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World enough and form: why cosmology needs hylomorphism

  • John G. BrungardtEmail author
S.I.: Form, Structure and Hylomorphism

Abstract

This essay proposes a comprehensive blueprint for the hylomorphic foundations of cosmology. The key philosophical explananda in cosmology are those dealing with global processes and structures, the regularity of global regularities, and the existence of the global as such. The possibility of elucidating these using alternatives to hylomorphism is outlined and difficulties with these alternatives are raised. Hylomorphism, by contrast, provides a sound philosophical ground for cosmology insofar as it leads to notions of cosmic essence, the unity of complex essences, and globally emergent properties. These are used as the basis to account for the aforementioned cosmological explananda and to resolve two problems in the philosophy of cosmology: the meta-law dilemma and the uniqueness of the universe. In summary, cosmology needs hylomorphism because it is able to ground cosmology’s efforts as a scientific inquiry. It can do so because hylomorphism philosophically accounts for changing substances and aggregates of substances, the various scales of law-governed behavior measured by the natures of those substances, and how those substances as parts relate to the universe as a whole.

Keywords

Hylomorphism Philosophy of cosmology Universe Laws Meta-law dilemma 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper was produced as part of the author’s postdoctoral research project, supported by a grant from CONICYT, FONDECYT, Postdoctoral Proj. No. 3170446. The author gratefully acknowledges this financial support and the faculty and staff of his home institution, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Instituto de Filosofía. Research for this paper was also conducted at the University of Notre Dame, as a guest of the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values and the Jacques Maritain Center, and the author thanks Anjan Chakravartty, John O’Callaghan, and their staff for their support and hospitality during that visit. The two anonymous reviewers also receive the author’s thanks for their substantive and insightful comments, which have helped to improve the paper tremendously. The author also gives thanks to many others for their comments, conversations, and suggestions for this paper and its topics, while retaining all blame for remaining errors: José Tomás Alvarado, Oscar Leon, Fr. Phillip Neri Reese OP, Martin Beers, Fr. Thomas Davenport OP, Ryan Shea, Nicholas Teh, Anjan Chakravartty, Jack Cahalan, Matthew Minerd, Marco Stango, Andrew Seeley, Marina Brungardt, and the attendees of the 2017 IIo Congreso Latinoamericano de Filosofía Científica and the 2017 Meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association for their comments on predecessor versions of this paper. Finally, in thanks for her insights into cosmology that have helped his own thinking, the author dedicates this paper to Dr. Carol Day.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de FilosofíaPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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