Ways to restore a unified science: from psychology to physics...

Ways to restore a unified science: from psychology to physics

The classical type of rationality centers attention only on the object and takes out all that relates to the subject and means of activity. For nonclassical rationality, the idea of ​​the relativity of an object to the means and operations of activity is characteristic; Explication of these means and operations is a condition for obtaining true knowledge about the object. Finally, post-non-classical rationality takes into account the correlation of knowledge about the object not only with the means, but also with the value-oriented structures of activity.

In. S. Stepin

Significant changes occurred in psychological science, where dissatisfaction with physicalistic methodology was expressed by the rapid development of the so-called humanistic schools - the existential, "understanding" psychology, etc. Their adherents attacked with sharp criticism scientific methods in general, declaring those unacceptable for psychological, and accordingly, therapeutic and pedagogical practice. Each person is unique and unique, they taught, such procedures as analytical dismemberment, generalization, extrapolation, etc., can not be applied to it, one can not transfer the ideas derived from previous experience to it. In order to work effectively with a person, one must understand it, feel it in individual experiences and characteristics. All this meant the deducing of psychology from the scientific sphere, turning it exclusively into art, even a kind of religion.


Carl Ransom Rogers (1902-1987), one of the leaders of humanistic psychology, in 1987, shortly before his death, traveled to the USSR with lectures and demonstration sessions. This tireless 80-year-old American argued how harmful the psychologist's a priori (ie based on previous experience and previous acquaintance with a particular person) judgments about the individual. And right after that, relying on his rich experience, he argued that every person in the depths of his soul is kind; even if he is a murderer and a rapist, the basic human kindness is present in the basis of personality ... Frankly, the listeners got the impression that the lecturer is playing us. After all, the methods of generalization and extrapolation were just passionately debunked, and suddenly, without a transition, a typically extrapolating move: each person is kind at heart. It turns out that the whole thing is not in the procedure, but in the content of the conclusions, but this is a completely different matter.

The above episode shows that the modern scientist, no matter how disappointed he is with the depersonalizing principles of physicalism, can no longer completely erase those methodological procedures that are introduced into European thinking precisely by a physicalistic paradigm: induction, verification, generalization, etc.

Opposition of the "psychology of impersonal mechanisms" is expressed not only by denial of scientific methods, but also by efforts to construct the "psychology of the acting person". At the same time, sensation, perception, emotion, thinking, will, etc. are not treated as separate abilities or functions & quot ;, but as aspects, stages, moments of purposeful orientation and approval of the subject in the world. Psychologists strive to bring the ideas of activity and personal approaches to the level of experimental and practical techniques. The challenge is to combine the emphasis on the individuality, the uniqueness of each subject with such enduring values ​​of science as reliability, reproducibility of results, etc.

There are different ways to solve a problem, for example, a direction called experimental psychosemantics develops. The essence of her techniques is to see the world through the eyes of another person, group or culture. It was noted earlier that traditional psychometry represents a personality in the form of a point in the multidimensional space of fixed coordinates (in complete agreement with the principles of Galilean thinking). In experimental psychosemantics reasoning is directly opposite: research is constructed in such a way as to reveal significant scales by which the subject consciously or unconsciously categorizes the surrounding world, i.e. reference points, coordinates of its real world perception.

It is worth noting that interesting solutions that allow to combine consistently the advantages and achievements of traditional science with subjective representations are obtained at the intersection of psychology with semiotics and linguistics. And in these disciplines, attention is also being drawn to the active role of man - the bearer of the language, the semantic information, culture, the subject of multifaceted textual activity. In particular, before in semiotics the main emphasis was placed on the relation between signs, and also between the sign and the value (this is called syntactics and semantics). Only in the third turn was the relation of the sign to to the subject - the pragmatist, which was perceived as something auxiliary, third-rate. Since the 1970s-1980s. priorities began to change drastically, the functional and objective background of the meaning, the relation between the

pragmatist of the communicator and the recipient's pragmatics, came to the fore. Here, in contrast to the traditional (subject) approach, the content already is not considered once and for all embedded in the text and without regard to understanding, and individual features are not considered as interference in the communication channel. On the contrary, with the targeted approach, the content of the text is an understanding function.

The outstanding culturologist M. M. Bakhtin drew attention to an amazing circumstance: a separate text has no content; it occurs at the intersection of at least two texts, and the more texts are included in the process, the more volume, multifaceted content. In other words, if different people listen or read a text, then in each case its content is different. The text lives as long as it dies in every perception, giving birth to something new every time, and it is all the more meaningful, the more meaningful and the greater the variety of interpretations capable of producing. According to this logic, the content is not so much extract repents, how much is generated by the reader (listener, viewer), and comparison of content at the entrance and at the outlet of the communication channel is the richest subject for a semiotic, culturological or psychological study.

