Journey 14 - THE FUNCTION OF PHILOSOPHY The function of philosophy is the founding of sciences.
This is a fairly common view, not original with me. The last philosopher of a subject ceases to be "philosopher", and becomes known as the founder of that discipline. We thus forget that they were philosophers. This forgetfulness leads to an odd distortion in the training of future philosophers, since only failures such as Hume and Kant are included in the philosopher’s syllabus. The last philosopher of mathematics was Euclid, building on earlier work by Plato, Zeno, Pythagoras, Thales and the Babylonians. The Elements of Geometry was such an extraordinarily clear and persuasive example of the deductive method of mathematics that all mathematicians followed this example from that time forward. The last philosopher of physics was Newton, who said he stood on the shoulders of giants. He didn't name them, but we can imagine it would be Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus, Ptolemy, Hipparcos, Aristarcos and Thales. Newton, Galileo and Kepler all referred to themselves and one another as philosophers. I am myself a philosopher, and the new sciences I have changed are Utopian Analysis, Empirical Metaphysics, Ufology, Psi research and perhaps the science of history. I did not invent any of these sciences. In Utopian Analysis, I built on the "moral sciences" of Hobbes and Locke, who lived over 300 years ago. William James and C. G. Jung are the fathers of empirical metaphysics. Arnold Toynbee was the inventor of the science of history. All I did for history was to apply his methods to the perennial question of the fall of the Roman Empire. What I have contributed to Ufology and Psi research is a testable theory of how UFOs and Psi work. Science requires theory. Without it, we won’t even know if we are collecting relevant and significant data. Sometimes it is best to leave a term undefined, or at least, it is best not to engage in debate over the "proper" definition of a term, such as "utopia." For me, any effort to improve society and take the correct community action is utopian, and this does not mean "hopelessly idealistic," nor does it mean "perfection." The US is a utopia, created by the Founding Fathers in 1789. The UK is a utopia, created by the "glorious revolution" of 1688 that established the supremacy of Commons over Royals, Lords, and Justices. Communism turned out to be a dystopia, based on false ideals, such as socialism and authoritarianism. We know both to be false because of their failure whenever tried. The idea of utopia incorporates the use of correct and well-established ideals. The term "ethics" is woefully inadequate for such issues as abortion, world peace, beautiful cities, traffic jams, and so forth. The solution to such problems requires a utopian (i.e., deliberate) change in traditions and institutions, and that is why I prefer to use "utopia" instead of "ethics." What then shall we do with such things as "medical ethics," which pretends to know whether stem cells shall be created in a Petri dish? What grounds the arbitrary opinions of medical ethicists? Utopian analysis may be able to do so. I shall leave that to those who follow, as a nice little problem that may give the true utopian much pleasure to think about. The science of civilization is concerned only with community values and community actions, including those that create obligations and rights. "De Gustibus Est Non Disputandum" when it
comes to personal values. There is no accounting for tastes, and that is one reason why liberty is better than "big brother" because no one else can decide what is best for you. Utopian analysis is not a version of Mills-Bentham utilitarianism. Happiness does not enter into utopia at all, because happiness is an entirely personal and subjective matter. There were both happy and unhappy people in the Dark Ages, and during the Black Death, as well as in the peaks of civilization. Most of us know a mixture of both through the course of our lives, or during any particular period of life. One cannot base a science on that. Happiness is not the only possible goal in life, and has been over-rated. I would put “intense and vivid experiences” above happiness, and finding the divine purpose in one’s own life above that. I call the new science of civilization "utopian analysis," because it always analyzes a controversy or a social problem into underlying ideals. I began wondering if normative theories could be empirically tested when I was 19, and a sophomore in college. My professors told me it was impossible. I went to graduate school and majored in philosophy anyway. However, they wouldn't let me work on my problem. For 9 years, I was an academic philosopher, and even published a few papers. However, none of my colleagues thought a science of civilization was possible. I was in no hurry. I knew there was no competition. Either I solved it, or it might remain unsolved for thousands of years. I finally did figure it out, at age 49. However, as of this writing, I have been unable to interest any academics in the new science of civilization. Apparently, no one realizes we need a science of civilization. Everyone thinks they already know which way of life is best. The French think theirs is best, and the Americans think theirs is best. If that is so, why has neither country produced a great civilization since the dawn of the industrial revolution? When I wanted a symbol to put on the cover of my little book A Science of Civilization, available from http://www.booksurge.com/author.php3?accountID=IMPR01514, I knew there was no image from any city built recently that would serve. I picked the sacred white bison of Native America, since civilization can be about restoring ecological systems and the spiritual traditions of the First Nations, overrun by Westward expansion. It isn't necessarily about cities, especially the brutally ugly and violent cities of the past Century. I created a science of civilization because I grew weary of arguing about capital punishment or abortion. Ideological warfare is what that is, and it generates much heat but little light. I wanted to be able to put such issues to the test of experiment, as they do in the other sciences. I am not a critic of science; I am only a critic of the unconscious assumptions of science. I once began to explain my ideas in a seminar, but I had done no more than combine the words “values” and “science” when a “philosopher” named Ragavan Iyer jumped in and I never could get another word in. He ranted on and on about the impossibility of a science of values before listening to what I had to say. There is no fool like an educated fool. The naturalistic fallacy is the logical inference of value from fact. It is a logical fallacy, but an easy one to avoid. The logic of scientific method is that of ruling out the known alternatives in terms of normative particulars. There is no fact to value inference. "Failure" is a normative term. It is a matter of history that the Soviet Empire collapsed, a normative particular that it failed. I shall not analyze a normative particular more than this, although others
