Newton set the stage for our view of how science should be done. We remain in what I will call the `Newtonian Paradigm' in all of physics, including Newton, Einstein, and Schrodinger. As I will show shortly, Newton invented and bequeathed to us `efficient cause entailing laws' for the entire becoming of the universe. With Laplace this became the foundation of contemporary reductionism in which all that can happen in the world is due to efficient cause entailing laws. More this framework stands as our dominant way to do science. The Newtonian Paradigm has done enormous work in science, and helped lead to the Industrial Revolution, and even our entry into Modernity.
In this paper I propose to challenge the adequacy of the Newtonian Paradigm on two ground: 1) For the evolution of the biosphere beyond the watershed of life, we can formulate no efficient cause entailing laws that allow us to deduce the evolution of the biosphere. A fortiori, the same holds for the evolution of the economy, legal systems, social systems, and culture. Because I have discussed this before with my colleagues Longo and Montevil (1,2) and elsewhere, (3,4), my discussion of this first point will be rather brief. 2) What I shall choose to call, after Aristotle's four causes, noted below, Formal Cause Laws derived from specific `ensemble theories' tell us about the world. But Formal Cause Laws are not reducible to efficient cause entailing laws of the Newtonian Paradigm and, critically, have already, unnoticed, crept into biology concerning the origin of life, and economics concerning economic growth. Formal cause laws appear to be a new way to do science, independent of efficient cause entailing laws. Thus Formal Cause laws can be independent of any specific material substrate. This may bear on the sufficiency of Materialism in our account of the world.
Beyond Reductionism Twice: No Laws Entail Biosphere Evolution, Formal Cause Laws Beyond Efficient Cause Laws