Author Barry Linetsky

Part 20: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Conclusion: Reaffirming the Intellectual Foundations of Western Civilization (20/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

When the scope of science as the act of systematic discovery of knowledge is confined to the experimental methods appropriate to the study of the physical causality by an underlying ideological commitment to mechanical materialism, positivism, and empiricism, however well intentioned, no room is left for seeking knowledge under the guise of science in the realm of human action with its teleological roots in the form of intentions or plans activated by the desires, motives, and purposes of individual actors. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 19: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

The Scientific Roots of Production and Destruction (19/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

It is widely accepted by many leading scientists and intellectuals that self-awareness of volitional consciousness is a phenomenological illusion somehow generated by unconscious material brain matter. Because they reject the axiomatic status of existence, identity, and consciousness, and inappropriately demand proof for their validity that cannot be forthcoming because such proof is a logical impossibility (any proof presupposes these axioms), they choose to abandon epistemology and reason rather than revisit their invalid premises and assumptions. They choose to pretend that the phenomenon we call free will or human agency or human action does not really exist.

It is self-contradictory and irrational to attempt to use reason to put forward arguments and evidence for a conclusion while at the same time proclaiming that reason as an active volitional process of man’s consciousness is a mere illusion.  Instead of checking their premises, many scientists and others choose to reject reason. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 18: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Machine Messiahs (18/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

As we have seen, there seems to be a significant number of modern scientists and influential intellectuals who, in the post-modernist tradition, want to obliterate the human mind by obliterating the need for a science of epistemology. Their pretense that they are advocates of reason under the guise of science is just that: a pretense to garner social credibility and respect.

Many go one step further. The more ideological among them take to bullying an unknowledgeable and trusting public predisposed to deferring to self-proclaimed but ideologically motivated and politically aggressive experts. In the worst of cases, scientists knowingly conspire in the guise of mercenary soldiers to produce fraudulent research in support of ideological and political ends. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 17: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Mindless Survival is an Invitation to Chaos (17/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

An outright attack on the efficacy of the human mind, not just as the allegorical locus of human agency, but on the very existence of agency, is an outright attack on humanity, society, economy, and human survival itself.

When that attack it is done in the name of, and with the full backing of our institutions of science and their leading public voices, there is a legitimate worry that science will become a propaganda tool to serve anti-mind, anti-reason, anti-freedom interests. Even if leading scientists themselves are unlikely to have and value such explicit and consciously derived proclivities, they still bear responsibility for their conclusions and the foreseeable implications of the policy initiatives they advocate. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 16: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Goodbye Mind, Hello Mindless (16/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

We have seen that there is a tendency for advocates of the narrow scientistic perspective with regards to science to want to obliterate the mind by knowingly or unwittingly obliterating the need for a science of epistemology – the study of the nature of knowledge and how we acquire it by means of concept formation, applied reason, logic, inference, etc.

Where it is asserted that the mind does not exist – that volitional consciousness is taken to be an illusion of functioning brain matter – reason as a solution-seeking faculty of man’s consciousness under volitional control is also taken to be an illusion. (Ironically, this conclusion is taken to be valid by the application of reason, not empirical observation.) Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 15: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Ah, You Don’t Believe We’re on the Eve of Destruction? (15/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

Identifying valid methods of human thought in pursuit of life-sustaining human action through sensory perception, observation, reason, and logic is itself a science.

Built into the human mind is the structure and latent capability to identify causality, to value profitable outcomes, and to differentiate success and failure, profit and loss, pain and pleasure, guided by reason and logic.

These built-in capabilities provide the potential and set the stage for human discovery and are necessary for individual survival. They allow us to discover and recognize the utility of and need for peaceful cooperation to advance the development of socially beneficial production and trade to satisfy our needs and desires. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 14: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

The Marginalization and Destruction of Epistemology (14/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Edwin Locke notes in The Illusion of Determinism: Why Free Will is Real and Causal that to construct an experimental method while at the same time acting consistently with the belief that human beings lack free will and that volitional consciousness and human agency is always and everywhere an illusion, a scientist would not be able to know what procedures to follow, choose the proper procedures to follow, or know what determined their actions, for doing so would be regulated by uncontrollable causes governed by the natural laws controlling the physical world. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 13: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

Volitional and Mechanistic Causation: Science or Sciences? (13/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

The question of whether social science or any study of reality having to do with human action can be accepted as valid and legitimate science remains contentious amongst intellectuals. Human action and the study of those disciplines serving human values and interests don’t fit neatly into the modern scientistic and positivist worldview held by the majority of the scientific community.

There exists a clash of paradigms. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 12: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

A Science of Two Parts Forms a Whole (12/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

Ludwig von Mises drew a sharp distinction between two types of study, one being non-teleological events in the world of inanimate matter, and the other being teleological human events that rest on the “human faculty of thinking, cognizing, and acting” (The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, 11). He noted: “There is within the infinite expanse of what is called the universe a small field in which man’s conscious conduct can influence the course of events” (ibid.).

Mises referred to the study of non-teleological events as “natural sciences” and the study where conscious human cognition was an aspect of the subject matter as the social sciences, or “the sciences of human action.” He included his own field of study, economics, in this latter category.

The nature of the two domains of natural science and human science is such that each requires a separate, distinct, and appropriate methodology of study. Read more

Author Barry Linetsky

Part 11: Science, Human Action, The Search for “Truth”, and Consequences

Thinking on the Potential Dangers of Science Myopia (Photo: Joao Silas, Unsplash.com)

The Important Implications of Praxeology (11/20)

© 2018, Barry L. Linetsky. All Rights Reserved.

It was not so long ago that scientific dualism – the idea that the social sciences and the natural sciences require distinct methodologies – was uncontroversial. It was accepted that science was the systematic search for knowledge wherever appropriate to advance human understanding of the world and man’s place in it. This quest for discovery took place both in the realm of human action and the realm of the non-teleological world of nature.

What Mises, Hayek, and others point out is that the abandonment of epistemological rigor has resulted in debasement and abuse of science, and that abuse comes with consequences. Read more