While we are talking about a fairly simple (for example, clerical) text, the target approach for its conclusions is almost identical to the objective one. But if more complex texts are subjected to research (for example, works of art, philosophy), the difference becomes decisive. The accents in art criticism, pedagogy and other humanitarian disciplines change radically. Their conjugation with psychology, orientation on the subject and individuality becomes a recognized norm.

It is very important that psychologized semiotics becomes a link through which subjective thinking penetrates into formalized models of communication, and ultimately into logic and mathematics.

Traditionally, such branches of knowledge as information theory, game theory, utility theory or decision theory were constructed as follows. Absolutely rational characters (which are represented in the form of mathematical formulas) are initially asked, then they are attributed all the new imperfections, and in this way the model seems to fall (or rise) from mathematics to psychology.


Let's explain the above with examples. Even before Claude Shannon, considered the founder of information theory, a simple mathematical model was created in which the probabilities of each signal were assumed to be the same. Why did not you dare to take the next step by allowing a different probability of signals? Because then it would be necessary to introduce the concept unexpectedness into the model, and it, as the predecessor of Shannon Ralph Hartley wrote, belongs to the competence of psychology and can not interest the engineer. Shannon took this decisive step by introducing into the scheme of the information act of the recipient of the message. At the output of the channel appeared a kind of probability-statistical "demon", which knows exactly the probability distribution between the signals of the finite alphabet and, through the logarithmic function, calculates the amount of information corresponding to each incoming signal (the less the probability of the message, the more informative it is). >

Then came the semantic information theory in the version of Rudolf Carnap and Joshua Bar-Hillel, which replaced the statistical probability by inductive. This means that at the exit of the channel appeared a less perfect character: since it relies on a knowingly limited experience, the inductive probability may differ from the true statistical probability. In other words, the possibility of error is already allowed here. In subsequent versions, additional refinements were introduced in the form of increasing imperfections, so that the "demon" as if alive, approaching the real person - the recipient of the message. We also proposed pragmatic concepts, where the recipient's goal is introduced into the scheme, and thus the possibility of incomplete, functionally limited and inadequate evaluation of the message is consistently increasing.

We see how the conceptual ascent proceeds from the facelessly intelligent "demon" to the human-imperfect recipient of the message, and this allows the researcher to evaluate the semantic parameters of the information. This development of mathematical models in the grotesque form was predicted by Norbert Wiener. In formal economic models, the father of cybernetics noted, the interacting characters seem to be perfectly flawless and equally unprincipled players, which is implausible. A further approximation to reality should be the inclusion in the model of the psychological component (including - the "fool psychology").

In the same direction, the theory of solutions and utility theory developed. Originally a strictly rational model with transitive preferences was constructed: if A & gt; B, a B & gt; C, then A & gt; C. However, further studies have shown that the real preferences of people are nontransitive, which means they are alogical. For example, a student admits that it is more useful to attend a consultation before the exam than to read a textbook, and it is more useful to read a textbook than to walk with a girl, but in reality he can prefer a girl, ignoring the textbook and meeting with the professor. Moreover, he can, tired of the day, even refuse to leave the girl, lie on the couch and watch an empty detective on TV - it seems, it would be useless at all. In other words, in reality our system of values ​​is multidimensional and multifaceted, which was not taken into account by the mathematical theory of utility. But in relation to the formal model, a person acts as an irrational and illogical subject. On the recognition of this circumstance, a psychological theory of utility is built-the specification and development of the mathematical theory. However, the reverse path of reasoning is also possible: from the living subject through the imposed restrictions - to rational "demons". (Of course, such a path becomes relevant after the initial physicalistic path from the faceless "demons" to the person has already been passed.)

For example, at the output of the communication channel, a living person with all its imperfections. Then on his motives, individual knowledge, etc. New refinements are added until he approaches the extremely rational character of the mathematical model. Then the analogue of Shannon's "demon" could be a mathematician who was completely concentrated at the moment on settlement operations, who had previously studied on a large textual array the probability of occurrence of each letter of the United States language (thanks to this preparation, an inductive estimate of probability can be identified with a statistical one) and calculating the informative character of each letter appearing according to the known formula. As a result, the Shannon model becomes the limiting special case of a more general psychological concept, ending, taking into account more precise limitations.

