Keywords: philosophy, science, epistemology, China, Daoism, nature, culture, logic, systems theory, health, environmentalism, green economics, globalisation, ecology
Different paths, same mountain: Daoism, ecology and the new paradigm of science
Western physics in the 18th century was fundamental in establishing basic concepts in the study of economics. However, this form of physics has now been comprehensively displaced by progress within Western science, notably the rise of the new paradigm of science formalised as systems theory. This utilises new mathematical techniques incorporating Newtonian science within a far larger field of understanding that also includes the complex, unpredicateble and fluid aspects of the real world. However, the institutions of the modern world, especially industrial globalisation, remain based on the principles of the Newtonian world view that sees the universe as ultimately stable and ordered, and human activity fundamentally separate from nature. Environmentalism and green economics are focused on redressing the imbalances between humanity and nature that are being caused by the success of the industrial revolution created by Newtonian physics. The awareness of other cultures made possible by modern globalisation has, however, produced opportunities to understand alternative ways of thought. The ancient Chinese system of Daoism is one which in many respects has an approach that can be usefully contrasted with the new paradigm of science and environmental issues.