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Antonino Drago. Nonkilling Science



Antonino Drago

Antonino Drago (pacifista) - Wikipedia

it.wikipedia.orgAntonino Drago (pacifista)

Antonino Drago (Rimini, 1938) è un pacifista italiano. A partire dalla fine degli anni cinquanta ha vissuto per molti anni a Napoli, contribuendo al movimento nonviolento, ai gruppi spontanei della seconda metà degli anni sessanta e al Movimento dell..


Nonkilling Science



Antonino Drago

University of Pisa and University of Florence



What relationships are possible between science and technology, o­n the o­ne hand, and peace, o­n the other? In our times neither science nor peace are defined in o­ne single way; any current meaning is questioned and unstable. Owing to this fact, I will offer four meanings of the notions of both science and peacethe dominant o­nes, the Marxist o­nes, the religious o­nes, the nonviolent/nonkilling o­nesfrom a historical perspective. I will then present a way of recognising a nonkilling[1] science in the past development of science and then formally define it together with an alternative way of solving international conflicts. The implications for the relationships between science and ethics are derived.


Military Science and Military Technology


Historically, in order to defend a country from enemy attacks, both science and technology have always been applied for military purposes; that means, in brutal terms, to kill men, provided that they are qualified as enemies.[2] In particular, in the last three centuries improvements in weapons powerfully supported an unceasing arms race, each country thus wanting to achieve the winning strategy for all kinds of war.

In the 1940s the Manhattan project to construct nuclear bombs in the US, constituted a milestone in the history of both progress of the arms race and of scientific research; the latter was subsequently organised as an industrial initiative of large groups of scientists financed by funds that o­nly a powerful State could afford. No surprise that the gap between advanced countries and developing countries in scientific research is the greatest (it was, before China started its momentous progress, 97% against 3%); it is similar to the gap in military arsenals o­nly, in particular in nuclear arsenals.

Moreover, military technological progress, and in particular the nuclear arms race, was pursued even by those countries that, being against Western dominant policy, could have reversed this strategic trend; indeed, both Communist and Islamic countries embraced this policy.

In this intellectual framework peace is meant in a passive sense, as a trustful delegation by citizens to the experts (and in their turn, to computers!); they, in the name of the best scientific practices, assume the charge of resolving all acute conflicts. In fact, most scientists are working to achieve peace with this attitude.

But as a result of the universal arms race, the level of insecurity of the entire World grew to an unhealthy and absurd level. Through science, which constitutes the best symbol of mankinds highest intelligence with respect to all other species, the human species was able to construct the tools for perpetrating its own destruction. Moreover, the more powerful countries organised their collective defence in such a way that they would be able to launch an attack in a very short span of time, say some minutes, through a highly complex apparatus which for the most part works automatically; the likelihood of a mistake made by this apparatus is very high if we consider the catastrophic consequences of such a mistake. Thus, at the present stage of our development mankinds survival is safeguarded by partially reliable machines!

The story of Einstein constitutes a warning. At the beginning of the 20th century Einstein discovered the formula for producing nuclear energy (E=mc2). Then, in WW2 he, although he was an anti-militarist and anarchist, was so frightened by the short-term prospect of Hitler being armed with nuclear bombs launched by means of V-2, that he asked the head of a State (i.e., the US) to build a nuclear bomb; he thought that this was the o­nly way of opposing the Nazis plan to dominate the entire World. But Hitler failed to obtain the nuclear bomb, the US got there first, and then, even though it was not necessary,[3] tested two different bombs o­n the Japanese people. Of course, Einstein was deeply troubled by the result of his initiative. He was then very active in promoting peace by other means. In particular, he promoted, together with B. Russell, a celebrated Manifesto in which many Nobel prize scientists warned mankind that it faced a dilemma: either to maintain the considerable likelihood of self-destruction, or to promote an unprecedented period of welfare, which could be obtained through the peaceful application of the new scientific theories.[4]

However, his warning was not heeded by dominant World leaders. Nuclear arsenals grew beyond any possible reasonable use for destructive and threatening purposes. After Einstein the link between science and war became so strong that military research prevailed over civil research; for example, in the percentage of US federal funds for research[5] (it was certainly the case in several countries, above all in developed countries). In the 80s US scientific-military research for star wars for the first time surpassed both the dimension and the amount of funds of the Manhattan Project; such a gigantic amount of funds polarized the whole of US scientific research. It was unsuccessfully opposed by half of academic scientists, who undersigned a specific declaration of conscientious objection to funds, careers, academic and political power derived from this kind of research.

According to common opinion, unless a new way of defending a country is shown to be viable for the entire population, military violence has to be pursued whatever the costs to other societies, but also whatever social costs are to be supported by its own society.

Peace as a Scientific Solution


What justifies this deeply rooted attitude? Civil society is led to accept the above costs by their enjoyment at the same time of a large number of new commodities produced by Science and Technology for civil welfare.

Indeed, in the history of Western civilisation the interaction of modern science with technology created a virtuous circle; science produced useful technological applications and at the same time technology produced hints for new theoretical ideas. As a result, science significantly improved, beyond any artisans imagination, the previously primitive development of technology. And technology achieved such a powerful capacity to transform the World that it now constitutes for each person an exoskeleton (Mumford, 1967), which supports an amazing improvement in his life.

Western historical progress in the last three centuries has been greater than any time in the history of mankind. No surprise if it became the fundamental value of the leading Western societies. Furthermore, such progress was able to involve almost all peoples of the World.

Science and Technology are seen to be intelligent, rational tools that produce the best solutions to both social and individual problems. Scientists volunteered to unravel the knotty problems of the World: hunger (the green revolution, GMOs), energy planning (nuclear power), disease (scientific medicine, genetic modification), etc. Owing to this historical and social capability to transform the entire world rationally, science includes within itself a perspective of peace. Indeed, science is supposed to bring peace in so far as it proposes what is the best solution according to the universal reason: Calculemus! (Let us compute!) (Leibniz), and the resolution of a dispute will come without any personal effort. In short, according to this dominant attitude, peace can be obtained by supporting science, and scientists are the most effective operators for peace in the World, notwithstanding the enormous destructive powr that science was capable of achieving for fighting wars.

In the Western world, this pro-science ideology became established because it was accepted by even the strongest political alternative, i.e., the politics of the workers movement. In particular, the Marxist school always supported this kind of science and this kind of progress, wanting to qualify itself as the first political ideology of a scientific nature; it mocked the mythical Luddite worker, who tried to destroy machines in order to save workers jobs; and moreover it called renegades both Duehring and Bogdanov who tried to construct an alternative science of nature.

Some leftist groups criticised science when it became scientism, i.e., an acritical attitude which puts so much trust in science that it attributes to it the power to subjugate politics. The Chinese Cultural Revolution (1958-72) was an attempt to find an alternative to that Western scientific progress that characterized development in the Soviet Union. In Europe the Apollo II mission of US astronauts to the Moon gave rise to a heated debate among leftist scientists.

But they all distinguish Science sharply from Technology; according to them, the latter o­nly is influenced by the dominant centres of social power. Hence, peace can be obtained by supporting pure science, while selecting the positive part of technology and at the same time leading people against the negative part of technology. That means pursuing, beyond demonstrations for peace, a political struggle for not o­nly improving positive technology, but also for conquering, through a revolution (which according to traditional Marxism is a violent o­ne), that new society which alone provides social justice, which then generates both good technology and peace.

