Another Newton

“Such a complete solution seems to call for the aid of another Newton.”
— Henry Adams (1910), A Letter to American Teachers of History
Henry Adams rl
Two cultures genius Henry Adams giving his opinion that the solution to the problem of the physicochemical thermodynamics of history, i.e. a Gibbs-based explanation of social change, one he spent some five decades on, will require another Newton.
In hmolscience, Another Newton, "New Aristotle" or "Next Einstein" (or few super-Einsteins), refers to some future great intellect who will make comprehensible the production of a blade of grass without a designer (Immanuel Kant, 1710), explain human history in terms of physics and chemistry (Henry Adams, 1910), and or someone who will explain the "moral equivalent of war" (Raymond Fosdick, 1924).

“It is absurd to hope that another Newton will arise in the future who shall make comprehensible by us the production of a blade of grass according to natural laws which no design has ordered.”
Immanuel Kant (1790), Critique of Judgment [6]

“Another option is to admit the inadequacy of all current approaches and to wait for the appearance of the ‘Galileo’ or the ‘Newton’ of sociology to come along with a new approach that will solve all the problems.”
— Jane Azevedo (1997), Mapping Reality [8]

American physical historian Henry Adams employed the term for a future two cultures genius that would explain human movement, via chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics, the way Newton explained celestial movement via physics and Euclidean geometry.

Social Newtons
See main: Social Newton
The term "Newton of sociology", Czechoslovakian-born English sociologist Werner Stark's 1962 term for American physical sociologist Henry Carey, or "Newton[s] of social theory", English philosopher Stephen Toulmin's 1992-2002 terminology for the French social physicists, e.g. Auguste Comte, often tends to refer to someone who in the past has attempted to formulate the humanities mechanistically, e.g. via social mechanism theory, done with great precision, in the same way that English physicist Isaac Newton famously formulated the movements of planets mechanistically.

Future Newton | 1910
In 1910, American historian Henry Adams used the term "another Newton" in reference to a future genius who comes forth to give the “complete solution”, as Adams put it, to the elective affinities problem: explaining morality, sociology, economics, and history according to chemistry, physics, and mechanics, via pure mathematics, symbols, figures, and one "common formula"—in a sense, the "new Goethe" (IQ=230). The term is used in the final paragraph of Adams’ famous two chapter A Letter to American Teachers of History, chapter one: “The Problem”, chapter two: “The Solutions”, wherein he ends with the summary: [1]

“Such a complete solution seems to call for the aid of another Newton.”

This is pretty deep insight, coming from one who 45-years earlier, in circa 1865, stated the following in his own personal query notes:

“Everything in this universe has its regular waves and tides. Electricity, sound, the wind, and I believe every part of organic nature will be brought someday within this law. The laws which govern animated beings will be ultimately found to be at bottom the same with those which rule inanimate nature, and as I entertain a profound conviction of the littleness of our kind, and of the curious enormity of creation, I am quite ready to receive with pleasure any basis for a systematic conception of it all. I look for regular tides in the affairs of man, and, of course, in our own affairs. In ever progression, somehow or other, the nations move by the same process which has never been explained but is evident in the oceans and the air. On this theory I should expect at about this time, a turn which would carry us backward.”

Adams worked on this problem almost daily, as he told his wife in 1885:

Social chemistry—the mutual attraction of equivalent human molecules—is a science yet to be created, for the fact is my daily study and only satisfaction in life.”

In short, having spent nearly five-decades on this problem, seeking unified solution through the big geniuses of physical science: Clausius (IQ=205), Gibbs, and Thomson (IQ=185), not to mention Darwin (IQ=175), among others, Adams concluded or rather prophesied in the end that the solution would require a new Newton. The idea of another Newton seems to embody, in some extent, the need to supplant Charles Darwin's 1859 evolution theory with Rudolf Clausius' 1865 thermodynamics, and to fully explain the result, via formula and equation, and repercussions throughout the broad spectrum of the sciences of the humanities. The following is a truncated aggregate synopsis of the main points or sections of Adams' 1910 chapter "The Solutions", wherein, at the end of which, the another Newton term is used:

“Suppose that the physicist takes the lead, and seeks for a means of compromise—some middle term, on which the elevationist can stand while discussing the details of the treaty! The degradationist can produce from his stores of energy an number of figures for choice; such as that of water, which expands or contracts, according to the temperature, or falls according to its position; or electricity, which dissipates itself into work; or of dynamite, which does work by explosion; or of gases, which work restlessly without accomplishing anything; or of table salt, which dissolves mysteriously in water, to help digestion or stimulate appetite; but possibly he may begin with his favorite figure of a gaseous nebula, and may offer to treat primitive humanity as a volume of human molecules of unequal intensities, tending to dissipate energy, and to correct he loss by concentrating mankind into a single, dense mass like sun.

