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Stanley N. Salthe, Biological Sciences, Binghamton University; Emeritus, Biology, City University of New York

Salthe, Stanley. 2009. Development (and Evolution) of the Universe. Foundations of Science, no. Special Issue of the Conference on the Evolution and Development of the Universe (EDU-2008). In press.

I distinguish Nature from the World. I also distinguish development from evolution. Development is progressive change and can be modeled as part of Nature, using a specification hierarchy. I have proposed a ‘canonical developmental trajectory’ of dissipative structures with the stages defined thermodynamically and informationally. I consider some thermodynamic aspects of the Big Bang, leading to a proposal for revival of final cause. This model imposes a ‘hylozooic’ kind of interpretation upon Nature, as all emergent features at higher levels would have been vaguely and episodically present primitively in the lower integrative levels, and were stabilized materially with the developmental emergence of new levels. The specification hierarchy’s form is that of a tree, with its trunk in its lowest level, and so this hierarchy is appropriate for modeling an expanding system like the Universe. It is consistent with this model of differentiation during Big Bang development to view emerging branch tips as having been entrained by multiple finalities because of the top-down integration of the various levels of organization by the higher levels.

KEYWORDS: Big Bang, causality, development, multiple worlds, Nature, specification hierarchy, thermodynamics, vagueness