Saturday, 16 November 2013
Why Did Science Start When And Where It Did And Not At Any Other Place Or Time?
In one of Anderson's sf stories, a scientific revolution occurred in Alexander's Greece. In another, it was prevented in Europe so that mankind never broke out of the cycle of rising and collapsing labour-intensive empires.
Anderson hypothesizes that science started when and where it did because of:
the analytic thought, not the subject-matter!, of medieval philosophy.
Science does combine practice, empiricism and analysis. Post-medieval philosophers divided into rationalists versus empiricists whereas knowledge is neither reason alone nor experience alone but the former applied to the latter. They also divided into idealists versus materialists. I think that we need to be materialists but not reductionists: consciousness emerged from unconscious processes but is qualitatively distinct from them. An increase in complexity is a quantitative change whereas the emergence of consciousness is a qualitative change. But quantity affects quality.