Cosmic Evolutionary Philosophy and a Dialectical Approach to Technological Singularity

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* Article: Cosmic Evolutionary Philosophy and a Dialectical Approach to Technological Singularity. By Cadell Last. Information 2018, 9, 78; doi:10.3390/info9040078



"The anticipated next stage of human organization is often described by futurists as a global technological singularity. This next stage of complex organization is hypothesized to be actualized by scientific-technic knowledge networks. However, the general consequences of this process for the meaning of human existence are unknown. Here, it is argued that cosmic evolutionary philosophy is a useful worldview for grounding an understanding of the potential nature of this futures event. In the cosmic evolutionary philosophy, reality is conceptualized locally as a universal dynamic of emergent evolving relations. This universal dynamic is structured by a singular astrophysical origin and an organizational progress from sub-atomic particles to global civilization mediated by qualitative phase transitions. From this theoretical ground, we attempt to understand the next stage of universal dynamics in terms of the motion of general ideation attempting to actualize higher unity. In this way, we approach technological singularity dialectically as an event caused by ideational transformations and mediated by an emergent intersubjective objectivity. From these speculations, a historically-engaged perspective on the nature of human consciousness is articulated where the truth of reality as an emergent unity depends on the collective action of a multiplicity of human observers."


Cadell Last:

"Global Technological Singularity Scientific networks constructed by human psychosocial processes have made measurable progress in understanding the natural world analytically through the tools of empirical observation and the methods of reduction and fragmentation. In these efforts, reduction refers to the practice of understanding nature by isolating particular phenomena in nature and analyzing its constituent parts like particles, molecules, and organisms. The logic of reductionism has led to fragmentation of natural analysis into fields and sub-fields and sub-sub-fields focusing on ever more specified parts within the wider whole like physics, chemistry, and biology . This dynamic analytic process is necessary for certain forms of understanding nature. For example, fields as diverse as M-theory in particle physics, or artificial intelligence in cognitive science , or genetic engineering in biology, could not exist without the tools of empirical observation becoming channeled through methods of reduction and fragmentation. However, there is an emerging intellectual desire and social necessity in the philosophy of science and in the sciences of humanity to understand the historical dialectic consequences of scientific networks in relation to nature and humanity as a totality. This desire and necessity is due to an increasingly unpredictable, uncertain, and chaotic future horizon of becoming. In short, scientific reduction and fragmentation allow us to understand diverse objective phenomena, but is unable to help us understand the emergent holistic consequence of this understanding for subjectivity. For example, throughout the history of modern science the human existential position and relation to nature has become de-centered from the classical philosophical immediacy of being , and also the traditional religious affirmation of God. These de-centerings are often framed in cosmic terms (e.g., Copernican heliocentrism), biological terms (e.g., Darwinian selectionism), and psychological terms (e.g., Freudian unconscious). Such symbolic movements generated by scientific knowledge leave us devoid of absolute value, consequently producing fundamental metaphysical crises of human meaning vis-à-vis being itself. In short, metaphysical de-centerings caused by scientific networks have allowed for deeper reductionist understanding of nature, like understanding the nature of solar systems and galaxies, the nature of evolution of living forms, and the nature of unconscious dreams and desires. However, this knowledge has simultaneously resulted in a broken and incoherent visions of holistic totality in relation to classical or traditional metaphysics. If we define humanity by the peculiar nature of our self-consciousness (awareness of being, reflection on being), then philosophical understandings of totality situated humanity in relation to either ideality in a transcendental superspace or a historical superspace as attractor. However, in our contemporary age dominant conceptions of totality often become grounded in scientific materialist conceptions of cosmic or sub-atomic scale. In these visions of totality self-consciousness appears without experiential and transcendent aims of higher significance. We are frequently presented with narratives suggesting that the cosmos only has an inhuman aim of heat death leading to universal void, that biology has the inhuman aim of fitness maximization leading to endless living form replication, and that our own minds have a mysterious inhuman aim within related to unconscious drives and repetitions. From this understanding of totality notions of transcendent or historical ideality become difficult to convincingly substantiate on the terms of the critique of reason. In this way the closed and complete worlds of classical or traditional metaphysics structured around the central importance of our self-conscious experience (on Earth) and its connection with divine transcendence (in Heaven) have been severed with the thought tools of Cartesian doubt and Kantian criticism. The Cartesian cogito introduced the world to the centrality of rational thought as self-certainty of being, and Kantian transcendentals introduced the world to the a priori frame structuring being. Both philosophical tools prevent any connection in real knowledge to a closed and complete ‘other world’ capable of absolutely centering our being. This gives way for the growing chaos and uncertainty of the open and incomplete worlds of modern rationalism, where the central place of a fundamental ideal truth for human beings has no place outside of its own ego-centric bubble of illusion. In this frame ultimate or absolute existential meaning is replaced with a type of ultimate or absolute nihilism of being surrounded on all sides by forces working against our own interests. However, this situation grows more complex when we consider the mystery of the consequences of scientific epistemology in its broadest context of universal history. To be specific the activity of scientific networks grounded in conceptual reduction and fragmentation can be logically extrapolated towards a futures horizon of a Global Technological Singularity."

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