New paradigm of science (Tokyo University)

New paradigm of science

Speech in the Tokyo University

We regard the science as a system of relations of a rational man with a mechanistically interpreted reality. Having arisen at the edge of the New Time in Europe, that system of relations includes both theory - the knowledge about that reality (which claims its own objective character, verifiability and indisputability) - and practice (technics) - the methods of affecting that reality.

The rational man, the man who bases his perception of the world on the "common sense" ("la bonne raison", "bon sens" or "la bonne foi") is the subject of the modern science , its self, its creator, its main developer. In the pre-scientifical period such a subject did not exist purely or, at least, it did not claim for the rational approach as the only one to formulate the truths of the surrounding reality's nature. Some certain superrational dogmas and myths always prevailed over the rational man. As to science, it set itself to emancipation from non-rational foundations from the very beginning. And this is just what one of its specific distinctive features consists in. Where this criterion is not observed, we cannot talk about the science in the strict (modern) sense of that word and should use other formulas, such as "pre-scientific conceptions", "para-scientific method", "pre-scientific" and in some situations even "post-scientific" approaches.

The mechanistic and atomistic interpretation of reality is the other necessary criterion of understanding science. Only the mechanistic nature, deprived of any faint resemblance of "its immanent-essential life" must be the object of the science. As regards this, Martin Heidegger wrote:

“The science establishes the Actual. It presses for the Actual to appear every time as a result of one or another action, in other words, to appear in the form of visible aftereffects of some causes, which give a good ground for them”.

Such objective-made reality functions completely according to cause-and-effect relationship and is subordinate to a mechanistic determinism. That reality is supposed to be “accessible to strict measurement” (as M.Plank said). As to M. Heidegger, he emphasizes that “any objectivation is calculation”. So then the outside world in the modern science is taken as the Absolute Object, lying before the Absolute Subject, the “Subjective Subject”, and they do not have any common mediating substance with each other. Hence follows the most important classic science principle of reducing “the organism to the mechanism”, the represention of an organism as a complicated, intricate version of a mechanism. In turn, from this emerged the Cartesian thesis of “the animals as mechanical apparatuses” and the radical Lamerti’s statement that “the man is nothing else but the machine”.

Such vision of the world and of the man attains prevalence (in Europe) only in New Time and just in the same period the concept of “science” is realized as describing some system of “exact” relations of two set-apart poles - of the “Subjective Subject” and of the “Objective Object”. In other epochs the term “science” was used in some other, more wide and less precise sense, since both the man and the Nature were perceived absolutely otherwise and their interrelations had fundamentally different character.


So, the main quality of a science as itself consists in striving to attach some autonomous character to the deterministic and mechanistic system of relations between the subject and the object, in purifying that system of relations from any collateral and unscientific, extrascientific factors (theology, traditions, myths, “superstitions” and so forth).

In turn, such an autonomous state, attained by the science, should have brought to ranking the scientific knowledge in its own opinion above the rest gnoseological patterns of pre-scientific and unscientific origin. This last point is extrenely essential, since in a historical process the substance of the science was developed in dispute with comprehensive gnoseological systems, mostly related with religions and other topping institutes of a traditional society. The opposition of the science as specific gnoseological system, claiming independence and dominance, to other patterns of cognition and perception of reality, that are inherent in a traditional society, makes the science an ideologically concerned phenomenon.


Methodology of meta-paradigms (Sphere, Ray, Segment)


The main methodological instrument we employ is a principle of paradigms.

The Greek word “paradeigma” literally means “what predetermines the character of the manifested, but at the same time remains outside the manifested” (“para” signifies “over”, “above”, “by what”, “about what”, and “deigma” signifies “manifestation”). In the most broad sense, it is an initial pattern, a matrix, which prefers to act not directly, but through its own manifestations, having predetermined their structure. The paradigm is not manifested by itself and represents a structure-forming reality, which, being not accessible to direct introspection, always remaining “off screen”, establishes the main, basic, fundamental parameters of human thinking and human being. The specificity of paradigm consists in that gnoseological and ontological aspects in it are not divided yet and are subject to distinguishing only as our basic intuitions, having been sifted through the paradigmatic sieve, take form of one or another affirmation of gnoseological or ontological character.

The term “paradigm” was applied by the Platonic and neo-Platonic philophy schools for describing some supreme, transcendent example, predetermining the structure and form of material things. It was introduced in the science history methodology anew by G. Bergman, who interpreted it as some common principles and standards of the methodological research. T.Kuhn gave more wide interpretation (than by Bergman) of the term, summarizing in it the general context of the scientific conceptions, axioms, methods and certainties, which predetermine weltanshaaung orientations, shared by the scientific community in the given historical situation. Kuhn made the paradigmatic method of research a principle instrument for researching the structure of scientific-technical revolutions. Kuhn’s term “diciplinary matrix” was a specified synonym for “paradigm”.