Similarly began to argue in game theory, decision theory, utility theory: from living entities to models with "demons", and everywhere the latter are presented as limiting special cases in artificially stylized situations. The same is true of communication theory. The subject approach turns out to be the limiting special case of the generalized target approach: when the recipient's goal is to find out what is 22 x 22, and the communicator's goal is to inform that 22 x 22 = 484. In a similar scheme - from the subject to the "demon" - A series of new approaches in logic and mathematics is being constructed: constructivist, intuitionistic schools, value approach.

Earlier, we noted that in classical logic, the personality acts only as a generator of interference, logical errors, and the correct reasoning proceeds as if in addition to the subject. But here's what we read in the book of the famous mathematician VA Uspensky.

From the source

Although the term proof is almost the most important in mathematics, it does not have an exact definition. The concept of proof in its entirety belongs to mathematics as nothing more than psychology: for evidence is simply a reasoning that convinces us so much that with its help we are ready to convince others. "

In other words, mathematics is already represented as some abstract of the psychology of communication (by the way, historians of science confirm that the logic and mathematics crystallized out of rhetoric 2,500 years ago). One could cite similar statements from other authors, but we did not accidentally refer to a pamphlet called Gödel's incompleteness theorem: this theorem in its time gave a decisive impulse for such a shift of emphasis. Austrian logician and mathematician Kurt Gödel in the 1930s. struck the scientific world, proving the fundamental incompleteness of any mathematical basis.

The previous centuries have passed under the sign of universal confidence: mathematics is a purely analytical science, a refuge of unconditional knowledge; as the wife of Caesar, she is beyond suspicion. As soon as something is proved mathematically, it is already beyond question. Prove the same can be all true, and any axiom sooner or later will turn into a theorem. True, at the beginning of the last century, mathematics was faced with a deep crisis connected with the paradoxes of set theory, and the efforts of specialists were aimed at resolving these paradoxes. And at that moment Gödel struck his native science in the back. In the best traditions of logic and mathematics, he proved that any finite model, including mathematical, is based on postulates, axioms, which can not be substantiated in principle in the framework of this model. To prove these axioms, we need to find a more universal model, which also relies on its postulates, and so on ad infinitum. In fact, every model necessarily relies on some kind of "faith", intuition, on an empirical experience that, by definition finite, limited, can always be questioned and disavowed by subsequent experience.

This made mathematicians reconsider the basics of their science, introduced into the minds of healthy skepticism. And when one of the scientists in the 1970s. stated that mathematics - "the most humanitarian of all sciences", such a statement, although it caused a discussion, but was no longer perceived as a sacrilege. For by the middle of the last century, mathematics has already been interpreted by many as "subjective" science, i.e. as an abstract expression of human activity, communication, thinking, and in this circumstance new approaches (constructivist, intuitionistic, value) were constructed, which we mentioned earlier.

From semiotics, logic, mathematics, subjective methodology has extended to the theory of knowledge. The emphasis on the activity nature of any knowledge destroys the physicalistic, positivist building of epistemology. The stages of this process are represented by the well-known philosopher and historian of science VS Stepin. The author rightly emphasizes: the newest epistemology and science studies emphasize the fact that all knowledge arises, persists and exists in activity and therefore it is mediated by goals, needs, values. It is always a fragment of some holistic, internally structured reality - the cumulative image of the world, and only in its context acquires being and meaning.

Psychologically, this is very true. A person does not seek something for something, that he knows something (such an attitude is really secondary), but because something knows that he is striving for something. The goal, the need, is genetically and in fact preceded by knowledge, and the advanced probabilistic model always precedes sensory experiences, and even more so, scientific findings. Psychologists trace this dependence in the formation of an individual picture of the world, and in trivial situations of daily activity, and in difficult situations of scientific search. What we see, notice, fix, is determined by our preliminary assumptions and hypotheses. Therefore, as shown by the major expert on the methodology of science E. M. Chudinov, the structure of a scientific fact always contains the theory within which it was obtained.

From the cognitive disciplines, subjective thinking penetrates deeply into social science. Channels for this penetration are the various options for the activity approach. In the 1960-1980-ies. a galaxy of United States philosophers, historians, economists and sociologists (GS Batishchev, BF Porshnev, A. Ya. Gurevich, GG Diligenskii, etc.) came up with ideas that were alternative to the then dominant natural historical approach to the study of social processes. In the context of the latter, it was accepted that people's actions "also" play a role in socio-historical processes or postulate "dialectical unity" human activity and objective laws of history, as if laws are an independent metaphysical entity that enters into a relationship with another entity. Soviet scientists of the new wave, relying on Marx's early works and Engels' letters, resolutely changed the emphasis: history is the activity of a person pursuing his goals.