History would then become a record of successive phases of contraction, divided by periods of explosion, tending always towards an ultimate equilibrium in the form of human molecules of equal intensity, without coordination. Science should prove twenty times over, by every method of demonstration known to it, that man is a thermodynamical mechanism

If the teacher of history cares to contest the ground with the teacher of physics, he must become a physicist himself, and learn to use laboratory methods. He needs technical tools [see: human thermodynamics instruments] quite as much as the electrician does large formulas, like Willard Gibbsrule of phase; generalizations, no matter how temporary of hypothetical, such as all mathematicians use for the convenience of their scholars.

Man, as a form of energy, is in most need of getting a firm footing on the law of thermodynamics. One cannot doubt that William Thomson could have suggested half-a-dozen figures which would answer the purpose, although he might very well have refused to waste his own stock of [potential] energy in the effort to prove his thermodynamical ascent from a hypothetical Eocene lemur, or even from a duck-billed platypus; neither of which would have promised energetic means of saving him from the pitfalls which his keen mathematical instinct would have shown him as the work of his fellow physicists, planted directly in his path.

The Darwinian readily admits that Thomson’s sun accounts for evolution better than Darwin’s did; and he only too ready to drop all the school-phrases—to call the process "transformation", and so, quietly surrender the issue. He is equally ready to admit that Darwin never supplied the motive power that should vary in force with the phenomena; he might even go so far as to concede that the want of such an energy had embarrassed biology nearly to the point of paralysis.

The department of history needs to concert with the departments of biology, sociology, and psychology some common formula or figure to serve their students as a working model for their study of the [animate] energies; and this figure must be brought into accord with the figures or formulas used by the departments of physics and mechanics to serve their students as models for the working of physico-chemical and mechanical energies.

Without the adhesion of physicists, the model would cause greater scandal than though the contradictions were silently ignored as now; but the biologists—or, at least, the branches of science concerned with the humanity—will find great difficulty in agreeing on any formula which does not require from physics the abandonment, in part, of the second law of thermodynamics.

"If the physicists and the physico-chemists can at last find their way to an arrangement that would satisfy the sociologists and the historians, the problem would be wholly solved. Such a complete solution seems not impossible; but at present—for the moment—as far as the stream runs—it also seems, to an impartial bystander, to call for the aid of another Newton.”

To note, in the above version, the term "vital energy" is removed and replaced with the proper modern term usage, as indicated by brackets, respectively. The way in which Adams was using the term shows that he was grappling with the "defunct theory of life" (2009) a great problem that only began to find partial solution in the mind of Nikola Tesla and his 1925 decisive comment “there is no thing endowed with life”, which is an upgrade from the earlier Helmholtz school pact (Reymond-Brucke oath) that their is not vital energy, but there is life, but one explained purely by physico-chemical methods.

In 1921, American historian William Thayer comments on Adams’ another Newton synopsis: [2]

“In reading Henry Adams’ astonishing tract, I can not help suspecting at times that he is making fun of us historians; for he proposes, as I think you would agree with me, something which is not only impossible for anyone to carry out but which he himself never even attempted to carry out. In all the nine volumes of his American History, is there a hint of the second law of thermodynamics? Can you discover the slightest trace of a common formula for history and physical chemistry?”

Thayer, in other words, gives his opinion that it would be an "impossible" task for someone to find a common formula for history and physical chemistry. Interesting comment indeed. Thayer is way off, however, in his assertion that Adams "never even attempted to carry out" his proposal; whereas correctly Adams spent 50-years on this problem (c.1965-1918). Thayer does, however, to his credit, give the following cogent statement:

“The time may come when human affairs may be described no longer by words and sentences, but by a system of symbols or notation similar to those used in algebra or chemistry … then it may be possible, as Adams suggests, to invent a common formula for thermodynamics and history.”

This, as we see, is great vision indeed.
Wanted - An Aristotle (snippet)
A few snippets of American lawyer and political writer Raymond Fosdick’s 1924 “Wanted: an Aristotle” address, wherein he asserts that to find the moral equivalent of war we will need a new Aristotle. [3]

New Aristotle | 1924
Similar to the premise of “Another Newton” is American lawyer and political writer Raymond Fosdick’s 1924 “Wanted: an Aristotle” address delivered at the commencement exercises of the University of Iowa, during which he states that what we need is to find or discern a ‘moral equivalent of war’, American physical historian Morris Zucker summarizes, the success of which he situates on the need of a new Aristotle. [3] Zucker summarizes the gist of Fosdick's address as follows: [4]

“This new Aristotle, who will set our askew world to rights, will be in the form of a collective intelligence, Fosdick asserts.”

