Thursday, April 25, 2013

DIALECTICS IN SOCIO-SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY: ISLAM CONTRA OCCIDENT

Masudul Alam Choudhury*


 abstract

The field of dialectical reasoning in constructing theory and deriving epistemology surrounding the theory construction is examined. A stark difference is found to exist between the dialectical legacy of the Occidental philosophy of science and what Islam has to offer in this area on analytical grounds. This difference and the emergent analytical perspectives are studied in reference to the literature and in the light of the Islamic and contrasting epistemologies and ontologies of socio-scientific problems. Indicative applications are presented in the areas of for socioeconomic development and neurocybernetics as a new field.


Scientific formalism in the natural and social sciences depends on the dialectical methodology of some kind to explain the dynamics inherent in the problem under study. By definition, dialectics means the recursive process of interaction between entities, shown either as variables or agency. Such interactions first arise from power and conflicts, which then move into synthesis by the convergence of power and its enforcement. The process from thesis to synthesis is described as an unending terrain of continuity, so that the dialectical system in this sense is governed and shaped by continuous conflicts and power between the entities and agencies.

Explaining dialectics

Here is a summary configuration of the dialectical process:




                                          X                                                    Y        Y1 = f1(X1)
                                 X1                                                          
                         
            {R} ®           X2       ® Èj{Xj} Ì X; Çj{Xj} = f  ®     ®            Y2 = f2(X2)        ®
                          ….
                                                                                                 
                                 Xn                                                                     Y3 = f3(X3)



Figure 1: The dialectical process

R: domain of rationalism (expanded below); {Xj} are subsets of X and are permanently induced by the characteristics of R as the epistemology of the dialectical process. Conflict and independence between the {Xj} cause the measure of the set X to be incompletely spanned by the {Xj}. The process is marked by termination of the process with power and hegemony in the set X and the emergence of the set Y, which repeats the character of conflict and independence of X. The process continues ad-infinitum.
            Figure 1 can be further stylized in Figure 2 to bring out the methodological individualism and independence of relationships between the agents and variables in the sense of organic continuity res extensa a la Rene Descartes (eds. Commins & Linscott, 1954). This is also the consequence of social Darwinism on the ultimate nature of initial interaction leading to terminal bifurcations via the route of conflict and power. It is also the characterization of the social universe conceptualized by Wallerstein (1998).
                                                                                                                                     



W
            X                                       Y                                       Z         












Sets of subsets            starting disintegration        increasing disintegration into
With initial interaction   caused by first level           methodological individualism
                                        Of methodological and mutual independence
                                        individualism                      caused by power and conflict
                                                                                    and continuity of the same

Figure 2: How the dialectics of power and conflict lead into disintegration of an initially interactive process into increasing methodological individualism and mutual independence of relations

Rationalism and the dialectical process

The emergence of the dialectical process owes to rationalism as the human mind's ultimate epistemology for explaining phenomenon. Rationalism itself is a cognitive philosophy that embodies a sensate approach to explain reality in every branch of scientific inquiry involving cause and effect.
            Rationality is considered as the ultimate foundation of economic science by Ludwig von-Mises (1960). Likewise, Hayek (1979) writes in support of rationalism as the core of the dialectical process conjectured in occidental socio-scientific inquiry. According to rationalism, only the mind, not the edicts of foundational and abiding texts, explain social values. Observing Comte and Hegel’s role in scientific historicism, Hayek writes (slightly edited, op cit, pp. 388-89): “Comte’s attitude on this (historiography) is really not very different from Hegel’s statement that all that is real is rational and all that is rational is also real – only that instead of rational Comte would have said historically necessary and therefore justified. Everything appears to him as in this sense justified in its time, slavery and cruelty, superstition and intolerance, because – this he does not say but it is implied in his reasoning – there are no moral rules which we must accept as transcending our individual reason, nothing which is a given and unconscious presupposition of all our thought, and by which we must judge moral issues.”
Rationalism is thus conjoint with dialectics in the phenomenological explanation of conflict and power that underlie all socio-scientific inquiry in the Occidental worldview. On this point writes Holton (1975) regarding the inner institutional power that science develops for its life. Power, hegemony, self-interest and conflicts also mark the resistance to the emergence of scientific revolution out of the rubric of normal science. 


2 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. শ্রাবন্তীর বাগদান ৮ জুলাই

    ভক্তদের জন্য সুসংবাদ হলো ঈদের পরপরই সুপারমডেল প্রেমিক কৃষাণ ব্রজের সঙ্গে বাগদান হচ্ছে কলকাতার নায়িকা শ্রাবন্তীর – বিস্তারিত পড়তে ক্লিক করুন – www.dhakatimes24.com

    ReplyDelete