Application XV: HAS discipline(s)

There is both similarity and difference among the domains arrayed along the historical progression in the diagram for XI. The similarity is the double stranded (>: body step structures) thread of contingent emergent materiality (CEM) that runs throughout that history. Of the differences, especially from among the many observed particulars, the difference which stands out is an increase in consequentiality, functionality and materiality among behavioral entities, such as to show the progression from solely circumstantial change, at the beginning, to both circumstantial and (increasing) compositional change, toward the frontier.

Disciplinary – and nondisciplinary – interest in observed particulars, such as we see in the disciplines and fields of academia, often laboring under the impression (aka postulate, notion, assumption) that there is an order of things and assuming that the Nature of Things can be generalized as universals from those particulars… such interest has led observers to homogenize (to the status of circumstances) all that is observed. The result of this is to subsume – and squeeze — conditions under the order of things, yielding a pseudo-unity (of observers and observed) — along with a fudge factor of chance. (So much for the general persisting condition of partial order as a quality of the Nature of Things [aka Everything].).

On the assumption of an order of things, observers – disciplined or not — can operate as solvers of puzzles. This works pretty well in the lower (behaviorally speaking) domains, where structure and function are redundant (“is as does”). But minding in the higher domains must deal with problems, where composing (utilizing cognitive and communicative capabilities) is needed to produce solutions to problems. These problems may themselves require compositional capability to be completely and accurately diagnosed. When they are treated as puzzles and questioned as such using order-of-things technology – i.e., with methods borrowed from the lower domain observers, what are already the harder disciplines are made even harder by these impediments (:S-P; ). This when a problem’s solution implies that (some) step, and perhaps body, structure must be constructed via functional capabilities developed in consequence of observed functional need – i.e., nothing so simple as structure = function; It’s a dynamic interdependency (: S F).

The notion that we can treat the problem solving behavior of humans of yesterday and today, and their behavior for the future, as though it were but a puzzle, as though method and metaphor from the lower domains would provide adequate representation … that notion bespeaks the very weakness exhibited in our yet unsolved problems (, , App. XII – especially the diagram there).

The puzzle mentality has led to a dysfunctional split in responsibility – very much evident in academic departments and in relationships between academy and industry. Some deal with problems and their solution. Some deal with questions and their answers. The interdependence of P => S and Q => A is flouted by the truncated recipe research of topic and method, where the research topic elected may appeal to a problem for the study’s – and question’s – significance, but fail to enlighten the research behavior involved (: see both diagrams).

Technologically, our understanding of behaviors in the frontier domains is not that far removed from the Stone Age. Practices (aka actions, responses) are the stones (, ). Sciences and arts, behaviorally, are familiar to us as practices. Science and art as establishments are constituted on practices. “Is as does,” with “does” more a compendium of practices than the needed foundation (detailed functionality) for a very much needed greater materiality – i.e., more problem-solving relevance, more consequentiality.

It is the demand for greater materiality and improved problem solving that now has compositional capability looking for materiality potential in the lower domains (“material sciences”). That same capability to compose which weds humanism, re problem solving, with art qua composition to expand science, qua knowing … as via development and research. But how and when will we make the higher domains more material – i.e., more consequential? And the HAS disciplines more disciplined?)

Our reconstructions of behavior after the fact as professional observers are, can only be, no better than our constructions of behavior before the fact for problem solving. What we see manifested in and by CEM is that the Nature of Things subsumes all orders of things. It subsumes the orderings of conditions compositional (process as well as product) in addition to conditions combinatorial (process as well as product). Further, CEM’s basis in the Nature of Things provides explanation in addition to summary and prediction. We can understand what we have done, are doing … and trying to do much better.

