Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Sunday, February 13, 2022

COSMOLOGY - The Philosophy of MetaPhysical Cosmology

(Palgrave Perspectives on Process Philosophy) 1st ed. 2022 Edition
by Andrew M. Davis (Editor), Maria-Teresa Teixeira (Editor), Wm. Andrew Schwartz (Editor)

This book newly articulates the international and interdisciplinary reach of Whitehead’s organic process cosmology for a variety of topics across science and philosophy, and in dialogue with a variety historical and contemporary voices. Integrating Whitehead’s thought with the insights of Bergson, James, Pierce, Merleau-Ponty, Descola, Fuchs, Hofmann, Grof and many others, contributors from around the world reveal the relevance of process philosophy to physics, cosmology, astrobiology, ecology, metaphysics, aesthetics, psychedelics, and religion. A global collection, this book expresses multivocal possibilities for the development of process cosmology after Whitehead.

(Contemporary Whitehead Studies) October 14, 2020 Edition
by Andrew M. Davis (Author)
Part of: Contemporary Whitehead Studies (12 books)

Mind, Value, and Cosmos: On the Relational Nature of Ultimacy is an investigation into the nature of ultimacy and explanation, particularly as it relates to the status of, and relationship among Mind, Value, and the Cosmos. It draws its stimulus from longstanding “axianoetic” convictions as to the ultimate status of Mind and Value in the western tradition of philosophical theology, and chiefly from the influential modern proposals of A.N. Whitehead, Keith Ward, and John Leslie. What emerges is a relational theory of ultimacy wherein Mind and Value, Possibility and Actuality, God and the World are revealed as “ultimate” only in virtue of their relationality. The ultimacy of relationality—what Whitehead calls “mutual immanence”—uniquely illuminates enduring mysteries surrounding: any and all existence, necessary divine existence, the nature of the possible, and the world as actual. As such, it casts fresh light upon the whence and why of God, the World, and their ultimate presuppositions.

* * * * * * * *

The Metaphysics of Process Cosmology

by R.E. Slater

I would like to compare Process Philosophy and Theology to the non-Process Thoughts of standardizing philosophies of cosmology. When Whitehead started to sketch out his Philosophy of Organism which later came to be called Process Philosophy, he was intentional in describing it as a metaphysical cosmology. A project which had been left behind since the days of Hegel and for the next 200 years a philosophy of science based upon a mechanistic universe reigned together with the mind v matter dualism during this time.

For Whitehead, it became especially concerning that the philosophy of metaphysical cosmology had been left behind to be carved up into bits and pieces of disconnected data. Thus he set out to update what Hegel began and to  importantly uplift it to better reflect the newer quantum sciences coming forward in his day (one may also include the idea of a processual eco-socio-biological evolution, though Whitehead mainly addressed processual stellar evolution as a mathematician and cosmic scientist. Applying Whiteheadian thought evolutionally one can naturally expand processual evolution from a neurological, social anthropological, psychological, economic, etc, perspective. Which is why the Philosophy of Organism can be thought of as a pervasive, integrating metaphilosophy).

Today, as cosmologists work out a metaphysics of the universe, Whiteheadian  metaphysicians have already worked out important structural parts of this same effort on a true philosophical level as shown through the many previous discussions held here at Relevancy22.

More so, the difference of metaphysical cosmology between Western-based "scientists cum philosophers" will be readily noticed in their mechanistic rapprochement of the past recent centuries forward into the quantum realm of defining reality via isolated bits of matter. Such efforts are not how Process Metaphysicians would approach a philosophy of cosmology defined more in terms of processual non-binaries relationally bound as a complex organism moving together with itself via time-and-event rather than defined by its parts and pieces ripped away from the whole.

To my Christian readers:

"A good Christian philosophy must cover all kinds of things. One is the philosophy of origins of the how and why. Mythologies leaning into God, gods, or non-gods explanations are rejected by science which seeks verifiable objectivity. And in the realm of metaphysical cosmologies science again leans into the cosmology of the universe as a Newtonian clockwork mechanism of yesteryear - though it now sees it through the eyes of a freakish quantum world. So how then can an insightful philosophy of origins speak relevantly to a science of numbers and measurements? Process philosophy and theology as an integrating cosmological metaphysic is just the thing as it sets the basis of a cosmic origin which naturally leans equally into the physical, spiritual, and teleological elements of its comportment in a million different ways." - R.E. Slater

Several last thoughts... Here, I will only show how science approaches its own physical cosmology via Tim Maudlin, and further down, Wikipedia. Whitehead has been discussed a lot in the references included here for comparison.

Secondly, see what you think when comparing the standard cosmology of science from the article below in comparison to a Process-based cosmology found in the references. The first feels bare, empty, plastic, artificial while the second full of life and energy.

As further help, I've listed several references for perusal along with a dozen or so books reflecting the differing cosmological outlooks both now and from the past.

At the end, I've included Wikipedia's description of a standard cosmology of philosophy to help elucidate the difference between it and process thought. Additionally, I've listed Andrew Davis' process-based books above as further helps and reference to a process-based metaphysical cosmology.


R.E. Slater
February 12, 2022



* * * * * * * *


What Happened Before the Big Bang?

On the big questions science cannot (yet?) answer,
a new crop of philosophers are trying to provide answers.

By Ross Andersen
January 19, 2012

What existed before the big bang? What is the nature of time? Is our universe one of many? On the big questions science cannot (yet?) answer, a new crop of philosophers are trying to provide answers.

Last May of 2011, Stephen Hawking gave a talk at Google's Zeitgeist Conference in which he declared philosophy to be dead. In his book The Grand Design, Hawking went even further:

  • "How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves?"
  • "How does the universe behave?"
  • "What is the nature of reality?"
  • "Where did all this come from?"

Traditionally these were questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead," Hawking wrote.

"Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics."


In December, a group of professors from America's top philosophy departments, including Rutgers,* Columbia, Yale, and NYU, set out to establish the philosophy of cosmology as a new field of study within the philosophy of physics. The group aims to bring a philosophical approach to the basic questions at the heart of physics, including those concerning the nature, age and fate of the universe. This past week, a second group of scholars from Oxford and Cambridge announced their intention to launch a similar project in the United Kingdom.

One of the founding members of the American group, Tim Maudlin, was recently hired by New York University, the top ranked philosophy department in the English-speaking world. Maudlin is a philosopher of physics whose interests range from the foundations of physics, to topics more firmly within the domain of philosophy, like metaphysics and logic.

Yesterday I spoke with Maudlin by phone about cosmology, multiple universes, the nature of time, the odds of extraterrestrial life, and why Stephen Hawking is wrong about philosophy.

Tim Maudlin, Cosmologist

Your group has identified the central goal of the philosophy of cosmology to be the pursuit of outstanding conceptual problems at the foundations of cosmology. As you see it, what are the most striking of those problems?

Maudlin: So, I guess I would divide that into two classes. There are foundational problems and interpretational problems in physics, generally—say, in quantum theory, or in space-time theory, or in trying to come up with a quantum theory of gravity—that people will worry about even if they're not doing what you would call the philosophy of cosmology. But sometimes those problems manifest themselves in striking ways when you look at them on a cosmological scale. So some of this is just a different window on what we would think of as foundational problems in physics, generally.