Science and Cultural Violence


Putting aside the questions o­n social misuse of Technology and bad technologies, let us investigate the social role played by Science. We know that in Western civilisation the organisation of Science was such a macho social structure so as to be comparable to nothing less than the institution of the Army. Is the social role played by Science actually a violent o­ne?

Galtung (1990) wisely articulated the notion of violence in the three notions of direct, structural and cultural violence. A culture is violent (at least) when it supports structural violence. By applying these qualifications, it is apparent that scientific culture plays a violent role in present society. If we refer to the most apparent violence, a violence that kills, o­ne has to recall the constantly increasing number of people suffering from hunger (913 million, more than 10% of the World population). Hence, present scientific development proves to be disastrous for the majority of mankind. But people justify the present distressing situation by assuming the prospect of World welfare in the near future, which will be achieved through a certainly beneficent progress for all. Surely, science is o­ne of the main supporters of this justification when it promises for all peoples significant increases in crop production, new powerful technological tools for agriculture, important improvements in social health and all the other benefits of an advanced social life.

Let us ask: Does Sciences violence contingently originate from a number of malevolent people misleading it, or from some negative production structures, or does it even originate from within in itself?

In order to answer, let us closely inspect science. Science is a characteristic cultural phenomenon of modern times, unlike any cultural phenomenon of nonwestern societies or even ancient times. Science results from joining experiments with formal (i.e., mathematical) hypotheses. The main characteristic feature of each of its conclusions is to be verified by experiments.

Science is a collective initiative which accumulates objectively verifiable results according to directions of research which explore all sectors of Nature and even the relationship of man with himself. Present Science is a theoretical framework that represents the real world so well that it leaves almost no disagreement between its conclusions and known phenomena. In history, it has become such a great intellectual construction as to constitute a systematic ideology without equal if we look at other systems of thought, which all prove to be weaker, less systematic, and less persuasive in their conclusions. This ideological construction aims to empower mankind to manage Nature in all the specific sectors which it studies.

But it is just this project of empowerment that leads us to suspect a violent role played by science in the history of modern civilisation. As a first approach to a better understanding of the nature of science, let us ask: was the historical development of modern science violent with respect to other cultures?

The birth of science itself had a violent impact o­n institutional theology, which at that time dominated intellectual life. o­n that occasion, the Catholic Church won out over the Italian scientist Galileo. But afterwards in Europe modern science had its revenge; it persuaded people that traditional theology was unable to oppose its truths rationally. Then theology was progressively confined to a backward intellectual attitude (Kline, 1953, ch. 17).

Science grew, both in the number of scientists (at present it is carried o­n by almost a million scientists in the World), in the results (for instance, let us recall that chemistry introduced several tens of millions of new molecules into the environment), and in the fields of human knowledge (from astronomy and mechanics to acoustics, hydraulics, chemistry, geology and psychology), that have been re-formulated o­n new foundations.

But the expansion of science was so rapid and its impact so great that the single human mind could not grasp it in its entirety. Indeed, modern philosophers have been unable to follow its momentous development. Kants attempt to reconcile the two ways of conceiving the philosophy of knowledge, i.e., rationalism and empiricism, collapsed when a further development of sciencei.e., the birth of the noneuclidean geometriesshook the premises that Kant had maintained to be eternal and ineluctable (in particular, the category of space). Later, most scientists burnt all their bridges with philosophy as well, charging it with being an obstacle to healthy scientific research. Subsequent philosophy was able to suggest merely subjective analyses of science, although science is both a collective initiative and a structural institution of the present society. Three centuries and half after the birth of modern science, present philosophy is unable to define scientific culture.[6]

In short, the birth of science also determined a crisis in philosophy; not o­nly was faith humiliated, but also reason, as it is developed in a philosophical system. In fact, for three centuries there has been no intellectual system that could rival that of science.

Being constituted by universal laws of Nature generated by objective experiments in a collectively verifiable way, over the centuries science claimed to be absolute and not subject to any kind of constraint, and confidently presented itself as an intellectual enterprise devoid of internal conflicts and therefore able to offer an absolutely certain solution to any human conflict. In particular, Newton (1704, 31th Query) wanted to build a new ethics o­n mechanical laws, encompassing all human behaviour. A century ago, mathematical formalism (Hilberts programme) claimed that science, when axiomatized, is independent from any link with the outside and is capable of re-stating rigorously the whole of scientific, and even world, culture.


Is Western Progress Truly a Development for Mankind,

Or Does it do Violence to Spiritual Life?


In the 1930s the sociologist R. K. Merton (1938) characterized the underlying ideology of the West, i.e., Science, as an individualist, Anglo-Saxon and mainly Puritan initiative. The best representative of this kind of scientific initiative was the chemist R. Boyle, owing to his rigorous curriculum of studies, personal goodwill, the spirit of self-denial in devoting himself to discovering natures secrets, the universalistic passion for mankinds welfare; in short, he interpreted a modern way of living a monks life; while the architectonic representation of this kind of scientific initiative was constituted by the University colleges, which were built o­n the model of the old Roman or Gothic convents and moreover were usually named after Saints or even the Holy Trinity.

Most Christian Churches shared a favourable attitude toward Science. Moreover, a pro-science ideology of this kind penetrated to the common people and was brought to the Third World by priests and missionaries, who believed that scientific progress would give human dignity to the primitive. In this sense, the expansion of science and technology, which brought with it increased welfare, appeared to naïve persons as a spiritual blessing. Indeed, most people embraced an ideology in which science is a modern salvation not o­nly materially (let us recall epidemics or the work of slaves), but even spiritually in that it eliminates both social and psychic evils.

On the other hand, the powerful Catholic Church accused science of being against both religion and spirituality. However, finally, after long, hard struggles, in the 20th century the attitude of the Catholic church became favourable. Without an official document, during the Second Vatican Council the group of incarnationist theologians gained ascendancy over the group of eschatologist theologians; in other words, in the present attitude of the most authoritative theologians, the will to be involved in even the contradictions of the world prevails over the will to emphasise the separation of spiritual life from the evils of the society.

As a consequence, the same theological theory took its place among the other sciences, as a specific science mimicking the techniques and the aims of the sciences that are closest to it. In conclusion, the previously severely condemned Science was accepted as an inevitable reality.[7] What had previously been the enemy, i.e., the Catholic Church, was thus conquered by Science. As a consequence, in the last century, society in general formed a favourable conception of sciences relationship with spiritual life (even in an atheistic sense).[8] In particular, Catholic theology passed from conceiving peace as a metaphysical gift from God to taking up the social slogan: [scientific] progress is the new name of peace.[9]

Finally, the scientific conception of the World as suggested by Science seemed to be the o­nly o­ne possible. Never in the history of mankind did a cultural phenomenon occur that was so pervasive and so dominant among the people of the World (we find something approaching it in Europe under the Roman Empire and in Christianity in medieval Europe).

A Radical Criticism by the Nonviolent Authoritative Figures

of the Dominant Scientific and Technological Progress


What has been said above raises the following question: Is it possible to object to science? The history of the 20th century left two legacies; i.e., a bloody list of scientifically performed slaughters (wars), occurring mainly in Western countries; but also a marvellous achievement, obtained in a nonwestern country. Gandhi renewed the peoples ability to solve conflictseven extreme conflicts such as anti-colonialist struggles and rebellions against dictatorshipswith nonkilling means, i.e., without weapons that threaten the survival of the adversary.

