of Reality as Source of Indeterminacy
1. Quantum physics and
levels of Reality
The major cultural impact
of the quantum physics has certainly raised questions for the contemporary
philosophical dogma of the existence of a single level of Reality.
Here the meaning we give to
the word “Reality” is pragmatic and ontological at the same time.
By Reality I intend first
of all to designate that which resists our experiences, representations,
descriptions, images or mathematical formalizations. Quantum physics caused us
to discover that abstraction is not simply an intermediary between us and
Nature, a tool for describing reality, but rather, one of the constituent parts
of Nature. In quantum physics, mathematical formalization is inseparable from
experience. It resists in its own way by its simultaneous concern for internal
consistency, and the need to integrate experimental data without destroying that
In so far as Nature
participates in the being of the world one must ascribe an ontological dimension
to the concept of Reality. Nature is an immense, inexhaustible source of the
unknown which justifies the very existence of science. Reality is not only a
social construction, the consensus of a collectivity, or an inter-subjective
agreement. It also has a trans-subjective dimension, to the extent that one
simple experimental fact can ruin the most beautiful scientific theory.
By levels of Reality1 I intend to designate an ensemble of systems which are invariant under
the action of certain general laws: for example, quantum entities are
subordinate to quantum laws, which depart radically from the laws of the
macro-physical world. That is to say that two levels of Reality are different
if, while passing from one to the other, there is a break in the laws and a
break in fundamental concepts (like, for example, causality). No one has
succeeded in finding a mathematical formalism which permits the rigorous passage
from one world to another. Semantic glosses, tautological definitions or
approximations are unable to replace a rigorous mathematical formalism. The
recent de-coherence models have nothing precise to say on the passage between
the quantum level and the macro-physical level: in fact, the main problem is not
de-coherence but precisely coherence.
There are even strong
mathematical indications that the continuous passage from the quantum world to
the macro-physical world would never be possible. But there is nothing
catastrophic about this. The discontinuity which is manifest in the
quantum world is also manifest in the structure of the levels of Reality. That
does not prevent the two worlds from co-existing.
The levels of Reality are
radically different from the levels of organization as these have been defined
in systemic approaches.
Levels of organization do not presuppose a break with fundamental concepts:
several levels of organization appear at one and the same level of Reality. The
levels of organization correspond to different structurings of the same
fundamental laws. For example, Marxist economy and classical physics belong to
one and the same level of Reality.
The emergence of at least
two different levels of Reality in the study of natural systems is a major event
in the history of knowledge.
The existence of different levels of Reality has been affirmed by different traditions and civilizations, but these affirmations were founded on religious dogma or on the exploration of the interior universe.
In the 20th
century, in their questioning of the foundations of science, Edmund Husserl
and other scholars have discovered the existence of different levels of
perception of Reality by the subject-observer. But these thinkers, pioneers in
the exploration of a multi-dimensional and multi-referential reality, have been
marginalized by academic philosophers and misunderstood by the majority of
physicists, enclosed in their respective specializations.
The view I am expressing
here is totally conform to the one of Bohr, Heisenberg and Pauli.
In fact, Werner Heisenberg
came very near, in his philosophical writings, to the concept of “level of
Reality.” In his famous Manuscript of the year 1942 (published only in
1984) Heisenberg, who knew well Husserl, introduces the idea of three regions
of reality, able to give access to the concept of “reality”
itself: the first region is that of classical physics, the second—of quantum
physics, biology and psychic phenomena and the third—that of the religious,
philosophical and artistic experiences.
This classification has a subtle ground: the closer and closer connectivity
between the Subject and the Object.
As we shall see in the
following, the notion of levels of Reality will lead us to a general
philosophical understanding of the nature of indeterminacy. If there was only
one region or level of reality, it was impossible to conceive what means a true,
irreducible indeterminacy, like the quantum one.
