Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Comments On A Debate II

Science is applied to objects of different kinds, to objects with different kinds of properties. Although scientific method remains the same, the particular sciences have to differ to the extent that their objects do. Some sciences are more precise than others. Organisms have properties that they do not share with mechanisms. An astronomer cannot perform experiments as a physicist can: "Let us see what happens if we change the orbit of Sirius..." Computers can simulate cosmogonies and cosmologies but simulations remain abstractions. No one, as yet, replays the real universe.

If there were a science of mankind, then, in that case, the subject and object would be identical. Application of the science might start as some men acting on other men but it would have to become all men acting on themselves. We individually and collectively would apply the laws of mind and society to ourselves: the ultimate democracy.

But, meanwhile, can Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic Institute, starting to learn some of the laws, begin to apply those laws, through education and legislation, to the rest of society in such a way that that society starts to move towards full collective self-understanding and self-control? Would the active participation at least of a majority not be necessary from the beginning?

If we predict the orbit of the Moon, there is no danger that the Moon will overhear the prediction and deliberately set out to disprove it. Treating fellow human beings as objects that can be acted on from the outside sounds as if it might be a mistake from the beginning. If we can see a way forward for society, then we need to persuade others to accept it. As members of society, we have no alternative to discussing and arguing with other members of society about the way forward for society. (I think.)

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