Monday, November 5, 2012

probing the idea of nature

I came across this today, not knowing that the essay was online: Justus Buchler's rather famous essay, "Probing the Idea of Nature."  The essay is found as an appendix essay in Metaphysics of Natural Complexes.

Buchler's metaphysical approach anticipates many contemporary categorical determinations of natural items in the universe given his own dual concepts of "natural complex" and "order."  Additionally, his concepts of "ordinality" and "ontological parity" both answer to the empty husked nature of anti-theological sensu stricto material ontologies that hide within what I call "stone age naturalism" - an antiquated form of naturalism which touts being "flat," despite requiring "depth" in order to explain the fleeing inner life of what is naturally complex (thus a motion toward a secret interior - transcendence - the deep "supernatural" interior of innumerable orders and complexes among innumerable continua, broken by innumerable discreta).  

As I interpret ordinal ontology, it seems that depth signals the locus production-point of a complex, of a "perspective" (Buchler would not read panpsychism into his complexes and orders). The production-point of a complex is each complex's own aesthetic and semiotic but also mathematizable interior (being individuated as an order which is always naturally complex), a space of possible communicative expression, each complex its own interior point of self-expression and zone of "being-related" - whether to its own future-temporal self or to other complexes - by virtue of possessing an infinitesimal infinitizing power - the generative source for any complex's meaning-activity whether fleeing or persisting, relating or individuating, constituting or being constituted.  

Buchler wrote his dissertation on C. S. Peirce, "Charles Peirce's Empiricism," and he was a philosophical sparring partner of Whitehead, Dewey, and Hartshorne.

Here are some relevant pieces about Buchler, if one is interested.  All are written by Robert S. Corrington (as found on his own website) whose philosophy is inspired by Buchler's metaphysics, as by others as well.
  1. "An Appraisal and Critique of Alfred North Whitehead's Process and Reality--corrected edition (1929 & 1978) and Justus Buchler's Metaphysics of Natural Complexes--second, expanded edition (1966 & 1990)," (Published by author, 2009). [download]
  2. "Horizons and Contours: Toward an Ordinal Phenomenology," Metaphilosophy, Vol. 22, No. 3, 1991, pp. 179-189. [download abstract]
  3. "Conversation Between Justus Buchler and Robert S. Corrington," The Journal of Speculative Philosophy: New Series, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1989, pp. 261-274.  
  4. "Justus Buchler's Ordinal Metaphysics and the Eclipse of Foundationalism," International Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 25, No. 3, September 1985, pp. 289-98. Winner of Greenlee Prize . [download]