C-113. A history of behavior

Why do some people find evolution unsatisfactory? Why does the public, as Haksoo Kim found, see technology as more likely than science to help us solve our problems? Why is “scientific literacy” so low? Why do people talk of many other “forces” than those four whose accommodation in a grand theory of everything enthrals physicists?

Consider the familiar mapping in which the human condition as behavioral entity shows up very late in the physical-chemical-geological succession … and then only for a very short (and humbling?) period of time. But what if, looking back from CEM-history’s frontier (App. XI, App. XVI) we set outto map behavior’s history? (Behavior’s, not just behaviors’.)Even if we were to only look at behavior qua behaviors, as in terms of “forces” at work, then the human condition, late in this history of forces, would claim the largest number and variety of forces at work. But behavior per se has a history too, just as consequentiality per se does (as a general persisting condition: III). Consider the CEM-history transition from no-problem behavior to the emergence of the behavioral problem and the earliest situational problems to today’s (still persisting behavioral problem and force: See C-41) and multitude of situational problems.

Here at this humanistic frontier we have abundant evidence that functionality, like consequentiality, is made, not just found (C-110). Steps, S, are made stronger; they are molecularly constructed to afford needed functionality C-90). Steps are interdependent with bodies, B; they affect bodies just as bodies affect them (III). Forces, as the face of functionality and consequentiality, are many and varied here at the frontier.Physics’ “four forces,” while very much here and relevant at the frontier, do not offer enough of a foundation – enough of a platform – for coming up with the force(s) we have yet to generate for problem solving, for improving our quality of life (0) … for the future of humanity.

We can see, looking back through history, that the “four forces,” as consequentiality plus functionality, are a special case — a type — of behavior, a case of adventitious functionality(where B=S holds for behavioral entities [lest cyclotrons be unable to do their identificatory work], rather than B/S). These are four forces found while searching for the order of things (III). But the Nature of Things comprises more than an order of things (as its general persisting condition of partial order implies) and what is not order presents problems to the more contemporary behavioral entity beset and blessed with the possibility of collisions. What might a history of behavior tell us?

G. G. Simpson’s words in Science (12 January 1963), speaking about the work of scientists from biology’s place midway in CEM-history (App. XVI), are seminal here, as supplemented (in italics):

“…Not through principles that apply to all phenomena but through phenomena to which all principles apply” … and through all phenomena to which principles apply.

The supplement moves the “all” in the later portion of Simpson’s statement. It needs to be clear that some phenomena (especially behavioral) have applicable principles not shared by other phenomena, and that not all principles are of the “universal” type – i.e., a generality inferred from and redundant to particulars (III:oots). Beyond the biology sector in CEM-history new phenomena and applicable principles challenge the “oots” perspective. The behavioral requisites and imperatives that the Nature of Things’ generality poses as guides for behavioral entities with step making and taking capacities and capabilities are a distinctive kind of principle for a distinctive kind of behavioral entity.

The four fundamental forces of physics advance principles that apply to all phenomena. The other forces evident in the history of behavior cry out, as phenomena, for more principles, for other principles that apply uniquely to them. Their generality does not have to be that of universality, of applicability to all particular phenomena.

We have done ourselves no favor by confounding matters of functionality and consequentiality together in the concept of “force.” We’ve seen some of the trouble in the confusion between “power” and “strength” (XI). More confusion arises in the lazy equation of “all that it takes” and “whatever it takes,” and in the lack of distinction between circumstantial and compositional change (II). The latter missing distinction when, at the frontier, compositional change is increasing rapidly relative to circumstantial change.

Functionality and consequentiality are related matters, to be sure, but “What is called for” (C-110) makes a point of clarifying that relationship in light of the history of behavior. “Force” is not a helpful concept when we need to talk more productively about effectiveness. Effectiveness requires that we attend to process consequentiality (C-16), the development of functional capability and material functionalities for problem solving with consequentiality assessed during, not just at the end of, the composition of a solution. Effectiveness requires that we get into the architecture of behavior (C-90) and not just the structure of the entity. It requires that we start with needed functionality, given the Nature of Things.

“Force” is not a productive R-word (C-107). Tellingly, its linguistic history in English has many noun usages and many transitive verb usages – but no intransitive verb usages.The term calls to mind “magnetism,” which, as a relational term (Hempel), requires, for a given body, another body’s presence to demonstrate/define the given body’s behavioral aspect. Realization of needed functionality for problem-solving effectiveness would, of course, demand a much better foundation. Lest right never conquer might.

The history of contemporary behavior is littered with R-weak concepts spawned in the wake of “force.” Consider, for example: “influence,” “oppression,” “constrain,” “coercion,” “power,” “energy,” “vigor,” “control,” “strength,” “persuasion,” “compel,” “domination,” etc.

To give the Nature of Things and needed functionality their due, to make the most of consequentiality, to provide humanity with maximum problem solving effectiveness … for all of this we need to give behavior and its history their due. Once we look from the frontier back through the history of behavior, we can see why a science of behavior is beside the point. Behavioral realization requires all of humanism, art and science (App. VIII, App. XV) … functioning together in union (C-112).

What we have as histories are mostly about behavioral entities and entity behaviors: their particulars. Not about behavior per se. Behavioral entity histories tend strongly toward a body bias. (See C-38: What Darwin missed; C-39: the BPO bias; C-104: the SGN correction.) Behavioral entity (BE) attention has tended toward BE-BE relationships (e.g., events), with behaviors assigned to bodies — i.e., no step making or taking independent of those bodies. Compare “life, the double crystal” (III) and its implied interdependence of step and body. Limiting our attention to behavior via BE properties (C-97: Late-stage functionality),shows up later in non-human BE production (e.g., robots) with their emphasis on a science of the artificial rather than of the possible. Our sense of human history is thus incomplete and inaccurate. After all, a good deal of the body (e.g., shape and bi-[grasp] capacities) humans now have is in consequence of step taking and making … which, given needed functionality, makes a history of behavior per se a helpful resource. How are to fully realize the interdependence of body and step (e.g., S=>B and B=>S) if we do not balance our realizations of each of them (C-80, C-82)?

Our needed, but not yet satisfactorily realized, functionality of body and step interdependency is not in hand. (See 0: quality of life and unsolved problems.) This R-grasp failure (VII; C-32, C-101, C-105, C-107, C-108) is a major impediment (IV) to human progress. And this at a time in human history when collisions, given increased population and disappearing resources, figure to become more frequent, harder and harsher in consequences.

(c) R.F. Carter