Even more broad sense was implied in that term by Fritjof Capra, who proposed opposition of two paradigms: the old (classic, Cartesian-Newtonian) one and the new, named by him as “holistic” or “ecologic”, one, destined to replace the rational-discontinuous methodology of mainstream science of New Time.

We use the term “paradigm” in the most common sense, different from those of G.Bergman, T.Kuhn, F.Capra, in the sense of generalization universality. That’s why, to give a more accurate definition, we have had to introduce a concept of “metaparadigm”. We interpret it as a vast aggregate of non-manifest orientations that predetermine the manner itself of understanding and viewing reality’s nature and that, being formed, may give birth to manifold philosophical, scientifical, religious, mythological, cultural systems and conceptions, which have some common denominator despite all their formal difference.

In other words, the paradigm is not a myth, but a system of myths and it is able to generate new mythological subjects and recombinations. The paradigm is not a theology, but a system of theologies, which, differing in their concrete affirmations, are reduced to the common proto-matrix. The paradigm is not an ideology, but some pre-ideological nebula, able to ctystallize out of itself (as in Laplace’s hypothesis) uncertainly large system of ideologies. The paradigm is not an ideology, but an ultimately underlying reason for ideologies, able to reveal similarity in ideologies, not just different externally, but even opposite, and vice versa, show a fundamental differences in ideologies, very like formally.

In such a vision one cannot draw a strict distinction between a gnoseological ingredient and an ontological ingredient of a paradigm. Each of the global paradigms certainly sets up axiomatic structures, where the statuses of Being, Consciousness, Spirit, World, Origin and their interrelations are predetermined. As to empirical confirmations or refutations of those axiomatic structures, they do not even apply to the paradigms directly, since they affect intermediate levels of formal realization. The question of reflection on the paradigms themselves and thier quality is put in special historical moments only, when transition from one paradigm to another occurs. But as soon as the change is accomplished, the possibility itself of such reflection is reduced to minimum. The paradigm predetermines how is what is, what is what is, and finally, how we cognize what is. It is a closed set. In some paradigms the ontology and the gnoseology are knowingly merged, in the others are separated. But it is not a property of level or degree of cognition, it is a result of a paradigmatic influence, which is expressed in multiform series of scientifical, philosiphical, mythological and cultural discurses.

As the most general paradigms we propose to take three paradigms - paradigms of Sphere, of Ray and of Segment. Each of these paradigms might underlie philosophy, science, mythology, theology, gnoseology and so on. Each paradigm dictates its own model of association with the world, world’s general structure conception, world’s cognition aspects and models.

It is exactly the dialectical development of these paradigms, their interrelationship, and their change determine, in our opinion, the flow of human history, determine the emergence of science itself, its development, conditions of its coming into being. Each of the paradigms totally and radically changes the meaning of the terms and intellectual constructions, which in the formal and lexical way might look identical. The transition from one paradigm to another basically changes the main parameters of reality perception by a human, transforms the status of a human himself.

Each of the paradigms gains prevalence in certain historical periods. And at first sight, their evolution has the character of succession: for example, the paradigm of Sphere was peculiar to the ancient humankind and to traditional societies initially. It is primordial and is found in most ancient and modern (mostly Oriental) civilizations. In historical and geographical senses that paradigm is spread more widely than two others. It corresponds with basic, profound and deep strata of human’s psyche and therefore remains surprisingly stable even in the periods when on the surface it is displaced by other alternative paradigms. The paradigm of the Sphere is based on the fact that the Deity / proto-Principle / Origin is found inside the World, is cosubstantial to the World, inseparately and substantially linked with the World. This gives birth to conception of “cyclic time”, “eternal return”. This motive is a commonplace in all mythological and religious teachings exept for Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christanity and Islam; but it is still present in those three in the form of mystical, esoteric trends, somewhat different from dogmatic norms.

