DraftHHC January 2004
In 1995 the World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded
and the first true global economy was borne. Today, in 2004, virtually all member states of
the United Nations (UN) belong to the WTO with the notable exception of the
1.02 As an international legal instrument the WTO is a ‘single undertaking’, i.e., it is a set of instruments constituting a single package permitting only a single signature without reservation. One of these instruments is the TRIPS Agreement (trade-related intellectual properties) that constitutes, in effect, a global agreement on commercial trade in knowledge, or more precisely, in intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as copyrights, patents, registered industrial designs and trademarks. The TRIPS Agreement is but one part of a complex WTO package that includes the GATT. (WTO 1994b) TRIPS, in turn, must be seen in the context of a constellation of international agreements, conventions, covenants and treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO 1967) a special subject agency of the United Nations. TRIPS requires accession to some, but not to all, WIPO instruments. Thereby TRIPS ignores and accordingly denies WTO protection to many other forms of intellectual property rights, e.g., aboriginal heritage rights (Farer 1994) and collective or community-based rights (Shiva 1993). These ignored rights plus commercial rights that have lapsed, by default, constitute the global public domain of knowledge from which any and all may freely draw.
1.03 In 1996, the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose members constitute the
1.04 In this Introduction I will first establish the theoretical inadequacies of mainstream economic theory in accounting for this development. Second, I will outline my methodology – transdisciplinary induction – and in the process report my reflections on the dominant disciplines of thought used in the main body of the thesis. In effect, this Introduction will serve as an interdisciplinary tour d’ horizon equivalent to a literature review in a traditional ‘disciplinary’ thesis.
1.05 In mainstream economic theory, a knowledge-based economy can be considered a contradiction in terms, a virtual oxymoron. First, knowledge is treated as a public good, i.e., it is non-excludable (once ‘out there’, e.g., published, one cannot easily exclude others from knowing) and it is non-rivalrous (your consumption does not reduce the quantity available to me). How can something be exchanged in a market, i.e., bought and sold, if one cannot stop others from taking it for nothing and, if they do so, one’s inventory is not thereby reduced?
1.06 Second, knowledge exhibits increasing returns to scale, i.e., if the quantity of capital and labour remain fixed but knowledge grows, output will tend to increase continuously. New knowledge developed within the firm or nation through tinkering and refining its production processes contributes but so does new knowledge developed externally to the firm or nation. Through division and increasing specialization of knowledge, suppliers improve the quality and/or reduce the price of inputs decreasing costs and increasing final output. The productive effects of this division and specialization of knowledge is most apparent in what Marshall called ‘industrial districts’ (Marshall 1920, 271) [C] or what today are called ‘clusters’ (Martin and Sunley 1996, 282). Put another way, knowledge feeds on knowledge. As a factor of production, knowledge therefore contradicts two fundamental axioms of mainstream theory - diminishing marginal returns and decreasing returns to scale. Without these axioms, a deductively derived equilibrium price/quantity market relationship cannot be determined and therefore the profit maximizing position of a firm cannot be calculated. Furthermore, increasing marginal returns and increasing returns to scale are incompatible with a perfectly competitive outcome leading, instead, to monopoly – the bête noir or ‘black beast’ of mainstream economic theory.
1.07 Third, technological change, generally recognized as the major contributor to economic growth and development over the last three or four centuries, is, in economic theory, the effect of any new knowledge on the production function of a firm or nation-state. The nature and source of the knowledge is not a theoretical concern; only its effects on the production function. However, new knowledge may have many sources and varying effects. It may be productive increasing output on the shop floor; it may be managerial reducing costs, increasing output or sales; or, it may be entrepreneurial realizing a vision of future markets, products or other opportunities. It may flow from the natural and engineering sciences (physical technology), the humanities and social sciences (organizational technology) or the Arts (design technology). In economic theory, however, it does not matter what form new knowledge takes; it does not matter from whence it comes; the only thing that matters, mathematically, is its impact on the production function. With such a monotonic definition of technological change, how can one account for, let alone competitively foster, the division and specialization of knowledge that characterizes a knowledge-based economy?
in mainstream theory, knowledge is treated as an intermediate, not a final good
in consumption. It is utilitarian, i.e.,
it is an input in the production of final goods intended to satisfy human
wants, needs and desires. Even if
treated as a final good, however, knowledge would be subject to the mainstream injunction:
“De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum”, i.e., taste is not disputable (Stigler &
Becker 1977). Knowledge may, however, be
non-utilitarian and valued in-and-of-itself satisfying a basic human need ‘to
know’. Furthermore, knowledge, expressed
as taste, is critical to consumer choice through product design and hence to competitiveness. As
1.09 Fifth, mainstream economic theory only admits knowledge generated through reason, specifically by calculation of benefit and cost, or what I call calculatory rationalism. Optimizing behaviour, i.e., minimizing cost and maximizing output, relies on reason alone. Among other things, this ignores Adam Smith’s conviction about the role of knowledge as market or moral sentiment, e.g., business trust and confidence. Such sentiments display significant cultural differences, e.g., the Spanish economy and its way of doing business is Spanish including the business siesta, while the British economy is British. Without trust and confidence, how can there be a market between many buyers and sellers, and given cultural differences, how is foreign trade possible?
1.10 Sixth, mainstream theory assumes producers and consumers possess symmetrical and/or perfect knowledge. In the case of risk, i.e., uncertain knowledge about future states of the world, it is assumed to be expressible as a ‘knowable’ probability function and it is resolved into ‘options’, e.g., insurance. When economists assume asymmetrical knowledge, i.e., when someone knows but others don’t, problems of opportunism arise and mainstream theory crosses over into game theory wherein ignorance can be cured but at a price. Only a few economists have treated true uncertainty, i.e., ignorance of future states of the world (Knight 1921; Keynes 1936; Hayek 1937; Loasby 2003). Ignorance is, of course, the opposite of knowledge, i.e., it is the lack of knowledge. To deal with true uncertainty or ignorance these few admit the ‘entrepreneur’ as possessing a non-rational form of knowledge – intuition or revelation – expressed by Keynes as ‘animal spirits’ (Keynes 1936, 161). Like some ancient priest-king, the entrepreneur ‘knows’ the future and leads his people (investors, managers, workers and consumers) into it – right or wrong - to success or failure. If, however, one assumes there is only certain (or probabilistic) knowledge, how can there be a market for new knowledge? How can there be an entrepreneurial role different and distinct from that of an owner of capital, manager or worker?
1.11 Seventh, and in summary, economic theory treats knowledge as a certain, culturally blind, monotonic, rational public good that enters the production function of a firm or nation-state as an input but not as a final output. In the process, knowledge generates increasing returns to scale incompatible with the perfectly competitive ideal of mainstream theory. Given these disciplinary difficulties, is a global knowledge-based economy theoretically possible? The objective of this thesis is to answer that question and to demonstrate the competitiveness of nations within such an economy. To do so, however, will require argument and evidence harvested from disciplines of thought far beyond the borders of mainstream economic theory.
1.12 For my purposes, methodology is the organized means by which knowledge about something is acquired. That ‘something’ may be the subatomic roots of a chemical reaction, property rights among Fourth World peoples, altered states of consciousness, the history of the automobile, the meaning of truth, love, beauty, destiny, etc. In each case, however, the organized means to acquire knowledge are different as are the rules of evidence. When the ‘something’ is, however, knowledge itself, one faces a meta-methodological dilemma. Understanding a system requires a perspective or vantage point higher than or conceptually above the sub-system under investigation (Loasby 1971, 863). [E] How can one attain a position that transcends knowledge? How can one know all the domains and forms of knowledge and the related faculties for its acquisition? Such questions border on metaphysics and revelation - regions of thought explicitly excluded from mainstream economic theory with its calculatory rationalism.
1.13 Knowledge, and the methods to acquire it, have been the subject of continuing concern since the dawn of human consciousness, i.e., since the phylogenetic instant of self-awareness that marks the arrival of our species homo sapien (literally, ‘the man that knows’) on planet Earth and that subsequent and recurring ontogenetic instant when each of us, over the generations, emerges out of infancy into maturing self-consciousness. How, who (in a psychiatric sense), what, where, when and why do we ‘know’? What is the relationship between knowing and memory? Where does knowledge go when not in thought? Does what we know correspond to an objective, external or eternal truth or reality? Or, is it only relative, subjective and contextual to our specific time, space and personality? Is it truth or falsehood?
1.14 Two traditional paths have been followed to answer such questions. The first is the branch of linguistics called etymology - the origin and meaning of words. The second is the ancient branch of philosophy called epistemology – the theory of knowledge. I will briefly sketch my reading of both in the hope of initiating the law of primacy, i.e., that which happens first colours what happens next. In the main body of the thesis, this law will be expressed in different forms, e.g., with respect to techno-economic regimes as path dependency and, with respect to culture as tradition. I then define my methodology: transdisciplinary induction.
1.15 Etymology is the study of the origin and evolution of words especially their changing meaning or ‘sense’ through time. A word, of course, is part of a language that in turn is the traditional foundation of a ‘nation’ or a ‘people’, e.g., the Chinese, English, French, German or Japanese language, nation and/or people. In turn, the word ‘language’ derives from the Latin lingua meaning ‘tongue’, i.e., speech or “oral expression of thought or feeling”. (OED, language, n 1, I.1.a) In addition to differing lexicons or vocabularies, languages are differentiated by their grammar and syntax, i.e., the ordering of words. Furthermore, when reduced to writing, languages are differentiated by alphabet or script, e.g., Chinese or Mandarin, Cyrillic, Roman, etc. and, arguably, mathematics. Spoken and written language is a primary distinguishing feature of our species. It is the principle, but not the exclusive, means by which human knowledge is exchanged between individuals and generations. Sometimes, however, language is treated as synonymous with knowledge which leads to transmission of knowledge by other media of communications being ignored.
1.16 Since the mythic
1.17 If the primary vehicle for the creation and transmission of knowledge – language – is subject to systemic bias then what one means by the word ‘knowledge’ will tend to be biased according to one’s language. Accordingly, the comparative etymology of the word ‘knowledge’ in all major languages, e.g., Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish, is required to provide a fuller insight into the true nature and meaning of knowledge in the global economy today. Ideally, a comprehensive comparative etymology would embrace all secondary, declining and extinct languages. For purposes of this thesis, however, I restrict myself to English and the origin, meaning and biases associated with three words - know, knowledge and wit. I will also briefly survey related words generally adopted into English from other languages. I draw primarily upon the Oxford English Dictionary on-line (OED 2003) except for the word ‘science’ whose etymology I derive from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary on-line (MWD 2003).
1.18 The word ‘know’ takes the form of a verb and two nouns in English. As a verb, it has ancient Teutonic and Aryan roots but is retained only in English. It shares its root with ‘can’ (as in ‘know-how’) and ‘ken’. It has also absorbed the territory of the archaic English verb ‘wit’, the root of the German wissen – to know. In fact, the English verb ‘know’ covers meanings expressed by two or more verbs in other Teutonic and Romantic languages, e.g., in German wissen, kennen, erkennen, and (in part) können; and in French connaître and savoir.
