By Mario Bunge
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Extra resources for Causality and Modern Science: Third Revised Edition
Hence it is not a question of choosing one type of determination at the expense of others, by decreeing that the chosen category shall reign undisputed in all sectors of reality; like all monistic solutions, this one is too simple to be adequate. Unlike dogmatic philosophies, the philosophical examination of modern science requires us to realize that a rich assortment of types of lawful production, or determination, is actually employed in the description and explanation of the world, that they all have an ontological counterpart, though not necessarily fn the same sectors of reality or to the same extent in all sectors.
Or, again, Every single fact is the locus oj a set oj laws. 26 Note that, in this wording, the principle of universal lawfulness does not assert that facts are determined by laws, but in accordance with laws, or simply lawfully. Thereby the idealistic doctrine is avoided, according to which natural and social laws are not the immanent form of facts, but prescribe them ab extrinseco. 27 There is no Rule of 22 For example, Bergson (1888), Essai sur les donnees immldiates de la conscience, p. 151.
No type of determination can be assigned a territory where it operates to the complete exclusion of other types of lawful production. True, one might try to characterize different sectors of reality according to the relative predominance of the various categories of determination; but no clear-cut stratification would result from this. Take, for instance, the domain of life processes, which vitalists claim is unambiguously and exclusively characterized by final causes. Biology seems to use a certain amount of teleology-which is harmless as long as it is cleansed of its traditional unscientific associations; but it also needs the category of determination by virtue of inner processes, that self-determination or freedom which is found in all the corners of the material universe, and which living beings possess to a supreme extent; biology also needs, in addition, wholistic determination (the German Ganzheitsbestimmung) , since one of the characteristics of life phenomena is the organis- Causation and Determination, Causalism and Determinism 2I mic partial subordination of the parts to the whole; it further needs statistical determination, as actually the adequacy of means to ends is never necessary but only statistical; besides, biology cannot dispense with reciprocal action, which within the organism is characteristically synthetic or integrative, and which plays such an eminent role in evolution through selection; and, of course, biology cannot forget efficient extrinsic causes, as living beings are never entirely free from the compulsive and often almost one-sided actions of their environment.