This book critically examines how mathematical modelling shapes and limits a scientific approach to the natural world and affects how society views nature. It questions concepts such as determinism, reversibility, equilibrium, and the isolated system, and challenges the view of physical reality as passive and inert. Dan Bruiger argues that if nature is real, it must transcend human representations. In particular, it can be expected to self-organize in ways that elude a mechanist treatment.
This interdisciplinary study addresses several key areas: the "crisis" in modern physics and cosmology; the limits and historical, psychological, and religious roots of mechanistic thought; and the mutual effects of the scientific worldview upon society's relationship to nature. Bruiger demonstrates that there is still little place outside biology for systems that actively self-organize or self-define. Instead of appealing to "multiverses" to resolve the mysteries of fine-tuning, he suggests that cosmologists look toward self-organizing processes. He also states that physics is hampered by its external focus and should become more self-reflective. If scientific understanding can go beyond a stance of prediction and control, it could lead to a relationship with nature more amenable to survival.
The Found and the Made fills a void between popular science writing and philosophy. It will appeal to naturalists, environmentalists, science buffs, professionals, and students of cultural history, evolutionary psychology, gender studies, and philosophy of mind.
Preamble: The Barcode of Nature
Part One: The World as Found
1 What Is Found?
2 What Is Nature?
3 What Is Science?
4 Law, Chance, and Necessity
5 Mathematical and Physical Reality
Part Two: The World Remade
6 Consciousness and Its Consequences
7 What It Is Like to Be an Intentional System
8 The Rebellion against Nature
9 The Ideal of Perfect Knowledge
10 The Scientific World
Part Three: Maker's Knowledge
11 The Book of Nature
12 The Religious Origins of Science
13 Deductionism, or the Proof Shall Make You Free
15 Is Nature Real?
Part Four: Beyond the Mechanist Faith
16 Is Reality Exhaustible in Thought?
17 Mechanism and Organism
18 Theories of Something
19 The Next Revolution in Physics?
20 The Stance of Unknowing