despite covering some very difficult topics in an unprecedented fashion, his arguments are clear and his examples are well-crafted.
The introductory part of the story may appear familiar to those who know the works of David Bohm, Fritjof Capra, David Peat, and Lee Smolin. But this time the quest for unifying natural philosophy is different. From chapter three on the author shows that the basic problems in contemporary physics and empirical science are the result of an artificially imposed objectifying framework that gives precedence to the continuity of space (and time). The departure point of his innovative phenomenological approach is based on the later writings of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. One of Rosen’s key ideas is that the classical Platonic/Aristotelian/Cartesian division between object and subject in science (“object-in-space-before-subject”) is the fundamental obstacle that needs to be overcome in freeing our minds. Using Merleau-Ponty’s intuitive dimension of “depth,” the author turns the traditional spatiotemporal concept of a third-person scientific description inside out, thus going beyond Otto Rössler’s endophysics and the first-person internalism of Koichiro Matsuno’s biosemiotics.
In the following chapters Rosen escalates the arguments of his thesis and offers a unique phenomenological interpretation of quantum theory, quantum gravitation, and cosmology. The inclusion of the paradoxical topologies of the Moebius strip and Klein bottle within a vivid and playful articulation of Jungian insights about the nature of matter, consciousness, and science designates this subtle and original book as a first manual for a little known territory eagerly awaiting its exploration. The Self-Evolving Cosmos provides an exciting collection of topics (symmetry breaking, synsymmetry, the hierarchy of life carrying waves, topo-phenomenological Kaluza-Klein theory, the cosmogonic matrix, the role of fermions in the emergence and transformation of spatiotemporal dimensions, etc.) intertwined in a coherent theory about the evolution of the universe beyond spinor and twistor transformation geometry—a theory that travels a different road to reality than that described by Penrose. The book is one of my favorites and “best of its kind” references I recommend to the curious reader.