11 Septembre 2010, ENSTA
Epistémologie de la chimie
Organisation : Jean-Pierre Llored
Ecology in the first person
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Mardi 6 avril 2010
Traditional ecology and “deep ecology” may have something in common. Both consider the role of human beings in nature from a third-person standpoint, by either overrating or overlooking the importance of the human species in a broad network of living species. But a completely different approach can be adopted, a first-person approach that does not rely on some value judgment, and that takes the centrality of human beings as a mere contingent consequence of our situation. Then, the central question is no longer about which amount of priority must be ascribed to mankind according to a « view from nowhere », but rather what role human beings ascribe to themselves according to the modalities of embodyment, perception, and insertion in their environment that are offered to them by their culture. This sketches the program of an “Existential ecology” similar to Binswanger’s “existential psychiatry”. Firstly, try to reconstruct the “being-in-one’s-environment” corresponding to each basic cultural orientation, in the same way as the existential psychiatrist reconstructs the “being-in-the-world” of his patients. Secondly, try to redirect this cultural “being-in-one’s-environment”, in the same way as the existential psychiatrist works on the melancholic or schizophrenic “being-in-the-world”.
10h00 Michel Bitbol Introduction to first-person ecology
10h15 Jean-Pierre Dupuy Sacralité et désacralisation de la nature
11h00 Joan Halifax Interbeing: Precepts and Practices of an Applied and First Person Ecology
11h45 Isabelle Stengers Ecologie et art de la magie
14h45 Roberto Ferrari Co-interdependency in Oceanic Islands and lived experience of finiteness
15h30 Catherine Larrère Ecologie en première personne : de l'esthétique à l'éthique
16h15 Emilie Hache Répondre à des appels. Pistes pour une responsabilité morale pragmatique
17h00 Dorothée Legrand Ecology and Transformativity
17h45 Claudia Andujar The Yanomami’s being-in-nature (to be confirmed)
18h30 General discussion
Towards the origins of Universe and matter
Theoretical and epistemological approaches
22-24 March 2010, Paris
National Network of Complex Systems, CREA-Ecole Polytechnique
with the support of the CNRS Interdisciplinary Program Particles and the Universe
Our understanding of the large scale structure of the cosmos has achieved a spectacular progress during the last 10 years; cosmology has left the realm of philosophical speculation to become high precision science. Furthermore, since the Universe evolved from a state of extremely high energy and density one can use the knowledge obtained in the study of the elementary particles to approach the origin of the Universe.
According to this view, as one probes smaller and smaller distance scales, or equivalently higher energies, one discovers particles and interactions of higher symmetry. A different set of particles and interactions reveals itself at each scale, up to the highest energies where the unification of gravity and subatomic physics promises to derive particles, forces and even space-time properties from a minimal set of fundamental entities, as it is the case, for example, in the recently developed super-string theories.
Conversely, as the Universe “cools down” from its original high temperature state a series of successive phase transitions break the initial symmetries to form our present-day asymmetric but sufficiently eventful cosmic structures. An intensive experimental program tries to trace these transitions and the particle content that they correspond, using a series of different instruments from accelerators to gravitational wave antennas. Furthermore, since the vacuum contains virtually the higher energy physics, one can study the latter through “radiative” precision corrections to low-energy observables.
Concurrently, a philosophical point of view has gained strength recently, wondering whether one should make a distinction between the origin of things and the origin of their organisation. This standpoint criticises what it sees as the will to designate a fundamental entity as ultimate source of all things. It points to the fact that the question of the origin of laws and the organisation of matter in large scales has achieved also considerable progress through the refinement of the concepts of emergence and complexity. The idea of “protection” of the order of the emergent level from the details of the process of the level below, coming from condensed matter physics, permitted the understanding of several laws hitherto unexplained.
In this view, there is a symmetry between emergent levels: one should not distinguish between a “substratum” scale equipped with “fundamental properties” and a higher scale whose laws can be reduced to a variety of dynamical relationships between the “fundamental” entities of the scale below. The “emergentist” school puts thus in question the distinction between levels and would like to generalize the relational or organisational model to all scales, including the scale of “elementary” processes. The idea of an ultimate foundation of things is also put in question. If there is no difference between fundamental and emergent levels, the first should not receive any theoretical priority.
To these arguments, those accused of being “fundamentalists” answer that far from giving priority to the “fundamental” level they simply believe that different processes should be examined at their pertinent scale and that new mathematical laws can be explored at each scale.
This workshop has the ambition to trigger a high level discussion of the above views; they do correspond after all to the two meanings of “arche”, the Greek word for origin, both foundation and organisation principle.
13h30 Jean-Loup Puget : Epistemological problems of Cosmology
14h30 Francis Bernardeau : Dark energy, the status of vacuum
15h30 Jean Paul Blaizot : Particles, matter and phase transitions
17h00 Erik Verlinde : Origins of Gravity
18h00 Tian Yu Cao : Philosophical reflections on emergence in cosmology
19h00 End of first day
09h30 Jean Iliopoulos : Symmetries and elementary particles
10H30 Yves Couder : Wave-matter duality
11H30 Elena Castellani : Fundamentality, emergence and scales
14h00 Pierre Binetruy : Inflation and Multiverses
15h00 Matteo Smerlak : Uncertain cosmogony
16h30 Michel Bitbol : On the concept of origin
17h30 Paul Humphreys : Synchronic and Diachronic Fundamentalism
18h30 End of the day
9h30 Joe Silk : Formation of cosmological structures
10h30 Christophe Malaterre : Chemical evolution and the emergence of biological entities
11h30 General Discussion
12h30 M. Spiro : Concluding remarks