Biocosmology Initiative

Biocosmology Initiative has a significant correlation with Pitirim A. Sorokin’s outstanding scholarly work, four-volume “Social and Cultural Dynamics”, 1937–1941. Therein, P.Sorokin made a revolutionary (of ‘Copernican overturn’ essence) scientific discovery – sociocultural world (due to natural laws) is essentially dynamic (changeable) and Triadic (consisting of the Three natural types of sociocultural supersystems, in abbreviation – T-SCSS). Each of the Three T-SCSS is essentially autonomic, in its whole and all-embracing organization, but heterogeneous. This means that each Type is reducible to its own foundational principles (or “major premises”, in Sorokin’s term), i.e. to its own aetiology, gnoseology, methodology, anthropology, socioculturology, evolutionary theory, civilizational and global studies, thus eventually forming (at the level of contemporary knowledge) its own Physics and Metaphysics. 

In Sorokin’s definition, the polar T-SCSS are called as “Sensate” (driven by extrinsic stimuli) and “Ideational” (by intrinsic causes); while the intermediate type is defined as “Integral” or “Ideal” (which equally uses both polar mechanisms). Essentially, all the Three contemporary T-SCSS are always synchronously active, but dynamic and cyclic (taking the dominance by turns) in their interrelations. 

The well-being of the world (life on Earth) is impossible without this natural dynamic (evolutionary) cyclicity. In general, Sorokin’s scientific activity is essentially characterized (especially that this truth had not come to light for Sorokin himself) as the contemporary representation of neo-Aristotelism[1] (Aristotle’s Naturalist Organicism as the Type of knowledge – which is represented nowadays by Biocosmology). 

A cornerstone of the Biocosmology Initiative is that Sorokin’s concept of the T-SCSS-types can be extended into a broader notion of the type of cosmology’, and, thence – to the Triadologic (cosmological) construction of knowledge (primarily substantiating Three types of scholarly endeavors: Positivist, Organicist, and Integralist).

In our execution, Triadologic approach to the scholarly exploration of the world (cosmos, or Kosmos) is realized with the accent on the pole of scientific Organicism that was first implemented in the great Aristotelian scholarly system (which, appositely, serves as the basis and framework of the whole edifice of modern science; and wherein philosophy and science explore one the same real world and are not separated from each other). Contemporary Biocosmology relates precisely to the type of neo-Aristotelism (scientific Organicism).

In this approach, however, the primary task is to overcome the existing ‘cosmological insufficiency’, which consists in misinterpretation of the true (of scientific Organicism) meaning of the Aristotelian type of scholarly activities (scientific and philosophical, which are inseparable in Aristotelism, for they have the common aetiological and methodological background). Significantly, in our time of global crises – great scholarly potential of Aristotelism as the Type of knowledge (his Naturalist cosmological Organicism and the correspondent type of scientific activity) is urgently needed for the contemporary global scientific community. 

In fact, the current scholarly endeavours (in our global world of the 21st century) still are based on the fundamental (aetiological, gnoseological, methodological, anthropological, etc.) principles that were advanced yet in the 17th century and later universally recognized – this is an evident global paradox! “Truth is rightly named the daughter of time” (Francis Bacon, “Novum Organum”, 1620). 21st century must bring forth its own foundations of science (and philosophy). Still, however, the foundations of our modern (of the 21st century) scholarly activity refer to the opposite (to Aristotelism) foundational idealistic principles (established yet in the 17th century) of Dualism and Anthropocentrism (and their derived mathematical physicalism), thus placing Aristotle’s and Sorokin’s essential scientific Organicism (and its cornerstone “immanent causality”) beyond the scope of modern scholarly sense of concern and attention. Under such conditions (of cultural workers’ and scholars’ persisting inability to see the realistic causing factors of global cultural development), crises-conflicts-clashes-wars are inevitable. The time is ripe, therefore, to draw correct – Realistic (Naturalist) – conclusions and proceed to necessary directions of activity. 

First of all, therefore, we ought to recognize that the significance of Aristotle’s scientific Organicism is lost from the modern cultural agenda, and that the potential of the contemporary (neo)Aristotelian scholarly cognition is accumulated and preserved (at present) in the interior of the Eurasian scholarly achievements (which have the Integralist and Organicist essence), in this emphasizing the role of the scientific tradition of (Russian) Cosmism, Organicism, Functionalism, Cyclism, Pulsationism, etc. This fundamental substantive potential is ready for use and development by the global culture (and scholarly community), now, actually – for the construction of the Integralist era in the world evolutionary development. 

It should be added that we (in BCA) argue the universal essence of the Triadologic approach. Indeed, in addition to Pitirim Sorokin’s discovery of the Triadologic essence of a sociocultural reality – it is evidently clear from biology (for instance, in relation to circadian biorhythm) that in all cases we have the substantive bio-Organism (self-sustaining its homeostatic parameters) and its/her/his autonomic (in their organization) cycles of Sleep (aimless) processes and Awake (purposeful) activities. In turn, from modern physics (electrodynamics) we know about the universal (synchronous and essential) existence of the three types of charges: positive, negative and zero (like positron, electron, and neutron). 

Therefore, an imperative is to introduce into scholarly practice the special scope of research which deals precisely with the (three) Types of all-embracing scientific activities (in accordance with the Three T-SCSS disclosed and substantiated by P.Sorokin), thus embracing a scope from “basic principles” (of the given T-SCSS or the type of cosmology; with its own “type of rationality”)to applied theories and concrete practical activities in the given sphere. 