Then there are problems that are fairly specific to cosmology. Standard cosmology, or what was considered standard cosmology twenty years ago, led people to the conclude that the universe that we see around us began in a big bang, or put another way, in some very hot, very dense state. And if you think about the characteristics of that state, in order to explain the evolution of the universe, that state had to be a very low entropy state, and there's a line of thought that says that anything that is very low entropy is in some sense very improbable or unlikely. And if you carry that line of thought forward, you then say "Well gee, you're telling me the universe began in some extremely unlikely or improbable state" and you wonder is there any explanation for that. Is there any principle that you can use to account for the big bang state?
This question of accounting for what we call the "big bang state" is probably the most important question within the philosophy of cosmology.
This question of accounting for what we call the "big bang state"—the search for a physical explanation of it—is probably the most important question within the philosophy of cosmology, and there are a couple different lines of thought about it. One that's becoming more and more prevalent in the physics community is the idea that the big bang state itself arose out of some previous condition, and that therefore there might be an explanation of it in terms of the previously existing dynamics by which it came about. There are other ideas, for instance that maybe there might be special sorts of laws, or special sorts of explanatory principles, that would apply uniquely to the initial state of the universe.

One common strategy for thinking about this is to suggest that what we used to call the whole universe is just a small part of everything there is, and that we live in a kind of bubble universe, a small region of something much larger. And the beginning of this region, what we call the big bang, came about by some physical process, from something before it, and that we happen to find ourselves in this region because this is a region that can support life. The idea being that there are lots of these bubble universes, maybe an infinite number of bubble universes, all very different from one another. Part of the explanation of what's called the anthropic principle says, "Well now, if that's the case, we as living beings will certainly find ourselves in one of those bubbles that happens to support living beings." That gives you a kind of account for why the universe we see around us has certain properties.

Is the philosophy of cosmology as a project, a kind of translating then, of existing physics into a more common language of meaning, or into discrete, recognizable concepts? Or do you expect that it will contribute directly to physics, whether that means suggesting new experiments or participating directly in theoretical physics?

Maudlin: I don't think this is a translation project. This is a branch of the philosophy of physics, in which you happen to be treating the entire universe—which is one huge physical object—as a subject of study, rather than say studying just electrons by themselves, or studying only the solar system. There are particular physical problems, problems of explanation, which arise in thinking about the entire universe, which don't arise when you consider only its smaller systems. I see this as trying to articulate what those particular problems are, and what the avenues are for solving them, rather than trying to translate from physics into some other language. This is all within the purview of a scientific attempt to come to grips with the physical world.

There's a story about scientific discovery that we all learn in school, the story of Isaac Newton discovering gravity after being struck by an apple. That story is now thought by some to have been a myth, but suppose  that it were true, or that it was a substitute for some similar, or analogous, eureka moment. Do you consider a breakthrough like that, which isn't contingent on any new or specialized observations to be philosophical in nature?

Maudlin: What occurred to Newton was that there was a force of gravity, which of course everybody knew about, it's not like he actually discovered gravity— everybody knew there was such a thing as gravity. But if you go back into antiquity, the way that the celestial objects, the moon, the sun, and the planets, were treated by astronomy had nothing to do with the way things on earth were treated. These were entirely different realms, and what Newton realized was that there had to be a force holding the moon in orbit around the earth. This is not something that Aristotle or his predecessors thought, because they were treating the planets and the moon as though they just naturally went around in circles. Newton realized there had to be some force holding the moon in its orbit around the earth, to keep it from wandering off, and he knew also there was a force that was pulling the apple down to the earth. And so what suddenly struck him was that those could be one and the same thing, the same force.

That was a physical discovery, a physical discovery of momentous importance, as important as anything you could ever imagine because it knit together the terrestrial realm and the celestial realm into one common physical picture. It was also a philosophical discovery in the sense that philosophy is interested in the fundamental natures of things.

Newton would call what he was doing natural philosophy, that's actually the name of his book: "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy." Philosophy, traditionally, is what everybody thought they were doing. It's what Aristotle thought he was doing when he wrote his book called Physics. So it's not as if there's this big gap between physical inquiry and philosophical inquiry. They're both interested in the world on a very general scale, and people who work in the foundations of physics, that is, the group that works on the foundations of physics, is about equally divided between people who live in philosophy departments, people who live in physics departments, and people who live in mathematics departments.

In May of last year Stephen Hawking gave a talk for Google in which he said that philosophy was dead, and that it was dead because it had failed to keep up with science, and in particular physics. Is he wrong or is he describing a failure of philosophy that your project hopes to address?

Maudlin: Hawking is a brilliant man, but he's not an expert in what's going on in philosophy, evidently. Over the past thirty years the philosophy of physics has become seamlessly integrated with the foundations of physics work done by actual physicists, so the situation is actually the exact opposite of what he describes. I think he just doesn't know what he's talking about. I mean there's no reason why he should. Why should he spend a lot of time reading the philosophy of physics? I'm sure it's very difficult for him to do. But I think he's just . . . uninformed.

Hawking is a brilliant man, but he's not an expert in what's going on in philosophy, evidently.

Do you think that physics has neglected some of these foundational questions as it has become, increasingly, a kind of engine for the applied sciences, focusing on the manipulation, rather than say, the explanation, of the physical world?

Maudlin: Look, physics has definitely avoided what were traditionally considered to be foundational physical questions, but the reason for that goes back to the foundation of quantum mechanics. The problem is that quantum mechanics was developed as a mathematical tool. Physicists understood how to use it as a tool for making predictions, but without an agreement or understanding about what it was telling us about the physical world. And that's very clear when you look at any of the foundational discussions. This is what Einstein was upset about; this is what Schrodinger was upset about. Quantum mechanics was merely a calculational technique that was not well understood as a physical theory. Bohr and Heisenberg tried to argue that asking for a clear physical theory was something you shouldn't do anymore. That it was something outmoded. And they were wrong, Bohr and Heisenberg were wrong about that. But the effect of it was to shut down perfectly legitimate physics questions within the physics community for about half a century. And now we're coming out of that, fortunately.

And what's driving the renaissance?

Maudlin: Well, the questions never went away. There were always people who were willing to ask them. Probably the greatest physicist in the last half of the twentieth century, who pressed very hard on these questions, was John Stewart Bell. So you can't suppress it forever, it will always bubble up. It came back because people became less and less willing to simply say, "Well, Bohr told us not to ask those questions," which is sort of a ridiculous thing to say.

Are the topics that have scientists completely flustered especially fertile ground for philosophers? For example I've been doing a ton of research for a piece about the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and none of the astronomers I've talked to seem to have a clue as to how to use it to solve the mystery of dark energy. Is there, or will there be, a philosophy of dark energy in the same way that a body of philosophy seems to have flowered around the mysteries of quantum mechanics?

Maudlin: There will be. There can be a philosophy of anything really, but it's perhaps not as fancy as you're making it out. The basic philosophical question, going back to Plato, is "What is x?" What is virtue? What is justice? What is matter? What is time? You can ask that about dark energy—what is it? And it's a perfectly good question.

There are different ways of thinking about the phenomena which we attribute to dark energy. Some ways of thinking about it say that what you're really doing is adjusting the laws of nature themselves. Some other ways of thinking about it suggest that you've discovered a component or constituent of nature that we need to understand better, and seek the source of. So, the question—What is this thing fundamentally?—is a philosophical question, and is a fundamental physical question, and will lead to interesting avenues of inquiry.

One example of philosophy of cosmology that seems to have trickled out to the layman is the idea of fine tuning—the notion that in the set of all possible physics, the subset that permits the evolution of life is very small, and that from this it is possible to conclude that the universe is either one of a large number of universes, a multiverse, or that perhaps some agent has fine tuned the universe with the expectation that it generate life. Do you expect that idea to have staying power, and if not what are some of the compelling arguments against it?