2. The logic of the
Knowledge of the
coexistence of the quantum world and the macro-physical world and the
development of quantum physics has led, on the level of theory and scientific
experiment, to the upheaval of what were formerly considered to be pairs of
mutually exclusive contradictories (A and non-A): wave and corpuscle,
continuity and discontinuity, separability and non-separability,
local causality and global causality, symmetry and breaking of
symmetry, reversibility and irreversibility of time, etc.
The intellectual scandal
provoked by quantum mechanics consists in the fact that the pairs of
contradictories that it generates are actually mutually contradictory when they
are analyzed through the interpretative filter of classical logic. This logic is
founded on three axioms:
Under the assumption of the
existence of a single level of Reality, the second and third axioms are
If one accepts the
classical logic one immediately arrives at the conclusion that the pairs of
contradictories advanced by quantum physics are mutually exclusive, because one
cannot affirm the validity of a thing and its opposite at the same time: A and
Since the definitive
formulation of quantum mechanics around 1930 the founders of the new science
have been acutely aware of the problem of formulating a new, “quantum
logic.” Subsequent to the work of Birkhoff and van Neumann a veritable
flourishing of quantum logics was not long in coming. The aim of these new
logics was to resolve the paradoxes which quantum mechanics had created and to
attempt, to the extent possible, to arrive at a predictive power stronger than
that afforded by classical logic.
Most quantum logics have
modified the second axiom of classical logic—the axiom of
non-contradiction—by introducing non-contradiction with several truth values
in place of the binary pair (A, non-A). These multivalent logics, whose status
with respect to their predictive power remains controversial, have not taken
into account one other possibility: the modification of the third axiom—the
axiom of the excluded middle.
History will credit Stéphane
Lupasco with having shown that the logic of the included middle is a true
logic, formalizable and formalized, multivalent (with three values: A, non-A,
and T) and non-contradictory.
His philosophy, which takes quantum physics as its point of departure, has been
marginalized by physicists and philosophers. Curiously, on the other hand, it
has had a powerful albeit underground influence among psychologists,
sociologists, artists, and historians of religions. Perhaps the absence of the
notion of “levels of Reality” in his philosophy obscured its substance: many
persons wrongly believed that Lupasco’s logic violated the principle of
Our understanding of the
axiom of the included middle—there exists a third term T which is at the
same time A and non-A—is completely clarified once the notion of “levels
of Reality” is introduced.
In order to obtain a clear
image of the meaning of the included middle, we can represent the three terms of
the new logic—A, non-A, and T—and the dynamics associated with them by a
triangle in which one of the vertices is situated at one level of Reality and
the two other vertices at another level of Reality. If one remains at a single
level of Reality, all manifestation appears as a struggle between two
contradictory elements (example: wave A and corpuscle non-A). The third dynamic,
that of the T-state, is exercised at another level of Reality, where that which
appears to be disunited (wave or corpuscle) is in fact united (quanton), and
that which appears contradictory is perceived as non-contradictory.
It is the projection of T
on one and the same level of Reality which produces the appearance of mutually
exclusive, antagonistic pairs (A and non-A). A single level of Reality can only
create antagonistic oppositions. It is inherently self-destructive if it
is completely separated from all the other levels of Reality. A third term, let
us call it T0, which is situated on the same level of Reality as that of the
opposites A and non-A, cannot accomplish their reconciliation.
The T-term is the key in
understanding indeterminacy: being situated on a different level of Reality than
A and non-A, it necessarily induces an influence of its own level of
Reality upon its neighbouring and different level of Reality: the laws of a
given level are not self-sufficient to describe the phenomena occurring at the
The entire difference
between a triad of the included middle and an Hegelian triad is clarified by
consideration of the role of time. In a triad of the included middle
the three terms coexist at the same moment in time. On the contrary, each of
the three terms of the Hegelian triad succeeds the former in time. This is why
the Hegelian triad is incapable of accomplishing the reconciliation of
opposites, whereas the triad of the included middle is capable of it. In the
logic of the included middle the opposites are rather contradictories:
the tension between contradictories builds a unity which includes and goes
beyond the sum of the two terms. The Hegelian triad would never explain the
nature of indeterminacy.