This achievement also produced a new way of thinking with respect to the Western tradition, nonviolent political theory.[10] In particular, the nonviolent movement did not share the States belief that in war ever more colossal carnage represents mankinds progress; this social movement radically opposed wars, the arms race and all social structures supporting them. Owing to the strong link between the arms race and social progress, they concluded that the dominant progress itself had to be contested, including the most monumental product of Western thought over the centuries: Science. The great teachers of nonviolence (Tolstoy, Gandhi and Lanza del Vasto) radically criticized Western science. They shared the thesis that science represents the wrong direction taken by the human soul gone astray. The nonviolent Tolstoy started a radical attack o­n Western science by asking the question: Science can give answers to everything but the important question What is life for? (Tolstoy, 1963 [1882]);[11] that is, Science is separate from our life since it lacks an ethical dimension.

Twenty years later, just a century ago, Gandhi (1909) wrote the red-book of the Indian revolution: Hind Swaraj;[12] in it Gandhi radically questioned, from the viewpoint of ethics and nonviolence, o­ne after the other, all the areas of Western progress. He also suggested how to re-build them o­n a clear ethical basis, at the cost of being accused of a backward attitude. He also criticised Western science.[13]

Gandhis criticisms mentioned above have been considered too crude even by the politicians who followed him. But fifty years later, his o­ne Western disciple, Lanza del Vasto, improved o­n them. He based them upon two sacred texts of the Western tradition.

He interpreted the Original sin (Genesis 3) as an inversion of human knowledge, from the loving contemplation of the World to the knowledge-calculation of good and evil used for utilitarian purposes.[14] This exploitative attitude regards not o­nly nature but also people. Hence, this original sin is not the product of the times, but is the origin of every society; it is essentially a structural sin. Within social relationships it grows by exploiting formalities to cover up selfishness. Above all the most formal intellectual activity, i.e., the making of laws, which actually formalises pyramidal social power in a society, and even more so may Science, whose aim is to exploit nature for the benefit of all, hides any number of malicious political aims.

By hiding the attitude of domination of the few over the many, the above formal institutions may grow until they completely dominate the people, as an impersonal dictatorship. According to Lanza del Vasto, this extreme social situation is described by Apocalypse 13, through a Beast rising from the sea and dominating the world. He interpreted it as modern Science, because The irreparable lack of modern science is that it lacks someone who knows it entirely (Vasto, 1959: 240); that means that at present we are subordinated to the super-human project constituted by scientific progress. Then Apocalypse 13 describes a Beast rising from the earth, whose authority depends o­n the power of the former Beast. Lanza del Vasto interpreted it as the Machine, or the State-Machine; which, by dispensing numerous facilities and conveniences, leads to a false kind of development, where even the wisest seek personal profit rather than cooperative fairness; so that social life becomes based o­n such a degree of alienation as to become entirely subjugated by the two Beasts:


And he shall make all, both little and great, rich and poor, freemen and bondmen, to have a character in their right hand or o­n their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, but he that hath the character, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.


It is easy to see in this description the dictatorships that infested advanced European countries some decades ago. Thus, modern civilisation, by relying upon the worldwide expansion of Western science, is seen by Lanza del Vasto as the greatest renewal of Original sin.[15]

At present this negative attitude toward modern science goes against the present attitudes of Christian churches. It is o­n this issue that there is greatest divergence between the nonviolent attitude and the attitude of Western Churches, otherwise very sympathetic to nonviolence. But at present this critical vision of Science is shared, at least in part, by some political movements, e.g., the radical ecological movement.

According to the above nonviolent teachers, the meaning of peace is the opposite to that attributed to peace by the traditional scientific vision for which its meaning is abstracted from the persons life; while the former, by trying to solve conflicts through interpersonal relationships, relies heavily o­n the personal witness of the kind of life o­ne chooses. Moreover, peace is understood not just at an individual level; a new ethics is actively sought at the political level of society as a whole. Let us recall that Gandhis life united Indian and Western culture through the notion of law; which in the West is juridical law (of which Gandhi, as a lawyer, was a representative) and in the East is inner law (the little inner voice). Therefore, in the wide arena of all social relationships peace is achieved by promoting a new kind of social ethics which relies o­n co-responsibility,[16] egalitarianism, sharing, justice, community. In short, an ethics relying o­n trust in man and therefore anti-Machiavellian.

Any Conflict within Science?


But, if the nonviolent position of the great teachers is correct, i.e., that science represents the breeding ground of the present cultural violence, then should we reject Western science?

Indeed, the above criticisms of science come from outside science. They may be the result of pre-conceptions, insistently maintained by some who are nostalgic for the past, as well as by those resistant to change.[17] However, I have taken these criticisms seriously, especially those of Lanza del Vasto, and I have devoted thirty years of my scientific life trying to clarify the problem (Drago, 1978, 1986). I asked: Does an alternative science exist? Does a nonkilling, nonviolent science exist? First of all, is there a conflict between two ways of producing science?

Let us start to explore science o­n the basis of the above questions avoiding what cannot be fully grasped by laymen, i.e., the technicalities or a philosophical debate. We will look at the historical development of the relationship between science and conflict; and then at the conflicts within science.

Two historians of science introduced the subject of the conflict into their illustrations of past science. Fifty years ago, A. Koyré (1957) cleverly interpreted the birth of modern science as determined by the use of the notion of infinity. Remarkably, at that time some scientists (Huygens, Descartes, etc.) supported potential infinity (whose best instance is a counting of natural numbers, i.e., an unlimited process which lacks a final number), whereas other scientists (Newton) supported actual infinity (whose two best instances are the final end, i.e., the point at infinity, of a straight line and the infinitesimal, which is defined as a number which is less than all real numbers).[18] Hence, Koyré highlighted a basic conflict at the birth of modern science. (Notice that in this dispute it was Newton who finally won. But I remark that a century and half later, an entire physical theory, thermodynamics, was born by making use of a mathematics that lacked actual infinity.)

The historian T.S. Kuhn (1969) also suggested a conflictual vision of the history of science, which in his case concerned the development of classical physics as a whole. He thought that science proceeded by constantly applying a paradigm that is shared by the scientists that make up the scientific community. But it may occur that a specific case-study (such as the black-body theory in theoretical physics at the end of the 19th century) halts the successful applications of this paradigm; such a case-study constitutes a theoretical anomaly, which brings about a scientific revolution (in the above case-study, the quanta revolution), leading to the replacement, through a Gestalt phenomenon in the minds of the entire scientific community by a new paradigm (the corpuscle-wave complementarity) of the previous paradigm (the continuous vision of reality). Owing to the Gestalt change, the new paradigm proves to be incommensurable with the previous o­ne, with the risk of untranslatability, and even incommunicability, between the two paradigms. In other terms, according to Kuhn, science suffers conflicts between successive paradigms.

However, both Koyré and Kuhn made use of, rather the basic notions of the science itself, some philosophical notions; respectively, infinity; and paradigm, anomaly, revolutions. Hence, their analyses are merely philosophical analyses which are cleverly supported by suggestive historical cases; but they did not achieve scientific proof of the validity of their interpretations.

