هژمونی علوم طبیعی: اکتشاف در پیچیدگی فکر
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20047||2005||39 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||18814 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Futures, Volume 37, Issue 7, September 2005, Pages 615–653
Traditionally the natural sciences, particularly physics, have been regarded as the Gatekeepers of Truth. As such the legitimacy of others forms of knowledge have been called into question, particularly those methods that characterise the ‘softer’ sciences, and even the arts. This paper begins with an extended discussion concerning the main features of a complex system, and the nature of the boundaries that emerge within such systems. Subsequent to this discussion, and by assuming that the Universe at some level can be well-described as a complex system, the paper explores the notion of ontology, or existence, from a complex systems perspective. It is argued that none of the traditional objects of science, or any objects from any discipline, formal or not, can be said to be real in any absolute sense although a substantial realism may be temporarily associated with them. The limitations of the natural sciences is discussed as well as the deep connection between the ‘hard’ and the ‘soft’ sciences. As a result of this complex systems analysis, an evolutionary philosophy referred to as quasi-‘critical pluralism’ is outlined, which is more sensitive to the demands of complexity than contemporary reductionistic approaches.
There are at least two broad perspectives from which the status of our scientific knowledge claims can be understood. The first is a purely realist view of scientific knowledge, referred to as scientific realism. According to this view the “theoretical entities that are characterized by a true theory actually exist even though they cannot be directly observed. Alternatively, that the evidence that confirms a theory also serves to confirm the existence of any theoretical or ‘hypothetical’ entities characterized by that theory” (Fetzer and Almeder [17: 118]). This definition suggests that scientific knowledge gives us direct knowledge of entities that exist independent of the existence of any observer, i.e. rigorous application of scientific methods yields theories of certain entities that exist mind-independently (independently of what we believe or feel about those entities). In this view an objective reality does exist, and that it is through the application of method that we can have objective scientific knowledge of ‘reality’. In complete opposition to the realist position is idealism. This position argues that, though there does exist an objective reality, we can never have direct objective knowledge concerning that reality. Accordingly, knowledge is manufactured rather than discovered. The manufacturing process is inherently biased by our methods of production and is incapable of delivering objective knowledge of some external reality: objectivity becomes no more than a myth. Social constructivism, which is a form of idealism, in its extreme form regards scientific knowledge as merely a socially-constructed discourse that is inherently subjective in nature. As there can be no objective knowledge, there can be no dominant discourse because there can be no test or argument that could conclusively support the dominance of one discourse over another. As such, science is just another approach ‘out there’ to making sense and should be treated with no more reverence than any other approach. As Masani  laments, “constructivism is anti-scientific to the bone.”
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
“Controversy always pounces upon the least defensible points in any position which has been advanced. We might well say that, in doing so, controversy follows a law of ‘least energy’ analogous to the well-known law of dynamics” Sellars [43: 238]. An example of this might be how opponents to strong realism, because of its socio-psychological naivety, recoil to a social constructivist position. This phenomena is observed all too often in scientific as well as philosophical debate, i.e. an argument is found lacking in some way, the focus of debate then shifts onto the lacking aspect, which is then generally used to destroy the original argument entirely. A new and often totally opposing argument is then proposed that pretends to address the shortcomings of the original argument. I am often infuriated with such unsophisticated argumentation. The method implies that there is always a better way and therefore a best way. Rather than seeing all positions as inherently wrong in an absolute sense and then seeking to synthesise a view through critical dialogue that attempts to take the ‘best of many worlds’, we often find ourselves banging our heads against a brick wall of intellectual arrogance and boorishness. In this paper I have attempted to show that even a radically realist (scientific) view of the Universe leads quite naturally to a position that frowns upon any attempts to enforce any sort of intellectual imperialism. I have argued for the adoption of an evolutionary philosophy based upon the assumption that the Universe might be accurately described at some deep level as a CA. Though the argument is indeed based upon a strongly realist ontology it concludes that quasi-ontological pluralism must be admitted and that it is through critical dialogue that the pros and cons of different ontologies can be determined temporarily and locally. The argument given defends scientific imperialism to some extent but also attempts to make explicit science's inherent limitations, thereby forcing us to consider the possibility of other types of knowledge being equally legitimate as a default position. It is perhaps interesting to note that despite its realist beginnings, the argument does conclude, in a sense, that anti-realism becomes the natural, initial position in any debate. Even “local triumph's may be insufficient to provide any ground in reality for declaring one account a closer approximation of the truth” [14: 48]. However, though the default ‘universal’ position may be anti-realist in this sense, it may manifest itself in an infinitude of ways, including a return to the purely realist position if only temporarily. One might argue that by privileging ontological pluralism and critical dialogue I am guilty of the same intellectual imperialism that I am myself critical of. To this I have no real defence28, except to say that the resulting philosophy is quite empty in that no systematic framework is offered that will plug the gaps in our knowledge that result from a complex Universe. In a way, I regard the argument herein as no more than a ladder that allows one to climb to a position of philosophical emptiness that highlights the uncertainty of all things and the dangers of idolatry and reification. Once this position is reached, the ladder is thrown away and we get on with our lives. The difference being that, once ‘enlightened’ (with a small `e'), all our decisions and attitudes regarding what we think we know are continually treated with a healthy scepticism. We must reify to interact with the world, but we need to be fully aware that what we reify is often arbitrary and that reification is a prerequisite to our interaction with the world. Once in this position, all the tools available to us in our attempts to make sense, which includes both those tools commonly associated with complexity science29, and those that are not (remembering that at some deep level any and all approaches are legitimate by default), can be selectively employed in a critical fashion. The basis of my argument is that we can have good knowledge of the Universe without necessarily being restricted to considering only what is absolutely real. Life shows us that we can profit considerably from an ontological shift away from the ultimate reality of Life's ‘cell states’. The scale of compression when one moves from the physical (BMP) level to the design (JPEG) level is stupendous, albeit sketchy and rough. Consider the calculations involved in a game of chess: “it is the difference between figuring out in your head what white's most likely (best) move is versus calculating the state of a few trillion pixels through a few thousand generations” [14: 42]. But deciding what is substantially real enough to base our understanding on is inherently problematic and may take many different routes. As far as we should be concerned nothing is absolutely real and at the heart of all our philosophies, attitudes, opinions, etc. is a judgement as to what is substantially real. The distinction between what is real and what is substantially real is a subtle one, but it is such subtleties that differentiate between Capitalists, Scientists, Marxists, Religionists, as well as what makes each of us intellectually unique. These conclusions are not new. The fact that they can be derived from a strongly realist approach, however, may surprise some.