Holism and Evolution

Holism and Evolution

Holism and Evolution

Holism and Evolution

Excerpt

This work deals with some of the problems which fall within the debatable borderland between Science and Philosophy. It is a book neither of Science nor of Philosophy, but of some points of contact between the two. To my mind it is the surface of contact between the two that will prove fruitful and creative for future progress in both, and to which special attention should be directed. Some border problems between the two are here considered in the light of recent advances in physical and biological science. And a re-examination of fundamental concepts in the light of these advances reveals the existence of a hitherto neglected factor or principle of a very important character. This factor, called Holism in the sequel, underlies the synthetic tendency in the universe, and is the principle which makes for the origin and progress of wholes in the universe. An attempt is made to show that this whole-making or holistic tendency is fundamental in nature, that it has a well-marked ascertainable character, and that Evolution is nothing but the gradual development and stratification of progressive series of wholes, stretching from the inorganic beginnings to the highest levels of spiritual creation. This work deals with our primary concepts of matter, life, mind and personality in the light of this principle, and discusses some of the problems of Evolution from this new point of view. The discussion is not technical, specialist or exhaustive in any sense. It is intended to sketch and explain the general lines of argument rather than to go into details. It is especially the fundamental concept of Holism which I wish to explain and justify, as well as the scientific and philosophic viewpoint to which it leads. The detailed elaboration must be left to more competent hands and to those favoured with more leisure than I can find in a busy public life. I have . . .

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