Anil Mitra © May 2010, rev. August 31, 2010


This article emphasizes science and its method. For elements of the natural sciences that are of interest in the metaphysics and the journey see natural science.html


Science—A Brief characterization. 2

Empirical 2   |   Conceptual 2   |   Hypothetical 2   |   Practical 2   |   Non-essential in its nature, in the range and characterization of its fields, and in its method. 2   |   Local and objective or universal and tentative. 3

Kant on intuition. 3

Kant’s use of intuition, mathematics, science, metaphysics and logic. 3

Doubt from science and reflective common sense. 5

Formal doubt from science and reflective common sense. The concept of the Normal 5   |   Science. 6   |   Metaphysics and science. 6   |   Science / science. 6

From Journey > Investigation in the modes and means of transformation. 7

Strengthening the relation between Theory of being and science. 7   |   Foundation of modern physics and biology. 7   |   Extending modern physics. 8   |   A quantum or genetic and dynamic theory of laws. 8   |   An ensemble of laws. 9   |   Is a quantum theoretic proof of the fundamental principle of the metaphysics of immanence possible?. 9

From chapter Method. 9

Science. 9

From Journey in being-narrative outline.doc > I. Ideas > Worlds > A tiered approach > preliminary—the traditions. 17

Preliminary—the traditions. 17


Science—A Brief characterization


Empirical. Maintains close contact with the world of phenomena (data.) Is empirical (data suggest and test theory)


Conceptual. Concepts identify and name significant elements of a field of science


Hypothetical. Theories are not derived from data. Rather new / anomalous data-existing theory suggest hypothetical new / revised theory. Theories and laws are forms of concepts and concepts aspects of theory


Practical. Science would like to be perfectly faithful but applicability is essential. Therefore perfect faithfulness may be relinquished so as to allow a useful theory to emerge. Naturally, precision is important: precision may enhance applicability. Hence the close contact with phenomena / data. Hence theories are not rejected as soon as some disconfirming data is obtained (perhaps the data is in error, perhaps a minor patch is possible, and we continue to use a theory when it is useful as long as a better and more effective theory is not available)

Non-essential in its nature, in the range and characterization of its fields, and in its method

Non-essential in its nature, in the range and characterization of its fields, and in its method. The nature of science, and of the fields of science emerge. Although science would be practical and perfect either may be relinquished in favor of the other. Even though we think that current science is not perfect we do not insist in advance that perfection is ruled out (just because it has not been obtained so far.) Although we anticipate that quantum theories of today are not perfect, the framework of quantum ideas may turn out to have some universal application

We may think of ‘the’ method of science as given. However, our understanding of the method grows; at least in this much, method is non-essential. Certainly, details and emphasis of practice changes. But does method itself change? This depends in part on what we choose to call science. If we call the useful practices of the Shaman science, we have to admit that that practice is a mixture of the empirical and magic. We strive to eliminate magic from method (it is not clear that we have entirely succeeded.) We strive for objectivity by which I mean as elimination as much of the influence of the observer or theoretician as possible but not that this influence is entirely capable of elimination. But do we want such elimination? Is there a science where immersion is good? That is perhaps the case in aspects of the social sciences and psychology. The initial observation is that here complete elimination is perhaps not possible and the prediction is not as reliable as in the natural sciences. This much is recognized in sociology, especially in the European schools. But perhaps the thought can be turned to advantage—we can see participation as good (as in Ethnobotany.) I have argued that the same approach (participant-analyst) is possible and desirable in modern society. And, since, natural science cannot capture in detail the entire Universe (per the Universal metaphysics,) it may turn out that the only option to knowing the physics of all being is a journey in participation and transformation

Local and objective or universal and tentative

Local and objective or universal and tentative. Newton’s theory of gravitation was termed ‘universal.’ His mechanics was so successful that it came to be regarded as perfect. Induction was supposed to be the method of derivation of theory from phenomena. Twentieth century physics showed the inadequacy of classical mechanics on two fronts. Then scientific theories became regarded as tentative; not verifiable; but testable and acceptable as long as not invalidated. In fact we see scientific theories as capturing some local pattern approximately even when tentative if regarded as universal. We think that a universal scientific theory may never be obtained; the Universal metaphysics confirms this; however, we retain some doubt about the impossibility

Kant on intuition

Kant’s use of intuition, mathematics, science, metaphysics and logic

1.            The constructive Kantian critique. Kant accepts Hume’s criticism and responds as follows

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Western philosophy. It is his Critique of Pure Reason, 1781, that is of interest in this part of the narrative. Kant had read and wanted to respond to Hume’s criticism that science was mere empirical description that lacked necessity. Instead of attempting to found knowledge or to criticize its foundations from empiricism as Hume and others had done or to approach knowledge from the rationalist point of view of continental philosophers such as Descartes and Leibniz, Kant started from the reasonable point of view that we clearly have some knowledge. In fact it was commonly felt that we have much more than ‘some’ knowledge: in Kant’s time the sciences of space, time and cause—Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics which, for brevity, are referred to as ‘geometry and mechanics’ in the following paragraphs—appeared to be imbued with necessity in the manner of what was regarded as the necessity of the ‘science’ of deduction, i.e. the Aristotelian logic that had stood for two thousand years

Kant did not regard these apparent necessities as actual necessities or justification; the success of geometry and mechanics was motivation for belief in their necessity but was not to be justification of that belief. In order to provide justification he enquired into the nature of this knowledge and how it is possible. He wanted to argue that, contrary to Hume, the geometry, the mechanics of his time are necessary—the logic was of course regarded as necessary and had been untouched by Hume or others. He first considers analytic knowledge, roughly knowledge that is true solely on account of the meanings of the propositions. An example is the syllogism: all men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is immortal. The conclusion follows from the premises; it is not necessary to go out into the world and wait for men to die; perhaps it is not true that all men are mortal but that is not the point: the point is that if the premises are true then the conclusion is true and that this follows from the meanings of the terms of the premises and not from experiment or observation. This is the model of necessary knowledge: the necessity is prior to or independent of observation and is therefore a priori knowledge, i.e. it is a priori to experience or observation. In summation, Kant’s ideal is analytic a priori knowledge. Logic appears to be analytic and a priori. He wants to model geometry and mechanics after this knowledge; that knowledge, however, is not true from meaning alone and, in contrast to the analytic it is synthetic. It seems that synthetic knowledge must be empirical but Kant now wonders whether there is synthetic a priori knowledge, i.e. knowledge that lies within and refers to but is not dependent on experience. Kant will argue that there is such knowledge and that sciences of geometry and mechanics, i.e. of space, time, and causation, are examples of it

