Swenson, R. (1997a). Autocatakinetics, Evolution, and the Law of Maximum Entropy Production: A Principled Foundation Toward the Study of Human Ecology. Advances in Human Ecology, 6, 1-46
Abstract - Ecological science addresses the relations between living things and their environments, and the study of human ecology the particular case of humans. However, there is an opposing tradition built into the foundations of modern science which separates living things and particularly humans, from their environments. Beginning in modern times with Descartes' radical separation of psychology and physics (or "mind" from matter), this dualistic tradition was extended into biology with Kant's biology versus physics (or living thing versus environment) dualism, and into evolutionary theory with the rise of Darwinism and its grounding in Boltzmannian thermodynamics. If ecological science is to be about what it purports to be about, about living thing-environment relations, it must provide a principled basis for dissolving Cartesian incommensurability. A deeper understanding of thermodynamic law, and the principles of self-organizing ("autocatakinetic") systems provides the nomological basis for doing just this-for putting evolution back in its universal context, and showing the reciprocal relation between living things and their environments, thereby providing a principled foundation for ecological science in general, and human ecology in particular.


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