Maudlin: A lot of attention has been given to the fine tuning argument. Let me just say first of all, that the fine tuning argument as you state it, which is a perfectly correct statement of it, depends upon making judgments about the likelihood, or probability of something. Like, "how likely is it that the mass of the electron would be related to the mass of the proton in a certain way?" Now, one can first be a little puzzled by what you mean by "how likely" or "probable" something like that is. You can ask how likely it is that I'll roll double sixes when I throw dice, but we understand the way you get a handle on the use of probabilities in that instance. It's not as clear how you even make judgments like that about the likelihood of the various constants of nature (an so on) that are usually referred to in the fine tuning argument.

Now let me say one more thing about fine tuning. I talk to physicists a lot, and none of the physicists I talk to want to rely on the fine tuning argument to argue for a cosmology that has lots of bubble universes, or lots of worlds. What they want to argue is that this arises naturally from an analysis of the fundamental physics, that the fundamental physics, quite apart from any cosmological considerations, will give you a mechanism by which these worlds will be produced, and a mechanism by which different worlds will have different constants, or different laws, and so on.  If that's true, then if there are enough of these worlds, it will be likely that some of them have the right combination of constants to permit life. But their arguments tend not to be "we have to believe in these many worlds to solve the fine tuning problem," they tend to be "these many worlds are generated by physics we have other reasons for believing in." [As an aside, I think of fine-tuning in terms of a complex circle of cosmological entropy. For instance, for the earth to cool down it required flora and fauna, an atmosphere, volcanic activity, etc and etc. - r.e. slater]

If we give up on that, and it turns out there aren't these many worlds, that physics is unable to generate them, then it's not that the only option is that there was some intelligent designer. It would be a terrible mistake to think that those are the only two ways things could go. You would have to again think hard about what you mean by probability, and about what sorts of explanations there might be. Part of the problem is that right now there are just way too many freely adjustable parameters in physics. Everybody agrees about that. There seem to be many things we call constants of nature that you could imagine setting at different values, and most physicists think there shouldn't be that many, that many of them are related to one another. Physicists think that at the end of the day there should be one complete equation to describe all physics, because any two physical systems interact and physics has to tell them what to do. And physicists generally like to have only a few constants, or parameters of nature. This is what Einstein meant when he famously said he wanted to understand what kind of choices God had—using his metaphor— how free his choices were in creating the universe, which is just asking how many freely adjustable parameters there are. Physicists tend to prefer theories that reduce that number, and as you reduce it, the problem of fine tuning tends to go away. But, again, this is just stuff we don't understand well enough yet.

I know that the nature of time is considered to be an especially tricky problem for physics, one that physicists seem prepared, or even eager, to hand over to philosophers. Why is that?

Maudlin: That's a very interesting question, and we could have a long conversation about that. I'm not sure it's accurate to say that physicists want to hand time over to philosophers. Some physicists are very adamant about wanting to say things about it; Sean Carroll for example is very adamant about saying that time is real [In processual terms time is never a substance but an event between two relationships. Further, reality is not a substance but an outcome of a relational universe. - re slater]. You have others saying that time is just an illusion, that there isn't really a direction of time, and so forth. I myself think that all of the reasons that lead people to say things like that have very little merit, and that people have just been misled, largely by mistaking the mathematics they use to describe reality for reality itself. If you think that mathematical objects are not in time, and mathematical objects don't change—which is perfectly true—and then you're always using mathematical objects to describe the world, you could easily fall into the idea that the world itself doesn't change, because your representations of it don't. [Cosmic Objects was how post-Hegelian philosophers described the world. Process Philosophers do not recognize Platonic objects at all. The universe is not a collection of objects but a collect of relationships whose base elements are interacting forces or energies defining time and matter. - re slater]

If you think that mathematical objects are not in time, and mathematical objects don't change, you could easily fall into the idea that the world itself doesn't change, because your representations of it don't. - Tim Maudlin

There are other, technical reasons that people have thought that you don't need a direction of time, or that physics doesn't postulate a direction of time. My own view is that none of those arguments are very good. To the question as to why a physicist would want to hand time over to philosophers, the answer would be that physicists for almost a hundred years have been dissuaded from trying to think about fundamental questions. I think most physicists would quite rightly say "I don't have the tools to answer a question like 'what is time?' —I have the tools to solve a differential equation." The asking of fundamental physical questions is just not part of the training of a physicist anymore.

I recently came across a paper about Fermi's Paradox and Self-Replicating Probes, and while it had kind of a science fiction tone to it, it occurred to me as I was reading it that philosophers might be uniquely suited to speculating about, or at least evaluating the probabilistic arguments for the existence of life elsewhere in the universe. Do you expect philosophers of cosmology to enter into those debates, or will the discipline confine itself to issues that emerge directly from physics?

Maudlin: This is really a physical question. If you think of life, of intelligent life, it is, among other things, a physical phenomenon—it occurs when the physical conditions are right. And so the question of how likely it is that life will emerge, and how frequently it will emerge, does connect up to physics, and does connect up to cosmology, because when you're asking how likely it is that somewhere there's life, you're talking about the broad scope of the physical universe. And philosophers do tend to be pretty well schooled in certain kinds of probabilistic analysis, and so it may come up. I wouldn't rule it in or rule it out. [The teleos of a process cosmology always lends itself to the internal wellbeing of the organism; it will always seek a valuative relationship between that which is non-vaulative to its existence in order to resolve the conflict of death, destruction, etc. - re slater]

I will make one comment about these kinds of arguments which seems to me to somehow have eluded everyone. When people make these probabilistic equations, like the Drake Equation, which you're familiar with—they introduce variables for the frequency of earth-like planets, for the evolution of life on those planets, and so on. The question remains as to how often, after life evolves, you'll have intelligent life capable of making technology. What people haven't seemed to notice is that on earth, of all the billions of species that have evolved, only one has developed intelligence to the level of producing technology. Which means that kind of intelligence is really not very useful. It's not actually, in the general case, of much evolutionary value. We tend to think, because we love to think of ourselves, human beings, as the top of the evolutionary ladder, that the intelligence we have, that makes us human beings, is the thing that all of evolution is striving toward. But what we know is that that's not true. Obviously it doesn't matter that much if you're a beetle, that you be really smart. If it were, evolution would have produced much more intelligent beetles. We have no empirical data to suggest that there's a high probability that evolution on another planet would lead to technological intelligence. There is just too much we don't know.

Images: 1. NASA 2. Ross Anderson. 3. NASA. 4. Cambridge Digital Gallery Newton Collection. 5. NASA. 6. NASA.

*Updated: This piece has been amended to include Rutgers in the list of participating universities.

Ross Andersen is the deputy editor of The Atlantic.

* * * * * * * *

The Philosophy of Cosmology
by Khalil Chamcham, Joseph Silk, et al. | Apr 13, 2017

Following a long-term international collaboration between leaders in cosmology and the philosophy of science, this volume addresses foundational questions at the limit of science across these disciplines, questions raised by observational and theoretical progress in modern cosmology. Space missions have mapped the Universe up to its early instants, opening up questions on what came before the Big Bang, the nature of space and time, and the quantum origin of the Universe. As the foundational volume of an emerging academic discipline, experts from relevant fields lay out the fundamental problems of contemporary cosmology and explore the routes toward finding possible solutions. Written for graduates and researchers in physics and philosophy, particular efforts are made to inform academics from other fields, as well as the educated public, who wish to understand our modern vision of the Universe, related philosophical questions, and the significant impacts on scientific methodology.

Natural Philosophy is based on a current understanding of Physical Reality. Thus it must evolve as our knowledge of Nature changes. This was true in Ancient Greece. It remains true up to the present. We can classify views of Physical Reality into four periods that correspond to major periods in Natural Philosophy:
  • Aristotelian
  • Newtonian
  • Atomic
  • Octonion Cosmological
This book describes Natural Philosophy in view of the exciting new developments of Physical Reality in Octonion Cosmology. It begins with a detailed narrative outline of the genesis of the ten spaces (universes) of the Cosmos from a point in a 20 dimension space-time.