The argument begins with an analyses perception of which he observed that while we do experience the world in terms of space, time and cause, we do not see or justify the underlying process—i.e., perception in terms of space, time and cause occur in intuition. Given, he argues, that geometry and mechanics have revealed the true categories of nature, it follows that those categories are built into perceptual intuition. I.e. although within experience, geometry and mechanics are not dependent on experience: they are examples of synthetic a priori knowledge. Kant then looks at the process of elaboration of knowledge: the systematic elaboration of the consequences of the sciences via deductive logic which is the natural category of reason. That is, the entire development of geometry and mechanics has the necessity that the empiricists with Hume as their champion argued against (and for which the rationalists argued but without clear necessity.) What Kant has done is to find a justification in their synthetic a priori character for the necessity of propositions of the natural science of his time, i.e. of geometry and mechanics

In addition to the synthetic a priori propositions of science, Kant also enquired into the possibility of synthetic a priori propositions in mathematics and metaphysics. In this essay the propositions of mathematics are not important to the main development; they do however receive a brief treatment, at least superficially different from Kant’s, in Objects. Regarding the synthetic a priori propositions of metaphysics, Kant argues that since the metaphysical Objects do not lie within experience there are no synthetic a priori metaphysical propositions. This does not imply, as Kant says, that there are no true metaphysical propositions but simply that we do not know—the necessity of—their truth. Regarding metaphysics the argument of this essay will diverge from that of Kant. As did Kant, the narrative will distinguish general metaphysics from special metaphysics. The general metaphysics will concern concepts such as experience, being, the Universe or all being and the Void or absence of being. For these topics experience and reality will be shown to be identical (equivalent.) Perhaps the most amazing conclusion from the general metaphysics will be the truth of the propositions of special metaphysics even though the latter may lie outside experience (it is shown that not only are they not excluded from all experience but that they must ‘at some time’ enter experience.) The special metaphysics concerns topics such as the existence of infinitely many cosmological systems of which some may have laws that diverge widely from the laws of our cosmos and even more specialized topics such as those from myth, religion, and fictional literature. The theory finds that subject to Logic, all ‘fiction’ is realized. That does not imply that they are realized in my immediate experience. The conclusion is remarkably similar to that of Kant’s in that while here their realization motivates a journey Kant finds that (special) metaphysics is inherently dialectical; he also finds general metaphysics to be dialectical but that is because he did not analyze the general Objects—e.g. Being, Universe, Void, and Logos—as analyzed here (below.) This narrative diverges from Kant and almost all Western philosophical and secular thought in showing the immense variety of being—the variety is subject only to Logic—and the necessity of its entering experience via, e.g., the transformation of the identity of the individual. And there is divergence from much myth and religion in showing their limits in a normal sense but also their poverty in a universal sense (the notions of ‘normal’ and ‘universal’ will become clear later)

Doubt from science and reflective common sense

Formal doubt from science and reflective common sense. The concept of the Normal

It is clear that the Universal metaphysics appears to violate science and common sense. It implies that within the constraints of Logic, there is an infinity of cosmological systems with an infinite and unlimited variety of physical laws. There are winds of ‘ghost’ cosmological systems blowing ‘through’ ours at this moment but without a whisper. However, there is no violation. In the first place it may be reflexive to think of physics extending to the entire Universe; however that is not entailed by the methods of science: science is known to hold in its empirical domain and it is likely that it extends beyond that domain but unlikely, by its own principles, that the extension is without limit; and extension without limit is without necessity. Second, from the point of view of the Universal metaphysics what is actual is necessary: therefore the Universal metaphysics requires the actual, i.e., our cosmological system

Amid the immense variety entailed by the metaphysics, the immensely limited variety that is our cosmological system is necessary. Cosmological systems such as ours with defined structure and patterned behavior are examples of what is termed Normal

The Normal and the probable are related but not at all identical

The Normal is a function of the world but also of our knowledge. Energy from atoms, curvature of space and time are now known to be Normal; two hundred years ago these features of today’s science would have been regarded as fantastic

The edge of the Normal is not definite

The Normal includes the Logical. Except Logical limits, Normal limits are contingent: they are so but not necessarily so and not eternally given to be so. Logical limits are necessary

The Universal metaphysics as a scientific theory. The metaphysics is not a scientific theory in that it does not unify a mass of detail and laws into a coherent framework. Instead it starts with simple, empirical, universal, and necessary Objects. The Objects are so simple that Hume’s objection to the necessity of generalization does not apply. Therefore the metaphysics is necessary. It may, then, be seen as a theory of the Universe based on the necessary Objects. Further, it includes all scientific theories in their realms of validity but goes beyond those realms. This progression is analogous, for example, to the progression from the Newtonian framework to Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The Universal metaphysics is—perhaps—not immediately testable in the sense of critical experiment but the progression of scientific theories suggest its verification; and it is testable in the sense of chapter Journey. The progression is analogous to the progression of scientific theories in that special vantage points are relinquished in favor of universal vantage points:

2.            The Universe is absolutely non-cosmomorphic

In detail:

The Universalization of metaphysics. The variety of cosmological systems is without limit; there is and can be no typical cosmological system (an atom is a cosmos) and the Universe does not have the form of any finite or normal or given cosmos. The Universe is absolutely non-cosmomorphic—it has no universal form

The shedding of special vantage points or paradigms such as ethnocentrism, anthrocentrism and anthropomorphism may be seen as continuing on through the shedding of a view of the Universe in the image of any given cosmos. This is the source of the term ‘non-cosmomorphism.’ However, the essence of the universalization is that the Universe has no universal form; this is equivalent to the statement that there is no Universal Law (a Law may be seen as a Form and a Form as a Law)


