Human-related factors and the development of science

Ele­na A. Mam­chur
Lobachevsky State Uni­ver­si­ty of Nizh­ni Nov­gorod

Human-relat­ed fac­tors and the devel­op­ment of sci­ence

Abstract. The arti­cle demon­strates that the role played by the human-relat­ed fac­tors in obtain­ing objec­tive­ly true knowl­edge became the mat­ter of con­sid­er­a­tion already in the ancient times (the author marks this ques­tion as the Pro­tago­ras-Socrates antin­o­my of the sub­ject-relat­ed and the objec­tive in cog­ni­tion). The debates on this prob­lem per­vade the whole his­to­ry of human thought, and these days are becom­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly rel­e­vant. For human­i­tar­i­an knowl­edge, it might be explained by the tense polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion in the world and the increas­ing need for psy­cho­an­a­lysts. How­ev­er, as for the Nat­ur­al Sci­ence, it is an issue of a pure­ly epis­te­mo­log­i­cal char­ac­ter – the pos­si­bil­i­ties of obtain­ing objec­tive­ly true knowl­edge. In search of uni­ver­sal and nec­es­sary knowl­edge, the tra­di­tion­al epis­te­mol­o­gy exclud­ed per­son­al fac­tors from the ratio­nal recon­struc­tion of the cog­ni­tive process, treat­ing them as car­ri­ers of a sub­jec­tive inter­pre­ta­tion of the cog­ni­tive activ­i­ties. The cog­niz­ing empir­i­cal sub­ject was elim­i­nat­ed from the orig­i­nal epis­te­mo­log­i­cal abstrac­tion, and the objec­tiv­i­ty of knowl­edge could only come from the supra-indi­vid­ual source iden­ti­fied with the tran­scen­den­tal sub­ject of cog­ni­tion. The arti­cle explores the pos­si­bil­i­ties of a par­tial restora­tion of the role that per­son­al fac­tors play in the Nat­ur­al Sci­ence method­ol­o­gy and their inclu­sion into the ratio­nal recon­struc­tion of the cog­ni­tive process. The author pon­ders the pos­i­tive aspects of the per­son­al fac­tors in the Nat­ur­al Sci­ence and ana­lyzes sev­er­al cas­es from the his­to­ry of physics that con­vinc­ing­ly sup­port the hypoth­e­sis about the pos­i­tive char­ac­ter of the per­son­al fac­tors for the emer­gence of new knowl­edge: the evo­lu­tion of rel­a­tivis­tic physics (Albert Ein­stein) and the emer­gence of quan­tum mechan­ics (Max Planck). The arti­cle con­sid­ers the place that the “needs” and “inter­ests” of the mind (Kant) occu­py in the devel­op­ment of sci­ence. It is sug­gest­ed that these fac­tors often play a key role in the his­to­ry of a sci­en­tif­ic idea or a sci­en­tif­ic area. Despite the fact that the ortho­dox (Copen­hagen) inter­pre­ta­tion was put for­ward more than a hun­dred years ago and is suc­cess­ful­ly oper­at­ing in the method­ol­o­gy of physics, the needs of the mind are con­tin­u­ing to pro­voke the fur­ther search for new inter­pre­ta­tions of quan­tum the­o­ry. Like­wise, the inter­ests and needs of the mind play a deci­sive role in sci­en­tists’ adher­ence to the ideals of sim­plic­i­ty and uni­ty of sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge.

Key­words: human­i­tar­i­an knowl­edge, nat­ur­al-sci­en­tif­ic cog­ni­tion, empir­i­cal sub­ject of sci­en­tif­ic activ­i­ty, tran­scen­den­tal sub­ject of cog­ni­tion, ratio­nal recon­struc­tion of the cog­ni­tive process.



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