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Narrative, Contingency, and Singularity

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Document pages: 13 pages

Abstract: Evolutionary cosmologists, notably Lee Smolin and Roberto Mangabeira Unger, have recently formulated an evolutionary theory of physical science, extending to physics the Darwinian principle of "descent with modification ". In so doing, they provide a novel perspective on the laws of physics and the origin and nature of the Universe which might result in a revolutionary scientific paradigm. Taking seriously the evolutionary nature of reality involves a recognition of the singularity of events at all scales, and of the reality of time as the grounding dimension of the universe. There is a great narrative being told here, one highly consonant with the integrational perspective on history and science provided by the proponents of Big History. One might argue, though, that there is an insufficient narratological awareness in the theories of evolutionary physicists and cosmologists. Narrative is a prime instrument to deal with emergence and singularity, but the concepts of narrative and narratology are missing in the conceptual toolkit of the theory. This paper spells out some narratological implications and concomitances of this evolutionary theory of physical reality and of its new conception of ontological singularity.

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