1.19 The OED proposes two different interpretations. Some scholars, it notes, propose two distinct acts of knowing: knowing by the senses and knowing by the mind. The first means to perceive or apprehend; the second, to comprehend or understand. The first derives from the Old English ‘know’ while the second derives from the archaic verb ‘wit’. Alternatively, other scholars have proposed that the only proper object of knowing is a fact or facts derived by reason (OED Signification 2003) in contrast with ‘to believe’ and its sense of emotional rather than intellectual certainty (OED, know, v, III.10.a). [F]
1.20 The verb ‘know’ has five branches with 56 different meanings and sub-meanings. Each branch begins at about the same time in history. Within each branch meanings are generally presented in the OED sequentially through time. (OED, Preface to the Second Edition (1989) General explanations, III. The signification, or senses) The first branch (I) is rooted in the Old English ‘know’ and involves knowing by the senses primarily meaning ‘to perceive’. The second branch (II) corresponds to the French connaître and the German kennen meaning ‘to be acquainted with’ including sexual intimacy. The third (III) is rooted in the archaic English verb ‘wit’ and involves knowing by the mind corresponding to the French savoir and the German wissen meaning ‘to be cognizant of’. The fourth (IV) is rooted in the Old English verb ‘can’ meaning ‘know how’. Finally, the fifth branch involves use of ‘know’ with prepositions such as know about, know of, etc.
1.21 ‘Know’, as a noun, take two forms. The first is rooted in the early Middle English cnaw and is related to contemporary use of ‘acknowledgement’ and ‘confession’. The second is a recent formulation meaning ‘in the know’.
1.22 The word ‘knowledge’ takes the form of a verb and noun. The OED notes that the origin and relationship between ‘knowledge’ as a verb and noun is problematic but concludes that the verb appeared first. As a verb ‘knowledge’ has ten meanings and sub-meanings. The oldest has specific significance for a knowledge-based economy meaning ‘to own the knowledge of’. The others concern ‘acknowledge’ and professional recognition, e.g., in medicine and law.
1.23 As a noun ‘knowledge’ has three branches and twenty-five meanings and sub-meanings. The first branch (I) involves the early sense of ‘know’ as a verb, i.e., acknowledgement, recognition and legal cognizance. The second (II) involves later uses of the verb and involves (i) the fact or condition of knowing as in ‘acquaintance’ including sexual intimacy; and (ii) the object of knowing as information, intelligence, the sum of what is known, branches of learning including the arts and sciences, and a sign, mark or token of identity. The third branch (III) involves the use of the noun ‘knowledge’ in combinations such as knowledge power and knowledge base, i.e., the underlying set of facts, assumptions, and inference rules used in a given discipline of thought.
1.24 The word ‘wit takes the form of three verbs, a noun and a pronoun. The first use of the verb ‘to wit’ is archaic except in law where it stands in a formula after the place name of the venue for a trial. In general, its archaic meaning of ‘cognizance’ or ‘knowledge of’ has been absorbed by the verb ‘to know’. The second use of ‘to wit’ is obscure in origin meaning ‘to bequeath’. The third use is current and relates to ‘playing the wit’.
1.25 The OED traces four branches of ‘wit’ as a noun with thirty-four meanings and sub-meanings. The first branch (I) denotes a mental faculty. The first meaning is ‘the seat of consciousness or thought, the mind…’ (OED, wit, n, I.1). The second involves the faculty of thinking while the third involves faculties of perception “classified as outer (outward) or bodily, and inner (inward) or ghostly” (OED I.3.a). The fourth and final meaning under the first branch concerns the condition of understanding or mental capacity, e.g., sanity as being ‘in one’s right wit’. The second branch (II) involves ‘wit’ as a quality, e.g., of great mental capacity, wisdom, quickness, quality or lively fancy. The third branch (III) is chiefly obsolete involving senses corresponding to the Latin scientia and sentential. Meanings include learning, departments of knowledge or science as well as the way of thinking corresponding to ‘mind’. The fourth and final branch (IV) involves the use of the noun ‘wit’ in combination with other words such as at my wit’s end, wit-loss and wit-jar “an imaginary vessel humorously feigned to contain the wits or senses” (OED, wit, n, IV.14.e). As a pronoun, ‘wit’ has an obscure relationship to the pronoun ‘we’ as in ‘we two’.
1.26 There are other words in English related to ‘knowledge’. In general, they are derived from other languages. They can be grouped according to ‘know by the senses’ and ‘know by the mind’. The first category – to know by the senses – includes the words: apprehension, conception, perception and science. Apprehension derives from the French meaning to seize or grasp. Conception derives from the Latin concipere ‘to conceive’ that comes from ‘to take in’ and, as I understand it, colloquially, meant ‘to grasp firmly with the hand’ or, in Sicilian, ‘to steal’. Thus ‘a concept’ is a grasping and manipulation with a mental hand. Perception derives from the Old French out of the Latin meaning ‘to take or receive’. Science literally means ‘to know’ and derives from the Latin scientia compounded from scindere ‘to split’ or ‘to know’ together with the Latin suffix entia that forms nouns of quality (a word derived from the Latin for ‘kind’), i.e., science involves splitting into kinds, types or taxonomies. (MWO, science, n, 2003) Arguably, this is the etymological root of reductionism in contemporary natural and engineering science.
1.27 What all four share in common is a grasping and manipulation of the world – inner or outer. In terms of evolution, using its opposable thumb, humanity reached out to shape the material world to compensate for its elemental frailty – no great size, no claws or talons and tiny canine teeth. To eat and survive predation, the human brain reached out with finger-thumb coordination to grasp and shape parts of the world into tools with which to then manipulate other parts, e.g., to kill game or plant seeds. It appears, from the fossil record, that the opposable thumb preceded, and in a path-dependent manner contributed to, the subsequent and extraordinarily rapid evolutionary growth and development of the human brain itself. ‘To know by the senses’ involves translation of this original experience of external manipulation into internal psychic or mental manipulation. This sense of ‘to know’ relates to its fourth branch (OED, know, v, IV) rooted in the Old English verb ‘can’ meaning ‘know how’.
1.27 The second category – to know by the mind – includes the words: comprehension, cognition, thinking and understanding. Comprehension derives from the Latin, and like apprehension, originally meant to seize but in later refinements in Latin and in English took the meaning ‘to grasp with the mind’ (OED, comprehend, v, Etymology). Cognition derives from the Latin meaning “to get to know”. Its original English, and present philosophic meaning, is roughly “[t]he action or faculty of knowing; knowledge, consciousness; acquaintance with a subject”. Suggestively, both the adjective and noun ‘cognate’ involve common descent either of a language or a bloodline. Thinking derives from the Old English and means “formation and arrangement of ideas in the mind”. Understanding derives from the Old English and is equivalent to ‘comprehension’
1.28 From the above, I draw three deductions. First, as a verb ‘to know’ has absorbed many meanings of the archaic verb ‘to wit’. Thereby, ‘to know by the senses’ has become confused with ‘to know by the mind’. As a noun, however, ‘wit’ survives defining the seat of consciousness of a natural person. This distinction between knowing through the senses and knowing through the mind plays, as will be argued below, an important part in the classical and continuing distinction between the Liberal and the Mechanical Arts.
1.29 Second, if closely related languages such as French, German and Scandinavian use different verbs for ‘to know’, then one can reasonably conclude they possess many nouns of subtle meaning not available in English. These meanings become lumped together in English in a single word ‘knowledge’ that has become pregnant with meaning and numinous with purpose. English thus exhibits a comparative economy of words and therefore of meaning for the word ‘knowledge’.
1.30 If one extends this English etymological economy to more distant languages using scripts other than the Roman alphabet, then the distinct and subtle differentiations of ‘knowledge’, e.g., in Cantonese, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian, Thai, etc., may simply not be capable of translation. It becomes ‘local’ knowledge specific to a nation and available only for domestic exploitation in a knowledge-based economy. All polymorphous forms and linguistic expressions of ‘knowledge’ are the raw inputs (and a final consumer output) of a global knowledge-based economy. Given the rate at which human languages are becoming extinct, however, many meanings of ‘knowledge’ are simply being lost every year and forever. (Sampat 2001)
1.31 Third, in addition to absorbing the meaning of ‘to wit’, ‘know’ in its fourth branch (OED, know, v., IV) has also absorbed the meaning of the Old English verb ‘can’ as in ‘know how’. Current discussion of the knowledge-based economy, as I will argue below, is rooted in ‘know how’ and variants on this theme like ‘know who’, ‘know what’, ‘know where’, etc. In this sense, a better description would be ‘the can-do economy’.
1.32 One last etymological facet of ‘knowledge’ is its contrasting meaning with respect to ‘ignorance’, ‘belief’ and ‘opinion’. Ignorance means lack of knowledge. If one accepts ‘knowledge’ as deriving from reason then ‘belief’ must emerge from some other faculty to be held with emotional certainty (OED know, v., 10a). Similarly, while opinion may derive from reason and/or other faculties it is held as a probability, not a certainty (OED opinion, n., 1a). Opinion, specifically public opinion, results in “the insertion between man and his environment of a pseudo-environment.” (Lippman 1922, 15) In passing the OED also defines economy, economist and econometrician but not economics. Economy is defined as management of the household and an economist as manager of the household. Econometrics is defined as application of mathematics to economic data or theories. While economics is not defined, political economy is: “originally the art or practical science of managing the resources of a nation so as to increase its material prosperity; in more recent use, the theoretical science dealing with the laws that regulate the production and distribution of wealth.” (OED, economy, 3)
1.33 Epistemology is that branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of knowledge and knowing, or, the theory of knowledge. To the degree that such matters are rooted in the biological nature of homo sapiens then to that degree epistemology is an individual and social imperative of the most ancient vintage. Traditionally in the West, however, epistemology begins with the ancient Greeks, and for purposes of this Introduction, ends just before the Renaissance in the so-called Scholastic Period of Western thought. In the main body of the thesis, epistemology will pass through the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, the Republican Revolutions of the 18th, the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and the Technological Revolution of the 20th and 21st centuries.
and insight of five ancient Greeks – individually and collectively – continue
to shape and mold our understanding of knowledge: Pythagoras,
Protagoras, Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus. I will briefly survey their findings and
comment on their absorption into Christian pedagogy after the fall of the
1.35 Pythagoras of
· the geometry of the circle, triangle and square
in two-dimensions, subsequently extended by Archimedes (287 BCE – 212 BCE) and
· in the balance, harmony, melody, pitch and resonance of musical time; and,
· in the mystery of numbers as mathemata, or the “science of learning” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism, 1997).
1.36 Unlike many natural & engineering scientists of today, however, for Pythagoras this cognate relationship demonstrated the ‘intelligent design’ of a creator. The Church Fathers admitted Pythagoras and maintained his mathematical and musical epistemology [G] in Christian pedagogy. Of course, the Church Fathers interpreted this relationship subject to Christian Revelation. The Four Apostles and the Trinity are examples of Christian numerology or ‘magic numbers’.
1.37 Protagoras the Sophist (485-410 BCE), in contrast, was an agnostic. Questions about the gods did not concern him because he considered them unanswerable. Instead he began his work Truth with: “Of all things the measure is man …” (Poster 2002). It is from this axiom that the humanism of the Renaissance arose – Man, not God, is the measure and Man is mutable, God is not. Truth, beauty, justice, virtue and even perceived states of the world (is it hot or cold?) are, according to Protagoras, known only relative to the individual observer. What matters is not the inherent worth of any observation or argument by one or another observer, but rather their persuasive artistry or dialectic skill in making their case. Grammar and rhetoric were summed up by Protagoras in orthoepeia or the study of the correct use of words. These were his weapons of inquiry. Students learned how to attack and defend ‘positions’. As noted by Fuller: “… the Greeks themselves may have well thought about warfare as dialectics continued by other means.” (Fuller 2000, 43). While the agnosticism and relativism of the Sophists were rejected by the Church Fathers, Sophist methods – grammar and rhetoric – perhaps echoing Biblical emphasis on ‘the Word’ were adopted and maintained in Christian pedagogy.
