Archive for July, 2006

“Physicizing” Biology

I’m reading Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell:  Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.  Early in the book he speaks of how those in the humanities think it reductionistic to ask about the biological bases of their subjects of study (like literature or art or religion).  In the note he suggests that biologists can be sensitive to this complaint by reflecting on their own discomfort with attempts to “physicize” biology.  He cites Ernst Mayr’s recent book defending biology’s independence.  In some ways, my concept of energonomics is to physics what E.O. Wilson’s Consilience is to biology: energonomics is an attempt to unify knowledge via the physics of energy transfer, where E.O. Wilson wants to unify knowledge via his own field of biology. 

There is an obvious limit to disciplinary boundaries, and this struggle over which one will be the umbrella over all the others is superfluous.  It’s all the same, really:  trying to make sense of our existence and to determine, in the word’s of Todd May’s introduction to Deleuze, “how one might live.”  Given the pervasive nature of energy, I find this the most promising for such a project.

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21 July 2006 at 2:19 pm 1 comment

Nontheistic Existentialism

I would like to suggest that my concept of energonomics can be conceived as a kind of “Nontheistic Existentialism.”  As I recall learning in a philosophy of existentialism course, this movement began with Kierkegaard’s “theistic” version, and as the twentieth century unfolded the (more prominent?) “atheistic” version emerged with Sartre as its most prominent spokesman.  But what would a “non-theistic” existentialism look like?  If theism posits a personified deity, and atheism denies any deity, “nontheism” suggests that there is a creative force in the universe that is not conscious.  If energonomics can be considered theologically, it would view God as Energy, an energy that is manifest throughout the universe and is infused in all things.  Energonomics, or “management of [this] energy flow,” then becomes a form of religious activity.

20 July 2006 at 1:38 pm Leave a comment


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