A Theory of No-Thing

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André de Vinck

Abstract

How can we define a new general theory of evolution and, consequently, a new general theory of evolutionary history? First, we have to solve the mystery that lies at the heart of Darwin’s great book. Second, we have to trace the beginnings of nature-culture-history. Darwin couldn’t define the term species and his successors cannot define the term gene. A standard solution to this dilemma is to define a species as a group of dimorphic organisms that successfully exchange genes. However, one undefinable thing can’t be used to define another undefinable thing. Instead of tracing the evolution of undefinable things, we can trace the evolution of definable relations–e.g. exchange. To exchange means to put in relation and, therefore, to signify the relative values of the signifiers being exchanged as well as the relative values of the signifiers initiating the exchange. In this context I suggest that nature begins with the dynamic of exchange, culture begins with the practice of exchange, history begins with the syntax of exchange. Instead of a theory of every-thing, therefore, I propose a theory of no-thing. I propose that no-thing exists in and of itself and that every-thing evolves as a co-incidental eco-matrix of the signifying relations of exchange.

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