One also sees the great dangers of misunderstanding engendered by the common enough confusion made between the axiom of the excluded middle and the axiom of non-contradiction . The logic of the included middle is non-contradictory in the sense that the axiom of non-contradiction is thoroughly respected, a condition which enlarges the notions of “true” and “false” in such a way that the rules of logical implication no longer concerning two terms (A and non-A) but three terms (A, non-A and T), co-existing at the same moment in time. This is a formal logic, just as any other formal logic: its rules are derived by means of a relatively simple mathematical formalism.
One can see why the logic
of the included middle is not simply a metaphor, like some kind of arbitrary
ornament for classical logic, which would permit adventurous incursions into the
domain of complexity. The logic of the included middle is the privileged
logic of complexity, privileged in the sense that it allows us to cross the
different areas of knowledge in a coherent way, by enabling a new kind of
The logic of the included
middle does not abolish the logic of the excluded middle: it only constrains its
sphere of validity. The logic of the excluded middle is certainly valid for
relatively simple situations. On the contrary, the logic of the excluded middle
is harmful in complex, transdisciplinary cases. For me, the problem of
indeterminacy is precisely belonging to this class of cases.
3. The Gödelian unity
of the world
sets forth for consideration a multi-dimensional Reality, structured by multiple
levels replacing the single level of classical thought—one-dimensional
reality. This proposal is not enough, by itself, to justify a new vision of the
world. We must first of all answer many questions in the most rigorous possible
way. What is the nature of the theory which can describe the passage from one
level of Reality to another? Is there truly a coherence, a unity of the totality
of levels of Reality? What is the role of the subject-observer of Reality in the
dynamics of the possible unity of all the levels of Reality? Is there a level of
Reality which is privileged in relation to all other levels? What is the role of
reason in the dynamics of the possible unity of knowledge? What is the
predictive power of the new model of Reality in the sphere of reflection and
action? Finally, is understanding of the present world possible?
According to our model,
Reality comprises a certain number of levels.1,2
The considerations which follow do not depend on whether or not this number is
finite or infinite. For the sake of clarity, let us suppose that this number is
Two adjacent levels are
connected by the logic of the included middle in the sense that the T-state
present at a certain level is connected to a pair of contradictories (A and
non-A) at the immediately adjacent level. The T-state operates the unification
of contradictories A and non-A but this unification is operated at a level different
from the one on which A and non-A are situated. The axiom of
non-contradiction is thereby respected. Does this fact signify that we can
obtain a complete theory, which will be able to account for all known and
There is certainly a
coherence between different levels of Reality, at least in the natural world. In
fact, an immense self-consistency—a cosmic bootstrap—seems to govern
the evolution of the universe, from the infinitely small to the infinitely
large, from the infinitely brief to the infinitely long.1
A flow of information is transmitted in a coherent manner from one level of
Reality to another level of Reality in our physical universe.
The logic of the included
middle is capable of describing the coherence between the levels of Reality by
an iterative process defined by the following stages: 1. A pair of
contradictories (A, non-A) situated at a certain level of reality is unified by
a T-state situated at a contiguous level of Reality; 2. In turn, this T-state is
linked to a couple of contradictories (A’, non-A’), situated at its own
level; 3. The pair of contradictories (A’, non-A’) is, in its turn, unified
by a T’-state situated at a different level of Reality, immediately contiguous
to that where the ternary (A’, non-A’, T) is found. The iterative process
continues indefinitely until all the levels of Reality, known or conceivable,
In other terms, the action
of the logic of the included middle on the different levels of Reality induces
an open, Gödelian structure of the unity of levels of
Reality. This structure has considerable consequences for the theory of
knowledge because it implies the impossibility of a complete theory, closed in
In effect, in accordance
with the axiom of non-contradiction, the T-state realizes the unification of a
pair of contradictories (A, non-A) but it is associated, at the same time with
another pair of contradictories (A’, non-A’). This signifies that starting
from a certain number of mutually exclusive pairs one can construct a new theory
which eliminates contradictions at a certain level of Reality, but this theory
is only temporary because it inevitably leads, under the joint pressure of
theory and experience, to the discovery of new levels of contradictories,
situated at a new level of Reality. In turn this theory will therefore be
replaced by still more unified theories as new levels of Reality are discovered.