The paradigm of the Ray is the next one both in logical and historical aspect. It is connected with the unique theology of those religious forms, that are called “religions of Revelation” or “monotheism”. The idea of world creation from nothing, “ex nihilo” underlies the paradigm of Ray. Such an approach momentarily breaks the continuity of the spherical world, evenly imbued by the Divine presence, the presence of proto-Principle. Here God-Creator seems to be external to the Universe, separated from the nature of Universe. The relation of the beings, present on Earth, to the Origin immediately changes. The reality becomes locked from one side, from the side of its emergence, its origin. The Ray paradigm gives birth to one-directional time, gives grounds for turning history into a “time arrow”. However, the religions of Revelation (though in varied forms) teach that in certain stages of humankind history the alienation, which underlies creation ex nihilo, will be overcome as a display of the “Divine mercy”. And starting from a certain moment the immanent created reality will be “atoned”, “saved” and elevated to the transcendent Origin. That epoch of atonement is called “eschatological”or “messianic”. The world to that moment discontinues being alienated from the Creator and transits to some other mode of being, which roughly reminds of the reality conceptions in the Sphere paradigm. Hence follows that the Ray (or the Hemisphere) is limited from one side, from the side of ‘world creation from nothing’ dogma, and is unlimited from the other side. This “unlimitedness” does not imply indefinitely long duration. The symbol of Ray is taken here metaphorically, just in order to stress the “half-indefinite” character of the model, beginning with the radical rupture and resulting in the blessed reconciliation and reunification. That messianic motive is to varied extent inherent in all monotheistic religions, but is especially clearly expressed in Judaism and Christianity, and in Christianity the eschatological aspect is accentuated unprecedentedly.

The Ray paradigm follows the Sphere paradigm both in logical and historical aspect. It is as if it dissects the Sphere, cutting off the half, that postulated the direct resulting from God (what is called “manifestationism” or “ex deo” creation).

Further, the Segment paradigm follows the Ray paradigm. Here the world’s limitedness from both sides is postulated. Such world appears from nothing and disappears in nothing. It has no direct Divine Origin and no hope for return to Deity. The Universe is conceived as God-abandoned objective reality, closed from all sides by non-existence and death. That paradigm is characterictic for New Time and underlies the modern science.

The Segment paradigm insists that no transition of immanent reality to the trancendent levels is possible, in its most complete forms that paradigm denies the existence of those levels at all. That’s why the Segment paradigm gravitates to atheism, rejecting the transcendent principle. In some cases, however, instead of atheism there is deism in it, which affirms a trancendent Creator, but denies messianism and eschatology. In the viewpoint of Segment paradigm, such deism does not differ from atheism and materialism in almost any way.

The Segment Paradigm gravitates to mechanistic conception of reality nature, to atomism and local situations’ priority. In that paradigm the General, the universal live interrelationship among objects, beings and phenomena is denied. The prevalent approach is discontinuity, divisibility, relativity.

The Segment paradigm follows the Ray paradigm as a result of its development. It is significant, that the Segment paradigm becomes established only where the Sphere paradigm was replaced by the Ray paradigm beforehand. There is a logical and symmetrical correspondence in that fact. With certain approximation and considering the fact that New Time is exactly characterized by the process of the Segment paradigm’s obtaining universal character and its extensive development, one may conceive the paradigm development process as a cosequent transition from Sphere through Ray to Segment. In some reality aspects it is so.

So, the general process of paradigm evolution has a whole series of fine points, defining that process, as well as there is some dimensions, where the external successive transition from Sphere to Ray is compensated by the reverse phenomena, that shows ancient Sphere paradigm’ resistibility and stability as regards competing “innovative” paradigms.

We would like to solve the comprehension problem of “scientific epoch” as a whole and having an autonomous structure intellectual paradigm (the Segment paradigm) which exists along with other paradigms (the Sphere and Ray paradigm) which are based on the other premises, that are to the same extent well-gounded (or groundless) as “scientific dogmata”. Sometimes unscienific and even pre-scientific paradigms affect the evolution of the scientific orthdoxy itself, admixing to it and creating intermediate and quasi-honogeneous variants, that often evade looks of researchers who operate with conventional schemes and methodologies.

Apart from “critical rationalism” we are absolutely not sure that preserving modified norms of “classical rationality” is a self-evident truth and that giving the scientifical orthodoxy up would bring to humankind’s intellectual degradation. We would like to show that the other, non-scientific paradigms also rest on quite harmonious and complete intellectual constructions, arranged otherwise (which does not mean certainly worse). On the other hand, the “epistemological anarchism” as mixture of all possible paradigms and giving up any general gnoseologic vectors at all can scarcely give really useful and correct intellectual results (though in some cases such an approach may be justified). As to theses of radical positivists, today they are not regarded as serious by anyone.

In our viewpoint, the methode of “meta-paradigms” just may set one of the possible landmarks for the further scientific self-cosciousness development and the evolution of the phenomenon that according some certain historical inertion (despite the obvious change of functions) is still common to call “science”.