Philosophica: International Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 24, Issue 47, April 2016

Thinking Nature Today

Morier Clément, Bruno Pinchard
Pages 125-140

René Thom et la Réhabilitation des Formes Substantielles

To the issue whether the contemporary formalism could sufficiently provide a dynamical view of natural laws, we propose another way to understand the organizational mechanisms of natural and semiotic phenomena. The breakthrough of René Thom’s topological discoveries allows the renewal of a philosophical path, which examines the benefits of a qualitative knowledge on forms through their deployment. Our study would like to raise the issue of the following questions: in the aftermath of Leibniz’s work, which lessons can we expect to draw from a neo-Aristotelian position in order to objectively analyze the morphological organization of natural phenomena? How to consider dynamical plasticity from metamorphosis episodes, if we only take into account the contemporary development of the Cartesian mechanism? What rehabilitation of substantial forms might help to think about nature today?