This process will continue indefinitely without ever resulting in a completely
unified theory. The axiom of non-contradiction is increasingly strengthened
during this process. In this sense, without ever leading to an absolute
non-contradiction, we can speak of an evolution of knowledge which
encompasses all the levels of Reality: knowledge which is forever open.
Finer matter penetrates coarser matter, just as quantum matter penetrates
macro-physical matter, but the reverse is not true. Degrees of materiality
induce an orienting arrow for tracing the transmission of information from one
level to the other. This orienting arrow is associated with the discovery of
more and more general, unifying, and encompassing laws.
The open structure of the
unity of levels of Reality is in accord with one of the most important
scientific results of the 20th century concerning arithmetic, the
theorem of Kurt Gödel. Gödel’s theorem
tells us that a sufficiently rich system of axioms inevitably lead to results
which would be either un-decidable or contradictory. The implications of Gödel’s
theorem have considerable importance for all modern theories of knowledge. First
of all it does not only concern the field of arithmetic but also all mathematics
which includes arithmetic. Now, obviously the mathematics which underlies
theoretical physics include arithmetic. This means that all research for a
complete physical theory is illusory.
In fact, the search for an
axiomatic system leading to a complete theory (without undecidable or
contradictory results) marks at once the apex and the starting point of the
decline of classical thought. The axiomatic dream is unravelled by the verdict
of the holy of holies of classical thought—mathematical rigor.
The theorem that Kurt Gödel
demonstrated in 1931 sounded only a faint echo beyond a very limited circle of
specialists. The difficulty and extreme subtlety of its demonstration explains
why this theorem has taken a certain time to be understood within the
mathematical community. Today, it has scarcely begun to penetrate the world of
physicists. Wolfgang Pauli, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, was one of
the first physicists to understand the extreme importance Gödel’s theorem
has for the construction of physical theories.
The Gödelian structure
of the unity of levels of Reality associated with the logic of the included
middle implies that it is impossible to construct a complete theory for
describing the passage from one level to the other and, a fortiori, for
describing the unity of levels of Reality.
If it does exist, the unity
linking all the levels of Reality must necessarily be an open unity.
To be sure, there is a
coherence of the unity of levels of Reality, but we must remember that this
coherence is oriented: there is an arrow associated with all transmission
of information from one level to the other. As a consequence of this, if
coherence is limited only to the levels of Reality, it is stopped at the
“highest” level and at the “lowest” level. If we wish to posit the idea
of a coherence which continues beyond these two limited levels so that there is
an open unity, one must conceive the unity of levels of Reality as a unity which
is extended by a zone of non-resistance to our experiences,
representations, descriptions, images and mathematical formalizations. Within
our model of Reality, this zone of non-resistance corresponds to the “veil”
which Bernard d’Espagnat referred to as “the veil of the real.”
The “highest” level and the “lowest” level of the unity of levels of
Reality are united across a zone of absolute transparency. But these two levels
are different; from the point of view of our experiences, representations,
descriptions, images, and mathematical formalizations, absolute transparency
functions like a veil. In fact, the open unity of the world implies that that
which is “below” is the same as that which is “above.” The isomorphism
between “above” and “below” is established by the zone of
Quite simply, the
non-resistance of this zone of absolute transparency is due to the limitations
of our bodies and of our sense organs, limitations which apply regardless of the
instruments of measure used to extend these sense organs. To claim that there is
an infinite human knowledge (which excludes any zone of non-resistance), while
simultaneously affirming the limitations of our body and our sense organs, seems
to us a feat of linguistic sleight of hand. The zone of non-resistance
corresponds to the sacred, that is to say to that which does not
submit to any rationalization.