There is the fact of science—the practice, the scientists, the academies-publications-universities-theories-and-so-on—and the concept of science. Science is sufficiently indefinite—its complexity, its transformations—that it is unlikely to be captured by a fixed concept. Perhaps every specific philosophy of science captures at most an aspect of science

What is science? Here, the focus is on the nature of the theories of science. The production of scientific theories—intuition, hypothesis, law, concept formation, theory—is deemphasized. We have seen two viewpoints regarding theories. In the first, a theory is seen to aim at the universal. From this point of view every theory has a tentative or hypothetical aspect: new data may overturn the theory (limits to this viewpoint have been mentioned but those limits are not relevant in this section.) There is something remarkable about scientific theories that is not brought out by this viewpoint: the major scientific theories are applicable to immense precision over vast domains (the domains are vast in relation to the immediate.) That is, there are domains over which such theories may be regarded as facts. This is the second viewpoint: that scientific theories are facts; the limitation to certain domains does not separate scientific theories from simple facts such as the fact of the existence of an electron—an electron is not a universal Object

Metaphysics and science

The Universal metaphysics reveals a Universe that is infinitely larger than the world of traditional science. However, within the Universal metaphysics the scientific theories are facts: they are very special facts. The fundamental principle of metaphysics requires these facts

Science / science

Current science has limits

Physics and physical cosmology defines their own limits—at the boundaries of the very small, the simple—and the complex, the distant, and the remote in time. The Universal metaphysics shows that these limits are indeed infinitely limiting; it also shows the limitations of biology in relation to other necessary life forms and their science. Modern psychology is clearly limited with regard to the necessary transformations of Identity

Essential limits of science

Recognizing that our understanding of the nature of science and its processes may change, it follows that any essential limits of science may well be essential limits of human being. There are, however, no necessary limits of human being—even though there are Normal limits

From Journey > Investigation in the modes and means of transformation

Strengthening the relation between Theory of being and science

It is pertinent to repeat the observation that there is no contradiction between science and Theory of being; indeed without our detailed knowledge of the world, Theory of being is practically empty… The point has been made that while proof of the Theory of being is logically independent of immediate knowledge, science makes a number of suggestive contributions to its development and elaboration. First, certain theories suggest the form of Theory of being and its application. E.g., that the emergence of a cosmos may be energy conserving suggests that something may come from nothing. Second, the mechanisms of evolution suggest one class of mechanisms of becoming; they further suggest the necessity of indeterminism as does quantum mechanics. Further, both evolution and quantum theory show how structure and indeterminism may be consistent

There are similarities and differences between the void as defined here and the quantum vacuum. This raises the question whether the void or the quantum vacuum is fundamental. Theory of being shows the void to be fundamental. This raises the further questions, first, whether the void may—since it lies below the vacuum—found quantum theory; and whether, at root, the quantum theory is only seemingly less general than Theory of being, e.g., if the form and constants of physical theory are sufficiently relaxed but not so relaxed that the result can no longer be labeled ‘physics,’ might Theory of being emerge? These thoughts suggest some directions in which the relations between science and Theory of being may be strengthened. Foundations is another area since the fundamental principle suggests, first, that the theories of science may be seen as kinds of logic and, second, the laws of science must have reference

Foundation of modern physics and biology

Space, Time, and Manifest Being. Relativistic theory of matter and fields, quantum theory and Theory of Being

The analytic investigation of the extension of being, e.g. extension and duration or spatial and temporal extension, and coordinate possibilities

Relation between metaphysics of immanence and evolution and its theory. The mechanisms of evolution are normal mechanisms. That metaphysics of immanence talks of form does not stand it against the population thinking of the evolutionary synthesis. Significance of general cosmology for life: whereas it is reasonable to conclude from the perspective of this cosmological system that life elsewhere in it is very unlikely, it follows from the general cosmology that there must be instances and varieties of life without end in the universe-at-large; that this does not entail contradiction; that it does not invalidate the perspective of this cosmological system applied to itself. That metaphysics of immanence talks of form does not stamp essentialism on populations—for the present theory of form allows gradations of abstraction from the particular to the general. Use of modern evolutionary theory in suggesting general and normal mechanisms of evolution in the universe for organic and inorganic being; that though the suggestive power of evolution may be necessary or near-necessary as inspiration it is not logically necessary

Extending modern physics

Search for field and particle equations not subject to the well known ‘universal’ constants. In analogy to not being categorially committed to the nature of being at outset, this approach may verify known laws as universal if they are and disverify them if not. The approach is consistent with Dirac’s dictum to follow the consequences of the mathematics. There is a sometimes—not very—subtle maneuver in the application of the dictum: a physics is built into the mathematics and the dictum then prevents the consideration of alternatives. In effect, Dirac—the theoretician—says ‘my theory is the correct one.’ The point to the observation is not to criticize or diminish but to open up to possibility and therefore to the real… The concern is the elevation of a heuristic—it's in the mathematics—to a point of logic. A counter-argument could invoke Ockham's principle (razor.) Again, this principle is a useful but relative heuristic and not an absolute or a point of logical necessity. The assumption of absolute universal constants may—sometimes—be the universalization of what are actually local constants. There is, therefore, occasion to relinquish the reign of constants

A quantum or genetic and dynamic theory of laws

One characterization of the development of physics is the introduction of dynamics. The theory of mechanics before Galileo and Newton was essentially a theory of static systems. Newtonian mechanics was dynamic but did not, e.g., include a truly internal dynamic of particles or any dynamic of their mutability, i.e., their creation and destruction in interaction with energy—some aspects of these dynamics are included in the relativistic quantum theories of fields. Newton’s mechanics did not include a dynamic of space and time—the general theory of relativity introduces space and time into the dynamic. In modern physics, the laws themselves are largely regarded as static—progress is progress toward discovery of eternal static laws of dynamic systems. However, it has been seen that laws and patterns are and must be immanent in being—and that the laws read of this cosmological system cannot be universal in extension or duration. It therefore follows that the laws that are read as static must themselves be part of ‘the’ dynamic. The metaphysics of immanence lends itself to a dynamic that includes both local objects and laws or behavior and there is a possibility that such a dynamic will represent progress beyond modern physical science toward a final theory. It certainly appears that exclusion of the laws from dynamics will be a necessary block to progress or development of physical theory

An ensemble of laws

An ensemble of laws in a ‘multiverse’ may explain the hierarchy of energy scales—vacuum through gravitational—of this cosmological system

The ensemble might be treated statistically; each law might be treated as a particle; the following questions may need address (1) how do the laws interact and (2) what is the relation of the system to the Universal metaphysics

Is a quantum theoretic proof of the fundamental principle of the metaphysics of immanence possible?

