lundi, avril 18, 2005


The mysteries of human actions are the very substance that nurtures Scientific thought.
A very short and compressed reflection

It has already been proposed that all things have the same and one principle and that such principle itself is not cognoscible, but its effects can be studied. If this principle is the principle of all, then it is the principle of human behaviour and of its (seemingly) diversity. Being human behaviour imperfect and the principle of all perfect, how can the former be derived from the latter? This question, as it is formulated, cannot be answered in an obvious manner.

Alternatively to this proposal, there has been a belief that human station is such that it no longer abides by the very laws of nature animals are subject to. Accordingly, the natural human behaviour is non-natural. This is a real paradox and methinks this has been the very force by which Scientific thought has been driven in the West.

It is important to notice that terms may be misleading in this case. Many thinkers who in the past claimed to be Philosophers would nowadays be considered Scientists, and their Philosophical works are de facto considered the foundations of many Sciences. In the incipient era of these branches of knowledge that we now call Sciences, humanity and nature were not always discrete and opposite entities, but rather two edges of one continuum. Clear cases of disruption in the assumed continuum seem to have most importantly propelled the inquiry into the several matters, and not only the drift between kinds of Science.

This is an excessively brief and oversimplified abstract of thousands of years of History though, it contains some basic truths.

Now the explanation for the diversity of human behaviour relies on the assumption that societies are governed by principles that humans construct. It is not clearly known the genesis of such principles, the core of concepts from which humans derive the ethical principles of each society. On the other hand, it is clear that, regardless of what are the origins of the ethical values, the ethics of every given society includes an internal contradiction, whereby they may be divided into two distinct strata:

the first is the super-stratum that consists of the values the society professes, i.e., claims to have;

the second is the infra-stratum which consists of the values the society actually puts in practice.

By recognising this fact, a third way to approach the mysteries of human behaviour would consist in claiming that either it is possible to derive one stratum from the other, or that both are derivable from a third and intermediate system, which would function as the communication and interaction channel between the two. The second option remits us to the earlier proposals mentioned above, while the first seems innovative. Nevertheless, to claim that one stratum is derived from the other, without assuming an interface between them has proven to be a conceptually non-viable alternative.

In the absence of a clear possibility to find the core from which particular human values are derived and at the same time to explain the contradictions mentioned above, Science and earlier Western Philosophy have pursited different specific questions for the same broader reasons. In other words, Natural Science stuies nature to understand humanity's separation from nature. And humanities study humans for the same reason. Therefore both have fallen into a sort of circularity of general questions-answers:
Why is mankind separate from nature?

The answer is:
Because the natural for humans is the non-natural.

Which leads to another question:
Why is the natural for humans the non-natural?

Whose answer is:
Because humanity is separate from nature.

In sum, the answer to the questions are the questions themselves. This circularity seems to be the perpetual motor of scientific thought.