may do so if they wish. We learn things from political experiments, both matters of value and matters of fact. I leave it at that. You don't have to. The failure of socialism does not imply the truth of the ideal of reciprocity and its corollary, the ideal of free enterprise. Free enterprise remains as the only surviving alternative. That is always the way of it in science. When there is only one alternative that survives testing, we call it well established. That is the rule in physics, and it is the rule in utopian analysis and all other empirical sciences, known and unknown. In the creation of utopian analysis, the avoidance of the naturalistic fallacy was the least of my problems. The question is why were my professors and colleagues so adamant that it was unavoidable? It is because academic philosophers after the time of Newton and Locke do not understand the new epistemology of scientific method. They are stuck in the old epistemology of mathematical method, which is fine for math but not for empirical questions. Beware of people spouting “epistemology.” The first philosopher after Locke still studied today is David Hume. The 18th Century Hume was part of the Scotch Enlightenment. He was a friend of James Hutton and Adam Smith, two successful philosophers, founders of geology and economics, respectively. Yet Hume created nothing of lasting importance. I pick on him because he is the author of the pernicious dictum that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” This is completely wrong. If it had been the rule in the 17th Century, science would have died unborn. Yet it is the favorite methodological principle of the Psi-cops. Hume has been immensely influential. All academic philosophy since his time has accepted the basic assumptions of Hume. Perhaps Hume went wrong because science is "paradigmatic," as T. S. Kuhn pointed out in his famous book THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS. Galileo and Newton never stated the essence of scientific method in abstract terms, and neither has any scientist since. Scientists learn their craft by example, master to pupil, Nobel Prize winner to postdoc. Perhaps the form of Newton’s PRINCIPIA fooled Hume. The RINCIPIA is in the form of a Euclidean proof from three axioms and one force function. This makes it virtually unreadable today. That may be why the philosophers never made the turn, and remain in the Euclidean framework. So what are all these thousands of people who teach philosophy in the universities? Some of them we must classify as logicians, of formal logic, or of ordinary language. As for the others, I shall make the same complaint about them that Socrates (a stonecutter) made about the professional teachers of philosophy in his day, who called themselves "sophists." "Sophist" actually means "professional philosopher." Our sophists (like those Socrates attacked) are only interested in "raising questions." When is a question not a question? It is when one has neither the ability nor the desire to attempt a solution. The sophists transform real problems into abstract "puzzles," incapable of solution when taken out of the rich loam of human experience. The sophists don't want to solve them. That ends
the game and puts them out of business. This is my definition of sophistry: "mind-games, where it matters not which side you take, but only the wit shown in the word play." This is why I despise "mathematical recreations," chess, bridge or any sort of mind game, since I automatically suspect the players of a tendency towards sophistry. We must totally reject Hume's rule that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof," such as proof that fraud could not possibly occur. Such a demand is impossible to fulfill. There is no proof stronger or better than scientific proof. If Hume's rule were used in the 17th Century, we would still be burning witches and heretics at the stake. Hume is almost an anti-philosopher, since his ideas spawned the metaphysical nonsense of Kant and Hegel, as well as the obstructionist views of the Psi-cops today, who use Hume's rule rather than scientific method. Hume and the sophists were convinced that scientists had proven Newtonian physics, in the logical sense, because they never understood the concept of a well-established theory. Neither has Sir Karl Popper, a contemporary academic philosopher-of-science of some repute. There is no proof of scientific solutions in the strict logical sense. In science, when we call a theory "proven," this is just an informal way of saying "well-established." Why have theories? It is because they allow us to apply past experience to the present. They are also the main discoveries of science. Ruling out alternatives applies to the interpretation of experience, the process that turns an experience into a fact or a normative particular. Something becomes a scientific fact only if we can rule out all the alternatives, and if it is, in some sense, reproducible. We call that "veridicality." That is why I am only interested in the landed occupant cases in Ufology. Mysterious lights in the night could have innumerable possible causes; some natural but rare, some man-made, but that is not true of the landed occupant cases. Because they are stuck in the Euclidean framework, sophists believe any empirical study of values must involve some kind of inference between fact and value even though they know such an inference to be invalid. The effect has been a halt to any further development of the "moral" sciences of Hobbes and Locke, thus allowing the dangerous sophistry of Karl Marx to arise. The existing sciences solve only a single kind of problem (finding explanations), with a single part of the spectrum of experience (visible and tangible matters of fact). If the problem is not like figuring out how a watch works by taking it apart and seeing how the components move one another, then it lies outside the reach of the physical sciences. I will show that it is possible to extend scientific method to problems other than explanation, and to realms of experience other than matters of fact. I have solved a philosophical problem thought to be impossible since the time of Hume, namely, "how do we determine the good, the right, and the beautiful from experience?" Later in this book, I solve the classical theological problem of evil. Earlier in the book, I gave empirical content to the concept of free will.