A more accurate inspection of past science reveals that some scientists also introduced conflicts within science. Already at the end of the 19th century, Haeckel proposed a new science, i.e., ecology. It originated from a new, global scientific vision of reality (oikos = home), as opposed to the local, analytic vision of dominant science. It was moreover based o­n the notion of cycle rather than o­n either ideal notions (absolute space in Newtonian mechanics) or functional relationships (the field in electromagnetism). Haeckels theory was almost ignored by the scientific community. But after a century, it was realised that the various kinds of pollution, the result of ecological ignorance of cycles in nature, constituted a threat to human life o­n the planet. Although reluctantly, the academic world had to inaugurate a specific University curriculum o­n ecology; however, it conceived the curriculum as the study of a series of analytical techniques, rather than a global scientific method.

More recently, I. Prigogine (1984) charged Newtonian mechanics with having led to the catastrophic exploitation of Nature; in order to establish a new Alliance with nature it is necessary to understand life, for the first time, scientifically. To this end, he proposed thermodynamics as the more appropriate theory for starting to establish a new, harmonious alliance between mankind and Nature. Such a proposal added the mathematical theory of chaos, which claimed to go beyond the deterministic conception of Newtonian mechanics and hence radically changed the previous scientific conception of the world. In addition to the theory of chaos, Prigogine, together with several other scientists, proposed the mathematical theory of complexity as the new direction of scientific research. In other words, through a new scientific attitude he supported a program of scientific research which would achieve a new kind of scientific development.

Hence, ecology, Prigogines program and complexity theory propose for the future a vision of scientific progress that will renew that derived from mechanistic science. But they do not clarify the nature of their opposition to traditional science, i.e., whether it is merely cultural and therefore collateral or complementary to traditional science; or whether they are proposing a truly alternative science.

Although they are unable to recognise at what point in the foundations of science there exists a conflict and what its nature is, all the above scientific proposals suggest some philosophical distinctions, e.g. analytical and global, deterministic or chaotic, simple and complex, etc.

Let us now consider what the above implies for the notion of peace. Both scientific programs, Haeckels and Prigogines, involving respect for life and hence outlawing the very ideas of war, enemy and destructive solutions to conflicts, suggest an active process for achieving peace. They therefore imply positive peace, rather than the passive peace suggested by the dominant science.

This radical change in the meaning of peace is in agreement with the nonviolent meaning of peace. Such an agreement encourages us to proceed in search of a nonviolent, nonkilling science. However, nonviolence adds to the previous meaning by specifying the global method with which o­ne searches positively for peace; nonviolence suggests that in the process of achieving peace in an alternative way to war, it is necessary to focus attention not o­nly o­n the aim, however positive it may be, but above all o­n the tools employed, which have to be nonviolent if they are to be adequate for achieving the positive aim.

The Birth of Conflict and Pluralism in Science during the French Revolution


A more accurate analysis of Kuhns history of science does not support o­ne crucial point of his interpretation, i.e., the birth of classical chemistry, which was not determined by any supra-mechanical aspect;[19] rather, it is wellknown that it was the result of a cultural battle against the Newtonian tradition of interpreting chemical affinity through gravitational force. Moreover, a similar analysis does not support Prigogines thesis that the birth of thermodynamics was no more than an abortion of the alternative that he is searching. Rather, past historians have been unable to understand the genius of the founder, Sadi Carnot;[20] moreover, o­ne has to remark that thermodynamics seems at a first glance to be an alternative theory to Newtonian science because it was formalised without actual infinity and all its variables are global in nature. A more accurate historical appraisal is therefore necessary of the origins of these two scientific theories, and, more in general, of the corresponding period of the history of science.

The French Revolution wanted to reform Newtons science, accusing it of being mythical in nature (Gillispie, 1962). Lavoisier is known for having done so in chemistry by rejecting Newtons notion of affinity as gravitational force. He intentionally published his main book in 1789, the same year as the French revolution; in the introduction he wrote that he sought to bring about a scientific revolution. Moreover, during this period all scientific theories were founded anew: geometry (Monge, L. Carnot, Poncelet), infinitesimal calculus (L. Carnot, Lagrange), mathematized mechanics (L. Carnot, Lagrange, Navier, Poisson) and, in addition, thermodynamics was born (S. Carnot) (Drago, 1982, 1990, 1991a,b, 1997, 2004). Historians evaluate the revolution in geometry, i.e., Lobachevskys invention of noneuclidean geometry in the remote Kazan University, as a long-term consequence of the French revolution.[21]

A leading figure of this renewal of science was L. Carnot. In opposition to celestial mechanics (the best application of Newtons mechanics, which relies upon the metaphysical notions of absolute space and absolute time), he founded terrestrial mechanics (dealing with the impacts of bodies; and more precisely, the mechanics of machines; notice that each of them is a complex aggregate of bodies, which was considered by L. Carnot globally); he founded the theory o­n the practical concept of work and not o­n the metaphysical o­ne of force-cause. Moreover, he re-formulated both of the mathematical theories of his times, i.e., geometry and infinitesimal calculus, in an alternative way; furthermore, he suggested to his son Sadi the key ideas that gave rise to thermodynamics, whose theoretical structure is very different from that of Newtons theory.[22]

L. Carnots main scientific achievement was to suggest an alternative to the dominant organization of a scientific theory. Instead of the pyramidal organization (which we find by Aristotle and then in both Euclid and Newton; at the top it puts evident principles, from which all laws are deductively drawn; we will call it AO), L. Carnots new kind of organisation (we will call it PO) is centred o­n a general problem (in mechanics: that of finding the invariant quantities during a phenomenon of an impact), to which the development of the theory finds a general solution.[23]

Also S. Carnot founded thermodynamics by posing a central problem (maximum efficiency in energy transformations); and by then finding a new method (Carnot cycles) that solves this problem.

The discovery of two ways of organizing a scientific theory suggested to L. Carnot a pluralistic attitude toward the foundations of science. He clarified it in infinitesimal analysis. In this theory he accepted and supported all the various foundations of analysis o­n the basis of a pluralistic attitude. His book received wide popular acclaim, but was then dismissed by the war-like attitude of the academic world of the subsequent age, according to which in any scientific theory proposedif o­nly for didactic reasonsthere was o­nly o­ne foundation which cancelled out all others.

Soon after the French revolution in Kazan, a remote town in Russia, Lobacevsky (who had studied French books) was able to propose a new kind of geometry. He did not just change a single postulate (the fifth), but posed the problem of how many parallel lines there are and put forward an original method for solving it. He thus changed the entire theoretical framework of Euclidean geometry.[24] A few decades after the failure of the French Revolution, the labour movement (unfortunately ignoring the new scientific theories) wanted to start an alternative theory in social sciences. Marxs theory tackled the central problem of how to overcome capitalism in the history of mankind; first he studied the relationships between factory owner and workers, rather than that between buying and selling in the market; then through his studies he sought a new political method, based o­n scientific principles, for bringing about the social revolution.

I would also point out that the both Carnots and Lobachevsky's theories are alternative not o­nly in their organization, but also in their use of mathematics; instead of Newtons (metaphysical) infinitesimal calculus, which includes actual infinity (or its inverse, the infinitesimal dx), they make use of a mathematics that is appropriate for operative calculations; i.e., it relies o­n potential infinity o­nly. We might conclude that the French revolution gave rise historically to pluralism in scientific theories.

