Process Studies Supplement 16 (2010)
The Natural Sciences, Classical Chinese Philosophy, Process Thinking, and Brain Lateralization
by Jan B.F.N. Engberts
In this essay my focus will be on three propositions. Arguments in support of these propositions are presented in the first four parts of this paper. A conclusion follows in the fifth part.
(1) The modern natural sciences, classical Chinese thinking, and the philosophy of Whitehead can all be characterized as examples of process thought. Change is more important than stability. Process thinking is superior when compared to mechanistic materialism or logical positivism.
(2) A satisfatory image of the structure and dynamics of our surrounding world requires, in addition to a physical basis, also a scientific-metaphysical basis of our thinking. The three realms of the natural sciences, i.e., the very small (the microworld), the very big (cosmology) and the very complex (life processes) evoke questions that cannot be solved solely in terms of scientific approaches. Process metaphysics, with its foundation in the modern natural sciences, suggests answers to an important set of fundamental questions.
(3) In the final part it is proposed that the "cultural differences" between the modern natural sciences, classical Chinese thinking, and Whitehead's process philosophy can be related to recent insights into lateralization of the human brain.