The unity of levels of
Reality and its complementary zone of non-resistance constitutes the
A new Principle of
emerges from the coexistence between complex plurality and open unity: no one
level of Reality constitutes a privileged place from which one is able to
understand all the other levels of Reality. A level of Reality is what it is
because all the other levels exist at the same time. This Principle of
Relativity is what originates a new perspective on religion, politics, art,
education, and social life. In the transdisciplinary vision, Reality is not only
multi-dimensional, it is also multi-referential.
The different levels of
Reality are accessible to human knowledge thanks to the existence of different levels
of perception, which are in bi-univocal correspondence with levels of
Reality. These levels of perception permit an increasingly general, unifying,
encompassing vision of Reality, without ever entirely exhausting it.
As in the case of levels of
Reality the coherence of levels of perception presupposes a zone of non-resistance
The unity of levels of
perception and its complementary zone of non-resistance constitutes the
The two zones of
non-resistance of transdisciplinary Object and Subject must be identical
in order that the transdisciplinary Subject can communicate with the
transdisciplinary Object. A flow of consciousness crossing the different
levels of perception in a coherent manner must correspond to the flow of
information crossing the different levels of Reality in a coherent manner.
The two flows are in a relation of isomorphism thanks to the existence of
one and the same zone of non-resistance. Knowledge is neither exterior nor
interior: it is at the same time exterior and interior. The study of the
universe and the study of the human being sustain one another. The zone of
non-resistance permits the unification of the transdisciplinary Subject and the
transdisciplinary Object while preserving their difference.
Transdisciplinarity is the
transgression of duality opposing binary pairs: subject/object,
subjectivity/objectivity, matter/consciousness, nature/divine,
simplicity/complexity, reductionism/holism, diversity/unity. This duality is
transgressed by the open unity which encompasses both the universe and the human
The transdisciplinary model
of Reality has, in particular, some important consequences in the study of complexity.
Without its contradictory pole of simplicity (or, more precisely, simplexity)
complexity appears as an increasingly enlarging distance between the
human being and Reality which introduces a self-destructive alienation of the
human being who is plunged into the absurdity of destiny. The infinite
simplicity of the transdisciplinary Subject corresponds to the infinite
complexity of the transdisciplinary Object.
The Subject/Object problem
was central for the founding-fathers of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg and Pauli,
as Husserl, Heidegger and Cassirer refuted the basic axiom of modern
metaphysics: the clear-cut distinction between Subject and Object. Our
considerations here are inscribed in the same framework.
4. The death and the
resurrection of Nature
Modernity is particularly
deadly. It has invented all kinds of “deaths” and “ends:” the death of
God, the death of Man, the end of ideologies, the end of history and, today, the
end of science.
But, there is a death which
is spoken of much less, on account of shame or ignorance: the death of Nature.
In my view, this death of Nature is the source of all the other deadly concepts
which were just invoked. In any case, the very word “Nature” has ended by
disappearing from scientific vocabulary. Of course, the “man in the street,”
just as the scientist (in popularised works) still uses this word, but in a
confused, sentimental way, reminiscent of magic.
Since the beginning of time
we have not stopped modifying our vision of Nature.
Historians of science are in accord in saying that, despite all appearances to
the contrary, there is not only one vision of Nature across time. What can there
be in common between the Nature of so-called “primitive” peoples, the Nature
of the Greeks, the Nature in the time of Galileo, of the Marquis de Sade, of
Laplace or of Novalis? The vision of Nature of a given period depends on the
imaginary which predominates during that period; in turn, that vision depends on
a multiplicity of parameters: the degree of development of science and
technology, social organization, art, religion, etc. Once formed, an image of
Nature exercises an influence on all areas of knowledge. The passage from one
vision to another is not progressive, continuous—it occurs by means of sharp,
radical, discontinuous ruptures. Several contradictory visions can co-exist. The
extraordinary diversity of visions of Nature explains why one cannot speak of Nature,
but only of a certain nature in accord with the imaginary of a given period.
