Ontic Openness And The Physical World

As mentioned above, a number of treatments of this topic exist that all add up to our possible understanding of the importance of ontic openness and what it means in context of our everyday life. Putting them together and taking the statements to a level where we really see them as ontological features, i.e., as ontic, we will be, on one hand forced to reconsider what we are doing, on the other hand, we can look upon the world, and in particular the uncertainties, the emergent properties that we meet, in a much more relaxed manner.

Unfortunately, to ecology and the ecologists, as previously mentioned, the statements that have already been made on openness almost all originate from physicists. In fact, seen from a philosophy of science point of view, this means that the statements are often dominated by arguments deeply rooted in reductionist science, often literally close to an atomistic view. Interesting things happen when the arguments are taken out of the reductionist realm to other levels of hierarchy, i.e., the arguments are taken out of their physical context and extended to biology and eventually—following our purpose of the present book—into ecology.

The basic contributions we think of here may be represented by a number of scientists. A sketch of a few essential ideas that it may be possible to relate to the issue of ontic openness as well as the originators is given in Table 3.1.

In the following sections, we will take a more detailed look at a few of these perspectives. From the table it is evident that we deal with quite recent contributions and some noteworthy overlaps in time. It would, of course, be interesting to know if and how these persons have influenced each other, a thing which may become clear only from close, intensive studies of the time development of their works and biographies. Meanwhile, this would be a tedious task and the possible mutual influence has not been considered in this paper.

It is not possible to measure everything

In the world of physics, the importance of uncertainty and our interference with systems through experiments has been recognized for less than a century. The introduction of concepts such as complementarity and irreversibility has offered solutions to many problems

Table 3.1 A non-exhaustive list of various authors who have addressed the issue of ontic openness of natural, physical, and biological systems

Originator Era Idea Remarks

Table 3.1 A non-exhaustive list of various authors who have addressed the issue of ontic openness of natural, physical, and biological systems

Originator Era Idea Remarks

N. Bohr

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