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Metanoia: A New Vision of Nature

December 23, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s great to hear someone make liberal use of the words ‘sensible’ and ‘sense making’ in describing nature. I like the point that he makes about simulations of evolution improve when the software and hardware improves. He seems to share my view that ‘the universe has to make sense before we can make sense of it’. He even hints at what I call eigenmorphism in saying that “if we only focus on the random changes in the code underlying a virtual organism, we will only see chance at work, whereas if we focus on the entire system, we will see intelligence at work.” 23:30

I would disagree with the idea that ‘consciousness’ evolves, unless we are using that word to mean ‘the set of hypertrophied human psychological traits’. Also I use ‘pansensitivity’ rather than ‘natural intelligence’ because I think that the foundation of nature is semi- rather than fully teleological. Intelligence to me implies a cognitive sensibility of intentional learning, where I would attribute the morphological consequences of evolution to sensual responsiveness. I doubt that sea slug is engrossed in aloof deliberation about when the most judicious time to squirt ink all over the place, I would be more inclined to assume that the gap between intuition and urge is much thinner than in our own human experience. Intelligence seems to me a state which arises out of the midrange between the sub-personal desires and the super-personal hunches. Intelligence puts the brakes on the excesses of both ranges, but evolution itself seems to have no such restraint.

These are minor differences though, overall, great stuff, impressive production – check it out.

  1. Joe Rouse
    December 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    The most important feature of this “New Vision of Nature” and of the concept “sense making” is its distinctive teleology. The relative inflexibility of the goal with respect to which animal behavior is intelligible limits its capacity to MEAN more than what it normally does. Here I take seriously Okrent’s (2007) claims that the goal of an organism ‘s behavior is the ongoing reproduction of its characteristic way of life. Thus, human behavior is not merely instrumentally intelligible sense making in its directedness toward a determinate way of “making a living” as an organism. It is expressively intelligible in its collective, interactive,and reflexive directedness towards what Heidegger called a “for-the-sake-of-which.”

    • December 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Yes, I like your point about reproduction of it’s characteristic way of life rather than any way of living. That’s an important feature of evolution which is not generic but proprietary, not mechanical but aesthetic. For a person to survive by regressing to an insect is not survival of the species. The current trends toward epigenetics and consideration of neo-Lamarckian possibilities seems to support this distinctiveness. Unlike a Dawkinsian meme propagation, the reality of evolution pulls from intention and aesthetic appreciation. Significance is not derived from mere survival, nor homeostasis, or even from statistical propagation, but also from this intent to augment the prestige of the organism’s aesthetics.

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