Subject Dependent Science

from Biology of Language: The Epistemology of Reality

We as scientists make scientific statements. These statements are validated by the procedure we use to generate them: the scientific method. This method can be described as involving the following operations: (a) observation of a phenomenon that, henceforth, is taken as a problem to be explained; (b) proposition of an explanatory hypothesis in the form of a deterministic system that can generate a phenomenon isomorphic with the one observed, (c) proposition of a computed state or process in the system specified by the hypothesis as a predicted phenomenon to be observed; and (d) observation of the predicted phenomenon.

In the first operation, the observer specifies a procedure of observation that, in turn, specifies the phenomenon that he or she will attempt to explain. In the second, the observer proposes a conceptual or concrete system as a model of the system that he or she assumes generates the observed phenomenon. In the third, the observer uses the proposed model to compute a state or a process that he or she proposes as a predicted phenomenon to be observed in the modeled system. Finally, in the fourth operation he or she attempts to observe the predicted phenomenon as a case in the modeled system. If the observer succeeds in making this second observation, he or she then maintains that the model has been validated and that the system under study is in that respect isomorphic to it and operates accordingly. Granted all the necessary constraints for the specification of the model, and all the necessary attempts to deny the second observations as controls, this is all that the scientific method permits.

This we all know. Yet we are seldom aware that an observation is the realization of a series of operations that entail an observer as a system with properties that allow him or her to perform these operations, and, hence, that the properties of the observer, by specifying the operations that he or she can perform determine the observer's domain of possible observations. Nor are we usually aware that, because only those statements that we generate as observers through the use of the scientific method are scientific statements, science is necessarily a domain of socially accepted operational statements validated by a procedure that specifies the observer who generates them as the standard observer who can perform the operations required for their generation. In other words, we are not usually aware that science is a closed cognitive domain in which all statements are, of necessity, subject dependent, valid only in the domain of interactions in which the standard observer exists and operates. As observers we generally take the observer for granted and, by accepting his universality by implication, ascribe many of the invariant features of our descriptions that depend on the standard observer to a reality that is ontologically objective and independent of us. Yet the power of science rests exactly on its subject dependent nature, which allows us to deal with the operative domain in which we exist. It is only when we want to consider the observer as the object of our scientific inquiry, and we want to understand both what he does when he makes scientific statements and how these statements are operationally effective, that we encounter a problem if we do not recognize the subject dependent nature of science. Therefore, since I want to give a scientific description of the observer as a system capable of descriptions (language), I must take the subject dependent nature of science as my starting point.

Directed Energy
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