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Swenson, R. (1997a). Autocatakinetics, Evolution,
and the Law of Maximum Entropy Production: A Principled Foundation
Toward the Study of Human Ecology. Advances in Human Ecology,
|Abstract - Ecological science addresses
the relations between living things and their environments, and
the study of human ecology the particular case of humans. However,
there is an opposing tradition built into the foundations of
modern science which separates living things and particularly
humans, from their environments. Beginning in modern times with
Descartes' radical separation of psychology and physics (or "mind"
from matter), this dualistic tradition was extended into biology
with Kant's biology versus physics (or living thing versus environment)
dualism, and into evolutionary theory with the rise of Darwinism
and its grounding in Boltzmannian thermodynamics. If ecological
science is to be about what it purports to be about, about living
thing-environment relations, it must provide a principled basis
for dissolving Cartesian incommensurability. A deeper understanding
of thermodynamic law, and the principles of self-organizing ("autocatakinetic")
systems provides the nomological basis for doing just this-for
putting evolution back in its universal context, and showing
the reciprocal relation between living things and their environments,
thereby providing a principled foundation for ecological science
in general, and human ecology in particular.