Reproductive global regularities are caused ontologically by reproductive cycles and the wholeness of space. Reproductive cycles add up in regions of space over time to evolutionary change, because they impose natural selection on themselves by their reproduction. But there are two reproductive global regularities, because in addition to causing gradual change in the direction of natural perfection, reproductive cycles combine with space in a more revolutionary way to cause a series of stages of gradual evolution. Gradual and revolutionary change jointly determine the overall course of evolution.
The basic reproductive global regularity is a gradual change of the kinds of organisms in the region in the direction of natural perfection. "Natural perfection" is defined as an optimal part-whole relation of a kind that makes the most of what exists in a spatiomaterial world. It would be attained by structural causes with as much power as possible to control what happens. And maximum holistic power in both the organisms and the ecology is the direction of the gradual change that is caused ontologically by reproductive cycles and the wholeness of space.
The reproductive cycles whose behavior adds up in space over time to gradual change derive from material and structural ontological causes. Organisms going through reproductive cycles are bundles of structural causes that use free energy to reproduce as well as do non-reproductive work. By reproducing, they multiply in space, and since that causes a scarcity in the available free energy, some reproductive cycles must come to an end. But there are random variations in the reproducing organisms, since their structural causes can be bundled together in different ways and variations occur because reproduction is just a global regularity. Since they do different kinds of non-reproductive work, It is not just chance which reproductive cycles go on, and thus, they impose natural selection on themselves.
Since organisms going through reproductive cycles impose natural selection on themselves by their reproduction, the kinds of reproducing organisms in the region tend to change gradually over time in the direction of a maximum power over their whole reproductive cycle in controlling conditions that affect their reproduction. Since this is the kind of perfection that is appropriate for structural causes using free energy to do work, the ontological effect is gradual change in the direction of natural perfection. Natural perfection affords an ontological explanation of the nature of goodness as contributing to natural perfection, repaying a third mortgage taken out to use spatiomaterialism as the foundation of ontological philosophy.
Reproducing organisms start off simple, uniform and barely able to go through reproductive cycles, and the ontological effect of reproductive causation on them is that each new power that is it possible for them to evolve is acquired when it becomes possible. That is gradual change in the direction of their maximum holistic power, or maximum power to control conditions that affect its reproduction, which is the kind of natural perfection that is appropriate for organisms in a spatiomaterial world like ours. The natural perfection of organisms is the basis for an explanation of the nature of functions and the validity of functional explanations.
In the ecology, the ontological effect of reproductive cycles and the wholeness of space is change in the direction of using as much of the available free energy to fuel reproductive cycles as possible. Every new source of free energy that it is possible for organisms of their kind to tap as fuel for their reproductive cycles is is tapped when it becomes possible. Consuming as much free energy as possible is the maximum power for the ecology as a whole, because the ecology is composed of organisms whose natural perfection entails maximum efficiency and they are combined in optimal quantities of all possible kinds. Such maximum holistic power is the natural perfection of the ecology, and so gradual evolution is change in the direction of a natural perfection involving both organisms and the ecology.
Revolutionary evolution is a further reproductive global regularity caused ontological by reproductive cycles and the wholeness of space. It is caused ontologically by another way that space can combine with reproductive cycles, namely, by higher levels of part-whole complexity in the structural causes that are bundled together as organisms going through reproductive cycles. And the ontological effect is a series of stages of gradual evolution, which makes the overall course of evolution an inevitable change in the direction of the natural perfection of life itself.
The ontological cause of each new stage of evolution is a higher level of part-whole complexity in the structure of the organisms going through reproductive cycles. Though it depends on the part-whole relation in space, the levels of part-whole complexity leading up to rational beings like us include several forms: levels of biological organization, levels of neurological organization in multicellular animals, and further levels of neurological organization that involve the social level of biological organization and show up in language.
Levels of biological organization are levels of part-whole complexity in the organisms going through reproductive cycles. That is, the next higher biological level is a material structure in which a collection of organisms from the previous level are coordinated as parts of an organism that goes through reproductive cycles as a whole.