1.38 Plato (428-348
BCE) was a theist who believed the external world was a shadow play of
Universal Forms contained deep within the human psyche or soul. This is somewhat analogous to the Brahmin
concept of Atman and Brahman wherein Atman is a sliver of the godhead Brahman within
each human being. Everything one knows
is relative to ultimate and perfect ideals that exist outside of Nature. It is through logic and reason, according to
Plato, including the use of Pythagorean mathematics that knowledge is
acquired. This leads, however, to the
Paradox of Inquiry explored by Plato in
one must already know about something in order to inquire about it. And this
prescience, according to Plato, is contained in the immaterial soul which has
pre-natal acquaintance with the Transcendent (Brickhouse
& Smith 2002). The ‘otherworldliness’ of this Platonic view appealed to the
Church Fathers who emphasized the relative importance of the ‘next world’,
particularly in the darkest moments of the Middle Ages. In later theological and philosophic debate
this school of thought became known as ‘Nominalism’. Not just Nature, however, was a poor
imitation of God’s true domain – heaven - so were artificial things wrought by
human hand which were viewed as profane bordering on the sacrilegious.
Under the Church Fathers, the Mosaic
injunction against graven images accentuated this tendency leading to various
Iconoclastic heresies that have plagued the Church and that did not end with
the schisms between Latin/German Catholic and Greek/Slavic Orthodox and then
(384-322 BCE), also a theist, argued that the shadow play takes place in the
mind and universal forms exist in an external, objective reality – Nature which
is of divine creation. The only things
that can be ‘known’ are those things that can be observed. In subsequent theological debate this school
of thought became known as ‘Realism’. In
this view anything wrought by human hand is a poor imitation of Nature. Plato and Aristotle agreed, however, on the
Pythagorean axiom; both were theists and both believed that
logos or logic (reason) was the
preferred way to know. Other faculties
or ways of knowing – intuition, emotion and sensation – were inferior functions
that would lead one astray from true knowledge.
Both also agreed that the practice of ‘wisdom for hire’ by the Sophists
was immoral and dangerous with Plato concluding that the war against
1.40 Epicurus (341-271 BCE) was an atheist and argued that there was no shadow play (inside or outside); there was no god: there was only sensation. His was a radical materialism of atomic theory and allowed for no god or any ultimate principle other than pleasure and pain and the knowledge of the pleasure and pain life brings. In this sense, Epicurus echoes the ‘life is pain’ principal of Buddhism. And like Plato’s Paradox of Inquiry, Epicurus assumed one had to know before one could inquire. Instead of the soul, however, he proposed ‘preconceptions’ such as ‘body,’ ‘person,’ ‘usefulness,’ and ‘truth’ formed in one’s material mind as the result of repeated sense-experience of similar objects. Ideas are formed by analogy between or compounding such basic concepts. (O’Keefe 2001)
1.41 Without the moral restraint of religion to limit pleasure-seeking, Epicurus proposed a doctrine of ethical hedonism. His atheistic, materialistic views, however, were equally unacceptable to pagan theists and to the Church Fathers. In fact his own work did not survive the fall of the Empire and it is mainly through De Rerum Natura by the Roman poet Lucretius (99-55 BCE) that Epicurus’ views survived to the Middle Ages and beyond. Surreptitiously, however, his work inspired both the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century and Jeremy Bentham’s 18th century ‘felicitous calculus’ of human happiness - the foundation stone of economic consumer theory. His philosophy, known as Utilitarianism, has been called “the shallowest of all conceivable philosophies of life” (Schumpeter 1954:132-4).
1.42 In summary, the ancient Greeks and, through them, the Romans believed that knowledge was found either/or in numbers, words, internal or external universals of divine invention, or the sensation of pleasure and pain (the last doctrine being rejected by the Church Fathers). These insights were formalized into a pedagogic curriculum used in the ancient, medieval and, in modified form, in the modern world. This was the Liberal Arts of which there were seven: grammar, rhetoric, and logic (the trivium) and geometry, arithmetic, music, and astronomy (the quadrivium). The word ‘liberal’ derives from the Latin liber or free because this knowledge was restricted to ‘free men’ who did not have to earn a living; it was not for commoners and slaves. (Catholic Encyclopedia, The Seven Liberal Arts, 1997) [H]
1.43 This begs the
question: what are the illiberal arts?
What form of knowledge do they involve?
The slave economy of the ancient world supported an elite, including that
1.44 While they
existed in the ancient world, the first reference to the Mechanical Arts was
made by John the Scot (805–877 CE) who received patronage from Charles the
Bald, a Carolingian king of
In spite of
his heretical status, John’s recognition of the Mechanical Arts reflects an implicit
Christian belief in the equality of souls – noble or commoner. This was reinforced by the self-sufficiency
of the monastic tradition that conserved some of the ancient knowledge after
the fall of
1.46 It is perhaps more than coincidental that roughly at the time John the Scot named the Mechanical Arts, the etymological distinction in Old English between knowing by the mind (from the archaic ‘to wit’) and knowing by the senses (from the archaic ‘to know’; para. 1.18) emerged. While John did not name the individual Seven Mechanical Arts, they were subsequently defined as weaving, blacksmithing, war, navigation, agriculture, hunting, medicine, and the ars theatrica.
1.47 In spite of their identification, the Mechanical Arts remained subject to epistemic devaluation because of political subordination of commoners to nobles and because of theological concerns. For example, “[i]n the sixth century, St. Augustine believed that the mechanical arts (both technology and magic) both sought to gain control over nature, hence perverting God’s design, and were therefore both anti-Christian.” (Walton 2003) And from Aristotle, it was concluded that anything crafted by the human hand was a poor imitation of divinely created Nature. The contribution of the Mechanical Arts, in both ancient and medieval times, was inferior imitation of Nature. This changed with the Renaissance and the subsequent Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes or the battle of the Ancients and the Moderns marking the beginning of the 18th century Enlightenment and the end of the Renaissance (Kristeller 1952, 19).
1.48 The Liberal Arts provided the curriculum
of the self-governing university, i.e. independent of Church and State, that emerged
in the Occident during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries of the common era. At its beginnings, the university was an
incorporated association of teachers, as in
1.49 From the above, I draw three deductions. First, the ancient and scholastic worlds bequeathed a mixed bag of knowledge units – numbers, words, internal and/or external forms and sensations. This has led to knowledge being fragmented, segregated and specialized, e.g., between the Liberal Arts (knowing with the mind) and the Mechanical Arts (knowing with the senses). With the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century this fragmentation or fissioning accelerated with new disciplines, sub-disciplines and specialties. This has, it will be further argued, led to the increasing incommensurability of knowledge in the modern world. This is the inevitable negative side of the division and specialization of knowledge.
1.50 Second, as will be demonstrated below, it was not until the late 18th century that Baumgarten created aesthetics – the “theory of sensuous knowledge, as a counterpart to logic as a theory of intellectual knowledge.” (Kristeller 1952, 34). It was only then that sensation gained epistemological entry to the Liberal Arts - first as a new philosophical school and subsequently as the ‘beaux arts’ or Fine Arts. Nonetheless, as will be argued, in English-speaking cultures: gentlemen still don’t work with their hands except as a hobby or therapy.
1.51 Third, as will also be demonstrated below, coincidental with Baumgarten’s efforts, Jeremy Bentham was reducing Epicurus’ sensation, through the Roman poet Lucian, into a ‘felicitous calculus’ of pleasure and pain measured in ‘utiles’ that provides the foundation for mainstream consumer theory and, indirectly, of the theory of the firm. All knowledge is thereby converted in a materialistic measure of pleasure and pain – the two sovereign rulers of the state. In this view, a knowledge-based economy is one of pleasure and pain. There are no higher purposes. Where Marx the materialist failed, Bentham the utilitarian was triumphant: consumerism reigns in the global knowledge-based economy.
1.52 If a holistic vision of a global knowledge-based economy – as opposed to a ‘know-how’ or ‘can-do’ economy - is to be developed then: (i) incommensurability must be mitigated; (ii) the uncertain nature of knowledge clarified; and, (iii) the materialistic bias of the pleasure and pain economy transcended. To do so, I will apply transdisciplinary induction.
1.53 The prefix ‘trans’ derives from the Latin meaning “across, to or on the farther side of, beyond, over”. In biochemistry and biology, however, it has the additional meaning of ‘transfer’. (OED, trans-, prefix, 10. Biochem. and Biol.) I will use it in this sense to transfer findings about knowledge from other disciplines into economics. In addition, as an adjective it conveys the sense ‘beyond, surpassing, transcending’, as in transhuman. I will use it in this sense in order to raise the concept of a global knowledge-based economy beyond the limitations of mainstream economics.
1.54 The word ‘discipline’ derives from the Old French meaning “instruction of disciples”. Discipline is concerned with the practice or exercise of a disciple in contrast to ‘doctrine’ which is “the property of the doctor or teacher” who is concerned with abstract theory (OED, discipline, Etymology). Put another way, discipline concerns what is practiced and doctrine concerns what is taught and thought, i.e., a body or system of principles or tenets.
1.55 For my purposes, discipline will be defined as “a department of learning or knowledge; a science or art in its educational aspect”. (OED, discipline, n, 2) Such departments tend to be institutional, not just abstract. Since the ancient Greeks and Plato’s Academy, they have been reified, i.e., an abstraction made concrete, as organizational and physical structures with plant and equipment. Entry and exit from the discipline is hierarchically controlled and the doctrine, or body of knowledge, is taught to initiates whose behaviour and conduct is disciplined by superiors. Once admitted, initiates rise, over time, up the hierarchy to teach what once they were taught, to administer the organization and/or to add to the body of knowledge. This sense of the word ‘discipline’ corresponds to: “[t]he system or method by which order is maintained in a church, and control exercised over the conduct of its members; the procedure whereby this is carried out; the exercise of the power of censure, admonition, excommunication, or other penal measures, by a Christian Church”. (OED, discipline, n, 6a)
1.56 In the Middle Ages, this was the pattern in both the Liberal and the Mechanical Arts. Specialized faculties and departments of knowledge in the medieval university were paralleled by the guilds and their ‘Mysteries’ (Houghton 1941). What differentiates modern disciplines from medieval ones is their emphasis on the addition to rather than interpretation of an existing body of knowledge. This has led to further fissioning of knowledge into an ever growing array of sub-disciplines and specialties. Each has its own differentiated theory, language, practices, instruments and talent. Each tends to bifurcate itself into theoretical and practical branches, e.g., economic theory vs. economic policy. Furthermore, the specific taxonomy of disciplines, sub-disciplines and specialties depends on the specific knowledge domain and nation, e.g., the French university syllabus in Sociology is different from the British.
1.57 This process of the splitting off (the Latin meaning of the word ‘science’) represents the division and specialization of knowledge in action. It has the benefit of allowing ever more detailed examination of a phenomenon but at the cost of incommensurability, i.e., the inability to communicate knowledge to the uninitiated. It has the associated cost of resistance to heterodox approaches and external audit, e.g., interdisciplinary studies. In a manner of speaking, what is gained in depth and detail is lost in breadth of vision. By examining findings in a number of different disciplines in different knowledge domains, transdiciplinary induction tries to break down barriers and make available arguments and evidence about, in this case, knowledge about knowledge and its implications for our understanding of the implications of a global knowledge-based economy.
