Experience over the last decade in the design of automated planning systems has done a great deal to clarify the principles that evolution seems to have used in the design of the human brain. It now seems probable that both the brain and the computerized planning systems are based on a basic design concept which I describe as a value-driven decision system. Experience in the automation of complex planning problems has shown that, as the problems become more complex, the alternative system-design concepts become progressively less feasible, and the practical design alternatives begin to converge on the basic concept of a value-driven decision system. It seems probable that evolution encountered similar problems in the design of biological control systems, so that over the ages the control systems (the brain) for the more advanced species began to converge on this same basic design concept. …
George Edgin Pugh is principal scientist at General Research Corporation, McLean, Virginia.
The Perfect Mirror Is Invisible by Richard de Mille
Introspective persons sometimes try to find in themselves a center point of personality that may be called I. This I, they imagine, is an irreducible core of personality that is aware of the contents of the mind over which it exerts considerable control. This enduring focal entity is distinct from the psychological self, an accretive cluster of personal attributes that is but one object of awareness among many—albeit an important object. I is what is aware of objects in the mind, including the self. I is unique in its capacity to observe and control mental events and is what some philosophers have called the subject.¹ …
¹ G. E. Myers, Self: An Introduction to Philosophical Psychology (New York: Pegasus, 1969).
Richard de Mille is a psychologist in Santa Barbara, California.
Religion, Hans Reichenbach has claimed, is abundant in pictures that stimulate our imagination but devoid of the power of clarification that issues from scientific explanation.¹ Philosophers of science have in general found themselves in agreement with this evaluation of religious discourse. Science, they have almost unanimously claimed, has achieved a generalized theoretical knowledge of the fundamental conditions determining the events and processes of the world, whereas religion has simply spotted superficial analogies which it has confused with proper generalizations and consequently erroneously regarded as explanations. It would appear, therefore, that the long and often acrimonious debate as to the cognitive status of religious belief must, upon analysis of the concept of explanation alone, be concluded. Thus it appears also that the philosophers of religion who have argued that religions concern lies exclusively in providing man with a way of life, rather than a speculative scheme of things, must carry the day. …
¹ Hans Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientific Philosophy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951).
Don Wiebe is assistant professor of philosophy and chairman of the Division of Liberal Arts, Canadian Nazarene College, University of Manitoba.
In describing the essence of her husbands genius, Evelyn Whitehead once said: His thinking is a prism. It must be seen not from one side alone, but from all sides, then from underneath and overhead. So seen, as one moves around it, the prism is full of changing lights and colours. To have seen it from one side only is not to have seen it.¹ The spectrum of Alfred North Whiteheads thought is indeed colored by numerous concerns: mathematics, physics, biology, philosophy of nature, education, history, culture, aesthetics, philosophy, and religion. While multifaceted, the diverse aspects of his thinking are but refracted patterns issuing from a unified stream of thought. In this essay I cannot describe all the vibrant colors displayed throughout the pages of his published works. Instead, I will limit my investigation to those aspects of his thought which delineate his approach to the integration of science and religion.
Many expositors see the uniqueness of Whiteheads thought in his novel insights into the nature of religion and, accordingly, would see his approach to the integration of science and religion from this perspective. A more accurate analysis, however, is to understand Whiteheads approach as grounded in his reevaluation of the foundations of science. In this retrospective essay I will defend this thesis by tracing the development of this reevaluation through the three periods of Whiteheads career. The essay is divided into four sections. The first three sections examine Whiteheads published works. The final section examines the thought of some contemporary scientists who are drawn to Whiteheads vision as they wrestle with the problem of science and values. …
¹ As quoted in Lucien Price, ed., Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead (London: Max Reinhardt, 1954), p. 14.
Dean R. Fowler, part-time instructor in philosophy, Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, California, is also visiting lecturer in religious studies, University of California, Riverside, and research fellow at the Center for Process Studies, Claremont, California.
The Moralist by Allen Wheelis, reviewed by Mark C. Taylor