Somewhat ironically, though not appreciated in that sense, compositional behavior has furnished the means for representing circumstantial orderings in observed pre-compositional conditions. As, for example, how mathematical modeling has proved very helpful to physics in recent decades: i.e., generate the idea, then see if it fits. Witness also the ad hoc attention to cognition, communication and composition evident in science and engineering students being encouraged to take course work in speaking and/or writing. And it is composition’s contribution to BFPS’ theory about the Nature of Things that enables us to look far enough behind us, historically, to get us more productively turned around toward the future (, ).

It becomes obvious that those who want to work productively, as in problem solving – whose productive essence is compositional capability, should be concentrating their development and exercise of minding capabilities toward conditions at the frontier of CEM. Special attention must be paid to technologies (: tools, procedures, tool-using procedures, procedural tools), such as involved in language, that need to be further developed to best serve that work. For effective disciplinary effort on this frontier, it cannot be appropriate to depend on hand-me-down technologies from the study of only pre-compositional order and ordering.

Thus, for example, from science’s typical after-the-fact perspective and point of view, there needs to be two kinds of reductionism: B-reductionism and S-reductionism. The former looks to the structure of the body/entity, the latter to the structure (esp. the relatings and relations) of the step/behavior. B-reductionism thrives in the early domains of CEM, but is awkward and unproductive in the later domains where behavior (which, molecularly, could be part or all of a step or a composed step sequence) is treated as a property of the body. Improved consequentiality needs more materiality than that.

When it comes to assessing progress in in the academic fields and disciplines working on the CEM frontier – i.e., what should be a unified HAS discipline, one assessment seems especially warranted: There is a marked dynamic dysfunction. There is an imbalance between evolution and development, Evol/Dev > 1, Further, there is conceptual confusion, “evolution” often being used to describe what is obviously developmental change. The overemphasis and confusion make for further trouble when we need to consider the interdependence of the two, as, for example, when we want to track the history of body – step and/or structure -function interdependencies. Much of consequence in CEM’s frontier story is to be seen in how steps make a difference in bodies and how needed and developed functionality result, via composition, in new structures – especially communities.

It is tempting to say that some academic departments (e.g., journalism) have farther to go toward becoming a HAS discipline than more established departments (e.g., psychology). But this may not be the case. The more established departments are also more burdened by adopted impediments (esp. : S-P) to progress. Getting past those impediments may take one farther around than the path ahead requires. They who heed the Nature of Things’ call for functionality (: behavioral necessity and its implied behavioral requisites and imperatives) … which we see being brought about at the frontier by developed capabilities of cognition, communication , composition and community … it is they who will lead: on the way — and in the end.

Cognition and communication need further development to enhance compositional capability (as noted above with respect to language technology).. Community remains an even more underdeveloped capability – this despite its obvious need for solving many of our toughest problems. The interdependence of individual and community, unrealized (as in the “Tragedy of the Commons”) and vexing (as in partisan quarreling re the role of governmen), a continuing and challenging aspect of the behavioral problem :Pbeh), reaches into human life from partnerships and marriages to the lure of “world community.”

(The Individual-community breach is marked academically by the telling phenomenon of sociology and psychology departments each offering its own course in “social psychology.”)

The needed community here is not community by circumstance. This is community by composition. Nor does this merely require a functional analysis, after the fact, of communities by circumstance (e.g., favorable geography). This community requires the analysis of needed collective functionality (just as the individual must cope with the behavioral problem), followed by the development of needed capabilities, which become the basis for composing the community. Function does not just follow structure. Structure follows function too: function which as behavior has a molecular structure of its own in consequence of the Nature of Things … this beginning a continuing and further dynamic interdependency of function and structure.

(Note that educational policy, as with other community policies, tends to be fashioned to serve community by circumstance [e.g., vocational training] rather than community by composition. Which may account for these policies lacking a more productive developmental foundation?)

Humanism as manifested in problem solving implies the realization of an effective interdependency of the individual’s operating system with a community’s operating system (:OS) When, as so often tried, the relationship between individual and community has been implemented via control systems (CS) — typically more structural than functional, and emphasizing CS/OS, more specified responsibilities than capabilities … then dysfunction is the consequence.

