Ontology of Relational Processes

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Arran Gare:

"Challenges to scientific materialism also came from within science itself, usually associated with some form of holism, but it is only recently that efforts to replace scientific materialism from within science are in a position to finally succeed. The core of this revolution in scientific thought is an ontology of relational processes where processes can be seen as partially self-causing, being components of each other without being reducible to each other. From this perspective,new processes can emerge that are not entirely explicable through the conditions of their emergence. These can be understood, but are not entirely predictable or controllable. The universe is genuinely creative,the future is to some degree indeterminate, and we can influence which possible futures will be realized. This scientific revolution involves redefining science and its place in culture, aligning it with the humanities and redefining humanity and its place in nature, upholding the value of life and again, redefining the ultimate goals of humanity. If successful it should create a new global civilization, effectively replacing the civilization of modernity.." (https://www.academia.edu/43252621/Toward_an_Ecological_Civilization_-_An_Interview_with_Arran_Gare?)


Arran Gare:

“Early ecological thought studied biotic communities in which different organisms were seen to be in symbiotic relationships, modifying their environments to their mutual benefit, with these communities evolving to richer, more diverse systems. Being mainly descriptive, it was not taken seriously by most scientists. With the development of complexity theory, it has become possible to gain insight into the dynamics of ecosystems by creating abstract models of such communities. Non-linear thermodynamics, catastrophe theory, second order cybernetics, including the theory of autopoiesis, hierarchy theory, anticipatory systems theory and biosemiotics have all served to advance ecology in this way. Organisms are conceived as highly integrated ecosystems able to define their environments as their worlds. Hierarchy theory accords a central place to enabling constraints in the functioning of ecosystems. Semiosis, the production and interpretation of signs, involves signs constraining interpretants, including formations and activities, in response to anticipations.

In my view, the notion of Autopoiesis whereby organisms are seen to produce their own components, is still too mechanistic and does not give a place to emergence. The notion of Ecopoiesis, implying the production of the conditions where components can emerge, overcomes this limitation and accords well with other developments in complexity theory, allowing these ideas to be generalized. Robert Ulanowicz argues that by virtue of its focus on complexity, ecology is now the most advanced science and could provide the forms of thinking required to overcome the logjams obstructing the advance of physics. The notion of constraint is particularly important from this perspective since the very being of primary entities is seen to be self-constraining or self-limiting. From the perspective of this new science, disease is associated with the breakdown of constraints, as occurs with cancerous growths in which cells forget their place in the body and multiply without constraint and destroy the conditions of their existence. Many of the organizations that have emerged with the civilization of modernity are such cancers where destruction of the conditions of the existence of human life is not recognized and activity is not constrained accordingly. Such behavior is legitimated by an implicit Cartesian dualism that identifies freedom with freedom from any constraint, while denying this to nature, or to dominated people.” (https://www.academia.edu/43252621/Toward_an_Ecological_Civilization_-_An_Interview_with_Arran_Gare?}


* Kopytin, A.I. (2020). Toward an ecological civilization - an interview with Arran Gare. Ecopoiesis: Eco-Human Theory and Practice, 1 (1). [1]