What was the relationship in this period between science and conflict (war)? Over the centuries, science has always been exploited for war purposes.[25] However, an alternative attitude came into being during the French revolution. The military devoted itself to improving civil society. In other words, at that time there was a process of conversion of those working in the military to civil purposes. Most of the new scientific theories of the French revolution were the work of military scientists: Monge, L. Carnot, Poncelet, Navier, Poisson; in particular thermodynamics was born almost entirely when former soldier S. Carnot turned his attention from cannons, mythologised as having almost unlimited power, to civil machines, which he studied from the point of view of maximizing their efficiency (Salio, 1982).

On the other hand, during the French revolution civil society wanted to apply human reason to social life as a whole, in particular to creating an alternative State to the old absolute, metaphysical State (recall the blue blood of the kings!).

In fact, the French revolution succeeded (notice, before Napoleon) in reforming the States military sector. It turned the mythical military structure of the aristocracy, which was aimed at the kingdoms expansion, into an institution that was an expression of the peoples will simply to defend civil society. Indeed in 1793, when the European monarchies united against revolutionary France, a military structure was rapidly re-built by means of the first great levée en masse. It was launched by the supreme head of the French army, Lazare Carnot. With a military background, he before 1789 had theorized the new strategic theory of total (popular) defence (as opposed to the ideology of total war that had just come into being). In 1793 he successfully applied this strategy to defending democracy. The French people, although weaker in destructive weapons, achieved Victoire.

Exactly two centuries later, in 1989 the peoples who freed themselves from the dictatorships of Eastern Europe reiterated this policy of people's defence and defeated a super-power which was ready for the greatest destructive confrontation in mankinds history. The French Revolution had therefore anticipated the o­nly possible alternative we have today to the mythical and disastrous arms race, i.e., collective defence o­nly; and moreover a defence that is not entrusted to the mythical destructive power of an enormous military arsenal, but to the solidarity of a population wanting to protect both itself and its democratic institutions. Hence, in national defence there exists an historical tradition which constitutes an alternative to merely destructive defence, of which nuclear defence is an example.

More in general, in the history of the relationship between science and war, the link between the dominant science and the development of ever more destructive weapons is clear. However, the French revolution established a new, alternative link; even extreme conflicts are solved in the wisest way, as it was first exemplified by Gandhi and in the 20th century by many other peoples. What is extraordinary in the French revolution is that the new notion of defence was developed by individuals from the military.

But in the following period, the policy of the Restoration was to present science as it had been before French revolution, i.e., without internal conflicts, and to outlaw many scientific theories. After 1850, when the bourgeoisie took social power, most of them were rehabilitated; but some of the previous theories have never been accepted;[26] in particular, Marxs theory; but also some revolutionary scientific theories (e.g., those of L. Carnot). o­n the other hand, Lavoisiers chemical theory survived despite academic opposition, because it was supported by chemists and chemical engineers, who were indispensable to contemporary society. [27]

Formally Qualifying the Conflicts within Science


We have considered some conflicts concerning the history and the philosophy of science; there have even more decisive conflicts within science after an acute crisis in the first years of the 20th century, through studies investigating the internal structure of science; that is, the foundations of both mathematics and logic.

The study of the foundations of mathematics recognised an essential conflict between two kinds of mathematics; i.e., the dominant mathematics that is taught in scientific Faculties and includes actual infinity (which we will call AI), and the mathematics that makes use of potential infinity o­nly (we will call it PI); the latter mathematics is closely approximated by the mathematics that represents the working of the computer. Four decades ago this conflict was formally founded.[28]

As evidence for the idealistic nature of the dominant mathematics, it should be noted that past mathematics, being metaphysical in nature owing to the use of actual infinity in several specific notions, such as infinitesimals, never dealt with conflicts before World War I; i.e., two centuries and half after the birth of infinitesimal analysis, some scientists succeeded in doing so when they discovered that two coupled difference or differential equations describe phenomena of mutual competition, including the arms race. Euler could have developed this theory two centuries before, if he had not been prejudiced by the idealistic nature of the dominant mathematics. Between the two World Wars game theory was born; it analyses in detail the aspects of a conflict by means of few integer numbers; the mathematical technique is so elementary that even Archimedes or Galileo had the technical capabilities to develop it.[29]

As an important consequence, game theory inaugurated a new mathematical relationship with reality which is alternative to the relationship established by Newtons theoretical physics; instead of the metaphysical mathematics of the infinitesimals, it makes use of the more elementary theory of constructive mathematics, i.e., the theory of integer numbers.

It should be noted that almost in the same period of the birth of game theory, theoretical physics too had to admit that all reality is constituted, in a complementary way to waves, by quanta which require the mathematics of integer numbers; and soon after game theory, theoretical biology also came about in association with discrete mathematics (e.g., a neuron as a two-state switch, the constitution of DNA by an integer number of bases, etc.) all outside continuous mathematics and even more outside the AI. Since that time a conflict was apparent between the new scientific theories and traditional science linked to the idealised mathematical continuum (including AI; for instance, the notion of infinitesimals).

In the above we have already seen that this novelty was anticipated by science during the French revolution. Chemistry was born from the mathematics of integer numbers; and more in general both L. Carnots mechanics and S. Carnots thermodynamics made use of the mathematics of the PI o­nly.

At the end of the 19th century there was confidence that logic, having been mathematicized, had achieved an absolute nature. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the 20th century a conflict also arose in mathematical logic; in addition to classical logic, several kinds of different mathematical logics were discovered. In particular, it was discovered that it is not the law of the excluded middle (either A is true or not-A is true), but the law of double negation (Two negatives affirm). This distinction constitutes the borderline between classical logic and almost all kinds of nonclassical logic; in the latter kinds of logic two negations do not affirm (for example: Absolved owing to the lack of evidence of guilt does not mean that the accused person is clean-handed, but that the court had insufficient evidence to establish whether he was guilty or not). Hence, mathematical logic is split into (at least) two incompatible branches.[30]

Again o­ne can trace back the use of nonclassical logic to some centuries before, in particular to some scientists of the period of the French revolution. In their original scientific work o­ne finds several sentences which are doubly negated statements of nonclassical logic: We call element what we could not yet decompose (Lavoisier); A never ending motion is impossible (L. Carnot and S. Carnot); This hypothesis [of two parallel lines to a given o­ne] does not lead to any contradiction (Lobachevsky); These two postulates [constancy of the light speed and relativity] are o­nly apparently irreconcilable (Einstein); One cannot simultaneously measure an object's position and speed with absolute [= not relative] accuracy (Heisenberg). Each of them play a fundamental role in the respective scientific theory.

It is precisely o­n this logical point that the enormous experience of Freud, who founded the theory of inner conflicts, was based. He explained his method in a paper of a few pages (1925). He points out that the analyst asks the patient to speak freely about say, what he dreamt. The patient tells a dream; he met his mother; but a dispute arose and he, in a fit of rage, nearly killed her; but then he urges: I did not want to kill her. The analyst must notice this negation and, in turn, has to add o­ne more negation: It is not true that the patient did not want to kill his mother.

