Two nature

Two natures
The basic "two natures" divide: physical science on one hand, thought to be governed by one nature, and moral science on another, thought to be governed by an entirely different nature, a "divine" nature of sorts; a rift or conceptual divide that seems to have arisen during the Whewell-Coleridge debate (1833).
In science, two nature, or "natures", as contrasted with one nature, refers to the conviction, view, or belief that, in respect to the various structures and movements in the universe, there exist two “natures”, namely one that governs describes humans, and or other animate organisms (e.g. biological things), and one that governs or describes physical, chemical, and or other inanimate matter (e.g. atoms, rocks, or stars).

In 1964, George Lundberg outlined the following two natures divide conception: [1]

“Semantic confusion has resulted in a most mischievous separation of fields of knowledge into the ‘natural’ and ‘physical’ on one hand as against the ‘social’ and ‘cultural’ (mental, non-material, spiritual) on the other. As a consequence, it has been assumed that the methods of studying the former field are not applicable to the latter. The generally admitted lag in the progress of the ‘social’ as contrasted with the ‘physical’ sciences has been a further result. The history of science consists largely of the account of the gradual expansion of the realms of the ‘natural’ and the ‘physical’ at the expense of the ‘mental’ and the ‘spiritual’. One by one ‘spiritual’ phenomena have become ‘physical’. The evolution of the concept of the ‘soul’ is especially relevant, because its final stage of transition or translation by way of the ‘mind’ into purely ‘physical’ concepts is still under way.”

In 1970 German-born Austrian economist Oskar Morgenstern, in retrospect commentary on his earlier 1947 game theory and utility theory collaborations with John Neumann, stated the following two natures (and or unbridgeable gap) stylized view: [2]

“Game theory is a new discipline that has aroused much interest because of its novel mathematical properties and its many applications to social, economic, and political problems. Earlier efforts were oriented on the physical sciences and inspired by the tremendous success these have had over the centuries. Yet social phenomena are different: people are acting sometimes against each other, sometimes cooperatively with each other; they have different degrees of information about each other, their aspirations lead them to conflict or cooperation. Inanimate nature shows none of these traits. Atoms, molecules, stars may coagulate, collide, and explode but they do not fight each other; nor do they collaborate. Consequently, it was dubious that methods and concepts developed for physical sciences would succeed in being applied to social problems.”

Here, paradoxically, Morgenstern seems to hold the view that molecules, at least inanimate molecules, have one nature, whole humans have a different nature.

See also
Nature abhors a vacuum
Two cultures
Two cultures department
Two cultures namesakes
Two cultures synergy
Two cultures tensions

1. Lundberg, George A. (1964). Foundations of Sociology: Revised and Abridged Edition (§:1-4) (soul → physical, pg. 4; phlogiston, pg. 6). David McKay Company, Inc.
2. (a) Morgenstern, Oskar. (1970). “Forward”, Game Theory: a Nontechnical Introduction (by: Morton Davis) (pg. x). Basic Books, 1983.
(b) Bueno, Gustavo. (2013). Science as Categorical Closures (pg. 111). Grupo Helicon.

TDics icon ns

More pages