The image of Nature has
always had a multiform action: it has influenced not only science but also art,
religion, and social life. This allows us to explain some strange
synchronicities. Here I limit myself to but a single example: the simultaneous
appearance of the theory of the end of history and of the end of science just
before the beginning of the 3rd millennium. For example, unified
theories in physics have as their aim the elaboration of a complete approach,
founded on a unique interaction, which can predict everything (hence the name,
“Theory of Everything”). It is quite obvious that if such a theory were
formulated in the future, it would signify the end of fundamental physics,
because there would be nothing left to look for. It is interesting to observe
that both the idea of the end of history and of the end of science have
simultaneously emerged from the “end of the century” imaginary.
abundant and fascinating diversity of images of Nature one can nevertheless
distinguish three main stages: Magic Nature, Nature as Machine, and the Death of
Nature. Magical thought views nature as a living organism, endowed with
intelligence and consciousness. The fundamental postulate of magical thought is
that of universal interdependence: Nature cannot be conceived outside of its
relations with us. Everything is sign, trace, signature, symbol. Science, in the
modern sense of this word, is superfluous.
At the other extreme, the
mechanist and determinist thought of the 18th and above all the 19th century
(which, by the way, still predominates today) conceives Nature not as an
organism, but as a machine. It suffices to disassemble this machine piece by
piece in order to possess it entirely. The fundamental postulate of mechanistic
and determinist thought is that Nature can be known and conquered by scientific
methodology, defined in a way which is completely independent of human beings
and separate from us.
The logical outcome of the
mechanist and determinist vision is the Death of Nature, the disappearance of
the concept of Nature from the scientific field. From the very beginning of the
mechanistic vision, Nature as Machine, with or without the image of God as
watchmaker, is split up into an ensemble of separate parts. From that moment on,
there is no more need for a coherent whole, for a living organism, or even, for
a machine which still kept the musty odour of finality. Nature is dead, but
complexity remains. An astonishing complexity (in fact, often confused with
“complication”), which penetrates each and every field of knowledge. But
this complexity is perceived as an accident; we ourselves are considered to be
an accident of complexity.
The Death of Nature is
incompatible with a coherent interpretation of the results of contemporary
science, in spite of the persistence of the neo-reductionistic attitude which
accords exclusive importance to the fundamental building-blocks of matter and to
the four known physical interactions. According to this neo-reductionistic
attitude, all recourse to Nature is superfluous and devoid of sense. In truth,
Nature is dead only for a certain vision of the world—the classical vision.
The rigid objectivity of
classical thought is only viable in the classical world. The idea of total
separation between an observer and a Reality assumed to be completely
independent from that observer brings us to the verge of insurmountable
paradoxes. In fact, a far more subtle notion of objectivity characterizes the
quantum world: objectivity depends on the level of Reality in question.
Space-time itself no longer
rests on a fixed concept. Our space-time which proceeds in four dimensions is
not the only conceivable space-time. According to certain physical theories, it
appears more an approximation, like a part of a space-time all the more rich for
being the generator of possible phenomena. Supplementary dimensions are not the
result of mere intellectual speculation. On the one hand, these dimensions are
necessary to insure the self-consistency of the theory and the elimination of
certain undesirable aspects. On the other hand, they do not have a purely formal
character—they have physical consequences for our own scale. For example,
according to certain cosmological theories, if the universe had been associated
from the “beginning” of the big bang in a multi-dimensional space-time,
supplementary dimensions would have remained forever hidden, unobservable;
rather, their vestiges would be precisely the known physical interactions. By
means of generalizing the example provided by particle physics, it becomes
conceivable that certain levels of Reality correspond to a space-time different
than that characterizing our own level. Moreover, complexity itself would depend
on the nature of space-time as well.
We can make, like
a step further and assert that the classical four-dimensional space-time is, in
fact, an anthropomorphic concept, founded on our sense-organs.