It is followed by a detailed view of the Octonion Cosmological Period describing the impact on Epistemology and Metaphysics. Space, time and matter are intertwined in a new manner that differs from the Atomic Period. The structure of the Cosmos differs dramatically from previous theories.

The book also addresses Predestination, Fate, and Free Will from a quantum perspective.

Its third part contains the original book: 21st Century Natural Philosophy, which describes the Natural Philosophy of the Atomic Period.

The Atomic Period began in the late 19th Century when the atomic nature of matter was finally accepted. It continued up to the 2020 as atoms were disassembled into elementary particles and forces.

In January, 2020 the author introduced a hypercomplex number based theory, QUeST, that had the remarkable feature of yielding the known interactions and elementary particles of The Standard Model and much more. Subsequently Octonion Cosmology emerged. It is described in 2021 in the author's books: Quantum Space Theory and Beyond Octonion Cosmology.

A point of interest is a "golden" triangle of transformations between mass, energy, and space. Mass can be transformed into energy and vice versa. Mass and/or energy can be transformed into space and vice versa.

This book newly articulates the international and interdisciplinary reach of Whitehead’s organic process cosmology for a variety of topics across science and philosophy, and in dialogue with a variety historical and contemporary voices. Integrating Whitehead’s thought with the insights of Bergson, James, Pierce, Merleau-Ponty, Descola, Fuchs, Hofmann, Grof and many others, contributors from around the world reveal the relevance of process philosophy to physics, cosmology, astrobiology, ecology, metaphysics, aesthetics, psychedelics, and religion. A global collection, this book expresses multivocal possibilities for the development of process cosmology after Whitehead.

The Science and Philosophy of Information book series is adapted for general audience and based on the previously published grand volume titled “The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution” by digital philosopher Alex Vikoulov on the ultimate nature of reality, consciousness, the physics of time, philosophy of mind, digital physics, the technological Singularity, transhumanism, the impending phase transition of humanity, the simulation hypothesis, digital philosophy, foundations of quantum physics, extension to the original gaia hypothesis, economic theory, transcendental metaphysics and God. In this book one of the series, the author addresses some of the most flaming questions in science and philosophy: Where do we come from? What are the origins of us? What is our role in the grand scheme of things?

The book starts with a story that happened almost exactly 400 years ago that has had a tremendous "butterfly" effect on us modern humans...

Cosmology for the Curious
by Delia Perlov and Alex Vilenkin | Jul 26, 2017

This book is a gentle introduction for all those wishing to learn about modern views of the cosmos. Our universe originated in a great explosion – the big bang. For nearly a century cosmologists have studied the aftermath of this explosion: how the universe expanded and cooled down, and how galaxies were gradually assembled by gravity. The nature of the bang itself has come into focus only relatively recently. It is the subject of the theory of cosmic inflation, which was developed in the last few decades and has led to a radically new global view of the universe.

Students and other interested readers will find here a non-technical but conceptually rigorous account of modern cosmological ideas - describing what we know, and how we know it. One of the book's central themes is the scientific quest to find answers to the ultimate cosmic questions: Is the universe finite or infinite? Has it existed forever? If not, when and how did it come into being? Will it ever end?
The book is based on the undergraduate course taught by Alex Vilenkin at Tufts University. It assumes no prior knowledge of physics or mathematics beyond elementary high school math. The necessary physics background is introduced as it is required. Each chapter includes a list of questions and exercises of varying degree of difficulty.   

Modern Cosmology
by Scott Dodelson and Fabian Schmidt | Jun 10, 2020

Modern Cosmology, Second Edition, provides a detailed introduction to the field of cosmology. Beginning with the smooth, homogeneous universe described by a Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker metric, this trusted resource includes careful treatments of dark energy, big bang nucleosynthesis, recombination, and dark matter. The reader is then introduced to perturbations about an FLRW universe: their evolution with the Einstein-Boltzmann equations, their primordial generation by inflation, and their observational consequences: the acoustic peaks in the CMB; the E/B decomposition in polarization; gravitational lensing of the CMB and large-scale structure; and the BAO standard ruler and redshift-space distortions in galaxy clustering. The Second Edition now also covers nonlinear structure formation including perturbation theory and simulations. The book concludes with a substantially updated chapter on data analysis.

Modern Cosmology, Second Edition, shows how modern observations are rapidly revolutionizing our picture of the universe, and supplies readers with all the tools needed to work in cosmology.

Explores the religious, political, and cultural significance attributed to music in early China.

This extensively researched and illustrated volume offers Western readers a rare introduction to Buddhism's complex and fascinating views about the structure of the universe. The book begins by clearly explaining classical cosmology, with its symmetrical, India-centered universe and multitudinous heavens and hells, and illuminates the cosmos's relation to the human concerns of karma, transmigration, and enlightenment. It moves on to discuss the Mahayana conception of the universe as a lotus flower containing uncountable realms, each with its own buddha. Then, examining changes in the notions of hell and the gods, the author traces Buddhism's gradual shift from a religion to a mythology. Throughout, treatment of Buddhism's historical, geographical, and doctrinal origins complements detailed cosmological descriptions. Finally, the author shows us how this ancient philosophy resembles the modern scientific view of the cosmos, and how even today it can help us lead more fulfilling lives.

Bertrand Russell is an excellent writer and a clear thinker. This book serves as a great, short introduction to Russell's approach to the problems of philosophy. The problems Russell addresses are primarily epistemological. Russell's primary questions revolve around the question: what do we know, and how do we know it? Russell first argues for the appearance/reality distinction and offers a sense-datum theory of the foundations of knowledge (for a very interesting critique of sense datum theories I recommend Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin). But, Russell argues, sense data on their own cannot account for our knowledge. We must have some knowledge of general principles, and some kind of inductive principle, if we are going to derive any knowledge from sense data to arrive at knowledge that is not immediate (Russell also includes memory in immediate forms of knowledge). Russell examines the meaning of truth and falsehood and determines three criteria that any theory of the truth must meet, and then, in the last two chapters, Russell attempts to determine the limits and the value of philosophy. In terms of straight forward clarity of analytic philosophers, and Russell is one of the best, which is one of the reasons why he won the Nobel prize for literature in 1950.

"In the brief span of some 140 pages Pere Gardeil succeeds remarkably well in the simple presentation of the Aristotelian principles of mobile being, quantity, motion, causation, place, time, inanity, the first mover, and astronomical theory. A second section (of some forty-five pages) selects five capital texts from the classic commentary of St. Thomas upon Aristotle's Physics and the full text of his model synopsis of Aristotelian cosmology in the early Paris opuscule, De Principiis Naturae. The translation of the original French work of 1953 has been accomplished with sober clarity and served editorially with a useful index and notes. Its frank, working language should attract both philosophical novice and pragmatic scientist alike and effect their working contact with a classic vision of the universe." --Philosophical Studies

This book offers a comprehensive account of vitalism and the Romantic philosophy of nature. The author explores the rise of biology as a unified science in Germany by reconstructing the history of the notion of “vital force,” starting from the mid-eighteenth through the early nineteenth century. Further, he argues that Romantic Naturphilosophie played a crucial role in the rise of biology in Germany, especially thanks to its treatment of teleology. In fact, both post-Kantian philosophers and naturalists were guided by teleological principles in defining the object of biological research.

The book begins by considering the problem of generation, focusing on the debate over the notion of “formative force.” Readers are invited to engage with the epistemological status of this formative force, i.e. the question of the principle behind organization. The second chapter provides a reconstruction of the physiology of vital forces as it was elaborated in the mid- to late-eighteenth century by the group of physicians and naturalists known as the “Göttingen School.” Readers are shown how these authors developed an understanding of the animal kingdom as a graded series of organisms with increasing functional complexity.

