© Stefan Pistorius
Noosphere Epistemology- A unified description framework for evolutionary and social epistemology -
- by Stefan Pistorius, Zirndorf -
ABSTRACTAccording to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, nature's latest mainstream of evolution is the‘noosphere’, the global sphere of human thought. We interpret Teilhard’s holistic view on thenoosphere as an evolving network of knowledge. To model the network, we introduce theconcept of interactive adaptive Turing machines (IATM). Based on the IATM model, wedefine epistemic concepts like ‘factual’ and ‘transformational’ knowledge, 'knowledgedomains', and the 'propagation' and 'evolution' of knowledge. The model takes into accountboth people and their cognitive technical equipment. So the noosphere network embracesthe Internet and all humans. It is complex, dynamic, and adaptive. According to the model,the ontogeny of an individual’s knowledge follows rules analogous to the phylogeny ofknowledge domains and the overall noosphere. Thus, the model is a first step towards aunified evolutionary and social epistemology. Moreover, the network view of knowledgeallows us to derive new epistemic insights from observations of the evolving Internet andfrom complex network research. In the light of the model, we finally discuss Teilhard's visionof the noosphere converging towards the so-called Omega Point.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (born 1 Mai 1881 near Clermont-Ferrand; died 10 April 1955 inNew York) was a French Jesuit, palaeontologist, anthropologist and philosopher. In his workhe tried to reconcile science and religious faith. In his two most important works ‘ThePhenomenon of Man’ (orig.: Le Phénomène Humain, 1955)
and ‘The Appearance of Man’(orig.: La Place de l'Homme dans la Nature, 1956)
he describes the evolution of theuniverse from its beginning to the formation of the planets and the evolution of the biosphere.With the dawn of humankind a new sphere evolves, the noosphere, the sphere of thought.Now the evolution of the noosphere is the most important thread of evolution. In its firstphase, it expands, conquers the globe, and diversifies into a multitude of different culturesthat evolve, disappear and cross-fertilize each other. In its second phase, which according toTeilhard, has just begun, the noosphere is in a state of accelerated convergence. Now thespiritual forces strive for unification. At the end of this phase, in a few million years, at theOmega Point, humankind could be united in a collective consciousness, based on aharmonised world view
. Teilhard was convinced that humans would find ways to bring theirbrains to perfection. Between 1948 and 1950, he wrote,‘I am thinking of the amazing performance of electronic machines (the results and thegreat hope of the aspiring ‘Cybernetics’). These devices replace and multiply thecomputing and inference capabilities of the human mind by such ingenious methodsand to such an extent that in this direction we can expect an equally great increase inour abilities as it has brought the evolution of our vision.’
TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Pierre (1959)
TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Pierre (1965)
Teilhard did not seem to be sure about the success of the human race. In 1949 he concluded hiswork, (see Conclusion of TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Pierre (1965)), with some ‘prospects andprerequisites for the success of the venture man'.
TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Pierre (1984), English translation from German, page 118.