This is an important research topic because it would appear that the possibility is good and a quantum theoretic proof would further allay doubt about this principle of paramount importance

The following line of approach shows why the possibility may appear good. The quantum theory of a system is always a theory of a system that has certain defining characteristics. Thus the quantum theory of a classical particle is one in which the particle remains a particle. In the quantum theory, the behavior of the particle shows certain freedoms and certain structures not seen in the classical case. An example of a freedom is that there is a likelihood that a particle with kinetic energy K will ‘tunnel’ through a barrier of potential energy P even if K is less than P; such tunneling does and cannot occur in the classical case. An example of a structure is the stability of atoms in certain discrete energy states

To see creation and annihilation of particles it is necessary to go to a quantum field theory

What would be the possibilities of a quantum theory of being as described in the equivalence of all being to the void or as described in the earlier discussions of General cosmology? Development of such a theory would have difficulties for it would be neither classical nor relativistic. How would the open ended character of the system be built in without implicitly importing the desired solution—the fundamental principle? The analysis might start by analogy with invariant formulations of known systems. Another major difficulty is as follows. What would serve as variables, what would serve as coordinates? However, since detailed solutions are not sought, the difficulty might not be as great as imagined.

From chapter Method


Significance of science and scientific method

The central concern in Method is the method the Universal metaphysics and its articulation, its ‘pure’ applications in Objects and Cosmology, and the Applied metaphysics of Worlds. Use of the word ‘applied’ signifies that although the requirement of perfect faithfulness is relinquished, use of the metaphysics encourages minimization of the ad hoc character of the elements of the disciplines and an approach to the limit of faithfulness that is intrinsic

Although not among the central concerns of the chapter, science and its method are of intrinsic interest to the narrative and because are pertinent because there are mutual implications among science, the Universal metaphysics, and their methods (even though science is not pure metaphysics)

There is good reason to devote significant space to the ‘method’ of science. Its method may (or may not) directly instruct method and approach in metaphysics and, more generally, in philosophy. However, there may be indirect learning by comparison and direct learning by contrast. In the past one hundred years or so, (the approach in) philosophy has been contrasted to (method in) science[1]. Therefore contrast and comparison may, in addition to being instructive regarding method and approach, illuminate the nature of science as well as that of philosophy

Comparison and contrast of science and philosophy. Does philosophy have a subject matter?

I think it should be noted that ‘science’ and ‘philosophy’ are complex human activities and, as Wittgenstein himself may have allowed, families of activities; but, more, I do not think of them as definite families but differing—a little—from one competent interpreter to another and from time to time… perhaps with progress. Therefore, rather, than attempt strict definitions, it may be profitable to delineate activities


Consider that knowledge involves conceptual or mental content that is in some way and to some degree faithful to some aspect of the world that we may call the Object (this language may require further refinement as done earlier but this consideration may be omitted here.) In some activities we are interested in precision of outcome and therefore some imprecision of reference may be allowed

Science. Scientific concepts require precision but not perfect faithfulness

This is characteristic of science where, for example, the electron as defined in, say, Dirac’s theory of the electron need not correspond to any actual entity; the correspondence of the theory, however, may be such that precision in the prediction of outcomes of range experiments is good

Pure metaphysics requires and philosophy has the ideal of perfect faithfulness

In other situations we may be interested to have faithful representation and then we will naturally also be concerned with the meaning of faithfulness (part the refinement referred to earlier.) And the need for the faithfulness may be that it is required for some philosophical or metaphysical goal (e.g. knowledge of being as such.) Here, too, it may be admissible to tolerate imperfection provided that the faithfulness is sufficient to the purpose which is not purely computational—it may invoke understanding

Now some philosophers write, and Wittgenstein appeared to have this in mind even though he may have allowed other purposes, that consequently philosophy is not about any particular subject matter: rather it is about the nature of knowledge and understanding and the conditions that perception, thought and language should satisfy so as to be ‘about the world.’ This is or perhaps ought to be a perfectly good aim for philosophy; however I believe and shall now set out to show (suggest) that there is no reason to restrict philosophy to it and that the metaphysics developed in this narrative is an example of philosophical knowledge[2] (and in some ways, though not a science of detailed behavior and while it insists on faithfulness, it is also close to science)

As a result of the evolution of the institution of knowledge, the subject matter of philosophy has been, dually, knowledge of knowledge as well as knowledge of the world; and since more or less definite knowledge is the domain of the sciences and related endeavors such as medicine and technology, philosophy deals with what is left over. It is natural therefore, that on the world side, the subject matter of philosophy will be about topics that have not yet reached the status of science or that may never achieve scientific status but are still important disciplines

These disciplinary activities include the understanding of knowledge (since knowledge is in the world it lies dually in the world as well as, trivially, constituting field of knowledge,) of morals, and of method itself including logic. Additionally, philosophy retains an interest in the concepts of science since it is characteristic of science that its concepts may remain partially or fully un-analyzed. This is sometimes a point of contention between scientists and philosophers and sources of contention have been naiveté on both sides—with scientists being satisfied with prediction over conceptual analysis and philosophers’ interest in analysis being naïve of the significance, depth and articulation of scientific concepts and theories