Chapter three tracks the development of such framework in Romantic Naturphilosophie. The author introduces the reader to the problem of classification, showing how Romantic philosophers of nature regarded classification as articulated by a unified plan that connects all living forms with one another, relying on the idea of living nature as a universal organism. In the closing chapter, this analysis shows how the three instances of pre-biological discourse on living beings – theory of generation, physiology and natural history – converged to form the consolidated disciplinary matrix of a general biology.

The book offers an insightful read for all scholars interested in classical German philosophy, especially those researching the philosophy of nature, as well as the history and philosophy of biology.

Encyclopedia of African Religions and Philosophy
by V. Y. Mudimbe and University of Ottawa | Oct 1, 2021

This comprehensive encyclopedia presents African thinkers, concepts and traditions, with a focus on African religious and philosophical practices. It offers a dependable and significant synthesis of African studies that encompasses major trends in the field since the early 1980s. The encyclopedia considers all religious and philosophical systems of Africa, both indigenous and non-indigenous. It also recognizes the determining role of the Diaspora in understanding African traditions and African identity. The work has benefited immensely from commitments in advanced interdisciplinary exchanges in a number of domains, including comparative research in epistemology and from surveys in postcolonial studies and social sciences, along with religious and philosophical compendia. In brief, this is an encyclopedia made from the viewpoint of African studies and in dialogue with scientific traditions.

In Beyond Biocentrism, acclaimed biologist Robert Lanza, one of TIME Magazine's ""100 Most Influential People in 2014,"" and leading astronomer Bob Berman, take the reader on an intellectual thrill-ride as they re-examine everything we thought we knew about life, death, the universe, and the nature of reality itself.

The first step is acknowledging that our existing model of reality is looking increasingly creaky in the face of recent scientific discoveries. Science tells us with some precision that the universe is 26.8 percent dark matter, 68.3 percent dark energy, and only 4.9 percent ordinary matter, but must confess that it doesn't really know what dark matter is and knows even less about dark energy. Science is increasingly pointing toward an infinite universe but has no ability to explain what that really means. Concepts such as time, space, and even causality are increasingly being demonstrated as meaningless.

All of science is based on information passing through our consciousness but science hasn't the foggiest idea what consciousness is, and it can't explain the linkage between subatomic states and observation by conscious observers. Science describes life as an random occurrence in a dead universe but has no real understanding of how life began or why the universe appears to be exquisitely designed for the emergence of life.

The biocentrism theory isn't a rejection of science. Quite the opposite. Biocentrism challenges us to fully accept the implications of the latest scientific findings in fields ranging from plant biology and cosmology to quantum entanglement and consciousness.

By listening to what the science is telling us, it becomes increasingly clear that life and consciousness are fundamental to any true understanding of the universe. This forces a fundamental rethinking of everything we thought we knew about life, death, and our place in the universe.

* * * * * * * *

Representation of the observable universe on a logarithmic scale.

Jump to searc
The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) was completed in September 2012 and shows the farthest galaxies ever photographed. Except for the few stars in the foreground (which are bright and easily recognizable because only they have diffraction spikes), every speck of light in the photo is an individual galaxy, some of them as old as 13.2 billion years; the observable universe is estimated to contain more than 2 trillion galaxies.[1]

Cosmology (from Greek κόσμος, kosmos "world" and -λογία, -logia "study of") is a branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of the universe. The term cosmology was first used in English in 1656 in Thomas Blount's Glossographia,[2] and in 1731 taken up in Latin by German philosopher Christian Wolff, in Cosmologia Generalis.[3] Religious or mythological cosmology is a body of beliefs based on mythologicalreligious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation myths and eschatology. In the science of astronomy it is concerned with the study of the chronology of the universe.

Physical cosmology is the study of the observable universe's origin, its large-scale structures and dynamics, and the ultimate fate of the universe, including the laws of science that govern these areas.[4] It is investigated by scientists, such as astronomers and physicists, as well as philosophers, such as metaphysiciansphilosophers of physics, and philosophers of space and time. Because of this shared scope with philosophytheories in physical cosmology may include both scientific and non-scientific propositions, and may depend upon assumptions that cannot be tested. Physical cosmology is a sub-branch of astronomy that is concerned with the Universe as a whole. Modern physical cosmology is dominated by the Big Bang theory, which attempts to bring together observational astronomy and particle physics;[5][6] more specifically, a standard parameterization of the Big Bang with dark matter and dark energy, known as the Lambda-CDM model.

Theoretical astrophysicist David N. Spergel has described cosmology as a "historical science" because "when we look out in space, we look back in time" due to the finite nature of the speed of light.[7]


Physics and astrophysics have played a central role in shaping the understanding of the universe through scientific observation and experiment. Physical cosmology was shaped through both mathematics and observation in an analysis of the whole universe. The universe is generally understood to have begun with the Big Bang, followed almost instantaneously by cosmic inflation, an expansion of space from which the universe is thought to have emerged 13.799 ± 0.021 billion years ago.[8] Cosmogony studies the origin of the Universe, and cosmography maps the features of the Universe.

In Diderot's Encyclopédie, cosmology is broken down into uranology (the science of the heavens), aerology (the science of the air), geology (the science of the continents), and hydrology (the science of waters).[9]

Metaphysical cosmology has also been described as the placing of humans in the universe in relationship to all other entities. This is exemplified by Marcus Aurelius's observation that a man's place in that relationship: "He who does not know what the world is does not know where he is, and he who does not know for what purpose the world exists, does not know who he is, nor what the world is."[10]


Physical cosmology

Physical cosmology is the branch of physics and astrophysics that deals with the study of the physical origins and evolution of the Universe. It also includes the study of the nature of the Universe on a large scale. In its earliest form, it was what is now known as "celestial mechanics", the study of the heavens. Greek philosophers Aristarchus of SamosAristotle, and Ptolemy proposed different cosmological theories. The geocentric Ptolemaic system was the prevailing theory until the 16th century when Nicolaus Copernicus, and subsequently Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, proposed a heliocentric system. This is one of the most famous examples of epistemological rupture in physical cosmology.

Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, was the first description of the law of universal gravitation. It provided a physical mechanism for Kepler's laws and also allowed the anomalies in previous systems, caused by gravitational interaction between the planets, to be resolved. A fundamental difference between Newton's cosmology and those preceding it was the Copernican principle—that the bodies on earth obey the same physical laws as all the celestial bodies. This was a crucial philosophical advance in physical cosmology.

Modern scientific cosmology is usually considered to have begun in 1917 with Albert Einstein's publication of his final modification of general relativity in the paper "Cosmological Considerations of the General Theory of Relativity"[11] (although this paper was not widely available outside of Germany until the end of World War I). General relativity prompted cosmogonists such as Willem de SitterKarl Schwarzschild, and Arthur Eddington to explore its astronomical ramifications, which enhanced the ability of astronomers to study very distant objects. Physicists began changing the assumption that the Universe was static and unchanging. In 1922 Alexander Friedmann introduced the idea of an expanding universe that contained moving matter.

In parallel to this dynamic approach to cosmology, one long-standing debate about the structure of the cosmos was coming to a climax - the Great Debate (1917 to 1922) - with early cosmologists such as Heber Curtis and Ernst Öpik determining that some nebulae seen in telescopes were separate galaxies far distant from our own.[12] While Heber Curtis argued for the idea that spiral nebulae were star systems in their own right as island universes, Mount Wilson astronomer Harlow Shapley championed the model of a cosmos made up of the Milky Way star system only. This difference of ideas came to a climax with the organization of the Great Debate on 26 April 1920 at the meeting of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The debate was resolved when Edwin Hubble detected Cepheid Variables in the Andromeda Galaxy in 1923 and 1924.[13][14] Their distance established spiral nebulae well beyond the edge of the Milky Way.