For this reason, we in BCA have proposed (or, rather returned to the original meaning of) the notion ‘cosmology’, and its form of Biocosmology. Our meaning of ‘cosmology’ (as mentioned above) is close to Sorokin’s notion of the T-SCSS (the Type of an all-embracing SocioCultural SuperSystem). Essentially, the notion of ‘cosmology’ is intended to be broader – to embrace (in each of the Three main cosmological spheres) the entire range of the natural (cosmic) phenomena and processes under study (firstly, the individual’s ontogenesis). Naturally, therefore, there are three “biocosmologies”, and the (neo)Aristotelian Biocosmology is just one of the Three types, with its autonomic (Organicist) realm. 

In general, accordingly to its original meaning, the notion “cosmology” means the comprehensive (all-embracing) and autonomic sphere of scholarly cognition (with its own intrinsic organization that is not determined by extrinsic forces). Stated differently, we have at present many ‘cosmologies’ as “supersystems” of rational (scholarly) knowledge, but there are always only Three universal Types of cosmologies (as all-embracing realms of knowledge), and we must primarily distinguish the “Type of” of the given scholarly knowledge and cognitive activity. For instance, in BCA the notions of RealKosmism, AntiKosmism and AKosmism are proposed, which are precisely the Types of knowledge that have (each) their own type of aetiology, gnoseology, methodology, anthropology, socioculturology, evolutionary theory, civilizational and global studies, etc., and, in the result – their own Physics and Metaphysics. Thus, each of the Three types integrates (on the basis of inherent “ultimate principles”) and embraces all the constitutive systems of knowledge. For instance, as Pitirim Sorokin argued, “the Sensate supersystem is made up of sensate science, sensate philosophy, sensate religion of a sort, sensate fine arts, sensate ethics, law, economics and politics, along with predominantly sensate types of persons and groups, ways of life and social institutions”. Likewise, the Ideational and Integral types of supersystems (due to Sorokin) consist respectively of Ideational and Integral form of all the constitutive social and cultural systems.

Basically, each field of cosmological explorations deals with the four main issues:

1. A study of the Universe in its wholeness, thus constructing the fundamental rational representation about the world as a whole;

2. A definite rational resolution of the world’s aetiology – i.e. the issue of active (driving) causes in the cosmic (world) whole;

3. A definition of fundamental (universal) laws in respect to both Non-Organic and Organic phenomena and processes (of all the levels of Life: biologic, sociocultural, AnthropoKosmist);

4. Elucidation (in the given type of cosmological studies) of the place and role of the Individual in the realization of contemporary cosmic evolutionary processes.

As relates the type of the Biocosmological (RealKosmist) knowledge which is the form of neo-Aristotelism – its cosmological general principles are:

·                     Organicist (Bio)physics and (Bio)metaphysics;

·                     Four-causal aetiology;

·                     Integral gnoseology[2];

·                     Functionalist telic methodology which accepts Bipolarity and Triadicity of the natural (cosmic) world;

·                     bio-socio-Kosmist[3]  anthropology;

·       universalizing Bio-sciences (of all classes: natural, anthropological, social, formal, and applied, for they have the common (Bio)cosmological fundamentals), and which ultimately are directed at the

·                     NoosphericAnthropoKosmistperspective of global sociocultural development and co-evolution.

[1] Notably, the Biocosmological Association (BCA) has introduced the neologism “Aristotelism” instead of the commonly used “Aristotelianism”. The reason is that BCA treats the Aristotelian philosophy as the autonomic (super)system of rational scholarly knowledge (and which truly is the foundation of the entire modern scientific edifice). In other words, Biocosmology (neo-Aristotelism) means a kind of “cosmology” or “kosmology” (if to refer to the Ancient “Kosmos” – the notion of the world-whole and the Organicist world order).

In this approach, Aristotle’s philosophy evidently stands as a rational supersystem and the Type of scholarly knowledge that is fundamentally autonomic – fully reducible to Aristotle’s Biocosmist – Hylomorphist – world outlook; Organicist physics and metaphysics; Four-causal-aetiology (with the leading role of teleodriven causes); Functionalist telic methodology; bio-socio-Kosmist anthropology and universalizing Bio-sciences (of all domains: natural, human and social, formal, applied) and Noospheric global sociocultural development and co-evolution. However, in fact, this Aristotle’s original approach (during the global history) has been forgotten and lost. Therefore, at present, Biocosmology (although a form of neo-Aristotelism) again is a radically new approach in the contemporary scientific milieu. A reason is, therefore (as it was considered in the BCA) – to distinguish it (from the commonly accepted attitudes) by the use of the neologism “neo-Aristotelism”.

[2] The notion ‘gnoseology’ deliberately replaces the commonly accepted term “epistemology”, because the latter is actual in (refers to) exclusively the Sensate sphere of sociocultural activity (and its Positivist – mathematical-physicalist – science), while ‘gnoseology’ is proposed to be active in all the Three realms of scholarly endeavors (in Sorokin’s and /Biocosmological designations): Sensate/AntiKosmist, Ideational/RealKosmist, Integral/AKosmist.

[3] The letter “K” in the “Kosmist” points out to the Ancient notion of Kosmos (which signifies cosmos-world as the all-embracing Organicist Kosmos), i.e. – to the ancient Greek rational cosmism.