C-152. Sciences: the hard, the harder, the hardest

If science, as the term itself suggests –especially seen as an R-word (App. XIX; C-107) in consequence of needed minding functionality, is to fully concern itself with knowing, both by finding and by finding out via trying (C-93: Kf, Kt), this concern has to extend beyond knowing as recognition (as if appropriate behavior [What is called for: C-110] were at hand)… beyond being able to distinguish one particular focus of attention (of whatever size and/or variety; indeed, any condition as an object of attention) from another.

Science needs to Grasp (VII; C-105) any condition as both IN and OF consequence. (Lest using consequence as a test for knowledge be a mockery.) Definition qua identification is not enough. Even though, after Aristotle and Peirce, a condition’s consequentiality may be asked to provide definition – using a point ABOUT to make a point AT, in which consequentiality is functionally if not pragmatically equivalent to assigning more apparent properties for identification. (See the “person who” and “object which” usages of our muddled Grasp [C-114].) Science needs to Grasp the full materiality – i.e., consequentiality -- of a condition, whether that condition is an entity (aka body) or a behavior (aka step).

Further, the sciences taken together must comprise all kinds of steps by all kinds of step takers. No settling for the easier to know: the one-step entities of astronomy, physics and chemistry … whose body-body relationships (e.g., constituent bodies, orbits, “four forces”) still command attention. The materiality of steps made and taken, some in order to make and take steps more molecular in size and “complexity” (familiarly, but conceptually [C-124]: “actions”), is not to be overlooked.

The most cursory minding of human history tells us that in recent human history steps have increased in quantity and quality, and have increased at a more rapid rate. So where once there may have been only orderings of one-step entities to have been observed, now there is a history of added orderings by multi-step entities to be observed (after the fact) … and a prospective history of future orderings to be made (before the fact) by these multi-step entities.

Consider the “3A” progression of more recent CEM-history (App. XI). From the biology domain on forward to organizational R-entities (C-147; e.g., unions [C-112]) there is a cumulative behavioral progression from ADAPT (Aa) through ADOPT (Ao) to ADEPT (Ae) … metaphorically: brooks of evolution that come to be a gathering stream – indeed, a flood – of development as well. This in collision-relevant consequence of the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions of partial order, consequentiality and (entity) discontinuity. These 3A metastrategies are traces in the human condition of the conditions under which these kinds of steps are taken. (In this their informative value parallels that of the cyclotron’s post-collision traces [App. X].) Humans, the exemplar species for multi-step Ae-behavior, cannot afford to neglect these implications for problem solving.

As the orderings to be observed increase, and increase in the Ae manner that they have been increasing, science becomes more difficult. Departmentalized “social sciences” become harder – and hardened. “Behavioral science” as a department misses a crucial point. All the sciences are behavioral, in conduct (G.G. Simpson) and content. Biased conduct (0:S-P, C-39: the BPO bias) has limited observed human behavior (i.e., content) by neglect of needed step functionality (C-144) and step structure (III; App. XIX).

Were the more recent departmentalized social sciences, as now constituted -- and invidiously compared with respect to “hard” and “soft” content (aka “findings”), to overcome the conduct impediments they face (the BPO legacy of the so-called “hard sciences” is bane as well as benefit), it would be apparent that the increases of size and rate in quality and quantity of steps pose increasingly difficult challenges to those who would strengthen the human Grasp Involve interdependency for solving their behavioral and situational problems (I).


The scientist moving from the “hard sciences” into the “harder” and “hardest” sciences enters a scene where knowing by trying in order to find out, Kt, is a needed minding functionality … not just to Grasp orderings that were the result of someone having tried something out, but also for orderings not yet tried which require composition in order to be tested by consequentiality – the harder in the first instance, the hardest in the second instance.

The second instance, however, is made more difficult by employing the technologies, theories and methods, of the hard sciences – influenced as they are by the BPO bias (See C-155: Managing the muddle: a math triumph.). The SGN correction (C-104,135) becomes necessary to get very far in the hardest science, where its steps, generality and the Nature of Things must make contributions to the composition of what is to be tried.

(The “social sciences” – and social scientists – incur disparagement for their “softness” … ironically, given that they are the tragic victims of having adopted the limited methods of the Kf-stunted “hard” sciences.)

The BPO/SGN imbalance is not the whole story here either. As one ascends, behaviorally, from Aa through Ao to Ae, there has been a companion imbalance in researchers’ employment of problem-solution and question-answer perspectives (XII: see diagrams). For optimum effectiveness the two should be developed and employed interdependently, . But consider:

Hard sciences: Emphasis on Kf. Question-answer is primary, because inquiry is about given ordering within a working assumption of an underlying order of things (oots). Problems may arise during the questioning which need solution, but problem-solution is secondary to the puzzle’s question-answer. (See, for example, the needed tech invention of “scopes” to aid discovery.) R-entities are seen to have no option other than to Adapt or not to the given ordering. (Nomothetic principles [aka universal laws, re particulars] are sought.)

Harder sciences: Emphasis on Kf. Question-answer is still primary, about various observed R-entity orderings, but the questions are about orderings seen now after the fact,. Yet those orderings were made before the fact (typically a variety of) R-entity Ae solutions to problems (I: situational vs. behavioral problems not typically distinguished). R-entities very often have an Adopt option, to choose from among previous solutions ... albeit with limited information and, often, nonsingular directive implications. (Actuarial principles are sought – i.e., for comparative advantage. “Middle-range theories” carry forward generalization from particulars. Particular interdependencies observed are characterized as properties of particular object relationships.)

Hardest sciences: Emphasis on Kt Kf. Problem-solution and question-answer are often compounded (confounded and confused) together, frustrating their more productive interdependence. Problem and question (e.g., “mind-body problem”) may be weakly regarded as synonymous … solution and answer too. Interdependence ([P=>S] [Q=>A]) would be more appropriate. Problem solving should have some claim to primacy here, lest questions lack the compelling point OF that problems have – i.e., re avoiding or arranging collisions. But not a primacy which subjugates the materiality of questions; not the way the hard and harder sciences subjugate the materiality of needed functionality that problems evoke re behavior. R-entities have the ADEPT option. They can compose new solutions, using pointed questions (X) to help construct them. But in doing so, they must attend to the behavioral problem (I:Pbeh). They must compose themselves too, as multistep takers. Not merely as multi-taskers – if that just means working on more than one situational problem at a time. (Applicable principles here are the behavioral requisites and imperatives in consequence of the Nature of Things’ partial order [III, VI-XI]. Generality here applies to Everything, not just to every thing [i.e., particulars].)


A “behavioral science” does not make sense. Science, as it is now practiced, is not good enough – not Grasp and Involve enough in strength , for all that behavior is – or should be -- talking about, for all that is called for. It’s not good enough in theory, not good enough in method. HAS (humanism art science) is more to the point (App. VIII, XV). And to the need for and development of the hardest science.

Nothing about the current quality of the human condition (0:QL-point) says that we can settle for what we have achieved (e.g., making more efficient the learning of solutions and technologies thus far developed [0:Sp]). The hardest science needs to overcome the impediments (IV) due to poor minding conduct and technologies (0:S-P) and the accumulation of polluted content (0:Ps) … to get on to the many problems (0:P) still unsolved or only partially solved (e.g., especially the behavioral problem).

(c) 2016 R. F. Carter