Levels of neurological organization are levels of part-whole complexity in the nervous systems of multicellular animals. These are levels of organization within the structures of the animals on the multicellular level of biological organization. The main functions of the multicellular animal behavior guidance system are served, in order, by single neurons, systems of neurons, circuits of systems of neurons, and integrated circuits of systems of neurons.
The animal levels are a class of levels of neurological organization that evolve in solitary multicellular animals, that is, by natural selection of animals on the multicellular level of biological organization.
Spiritual levels are a class of levels neurological organization that evolve only in multicellular animals that are parts of spiritual animals and, thus, products of natural selection on both the multicellular and social level of biological organization.
The ontological effect of each higher level of part-whole complexity in the organisms going through reproductive cycles is a new stage of evolution. The next stage is inevitable, if the gradual change of organisms with the lower level of part-whole complexity in the direction of their natural perfection makes it possible for a radical random variation to try out a higher level of organization, and the higher level makes it possible to control an entire new range of conditions that affect reproduction. For if higher level reproducing organisms are both possible and functional, they will start off simple, uniform and weak and gradually change in the direction of maximum holistic power for organisms of its kind and the ecology (including lower level organisms). And the series of evolutionary stages makes the overall course of evolution inevitable.
The stages of biological evolution are stages caused by levels of biological organization. Organisms at each level start off simple, uniform and weak, and as they go through reproductive cycles, they impose natural selection on themselves. Thus, they become complex, diverse and powerful, changing gradually in the direction of natural perfection for organisms of their kind.
The first stage is the evolution of RNA molecules in the direction of maximum power to control conditions affecting its reproduction. RNA were the original proto-organism, because among all the macromolecules on the surface of a suitable planet that are able to both reproduce themselves and do non-reproductive work of some kind, RNA is the one that is most susceptible to being driven through reproductive cycles by the cycle of night and day. The main accomplishment of the first stage is a reliable mechanism for synthesizing proteins (that is, ribosomes). Ribosomes are the maximum power for the first stage at the ecological level, because ribosomes are constituted by many kinds of protein (and RNA) molecules that naturally assemble themselves (as potential energy becomes kinetic).
The second stage of evolution begins with DNA molecules that are simple, uniform and barely able to go through reproductive cycles entrained by the cycle of night and day in the favorable environment of colonies of RNA. A second stage is inevitable, because DNA are both a possible random variation in colonies of RNA and the ability to synthesize a combination of different kinds of proteins opens up an entire new range of relevant conditions to control. Their power increases with a regulatory mechanism that makes the synthesis of proteins depend on when other conditions are controlled, and greater power enables them to tap new sources of free energy, such as those that depend on the DNA molecule being contained by a cell. The ability to control the behavior of a cell makes it possible for such "prokaryotic" cells to go through reproductive cycles independently of the cycle of night and day, and that is the the first biological behavior guidance system, marking the beginning of life.
What evolves at the third stage are eukaryotic cells, and though it is obvious how their higher level of biological organization is functional, it is problematic how it is possible. Eukaryotic cells are not just bundles of prokaryotes, but have an obviously functional organization of chromosomes in a nucleus. But the origin of the nucleus can be explained as a random variation that is eventually tried out by colonies of prokaryotes in which prokaryotes cooperate in constructing a cell to carry them, like an aquatic balloon, to the surface of the water where more free energy is available. Their cooperation evolves into their coordination by a nucleus containing DNA. The DNA was originally supplied by the prokaryotes, but the prokaryotes are retained within the eukaryotic cell as self-reproducing organelles (as mitochondria and chloroplasts). The evolution of a nucleus makes it possible to reproduce by sexually mixing chromosomes, and since sexual reproduction makes it possible to combine powers that originate in different organisms, gradual evolution speeds up.