1.57 In logic, induction refers to reasoning from the specific to the general in contrast to deduction which refers to reasoning from the general to the specific. The word ‘induction’, however, derives from the French and means, among other things, “[t]he action of introducing to, or initiating in, the knowledge of something” (OED, induction, 2). It is in this sense that transdisciplinary induction involves introducing to economics argument and evidence developed in other disciplines of thought. Induction also carries the sense of inducing change by indirection, e.g., in electricity and magnetism, it means “[t]he action of inducing or bringing about an electric or magnetic state in a body by the proximity (without actual contact) of an electrified or magnetized body” (OED, induction, 10).
1.58 If induction carries the sense of increase, then deduction carries the sense of decrease. In fact, the word ‘deduction’ derives from the French meaning “the act of deducting”. Put another way, deduction involves simplification of the complex; induction involves the complication of the simple, in this case, the single word ‘knowledge’. Deduction serves as the basis of reductionism in the natural and engineering sciences as well as the social sciences. Induction provides the basis of holism in ecology wherein a change in one component at one level of an ecosystem can induce changes throughout the system. The word ecology derives from the same Greek root as economics meaning ‘house’. While economics involves management of the household, ecology involves living or dwelling in that household.
1.59 The theoretical inadequacies of mainstream economics result from the dominant role of deductive logic in the discipline. It is a strength and weakness. In the case of knowledge, deduction has, at least for the moment, simplified itself into a dead end. It can not explain a global knowledge-based economy. Induction, on the other hand, specifically transdisciplinary induction, promises new arguments and evidence. These may provide new principles from which the deductive process may profitably begin again. For example, what are the economic implications of knowledge defined as fact derived by reason vs. belief derived as emotional certainty vs. opinion derived as probable certainty? What different industries coalesce around these definitions?
1.60 In short, transdisciplinary induction involves harvesting argument and evidence from as wide a range of disciplines as possible in order to holistically define the theoretical contours of a phenomenon, in this case, the competitiveness of nations in a global knowledge-based economy. These findings will be grafted on to a skeleton of mainstream economic theory to induce growth, development and extension of that theory.
1.61 Like any methodology, transdisciplinary induction (henceforth ‘TI’) has weaknesses as well as strengths. Its strength is in the breadth of vision it can contribute. Its weaknesses, however, are many. First, it relies on language which can articulate some but not all knowledge, e.g., so-called ‘tacit’ knowledge that by definition is not or cannot be codified into language (M. Polanyi 1962a). Furthermore, as suggested above, any language, in this case English, has a limited vocabulary and accordingly fails to differentiate all the different forms or modes of knowledge. And, of course, language itself mediates but imperfectly between thought and expression.
1.62 Second, TI is akin to sophistry: one builds the strongest case from supporting evidence and argument generally ignoring or deflecting refuting evidence. TI is therefore inherently subjective and dependent on the experience, skill and ethics of its advocate.
1.63 Third, TI is also like medieval scholasticism relying on authority. While evidence is gathered from experts, their contributions are usually subject to dispute and debate internally within their respective disciplines. Furthermore, I gather their evidence using my own reading of their work. (Loasby 1967, 172-173) [I] Phenomenologically, however, I do not believe there is a choice. Each TI researcher will be strong in some fields, weak in others. True polymaths are probably extinct. Experimenter expectation can also be expected. And in this regard, Kuhn suggests that even the choice by natural scientists of specific normal science puzzles is influenced by their culture, experience and language (Kuhn 1962, 128).
1.64 As with etymology, ideally a comprehensive survey of all disciplines of thought with respect to ‘knowledge’ is required. For my purposes, however, I restrict myself to argument and evidence found in four dominant disciplines and thirteen of their related sub-disciplines. The four are: Economics (cultural, institutional & legal); Philosophy (aesthetics, epistemology & science); Psychology (analytic, cognitive & gestalt); and, Science (economics, history, philosophy & sociology).
1.65 Economics (a social science), Philosophy (a humanity, and indirectly through aesthetics an Art); and Psychology (a social and, through neurophysiology, a natural science) are recognized disciplines in most universities. Science is not. Rather investigation of science, as opposed to scientific investigation, is presently dominated by history (a humanity), philosophy (a humanity) and sociology (a social science). In the last decade, some effort has, however, been made towards a new ‘economics of science’ (Dasgupta & David 1994; Stephan 1996).
1.66 In what follows I briefly survey the dominant disciplines from which argument and evidence are to be harvested.
Economics - Cultural, Institutional & Legal
1.67 Economics can be defined as the study of the principles governing the allocation of scarce means among unlimited and competing ends (analytic definition); or, the study of humanity’s activities in satisfying its wants, needs and desires (descriptive definition). The first captures the sense of economics as a science of choice concerned with constrained maximization (of utility or profits) in static equilibrium between available means and attainable ends. At the extreme, this leads to econometrics and sophisticated mathematical modeling including ‘game theory’. The second or descriptive definition captures the sense of economics as moral philosophy concerned with identification and satisfaction of human wants, needs and desires. At the extreme, this branch leads to ideology, e.g., Marxism and Capitalism, that propose apparently mutually exclusive political economic outcomes. For half a century, these two specific ideologies threatened the world with a fifteen minute warning of nuclear winter. If knowledge is power then power flows from a plethora of sources.
1.68 Cultural Economics is the most recent sub-disciplinary addition (mid-1990s) to the discipline. For the American Economics Association, cultural economics is categorized as:
Z000 - Other Special Topics: General
- Cultural Economics: General
Z-190 – Cultural Economics: Other.
1.69 There are two dimensions to cultural economics. The first is that maximizing or economic behavior takes place within the context of culture and law. At the extreme, if one ignores culture, one ends in the cannibal’s cooking pot. If one ignores the law, one ends in jail. Neither is a ‘maximizing’ outcome. The second concerns Art as a factor of production and a final consumption good. Beyond the vast global entertainment industry, the Arts include the amateur, fine and heritage arts as well as the applied, decorative or design arts that pervade every aspect of the economy from automobiles and aircraft to entertainment and education to health care and highways to temples of worship and tourism (Chartrand 2000).
From cultural economics, argument and evidence will be
presented addressing a global facet of the knowledge-based economy. Cultural goods and services are carriers of ‘values’,
a form of knowledge distinct from the utilitarian function of a coffee pot,
automobile or bank account. The importance of ‘values’ is apparent in two
ways. First, and most blatant, there
is the ‘clash of civilizations’ in which language, culture and religion have
become the tectonic plates of global conflict. (
In terms of the competition of nations, cultural
sovereignty involves the struggle to be heard at home and abroad above the
booming voice of the American entertainment industry that has succeeded in
penetrating the cultural marketplace of every nation on earth. The one remaining superpower is also a global
cultural colossus spanning East, West, North and South. Fuelled in part by the peculiar pricing
methods used in the entertainment arts, i.e. a rate per viewer rather than the
production cost per unit, the high production standards embodied in American
entertainment programming are the standard demanded by audiences around the
world. As audience dollars flow to ‘American’
programs they flow out of the country leaving the local arts industry poorer –
financially and culturally in that local production is not encouraged. Out of a 1998 International Meeting on
Cultural Policy in
1.72 There are two other aspects to the cultural sovereignty debate. First, each developed nation state owns and regulates (subject to international treaty) the electromagnetic spectrum and related media of communications including broadcast licensing within its borders. Each consciously plans and decides how this ‘spectrum’ resource will be allocated to further the national purpose, i.e., what knowledge will be disseminated. Second, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) recognizes that a country can control the flow of cultural materials in and out of its borders. In Islamic countries, the GATT ‘morals clause’ is used to stop the flow of much Western media with its alien portrayal of women. Other specific GATT provisions permit countries to impose quotas on movie screenings and broadcast programming to assure ‘national content’ is available to citizens. (Chartrand 2002)
Economics is categorized by the American Economics Association under two
headings: B250 - History of Economic Thought since 1925: Historical;
Institutional; Evolutionary; and B520 - Current Heterodox Approaches:
Institutional; Evolutionary. This school of thought was founded by American
economists Thorstein Veblen,
1.74 The unit of analysis in Institutionalism is the routinized pattern of collective human behaviour, i.e., an institution defined as the mechanism that converts individual into collective action. Institutions minimize decision costs, e.g., multiple transactions in a market are possible due to well defined rules and routines. Such routines vary between sectors, e.g., between educational, legal, military and religious institutions, and they vary between nations. In Institutional Economics, knowledge is treated as institutional ‘know-how’ specific to a place and time. Like the mainstream, Institutionalists consider the competitive marketplace the most efficient and effective mechanism ever devised for economic production and consumption. However, they also recognize: the trade union as a legitimate political institution functioning in the economic arena (Commons 1909); the impact of culture, custom and tradition (Veblen 1899); and, the effect of law on the nature and form of economic behaviour (Commons 1926).
1.75 A similar legal and cultural relativism is also part of the legacy of Canadian economist Harold Innis. He recognized that all scholarship must be grounded in analysis of the radical particularities of time and place, history and geography (Carey 1981: 79). Through his study of communications media, Innis identified a relationship between culture and communications. (Innis 1950, 1951) A culture is extensive in time, i.e. it has duration, to the extent its dominant communications medium is durable, e.g. stone, clay or parchment. Alternatively, a culture is extensive in space but limited in time if its dominant communications medium is easily transported, e.g. papyrus and paper. Using this hypothesis, Innis explained the rise and fall of empires throughout history. One of Innis’ colleagues, Marshall McLuhan, took this relativism, first to the medium is the message, and then to human consciousness altered by the emergence of new electronic communications media (McLuhan 1978).
1.76 Institutionalism is characterized by cultural, historical and legal relativism, inductive methodology and general systems analysis. On the other hand, mainstream economics is characterized by positivism, deductive method and mechanistic systems analysis. In essence, two questions separate Institutionalists from the mainstream. First, can economic behaviour be reduced to quantitative expression? Second, even if it can, do we possess or are ever likely to possess the necessary technology of measurement?
1.77 Legal Economics is classified by the American Economics Association as: K000 - Law and Economics: General. While intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as copyrights, patents, registered industrial designs and trademarks fall under this heading, the A.E.A. does not formally identify these legal forms of knowledge. In fact, they constitute the legal foundation for the industrial organization of the knowledge-based economy – both national and global.
TRIPS Agreement of 1995, IPRs (and therefore
knowledge) were not subject to traditional international trade negotiations. Rather, intellectual property was subject to
specialized international conventions such as the
1.79 While TRIPS has established minimum standards for trade in IPRs (including its restriction to commercially relevant IPRs), national treatment remains the bottom-line. Nation-states are actively engaged in the competitive construction of IPR regimes designed to foster and promote the competitiveness of their nation in a global knowledge-based economy.
