Against Holism: The Argument from Entropy

Ah interesting discussion of ‘entropy’ and it’s ramifications.

Larval Subjects .

entropyIn the last couple years I’ve spilled a lot of ink arguing against holism or the thesis that everything is related to everything else.  This is not because I believe that relations are unimportant– indeed, the only thing that really interests me are relations –but rather because I think this position says too much.  From a holistic perspective, for example, I’m unable to make sense of ecology.  While many ecotheorists defend holistic ontologies, the actual practices of ecologists and environmental scientists reveals something different.  In their practices, they show supreme attentiveness to the fragility of relations, and focus on what happens when elements are subtracted from ecological networks (e.g., the extinction of a species) or added to a network (e.g., increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere).  This wouldn’t be possible unless entities possessed some minimal autonomy from their relations.  So while I can agree with the holist when they…

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