The Search for a
More General Theory
TOWARD A POST-SCIENTIFIC
THERMODYNAMIC ENGINEERING PARADIGM
The new 20th century physics and
philosophy of science undermined
the classical scientific worldview.
The Research Program
The history of the new 20th century physics and philosophy of science is the story of how the embrace of complementarity has forced a paradigm shift to a more general post-objectivist view of the nature of reality and our role in it.
Are we detached scientific spectators seeking the mathematical laws determining the inevitable course of events? Or are we embodied participants, engineers, involved in the constructive emergence of realty?
Thermodynamics is the core of our understanding of how the universe works. Yet there are two distinct approaches: Carnot's and Boltzmann's. Carnot's is more general subsuming and superseding Boltzmann's idealizing mechanical model.
Are we detached scientific spectators seeking a mathematical description of a fixed deterministic, objective reality – ‘out there’?
Or are we embodied participants in an emerging reality seeking to bring about a more desirable future?
The complementarity in quantum theory empirically demonstrated the limits of objectivity.
A parallel path to complementarity arose in the new philosophy of science of Kuhn, Popper, Lakatos and Feyerabend.
As embodied participants, how are we now to understand reality and our role in it. The emeging paradigm suggests that we have a constructive role in a dynamic emergent reality.
Terry Bristol is a Philosopher of Science and Engineering who has held teaching positions at Linfield College, Portland State University, and Portland Community College. He has been President of the Institute for Science, Engineering and Public Policy, affiliated with Portland State University since 1987.