Philosophy: Aesthetics, Epistemology & Science
1.80 Philosophy, in
its original and widest English meaning is: “[t]he love, study, or pursuit of
wisdom, or of knowledge of things and their causes, whether theoretical or
practical” (OED, philosophy, n,
1a). Derived from the Greek, the word is
composed of two terms: philos
meaning love; and, sophia
meaning wisdom. To the ancient Greeks,
arose “in the heart of our blood” (Hillman 1981, 3) because the heart (and
lungs), not the brain, was the centre of consciousness. Similarly,
sophia meant “skill of the
craftsman” (Hillman 1981, 30. The
introduction of slavery in ancient
1.81 In the medieval university, the seven liberal arts formed the core of ‘undergraduate’ education. Postgraduate study involved natural, moral, and metaphysical philosophy, or the three philosophies. It is from this tradition that the degree of Doctor of Philosophy continues to be granted by today’s universities. (OED, philosophy, n, 2) As will be seen, there were two subsequent changes in this pedagogic pattern. The first occurred in the 15th century with the artist/engineering/scientist of the High Renaissance discovering (or re-discovering) perspective in painting leading to creation of the arts academy. The second involved Robert Boyle who in the 17th century theologically rationalized the Scientific Revolution so that natural philosophy was gradually displaced by experimental science until, in the 19th century, the German experimental or research university displaced the Scholastic one in much of the world.
1.82 The philosophical split between head, heart and hand (and the types of knowledge associated with each) appear early in philosophy with respect to questions of beauty and its expression through Art. Beauty to the ancients (and Scholastics) involved kosmos – the right ordering of the multiple parts of the world (Hillman 1981, 28). This sense of right ordering was expressed in Pythagorean terms of numeric balance, harmony, resonance, etc. It found expression in all aspects of life including the built environment. [K]
1.83 Nonetheless, the means by which kosmos was achieved, Art, or in Greek techne, like Sophistry, was viewed as dangerous by Plato who feared “… not law and the reason of mankind, which by common consent have ever been deemed best, but pleasure and pain will be the rulers in our State.” (Plato, Book X, 1952: 433-434). Art was to be censored and controlled in Plato’s Republic. [L]
For Aristotle, Art was not subversive but rather
pedagogic, specifically educative of the emotions. It allowed
katharsis, i.e., the purging of
emotions. Nonetheless, Art was, for
Aristotle, as for Plato, mimesis,
i.e., an imitation of Nature. Therefore
it was inferior. Furthermore, excepting music
and poetry, the production of the performing and visual arts was suitable only
for the lower classes. Aristotle wrote
about the ars theatrica
including books on tragedy and comedy. Comedy
was lost with the fall of the
1.85 The subordination of Art to ethics, morality, politics and the Church continued until the Renaissance. The clearest sign is that works of Art were seldom signed by their creators before the Renaissance. Instead they were dedicated to God or the commissioning patron. It was not until Baumgarten’s new ‘science of sensuous knowledge’, in the early 18th century, that Art (and its epistemological expression – aesthetics) separated from morality becoming a distinct branch of philosophy called ‘aesthetics’. Nonetheless, the concept of ‘aesthetic distance’ continues to segregate sensation into superior and inferior forms. Hence the ‘distant senses’ of sight and sound are admitted as worthy of philosophical consideration but taste, touch and smell are considered aesthetically inferior. (Berleant 1964) [M]
Epistemology & Science
1.86 With the segregation of the Mechanical Arts to the lower classes, epistemology was restricted to “knowledge of the highest objects”. This involved playing with Pythagorean mathematics, Sophistry, Platonic forms, Aristotelian observation and deductive logic, all subject to revelation as defined by the Church. In effect, epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and the philosophy of science were one and the same. Science literally means ‘knowledge’. While the Liberal Arts were made at home in the university, the guilds with their ‘mysteries’ were home to the Mechanical Arts. Using ‘trial and error’ they developed ‘the experimental method’ in the late Middle Ages and, together with a concept of ‘progress’ and contribution to the craft paved the way for the Scientific Revolution. (Zilsel 1945)
1.87 The classical problem in epistemology is the relationship between sensation, perception and comprehension. Sensation is what the nervous system - through touch, taste, smell, sight and sound - tells our brain; perception is the Mind’s interpretation of that information (knowing through the senses). These need not be the same. With reflection perception may eventuate in comprehension (knowing through the Mind). The ancients, even though they believed the heart to be the organ of cognition, faced the same dilemma as brain theorists today: what one person feels from contact with a given and constant sensory source may differ from what another feels, i.e., the problem of subjectivity.
1.88 As will be demonstrated, the Scientific Revolution through scientific instruments liberated ‘knowing through the senses’ from subjective human mediation. They provide consistent and objective numeric measurement of states of the physical world. Acquisition of consistent sensory measurement provides inductive or experimental evidence about a phenomenon from which general principles can be derived and subsequently tested against fresh instrumental measurement. As will be seen, what such instruments tell us about the world is often at odds with our common sense.
Psychology - Analytic, Cognitive & Gestalt
1.89 Psychology is “[t]he science of the nature, functions, and phenomena of the human mind” or what was once called ‘the soul’. (OED, psychology, 1a) In turn, Mind means: “[t]he seat of awareness, thought, volition, feeling, and memory; cognitive and emotional phenomena and powers considered as constituting a presiding influence; the mental faculty of a human being (esp. as regarded as being separate from the physical); (occas.) this whole system as constituting a person’s character or individuality.” (OED, mind, n, IV 19a). As has been seen, the Old English noun ‘wit’ also means “[t]he seat of consciousness or thought, the mind.” (OED, wit, n, I 1). To the degree this seat of awareness or consciousness is related to ‘wit’, it is etymologically related to knowledge, i.e., it is the seat of knowledge. But who or what sits on that seat? Who knows? Who, in the archaic sense, owns the knowledge? (OED, knowledge, v, 1)
1.90 The word ‘psyche’ derives from the Greek meaning soul, spirit or Mind. This entity was connected by the ancients to ‘physis’ meaning Nature, or more specifically matter. It is from this word that the term ‘physics’ derives. The relationship between the seat of consciousness and matter is an ongoing concern to philosophers, psychologists and psychiatrists. Is Mind an entity distinct from matter; or, is it an epiphenomenon of matter; or, is matter an epiphenomenon of Mind? If distinct, we live between two worlds, one of spirit and one of matter, a duplex. Those who so believe are dualists in the tradition of Descartes. It is among the Dualists that most theists find their home. If Mind is an epiphenomenon, however, then the world is composed only of matter and consciousness is a byproduct. Those who so believe are materialists among whom atheists find their home. If, on the other hand, matter is an epiphenomenon then the world is a byproduct of Mind. Those who so believe are monists in the tradition of Plato and the Pantheists – God is All.
1.91 Whatever its causal source, Mind is empirically distinct from the human brain. Whether an independent entity or operating software or a divine spark, Mind is the seat of knowledge flowing as a stream of consciousness or hidden, tacit in the depths of the unconscious as memory - an obsolete meaning of the word ‘mind’ (OED, mind, n, I 2). Mind defines us as sentient or ‘knowing’ beings. No other creature on the planet, no artificial intelligence, no computer possesses Mind - only the individual human being has a wit. In this sense, all knowledge is ultimately personal. (M. Polanyi 1962a)
1.92 But how does Mind work? That is the question faced by psychology and to which it has answered in many different ways including: associationism, behaviorism, functionalism, gestalt, psychoanalysis (Freud, Jung, Adler) and structuralism. Three sub-disciplines will supply the main crop of arguments and evidence to be harvested for the thesis: analytic, cognitive and gestalt.
1.93 Alternatively called complex, depth or Jungian psychology, analytic psychology is founded on the work of the Swiss German psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). A psychiatrist is a psychologist with a medical doctorate. Jung broke with Freud over Freud’s insistence on the primacy of the sexual drive and Jung’s belief in acausal or synchronistic phenomenon, i.e., phenomena connected in time but not by cause and effect. (Jung 1960) Jung did, however, accept the reality of the unconscious, the role of dreams and the efficacy of psychotherapy. In a way, Freud did to psychology what Marx did to economics – create a revolution. Before Freud, the Enlightenment reigned; there was a reasoning Mind and superstitious fears. After Freud, there was a reasoning ego and an unconscious Mind helping or hindering rationality but, at least at times, beyond ‘rational’ control.
1.94 Jung begins with the psyche or Mind rooted in physis, i.e., the physical world of matter. This connection was speculatively explored in Jung’s collaboration with Nobel Prize physicist Wolfgang Pauli (Jung & Pauli 2001). [N] Mind itself, however, consists of two communicating parts - the conscious and unconscious – fuelled by libido. Unlike Freud, Jung believed libido is not just of sexual origin. Rather, it is a generic energy fuelling all human drives and instincts, e.g., to eat, to drink, to commune with others, and, to know. Art, dreams, fairytales and myths are the vehicles through which the unconscious communicates with consciousness. Jung believed that the conscious and unconscious work in a compensatory manner. If one side appropriates too much libido, a compensatory process sets in to re-adjust the balance. The classical example is the ‘mid-life crisis’ of the 20th century businessman who formed the bulk of Jung’s therapeutic practice, unlike Freud who is famous for treating hysteria in women. After a career of using the conscious mind to obtain material benefits and social status, at mid-life, emotional, non-material or spiritual needs may assert themselves. This may take psychological form as a neurotic crisis including alcoholism or it may take physical form, for example, as an illness limiting career advancement and forcing introspection.
1.95 Mind is populated by complexes, hence one name for analytic is ‘complex’ psychology. Complexes act as foci for libido. If sufficient libido is attracted to a complex it becomes ever more conscious. The dominant complex is the ‘ego’, a word derived from Latin meaning “I”. (OED, ego, 1) It is this complex that occupies ‘the seat of consciousness’. If ego looks outward towards the world of matter/energy and society it is ‘extraverted’; if it looks inwards towards the inner world of spirit, thought or emotion, it is ‘introverted’; and, if it looks Janus-like both ways, it is ‘centroverted’. An individual tends to be either extraverted or introverted. In terms of knowledge, this orientation roughly corresponds to the faculties of perception identified by the archaic noun wit: “[a]ny one of certain particular faculties of perception, classified as outer (outward) or bodily, and inner (inward).” (OED, wit, n, 3a) Centroverts are rare and ideal. (Neumann 1954, 39)
1.96 The ego is not, however, the only complex occupying Mind. Below ego there is a cast of archetypal characters competing for libido. These include the anima or feminine representation of the male’s unconscious identified in alchemy as Regina – the Queen, the animus or masculine representation of the female unconscious identified in alchemy as Rex – the King (Jung 1954), the shadow, hero, eternal child, persona, wise old man or woman, etc. Such archetypical figures exhibit themselves in fairytales, myths and motion pictures, e.g., Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. These archetypes or complexes were demonstrated by Jung to exist in all cultures in all periods of history. They constitute ‘the collective unconscious’ of humanity. [O] (Sharp 1991) In a manner of speaking they represent alternative roles a human being may play in life. The stream of ego consciousness is coloured by these unconscious complexes depending upon how much and when libido is attracted to them. In many ways they act like ‘the humours’ of the Ancients and Scholastics determining temperament. [P]
1.97 As ego consciousness becomes aware of the interference of a complex with its objectives, a confrontation begins. It may end in a struggle of ‘wills’ that leads to a ‘breakdown’, or it may resolve itself in a covenant negotiated using ‘active imagination’, whereby a complex becomes ‘constellated’ on the psychic sphere of attention and coordinated with ego. The ascendancy of ego consciousness in the modern world was traced by Erich Neumann, a colleague of Jung, in his study: The Origins and History of Consciousness (1954). For Neumann, the ancient myths and religions show progressive development of the ‘hero’ as the carrier of individuality, i.e., of ego consciousness. Ego consciousness thus results from an evolutionary struggle of mythogemic complexes for dominance of Mind. A mythogem is the common core of dreams, fairytales and myths. They can also be called archetypes or complexes, of which the ego is but one and all are engaged in a continual struggle for dominance of the ‘seat of knowledge’. In this struggle, symbols are the combatants and symbolic analysis is required to resolve any conflict. It is Neumann’s description of symbolic analysis that inspired my concept of transdisciplinary induction. [Q]
1.98 As it surveys its worlds – inner and outer, Mind (composed of ego and other complexes) acquires knowledge through four functions or faculties of knowing: Thinking, Intuition, Feeling and Sensation. (Sharp 1991) Thinking and feeling are judgmental or decision-making faculties. One or the other tends to be dominant in an individual while the other is suppressed becoming ‘the lost treasure’ or ‘pearl without price’ of myth. Intuition and sensation tend to be subordinated to the dominant function. There are, however, some individuals who are dominantly intuitive (such as the great religious leaders and spiritual prophets of history) or dominantly sensate (such as athletes). Thus different individuals ‘know’ in different ways. What is probably the most widely used psychological test in the world, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ®, uses the Jungian categories of extraversion/introversion and thinking/intuition/feeling/ sensation to assess and ‘type’ individuals, generally for pedagogic (how does one learn best) and training (what job suits one best) purposes. This idea of multiple ways of knowing is compatible with Howard Gardner’s concept of multiple intelligences (he identifies eight different forms). Gardner’s work is also widely used in pedagogic circles. (Gardner 1993)
1.99 Ego consciousness is therefore not the undisputed master of the ‘seat of knowledge’. It competes for the throne with other complexes. In a normal individual, ego maintains control and dialogues with the unconscious through dreams and various forms of active imagination. When this dialogue breaks down and a complex begins to interfere with the life of the ego, a neurosis arises. Unlike Freud, however, Jung believed a neurosis was not a ‘disease’ but rather a compensatory mechanism required to re-balance conscious and unconscious content particularly when the ego becomes ‘deflated’ by life circumstances or ‘inflated’ with its own importance.