According to present
scientific conceptions, matter is far from being identical with substance. In
the quantum world, matter is associated with a substance-energy-information-space-time
It is somewhat mysterious
why trajectories played such a central role in the formulation of modern
physics. The quantum indeterminacy showed that trajectories are not a
fundamental concept. In more recent years, a new discipline is born by the
unexpected encounter between the theory of information and quantum mechanics:
the Quantum Theory of Information. This new-born science
already poses a crucial question: are the information laws more general,
and therefore deeper, than the equations of movement? Are the central concepts
of positions, speeds and trajectories of particles to be abandoned in favour of
information laws which, in fact, could be valid not only for physics but also
for other fields of knowledge? There were these last years fabulous experimental
advances in the fields of non-separability, disentanglement, quantum cryptography and teleportation, in
conjunction with the possible advent of quantum computers. This shows that
notions like “levels of Reality” or “included middle” cease to be just
theoretical speculations , by entering today in the field of experiments and,
tomorrow, in the everyday life.
We can assert that the
notion itself of laws of Nature completely changes its contents when
compared with that of the classical vision. This situation can be summed up by
three theses formulated by the well-known physicist Walter Thirring:
description of the laws of Nature is in perfect agreement with our own
considerations about the Gödelian structure of Nature and knowledge. The
problem of quantum indeterminacy can now be fully understood as the influence
of the quantum level of Reality on our own macrophysical level of Reality.
Of course, the laws of the macro-physical level depend more, as Thirring writes,
on “the circumstances of their emergence.” From the point of view of the
macro-physical level indeterminacy appears as accidental, incomprehensible, or
at most as a rare event. But this reveals, in fact, an internal ambiguity which
can be solved only by taking into account the laws of the quantum level. At this
last level the indeterminacy is fundamental.
One can ask if one cannot
logically conceive a generalized indeterminacy, which goes far beyond the
problem of trajectories of particles. Heisenberg already considered the indeterminacy
the natural language cannot express with arbitrary high precision all its
elements, because the way of expressing acts in an essential manner on what is
expressed. The indeterminacy of the natural language is just one example of the
generalized indeterminacy generated by the Gödelian structure of Nature and
In conclusion, we can
distinguish three major aspects of Nature in accordance with the
transdisciplinary model of Reality:
has a ternary structure (objective Nature, subjective Nature, trans-Nature),
which defines living Nature. This Nature is living because it is there
that life is present in all its degrees and because its study demands the
integration of lived experience. The three aspects of Nature must be
considered simultaneously in terms of their inter-relation and their conjunction
within all the phenomena of living Nature.
The study of living Nature
asks for a new methodology—transdisciplinary methodology7—
which is different from the methodology of modern science and the methodology of
the ancient science of being. It is the co-evolution of the human being
and of the universe which asks for a new methodology.
An attempt to elaborate a
new Philosophy of Nature, a privileged mediator of a dialogue between all
the areas of knowledge, is one of the highest priorities of transdisciplinarity.
*** *** ***
Interactif du Centre International de Recherches et Études
transdisciplinaires n° 15 – Mai 2000
Basarab Nicolescu, Nous, la
particule et le monde, 2ème éd., Le Rocher, coll. « Transdisciplinarité »,
 ÈóÓóÑÇÈ äíßæáÓßæ¡ "ãÓÊæíÇÊ
ÇáÊÚÞíÏ æãÓÊæíÇÊ ÇáæÇÞÚ: äÍæ ÊÚÑíÝ ÌÏíÏ
ÈÇáØÈíÚÉ"¡ ãÚÇÈÑ¡ ÇáÅÕÏÇÑ ÇáÃæá¡
Basarab Nicolescu, Levels of Complexity and Levels of Reality, in “The Emergence of Complexity in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology,” Proceedings of the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 27-31 October 1992, Casina Pio IV, Vatican, Ed. Pontificia Academia Scientiarum, Vatican City, 1996 (distributed by Princeton University Press), edited by Bernard Pullman; Basarab Nicolescu, Gödelian Aspects of Nature and Knowledge, in “Systems—New Paradigms for the Human Sciences,” Walter de Gruyter, Berlin-New York, 1998, edited by Gabriel Altmann and Walter A. Koch; Michel Camus, Thierry Magnin, Basarab Nicolescu and Karen-Claire Voss, Levels of Representation and Levels of Reality: Towards an Ontology of Science, in The Concept of Nature in Science and Theology (part II), Editions Labor et Fides, Genève, 1998, pp. 94-103, edited by Niels H. Gregersen, Michael W.S. Parsons and Christoph Wassermann.