Therefore, all socio-historical laws are the laws of human activity, which, in turn, is closely related to the needs, values, motives, perceptions, will and emotions of specific people (the principle of unity of activity and consciousness). Accordingly, in the economy through the ratio of things or values, the attitude of people with a certain culturally and historically formed psychology is realized. Hence, in the structure of any economic, sociological, private or general historical law, we can reveal the proportional to it the properties and patterns of social psychology. Thus, in the social sciences, the disconnect between the subject-target, activity paradigm, on the one hand, and the causal, natural historical paradigm, on the other, is eliminated. The philosophical category of objective causality, freed from medieval mystifications, has become a legitimate methodological tool.

In other ways, but in the same direction were moving and social science schools. They also overcame the extremes of physicalistic determinism and oppositional existentialist concepts, rejecting historical causality and recognizing the exclusively free will of the creator-man. The movement in this direction began as early as the beginning of the last century with the works of the great French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917). Later, the inclusion of socio-psychological realities in the chain of cause-effect relationships became the same norm for many historical, sociological and economic theories, as well as the inclusion of specific material circumstances in the study of psychological phenomena. This methodological attitude is expressed especially clearly in the school of the "Annals", whose adherents are focused on the search for the "human component" in every historical epoch or event.

Approximation of causal representations with targets is quite obvious in the sciences of living nature. Studies by zoopsychologists, ethologists and physiologists have shown that it is impossible to adequately explain the behavior of animals and even plants without taking into account its purposefulness. If IP Pavlov tried to ignore this circumstance when constructing a reflex theory, then in the future even many of his followers were forced to abandon the Cartesian view of the biological world. The concepts of the dominant, advanced modeling, activity physiology (AA Ukhtomsky, NA Bernshtein), the theory of the action acceptor (PK Anokhin) are completely built on the belief in the purposefulness of the organism. It was also shown that even the simplest unconditioned reflexes are not stereotyped, as Pavlov and many of his contemporaries believed: according to their neural architectonics, each reflex is unique, i.e. differs from a similar reflex in the same organism and in a similar situation.

In the 1950-1960's. in the Western biological literature there were discussions about the attitude to the target and causal approaches in connection with the reassessment of certain provisions of classical Darwinism. Charles Darwin himself once wrote that the variability of species is no more than a premeditated plan, than in the direction of the wind. Some of his contemporaries and fans were sure that the theory of natural selection dealt a fatal blow to teleology. And very few noted that Darwin's theory also revealed the "rational grain" teleology. Indeed, the theory of natural selection does not allow the a priori aspiration of evolution toward the ultimate goal, for example, the emergence of man. At the same time, the idea of ​​competition and selection assumes that each individual, each population and their totality - the biocenosis - are actually purposeful. Their organization and behavior are aimed at ensuring the preservation of the system. Only with this condition are the struggles for survival, conservation of organisms, populations and cenoses more efficient in the given circumstances to the detriment of less effective.


First, Darwin, following JB Lamarck, believed that the largest and strongest individuals win in natural selection. But with the development of paleontology, the science of the history of life, evidence accumulated that does not agree with this assumption. For example, from the fossil prints of the pterodactyl, it is evident that he was much more familiar to us than a sparrow, who undoubtedly is a descendant of the pterodactyl. Hence, the magnitude and, probably, the physical strength do not serve as a decisive factor in selection. Then Darwin borrowed from his compatriot Herbert Spencer the term fittest (the fittest), and everything seems to have fallen into place. However, already in the XX century. Methodologists have discovered a logical circle: adaptation is the criterion of selection (a condition of survival), and survival is the proof of fitness. As a result, the theory of natural selection in the classical version proved to be irrefutable, and therefore unproven. (As one analyst wrote, Darwin's theory has a lot of merits and only one drawback - it's absolutely impossible to refute.) In addition, very significant adjustments to the Darwinian theory forced the development of genetics and ecology.

Thus, the XX century. was marked by the emergence of a synthetic theory of evolution, in which ultimately the selection criterion is the needs of the biocenosis and the biosphere as a whole at this stage of their existence. Here, emphasis is placed on the structure of ecological niches, the features of each of which in the current circumstances determine the advantage of a particular magnitude, shape, color, behavior and other characteristics. Natural selection is treated as a mechanism of stabilization, and the content of biological evolution consists in the sequential increase in the internal complexity of the biosphere-species and behavioral diversity, which also ensures the growth of its cumulative "intellectuality" from one geological epoch to another.

