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The Departmentalization of Unified Science

I. Many small scientific units as a logical start.

We have no classification of the sciences, forming a consistent system, which has been generally adopted; the question arises, whether such a comprehensive system of the sciences might not hinder the logicalization of unified science1.
Main divisions of traditional systems are for instance: "non biological sciences" (opposed to "biological sciences"), abstract sciences" (opposed to "concrete sciences"), "mental sciences" (opposed to "natural sciences"). By such classifications one anticipates the acceptance of and the objections to a great many scientific decisions, for instance to the application of particular scientific procedures to certain disciplines. Such difficulties can be avoided if one does not make use of these premature presumptions inherent in such an architectonic structure of the sciences, but is satisfied with another type of start: a great many scientific units (many of them very small) might be assembled step by step as systematically as possible. Such an increase of assembling is closely connected with the actual increase of scientific investigation and comprehensive logicalization: chemistry and optics could not be really joined by means of a mere classification.
The usual divisions such as "Logic", "Mathematics" "Physical Sciences", "Biological Sciences", "Social Sciences" might be used as lines of handbooks, volumes of an encyclopedia or sections of a library. These names give, as it were, an initial information about the subjects of these handbooks, volumes or sections. A librarian has to find for each single book one and only one bibliographically well defined place, but such placing of books in different shelves cannot be copied by placing sciences in a corresponding logical framework. Bibliographical cross-connections cannot be always substituted for logical grouping which has its own aims. Difficulties crop up everywhere, for instance: "Geology" is a subclass of "Physical Sciences" therefore it is according to the scheme a "Non-biological Sciences", but paleontological geology is a part of geology and of biological character. Should we introduce "mixed sciences"? Most sciences might become "mixed sciences".
Following the principle only to select scientific units of relatively well cicumscribed character, without objecting to "smallness" and "isolation" of such units, one might select items such as: Heraldry, Criminology, Theory of Business Cycles, Engineering, History of Fine Arts, Phonetics, Comparative Grammar, Procedures of Historical Study, Anthropogeography, Psychiatry, Theory of Achievement and Behavior, Anthropometry, Historiometry, Mendelism, Procedures of Botanical Study, Ecology, Geology, Astronomy, Cosmology, Physics, Theory of Probability, Vector Analysis. As one starts with the principle only to select relatively well circumscribed sciences an overlapping of certain disciplines is at first not avoided by the clear circumscriptions. Particular efforts must be made to show intercorrelations between these fields of scientific study, certain common subject matters of different disciplines, special common logical qualities of certain scientific units and things like these. The assembling of these or newly formed units is a secondary process.

II. Neutrality of the initial procedures.

An essential part of Mendelism can be discussed without specific qualities of "living beings". One can, for instance, discuss the "molar behavior", as it were, of certain groups of elements (beans etc) and how their qualities (red, white etc) are distributed among them, combined etc.
When the Brownian motion was discovered it was regarded it as a biological fact. Correct descriptions of this phenomenon have not become invalid by the modern theory that this motion has its place in the framework of statistical microphysics.
Kepler's laws hold good for a tremendous amount of observations, this would not be changed if it were to be found out that the planets are composed of microorganisms. Kepler's idea was, that living beings (angels) were directing the planets and that they were literally acting according to the harmony of spheres. He intended to prove the "sphere-melody" to be based on melodies composed of musical notes and the system of planets based on the system of Plato's simple geometrical bodies. Keplerian laws remained unchanged as the astronomers stopped using these ideas as measures for scientific work. Kepler's laws are "neutral" as regards the question whether the astronomical phenomena are biological or non-biological.
One can start with a simple statement "Astronomy deals with stars, nebulae etc." as one can start with the analogously simple statement "Geology deals with the structure of the earth". These simple statements do not make any presumption which excludes certain theories and so avoid certain obvious difficulties. One might assign the maximum aggregate of matter which one wants to discuss to "Cosmology".
The geologist does not stop analysing coral reefs because they were "living matter". If one includes the description of the moon in astronomy one must consequently also include the description of the earth in terms of "coral reefs", "woods" etc. An astronomer might answer that the plants and animals remain for him mere lumps of matter. Is it not a premature presumption, on the side of the astronomer that plants and animals are nothing but matter having gravity? One might assume that certain deviations of the various motions of the earth could be correlated to the amount of living matter and "life-rays" on its surface. Should it follow from the definition of astronomy as a non-biological science that all these problems must be discussed in another science? Do we know whether all important values discussed in Cosmology do not depend upon cosmic living matter? Is it not better to chose the above mentioned more neutral definition: "astronomy deals with stars etc."?
One would arrive at a more neutral discrimination between sciences if one analyses what one calls "living matter" without knowing whether all kinds of "living matter" are of the same character and whether one can analyse an organism in the same way as a stone. Precaution and neutrality might be useful2. The smaller those initial scientific units, the less changes are necessary in the scientific descriptions. The general description of whales can remain as it is, even when the general description of "fishes" has to be changed, because the whales have been removed from the class of fishes. This whole attitude cannot be formulated in a comprehensive rule.

