In this work I pull together many long-explored ideas on agency, vitality, function, and goal-directedness in an attempt to explain how the subjective properties of our world arise from its objective constituents. The main ingredients of my theory are: (1) a distinction between comparative and evaluative norms, aimed at dividing the philosophical notion of normativity into two separate problems; (2) a view of life and vitality as a form of resistance to material disorder (in contrast to Schrödinger, who saw them as a form of resistance to energetic disorder); (3) the idea that although no organizational pattern in the world has an intrinsic function, certain organizational patterns in the world do possess intrinsic goal-directedness; (4) a new mathematical characterization of the metaphysical notions of identity and value; (5) a set of distinctions, based on my new view of identity and value, that allows different kinds of orderliness in the world to be classified; and finally and most importantly, (6) a theory of teleology, rooted in all these ideas, which I believe can underpin an eventual science of the subjective.
|Advisor:||Hofstadter, Douglas R.|
|Commitee:||Allen, Colin F., Beer, Randall D., Ekbia, Hamid R.|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biology, Philosophy, Physics|
|Keywords:||Function, Identity, Normativity, Subjectivity, Teleology, Vitality|
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