The fact remains that the needs of science are occasionally—especially when the conceptual foundation of the science of an era is found inadequate to the needs of emerging ideas required to explain exceptional data—analytic as well as predictive and here the recent history appears to have been that the initial conceptual analysis has been done by the scientists while both scientists and philosophers have been involved in ‘tidying up loose ends.’ There is clearly some case for broader education of both scientists and philosophers[3] and the motive for this case is the dual of better preparedness and improved communication and cooperation among the now famous ‘two cultures[4]

It remains valid to ask that while Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy is a valid philosophical activity, is there any logic (interpreted broadly) for evaluation of the claim that it can be the only philosophical activity. That logic would lie in approaches to answering the questions After the activities of philosophy in Wittgenstein’s sense and science have been delineated is there anything left over that could constitute conceptual knowledge of the Universe? And if so, what is it and why is it philosophy? Consider sociology. I will avoid the assertions sociology is / is not science but instead note that among the activities of western sociologists there are activities that are not science and that many practitioners would not take exception to the claim (while others would)

Consider some of the kinds of European sociology (footnote 10.) Is this sort of sociology philosophy or does it use a philosophical approach? An analytic (Wittgensteinian) purist would probably say that it is and does not! But a more flexible analytic philosopher might allow some overlap with philosophy as would a contingent of continental philosophers. Surely though, even the analytic purist would allow that the question whether such sociology is philosophy is philosophical. I leave answers to these questions undetermined. What might make the analyst correct is that analytic thought is the outcome of a finely honed critical trend. What might make the analyst’s position insecure is that demonstration that that could be the only trend is absent

Clearly there are areas of investigation that are problematic with regard to any universal answer to the question whether they are philosophy

Now ask whether the metaphysics of the present metaphysics is philosophy. It cannot yet be consensus philosophy because it has not yet been widely read by persons to whom the label ‘philosopher’ might apply

However, the present narrative has presented strong arguments that the preoccupation of chapters Intuition through Cosmology and significant parts of Journey and the present chapter are about perfectly faithful and timeless knowledge, absolute in its finite depth and previously unimagined and putatively unimaginably infinite breadth, of the Universe. Put aside the superlative character of the claims of the previous sentence and see that the claim regards perfectly faithful knowledge outside the analytic pale

However, I have a doubt as to whether it is philosophy. Having spent a significant part of my life in pursuit of questions, I am hesitant to relinquish the chase, to admit that there may in some direction be an end to questions

What other doubts may I conceive? If I were nothing but a philosopher I might be anxious over the loss of my self in the answering of questions. Still even if I were nothing but a philosopher I might see that these thoughts open up adventure in new dimensions and that it is my attachment to my self-regard (and perhaps to my socio-economic status) that makes me hesitate at the doorstep of my comfortable abode outside of which lies an infinite adventure in becoming and dissolution and becoming and dissolution and pleasure and pain and pleasure and pain and vistas of knowledge and understanding and sucked in myopias of nothingness…

Scientific method

One condensed account of scientific method sees it as (1) hypothesis and prediction and (2) test[5] and repeat. The two phases have also been called the ‘context of discovery’ (creation of concepts and theories) and the ‘context of justification’ (validation.) In this view the history of science (particularly physics) is seen as a sequence of theories that fit a mold of creation and validation

From the logical[6] and universal perspectives, scientific theories are not verified but may only be tested and falsified[7] or not falsified. When sufficient critical and potentially falsifying tests do not in fact falsify the theory, it gains tentative acceptance. Disconfirmation of theory may occasion re-examination of data but repeated disconfirmation, even in the presence of continued confirmation, require and spur new hypotheses (e.g. scientific revolution.) From this perspective there may be tentative justification but no final justification or validation; history of science is seen as an unending cycle of hypothesis and test (naturally there are phases of creative hypothesis and of intense testing as confirmatory activity)

The nature of science

There appears, then, to be a tension between the apparent factual character of mature theories of science and the cycle of scientific revolution[8]

The tension may be resolved as follows. A successful theory is factual but only for a restricted or local domain of phenomena (‘local’ refers not only to space and time but also to other factors including energy and size.) On the other hand when science aspires to universality, its theories are then—universally—tentative

Science—its established theories—may be seen as local and factual or universal but tentative

To label the local and detailed theories of science ‘tentative’ is generous. Recall that ‘local’ refers to our cosmological system and that the Universal metaphysics implies that there is an infinity of other cosmological systems of which infinitely many are identical to ours, infinitely many are similar, infinitely many are vastly different in there laws and manifestation (there is an infinite variety of laws.) The magnitudes of these infinities are subject only to Logic. Therefore, while the latest of our known detailed and local laws are tentatively held, they are factually false for the entire Universe

The separation of discovery and justification appears to be practical but it is not at all clear that it is universal. There are critiques of the separation from the points of view of the history of science and its present and possible future developments[9]

Difficulties in extending science into other realms

In social science prediction is difficult due to the enormity of ‘populations’ and lack of statistical uniformity and due to difficulty in anticipating external influences and problems accounting for known ones. This difficulty is well known and one response to it, originating primarily in Europe, is to critique the nature and function of social science as objective and to seek alternative significance for a science of society[10]

If there are social studies, however, it will not reflect negatively on them if they should be applicable. One approach that recognizes the difficulty, not only of prediction but also of impartial observation is the ‘participant-observer’ approach in which the ‘observer’ accepts the difficulty of impartiality but also recognizes practical goals and therefore embeds him or herself in the context of study

Participatory versus non-participatory science

So far, especially in some approaches[11] to Ethnobotany as practiced by anthropologist-doctor teams from the U.S., this is thought to best apply when western ‘scientists’ immerse themselves in traditional communities, regard the traditional peoples as equals rather than objects, and attempt to learn from them by first gaining trust (there are, of course, clear parallels to Weber’s verstehen analysis and other approaches of European origin.) The dual goals are to help the communities face modernization, maintain traditional ways, and to learn something of value to the modern world from these ways (especially, for example, the therapeutic use of plants as a source of medicines)

