Retrotensive method

In hmolscience, retrotensive method is the rule that whatever is empirically found in or associated with the more complex and highly evolved natural entities must inferentially be read back into the simpler and earlier ones.

Overview
In 1926, Arthur Lovejoy, an American chain of being historian, introduced the term retrotensive method into philosophy:

“I proposed the term ‘retrotensive method’, which seems to be a needed addition to the philosophical vocabulary, at the Sixth International Congress of Philosophy (1927).”
— Arthur Lovejoy (1933), The Great Chain of Being [1]

In 1933, Lovejoy was using the term in respect to the panpsychism style reductionism philosophy of Jean Robinet, in the sense that if a higher evolved natural entity possesses empirical trait such as it ‘thinks’, then this trait must inferentially be read back into the simpler and earlier ones. This seems, in some sense, to be an early evolutionary psychology theme.

References
1. (a) Lovejoy, Arthur. (1927). “The Meanings of ‘Emergence’ and its Modes”, Sixth International Congress of Philosophy; see: Journal of Philosophical Studies (quote, pg. 176), 2:167-81.
(b) Lovejoy, Arthur. (1933). The Great Chain of Being: a Study of the History of an Idea (pgs. 275; proposed, pg. 366). Harvard University Press, 1936.

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