A Call To The Humanities To Reclaim Its Concious Self
- Written by Shaun Johnston Shaun Johnston
- Published: April 26, 2011 April 26, 2011
I’m playing with a dichotomy: ch-osmos, and ev-osmos. They’re worlds created in modern times by two tradition-shattering revolutions. The first revolution revealed a world where everything consists of only chemical matter and physical forces--ch-osmos (“chemical cosmos”). The revolution a century or two later revealed a world where all living creatures, even our own human nature, evolved--ev-osmos (“evolved-creature cosmos”).
These revolutions are so recent we find ourselves scattered over an archipelago of widely-separated islands of belief, each cut off from comprehension by the others. I thought of this in connection with “Darwinian Fairytales” by David Stove. David’s infuriated by his isolation on a very unusual island. On almost every other island in our neighborhood it’s understood that evolution is all very well for other animals but it doesn’t apply to us, at least not to us today, we’re somehow exempt from it. On David’s island there’s no place for human exceptionalism at all. If we evolved then everything about us, even today, must accord with evolution. If your theory of evolution denies anything we know is true of ourselves then your theory must be wrong. No exceptions.
The dominant island in our neighborhod is marked by belief in physicalism: there’s nothing else beside ch-osmos, ev-osmos is nothing but a form of ch-osmos. On my much less inhabited island some distance away we believe ch-osmos and ev-osmos are two distinct and quite different worlds. Actually we’re within hailing distance of David’s island. Maybe I should write a review of his book.