Application of participatory ‘science’ in modern society

The approach is not thought to be particularly applicable or useful in large modern societies. In Ethnobotany, the reasons include the loss of cultural repositories (apprentice, oral tradition) of plant knowledge and the isolation of production and consumption in complex economies. However, modifications of the approach may be applicable[12] under combinations of the following circumstances—in fact, my tentative thought is that the very complexity of our world calls for trials and may be occasion for variants of immersion—(1) Some removal of the distinction between citizen, statesman, and academic; (2) Regard large scale social interventions as experimental—and the use of theoretical models, rough or sophisticated and mathematical, as tentative; and (3) Introduce a degree of objectivity by, first, a preliminary time frame for a first review of interventions and, simultaneously, deploying different interventions in different communities and / or geographical regions (by choice of citizens and by appropriateness.) This is in fact an aspect of what we do in the modern world but by recognizing it as an actual approach we may refine and improve it. I tentatively call this approach ‘participant-analysis’

Dual approach in future natural science

Given the difficulty, the probable impossibility, in predicting the future course and nature of all science, such a ‘model’ may have inroads into science in general and especially in its use—even today. Consider, for example, global warming; the best information suggests that there is little doubt regarding a warming trend; the best information suggests that it is reasonably certain that human activity is significant in current warming; and it is reasonable that the outcome may include severe negative impact on life—human and other[13]; however, there are problems—special interest, doubt that is significantly fostered by special interests, inertia, and the question of precisely what to do and how to do it (laws versus carbon credits…) I suggest that participant analysis may have an enhanced address to all problems even though it provides no guarantee. The lack of clarity of future development of science, the problems of the impact of science and technology and social policies, and the use of distributed computing at the level of personal computers are factors that suggest the inroad of participant-analysis into all science though not takeover (individual scientists and institutional science should continue to be significant factors)

What of ‘pure’ science? Is there a place for participant-analysis in, say, theoretical physics? There is a gulf between the individual-identity and the particles and forces of theoretical physics that suggests that the individual shall not participate in the becoming and evolution of particles and laws even if the individual is an expression of those particles and laws

Journey and participation in realization of the ultimate

In viewing the Universal metaphysics, participant-analysis will be essential to full realization of the potential revealed for it is the journey of being that constitutes that realization and not the concept-equation of a scientist or the satisfied repose of the happy student of philosophy. Reflection on method in relation to the metaphysics and the cosmology and the special developments (Worlds) will confirm and enhance the understanding of the claims of journey in relation to approach[14]

The Universal metaphysics shows, via its demonstration of an unending variety of physical laws, that there can be no final justification of a scientific theory of all elements (detail) of being; however it requires the possibility and fact of local justification in some cases; and while it shows unending process in one direction, it is finality itself in one another. It also shows that individual identity will participate in all being and this participation may well involve intentional transformations at particle-force, molecular, and cellular levels. In the immediate future, natural science will likely continue in the present manner of impersonal theory and test (described in detail earlier.) The distant future, if there is one, may continue to have a role for this kind of science. However, there will also be a role for identity to enter into the exploration as realization and universality loom closer (perhaps ever closer but never close except of course that that ultimate closure is demanded by the Universal metaphysics.) In the remote future there is a role for a Journey in being that may have begun in the present epoch

From Journey in being-narrative outline.doc > I. Ideas > Worlds > A tiered approach > preliminary—the traditions

Preliminary—the traditions

Preliminary—the traditions

Refers to the received traditions including and with emphasis on the Hellenic®Arabic®Western (modern) tradition (where the main influences are shown)

The framework of science

The main framework is the triad of Phenomena, Elements, and Explanation (explanatory framework.) Explanation may be built into the elements which may include unit entity, unit process, and unit interaction. Phenomena are preliminarily determined by focus of attention and then by theory—i.e., by elements and explanations

In science, this is roughly, Data and / or Pattern, Concepts, and Theory

It is essential that science is open in that there is ever a search for new data which may be random and serendipitous as well as driven by theory (and technology)

Science—universal or local

To a significant degree, science is application driven and has become more so. The applications include fundamental understanding as well as technique and technology that make for more penetrating experimental search which is instrumental in the advance of understanding (concepts and theory)  by increment as well as by revolution in which old science is replaced by new (in the ideal case, the old is an approximation to the new and within its valid domain the approximation is excellent)

The time of Galileo and Newton to Maxwell may be regarded as a golden age of science in a certain sense (the geometry of Euclid and the logic of Aristotle may be admitted as being part of the age even though they were developed in Greece roughly two thousand years earlier.) The period was the first flowering of mature western articulated scientific theories and this led to a belief in the necessity of science. Although the fundamental concepts of the sciences were without foundation the success and, in physical science, the precision of predictions appeared to confirm this view

Today, about one hundred and fifty years since Maxwell, we have a different view. We have seen revolutions of the type described above. If a scientific theory pretends to universality it is seems to be subject to test, especially as new instruments permit access to data at the theory-data driven edge of the currently known part of the Universe. Is there an end to this process? It is often assumed from the recent history of science that there is not but this inference is of the same type as the inference that leads to replaceable theory. Therefore, from the history of science, it may seem probable or possible that scientific theories will be ever subject to replacement, but the conclusion from the history of science is tentative. Enter, here, the Universal metaphysics which informs us that if it is ever possible to penetrate further into macro and microcosm, there will ever be need for new theory

Scientific method

Examine the construction of scientific theories. A conceptual system is constructed that explains the data. There is no semblance of logical inference. In fact a name was invented for this kind of ‘inference’ and that name was induction or inductive inference. From the time of Francis Bacon until perhaps the nineteenth century there was the belief or hope in an inductive method. We now know that if necessity is the criterion of method, induction is no method at all. Perhaps it should not have taken us so long to discover that there is no necessary method of induction since the absence of necessity had already been demonstrated by Hume in the eighteenth century. However, we were blinded by the success of the golden era and perhaps by ego and myopia

There are numerous accounts of the scientific method today but at the core lies the hypothetico-deductive method. Roughly the formula is as follows (in the usual accounts n = 0)

(n+1) Gather data serendipitously and as suggested by existing theory and technique… as well as data that may be critical to new hypotheses and hunches, (n+2) Formulate hypotheses suggested by existing theory, hunches, conceptual intuition—not at all mere inductions from data sets but often guided by conceptual intuition regarding among extant concepts and their mismatch and critical data, (n+3) Make general and critical predictions including application of the theory (hypotheses) and test them (n+4) If the results agree with theory confidence in it begins or, if it is an established theory, confidence continues to grow, not because it is absolutely verified but because of continuous empirical contact with the world; if results disagree then there are two cases (a) the hypothetical theory is new and it is necessary to reformulate the hypotheses, (b) if the theory is established we may begin to doubt it (and, since disagreement may cast doubt on the data itself, one disagreement need not be regarded as disconfirming anything) and doubt will grow as disconfirming data accumulates but the theory may continue to be used, perhaps with patches, because it is all we have… This situation continues until some new theory is obtained which explains data without exception and places the old theory in its context… The situation today in physics must be described as a system of great theories but the total picture is significantly patchwork; the future course of physics is probably beyond prediction

Thus the modern picture, stemming from the twentieth century philosophy of science, especially that of Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, and Paul Feyerabend, is significantly one in which science, especially physics, is not a realist science—theories are never verified as true but we hold them as if true as long as not disconfirmed. This, however, is not the attitude of all working scientists. Many scientists, philosophers, and a significant fraction of the aware public hold science as true (while in the background recognizing the possibility of replacement.) What is the case? It is pertinent that mature theories of seem to explain, if not the entire Universe, then at least a significant portion of the world. The key is an observation made earlier. If a scientific theory aspires to universality it is subject to replacement. If it aspires to be only of local (limited) application then it may indeed have discovered some real local pattern—Newton’s mechanics remains an excellent approximation for many purposes for terrestrial and solar system mechanics. What of biology, especially evolutionary biology? Let us take it as given that the main features of the evolution of life and the species follow evolutionary theory as well described by the evolutionary synthesis of the 1940’s (and continuing.) It is not clear that no saltation has occurred or that saltation could not occur even though improbable; there is no evidence of saltation and it appears to be immensely improbable except perhaps at the very early origins of replicating molecules where neither incremental process nor special creation is necessary. What of life in the far reaches of the Universe revealed by the metaphysics? It would be an immense extrapolation to assert that our modern evolutionary biology will be universally applicable although it is reasonable to think that it would the major paradigm of origins and growth (except that we perhaps have no reason to think that life and evolution on earth is the paradigm for life or complex being universally.) Our conclusion, then, is that

Scientific theories are indeed realist with regard to capturing local patterns. On the other hand, when a scientific theory would be a universal theory it is subject to disconfirmation and replacement. It must be admitted that there may come a time and a being, perhaps if not probably immensely remote, if not here then at another corner of the Universe, who will discover some universal science

[1] Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus, translated, C. K. Ogden, 1922, from the German Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung, Wilhelm Ostwald (ed,) Annalen der Naturphilosophie, 14 (1921)

[2] I have a response to the critic who does not consider any knowledge at all to fall under philosophy but that philosophy is about clarification of language and ideas, about illumination, about edification… and that philosophy has no more than this ‘therapeutic’ character which is to eliminate the mistakes of misplaced or erroneous reference. My response is this. If that is what philosophy should be then there is an area of knowing that is neither philosophy nor science nor any other discipline and that this area of knowing draws upon this conception of philosophy for at least some of its tools. What should we call this endeavor, of which examples appear in the present narrative? I see no reason that it should not be called philosophy

[3] Which is ill met by what is called ‘general education’ in American universities

[4] C. P. Snow, Two Cultures, The Rede Lecture, 1959

[5] A more conventional account of this ‘hypothetico-deductive’ model (that emerged in the nineteenth century and gathered momentum and a reasonable degree of consensus in the twentieth) is (1) gather data, (2) make hypothetical laws and / or tentative conceptual systems and /or theories (the inclusion of ‘conceptual systems’ is responsive to the observation that while physics focuses on laws and concepts, the focus of theory in biology is the conceptual system,) (3) make predictions, and (4) test the predictions (if there is disconfirmation, go back to stage 2.) Stage 2 of the condensed account includes 1 and 4 of the longer one; stage 1 of the condensed includes 2 and 3 of the longer. Stage 2 of the condensed account includes ‘repeat’ regardless of the outcome because (a) confirmation is always partial confirmation and (b) disconfirmation requires re-hypothesis and confirmation does not eliminate the possibility of alternate or ‘better’ hypotheses. Re-hypothesis includes not only theories but attempts to explain disagreement between data and prediction as errors of test. Finally, the order of the condensed account appears to be reversed but the order is not particularly relevant—often data has become available serendipitously and at other times it is an hypothesis that suggests data for which to look. Also note that prediction includes a form of internal or logical testing: it is not given that a system of hypotheses is consistent and derivation of consequences may reveal inconsistencies

[6] David Hume, cited above. Hume argues powerfully and rigorously that scientific theories are not logical or necessary conclusions from the data but also argues that we should for practical affairs rely on the best information and not on the expectation of miracles (as exceptions to the ‘best’ information)