1.100 Beyond competition with other complexes, however, even when sitting on the ‘seat of knowledge’, the ego remains subordinate to a transcendent complex or function called ‘the Self’. Ego sits somewhat like a medieval king reigning by the grace of God. In effect, the Self subsumes all contents of Mind – conscious and unconscious. The teleological purpose of the Self is ‘individuation’, i.e., the process of psychological differentiation to realize the uniqueness of the individual personality. (Sharp 1991) Its realization, seldom achieved in a human life time, is the full, complete, true and unique individual human being.
1.101 If analytic psychology proposes a mental software package, cognitive psychology demonstrates the relationship between the software and the hardware of brain structure and function. It is overtly materialistic in approach. It was, however, only in the 20th century that the hardware question was meaningfully addressed by neurophysiology – the study of the brain and nervous system. In simple terms, the human brain has, to date, been subject to a three-stage evolutionary stages. First, there came the so-called Reptilian Brain whose nature is the subject of Carl Sagan’s The Dragons of Eden (1977). Sometimes called the ‘rectilinear or R-structure’ it includes the brain stem made up of specialized organs such as the medulla oblongata and the eyes. It receives sensations from the nervous system – voluntary and involuntary - and regulates the involuntary nervous system. Second, overlaying this primitive vertebrate brain is the Mammalian Brain or cerebellum with its distinctive lobes – left/right, front/back. Finally, the cerebral cortex enfolds much of the previous two. This is the grey ridged matter sometimes called ‘the human brain’ but which we, as a species, share with higher primates, whales and dolphins.
1.102 Research over the last hundred years has revealed a lateralization of brain function. In the most general terms: the left lobe is responsible for speech; the right lobe for pattern recognition, the front or temporal lobes for higher brain function like reason and planning; the back or occipital lobes for human visualization, i.e., not just physical sight but also mental imagining.
1.103 More controversial are findings of Wilder Penfield (1975) and Julian Jaynes (1978). Penfield after fifty years of neurosurgery concluded that the brain stem contained what he called the centrencephalic system, or programmer of the human brain. Thus, if different parts of the brain are damaged, particularly prenatal, the programmer can reassign tasks altering the normal pattern of functional lateralization.
1.104 In the case of Jaynes, his career as a neuropsychologist led him to believe that a currently inactive right lobe brain centre corresponding to Wernicke’s Area (one of three speech centres in the left lobe) was once active. Dormant in contemporary humanity - except in artistic inspiration (the Muse), the voice of conscience (our better half) and schizophrenia, this right lobe centre was, according to Jaynes, once active and controlling of human behaviour. Progressively up the social hierarchy, the voice of one’s master, lord, king or god was heard by this ‘bicameral brain’. It held ancient humanity in thrall of a social or collective consciousness. In this regard, Jaynes suggests that ancient edicts like Hammurabi’s Code were ‘heard’ rather than read, i.e., perceived by the ear not by the eye. The resulting social cohesion accounts, according to Jaynes, for the incredible engineering feats of the Beaker People (Stonehenge), the ancient Egyptians, the Olmecs and Mayas. This form of consciousness broke down with the synchronistic collapse of ancient civilizations in the Old World about 1500 BCE. A similar collapse occurred in the New World empires during the 1500’s CE when the Spanish silenced the bicameral voices of the Aztec, Inca and other Amerindian civilizations by regicide. Once the voices stopped, people did not know what to do except surrender. An implication of Jaynes’ hypothesis is that ‘ego’ consciousness was not in the past and may not in the future be the occupant of the seat of knowledge.
1.105 No matter lateralization of function, the question remains how the various parts of the brain physically and functionally interact to produce what one calls consciousness or Mind? Recent research suggests, for example, that the decision-making or executive function located in the frontal lobes is coordinated with an emotional response emanating from interaction of the cerebellum and brainstem (Freeman 1999). As to how a macroscopic state called Mind results from the microscopic actions of brain cells or neurons, Freeman proposes “circular causality” which he defines as “the interrelations between levels in a hierarchy: a top-down macroscopic state simultaneously influences microscopic particles that bottom-up create and sustain the macroscopic state.” (Freeman 2000) [R] A fuller exploration of circular causality and its correlates in economics – connective and cumulative causality - is discussed below (2.0 Operating Concepts).
1.106 In this discussion of neurons, lobes and brain function, one question still remains unanswered: where is knowledge? It is at this point that argument rather than evidence holds sway. In effect, it is supposed that specific bits of knowledge are biomolecularly encoded into neurons as memory. Like muscle reflexes, performance (recall) is enhanced through use as other neurons become functionally, but not necessarily spatially, entangled with the recurring memory. In an Epicurean manner, ideas, concepts and Mind are formed by analogy between or compounding of such engrammed memories. (para 1.40)
1.107 The concept that knowledge is encoded in neurons as memories that then collectively cascade upwards to form Mind is shared by three highly influential scholars: Gilbert Ryle (1949), Fredrick von Hayek (1952), and, the founders of gestalt psychology Wertheimer, Köhler, and Koffka. (Köhler 1947)
1.108 Gilbert Ryle was a British analytic philosopher who argued against dualism. For him, Mind is a byproduct of matter and somehow knowledge is encoded into the physical brain. His 1949 book The Concept of Mind provides the foundation for further investigation of knowledge in Fredrick von Hayek’s The Sensory Order (1952); Michael Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge (1962a); and, Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). Similarly, the gestalt ‘isomorphism’ hypothesis:
claims an inherent similarity between the psychological patterns in perception, physical patterns in the structures of things, and physiological patterns in the central nervous system. The great realms of being - anorganic nature, organic life, and conscious mind - meet in the C.N.S. There is one world united by forms: morphic monism. (Hillman 1980, 36, fn 52) [S]
1.109 Using a
computer metaphor, if cognitive psychology provides the hardware and analytic
psychology provides the software then gestalt psychology provides the display
screen of knowledge, i.e., how knowledge is perceived by Mind. Gestalt psychology was founded by Max
Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang
1.110 The word gestalt derives from the German and means: “[a] ‘shape’, ‘configuration’, or ‘structure’ which as an object of perception forms a specific whole or unity incapable of expression simply in terms of its parts (e.g. a melody in distinction from the notes that make it up).” (OED, gestalt) If one looks at a tree one sees a whole, an entity, not a composite of leaves, branches, trunk and root. If one shifts attention to a part, the whole is lost from view. In effect, it is perception (knowledge) without reflection or projection. By reflection I mean interpretation or ‘thinking about’ the meaning of the image. By projection I mean ‘reading into’ the image that ex poste interpreted meaning. Or, as Jung says: “[i]mage and meaning are identical; and as the first takes shape, so the latter becomes clear. Actually, the pattern needs no interpretation: it portrays its own meaning” (quoted in Hillman 1980, 37).
1.111 As suggested in the OED definition, gestalt is found not just in the visual arts and nature but also in music and, if one accepts the gestalt ‘isomorphism’ hypothesis (para 1.108), in the nervous system’s organization of knowledge. The implication is that meaning or ‘knowledge’ can exist without language. In fact, a gestalt is a type of knowledge that disappears under analysis or reductive methods. This insight was exported into aesthetics and art criticism [T] as well as epistemology and the philosophy of science with significant effect.
1.112 In the hands of Michael Polanyi, this insight allowed him to distinguish, in effect, between knowledge in the foreground of attention and knowledge in the background, i.e., tacit knowledge. In turn, this permitted an assessment of their relative role and importance. Using the example of hammering a nail, Polanyi saw knowledge of how to achieve the objective as foreground – hit the nail – being dependant upon performance of background, ‘tacit’ or unconscious ‘know how’ acquired through practiced hand-eye coordination. (Polanyi 1962a, 174-175) Any reflection during the act reduces performance, in effect, shattering the gestalt. Such tacit knowledge has become the focus of a sometimes heated debate about appropriate policies for the knowledge-based economy (Cowan, David & Foray 2000). More discussion about tacit and Polanyi’s general concept of ‘personal knowledge’ will be presented below.
1.113 In the hands of Thomas Kuhn (1962), the gestalt is used to derive his highly influential concept of a scientific ‘paradigm’. A paradigm is “[a] pattern, exemplar, example.” (OED, paradigm) A scientific paradigm, however, consists of a set of integrated and self-reinforcing components including: theory; language (especially rhetoric, i.e., how to make an effective argument or proof); instruments; praxis or customary practice (in the use of relevant theory, language and instruments); and, talent. The mutual reinforcement of these components converts them into a whole greater than the sum of their parts. Thus a paradigm becomes an autopoietic or self-maintaining organization like a cell, organism or corporation as in Galbraith’s technostructure (Galbraith 1968). It is within a scientific paradigm that ‘normal science’ functions, i.e., the normal way in which knowledge is acquired in the natural sciences. Kuhn defines normal science as ‘puzzle solving’ within a paradigm. Using a paradigm is like searching under a street light for something dropped in the dark, if it is there, it will be found. Normal science practices under the street lamp; it does not roam into the dark. That is the Kuhnian realm of extraordinary science during the post-paradigm or revolutionary period of the cycle (Kuhn 1962, 82-89).
