387 pages, 16 illustrations
Reviving and modernizing the tradition of post-Darwinian naturalism, The Orders of Nature draws on philosophy and the natural sciences to present a naturalistic theory of reality. Conceiving of nature as systems, processes, and structures that exhibit diverse properties that can be hierarchically arranged, Lawrence Cahoone sketches a systematic metaphysics based on the following orders of nature: physical, material, biological, mental, and cultural.
Using recent work in the science of complexity, hierarchical systems theory, and nonfoundational approaches to metaphysics, Cahoone analyzes these orders with explanations of the underlying science, covering a range of topics that includes general relativity and quantum field theory; chemistry and inorganic complexity; biology and telenomic explanation, or "purpose"; the theory of mind and mental causation as an animal phenomenon; and the human mind's unique cultural abilities. The Orders of Nature concludes with an exploration of what answers such a theory of naturalism can provide to questions about values and God.
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Lawrence Cahoone is Professor of Philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross. His many books include Cultural Revolutions: Reason versus Culture in Philosophy, Politics, and Jihad and From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology.