Just before the Scientific Revolution, there was a "Mathematical Revolution", heavily based on geometrical and machine diagrams. The "faculty of imagination" (now called scientific visualization) was developed to allow 3D understanding of planetary motion, human anatomy and the workings of machines. 1543 saw the publication of the heavily geometrical work of Copernicus and Vesalius, as well as the first Italian translation of Euclid.
There is a need to bring about a revolution in the philosophy of science, interpreted to be both the academic discipline, and the official view of the aims and methods of science upheld by the scientific community. At present both are dominated by the view that in science theories are chosen on the basis of empirical considerations alone, nothing being permanently accepted as a part of scientific knowledge independently of evidence. Biasing choice of theory in the direction of simplicity, (...) unity or explanatory power does not permanently commit science to the thesis that nature is simple or unified. This current ‘paradigm’ is, I argue, untenable. We need a new paradigm, which acknowledges that science makes a hierarchy of metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe, theories being chosen partly on the basis of compatibility with these assumptions. Eleven arguments are given for favouring this new ‘paradigm’ over the current one. (shrink)
In the present article we analyze the relationships between K-waves and major technological breakthroughs in history and offer forecasts about features of the sixth Kondratieff wave. We use for our analysis the basic ideas of long cycles' theory and related theories (theories of the leading sector, technological styles etc.) as well as the ideas of our own theory of production principles and production revolutions. The latest of production revolution is the Cybernetic Revolution that, from our point of view, (...) started in the 1950s. We assume that in the 2030s and 2040s the sixth K-wave will merge with the final phase of the Cybernetic Revolution (which we call a phase of self-regulating systems). This period will be characterized by the breakthrough inmedical technologies which will be capable to combine many other technologies into a single system of MANBRIC-technologies (medico-additive-nano-bio-roboto-info-cognitive technologies). The article also presents a forecast of the process of global ageing and argueswhy the technological breakthrough will occur in health care sector and connected spheres. (shrink)
The central thesis of this book is that we need to reform philosophy and join it to science to recreate a modern version of natural philosophy; we need to do this in the interests of rigour, intellectual honesty, and so that science may serve the best interests of humanity. Modern science began as natural philosophy. In the time of Newton, what we call science and philosophy today – the disparate endeavours – formed one mutually interacting, integrated endeavour of natural philosophy: (...) to improve our knowledge and understanding of the universe, and to improve our understanding of ourselves as a part of it. Profound discoveries were made, indeed one should say unprecedented discoveries. It was a time of quite astonishing intellectual excitement and achievement. And then natural philosophy died. It split into science on the one hand, and philosophy on the other. This happened during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the split is now built into our intellectual landscape. But the two fragments, science and philosophy, are defective shadows of the glorious unified endeavour of natural philosophy. Rigour, sheer intellectual good sense and decisive argument demand that we put the two together again, and rediscover the immense merits of the integrated enterprise of natural philosophy. This requires an intellectual revolution, with dramatic implications for how we understand our world, how we understand and do science, and how we understand and do philosophy. There are dramatic implications, too, for education. And it does not stop there. For, as I show in the final chapter, resurrected natural philosophy has dramatic, indeed revolutionary methodological implications for social science and the humanities, indeed for the whole academic enterprise. It means academic inquiry needs to be reorganized so that it comes to take, as its basic task, to seek and promote wisdom by rational means, wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge, technological know-how and understanding, but much else besides. The outcome is institutions of learning rationally designed and devoted to helping us tackle our immense global problems in increasingly cooperatively rational ways, thus helping us make progress towards a good world – or at least as good a world as possible. (shrink)
The paper discusses how well Kuhn’s general theory of scientific revolutions fits the particular case of the chemical revolution. To do so, I first present condensed sketches of both Kuhn’s theory and the chemical revolution. I then discuss the beginning of the chemical revolution and compare it to Kuhn’s specific claims about the roles of anomalies, crisis and extraordinary science in scientific development. I proceed by comparing some features of the chemical revolution as a whole to (...) Kuhn’s general account. The result will be that Kuhn’s general description of scientific revolutions fits the chemical revolution extraordinarily well. However, this result should not be taken as an empirical confirmation of Kuhn’s theory, but rather as an indication that the chemical revolution is a constitutive part of it. (shrink)
Abstract: In this article I argue that the best way to understand the information turn is in terms of a fourth revolution in the long process of reassessing humanity's fundamental nature and role in the universe. We are not immobile, at the centre of the universe (Copernicus); we are not unnaturally distinct and different from the rest of the animal world (Darwin); and we are far from being entirely transparent to ourselves (Freud). We are now slowly accepting the idea (...) that we might be informational organisms among many agents (Turing), inforgs not so dramatically different from clever, engineered artefacts, but sharing with them a global environment that is ultimately made of information, the infosphere. (shrink)
In the present paper, on the basis of the theory of production principles and production revolutions, we reveal the interrelation between K-waves and major technological breakthroughs in history and make some predictions about features of the sixth Kondratieff wave in the light of the Cybernetic Revolution which, we think, started in the 1950s. We assume that the sixth K-wave in the 2030s and 2040s will merge with the final phase of the Cybernetic Revolution (which we call the phase (...) of self-regulating systems). This period will be characterized by breakthroughs in medical technologies which will manage to combine many other technologies into a single complex of MBNRIC-technologies (med-bio-nano-robo-info-cognitive technologies). The article offers some predictions concerning the development of these technologies. (shrink)
The article analyzes the technological shifts which took place in the second half of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and predict the main shifts in the next half a century. On the basis of the analysis of the latest achievements in medicine, bio- and nanotechnologies, robotics, ICT and other technological directions and also on the basis of the opportunities provided by the theory of production revolutions the authors present a detailed analysis of the latest production revolution which is (...) denoted as ‘Cybernetic’. There are given some forecasts about its development in the nearest five decades and up to the end of twenty-first century. It is shown that the development of various self-regulating systems will be the main trend of this revolution. The article gives a detailed analysis of the future breakthroughs in medicine, and also in bio- and nanotechnologies in terms of the development of self-regulating systems with their growing ability to select optimal modes of functioning as well as of other characteristics of the Cybernetic Revolution (resources and energy saving, miniaturization, and individualization). (shrink)
The article analyzes the technological shifts which took place in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries and forecasts the main shifts in the next half a century. On the basis of the analysis of the latest achievements in inno-vative technological directions and also on the basis of the opportunities pro-vided by the theory of production revolutions the authors present a detailed analysis of the latest production revolution which is denoted as ‘Сybernetic’. The authors give some (...) forecasts about its development in the nearest five decades and up to the end of the 21st century. It is shown that the development of various self-regulating systems will be the main trend of this revolution. The authors argue that at first the transition to the beginning of the final phase of the Cybernetic Revolution will start in the field of medicine (in its some innovative directions). In future we will deal with the start of convergence of innovative technologies which will form the system of MBNRIC-technologies (i.e. the technological paradigm based on medicine, bio- and nanotechnologies, robotics, IT and cognitive technologies). The article gives a detailed analysis of the future breakthroughs in medicine, bio- and nanotechnologies as well as some other technologies in terms of the development of self-regulating systems with their growing ability to select optimum modes of functioning as well as of other characteristics of the Cybernetic Revolution (resources and energy saving, miniaturization, individualization, etc.). (shrink)
At present the basic intellectual aim of academic inquiry is to improve knowledge. Much of the structure, the whole character, of academic inquiry, in universities all over the world, is shaped by the adoption of this as the basic intellectual aim. But, judged from the standpoint of making a contribution to human welfare, academic inquiry of this type is damagingly irrational. Three of four of the most elementary rules of rational problem-solving are violated. A revolution in the aims and (...) methods of academic in-quiry is needed so that the basic aim becomes to promote wisdom, conceived of as the capacity to realize what is of value, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This urgently needed revolution would affect every branch and aspect of the academic enterprise. (shrink)
From Knowledge to Wisdom argues that there is an urgent need, for both intellectual and humanitarian reasons, to bring about a revolution in science and the humanities. The outcome would be a kind of academic inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity learn how to create a better world. Instead of giving priority to solving problems of knowledge, as at present, academia would devote itself to helping us solve our immense, current global problems – climate change, war, poverty, population growth, (...) pollution... of sea, earth and air, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, injustice, tyranny, proliferation of armaments, conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear, depletion of natural resources. The basic intellectual aim of inquiry would be to seek and promote wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This second edition has been revised throughout, has additional material, a new introduction and three new chapters. (shrink)
This chapter poses questions about the existence and character of the Scientific Revolution by deriving its initial categories of analysis and its initial understanding of the intellectual scene from the writings of the seventeenth century, and by following the evolution of these initial categories in succeeding centuries. This project fits the theme of cross cultural transmission and appropriation -- a theme of the present volume -- if one takes the notion of a culture broadly, so that, say, seventeenth and (...) eighteenth or nineteenth century European intellectual cultures are deemed sufficiently distinct that one can speak of the "transmission" of texts and ideas from the one to the other as cross cultural. I maintain that a process of transforming and assimilating seventeenth century achievements manifests itself in two distinct cultures of interpretation, one developed by historians of philosophy, the other by scientists and historians of science. The first, following actor's categories, interprets the revolution in the seventeenth century as a philosophical displacement, partly fomented by a radical change in astronomical theory; the second, retrospectively applying the post nineteenth century sense of the term "science" to seventeenth century events, finds a "scientific" revolution, or the birth of modern science. The chapter proposes interpreting the Scientific Revolution as a revolution in natural philosophy and metaphysics. (shrink)
Do the changes that have taken place in the structures and methods of the production of scientific knowledge and in our understanding of science over the past fifty years justify speaking of an epochal break in the development of science? Gregor Schiemann addresses this issues through the notion of a scientific revolution and claims that at present we are not witnessing a new scientific revolution. Instead, Schiemann argues that after the so-called Scientific Revolution in the sixteenth and (...) seventeenth centuries, a caesura occurred in the course of the nineteenth century that constituted a departure from the early modern origins of science. This change was characterized by the loss of certainty on the part of the scientists, by the steadily increasing importance of scientific communities (rather than individuals), and by the systematic intertwinement of scientific and societal development. As to present science, Schiemann admits that important changes have occurred, but he denies the conflation of nature and culture: even the OncoMouse is a natural organism, though a seriously damaged one. (shrink)
In order to make progress towards a better world we need to learn how to do it. And for that we need institutions of learning rationally designed and devoted to helping us solve our global problems, make progress towards a better world. It is just this that we lack at present. Our universities pursue knowledge. They are neither designed nor devoted to helping humanity learn how to tackle global problems — problems of living — in more intelligent, humane and effective (...) ways. That, this book argues, is the key disaster of our times, the crisis behind all the others: our failure to have developed our institutions of learning so that they are rationally organized to help us solve our problems of living — above all, our global problems. Having universities devoted almost exclusively to the pursuit of knowledge is a recipe for disaster. Scientific knowledge and technological know-how have unquestionably brought great benefits to humanity. But they have also made possible — even caused — our current global crises, above all the impending crisis of global warming. In this lucid and provocative book, Nicholas Maxwell argues convincingly that we need urgently to bring about a revolution in universities round the world so that their basic aim becomes wisdom, and not just knowledge. (shrink)
Consciousness is more important than the Higgs-Bosen particle. Consciousness has emerged as a term, and a problem, in modern science. Most scientists believe that it can be accomodated and explained, by existing scientific principles. I say that it cannot, that it calls all existing principles into question, and so I propose a New Copernican Revolution among our fundamental terms. I say that consciousness points completely beyond present day science, to a whole new view of the universe, where consciousness, and (...) not matter or matter/energy is the true basis of the universe and the true fundamental term for the universe. And I go on to spell out this bold, brave and beautiful new understanding of the Universe, and with it the Earth, Spirit and Ourselves and with them a new and true foundation for Civilization itself. (shrink)
The author agrees with James Moor that computer technology, because it is ‘logically malleable’, is bringing about a genuine social revolution. Moor compares the computer revolution to the ‘industrial revolution’ of the late 18th and the 19th centuries; but it is argued here that a better comparison is with the ‘printing press revolution’ that occurred two centuries before that. Just as the major ethical theories of Bentham and Kant were developed in response to the printing press (...)revolution, so a new ethical theory is likely to emerge from computer ethics in response to the computer revolution. The newly emerging field of information ethics, therefore, is much more important than even its founders and advocates believe. (shrink)
The "Darwinian revolution" remains an acceptable phrase to describe the change in thought brought about by the theory of evolution, provided that the revolution is seen as occurring over an extended period of time. The decades from the 1790s through the 1850s are at the focus of this article. Emphasis is placed on the issue of species extinction and on generational shifts in opinion.
The world faces grave global problems. These have been made possible by modern science and technology. We have put knowledge-inquiry into academic practice – a seriously irrational kind of inquiry that seeks knowledge and technological know-how dissociated from a more fundamental concern to seek and promote wisdom. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in academic inquiry, so that knowledge-inquiry becomes wisdom-inquiry – a kind of inquiry rationally designed and devoted to helping humanity make progress towards a wiser (...) world. In this paper I indicate what needs to change if knowledge-inquiry is to become wisdom-inquiry, and I indicate a number of recent developments, mainly in universities in the UK, that can be regarded as first steps towards wisdom-inquiry. (shrink)
Many articles have emerged in relation to the recent revolutions and protest movements in the Arab world in general, including the Syrian revolution. However, Barout’s series of articles can be viewed as the first analytical, forward-looking, and indepth study of the progression of the events in Syria to date (November 2011). For this reason, and because these studies deal with significant issues for the Syrian people, a critical discussion of some of the most important ideas and facts in these (...) studies will be presented here. The criticism will seek to demonstrate the inherent legitimacy of these ideas, while simultaneously exploring the limitations of this same legitimacy. . (shrink)
This paper adapts Kuhn’s conceptual framework to developmental episodes in the theory and practice of medicine. Previous attempts to understand the reception of Ignaz Semmelweis’s work on puerperal fever in Kuhnian terms are used as a starting point. The author identifies some limitations of these attempts and proposes a new way of understanding the core Kuhnian notions of “paradigm,” “progress,” and “revolution” in the context of a socially embedded technoscience such as medicine.
Darwin proclaimed his own work revolutionary. His revolution, however, is still in progress, and the changes that are going on are reflected in the contemporary historical and philosophical literature, including that written by scientists. The changes have taken place at different levels, and have tended to occur at the more superficial ones. The new ontology that arose as a consequence of the realization that species are individuals at once provides an analytical tool for explaining what has been happening and (...) an example of the kind of changes that seem in order. It provides a clear distinction between the roles of history and of laws of nature. Pre-Darwinian "evolution" was superficial in the sense that it treated change as either as something pre-ordained or else due to timeless laws of nature, rather than historical contingency. Darwinism puts the ontological emphasis upon concrete, particular things (individuals) and therefore delegitimizes both essentialistic and teleological ways of thinking. However, traditional ways of thinking have persisted, if not explicitly, then often as assumptions and procedures that are merely implicit or even unconscious. As a result, anti-evolutionary attitudes continue to influence the practice of evolutionary biology as well as the study of its history and philosophy. (shrink)
For much of my working life I have argued, in and out of print, that we need to bring about a revolution in the aims and methods of science – and of academic inquiry more generally. Instead of giving priority to the search for knowledge, universities need to devote themselves to seeking and promoting wisdom by rational means, wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, wisdom thus including knowledge, understanding and (...) technological know-how, but much else besides. A basic task ought to be to help humanity learn how to create a better world. (shrink)
Review of: Marinus Dirk Stafleu. Theories at Work: On the Structure and Functioning of Theories in Science, in Particular during the Copernican Revolution. (Christian Studies Today.) 310 pp., bibl., index. Lanham, Md./New York: University Press of America, 1987; Toronto: Institute for Christian Studies, 1987. $28.75 (cloth); $16.50 (paper).
My book, "The Darwinian Revolution" gives an overview of the revolution as understood at the time of its writing (1979). It shows that many factors were involved, from straight science through philosophical methodology, and on to religious influences and challenges. Also of importance were social factors, not the least of which was the professionalization of science in Britain in the 19th century. Since the appearance of that book, new, significant factors have become apparent, and here I discuss some (...) of the most important -- especially the way in which evolution as an idea came into being as an epiphenomenon of the ideology of cultural progress; the (often tense) interaction between ideas of biological progress and the urge to professionalization, and of how this led to a delay in the full appreciation of what Charles Darwin had done in the "Origin;" and the ongoing divide between biological functionalists and biological formalists, a Kuhnian-type paradigm difference that persists across the Darwinian revolution. (shrink)
Although one would not wish to classify Copernicus’ own intentions as belonging to the late-medieval and Renaissance tradition of nominalist philosophy, if we are to turn our consideration to what was responsible for the eventual success of the Copernican Revolution, we must also attend to other features of the dialectical context in relation to which the views of Copernicus and his followers were articulated, interpreted, and evaluated. Accordingly, this paper discusses the significance of the erosion of the Aristotelian prohibition (...) against metabasis to the eventual success of the Copernican Revolution. (shrink)
The paper reconstructs the read thread that links the information revolution, the information concept and information ethics in Floridi’s philosophy of information. In doing so, it acknowledges the grand attempt but doubts whether this attempt is up to the state of affairs concerning the actual point human history has reached. It contends that the information age is rather conceivable as a critical stage in which human evolution as a whole is at stake. The mastering of this crisis depends on (...) an appropriate shaping of Information and Communication Technologies which requires ethical considerations. In this respect, Floridi’s notion of the fourth revolution, his assumption of the management of the life cycle of information, and his ontocentric macroethics will be discussed in the light of the term “scientific-technological revolution”, the idea of a noogenesis, a new way of thinking and new weltanschauung, the concept of friction in social and physical aspects, the concept of collective intelligence and its application to the Internet and last, but not least, the vision of a Global Sustainable Information Society. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to demonstratethat Special Relativity and the Early Quantum Theory were created within the same programme of statisticalmechanics, thermodynamics and maxwellianelectrodynamics reconciliation. I shall try to explainwhy classical mechanics and classicalelectrodynamics were ``refuted'''' almost simultaneouslyor, in more suitable terms for the present congress,why did the quantum revolution and the relativisticone both took place at the beginning of the 20-thcentury. I shall argue that the quantum andrelativistic revolutions were simultaneous since theyhad a common origin -- (...) the clash between thefundamental theories of the second half of the 19-thcentury that constituted the ``body'''' of ClassicalPhysics. The revolution''s most dramatic pointwas Einstein''s 1905 photon paper that laid thefoundations of both Special Relativity and OldQuantum Theory. Hence the dialectic of the oldtheories is crucial for theory change. Modern physicsbegan with Einstein''s reconciliation ofelectrodynamics, mechanics and thermodynamics in 1905and his unification of Special Relativity andNewtonian Theory of Gravity. Or, in a more generalsocial context: progressive scientific change can bedescribed not in Weberian terms of zweckrationalaction forcing out all the other forms of action onlybut in terms of Habermas''s communicative rationalityencouraging the establishment of mutual understandingbetween the various scientific communities also.Einstein''s programme constituted a progressive stepwith respect to its rivals not because it couldexplain more ``facts'''' or was more ``mathematical''''. Itwas better than its rivals because it constituted abasis of communication and interpenetration betweenthree main paradigms of 19-th century physics. Ofcourse in the long run it resulted in empiricalsuccesses. (shrink)
It is demonstrated that Maxwellian electrodynamics was created as a result of the old pre-Maxwellian programmes’s reconciliation: the electrodynamics of Ampère–Weber, the wave theory of Young–Fresnel and Faraday’s programme. Maxwell’s programme finally superseded the Ampère–Weber one because it assimilated the ideas of the Ampère–Weber programme, as well as the presuppositions of the programmes of Young–Fresnel and Faraday. Maxwell’s victory became possible because the core of Maxwell’s unification strategy was formed by Kantian epistemology. Maxwell put forward as a basic synthetic principle (...) an idea that radically differed from that of rival approaches by its open, flexible and contra-ontological character. “Action at a distance”, “incompressible fluid”, “molecular vortices” were contrived analogies for Maxwell, capable only of directing the researcher to the “right” mathematical relations Kantian epistemology subsequently enabled Helmholtz and Hertz to arrive at a version of Maxwell’s theory that served as a heuristical basis for the discovery of radio waves. Finally, though neither of Einstein’s relativistic ideas came directly from Kant, they were made possible by the Kantian worldview that had permeated Einstein’s thinking. The Maxwellian revolution can be described in terms of Habermas’s communicative rationality encouraging the establishment of mutual understanding between the various scientific communities. Maxwell’s programme constituted a progressive step in respect to its rivals because it constituted a basis of communication and interpenetration between the main paradigms of 19th century physics. (shrink)
A recent paper by Hoyningen-Huene argues that the Chemical Revolution is an excellent example of the success of Kuhn’s theory. This paper gives a succinct account of some counter-arguments and briefly refers to some further existing counter-arguments. While Kuhn’s theory does have a small number of more or less successful elements, it has been widely recognised that in general Kuhn’s theory is a “preformed and relatively inflexible framework” (1962, p. 24) which does not fit particular historical examples well; this (...) paper clarifies that those examples include the Chemical Revolution. (shrink)
This paper attempts a critical examination of scholarly understanding of the historical event referred to as "the Darwinian Revolution." In particular, it concentrates on some of the major scholarly works that have appeared since the publication in 1979 of Michael Ruse's "The Darwinian Revolution: Nature Red in Tooth and Claw." The paper closes by arguing that fruitful critical perspectives on what counts as this event can be gained by locating it in a range of historiographic and disciplinary contexts (...) that include the emergence of the discipline of evolutionary biology (following the "evolutionary synthesis"), the 1959 Darwin centenary, and the maturation of the discipline of the history of science. Broader perspectives on something called the "Darwinian Revolution" are called for that include recognizing that it does not map a one-to-one correspondence with the history of evolution, broadly construed. (shrink)
We urgently need to bring about a revolution in academic inquiry so that the basic aim becomes, not just knowledge, but rather wisdom, construed to be the capacity and active endeavour to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, wisdom thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. A basic task of academia ought to be to help humanity learn how to make progress towards as good a world as possible.
Jean-Luc Nancy’s The Inoperative Community , a collection of writings first published in 1985 and 1986, suggests an understanding of community as irreducibly linked to finitude. Alongside this, he advocates a redefinition of the project of revolutionary communism. This endeavor draws equally on the writings on communication of Georges Bataille and the insistence on finitude found in Martin Heidegger. First, we should recapitulate Nancy’s argument in order to determine his presentation of a novel politics as well as the links and (...) disjunctions of his predecessors. More than this, I would like to suggest that a reading of Alphonso Lingis’s The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common , published almost a decade later, suggests an intriguing and promising extension or modification of Nancy’s argument. In particular, Lingis suggests an understanding of revolution that appears somewhat closer to the Marxist tradition. I argue that this is partly a result of an inheritance from Emmanuel Levinas, and in particular his account of ethical subjectivity, which, surprisingly, can be productively allied with the political thought of Jean-Paul Sartre. This friendship between the ethics of Levinas and the politics of Sartre suggests the best groundwork for Lingis’s development of Nancy’s insights. (shrink)
Luciano Floridi has proposed that we are on the cusp of a fourth revolution in human self-understanding. The information revolution with its prospect of digitally enhancing human beings opens the door to engineering human nature. Floridi has emphasized the importance of making this transition as ethically smooth as possible. He is quite right to worry about ethics after the fourth revolution. The coming revolution, if it unfolds as he envisions, spells the demise of traditional ethical theorizing.
The philosophy of mathematics has largely abandoned foundational studies, but is still fixated on theorem proving, logic and number theory, and on whether mathematical knowledge is certain. That is not what mathematics looks like to, say, a knot theorist or an industrial mathematical modeller. The "computer revolution" shows that mathematics is a much more direct study of the world, especially its structural aspects.
We have to distinguish between the scientific revolution which was bound on the work of Copernicus and the cultural-ideological changes that have accompanied and framed this revolution. The "Copernican" revolution was in the beginning a constituent of cultural and ideological changes at the end of Renaissance but it became a scientific revolution only with Galilei and Kepler. This was the first scientific revolution which inagurated the internal dynamics of the scientific development. A necessary condition of (...) that revolution was the incorporation of a consistent physical dynamics into astronomy. This happened with the formulation of Kepler's laws and the Galilei's postulates of relative movements, the law of inertia and of free fall, which are valid for all physical cosmos. (shrink)
Eschewing a Marxist interpretation of the French Revolution, Jeff Horn’s work is nonetheless interesting in stressing the widespread prevalence of machine-breaking by workers in France as compared to England during industrialisation. Likewise notable is Horn’s argument that the resultant state-intervention forced France onto a path of industrialisation which differed from England’s and which has been underestimated. Breaking with the revisionist consensus, Horn further demonstrates that the effect of the Revolution was positive for French economic development. Refreshing in its (...) stress on working-class militancy, Horn’s work nonetheless exaggerates the influence of machine-breaking on French economic change as compared to other forms of working-class struggle, the slow pace of primitive accumulation and the resistance to industrialisation by small-scale urban producers. (shrink)
Otpor is discussed in the text as a complex and contradictory new type of social movement, whose members attempted to contribute to the tradition of enlightened reform of social and political life in Serbia, simultaneously in a highly pragmatic and in a creative, possibly even irresponsible manner. After the introduction, analyzed are popular and media narratives on the characteristics of the movement, dilemmas concerning the founding of the movement and meaning of its key symbols, and the Faustian question of goals (...) and consequences of foreign, in particular American influences. Following is a discussion of strategic and tactical roles of Otpor in the coordinated project of ousting Milosevic. Otpor’s role is then re-interpreted in the frame of the ‘electoral revolution’, developed by Valerie Bunce, Sharon Wolchik and Michael McFoul. An assessment of the transformation of Otpor from an active social movement into an exportable blueprint for non-violent political revolutions is offered in lieu of a conclusion. (shrink)
This paper argues that the famous passage that compares Kant’s efforts to reform metaphysics with his transcendental idealism to the earlier Copernican revolution in astronomy has a more systematic significance than many recognize. By examining the totality of Kant’s references to Copernicus, one can see that Kant’s analogy points to more than just a similar reversal of perspective. By situating Kant’s comments about Copernicus in relation to his understanding of the logic implicit in the great revolutions in mathematics and (...) natural science, this paper argues that Kant’s appeal to the Copernican revolution in astronomy as a forebear to his own transcendental project indicates that his attempt to revolutionize metaphysics by setting it on the secure path of the sciences demands a shift in how we think of the proper object of metaphysics. (shrink)
The Scientific Revolution was far from the anti-Aristotelian movement traditionally pictured. Its applied mathematics pursued by new means the Aristotelian ideal of science as knowledge by insight into necessary causes. Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s elliptical planetary orbits from the inverse square law of gravity is a central example.
Questions about dirty hands have often focused on legitimate, secure leaders deciding whether to violate important deontological principles or the rules of interpersonal morality. The purpose of this paper is to show that revolutionaries have dirty hands; revolutionaries do wrong by engaging in unilateral usurpation of the existing system with the hope that latter benefits will justify their actions. Yet, once the revolution securely generates improvements for the common good, the initial usurpation becomes increasingly irrelevant to judgments of the (...) new government’s legitimacy. The paper argues that only retroactive justification—where later success forces opponents and advocates to reinterpret the wrongness of the initial action—can fully capture the complex moral dynamics of revolutions. (shrink)
The social scientific study of revolution has been deviled by a lack of progress in recent years, divided between competing views on the universality of patterns in revolution. This study examines the origins of these epistemologies. Drawing on an insight that different modes of comparison yield different types of knowledge, I argue that the network structure of how cases are compared constrains or enables the development of a field’s theoretical sensibilities. Analysis of comparative studies of revolution published (...) from 1970 to 2009 reveals that the field overall is most amenable to knowledge about particular cases rather than the phenomenon of revolution broadly. Analysis of the changing structure of comparison over time reveals that comparison precedes the development of an epistemology. The results suggest that conclusions about the possibility, or lack thereof, of generalization may be an artifact of the comparative method. (shrink)
We are living in an era when the focus of human relationships with the world is shifting from execution and physical impact to control and cognitive/informational interaction. This emerging, increasingly informational world is our new ecology, an infosphere that presents the grounds for a cognitive revolution based on interactions in networks of biological and artificial, intelligent agents. After the industrial revolution, which extended the human body through mechanical machinery, the cognitive revolution extends the human mind/cognition through information-processing (...) machinery. These novel circumstances come with new qualities and preferences demanding new conceptualizations. We have some work ahead of us to establish value systems and practices extended from the real to the increasingly virtual/info-computational. This paper first presents a current view of the virtual versus the real and then offers an interpretation framework based on an info-computational understanding of cognition in which agency implies computational processing of informational structures of the world as an infosphere. The notion of “good life” is discussed in light of different ideals of well-being in the infosphere, connecting virtuality as a space of potential and alternative worlds for an agent for whom the reality is a space of actual experiences, in the sense of Deleuze. Even though info-computational framework enables us to see both the real world and the diversity of virtual worlds in terms of computational processes on informational structures, based on a distinct layered cognitive architecture of all physical agents, there is clear difference between potential worlds of the virtual and actual agent’s experiences made in the real. Info-computationalism enables insight into the mechanisms of infosphere and elucidates its importance as cognitively predominant environment and communication media. The conclusion is that by cocooning ourselves in an elaborate info-computational infrastructure of the virtual, we may be increasingly isolating ourselves from the reality of direct experience of the world. The biggest challenges of the cognitive revolution may not be technological but ethical. They are about the nature of being human and its values. (shrink)
The age of intellectual debates in France between the Revolution in 1789 and the Dreyfus Affair at the turn of the centuries is one of the key sources that enable the understanding of the modern political culture. It concerns, in particular, the modern concept of liberty that became one of the defining values shaping the European political discourse. Thus, the post-revolutionary France remains an extremely valuable source of inspiration when revisiting the essence of many contemporary debates in political philosophy (...) and public discourse. Most of the ideas and arguments in circulation today echo the debates over the liberty, reason, and society that dominated the intellectual climate of that period in the French political history or, at least, heavily depend on the foundational ideas formulated then and there. Thus, they are worth reconsidering. (shrink)
This paper issues a highly controversial point: is there possible that a concept of ‘revolution’ can legitimize the historical revolutionary action and, if yes, how could this be possible? This debate on revolution is a subsequent part of a larger puzzle: the hermeneutics of the historical fact. Roughly explained, the concept of ‘revolution’ is the major piece of a ’revolutionary rhetoric,’ which generates the interpretation of the historical fact. Samples are offered by means of the concept of (...) ‘revolution’ issued by modern historiography. The case focuses on three main parts: a brief debate on the concept of ‘revolution’ viewed by the apologists of the French Revolution and their adversaries; a critique of Marx’s and Lenin’s ideology of revolution; finally, an illustration of a rhetorical dismantle of ‘revolution’ at hand in Kenneth Burke’s comments on Marxist ‘revolution.’. (shrink)
Egyptians had many reasons to overthrow the government of Hosni Mubarak, and to challenge the legitimacy of the interim military government. Strikingly, among the leading reasons for the uprising and for continued protest are reasons grounded in criminal justice. Reflection on this dimension of the Egyptian uprising invites a broader examination of the relationship between criminal justice and political legitimacy. While criminal justice is neither necessary nor sufficient for political legitimacy, criminal injustice substantially undermines political legitimacy and can provide independent (...) reasons for revolution. A state may compromise its legitimacy by committing criminal acts, by perverting or subverting the criminal process, and by failing to discharge its duty to punish serious wrongdoing—a duty that then falls to individuals to discharge either directly (through vigilantism) or indirectly (through revolution). Contrary to the views of many leading criminal law theorists, the duty to punish serious wrongdoing applies to individuals and not only to states. The relevance of political legitimacy to criminal justice is more complicated. Individuals are morally obligated to follow the morally justified laws of an illegitimate state, but are not morally obligated to follow the morally unjustified laws of a legitimate state. Nor may any state punish in the absence of moral wrongdoing and moral fault. However, illegitimate states may be incapable of justly holding individuals accountable to the state, to the community, or to victims through criminal trials. This incapacity provides an additional reason to overthrow illegitimate states and replace them with legitimate states capable of justly administering a just criminal law. (shrink)
It is now more than twenty years since Knight (1987) first presented his paradigm-shifting theory of how and why the ‘human revolution’ occurred — and had to occur — in modern humans who, as climates dried under ice age conditions and African rainforests shrank, found themselves surrounded by vast prairies and savannahs, with rich herds of game animals roaming across them. The temptation for male hunters, far from any home base, to eat the best portions of meat at the (...) kill site — as do other social carnivores — called for strong measures from human females, who were paying the heavy metabolic and physical costs of bearing large-brained but helpless children. Even in the modern west, with well stocked supermarkets, a pregnant or lactating woman can lose ten percent of the dry weight of her brain, because developing babies demand dietary lipids for brain growth (Horrobin, 1998). Hence the idea of the menstrual sex strike, designed to force males to deliver their kills entirely into the hands of women for cooking and distribution—a practice common in foraging communities to this day. (shrink)