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This paper presents a viewpoint on natural philosophy focusing on the organization of substance, as well as its changes as invited by the Second Law of thermodynamics. Modes of change are pointed to as definitive of levels of organization; these include physical, chemical, and biological modes of change. Conceptual uses of the subsumptive hierarchy format are employed throughout this paper. Developmental change in dissipative structures is examined in some detail, generating an argument for the use of final causality in studies of natural systems. Considerations of ‘internalism’ in science are presented along the way.


This article was originally published in Philosophies, available at doi:10.3390/philosophies3030023.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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