1.114 In the hands of Brian Loasby (2003), gestalt psychology is combined with von Hayek’s cognitive psychology (1952), Smith’s division and specialization of labour i.e., knowledge, and Marshall’s treatment of knowledge as central to external economies enjoyed by the firm. Loasby places pattern recognition not calculatory rationalism on the ‘seat of knowledge’. The inherent energy efficiency of pattern recognition, relative to continuous calculatory rationalism, has, in evolutionary terms, made it the dominant knowledge faculty. These patterns form ‘connections’ altering the structure of the brain. Loasby derives this concept of connection from Adam Smith’s analysis of knowledge. Such patterns when behaviourally shared by a number of individuals become what Loasby calls ‘routines’ or institutions, i.e., routinized patterns of collective behaviour. More will be said of Loasby’s concept of knowledge in the main text.
Science: Economics, History, Philosophy & Sociology
1.115 As demonstrated above, the old English verb ‘to know’ absorbed territory previously occupied, and in other languages still occupied, by several other verbs. In an analogous way, the word ‘science’ has progressively encroached on other knowledge domains, faculties and forms. Over time acting like a Jungian complex, it has attracted more and more social resources until it pushed aside competitors such as the Church and became the dominant knowledge institution in the modern world. In the process, the natural & engineering sciences appropriated the university itself making it their ‘natural’ home. (Polanyi 1960-61, 406)
1.116 While the word ‘science’ means knowledge, during the Scientific Revolution its sense was altered by the innovation of ‘experimental philosophy’ (Houghton 1941, 40) based on the use and application of scientific instruments. In this regard, in 1833 natural or experimental philosophers were renamed ‘scientists’ by William Whewell in response to a request from the poet Samuel Coleridge (Snyder 2000).
As will be
demonstrated below, the innovation of scientific instruments resolved many
epistemological problems associated with sensation, perception and
comprehension. At the same time, it
created a new one. As noted by Hayek, there
is now a split between what our senses tell us about the world and what science
says (Hayek 1952). This disconnect
between common sense and scientific meaning is captured in a recent
New York Times op-ed article by Brian
Greene, professor of mathematics and physics at
… modern physics’ notion
of time is clearly at odds with the one most of us have internalized.
Einstein greeted the failure of science to
confirm the familiar experience of time with “painful but inevitable
resignation.” The developments since his
era have only widened the disparity between common experience and scientific
knowledge… In my mind’s eye, I often
conjure a kaleidoscopic image of time in which, with every step, I further
1.118 What von Hayek does not identify, however, is the agency responsible for this disconnect: the scientific instrument. As long as sensory data is the basis for scientific investigation then all evidence is, by definition, mediated by a human subject. Scientific instruments transcend the human senses extending beyond the subjectivity of the individual observer. Once calibrated and set in motion a clock – atomic or otherwise – will tick at a constant rate per unit time until its energy source is exhausted. Such measurement is achieved without mediation by a human subject. It provides ‘facts’, not speculation. It is the use and application of the non-mediated evidence generated by scientific instruments that separates the natural and engineering sciences from other knowledge domains such as the social sciences & humanities and the Arts. Interpretation, however, remains problematic even in the physical sciences.
1.119 Nonetheless other knowledge domains aspired to the evidentiary certainty of the experimental sciences. Many disciplines in what once was moral philosophy adopted the mathematical techniques of the natural & engineering sciences to become the social sciences. In all such cases, however, they did so without instrumentation for the non-mediated collection of evidence relevant to their questions of concern.
1.120 As previously demonstrated, in mainstream economic theory, knowledge is treated as a certain, culturally blind, monotonic, rational public good that enters the production function of a firm or nation-state only as an input not as a final output. In the process, knowledge generates increasing returns to scale incompatible with the perfectly competitive ideal of mainstream theory.
1.121 In Cultural Economics, knowledge is treated as ‘values’ embodied in cultural goods and services. The dominant theme is cultural sovereignty. In Institutional Economics, knowledge is treated as institutional ‘know-how’ of the rules and routines of an organization, nation or sector of the economy. The dominant theme is collective action through reduced decision costs. In Legal Economics, knowledge is treated as intellectual property rights designed to mitigate the ‘free rider’ problem by temporarily granting a monopoly to the creator of new knowledge in the form of copyrights, patents, registered industrial designs and trademarks. Tension between encouraging production of new knowledge and the cost to society of monopoly is the dominant theme.
1.122 The economics of science began with studies of post-Sputnik shortages of skilled labour in the sciences (Blank and Stigler, 1957; Arrow and Capron, 1959); the production and distribution of basic scientific knowledge (Nelson 1959; Arrow 1962); and, the ‘spillover effects’ or un-appropriated benefits of science-based innovation (Griliche 1960). It is only in the last decade, however, that economists have initiated formal study of the economics of science itself, i.e., the internal economy of the natural & engineering sciences.
1.123 The seminal work is Dasgupta and David’s 1994 article: “Toward a new economics of science”. Among other findings, they draw on sociologist of science Robert Merton (1973) about the role of priority and adherence to the norms of disclosure in the reward system of science to establish an internal market mechanism for the domain. They concluded that “an individual’s reputation for ‘contributions’ acknowledged within his or her collegiate reference groups is the fundamental ‘currency’ in the reward structure that governs the community of academic scientists.” (Dasguota & David 1994, 498). This quasi-market system goes some distance in confirming Michael Polanyi’s comparison of self-coordination of individual scientific effort and the market. (Polanyi 1962b) [U] More findings from the ‘new economics of science’ will be presented in the main body of this thesis.
that “branch of knowledge which deals with past events, as recorded in writings
or otherwise ascertained; the formal record of the past, esp. of human affairs
or actions; the study of the formation and growth of communities and
history, 3) In the West it
is usually divided between the Ancient (before the fall of the
1.125 Since publication, after his death in 1831, of Hegel’s The Philosophy of History (1837), each period of history and especially its art has been characterized by a zeitgeist or “[t]he spirit or genius which marks the thought or feeling of a period or age.” (OED, zeitgeist) Arguably, the zeitgeist of the modern age is science, specifically experimental science. While science, as a word, means knowledge, its Latin root means ‘to split’ and in the experimental sciences this splitting takes the form of ‘controlled conditions’ under which only one phenomenon is studied, in isolation, at one time. The remarkable ability of this method to generate new knowledge about the world has been the subject of numerous historical studies of the great discoveries and discoverers of science. In this sense the history of science is the narrative of how new knowledge has been acquired in the context of its time. Findings of historians of science will be presented in the main body of the thesis.
1.126 There is, however, a special relationship between science and history other than linear narrative. Thus one can speak of ‘history in science’, i.e., the use of history within science tracing progress through time. This dimension is noted by Thomas Kuhn, in his history/philosophy/sociology of the natural sciences, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions when he writes:
The depreciation of historical fact is deeply, and probably functionally, ingrained in the ideology of the scientific profession, the same profession that places the highest of all values upon factual details of other sorts. Whitehead caught the unhistorical spirit of the scientific community when he wrote, “A science that hesitates to forget its founders is lost.” (Kuhn 1962, 138)
1.127 The process of paradigm shift or revolution in the natural sciences, according to Kuhn, is accompanied by textbook revisionism. Specifically, the findings of past paradigms are edited or ‘crunched down’ to reflect continuity with the most recent paradigm thereby contributing to the sense of the linear accumulation of knowledge. [V] In this sense Kuhn’s ‘metahistorical’ model of science is archaic, a throw back to “the man of the traditional civilizations [who] accorded the historical event no value in itself; in other words, he did not regard it as a specific category of his own mode of existence. (Eliade 1954, 141). [W]
1.128 Philosophy, as the love, study or pursuit of knowledge, was significantly affected by the innovation of experimental science. Where once only observation and logic were the path to knowledge, instrumentally controlled experiments now generate systematized, retrievable and replicable information, without intermediation by a subjective human being. In effect, scientific instrumentation extends the human senses beyond what Kuhn calls ‘casual observation’ of the muddled middle (where individual human beings live) (Kuhn 1962, 15). They extend our senses to both macro- and micro-scopic nature and provide spectral scans exceeding the ‘human’ range and precision of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. In a way, scientific instruments realize a Platonic ideal: “belief in a realm of entities, access to which requires mental powers that transcend sense perception.” (Fuller 2000, 69) Furthermore, the ‘language’ of these extended senses also realizes another ancient Greek ideal, this time that of Pythagoras (about 530 B.C.E.), in that scientific instruments communicate in numbers. Interpretation, however, remains a human, not a machine function.
In the early
1920s, in a
1.130 When this distancing from Aristotelian empiricism, i.e., observation, which is the heart of experimental science, was pointed out to the Circle, its name was changed to logical empiricism but its heart remained true to Plato. One regular guests at the Circle, Edgar Zilsel, refused to join because only logic and numbers were admitted rather than the empirical historical record of experimental science. Zilsel’s work will be reported in more detail below.
1.131 While logical positivism finds its roots in physics, the philosophy of biology is driven by the concept of evolution and has yet to acquire the ‘standing’ of physics. There are two reasons. First, biology’s relative lack of mathematical modeling and instrumentation left it the ‘poor sister’ and it spoke in quasi-metaphysical terms of teleology, vitalism and dualism. Two things changed this situation in the last fifty years. The first involves physical instrumentation that has gone through generations of improvement since the revolution in solid state physics, i.e., the transistor, in the 1950s. The recent development of the gene sequencers and related instrumentation is dramatically increasing biological knowledge. (Hood 2002)
The second is
emergence of genomics, the science of molecular genetics. Genomics also began about fifty years ago
with the ‘gestalt’ discovery by Watson and Cricks of the DNA double helix. Their suggestion that it could split into
complementary strands established the physical basis for the encoding and
transmission of genetic information within an individual organism and between
generations. In this regard, the
New York Times on
two developments is the informatics of DNA that is based on the
quibit (0, 1, 2, 3) rather than the binary bit (0, 1). The shear volume of information generated by
genomic research is such that the information technology industry is investing
heavily in the development of customized hardware and software (Reuters,
relative to physics and the philosophy of science, the philosophy of biology remains
constrained by religious opinion. In the
1.134 The word ‘sociology’ was introduced into English from the French sociologie coined by Auguste Comte (1798-1857) whose positivism was transcendent rather than logical in nature. Its primary meaning is “[t]he science or study of the origin, history, and constitution of human society; social science. Also, the study of social organization and institutions and of collective behaviour and interaction, including the individual’s relationship to the group.” (OED, sociology, 1a) Its secondary meaning is “[t]he application of sociological concepts and analysis to the social context of other disciplines or fields; a particular sociological system.” (OED, sociology, 1b)
to the relationship between sociology and science, there are three facets of
importance to my thesis. First,
the sociology of knowledge cum
1.136 In addition, scientific knowledge as measuring and monitoring the natural world has, through scientific instruments, become entwined in the popular imagination with technology as the manipulation of that world. This leads to the assumption that experimental science generates technology. While a relationship between science and technology exists, it is not, as will be demonstrated, a determinant one. For example, there is a “reciprocal relation between science and technology, involving the research front of one and the accrued archive of the other” but which is “nevertheless sufficient to keep the two in phase in their separate growths within each otherwise independent cumulation.” (Price 1984, 568) In addition, many different forms of knowledge are required to generate the physical technologies and techno-economic systems that dominate modern world. Among these, flowing from the arts, crafts and engineering, is ‘design’. In many ways, design knowledge results in kosmos – the right ordering of the multiple parts of the world (Hillman 1981, 28). Design knowledge will be treated in the main body of this thesis.
1.137 This completes my interdisciplinary tour d’ horizon. In the next chapter I will outline the major operating concepts harvested from the dominant disciplines that will be applied in the main body of the text.
