Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy

A peer-reviewed, open-access journal of natural and social philosophy. It serves those who see philosophy's vocation in questioning and challenging prevailing assumptions about ourselves and our place in the world, developing new ways of thinking about physical existence, life, humanity and society, so helping to create the future insofar as thought affects the issue.

Articles from Vol. 4, No. 1-2, January

Approaches to the Question 'What Is Life?': Reconciling Theoretical Biology with Philosophical Biology
INTRODUCTION In the foreword to his influential work The Phenomenon of Life, Hans Jonas wrote: [T]he following investigations seek to break through the anthropocentric confines of idealist and existentialist philosophy as well as through the...
How Lacan's Ethics Might Improve Our Understanding of Nietzsche's Critique of Platonism: The Neurosis & Nihilsm of a 'Life' against Life
INTRODUCTION: LACAN & NIETZSCHE. In 2006 a Lacanian analyst and professor of philosophy at Buenos Aires contributes a small paper to a collection put together by Slavoj Zizek entitled: Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan (2). A paper in which said analyst-professor...
Life and the Homeostatic Organization View of Biological Phenomena
1. ORGANISMS, HIERARCHICAL ORGANIZATION, AND HOMEOSTASIS Ultimately, it will be argued that the components and attending processes of an organism must be considered as living, emergent phenomena because of the way in which the components are organized...
Life before Matter, Possible Signification before Tangible Signs: Toward a Mediating View
[W]e can see parallels between chaos and emergent properties. Both involve unpredictability, though arising from different sources. With chaos, it is sensitivity to initial conditions that makes the dynamics unpredictable. With emergent properties,...
Life Is Semiosis the Biosemiotic View of Nature
INTRODUCTION The answers to "What is Life?" fall into three main groups. Some deny the very possibility of defining life (the 'negationist' type), some maintain that life can be defined only by a long list of properties (the 'pluralist' type),...
Life Questioning Itself: By Way of an Introduction
It is surely no coincidence that with the threat of a global ecological catastrophe there has been a resurgence of interest in the question 'What is life?' James Lovelock, for instance, who suggests that this catastrophe will leave only two hundred...
Life's Hidden Resources for Learning: Conversations with a Radical Idea
INTRODUCTION The main thing wrong with how people see Darwin's theory of evolution as a competition for survival is that the organisms and communities we actually see in nature don't behave that way. They're not mostly engaged in competition...
Life, Thought, and Morality: Or, Does Matter Really Matter?
1. ON HOW NOT TO APP ROACH CERTAIN 'LARGE' TOPICS To ask what seems a quintessentially philosophical question: 'What is Life?' is inevitably to ask a good deal more than one might wish. It is to step into a trackless swamp where questions keep...
Of (mice) Moths and (men) Machines
In vain we force the living into this or that one of our molds. All the molds crack, they are too narrow, above all too rigid, for what we try to put into them. Our reasoning so sure of itself among things inert, feels ill at ease on this new ground....
Quantum Uncertainty, Quantum Play, Quantum Sorrow
INTRODUCTION In his 1944 What IS Life? Erwin Schrodinger offered an explanation of how living organisms realize large-scale order and stability in the face of microscopic disorder--the random motion of individual atoms. Schrodinger, a renowned...
Remarks on the Foundations of Biology
1. INTRODUCTION To say Biology is in "crisis" is, paradoxically, a complement. It is to state that the discipline has progressed to the point where contradictions between its putative founding principles, actual practices, and results are apparent...
Subjectivity and Objectivity: A Matter of Life and Death?
INTRODUCTION: OBJECTIVITY AND SUBJECTIVITY Modern science is in the first place a matter of asking questions and only in the second place a matter of finding answers, as Kant pointed out in his Critique of Pure Reason more than 200 years ago....
The Category of Life, Mechanistic Reduction, and the Uniqueness of Biology
INTRODUCTION In the Science of Logic Hegel undertakes a critical examination of the category of mechanism, carefully developing every nuance of implicit determinacy suggested in it. For reasons we will see, this development leads us through the...
The Question of Love's Possibility Explored through the Poetry of William Wordsworth
INTRODUCTION The centrality of language to human experience, its expression, its communication, and its analysis, and the limitations of this phenomenon in fully realising the symbolization of being in the world, provides a link between the disciplines...
The Riddle of a Human Being: A Human Singularity of Co-Evolutionary Processes
'Each man has a hole in his soul whose measure is God'. Jean-Paul Sartre A COMPLEX WHOLE AS A SYNTHESIS OF PRECEEDING STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT One of main inherent attitudes of social development at present is to radically change a human being...
The Singularity: A Crucial Phase in Divine Self-Actualization?
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from...
Towards a Post-Phenomenology of Life: Castoriadis' Critical Naturphilosophie
In the wake of Merleau-Ponty's rethinking of nature and ontology, contemporary discussions in French phenomenology have sought to redraw the lines of continuity between human and non-human nature through a reconsideration of 'life'. (1) The present...
Towards a Science of Life as Creative Organisms
Introduction Life is sui generis, that is, life is unique and in a class by itself. It cannot be compared to or explained by physics. What is coming out in today's research in biophysics labs around the world requires understanding how living...
Unbounded Naturalism
INTRODUCTION John McDowell's explicit aim in his seminal work Mind and World is to provide a spirited defense of common sense realism. To go about this, McDowell takes seriously Kant's famous dictum on empirical judgments, 'Thoughts without content...
What Is Life? among Other Things, It's a Synergistic Effect!
Of all the wonders of the universe, life is surely the most wonderful. And complex. For living organisms have many unique attributes. Perhaps this is what accounts for our persistent difficulty in being able to define it in any succinct and quintessential...
Why Even Mind? on the a Priori Value of "Life"
To be, or not to be,--that is the question:-- Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?--To die, to sleep,-- No more; and...
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