Subsequent modelling of the universe explored the possibility that the cosmological constant, introduced by Einstein in his 1917 paper, may result in an expanding universe, depending on its value. Thus the Big Bang model was proposed by the Belgian priest Georges Lemaître in 1927[15] which was subsequently corroborated by Edwin Hubble's discovery of the redshift in 1929[16] and later by the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson in 1964.[17] These findings were a first step to rule out some of many alternative cosmologies.

Since around 1990, several dramatic advances in observational cosmology have transformed cosmology from a largely speculative science into a predictive science with precise agreement between theory and observation. These advances include observations of the microwave background from the COBE,[18] WMAP[19] and Planck satellites,[20] large new galaxy redshift surveys including 2dfGRS[21] and SDSS,[22] and observations of distant supernovae and gravitational lensing. These observations matched the predictions of the cosmic inflation theory, a modified Big Bang theory, and the specific version known as the Lambda-CDM model. This has led many to refer to modern times as the "golden age of cosmology".[23]

On 17 March 2014, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the detection of gravitational waves, providing strong evidence for inflation and the Big Bang.[24][25][26] However, on 19 June 2014, lowered confidence in confirming the cosmic inflation findings was reported.[27][28][29]

On 1 December 2014, at the Planck 2014 meeting in FerraraItaly, astronomers reported that the universe is 13.8 billion years old and is composed of 4.9% atomic matter, 26.6% dark matter and 68.5% dark energy.[30]

Religious or mythological cosmology

Religious or mythological cosmology is a body of beliefs based on mythologicalreligious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology.

Philosophical cosmology

Representation of the observable universe on a logarithmic scale.

Cosmology deals with the world as the totality of space, time and all phenomena. Historically, it has had quite a broad scope, and in many cases was found in religion.[31] In modern use metaphysical cosmology addresses questions about the Universe which are beyond the scope of science. It is distinguished from religious cosmology in that it approaches these questions using philosophical methods like dialectics. Modern metaphysical cosmology tries to address questions such as:[24][32]

Historical cosmologies

NameAuthor and dateClassificationRemarks
Hindu cosmologyRigveda (c. 1700–1100 BC)Cyclical or oscillating, Infinite in timePrimal matter remains manifest for 311.04 trillion years and unmanifest for an equal length. The universe remains manifest for 4.32 billion years and unmanifest for an equal length. Innumerable universes exist simultaneously. These cycles have and will last forever, driven by desires.
Jain cosmologyJain Agamas (written around 500 AD as per the teachings of Mahavira 599–527 BC)Cyclical or oscillating, eternal and finiteJain cosmology considers the loka, or universe, as an uncreated entity, existing since infinity, the shape of the universe as similar to a man standing with legs apart and arm resting on his waist. This Universe, according to Jainism, is broad at the top, narrow at the middle and once again becomes broad at the bottom.
Babylonian cosmologyBabylonian literature (c. 2300–500 BC)Flat earth floating in infinite "waters of chaos"The Earth and the Heavens form a unit within infinite "waters of chaos"; the earth is flat and circular, and a solid dome (the "firmament") keeps out the outer "chaos"-ocean.
Eleatic cosmologyParmenides (c. 515 BC)Finite and spherical in extentThe Universe is unchanging, uniform, perfect, necessary, timeless, and neither generated nor perishable. Void is impossible. Plurality and change are products of epistemic ignorance derived from sense experience. Temporal and spatial limits are arbitrary and relative to the Parmenidean whole.
Samkhya Cosmic EvolutionKapila (6th century BC), pupil AsuriPrakriti (Matter) and Purusha (Consiouness) RelationPrakriti (Matter) is the source of the world of becoming. It is pure potentiality that evolves itself successively into twenty four tattvas or principles. The evolution itself is possible because Prakriti is always in a state of tension among its constituent strands known as gunas (Sattva (lightness or purity), Rajas (passion or activity), and Tamas (inertia or heaviness)). The cause and effect theory of Sankhya is called Satkaarya-vaada (theory of existent causes), and holds that nothing can really be created from or destroyed into nothingness—all evolution is simply the transformation of primal Nature from one form to another.[citation needed]
Biblical cosmologyGenesis creation narrativeEarth floating in infinite "waters of chaos"The Earth and the Heavens form a unit within infinite "waters of chaos"; the "firmament" keeps out the outer "chaos"-ocean.
Atomist universeAnaxagoras (500–428 BC) & later EpicurusInfinite in extentThe universe contains only two things: an infinite number of tiny seeds (atoms) and the void of infinite extent. All atoms are made of the same substance, but differ in size and shape. Objects are formed from atom aggregations and decay back into atoms. Incorporates Leucippus' principle of causality: "nothing happens at random; everything happens out of reason and necessity". The universe was not ruled by gods.[citation needed]
Pythagorean universePhilolaus (d. 390 BC)Existence of a "Central Fire" at the center of the Universe.At the center of the Universe is a central fire, around which the Earth, Sun, Moon and planets revolve uniformly. The Sun revolves around the central fire once a year, the stars are immobile. The earth in its motion maintains the same hidden face towards the central fire, hence it is never seen. First known non-geocentric model of the Universe.[33]
De MundoPseudo-Aristotle (d. 250 BC or between 350 and 200 BC)The Universe is a system made up of heaven and earth and the elements which are contained in them.There are "five elements, situated in spheres in five regions, the less being in each case surrounded by the greater – namely, earth surrounded by water, water by air, air by fire, and fire by ether – make up the whole Universe."[34]
Stoic universeStoics (300 BC – 200 AD)Island universeThe cosmos is finite and surrounded by an infinite void. It is in a state of flux, and pulsates in size and undergoes periodic upheavals and conflagrations.
Aristotelian universeAristotle (384–322 BC)Geocentric, static, steady state, finite extent, infinite timeSpherical earth is surrounded by concentric celestial spheres. Universe exists unchanged throughout eternity. Contains a fifth element, called aether, that was added to the four classical elements.
Aristarchean universeAristarchus (circa 280 BC)HeliocentricEarth rotates daily on its axis and revolves annually about the sun in a circular orbit. Sphere of fixed stars is centered about the sun.
Ptolemaic modelPtolemy (2nd century AD)Geocentric (based on Aristotelian universe)Universe orbits around a stationary Earth. Planets move in circular epicycles, each having a center that moved in a larger circular orbit (called an eccentric or a deferent) around a center-point near Earth. The use of equants added another level of complexity and allowed astronomers to predict the positions of the planets. The most successful universe model of all time, using the criterion of longevity. Almagest (the Great System).
Aryabhatan modelAryabhata (499)Geocentric or HeliocentricThe Earth rotates and the planets move in elliptical orbits around either the Earth or Sun; uncertain whether the model is geocentric or heliocentric due to planetary orbits given with respect to both the Earth and Sun.
Medieval universeMedieval philosophers (500–1200)Finite in timeA universe that is finite in time and has a beginning is proposed by the Christian philosopher John Philoponus, who argues against the ancient Greek notion of an infinite past. Logical arguments supporting a finite universe are developed by the early Muslim philosopher Al-Kindi, the Jewish philosopher Saadia Gaon, and the Muslim theologian Al-Ghazali.
Non-Parallel MultiverseBhagvata Puran(800–1000)Multiverse, Non ParallelInnumerable universes is comparable to the multiverse theory, except nonparallel where each universe is different and individual jiva-atmas (embodied souls) exist in exactly one universe at a time. All universes manifest from the same matter, and so they all follow parallel time cycles, manifesting and unmanifesting at the same time.[35]
Multiversal cosmologyFakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149–1209)Multiverse, multiple worlds and universesThere exists an infinite outer space beyond the known world, and God has the power to fill the vacuum with an infinite number of universes.
Maragha modelsMaragha school (1259–1528)GeocentricVarious modifications to Ptolemaic model and Aristotelian universe, including rejection of equant and eccentrics at Maragheh observatory, and introduction of Tusi-couple by Al-Tusi. Alternative models later proposed, including the first accurate lunar model by Ibn al-Shatir, a model rejecting stationary Earth in favour of Earth's rotation by Ali Kuşçu, and planetary model incorporating "circular inertia" by Al-Birjandi.
Nilakanthan modelNilakantha Somayaji (1444–1544)Geocentric and heliocentricA universe in which the planets orbit the Sun, which orbits the Earth; similar to the later Tychonic system
Copernican universeNicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543)Heliocentric with circular planetary orbitsFirst described in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.
Tychonic systemTycho Brahe (1546–1601)Geocentric and HeliocentricA universe in which the planets orbit the Sun and the Sun orbits the Earth, similar to the earlier Nilakanthan model.
Bruno's cosmologyGiordano Bruno (1548–1600)Infinite extent, infinite time, homogeneous, isotropic, non-hierarchicalRejects the idea of a hierarchical universe. Earth and Sun have no special properties in comparison with the other heavenly bodies. The void between the stars is filled with aether, and matter is composed of the same four elements (water, earth, fire, and air), and is atomistic, animistic and intelligent.
KeplerianJohannes Kepler (1571–1630)Heliocentric with elliptical planetary orbitsKepler's discoveries, marrying mathematics and physics, provided the foundation for our present conception of the Solar system, but distant stars were still seen as objects in a thin, fixed celestial sphere.
Static NewtonianIsaac Newton (1642–1727)Static (evolving), steady state, infiniteEvery particle in the universe attracts every other particle. Matter on the large scale is uniformly distributed. Gravitationally balanced but unstable.
Cartesian Vortex universeRené Descartes, 17th centuryStatic (evolving), steady state, infiniteSystem of huge swirling whirlpools of aethereal or fine matter produces what we would call gravitational effects. But his vacuum was not empty; all space was filled with matter.
Hierarchical universeImmanuel KantJohann Lambert, 18th centuryStatic (evolving), steady state, infiniteMatter is clustered on ever larger scales of hierarchy. Matter is endlessly recycled.
Einstein Universe with a cosmological constantAlbert Einstein, 1917Static (nominally). Bounded (finite)"Matter without motion". Contains uniformly distributed matter. Uniformly curved spherical space; based on Riemann's hypersphere. Curvature is set equal to Λ. In effect Λ is equivalent to a repulsive force which counteracts gravity. Unstable.
De Sitter universeWillem de Sitter, 1917Expanding flat space.