The doubly negated sentence provides the clue to recognising the trauma that the patient has repressed in the past (i.e., denied in his inner self), which, however, emerges again and again. This enables the analyst to recognise the repressed part of the patient and hence to start the healing process.[31] Let us remark that Freuds whole theory is in agreement with the PO theory; he poses the problem of the patients healing, then solves it through the invention of a new method, which interprets the dialogue inductively through doubly negated sentences constructed upon the patients negated sentences.

Nonclassical logic also plays a fundamental role in conflict resolution when it is considered in general terms. Let us recall that the great discovery of the 20th century was the nonviolent method. In fact, the very term nonviolence (as nonkilling) is a double negation (killing being a negation of life); notice that it does not have a positive equivalent (notwithstanding Gandhis efforts to substitute for it the affirmative word satyagraha); thus, the two negations do not affirm. o­n the contrary, the military way of theorising the resolution of a conflict in the barracks makes use of classical logic, enforcing absolute certainties: The enemy of my enemy is my friend where the two negations affirm; and also of the equivalent logical law of the excluded middle: Either friend or foe, Either patriot or stranger, Either obedience or disobedience, etc.

Hence, unlike the classical logic of the military, the word nonviolence introduces an entirely new way of reasoning with respect to the dominant o­ne. This fact is also apparent in logical terms; indeed, classical logic guarantees rigorous deductions, whereas nonclassical logic is the basis of inductive argument.

Since both logic and mathematics are the foundations of all branches of science, from the above two kinds of conflicts it follows that there is a fundamental division within science as a whole, giving rise to intellectual conflict.[32]

Such a division within both logic and mathematics generates divisions within each scientific theory through both the plurality of its formulations and the radical variations in meanings of its basic notions when changing the formulation of the theory and even more when changing the theory itself. For instance in geometry, a straight line conceived of either as an infinitely prolonged segment (Euclid and Lobachevsky) or as possessing two end points (Hilbert); in theoretical physics, either absolute (in Newtons mechanics) space or relative space (in L. Carnots mechanics, and even more in special relativity); continuous time and time as before and after (in the same two different formulations) and even space-time (in special relativity for which, moreover, mass fuses with energy); the classical notions of both wave and corpuscle playing complementary roles in quantum mechanics, etc.

Notice that the two different logical worlds are mutually incompatible in their basic tenets. But, each doubly negated sentence is an open sentence; hence, nonclassical logic is not exclusive in nature (as is classical logic; let us recall military logic) it allows mutual dialogue and co-existence; that is, it introduces a fundamental pluralism.


A Verification: Pluralism in Stating the Inertia Principle


The clearest demonstration that science as a whole diverges with regard to its formal foundations is obtained by an examination of the inertia principle, which, being the starting point of the most important theory of traditional science, Newtons mechanics, represents the beginning of modern science.

Descartes-Newtons version is: Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest, or of moving uniformly forward in a straight line, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by a force acting o­n it (Newton, 1687: 12). An alternative version was suggested by (again!) L. Carnot (1803: 49): Once a body is at rest, it will not move by itself; o­nce it is in motion, it will not change either its speed or its direction (where changing and moving are the negation of rest, the o­nly situation which does not require scientific explanation).[33] It is worth noting that L. Carnots doubly negated sentence (e.g., not move) does not have a corresponding positive word in science; in fact, in order to be able to express the same idea positively, Newton makes use of the verb to persevere (or sometimes to continue), which is clearly a moral and animistic word. Here we have a drastic alternative about which kind of logic, either classical or nonclassical, shapes a theory. Being a basic principle, the version of the inertia principle determines the entire organisation of the subsequent development of the theory; Descartes-Newtons version is an AO of mechanics, whereas L. Carnots version a PO.

In addition, it is worth noting that Newton wrote: Every body. These two words include even the bodies that we will discover in the future; here we recognise an infinity in action. He also appeals to infinity in action when he wants to establish with total accuracyan accuracy which implies the actual infinitywhen a force is impressed upon the body or not, if the body is absolutely at rest or not, if the motion is perfectly rectilinear or not, and perfectly uniform or not; and if the distance that the body covers is infinite or not (Hanson, 1965). All these qualifications require such accuracy as to sever the null value of each of the above magnitudes from any other value, however little; they require not an unlimited infinity, but an actual infinity. All the above qualifications are avoided by Carnots version of the inertia principle, which instead includes o­nly the typical properties detectable by experimental physics, i.e., the o­nly o­nes that are operational and calculable, and which do not use actual infinity. Being a basic principle, the inertia principle establishes the kind of mathematics of the subsequent development of the theory; Descartes-Newtons version mathematics with AI and L. Carnots version mathematics with PI.

In the history of mechanics this kind of alternative theory of mechanics had already been put forward by Leibniz.[34] He moreover added two basic ideas. First, in the human mind there exists two labyrinths of human reason. o­ne is about infinity, either actual or simply potential. We recognise that in our times the first labyrinth was formalized by the option concerning the kind of mathematics, either the classical or the constructive. The other dilemma is between law (i.e., to behave according to some a priori principles) and free will (i.e., to investigate heuristically). We recognise that at the present time this second labyrinth is formalised by the option concerning the way of organizing a theory, either by using a few abstract principles from which all laws may be rigorously derived, as theorems, by means of classical logic; or organizing a theory to search inductively for a new method for solving a general problem.

Leibniz (1686) also suggested that there are two basic principles of the human mind: the principle of noncontradiction and the principle of sufficient reason. The latter was stated by him with the following words: Nothing is without reason;[35] really, a doubly negated sentence. We recognise that he was suggesting the two basic principles of the two different kinds of logic, respectively the classical and the nonclassical. In short, the two dilemmas that Leibniz cleverly recognised represent, although in no more than philosophical terms (i.e., infinity and organization), the two above-illustrated basic options, which at the present time are well formalized in, respectively, mathematics and logic.

Every theory chooses o­ne of these two options. Being two independent dimensions, when we cross them we divide the space of all theories into four quadrants and each may be considered to represent a particular model for scientific theory.[36] Being severed o­ne from the other by mutually conflictual choices, these models represent a well-rooted pluralism in science. Moreover, the two options provide the human mind with the cardinal points of a compass by which it is oriented among the innumerable theories of the modern world. In such a way o­ne obtains an answer to the problem put by Lanza del Vasto (see section 5); a person can obtain a comprehensive knowledge of science.

Away from Monopolies in both Science and National Defence


The general conclusion is that, despite the changes brought about by the French Revolution, for two hundred years the scientific community refused to consider the internal conflicts in science. Scientists tenaciously presented Science as a monolithic construction with no possible alternatives, i.e., as the o­nly possibility for all activities and human thought to be at peace. This undisturbed science claimed to be capable of reconciling all social conflicts: for example, in the early years of the 20th century, Science claimed to be capable of reconciling social conflicts in the factory system by introducing Taylors scientific principles for equitably evaluating human labour; between the 50s and the 80s science claimed that it could reconcile the East-West clash through scientists superior formulae o­n disarmament. In the 70s science imposed nuclear power; in solving the problem of energy planning, they wanted to guarantee mankind universal welfare and therefore peace. These solutions (the choice of nuclear power) were justified by the belief that science is making the greatest rational effort possible to avoid such internal conflicts.

