A Call To The Humanities To Reclaim Its Concious Self
- Written by Shaun Johnston Shaun Johnston
- Published: October 8, 2011 October 8, 2011
In my reading (Gordon Rattray Taylor) I came across the juxtaposition of "agents vs. processes," with agents identified with the humanities and processes identified with the sciences. This struck a loud bell with me. I now see my mission here on this site as redressing what I judge to be an over-emphasis of science on processes at the expense of agents.
Let's look at this as a spectrum from pure agents at one end to pure processes at the other. At one end, non-living matter undergoes processes, at the other there's me writing this blog entry. Where, along this spectrum, does the division between processes and agents lie?
Positivist science as physicalism places the division off the end of the scale beyond me writing this blog. Like everything else in the universe, it says, I am a material body undergoing physical and chemical processes as determined by physics. I on the other hand place the division between non-living matter and all living creatures, including genomes "living" in our cells.
I recognize my mission as not merely to question Darwinism or to champion free will, but to champion agents in general, first in myself and by extension in other people, then in other living creatures even to the genome itself. Maybe beyond? I have so far done that only in creative writing, but if the study of agents can be developed sufficiently maybe it could be applied to non-living matter too. Why else would physical constants appear so arbitrarily "chosen"? As physicalists use physics' apparent universality as a wedge to push the barrier between process and agent right off the scale beyond human free will, I might attempt to use our evident free will as a wedge to drive agency right off the scale beyond physical constants.