Help and support as capacities and capabilities (, ) run both ways between individual and community if their operating systems are effectively integrated – and are not being invoked on an ad hoc basis (e.g., in anticipation of national defense, in the wake of a disaster). With a CS/OS > 1 imbalance, behavioral responses such as “Us vs. them” and “Too many regulations” are to be expected.

Both the individual and the community need compositional capability to solve their problems. Without the former’s capability, the latter will not come about, and an effective interdependency will not be achievable. Collective problem solving will suffer. Our biggest problems (:P) will probably stay unsolved. To take the example of the “Tragedy of the Commons” (Hardin), we are more likely to be left with the result on our conscience than a solution reached by it.

Humanism has to do more with “How?” – i.e., with the construction of solutions to the problems humans face, making better use of art and science to do so. In this respect, the distinction between situational problems and the behavioral problem is critical. The “Tragedy of the Commons” addresses a situational problem (destruction of community resources by competing individual initiatives). It only alludes to the behavioral problem, to the extent of invoking conscience as a potential helper. Of more help would be a fuller realization of the Individual x community dynamics, but the behavioral problem comprises far more needed capabilities than this. And they are not limited to this dynamic, nor even to this plus the many other dynamics. (Although a register of dynamic ratios provides a helpful assessment of behavioral entity development.)

What CEM tells us is that community will not be realized without compositional capability, with technology assists to that capability, which in turn requires further development of communication and cognitive capabilities – and technology assists to them. We find ourselves at a problem-beset frontier. It is up to the HAS discipline to bring us as problem solvers up to that frontier.

It is the prospective HAS discipline, with its own distinctive kind of experiment (development and research), which needs to produce community as a material resource for problem solving, and then use it in the material exercise of that resource. This needs to done in concert. We need productive fusion of humanism (re problems we face), art (re composition capability) and science (re new as well old methods of knowing). We need that fusion which has been spectacularly but only rarely evident in history’s individual heroes (e.g., Da Vinci and Pasteur). We need more of such collective efforts as Boggs’ EffectiveArts to bring the three together into a stronger behavioral fabric (e.g., his work to dramatically enhance organ donation and to monitor performance erosion – and other consequences, wanted or not, anticipated or not).

What we don’t need, academically or elsewhere, are more of fields territorially fixed on collated particulars (especially of observed practices) and disciplines whose achieved discipline applies primarily to adoption and use of their own practices. (See: reliability/validity > 1.) We’ve institutionalized to a “fare thee well” … and thereby to a farewell to possibility).

As to the germane academic departments : Psychology, sociology, political science, history, speech, law, philosophy, assorted languages, ecology, journalism, etc. … these are impediments to development at the frontier. “Interdisciplinary,” “multidisciplinary,” “task force,” “investigative committees” … such arrangements aggregate disciplines – but do they add HAS capability? How are academic disciplines that lack HAS capability to effectively exercise HAS discipline when and if they are brought together?

Are we to remain a mute victim of evolution/development >1 … this long after CEM’s story reveals an increasing emergence of materiality (consequentiality) toward our frontier via development of functionally needed 4C capabilities? After CEM shows us the way forward and urges a HAS unity upon us? Will the content and conduct of minding’s “present” stay imbalanced (: ATF/BTF > 1), focused more on, and developed more in regard to, particulars minded after the fact than to minding capability before the fact … and yielding actuarial principles (beating only chance and competing practices) rather than general behavioral principles (applicable to all problem solving)? Will we remain weakly curious, weakly imaginative and weakly innovative (App. XIII)? Is technology that only improves on existing technology (“new, improved”) the course which infrastructural investment should take?

What about a course forward more in accord with the Nature of Things? A minding discipline more comprehensive and accurate … stronger, able to generate and apply more powerful technology?

(c) 2013 R.F. Carter