Edmund Husserl, Méditations
cartésiennes, translated form German by
Gabrielle Peiffer and Emmanuel Levinas, Vrin, Paris, 1966.
 Werner Heisenberg, Philosophie – Le manuscrit de 1942, Seuil, Paris, 1998, translation from German and introduction by Catherine Chevalley.
Brody, On Quantum Logic, in Foundation of Physics, vol. 14, n°
5, 1984, pp. 409-430.
Stéphane Lupasco, Le
principe d’antagonisme et la logique de l’énergie, Le Rocher,
Paris, 1987 (2nd edition), foreword
Basarab Nicolescu; Stéphane Lupasco – L’homme et
l’œuvre, Le Rocher, « Transdisciplinarité »,
Paris, coll. 1999,
under the direction of Horia Badescu and Basarab Nicolescu.
ÈóÓóÑÇÈ äíßæáÓßæ¡ ÇáÚÈÑãäÇåÌíÉ:
ÈíÇä¡ ÈÊÑÌãÉ ÏíãÊÑí ÃÝííÑíäæÓ¡ "ÂÝÇÞ"
2¡ ÏÇÑ ãßÊÈÉ ÅíÒíÓ¡ ÏãÔÞ 2000.
“transdisciplinarity,” as carrying a different meaning from
“interdisciplinarity,” was first introduced in 1970 by Jean Piaget in L’interdisciplinarité –
Problèmes d’enseignement et de recherche dans les universités, OCDE, Paris, 1972. From etymological point of view “trans” means
“between, across, beyond.” We mean by “transdisciplinarity” that
which crosses all disciplines and finds itself between and beyond all
disciplines. Therefore the transdisciplinarity is clearly not a new
discipline; See also the Internet site of the International Center for
Transdisciplinary Research (CIRET) http://perso.club-internet.fr/nicol/ciret/
(materials in French, English, Portuguese and Spanish).
for example, Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman, Gödel’s Proof,
New York University Press, New York, 1958; Hao Wang, A Logical
Journey—From Gödel to Philosophy, The MIT Press, Cambridge,
Massachusetts— London, England, 1996.
Pauli, Writings on Physics and Philosophy, Springer-Verlag,
Berlin-Heidelberg, Germany, 1994, edited by Charles P. Enz and Karl von
Meyenn, translated by Robert Schlapp; K.V. Laurikainen, Beyond the
Atom—The Philosophical Thought of Wolfgang Pauli, Springer-Verlag,
Berlin-Heidelberg, Germany, 1988.
 Bernard d’Espagnat, Le réel voilé – Analyse des concepts quantiques, Fayard, Paris, 1994
Horgan, The End of Science, Broadway Books, New York, 1997.
 Robert Lenoble, Histoire de l’idée de Nature, Albin Michel, coll. « L’évolution de l’humanité », Paris, 1990
for example, David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality, Penguin Books,
London, England, 1997.
Thirring, “Do the laws of Nature evolve?,” in What is life?—The
Next Fifty Years: Speculations on the Future of biology, Cambridge
University Press, USA, 1995, edited by Michael P. Murphy and Luke A.
fact the term “living Nature” is a pleonasm, because the word
“Nature” is intimately linked to that of “birth.” The root of the
Latin word, natura is nasci and designates the action of
giving birth as well as the feminine organs of generation