[asa] Causes and Effects of Science

From: Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
Date: Thu Jan 29 2009 - 05:46:49 EST

Can I ask for your assistance in this thread of defining the causes and effects of sciences? The notes below are part of an upcoming presentation I'm giving on 'the new science' (i.e. four effects) proposed by Marshall McLuhan, who was not himself a scientist. If you would offer any suggestions, additions or clarifications, it would be much appreciated. Randy recently mentioned a confusion between material cause and final cause. So it may be helpful if people could clarify what these causes and effects mean in their particular fields of science.
A. Four Causes of Science
1.   Material
Technology; equipment, instruments, computers, machines, natural resources, etc.
Government (public) and private business financing
Experimentation, actualisation (execution) and repetition of experiments, tests, studies, etc., both natural and human-social
Published Literature; analysis, data collection, presentation, feedback, peer review, etc.
2.   Formal
Systematic, organized, accessible, categorized knowledge
Methods, theories, paradigms, strategies, hypotheses, approaches, special grammar, etc.
Idealism, Empiricism, Positivism, Pragmatism, Verificationism, Falsificationism, Realism, etc.
What ‘knowledge’ has become codified as in the 21st century
3.   Efficient
People wanting to understand nature, the heavens and/or ‘God’s works’ in order to control nature, to reduce chance and to improve human-social standards of living
Public or private schools that promote the importance of scientific knowledge
Scientific societies, associations and networks, think tanks, institutes and universities
Conference participation, peer reviewing, networking, challenging new findings or contributions to the field
Innovation, invention, discovery and distribution of new or created knowledge
4.   Final
Knowing more about the creator, Creator, designer or Designer; God, Jehovah or Allah; the imago Dei; OR about Nature in an Animistic or Karmic sense
Humanitas – humankind’s self-betterment, self-understanding
The common human desire to discover our origins, meaning, purpose, teleology
B. Four Effects of Science
1. Retrieval (What does it bring back?): For example, radio returns the spoken word to the forefront.
Logic, critical thinking, reasoning, following the evidence where it leads
The Academy, Lyceum, places of learning and research, teachers, professors, doctors, a knowledge community
Attempts to distinguish between theory and practise
Concentrating research on a specific topic or set of topics
2. Reversal (What does it reverse or flip into at its extreme?): Acoustic radio flips into audio-visual TV.
Something almost unimaginable: Supra-Science
Scientism: science as an all-encompassing worldview
Dogmatic antagonism toward philosophy and religion (as competing realms, rivals for $)
An empty claim to wisdom, but with much knowledge and information power
3. Obsolescence (What does it make obsolete?): Radio reduces the importance of print and the visual.
That which cannot be proven quantitatively, empirically, numerically
Magic, superstition, legend, tall-tale, myth, fairy stories
Churches, Temples, Synagogues, Mosques, i.e. religious institutions
4. Amplification/Enhancement (What does it amplify or enhance?): Radio amplifies news and music via sound.
Reason, logic, exactness, measurement, verifiability, confidence (via falsification)
Curiosity about the cosmos: natural, social, political and cultural realms
Doubt – Possibility of Future Correction (P.O.F.C.)
Personality and human-social meaning; seeking notions of immanence and transcendence __________________________________________________________________ Yahoo! Canada Toolbar: Search from anywhere on the web, and bookmark your favourite sites. Download it now at http://ca.toolbar.yahoo.com.

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Received on Thu Jan 29 05:47:33 2009

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