Let us recall that Galtungs important distinction between three types of violence: personal, cultural and structural. We see that the dominant science falls within cultural violence, not o­nly because it justifies structural violence but also because it monopolizes the truth by means of its results, which are obtained regardless of human life, presenting itself as the o­nly, unquestioned solution to human problems. The violence of science consists, more than in justifying structural violence and war, in its claim to monopolise the truth o­n any subject, including wars. All of which was dictated by the motto (which parallels the old Catholic Churchs motto: Nulla salus extra hanc Ecclesiam; No salvation outside this Church; which monopolises souls): Nulla ratio extra hanc scientiam (No reason outside this science), which monopolises human reason.[37]

And indeed, notwithstanding the scientists formulae, the factory conflicts, the East-West clash and the energy problem have persisted, showing that historically the initiatives of modern science look like a huge, terrible deception, even a form of subservience to a super-human power, as Lanza del Vasto suggested.

What I have shown above regarding the foundations of science leads precisely to the opposite conclusion of the belief in peaceful science; i.e., the fundamental nature of science is conflict, owing to the options regarding its foundations. In the previous sections I argued that at least through the different versions of the inertia principle, science does not have a monopoly of truth; every single scientific theory (even mechanics) is divided in formally alternative formulations.[38]

But even at the present time the dominant science hides such a conflictual nature by presenting o­ne truth o­nly, which actually is just the truth of the dominant model of scientific theory, which in turn corresponds to the dominant power in society. Thus it is necessary to dethrone the cultural violence which is operated by science which monopolizes truth and claims, in a pre-conceived manner, to bring peace. In order to understand how to achieve peace we need to find a new scientific approach which will generalize the solutions to conflicts concerning the foundations of science; i.e., we have to change from the paradigm of the monopoly of the truth to the pluralism of the four models of scientific theory.

Formalising the Alternative in National Defence and in Conflict Resolution


In the last decades several authors have supported the idea of an alternative to destructive nuclear capacity. Some of them even proposed a nonviolent strategy in national defence; against nuclear weapons they set peoples noncollaboration and nonviolent mass demonstrations.[39] The 1989 nonviolent revolutions against the Yalta division based o­n nuclear threat occurred in both China and successfully in Eastern European countries. However, going beyond historical events, is there a possible alternative rationality to that underlying both military institutions and its conflict resolutions? What kind of rationality would it be?

Let us remark that, owing to the mechanical effects of military technology (even those involving other scientific theories, i.e., chemistry, electro-magnetism, nuclear theory, etc.), the military appeals to the rationality of the dominant mechanics.[40] But previously we saw, through the two versions of the inertia principle, that there exists an alternative in mechanics; and, more in general, there are alternative formulations for each scientific theory.

A possible objection is that L. Carnots alternative inertia principle, because it belongs to a mechanics based o­n impacts, necessarily concerns violent events. But the history of impact theory in physics is almost unknown.[41] At the beginnings of modern science Wallis suggested that in order to formalise the impact of bodies o­ne had to refer to the ideal model of a perfectly hard body, whose shape never changes. (Newton agreed; he thought that God created the World that was constituted by hard bodies, which in time were transformed into soft bodies.) The perfect hardness of the ideal body did not allow resilience; hence the conservation of energy, as a general law, was considered invalid for two centuries.

But Leibniz objected that in human relationships it is desirable to behave flexibly; hence, the most suitable model of the theory of the impact of bodies is the perfectly elastic body; owing to its resilience, the impacts among bodies of this kind conserve energy and other quantities (momentum, momentum of momentum) that the bodies have in common; so that in the new idealisation the impact is no longer a macho clash, but a mutual exchange of these three common quantities. The birth of thermodynamics (1850) was necessary for the conservation of energy to be established as a general law, and, as a consequence, Leibniz's model of elastic impact. Here we have an instance of positive scientific progress promoting nonviolence, since Leibniz-L. Carnots mechanics, which is based upon the elastic impact, is a nonviolence-oriented theory rather than the Newtonian theory of hard bodies which is a macho-oriented theory of impact.

Is this kind of rationality relevant to national defence? o­ne of the greatest strategists of all times was (again!) L. Carnot. His strategy was an exclusively defensive defence, which relied upon the use of strongholds, since they oblige the enemy to fight against bastions and walls, rather than human beings.[42] Moreover, he theorised strongholds as machines, to which he applied his formula for the highest efficiency, based upon the conservation of energy.[43]

Surely, after the failure of the Maginot Line L. Carnots defensive strategy has to be changed. But we can retain L. Carnots basic scientific notion, that of the greatest efficiency. It is determined by acting in a reversible manner; i.e., never perform an action that cannot be subsequently reversed without loss of work. Such a notion constitutes a representation of the gentle way that is necessary to solve a conflict through consensus. In weaker terms, this imperative constitutes the precautionary imperative, which is strongly supported by the ecologist movement.

This notion of maximum efficiency was then applied by his son, Sadi, giving rise to thermodynamics. By going beyond S. Carnots partial results, we recall that in thermodynamics the greatest efficiency means the minimum of the entropy change (ΔS = min). This idea was already stated in the social sciences as the thermodynamic imperative and it was emphasised as being able to address the whole of social life (Linsday, 1963). When we apply this imperative to conflict resolution, in specific wars, it dictates the minimum cost of human lives since the death of a human being is the most irreversible process (Drago, Sasso, 1993).

Moreover, given that entropy is the notion that approximates most to the notion of the disorganisation of a system, we can translate the above formula as the minimum of change toward disorganisation in the system. Now such an imperative no longer implies the defence of something material, i.e., the stronghold, but of democratic social institutions; precisely what the German term for alternative defence (Soziale Verteidigung) emphasises. In short, such a scientific formula appears to human reason to be the best imperative even with regard to national defence.

Which kind of general rationality then results? First, the rationality of making use not of absolute tools (AI), such as nuclear weapons; but above all interpersonal relationships, which are merely unlimited tools. Secondly, the rationality of the alternative in organisation (OP), which in social terms means a self-reliant organisation that aims to solve an important social problem: in our case, a peoples defence.

It is not so surprising that this kind of rationality was anticipated by some of the greatest strategists: Sun Tzu, L. Carnot and Clausewitz. They wrote books illustrating their strategies and wanted, unlike Napoleon, to share the strategy of the chiefs with the people, down to the humble soldier. Moreover, they all posed the problem of the best strategy to be chosen, the criterion for which was the saving of human lives. Furthermore these books are full of doubly negated statements; that is, they argued with that nonclassical logic which is necessary if a new method of solving a problem is to be found.[44]

We thus confirm what Gandhi often repeated, that nonviolence is a science that is even older than Papins invention of steam pressure power.[45]

Over the last few decades a radical change of this kind has begun in our way of reasoning deriving from a notion from the history of science. According to Kuhn, changes of paradigm do occur after all. The historical change that should take place today in national defence may be defined with the following phrase: Peace as a change of paradigm (Nagler, 1981). The present paradigm is the arms race and the achievement of maximum destructive power. The anomaly is constituted by the threat of an Armageddon as the result of the application of this paradigm by two nuclear powers. Fortunately, a new model of conflict resolution is already known and was pointed out by great scientists (Einstein, Born), i.e., nonviolence. Indeed, it suggests an empirical method for solving conflicts through experiments with truth, as Gandhi put it; using a method that we have already seen in Freud, against the instinctual idea He is my enemy, it sets its doubly negated sentence: It is not true that he is my enemy. By putting it in different words, we have seen in the above that the very word nonviolence implies a completely different logic.

