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Phýsis and Morphé—Does Matter Matter? Reflections on the Relevance of the Concept of Form for the Philosophy of Nature

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I stress that modern Physics displays an atomistic conception about its object. By “atomism” I refer not to a particular historical doctrine, but to an approach which intends to analyze complex systems in order to find its supposed ultimate elements, and, based on them, to reconstruct the former wholes adding “forces” of cohesion between those now separated elements, as if they were the building-blocks of reality. I argue that this atomistic approach has reached its final stage with modern quantum physics, showing itself as an untenable, non-coherent conception about the nature of physical reality. Two points are worth noting regarding my claim: firstly, the undecidable corpuscle-wave duality in what comes to be conceptualized as an ultimate “particle” of reality; secondly, the evasion of reality into mathematical constructs, such as phase-space, superposition, and nonclassical conceptions of probability, which prevents us from talking about a reality before a measuring-apparatus has been imposed on it. I confront this situation with the well-known principle of complete determination in its Kantian version, wondering about the legitimacy of the principle and about the issues at stake when it is compared to the quantum image of reality. In so doing, by way of a cross-argument, I sustain the necessity of a critical reappraisal of the principle of complete determination, as well as the necessity of a realistic account of physical reality, which will be lead not by the guiding concepts of particles and forces, but rather by the concepts of form and self-organization. The eurhythmic principle will appear as a heuristic conceptual device put forward in order to capture the self-organizing natural processes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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  • QUANTUM MATTER is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal consolidating research activities in all theoretical, experimental and technological aspects dealing with fundamental structure of matter from cosmology to materials science.
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