III. Unification of Science.

If one starts with a great many special disciplines (some of greater extention others of smaller) overlapping one another, one might axiomatize all groups of statements ready for. One might select all cases in which the logical structure of a group of statements is identical with the logical structure of another group3 One might find out which common subject matters are essential to seemingly remote disciplines. Another important factor of unification lies in the efforts to show how the statements of astronomy, biology, geology, Mendelism, Heraldry or the History of Fine Arts can be formulated by means of the terms of a "universal slang"4 composed of ordinary terms of everday language (certain dangerous terms omitted) and of certain added scientific term. The reducibility of the terms of astronomy, history of fine arts, Mendelism etc. to such terms of a "universal slang" can be based partly on "simple definitions", partly on "conditional definitions"5 Another question is how to reduce statements and laws of all the sciences to a certain type of statement and law. The programme of "Physicalism" deals with these problems.
Unification might separate disciplines which were joined in the traditional main divisions and vice versa. It would be wrong to assume that all the subdiciplines of the so-called Social Science are based on a universal sociological terminology. Products made by men have been discussed within the framework of Social Science. One might avoid the term "human being" in many of these subdisciplines without changing their content. A philologist, for instance, can analyse the "shifting of consonants" without using "specific" sociological or biological terms. The consonants could be produced synthetically by means of grammophon records without a human tongue. Correlations can be found between chronologically arranged paintings and chronologically arranged buildings without knowing anything about the more comprehensive theories which allow such correlations to be deduced, for instance from statements, which deal with the behavior of peoples and individuals as one might deduce the "shifting of consonants" from biological and sociological statements. The analysing scientists might progress from smaller fields to wider fields and find out manifold intercorrelations and combinations forming a very rich logical pattern.

IV. Encyclopedism versus "Pyramidism".

This objection to any anticipating classification of sciences is an essential element of "Encyclopedism"6 the programme of which avoids the dangers of "THE SYSTEM" in general and therefore also of "the system of the sciences" of "the optimum system of the sciences" or of "the natural order of the sciences", ideas which are often closely connected with metaphysical speculations. Not a few classifications and arrangements of sciences can be regarded as derivates from the architectonic structure of such metaphysics, even if their creators were interested in empiricism7. All these arrangements show us the common features of a "Pyramidism", which intends to build a symmetrical and complete edifice of the sciences by means of main divisions, subdivisions, sub-subdivisions etc. That is flesh of the flesh of the gigantic comprehensiveness whose roots we find in Scholasticism and in other allembracing systems8. Encyclopedism is satisfied with a rough bibliographic order for an initial orientation, made by librarians, but not a few librarians are also influenced by the "Pyramidism"9.
Encyclopedism shows at a glance less harmony than its predecessors, based on "Pyramidism"10. It accepts the fact that the vast mass of the groups of statements are, as it were, in one plane. Certain coherent forms could be arrived at by means of axiomatization or other procedures and a complicated network gradually created. there is no symmetrically pyramidal edifice. The mosaic pattern of the sciences might in the course of the ages show features more and more connected, but always changing, if the scientific attitude will remain at all valid.
The encyclopedic integration of unified science, the character of which is demonstrated above, supports the comprehensiveness of scientific cooperation by means of realistic devices and is far from traditional architectonic fancy. The synthesizing educational effect of such an encyclopedic integration is based on the comprehensive scientific attitude and not on the particular ideal of THE SYSTEM11.
What can be achieved by means of this unpretentious integrating programme which avoids all bumptiousness in scientism? One cannot anticipate this by means of explanations, it can only be proved by the work itself.