In full, as cited in Andres Reggiani’s 2007 book on the social engineering philosopher Alexis Carrel, Fosdick stated: [5]

“The great overshadowing need that faces our time and our generation is the need of an organizing intelligence dedicated to the advancement of the common good. We need brains of synthetic capacity. We need a planetary consciousness. We need the ability think on a terrestrial scale and plan in world terms. We need an Aristotle. … This task is obviously too great for a single brain. The world is now too vast and too complex to be grasped by a single philosopher. When Aristotle comes again, it will be in the form a collective intelligence, the sustained thinking of many minds, driving toward the common goal.”

Reggiani, in citing Fosdick above, to note, seems conceptualize this “coming Aristotle”, in some way, in the visions outlined by Carrel in the 1930s, which he summarizes as follows:

“Carrel considered medicine to be the discipline best suited for leading the way to universal knowledge. The role of physicians would be to ‘guide’ the process of human regeneration by supplying society with ‘engineers of the body and soul’.”

(add discussion).

Next Einstein | Super-Einsteins
See main: Few super-Einsteins
The term phrase “super-Einstein” and or “next Einstein” began to arise in 20th century:

“… emergence, the physicochemical, the organismal, the mental and the social. Hence, it till the advent of a few super-Einsteins, theoretical biology must stand as a combination of oppositions—a compositio oppositorum.”
William Wheeler (c.1935), “Essay”

“Where will the next Einstein lead scientific thinking?”
— Chris Quigg (2004), “Physics of the Large Hadron Collider Workshop” (Ѻ)

“The physics of the point that existed 13.7 billion years ago is mostly beyond our imaginations, not to mention our conceptual tools. Gravity, electromagnetism—all the forces at work around us did not have an independent existence. Matter as we know it didn’t exist. With everything that would become the universe packed so tightly in one spot, there was an enormous amount of energy. In such a universe, the physics of small particles, quantum mechanics, and that of large bodies, general relativity, were somehow part of a single, overarching, and still unknown theory. Just what that theory is awaits the next Einstein.”
Neil Shubin (2013), The Universe Within [7]


The following are related quotes:

Science has not yet produced the Vignola of its ensemble architecture—the ‘Newton’ called for by Adams.”
Roderick Seidenberg (1950), Post-Historic Man (pg. 163)

See also

The following are other similar epitaphs:

John Stewart | “Modern Pythagoras” (Ѻ)
Georg Hegel | “Modern Aristotle” (Adriaan Peperzak, 2012) (Ѻ) (Ted Ladlier, 2000) (Ѻ); specifically in "young Marx's eyes" (William McBride, 1977) (Ѻ)
Karl Marx | “Modern Aristotle” (Ѻ)

1. Adams, Henry. (1910). A Letter to American Teachers of History. Washington.
2. Thayer, William Roscoe. (1921). “Vagaries of Historians”, in Annual Report of the American Historical Association (pg. 82). American Historical Association, Smithsonian Institution Press.
3. (a) Fosdick, Raymond B. (1924). “Wanted: an Aristotle” (Ѻ), an address delivered at the commencement exercises of the University of Iowa, Jun 3. Elbert Print Co.
(b) Fosdick, Raymond. (1928). The Old Savage and the New Civilization (moral equivalent, pg. 191; new Aristotle, ch. 5). Publisher.
(c) Raymond Blaine Fosdick (1883-1972) (papers) – Princeton University Library.
4. Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory (pg. 233). Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.
5. Reggiani, Andres, H. (2007). God’s Eugenicist: Alexis Carrel and the Sociobiology of Decline (pg. 68). Berghahn Books.
6. (a) Kant, Immanuel. (1790). Critique of Judgment (Ѻ). Publisher.
(b) Henderson, Lawrence J. (1917). The Order of Nature (pg. 59). Harvard University Press.
(c) Rosenberg, Alex. (2011). The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions (pg. 47). W.W. Norton & Co.
7. Shubin, Neil. (2013). The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People (pg. 25). Random House.
8. Azevedo, Jane. (1997). Mapping Reality: an Evolutionary realist Methodology for Natural and Social Sciences (pg. 35). SUNY Press.

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