Phenomenology and Levels of Organization in Science
According to the most accepted theory of the origin of the universe, cosmological evolution has generated an impressive multiplicity of entities out of an original state of indistinguishability. Some of those entities have kept a structure that is stable enough to be discerned: atoms, planets, organisms, etc. One of the conditions for entities being discerned is their limitation to a single scale range (Salthe 1991). Whenever we identify something as an individual object, we associate it with a specific range in the scale of complexity (e.g. humans belong to a range of complexity which is different from that of molecules). It is a specific single scale range that we will identify with a level of organization. However, the former characterization is intuitive and dependent on the concept of complexity, which we will not address directly in this work, not only because it is a particularly difficult concept, but also because we are exploring a phenomenological approach. From such a perspective, natural science begins with a phenomenological condition: the recognition of a particular phenomenon as belonging to a general class that could be called a natural class in the sense that it can be identified unambiguously by members of a relevant epistemic community. Our interest in this work is to establish the basic conditions levels of organization must meet to become valid objects of scientific inquiry.
KeywordsPhase Space Natural Kind Scientific Phenomenon Epistemic Community Valid Object
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Hacking, Ian. Representing and Intervening. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Hanson, Norwood R. Patterns of Discovery. An Inquiry into the Conceptual Foundations of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
- Luhmann, Niklas. La Ciencia de la Sociedad. Trans. J. Torres. Mexico City: Universidad Iberoamericana, 1996.Google Scholar
- Rosen, Robert. “Organisms as Causal Systems which Are not Mechanisms: an Essay into the Nature of Complexity,” in R. Rosen (ed.): Theoretical Biology and Complexity. Oriando: Academic Press, 1985.Google Scholar
- Salthe, Stanley N. “Formal Considerations on the Origin of Life,” Uroboros 1: 1 (Mexico City 1991), pp. 45–65.Google Scholar
- Villoro, Luis. Creer, saber, conocer. Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1998.Google Scholar
- Wimsatt, William C. “Reductionism, Levels of Organization, and the Mind-Body Problem,” in G.Google Scholar
- Globus et al. (eds.): Consciousness and the Brain: a Scientific and Philosophical Inquiry. New York: Plenum, 1976.Google Scholar