1 Otto Neurath "Unified Science as Encyclopedic Integration" in die International Encyclopedia of Unified Science. Vol.1 No.1: Encyclopedia and Unified Science. Chicago, 1938. Page 25.

2 See Niels Bohr "Biology and Atomic Physics" Celebrazione del secondo centenario della nascita di Luigi Galvani. Congressi Scientifici. (Seduta plenari. Innitutio di fisica, 19. Ottobre. Bologna 1938, Page 13: "the impossibilities of regarding an organism as a well defined system..."

3 Examples taken from different sciences can be given. See the interesting remarks on this problem in Hermann Weyl "In memory of Emmy Noether" Scripta mathematica Vol.III. No.3. 1935 about Gordan's idea of a "mathematical chemistry" and the possible scientific importance of logical isomorphism.

4 Otto Neurath, "Protokollsätze" Erkenntnis Vol.III, 1932/33.

5 The progress of the unification of science has been essentially furthered by the systematical introduction of "conditional definitions". Rudolf Carnap "Logical Foundations of the Unity of Science". In the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science. Vol.1 No.1: Encyclopedia and Unified Science. page 49. Carnap does not object, as is done above, to a presumptuous order of sciences, but this does not affect his explanations dealing with reducibility and other problems of the unification of science

6 Otto Neurath, L'Encyclopédie comme modèle' Revue de Synthese, October 1936.

7 Wilhelm Ostwald, Die Pyramide der Wissenschaften. Stuttgart and Berlin 1929. He was under the influence of Comte and others. Spencer, Wundt etc. created systems of a similar type.

8 See Robert Flint, Philosophy as Scientia Scientiarum and a History of classifications of the Sciences. Edinburgh and London 1904. page 3,4,6: "The sciences are parts of a great whole, the members of a magnificent system... (and this) is itself an object of knowledge... there must be a science of sciences ... this science is philosophy... It has to show how science is related to science, where one science is in contact with another, in what way each fits into each, so that all may compose the symmetrical and glorious edifice of human knowledge... there is but one science, although it has various departments, whereby the incommensurableness of nature is brought down to our capacities... There are precedence and subordination, order and harmony, among them." Many dements of modern efforts to form an encyclopedic integration of unified science can be found in such a sublime song but one also sees the dangers of premature presumptions common to all "Pyramidism". How the "science of science" revives in modem empiricism see: Charles W. Morris, "Scientific Empiricism" in the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science Vol.I,No.1: Encyclopedia and Unified Science. Chicago 1938 page 69.

9 Henry Evelyn Bliss, The Organization of Knowledge and the System of the sciences. New York 1929 page 73 "The sciences have definite relations to other sciences; there are groups, or classes of sciences. This together, with the relations involved, constitutes the system of the sciences, which has the coherence or unity of a system." See also his The Organization of Knowledge in Libraries New York 1934 and his A System of Bibliographic Classification New York 1935. Bliss analyses some bibliographical systems, also the famous one of Melvil Dewey and its expansion elaborated by La Classification Decimal of the International Institute of Bibliography (Paul Otlet, Brussels). The analysis is made partly in respect to ideas on the system of the sciences partly in respect to very concrete technical problems of a librarian. Dewey's 2nd Bliss' work are useful apart from their ideas of THE SYSTEM. The same can be said of many valuable suggestions made by Paul Oppenheim, Die naturliche Ordnung der Wissenschaften, Jena 1926. He believes like others, that the demarcation lines of the traditional sciences can be made to meet the requirements of modern logicalization of sciences. William Maria Malisoff's interesting Disc of Sciences ("Arranging the Sciences" Philosophy of Science Vol IV, 1937 page 261) might also be too geometrically complete but it can become useful in finding out, for instance, whether certain possible scientific fields could be succesfully cultivated.

10 There is no place to analyze the character of the different structures and facades of the famous systems of the sciences, for instance of the Baconian one or of the strange bifurcations of Ampere.

11 Some scholars stress the educational importance of scientific integration for cooperation, for instance: John Dewey, "Introduction" to Bliss' Organization of Knowledge IX. "Specialization has been carried so far that the great need now is that of integration... a special educational task, which at the present time has become urgent and dominant." And John Dewey, "Unity of Science as a Social Ploblem" in the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, Vol. 1, No. 1. Encyclopedia and Unified Science, page 29.

Otto Neurath, 1938
In: Erkenntnis VII, pp.240-46