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Carlo Scognamiglio
Human Being and Non-Reductionist Conceptions of Determination


Naturalistic reductionism tends to use only mechanicity as a model to explain the world, and every process in this perspective is included in causal trains. On the other hand, other metaphysical approaches tend to evoke teleological ways of moving all things. The explosion of this situation we can observe in the psycho-social sciences, or in general in the human sciences, from pedagogy to historiography. Every event needs an explanatory model. When we are in the field of interest of human studies, we implicitly (or explicitly) use an explanatory model of behaviour. But we always are in a state of confusion, because we mix, without any criterion or order, a lot of determination models (causal, homeostatic, phylogenetic, and teleological). In Nicolai Hartmann's perspective, we have to distinguish four strata of being (inorganic, organic, psychic and spiritual being). In every stratum, we have one or more models of determination, although the upper stratum respects and does not deny the lower one. In the inorganic world, every event is explicable through causal trains, which we use in physics. In the dimension of organisms, we find more than one model of determination being specific to this stratum. We speak sometime of homeostasis, or of vital causality, in the sense of ontogenesis or of phylogeny. Ludwig von Bertalanffy makes use of these Hartmann's intuitions to elaborate his general theory of systems. According to Hartmann, the real difficulty is encountered when we need to explainthe legality of determinations of the psychic sphere (animal and human), and especially in the spiritual or social being, where we find a lot of theoretical riddles. In the human sphere, in fact, there are behaviours that depend on psychic causality, and actions oriented toward a purpose.This field of study, I think is totally open, and it will be useful to observe it without reductionist prejudices.

Carlo Scognamiglio   was born on November 2, 1976, in Naples, Italy. In 2000 he obtained a degree in   Philosophy by University of Rome "La Sapienza". In 2003 he worked on a research project on ontologies and information systems in   CNR (National Research Council - Rome). In 2004 he obtained the   qualification for teaching Philosophy and Human   Sciences in High School and he still teaches these   subjects. In 2006 he began his PhD in Rome.


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