[A] HHC: In response to creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) among the market economies in 1947, the Soviet Union created the Council for Mutual Economic Cooperation (COMECON) that arranged trade between communist countries based on ‘material balances’ rather than market prices. In 1991, COMECON was formally dissolved and former members have joined, or are trying to join, the WTO (now responsible for GATT) with market-based trading relationships.
[B] HHC: This bulwark is, however, about to be tested
because the so-called ‘peace clause’ exempting agricultural subsidies from WTO
jurisdiction lapsed on
[D] Education in art stands on a somewhat different footing from education in hard thinking: for while the latter nearly always strengthens the character, the former not infrequently fails to do this. Nevertheless the development of the artistic faculties of the people is in itself an aim of the very highest importance, and is becoming a chief factor of industrial efficiency .... Increasingly wealth is enabling people to buy things of all kinds to suit the fancy, with but a secondary regard to their powers of wearing; so that in all kinds of clothing and furniture it is every day more true that it is the pattern which sells the things (Marshall 1920, 177-8).
[E] Economists have therefore to cope with two intrinsic difficulties of system analysis - the definition of system boundaries and the specification of system structure. On the one hand, all economic systems are sub-systems - sub-systems both of larger economic systems (unless one is explicitly dealing with the world economy) and also of more broadly defined human and ecological systems; thus interdependencies transcend the bounds of [the system being studied.] (Loasby 1971, 863)
[F] Mr. James
Ward, in Encycl. Brit. XX. 49
s.v. Psychology, assigns to the word two main
meanings: ‘To know may mean either to perceive or apprehend, or it may
mean to understand or comprehend... Thus a blind man, who cannot know
about light in the first sense, may know about light in the second, if
he studies a treatise on optics.’ Others hold that the primary and only proper
object of knowing is a fact or facts (as in our sense 10), and that all
so-called knowing of things or persons resolves itself, upon analysis, into the
knowing of certain facts about these, as their existence, identity, nature,
attributes, etc., the particular fact being understood from the context, or by
a consideration of the kind of fact which is usually wanted to be known about
the thing or person in question. Thus, ‘Do you know Mr. G.?’, ‘Do you know
[G] HHC: Music is one of the seven liberal arts of the ancient, medieval and Renaissance curriculum. Its superior status to the mechanical arts such as visual and plastic arts is due to its cognate relationship with mathematics, or what might be called the geometry of Time. Music does not partition Space; it partitions Time. As will be seen, the visual and plastic arts were not admitted as liberal arts because they involved, according to Aristotle, the imitation of nature and that imitation was, until the Renaissance, judged inferior to the original. Music, on the other hand, creates beats, rhythms, harmonies and melodies that are authentic human inventions exceeding in complexity, regularity and sophistication any sound in Nature.
[H] “They are called liberal (Lat. liber, free), because they serve the purpose of training the free man, in contrast with the artes illiberales, which are pursued for economic purposes; their aim is to prepare the student not for gaining a livelihood, but for the pursuit of science in the strict sense of the term, i.e. the combination of philosophy and theology known as scholasticism. They are seven in number and may be arranged in two groups, the first embracing grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic, in other words, the sciences of language, of oratory, and of logic, better known as the artes sermocinales, or language studies; the second group comprises arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music, i.e. the mathematico-physical disciplines, known as the artes reales, or physicae. The first group is considered to be the elementary group, whence these branches are also called artes triviales, or trivium, i.e. a well-beaten ground like the junction of three roads, or a cross-roads open to all. Contrasted with them we find the mathematical disciplines as artes quadriviales, or quadrivium, or a road with four branches. The seven liberal arts are thus the members of a system of studies which embraces language branches as the lower, the mathematical branches as the intermediate, and science properly so called as the uppermost and terminal grade.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, The Seven Liberal Arts, 1908 - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01760a.htm)
[I] Loasby catches the dilemma in writing of organizational behviour: “This is not an area in which the economist has any special skill; but it is work which comes naturally to psychologists, sociologists and organization theorists. Unfortunately, psychologists, sociologists and organization theorists agree rather less often than economists, so that the economist who wishes to use their ideas is faced with the problem of choosing between them. (Loasby 1967, 172-173)
[K] The polis is the place of art... The magus, the poet who, like Orpheus and Arion is also a supreme sage, can make stones of music. One version of the myth has it that the walls of Thebes were built by songs, the poet's voice and harmonious learning summoning brute matter into stately civic forum. The implicit metaphors are far reaching: the “numbers” of music and of poetry are cognate with the proportionate use and division of matter and space; the poem and the built city are exemplars both of the outward, living shapes of reason. And only in the city can the poet, the dramatist, the architect find an audience sufficiently compact, sufficiently informed to yield him adequate echo. Etymology preserves this link between “public,” in the sense of the literary or theatrical public and the “republic” meaning the assembly in the space and governance of the city. (Steiner, 1976)
[L] … we must remain firm in our conviction that hymns to the gods and praise of famous men are the only poetry which ought to be admitted into our State. For if you go beyond this and allow the honeyed muse to enter, either in epic or lyric verse, not law and the reason of mankind, which by common consent have ever been deemed best, but pleasure and pain will be the rulers in our State (Plato, Book X, 1952: 433-434).
[M] Since the organs of sight and hearing are distance
receptors, detachment from direct contact with the physical may be retained,
for the other senses call attention to the body, so destroying the isolation of
the contemplative mind. Thus the aristocratic attitude of classical Greek
culture has been preserved: the conviction of the superiority of the
essentially passive aloofness of the meditative spirit and contempt for the
practical and manipulative. (Berleant Winter 1964, 187)
[N] HHC: An example of a possible causal connection between psyche and physis may be the number four. Jung’s work demonstrated the pervasiveness of four in the arts, dreams, fairytales and myths of cultures around the world and in the neurosis of his patients. He came to claim that four was the minimum number to bring order out of chaos. In this regard one of his most used phrases is ‘The Saying of Maria Prophetissa: ‘Out of the One comes Two, out of Two comes Three, and from the Third comes the One as the Fourth.’ Four, however, is also the chemical valence of carbon, the foundation element of life as we know it on planet Earth.
[O] Collective unconscious. A structural layer of the human psyche containing inherited elements, distinct from the personal unconscious. (See also archetype and archetypal image.)
The collective unconscious contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind's evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual.[The Structure of the Psyche,” CW 8, par. 342.] (Sharp 1991)
[P] [A]lso spelled Humor (from Latin “liquid,” or “fluid”),
in early Western physiological theory, one of the four fluids of the body that
were thought to determine a person's temperament and features. In the ancient
physiological theory still current in the European Middle Ages and later, the
four cardinal humours were blood, phlegm, choler
(yellow bile), and melancholy (black bile);the variant mixtures of these
humours in different persons determined their
“complexions,” or “temperaments,” their physical and mental qualities, and
their dispositions. The ideal person had the ideally proportioned mixture of
the four; a predominance of one produced a person who was sanguine (Latin
sanguis, “blood”), phlegmatic, choleric, or melancholic.
Each complexion had specific characteristics, and the words carried much weight
that they have since lost: e.g., the choleric man was not only quick to anger
but also yellow-faced, lean, hairy, proud, ambitious, revengeful, and shrewd.
By extension, “humour” in the 16th century came to
denote an unbalanced mental condition, a mood or unreasonable caprice, or a
fixed folly or vice. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate CD
[Q] Symbols gather round the thing to be explained, understood, interpreted. The act of becoming conscious consists in the concentric grouping of symbols around the object, all circumscribing and describing the unknown from many sides. Each symbol lays bare another essential side of the object to be grasped, points to another facet of meaning. Only the canon of these symbols congregating about the center in question, the coherent symbol group, can lead to an understanding of what the symbols point to and of what they are trying to express. (Neumann 1954)
[R] …Circular causality expresses the interrelations between levels in a hierarchy: a top-down macroscopic state simultaneously influences microscopic particles that bottom-up create and sustain the macroscopic state. The state exists over a span of inner time in the system that can be collapsed to a point in external time. Events in real time are marked by changes in the state of the system, which are discrete. (Freeman 2000)
[S] Isomorphism (Köhler,
Koffka, Metzger) claims an inherent similarity between the
patterns in perception, physical patterns in the structures of things, and
patterns in the central nervous system.
The great realms of being - anorganic nature,
organic life, and conscious mind - meet in the C.N.S. There is one world united by forms:
Isomorphism offers the religious doctrine of correspondences (Böhme, Ekkehart, Goethe) in
scientific dress. Because of the new
dress, the multiplicities in the old correspondence idea are forced into a
unity (which then proliferate 114 laws of Gestalt). Instead of differentiating the faces of this
unity, Gestalt abstracts forms and forces.
Patterns lose their imagistic content becoming formal even mathematical
becomes topology. Nonetheless the
religious background remains in the Gestalt sense of mission. Karl Lashley called
Köhler’s work a “new religion”, which
Köhler willingly acknowledged in his Die
Aufgabe der Gestalt-Psychologie (Germ. transl. of
The Task of Gestalt Psychology),
[T] Gestalt Aesthetics: A term imported into modern art criticism from psychology. Gestalt psychology, founded by Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler, holds that the parts are determined by the whole, and that all experience, including aesthetic experience, is related to certain basic structures which cannot be subdivided. Gestalt criticism is opposed to the idea of empathy, and holds that we do not ourselves project aesthetic and emotional qualities into the work of art, but find them there waiting for us. Defenders of minimal art claim that the spectator finds a 'good Gestalt' in the most primary forms. The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1984.
[U] What I have said here about the highest possible co-ordination of individual scientific efforts by a process of self-co-ordination may recall the self-co-ordination achieved by producers and consumers operating in a market. It was, indeed, with this in mind that I spoke of ‘the invisible hand’ guiding the co-ordination of independent initiatives to a maximum advancement of science, just as Adam Smith invoked ‘the invisible hand’ to describe the achievement of greatest joint material satisfaction when independent producers and consumers are guided by the prices of goods in a market. I am suggesting, in fact, that the co-ordinating functions of the market are but a special case of co-ordination by mutual adjustment. In the case of science, adjustment takes place by taking note of the published results of other scientists; while in the case of the market, mutual adjustment is mediated by a system of prices broadcasting current exchange relations, which make supply meet demand. (Polanyi 1962b)
[V] For reasons that are both obvious and highly functional, science textbooks (and too many of the older histories of science) refer only to that part of the work of past scientists that can easily be viewed as contributions to the statement and solution of the texts’ paradigm problems. Partly by selection and partly by distortion, the scientists of earlier ages are implicitly represented as having worked upon the same set of fixed problems and in accordance with the same set of fixed canons that the most recent revolution in scientific theory and method has made seem scientific. No wonder that textbooks and the historical tradition they imply have to be rewritten after each scientific revolution. And no wonder that, as they are rewritten, science once again comes to seem largely cumulative. (Kuhn 1962, 138)
[W] In short, it would be necessary to confront “historical man” (modern man), who consciously and voluntarily creates history, with the man of the traditional civilizations, who, as we have seen, had a negative attitude toward history. Whether he abolishes it periodically, whether he devaluates it by perpetually finding transhistorical models and archetypes for it, whether, finally, he gives it a metahistorical meaning (cyclical theory, eschatological significations, and so on), the man of the traditional civilizations accorded the historical event no value in itself; in other words, he did not regard it as a specific category of his own mode of existence. (Eliade 1954, 141).
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