Steady state. Λ > 0

"Motion without matter." Only apparently static. Based on Einstein's general relativity. Space expands with constant accelerationScale factor increases exponentially (constant inflation).
MacMillan universeWilliam Duncan MacMillan 1920sStatic and steady stateNew matter is created from radiation; starlight perpetually recycled into new matter particles.
Friedmann universe, spherical spaceAlexander Friedmann 1922Spherical expanding space.

k = +1 ; no Λ

Positive curvature. Curvature constant k = +1

Expands then recollapsesSpatially closed (finite).

Friedmann universe, hyperbolic spaceAlexander Friedmann, 1924Hyperbolic expanding space.

k = −1 ; no Λ

Negative curvature. Said to be infinite (but ambiguous). Unbounded. Expands forever.
Dirac large numbers hypothesisPaul Dirac 1930sExpandingDemands a large variation in G, which decreases with time. Gravity weakens as universe evolves.
Friedmann zero-curvatureEinstein and De Sitter, 1932Expanding flat space

k = 0 ; Λ = 0 Critical density

Curvature constant k = 0. Said to be infinite (but ambiguous). "Unbounded cosmos of limited extent". Expands forever. "Simplest" of all known universes. Named after but not considered by Friedmann. Has a deceleration term q = 1/2, which means that its expansion rate slows down.
The original Big Bang (Friedmann-Lemaître)Georges Lemaître 1927–29Expansion

Λ > 0 ; Λ > |Gravity|

Λ is positive and has a magnitude greater than gravity. Universe has initial high-density state ("primeval atom"). Followed by a two-stage expansion. Λ is used to destabilize the universe. (Lemaître is considered the father of the Big Bang model.)
Oscillating universe (Friedmann-Einstein)Favored by Friedmann, 1920sExpanding and contracting in cyclesTime is endless and beginningless; thus avoids the beginning-of-time paradox. Perpetual cycles of Big Bang followed by Big Crunch. (Einstein's first choice after he rejected his 1917 model.)
Eddington universeArthur Eddington 1930First static then expandsStatic Einstein 1917 universe with its instability disturbed into expansion mode; with relentless matter dilution becomes a De Sitter universe. Λ dominates gravity.
Milne universe of kinematic relativityEdward Milne, 1933, 1935;

William H. McCrea, 1930s

Kinematic expansion without space expansionRejects general relativity and the expanding space paradigm. Gravity not included as initial assumption. Obeys cosmological principle and special relativity; consists of a finite spherical cloud of particles (or galaxies) that expands within an infinite and otherwise empty flat space. It has a center and a cosmic edge (surface of the particle cloud) that expands at light speed. Explanation of gravity was elaborate and unconvincing.
Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker class of modelsHoward RobertsonArthur Walker, 1935Uniformly expandingClass of universes that are homogeneous and isotropic. Spacetime separates into uniformly curved space and cosmic time common to all co-moving observers. The formulation system is now known as the FLRW or Robertson–Walker metrics of cosmic time and curved space.
Steady-stateHermann BondiThomas Gold, 1948Expanding, steady state, infiniteMatter creation rate maintains constant density. Continuous creation out of nothing from nowhere. Exponential expansion. Deceleration term q = −1.
Steady-stateFred Hoyle 1948Expanding, steady state; but unstableMatter creation rate maintains constant density. But since matter creation rate must be exactly balanced with the space expansion rate the system is unstable.
AmbiplasmaHannes Alfvén 1965 Oskar KleinCellular universe, expanding by means of matter–antimatter annihilationBased on the concept of plasma cosmology. The universe is viewed as "meta-galaxies" divided by double layers and thus a bubble-like nature. Other universes are formed from other bubbles. Ongoing cosmic matter-antimatter annihilations keep the bubbles separated and moving apart preventing them from interacting.
Brans–Dicke theoryCarl H. BransRobert H. DickeExpandingBased on Mach's principleG varies with time as universe expands. "But nobody is quite sure what Mach's principle actually means."[citation needed]
Cosmic inflationAlan Guth 1980Big Bang modified to solve horizon and flatness problemsBased on the concept of hot inflation. The universe is viewed as a multiple quantum flux – hence its bubble-like nature. Other universes are formed from other bubbles. Ongoing cosmic expansion kept the bubbles separated and moving apart.
Eternal inflation (a multiple universe model)Andreï Linde, 1983Big Bang with cosmic inflationMultiverse based on the concept of cold inflation, in which inflationary events occur at random each with independent initial conditions; some expand into bubble universes supposedly like our entire cosmos. Bubbles nucleate in a spacetime foam.
Cyclic modelPaul SteinhardtNeil Turok 2002Expanding and contracting in cycles; M-theory.Two parallel orbifold planes or M-branes collide periodically in a higher-dimensional space. With quintessence or dark energy.
Cyclic modelLauris Baum; Paul Frampton 2007Solution of Tolman's entropy problemPhantom dark energy fragments universe into large number of disconnected patches. Our patch contracts containing only dark energy with zero entropy.