Ecology has a special role in the process of reviving target representations and their new synthesis with representations of causality. Convincingly demonstrating the system nature of natural existence, the interdependence of individual elements of the biosphere, this complex science has deprived any mystical connotations of questions such as: what is the use of a particular species or population? how do they contribute to the preservation, the normal functioning of the whole system? Ecology combined, in the words of the well-known philosopher E. Ilyenkov, the concept of expediency with the concept of "expediency". The society on sad practical experience was convinced, to what depressing consequences results unreasoned extermination "harmful" species - wolves, sparrows, etc. - and in general unceremonious devastation of ecological niches. This either destroys the ecosystem, or leads to the replacement of one species by another: for example, the place of wiped out wolves is occupied by wild dogs that are more dangerous than wolves for the environment and for the person himself.

Thus, the ecology has declared itself as a succession teleion science. The term teleonomy arose in the discussion of the 1950s-1960s, which we mentioned, as an alternative to classical teleology. The emphasis in the new paradigm is shifted from an a priori aspiration to future preset states to the actual conservation focus, so that evolution appears as successive a posteriori effects of competition and selection.

The target approach also revives at the pole of biological science, opposite from the ecology - in molecular biology, which studies phenomena at the cellular level. It is shown, for example, that the processes of enzyme synthesis are finely balanced in accordance with the needs of the cell at a given time.


Teleionic arguments, of course, infringe on the ideal of physicalism, so they have long provoked a protest from traditionally thinking biologists. Back in the 1980s. some of them argued that this is nothing more than a forced and temporary compromise, indicating the underdevelopment of biological sciences. The phenomena of the living world are too complex, they argued, so we have to accept that science is not yet capable of explaining them exhaustively and is forced to appeal to unscientific concepts like the "goal."

Academician PK Anokhin on this occasion quoted a joke from a German colleague: "Expediency is the lady without which no biologist can live, although they are embarrassed to appear with her in society." And almost 100 years earlier, another German scientist, philosopher and logician Christoph von Sigwarth, wrote about the "shyness of a misunderstanding" characteristic of biologists and physicians. Indeed, in the medicine of the XIX century. it was considered good practice to practice a purely causal approach, and very few people noticed that when a doctor speaks about the norm and pathology, he involuntarily or involuntarily goes over to the target representations.

So, the rights of target thinking are consistently restored in psychology, in humanitarian and social disciplines, in the sciences of living nature. A wave that spreads from psychology to natural science is not just a revival of Aristotle's teleology, but a new spiral. The causal and target paradigms in each science are integrated in their own way, assimilating the methodological achievements of physicalism and combining them with the advantages of a subjective view of the subject. The general orientation of reasoning is oriented downwards from the person and subtle psychic realities to standard logical operations, social processes and, further, to nature. Relatively more simple, evolutionarily early realities are, as it were, more complex and evolutionarily later. Nature again looks something humanlike: by some analogy with humans, animals, ecosystems and individual cells are considered as purposeful subjects.

Such a strategy of interdisciplinary integration was called "elevatorism" (from Latin - erection). As we recall, the main integrative strategy of physicalism was based on reduction, ie, the reduction of the higher to the lower, the spread of analogies and explanatory metaphors from the mechanical processes to life, society and man.

The reverse strategy is the elevation: the evolutionary higher constitutes the source of analogies for understanding the lower.


This methodological opposition should not be confused with holism and elementarism. There is another parameter of classification: whether the reasoning is constructed from integrity to elements or the whole is considered as an additive set of elements and their properties. This often more or less coincides with the parameter elevatorism-reductionism & quot ;, but not necessarily. For Spinoza, for example, man is therefore the "thing among things", that he is a particle of the universal Mother of God.

However, when we establish the convergence of the paradigms of the causal and objective explanation in the sciences of man, society and living nature, we are only halfway through. In any case, it is certain that the supporting structures of the scientific picture of the world constitute physical knowledge. Therefore, in order for the subject-target paradigm to form a full-fledged alternative to physicalism, it must be comparable in scope to reality. Indeed, an electivational wave could not play an essential role in the process of interdisciplinary synthesis if it stopped before the walls of the citadel of physicalism, the physical science itself. And here is found the most remarkable circumstance: in the XX century. physics also became closely in the rigid framework of anti-subjective thinking.

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