What evolves at the fourth stage (leading up to rational beings) are multicellular animals. A multicellular structure is obviously functional, but it is problematic how it could be tried out as a random variation on single celled eukaryotic animals (animal-like protists), because it reproduces by constructing a complete new multicellular animal from a single fertilized egg cell. That cell must contain a biological behavior guidance system that can coordinate the behavior of its daughter cells (including their locomotion) in a process of embryological development, and its origin is explained as a random variation that occurs in protists (amoebas). But in order for the body as a whole to direct behavior at other objects in space, its multicellular structure must include an animal behavior guidance system, or a nervous system. The existence of multicellular animals without nervous systems are explained as one of various kinds of anomalous animals that are necessary parts of the reproductive global regularity.
What evolves at the final three stages are spiritual animals, or groups of language using multicellular animals. This stage is caused by two higher levels of part-whole complexity at once, one in biological and the other in neurological organization. Language is the basis of the new animal behavior guidance system made possible at the social level. It enables the spiritual animal to direct social level animal behavior at other objects in space, but since it works by coordinating the behavior of its members, it also functions as the social level biological behavior guidance system (reproduction requiring only a decision to divide into separate groups). It is a "spiritual" animal, for it has no body except for the separate bodies of its members. But it has two essential aspects, each with a structure as a whole: the social aspect (the continual linguistic interaction of its members on the social biological level) and the cultural aspect (the linguistic representations that the members share because of their higher level of neurological organization).
The stages of neurological evolution are stages caused by levels of neurological organization. Multicellular animals with nervous systems at each level start off simple, uniform and weak, and as they go through reproductive cycles, they impose natural selection on themselves. Thus, they become complex, diverse and powerful, changing gradually in the direction of natural perfection for multicellular animals of their kind.
The stages of animal evolution are stages caused by levels of neurological organization that occur in multicellular animals that evolve by natural selection only at the multicellular level of biological organization.
Stages of evolution in multicellular animals are caused ontologically by levels of part-whole complexity in the nervous system. Their possibility is explained by the multicellular biological behavior guidance system, which constructs them, and they are functional because they enable the animal behavior guidance system to take advantage of the structure of space in directing behavior at other objects in space to control relevant conditions. This function is served by the animal system of representation, which involves both the sensory input and motor output sub-functions of the animal behavior guidance system. Though somatosensory animals lack this system, in telesensory animals, it is a representation of the object that guides locomotion. In subjective animals, it is a spatio-temporal imagination that represents the object as located in space. And in manipulative animals, it is a structuro-temporal imagination that represents the object in space as having a geometrical structure.
The first animal system of representation evolves in telesensory animals at the fifth stage. Their animal behavior guidance system is made of neurons, and with systems of neurons serving each of the three sub-functions of the animal behavior guidance system, an interaction between the sensory input and behavioral output systems is able to represent objects in a way that guides locomotion in relation to them, including not only perceivable objects, but also objects that are not currently perceivable. There are, however, two basically different kinds of telesensory animals, invertebrates and vertebrates, and the difference in their kinds of embryological development explains why only one is able evolve yet higher levels of neurological organization. There is a detailed description of how systems of neurons in the (nonmammalian) vertebrate brain serve the three main sub-functions of the animal behavior guidance system (sensory input, goal selection, and behavioral output), and a brief description of the history of vertebrate evolution.
What evolves at stage 6 are mammals. They are "subjective animals," because their brains contain a faculty of spatial imagination. They can think about the spatial relations by recalling from memory sequences of images representing the effects of motion relative to objects. This is an understanding of the structure of space in the sense that they can see the actual against the background of the possible. Imagination depends on covert behavior, the capacity of behavior that is not generated overtly to call up images and to react to them. A functional description (and diagram) identifies all the main subsystems, which shows how a contained form of evolution of behavioral schemata by reproductive causation in the brain enables the brain to acquire the structural cause for imagination by internalizing the structure of space from experience. A general and more detailed description of the neurons serving these functions (using diagrams) is followed by a brief history of the evolution of mammals. The structure of the mammalian brain explains the unity of mind, or why experience of the world has a phenomenal appearance.