Table notes: the term "static" simply means not expanding and not contracting. Symbol G represents Newton's gravitational constant; Λ (Lambda) is the cosmological constant.

See also


  1. ^ Karl Hille, ed. (13 October 2016). "Hubble Reveals Observable Universe Contains 10 Times More Galaxies Than Previously Thought"NASA. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  2. ^ Hetherington, Norriss S. (2014). Encyclopedia of Cosmology (Routledge Revivals): Historical, Philosophical, and Scientific Foundations of Modern Cosmology. Routledge. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-317-67766-6.
  3. ^ Luminet, Jean-Pierre (2008). The Wraparound Universe. CRC Press. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-4398-6496-8. Extract of page 170
  4. ^ "Introduction: Cosmology – space"New Scientist. 4 September 2006
  5. ^ "Cosmology" Oxford Dictionaries
  6. ^ Overbye, Dennis (25 February 2019). "Have Dark Forces Been Messing With the Cosmos? – Axions? Phantom energy? Astrophysicists scramble to patch a hole in the universe, rewriting cosmic history in the process"The New York Times. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  7. ^ David N. Spergel (Fall 2014). "Cosmology Today". Daedalus143 (4): 125–133. doi:10.1162/DAED_a_00312S2CID 57568214.
  8. ^ Planck Collaboration (1 October 2016). "Planck 2015 results. XIII. Cosmological parameters"Astronomy & Astrophysics594 (13). Table 4 on page 31 of PDF. arXiv:1502.01589Bibcode:2016A&A...594A..13Pdoi:10.1051/0004-6361/201525830S2CID 119262962.
  9. ^ Diderot (Biography), Denis (1 April 2015). "Detailed Explanation of the System of Human Knowledge"Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert – Collaborative Translation Project. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  10. ^ The thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antonius viii. 52.
  11. ^ Einstein, A. (1952). "Cosmological considerations on the general theory of relativity"The Principle of Relativity. Dover Books on Physics. June 1, 1952. 240 Pages. 0486600815, P. 175-188: 175–188. Bibcode:1952prel.book..175E.
  12. ^ Dodelson, Scott (30 March 2003). Modern Cosmology. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-08-051197-9.
  13. ^ Falk, Dan (18 March 2009). "Review: The Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak"New Scientist201 (2700): 45. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(09)60809-5ISSN 0262-4079.
  14. ^ Hubble, E. P. (1 December 1926). "Extragalactic nebulae"The Astrophysical Journal64: 321. Bibcode:1926ApJ....64..321Hdoi:10.1086/143018ISSN 0004-637X.
  15. ^ Martin, G. (1883). "G. DELSAULX. — Sur une propriété de la diffraction des ondes planes; Annales de la Société scientifique de Bruxelles; 1882"Journal de Physique Théorique et Appliquée (in French). 2 (1): 175. doi:10.1051/jphystap:018830020017501ISSN 0368-3893.
  16. ^ Hubble, Edwin (15 March 1929). "A Relation Between Distance and Radial Velocity Among Extra-Galactic Nebulae"Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America15 (3): 168–173. Bibcode:1929PNAS...15..168Hdoi:10.1073/pnas.15.3.168ISSN 0027-8424PMC 522427PMID 16577160.
  17. ^ Penzias, A. A.; Wilson, R. W. (1 July 1965). "A Measurement of Excess Antenna Temperature at 4080 Mc/s"The Astrophysical Journal142: 419–421. Bibcode:1965ApJ...142..419Pdoi:10.1086/148307ISSN 0004-637X.
  18. ^ Boggess, N. W.; Mather, J. C.; Weiss, R.; Bennett, C. L.; Cheng, E. S.; Dwek, E.; Gulkis, S.; Hauser, M. G.; Janssen, M. A.; Kelsall, T.; Meyer, S. S. (1 October 1992). "The COBE mission – Its design and performance two years after launch"The Astrophysical Journal397: 420–429. Bibcode:1992ApJ...397..420Bdoi:10.1086/171797ISSN 0004-637X.
  19. ^ Parker, Barry R. (1993). The vindication of the big bang : breakthroughs and barriers. New York: Plenum Press. ISBN 0-306-44469-0OCLC 27069165.
  20. ^ "Computer Graphics Achievement Award"ACM SIGGRAPH 2018 Awards. SIGGRAPH '18. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Association for Computing Machinery: 1. 12 August 2018. doi:10.1145/3225151.3232529ISBN 978-1-4503-5830-9S2CID 51979217.
  21. ^ Science, American Association for the Advancement of (15 June 2007). "NETWATCH: Botany's Wayback Machine"Science316 (5831): 1547. doi:10.1126/science.316.5831.1547dISSN 0036-8075S2CID 220096361.
  22. ^ Paraficz, D.; Hjorth, J.; Elíasdóttir, Á (1 May 2009). "Results of optical monitoring of 5 SDSS double QSOs with the Nordic Optical Telescope"Astronomy & Astrophysics499 (2): 395–408. arXiv:0903.1027Bibcode:2009A&A...499..395Pdoi:10.1051/0004-6361/200811387ISSN 0004-6361.
  23. ^ Alan Guth is reported to have made this very claim in an Edge Foundation interview EDGE Archived 11 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  24. Jump up to:a b "BICEP2 2014 Results Release"National Science Foundation. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  25. ^ Whitney Clavin (17 March 2014). "NASA Technology Views Birth of the Universe"NASA. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  26. ^ Dennis Overbye (17 March 2014). "Detection of Waves in Space Buttresses Landmark Theory of Big Bang"The New York Times. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  27. ^ Dennis Overbye (19 June 2014). "Astronomers Hedge on Big Bang Detection Claim"The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  28. ^ Amos, Jonathan (19 June 2014). "Cosmic inflation: Confidence lowered for Big Bang signal"BBC News. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  29. ^ Ade, P. A. R.; Aikin, R. W.; Barkats, D.; Benton, S. J.; Bischoff, C. A.; Bock, J. J.; Brevik, J. A.; Buder, I.; Bullock, E.; Dowell, C. D.; Duband, L.; Filippini, J. P.; Fliescher, S.; Golwala, S. R.; Halpern, M.; Hasselfield, M.; Hildebrandt, S. R.; Hilton, G. C.; Hristov, V. V.; Irwin, K. D.; Karkare, K. S.; Kaufman, J. P.; Keating, B. G.; Kernasovskiy, S. A.; Kovac, J. M.; Kuo, C. L.; Leitch, E. M.; Lueker, M.; Mason, P.; et al. (2014). "Detection of B-Mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales by BICEP2". Physical Review Letters112 (24): 241101. arXiv:1403.3985Bibcode:2014PhRvL.112x1101Bdoi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.241101PMID 24996078S2CID 22780831.
  30. ^ Dennis Overbye (1 December 2014). "New Images Refine View of Infant Universe"The New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  31. ^ Crouch, C. L. (8 February 2010). "Genesis 1:26-7 As a statement of humanity's divine parentage"The Journal of Theological Studies61 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1093/jts/flp185.
  32. ^ "Publications – Cosmos"www.cosmos.esa.int. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  33. ^ Carl B. Boyer (1968), A History of Mathematics. Wiley. ISBN 0471543977. p. 54.
  34. ^ Aristotle (1914). Forster, E. S.; Dobson, J. F. (eds.). De Mundo. Oxford University Press. 393a.
  35. ^ Mirabello, Mark (15 September 2016). A Traveler's Guide to the Afterlife: Traditions and Beliefs on Death, Dying, and What Lies Beyond. Simon and Schuster. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-62055-598-9.

External links