[7] As famously argued by Karl Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934 (in German as Logik der Forschung, English translation 1959.)  There is something a little startling about ‘falsifiability’ as a criterion for a scientific theory and Popper later came to emphasize that science should be testable. There are a number of other recent (twentieth century) accounts of the nature of scientific theories and scientific activity such Thomas Kuhn’s ideas (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962.) Kuhn emphasized that scientific revolutions are followed by periods of ‘normal science’ in which scientists hold on to theories even in the face of anomalies. Because Popper was misinterpreted to assert that a theory is or must be immediately replaced when falsifying evidence is found there was a perceived conflict between Popper’s ideas and those of Kuhn. I have observed earlier that a single piece of falsifying evidence may be reason to criticize the experiments that produced it as much as it is a mark against the theory. Additionally, it is not reasonable to replace an old workable theory until a new viable theory is available that subsumes the old (if the old is not subsumed, new and old may stand together as in the case of gravitation and quantum theories.) The conflict between Popper and Kuhn is deflated when it is realized that Popper describes what is ideal (provided that it is possible) and Kuhn describes what scientists actually and perhaps what is practical. The reader may recognize that the foregoing is not a full analysis of the actual development of science which has many subtleties of which some were explained by Imre Lakatos in the idea of a research program as a family of theories and experimental techniques that change over time but fall together as connected by a common core idea (The methodology of scientific research programmes, Imre Lakatos, Philosophical papers, volume I, edited by John Worrall and Gregory Currie, Cambridge University Press, 1995 printing.) There is, it seems, an inevitable tension between the ideal and the practical but still some apparent conflicts may be resolved by seeing alternate ideas regarding science and method as complementary (ideas versus sociology of science) and other conflicts resolved by recognizing theories to be complex entities. Regarding the ideal side—the side concerned with concepts and theories—I have discussed the idea that some theories, such as Newtonian Mechanics, that purported to be a universal theory but that was later shown to be valid in a limited domain have the following characteristic: they may be seen either as factual in limited domain or invalid (historically tentative) as a universal theory

[8] Each mature theory seems, certainly, to be more than just an hypothetical system. Think for example of Newton’s mechanics—certainly repeated and precise confirmation gave it the appearance of fact but over and above that the explanation and prediction of behavior in an impressive range of kinds of phenomena (motion of bodies on earth, celestial mechanics, the mechanics of continuous media, the theory of heat as the motion of microscopic particles or atoms-molecules, the motions of charged particles and even mechanical models of the electromagnetic field as formulated in terms of Maxwell’s equations) gave it the appearance of universality. On the other hand, Newton’s mechanics was displaced, finally, on at least three fronts—its framework in terms of absolute space and time and therefore the very formulation of mass and motion; the action at a distance of gravitation; and in the mechanics of the very small. The tension is the one between the appearance of solid fact and the appearance of theories as ever tentative

[9] I spoke above of the separability versus repetition of cycles of discovery-creation and justification-test. Separability appears to apply to the case of a given theory except, however, that justification is never final. Historically, we see discovery and justification in interaction. Can a final judgment be made? Let us reflexively apply the understanding of science to the method of science (and perhaps method in general.) From the past our conclusions regarding separation of discovery and justification depends on whether we look at particular theories or the history. However, we know the past but not the future of science. One possibility for the future of the science of physics is a final theory. In that case we may see the separation of discovery and justification. The Universal metaphysics, however, suggests the impossibility (I use the word ‘suggests’ rather than ‘shows’ because of doubts about the metaphysics; if there were no doubt, ‘shows’ would be appropriate.) For another possibility for the future of science, it may be valuable to examine the science of today. In physics, there is no unified theory of the forces even though the forces appear to interact; there is no complete theory of the strong force; it is not clear that Einstein’s theory of gravitation or any of its various modifications are the way to a final theory of gravitation; string theory is immensely impressive and appears to have potential but is far from realizing any potential and has little empirical confirmation. It is not at all clear that there will be final justification. This may not be an argument against justification as the final stage in the acceptance of a theory if some justified theory emerges; but it is not clear that any justified theory will emerge. In biology, although numerous particular problems remain, the theory of evolution by variation and selection appears well confirmed and accepted; however, it is not a universal theory because, even if it should apply to most life throughout the Universe, Universal metaphysics shows that there must be infinitely many instances of life and that at least some of those instances, even if only an infinitesimal fraction of them, must show exceptions to variation and selection (e.g. saltation, e.g. instantaneous creation)

[10] Evolving from Durkheimian positivism and structural functionalism through Marxist historical materialism and conflict theory through Weberian antipositivism and verstehen analysis (a kind of non-empirical, empathic, or participatory examination of social phenomena) to the present time when some social scientists continue to attempt to duplicate conventional science and its method while others employ critical analysis (e.g. a neo-Marxism that may be described as humanistic Marxism) and hermeneutics (in sociology, an understanding of social events in terms of meanings to human participants and their cultures)

[11] Michael J. Balick and Paul Alan Cox, Plants, People and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany, 1996

[12] It may be observed that this is in fact what is done. However, recognition that it is done may result in explicit coding, deployment, trials with the approach and improvement

[13] Some liberals may object to the tentative character of the statement. There are two counter-objections in addition to the counter from the value of truth. First, it should not be necessary to wait for certainty in order to act for then we may have to wait forever; or, action may then be too late; and, it is precisely the demand for certainty that is an essential yet superficial argument of the special interests whose interest is only special and therefore against protection of the common environment. Second, overstating claims has in the past had negative impact on the credibility of advocates of sound environmental practice

[14] I would like to add some comments that are not out of place here but could well be placed elsewhere in the narrative. My comment begins with a question of what it is that the intellectuals are doing… and what they think they are doing. I begin with natural science and its great contribution and at the same time the potential for destruction that science does not cause but makes possible. Continue with social science, intellectual Europe, positivism, anti-positivism, verstehen analysis, Marxism, neo-Marxism, critical theory, hermeneutics, and post-modernism. Is it thought that this sequence of self-proclaimed improving understanding is in fact a contribution to the world? Perhaps the intellectuals are peripheral. I say that I am not an intellectual because intellect is not my characteristic response to problems even though I deploy intellect. However, I do hope to contribute and for this purpose I should class myself as intellectual and therefore subject to the potential criticism of irrelevance. I think—the use of intelligence has always been a premium for humankind even though it may result in self-limiting and, when overindulged, self-destructive progression. Therefore my judgment would be a center ground: the use of mind and ideas in communication with all human action and it is this that is one of the aspirations of the participatory journey. Another aspiration is realization and that includes shared realization. Critics have said that that might be the last concern in a world of critical problems that require critical intervention and not talk of ultimate realization. There is a variety of fronts on which I counter-argue. First, whether the critical interventions fail or succeed, the material resources consumed by pockets of realization are so small that they do not detract from material interventions (much of my writing has taken place while I have been employed as a provider of emergency psychiatric services.) And, second, concern with non-material human values that show the Universe to be a place of greater drama for humankind is a final factor that makes the material intervention worthwhile