Scientific humanism

In science, scientific humanism is a term, commonly used in the 1940s, used to encapsulate the unified subject study of the physical sciences, in particular chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics, along with sociology, economics, philosophy, history, and religion. [1]

Overview
In 1940 book The Promise of Scientific Humanism, American philosopher Oliver Reiser gave an outline of the subject of scientific humanism, in which he included a chapter of “Life as a Form of Chemical Behavior”, and devoting at least six pages to how thermodynamics plays a role in the subject of scientific humanism. [1] R

In 1947, Belgian-born English thermodynamicist Alfred Ubbelohde defined the thermodynamic contributions to scientific humanism as follows: [3]

“Contributions to the thermodynamics of scientific humanism [concerns] insights on the nature of time, [as in] personal or psychological time, and refers to the unification of the specialized sciences effected by the contributions they make to the proper study of mankind, man’s nature and destiny.”

In applying thermodynamics, in scientific humanism, Ubbelohde comments that the important objective is to “sift thermodynamic results, to separate out material of only specialized significance, and to retain what is of general importance.”

In commentary on Ubbelohde's attempt to outline the thermodynamics of scientific humanism, British physical chemist John Butler surmises that Ubbelohde overall aim is to delve into the “wider human aspects of thermodynamics”, but concludes that this effort, confined mainly to short chapters at the beginning and end, “is disappointing”, being that Ubbelohde only passes over the subject in a light superficial manner, without making any sort of solid conclusions. [4]

In 1945, following a query put to him as to when global utopia will be achieved, Reiser outlines a discussion on a future needed establishment of an “An Institute of Scientific Humanism”, the gist of which is that, in Reiser’s coming out of WWII and growing global connectiveness mindset: [2]

“As the world shrinks in size, as it progressively contracts in its spatial relations, social processes already at work are speed up. As the world becomes ‘one world’ through technological unifications by means of radio, airplanes, television, and the rest, the forces that make for destruction of friendly human adaptions are intensified and speed up, s that, in a sense, time moves faster and faster. This heightens the tensions and intensifies the struggles of conflicting forces—and the old time-scale breaks down. This means that if the world is not to destroy itself, the forces that make for integrative human relationships mist also be accelerated in their operations.”

Here, Reiser seems to be alluding to a type of global Dunbar number effect, namely that past a certain global connectiveness size, more than just man-to-man (or country-to-country) personal contracts are needed to hold the plus 150+ population (or plus N+ global system population) together; hence, codifications must be enacted in the form of a global legal system—and that such codifications must be framed on universal principles. Reiser goes on to suggest:

“What we really need is the creation of at least one new institution—at the very top of a social system—which shall simplify, codify and disseminate an attitude and set of universal principles. This international university—an Institute of Scientific Humanism, let us call it—will function as a kind of World Brain for our developing social organism.”

As to when this international university of scientific humanism will accrue, he states that the argument that because we have a thousand years before us because we have a thousand years behind us is “not sound”, and seems to assert that such an institute will need to be established within the next hundred years, if global society is not to destroy itself; he then goes on to outline all the hurdles to this "international university", focused on social planning theory, via discussion of how this would be difficult to bring about at his own university, the University of Pittsburgh, owing to all the hydraism of subject divisions and 20+ course division per each subject.

References
1. Reiser, Oliver L. (1940). The Promise of Scientific Humanism: Toward a Unification of Scientific, Religious, Social, and Economic Thought (thermodynamics, 6+ pgs). Oskar Piest.
2. Reiser, Oliver L. (1945). “An Institute of Scientific Humanism” (abs), Philosophy of Science, 12(2): 45-51.
3. Ubbelohde, Alfred René. (1947). Time and Thermodynamics (ch. 1: Contributions of Thermodynamics to Scientific Humanism). Oxford University Press.
4. Butler, John A.V. (1947). “Thermodynamics and Humanism (Review: Time and Thermodynamics). Nature (pg. 72), Vol. 19, July 19.

External links
‚óŹ Secular humanism – Wikipedia.

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