A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume I (Stokes Nature Guides) by Donald W. Stokes

By Donald W. Stokes


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Additional resources for A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume I (Stokes Nature Guides)

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T8 One of the main themes of this book is that of a strong inter­ action of the issues proper to culture as a whole and the inter­ nal conceptual problems of science in particular. We find questions about time at the very heart of science. Becoming, irreversibility-these are questions to which generations of philosophers have also devoted their lives. Today, when his­ tory-be it economic, demographic, or political-is moving at an unprecedented pace, new questions and new interests re­ · quire us to enter into new dialogues, to look for a new co­ herence.

During the nineteenth century the final state of thermody­ namic evolution was at the center of scientific research. This was equilibrium thermodynamics. Irreversible processes were looked down on as nuisances, as disturbances, as subjects not worthy of study. Today this situation has completely changed. We now know that far from equilibrium, new types of struc­ tures may originate spontaneously. In far-from-equilibrium conditions we may have transformation from disorder, from thermal chaos, into order.

Great prog­ ress has indeed been realized in the unification of some of the basic forces found in nature. Still, the fundamental level re­ mains elusive. Wherever we look we find evolution, diver­ sification, and instabilities. Curiously, this is true on all levels, in the field of elementary particles, in biology, and in astro­ physics, with the expanding universe and the formation of black holes. As we said in the Preface, our vision of nature is undergoing a radical change toward the multiple, the temporal, and the complex .

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