What evolves at stage 7 are manipulative animals (primates) whose hands are guided in manipulating objects by a new faculty of structural imagination. In addition to the mammalian conception of object as located in space, primates have a conception of objects in space as having geometrical structures. They can see the actual geometrical structures of objects against the background of what is possible. A functional description (diagram) is given of the main subsystems of the manipulative animal behavior guidance system, and the evolution of behavioral schemata by a contained form of reproductive causation explains how the brain internalizes the structural cause for structuro-temporal imagination from experience with the geometrical structures of objects. Its higher level of neurological organization involves only the addition of four behavioral generators for the hands and a sensory input system for representing the objects being manipulated in mammalian space. A brief history of primate evolution is given.
Stages of spiritual evolution are stages caused by levels of neurological organization that occur in multicellular animals that are parts of spiritual animals and, thus, involve natural selection on both the multicellular and social level of biological organization at once.
What evolves at the eighth stage of evolution is the primitive spiritual animal, using a language of "natural sentences" with a simple subject-predicate grammar to coordinate the behavior of its primate members. Its evolution is inevitable, if language can be tried out as a random variation. Hominids already cooperate in mutual protection as members of nomadic bands, and with a leader to assign different tasks to different members, they can all follow a common plan and, thereby, control an entire new range of relevant conditions that are out of reach for other social animals (including insect colonies). But language is possible, because it requires merely a higher level of neurological organization in the primate's faculty of imagination (which is explained functionally and identified in brain structure). The use of natural sentences gives them naturalistic understanding, because they can think about the causes and effects of states of objects in space (efficient causation) and, thereby, see the actual against the background of the possible. There is brief history of the evolution of primitive spiritual animals.
What evolves at the ninth stage are rational spiritual animals, with the use of a language of psychological sentences, though it contains another form of reproductive causation, the evolution of culture by rational selection of arguments. The use of natural sentences leads to war, and more reliable decisions about how to treat other spiritual animals can be made with the use of psychological sentences, for it enables them to see into other minds by using their own brains to simulate the causes of the other's behavior. Its possibility is shown by the functional description of the faculty of imagination, and its evolution explains what is known about the evolution of rational beings. The capacity to see perceptions and desires and causes of (or reasons for) beliefs and behavior is rational understanding, making it possible for linguistic interactions to involve the exchange of arguments. Since that is for arguments to reproduce, they evolve in rational spiritual animals by rational selection in the direction of natural perfection of arguments (discovering the true, the good and the beautiful), though there are inherent limits to cultural evolution in rational spiritual animals.
At the 10th stage the philosophical spiritual animal evolves. Its higher level of neurological organization derives from the cultural evolution of arguments with a higher level of forensic organization. Its nature can be seen in ontological philosophy, and its functionality is is clear, if only because it overcomes inherent the limits on cultural evolution at the reflective stage (stage 9). But that does not show how it can be tried out as a radical random variation in culture, for ontological philosophy depends on contemporary natural science. What makes it inevitable is the prior evolution of epistemological philosophy, that is, arguments whose higher level of forensic organization comes from a theory about the nature of reason based on what is known by rational understanding. There is an inevitable series of stages of social evolution that make epistemological philosophy inevitable, and a brief ontological explanation of the history of epistemological philosophy shows how it inevitably leads to natural science (sponsored by capitalism) and, thus, makes it possible for ontological philosophy to occur as a random variation and to be rationally selected in cultural evolution.
Ontological reason is the beginning of the latest phase of the evolution of philosophical spiritual animals. It occurs when rational beings understand the wholeness of the world, that is, when they recognize that the best ontological explanation of the world is spatiomaterialism, understand that evolution inevitably occurs in a spatiomaterial world like ours, see how evolution is progressive and leads to a natural perfection that explains the nature of goodness, and discover that evolution goes through an inevitable series of stages that lead to rational beings like us. At that point, rational beings recognize their own nature and place in the world, and since they understand that reason is a behavior guidance system that purses goals because they contribute to their natural perfection, they come to understand what ought to exist.
The molecular level is the first and simplest level of biological evolution. The organisms going through reproductive cycles in this case are RNA molecules, or proto-organisms. They have the capacity to reproduce themselves, and they do non-reproductive work by directing the synthesis of protein molecules. That non-reproductive secondary effect depends on complex molecular machines (called ribosomes), but as explained in the ontological effect, it is possible for RNA molecules to go through reproductive cycles and that will explain the origin of the ribosomes.
