Thus far, the dominant paradigms through which modern scientists have viewed nature have been structured primarily around Newtonian and Darwinian approaches. As theoretical ecologist Robert E. Ulanowicz observes in his new work, A Third Window, neither of these models is sufficient for explaining how real change—in the form of creative advance or emergence—takes place in nature.
The metaphysical foundations laid by these great thinkers centuries ago are ill suited to sustain today’s search for a comprehensive description of complex living systems. Ecosystem dynamics, for example, violate each and every one of the Newtonian presuppositions. Hence, Ulanowicz offers his titular “third window”—a new way of understanding evolution and other natural processes beyond the common mechanistic or materialistic philosophies of nature. Drawing on the writings of Walter Elsasser, Karl Popper, Gregory Bateson, Robert Rosen, and Alfred North Whitehead, as well as his own experience as a theoretical ecologist, Ulanowicz offers a new set of axioms for how nature behaves. Chance and disarray in natural processes are shown to be necessary conditions for real change. Randomness is shown to contribute richness and autonomy to the natural world.
The metaphysical implications of these new axioms will lend A Third Window a wide appeal not only among scientists, but also among philosophers, theologians, and general readers who follow the science and religion dialogue. Ulanowicz’s fresh perspective adds a new voice to the discussion.Back to Tabs
Requesting an Exam Copy
Exam copies are sent to professors who would like to review the book before deciding whether to use it in a class. To request an exam copy, you must fill out the form below. It will automatically be sent to a staff member.
In our efforts to stay green, reduce expenses, and maintain scholarly accessibility, we are sending examination copies as electronic downloads in the Adobe Digital Edition format for a 90-day review period. If you have any trouble accessing the book in this format, please contact us and we will send a traditional copy of the book instead.
If you chose to review the electronic version of the book and adopt the book for one of your courses, upon notification by you or your bookstore, a traditional bound book will be sent to you free of charge.
Requesting a Desk Copy
Desk copies are complimentary books sent to professors who have already adopted the book for a course. To request a desk copy, please fill out the form below. It will automatically be sent to a staff member.Back to Tabs
Foreword by Stuart A. Kauffman / ix
Preface / xix
1. Introduction / 1
2. Two Open Windows on Nature / 13
3. How Can Things Truly Change? / 40
4. How Can Things Persist? / 57
5. Agency in Evolutionary Systems / 91
6. An Ecological Metaphysic / 115
7. The View out the Window / 150
Notes / 169
References / 173
Name Index / 185
Subject Index / 189Back to Tabs