The second level of biological organization is the prokaryotic level, represented by bacteria. It is a higher level of part-whole complexity in reproducing organisms, because the main structural cause of its behavior is a loop of DNA, and the DNA molecule is made up of many segments, called "genes," which are equivalent to RNA molecules at the first level of biological organization. DNA molecules can reproduce themselves, and they do non-reproductive work by transcribing segments of themselves as messenger-RNA and their synthesis of protein molecules.
The third level of biological organization is represented by the eukaryotic cell, or cell with a "true nucleus." Since the nucleus contains many chromosomes, each of which is basically a DNA molecule, eukaryotic cells are a higher level of part-whole complexity in reproducing organisms. Eukaryotic cells can both reproduce themselves (by reproducing their chromosomes) and do non-reproductive work (by transcribing mRNA to direct protein synthesis). (Their higher level of biological organization is also evident in certain organelles they contain, such as mitochondria, for mitochondria also contain DNA, reproduce themselves, and do the non-reproductive work of using oxygen to synthesize ATP.)
On the forth level of biological organization are multicellular organism, or organisms made up of many eukaryotic cells. Multicellular animals are in the series of levels that leads up to rational beings like us. They reproduce by a mechanism of embryological development by which a single fertilized egg cell reproduces asexually many times and the daughter cells organize themselves into an animal body, and they do non-reproductive work by the behavior of the whole body. Since animals acquire free energy from other material objects in space, animal behavior must act on other objects, and that requires a nervous system. And the levels of neurological organization are a series of levels of part-whole complexity in the nervous system, starting with somatosensory animals, in which single neurons serve each of the basic sub-functions of the animal behavior guidance system (input, goals selection, output).
The second level of neurological organization (and fifth level of part-whole complexity in all) is the telesensory animal, represented by most invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs and birds. They are able to sense objects at a distance from their bodies to and guide behavior in relation to them. Telesensory animals have a centralized nervous system in which organs composed of many neurons serve each of the basic sub-functions of the animal behavior guidance system.
The third level of neurological organization (sixth level overall) is represented by mammals. They are subjective animals, because their nervous system contains a faculty of spatio-temporal imagination by which they can understand the structure of space and the effects of motion. It is a higher level of neurological organization because a complete circuit of systems of neurons serves each of the sub-functions of the animal behavior guidance system (sensory input, goal selection, and behavioral output).
The fourth level of neurological organization (seventh level overall) is represented by primates. They are manipulative animals, because their nervous system contains a faculty of structuro-temporal imagination by which they can understand the geometrical structures of objects and the effects of manipulation. It is a higher level of neurological organization because there is a complete circuit of systems of neurons serving the output sub-function for each hand as well as the whole body and there is a circuit of neurons serving the input sub-function for objects in space as well as for the current scene as a whole.
The eighth level of part-whole complexity overall s represented by human beings. It involves higher levels of both biological and neurological organization. A higher level of neurological organization gives manipulative subjects the capacity to use a primitive language with a subject predicate grammar, and the use of language to coordinate their behavior makes such groups of language using animals spiritual animals, which evolve on the social level of biological organization.
The ninth level of part-while complexity comes from a higher level of neurological organization that makes it possible to use a language with a complex grammar of psychological sentences. This enables the individuals to reflect on their psychological states and explain their beliefs and behavior by reasons, and thus, both the individuals and the spiritual animal can be guided by reason. Rational spiritual animals are the context for a new form of reproductive causation in which the reproducing organisms are arguments and culture evolves in the direction of natural perfection for arguments, knowing what is true and good.
The tenth level of part-whole complexity in the structure of reproducing organisms is a higher level of linguistic organization (and thus of neurological organization), called philosophy,in which the validity of ordinary arguments of rational are explained from a deeper foundation. There are two forms of philosophical arguments. Epistemological philosophy uses a theory about the nature of reason as its foundation, whereas ontological philosophy uses a theory about the nature of the substances constituting the world as its foundation.