This radical change in the cultural paradigm of collective defence was already recognised as a need by the highest political World institution. The last UN Secretary-General, B.B. Ghali (1992), instituted the Corps of civil Peacekeepers and civil Peace-builders which were to be considered o­n a par with military bodies. The paradigm change began from that date o­n; in other words, a period of trans-armamenta period of democratic struggle between the two main models of defencebegan, at least in principle, at the level of World politics. At present, we are preparing the beginnings of trans-armament within each State.[46]


A New Relationship Between Ethics and Science


As a consequence, there is a new relationship between science and ethics. No longer is science an absolute value, to which ethics is subordinate. When a scientist constructs a scientific theory, at very start he makes two basic choices, respectively o­n the kind of infinity and the kind of organisation; owing to these choices found the theory, ethics comes first, science second. As a consequence, Tolstoys question is answered; the traditional science claiming to come before ethics is dethroned, and science is subordinate to ethics. In the following table I summarise the relationships between science and ethics according to both the past (i.e., Western) attitude and the nonkilling attitude.


Table 1. Western and nonkilling attitudes to both science and conflict



Western attitude


Nonkilling attitude


One science, i.e., Unity of science; unresolvable conflicts between scientific theories do not exist


Among scientific theories there exist conflicts which are unresolvable; pluralism even in science



There exist human conflicts which are unresolvable unless the opponent is destroyed

It is impossible for a human conflict not to be resolvable, owing to the Unity of mankind


Let us remark that the dominant Western view of science requires the belief in its Unity. This belief never will be verified, since it refers to all times to come; it is an absolute belief. In comparison, the belief in the Unity of mankind, which should be applied to conflict resolution, is more suited to the life of humanity; in short, it is a more valid value for mankind.

The same conclusion is reached when we compare the costs of the two beliefs. With the former the citizen is simply required to delegate to scientific experts, allowing them bring about the scientific destruction of an indeterminate number of human beings; while with the latter, the citizen, doubting the absolute value of mankind's intellectual constructions, involves his/her personal life in finding the best solutions to collective conflicts.




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[1] One may prefer the word nonkilling to the word nonviolence because the latter o­ne negates an abstract notion; hence, a priori it is included in the Greek way of arguing through abstract, fixed ideas; that implies the cost of defending the word nonviolence from the charge to mean passivity. Instead the word nonkilling negates an action which is well identified; hence, it does not leave room for misunderstanding. o­n the other hand, the word nonkilling has the disavantage of referring to a material action, so that it seemingly forgets the psychological violence. However, each of them, because it is a double negated word, is adequate to manifest the alternative way of thinking.

[2]Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March, 1978, illustrated the historical increase in killing capability by the scientifically improved weapons of all times; killing capability is defined as the number of causalities produced by an hours use of a weapon against unarmedpersons, whose density o­n the ground is four per square metre: Sword 20; Cross-bow 32; 19th Century gun 150; WW1 machine-gun 13,000; WW1 tank 68,000; WW1 cannon 470,000; WW2 cannon 660,000; WW2 tank 2,200,000; WW2 bomber 3,000,000; A-bomb of 20 kton 49,000,000; H-bomb of 1 Mton 660,000,000. Of course, these figures represent virtual events because they require such a large and densely grouped population which does not exist over 100 persons. But these figures well represent the growth of the killing power that has been at the disposal of those managing wars.

[3]It is known that in July 1945 the CIA intercepted and decoded a message from Hirohito to Stalin who was at that time neutral, asking for an honourable peace.

[4]A. Einstein and B. Russell: Manifesto, 1955, see the site http://www.pugwash.org .

[5] When the East-West struggle was at the height of intensity, an investigation by Woollett (1980), claimed that 484% of the scientists in the United States were employed full time in arms production.

[6]An exception is the posthumously published analysis by E. Husserl (1970).

[7]An international Vatican conference has been announced, to be held in the spring of 2009, in which Darwins evolutionist theory will be re-habilitated.

[8]See the investigation o­n 60,000 academic professors reported by R. Stark and F. Roger (2000) and the more recent investigation by E.H. Ecklund (2007).

[9]It is the title of the Conclusion of Pope Paul VI: Populorum progressio, 1968.

[10]Beyond the several books by authoritative nonviolent thinkers, see Drago (2007).

[11]Weber (1919) reiterates this question as o­ne of the most important o­nes.

[12]Indian tradition qualifies this epoch as the Kali Yuga, the Dark Age.

[13] Anthologies of Gandhis writings (an endless number of short articles comprising more than a hundred volumes) usually miss these criticisms. In Gandhi (1986), sections 108 and 110, are quoted the more mild o­nes.

[14]Vasto (1959). Summarised in three lectures in English which he gave in Gujarat Vidyapith in 1977; seehttp://www.wikilivres.info/wiki/Pilgrimage_to_Non-violence. A similar interpretation of original sin has been already suggested by Toynbee (1948). Incidentally, notice the following statement by Toynbee o­n religious violence: A church is in danger of lapsing into this idolatry insofar as she lapses into believing herself to be, not merely a depository of truth, but the sole depository of the whole truth in a complete and definite revelation. By merely replacing the term church, this statement may be applied to Science.

[15]In the history of interpretations of Apocalypse 13, the o­ne above is the first interpretation of a structural kind, i.e., it sees the actors in terms of social structures, instead of some individuals or even abstract ideas. As a consequence, it involves a conversion not o­nly at the personal, but also at the collective level, by means such as the conscientious objection. The foundation of a communitarian life is an instance of an alternative society [Lanza del Vasto founded, first in France (1948) and then in some other countries, the Ark communities, which are similar to Gandhian communities] and struggle to change both evil institutions and negative society.

[16]Some decades later, H. Jonas (1979) started a renewal of social ethics by supporting the view that we have to be responsible with respect to both mankind's survival and the welfare of future generations.

[17]For instance, there exist several celebrated books o­n the relationship between modern science and Eastern philosophies; e.g. Capra (1976), Zukov (1983). But they compare intuitively scientific notions with those of Eastern philosophies, without examining the formal notions of science.

[18]This shows that science includes a philosophy. Already a century ago o­ne scholar concluded his investigation into the foundations of science by the following insight: Metaphysics they [the scientists] tended more and more to avoid, so far as they could avoid it; so far as not, it became an instrument for their further mathematical conquest of the world (Burtt, 1924: 303).

[19] Kuhn (1969, ch. 9): The large body of eighteenth-century literature o­n chemical affinities and replacement series also derives from this supra-mechanical aspect of Newtonianism. Chemists who believed in these differential attractions between the various chemical species set up previously unimagined experiments and searched for new sorts of reactions. Without the data and the chemical concepts developed in that process, the later work of Lavoisier and, more particularly, of Dalton would be incomprehensible [this footnote refers to the historian Metzger]. Changes in the standards governing permissible problems, concepts, and explanations can transform a science. Here it is apparent that Kuhn wants to attribute Lavoisiers foundation of classical chemistry to a supra-mechanical aspect of Newtonianism. Hence, he does not see any alternative to Newtons mechanics. Otherwise, his conception of the scientific conflict as a conflict between a paradigm and its successive paradigm o­nly (not among contemporary paradigms), produced a paradoxical result; classical chemistry was to be considered the new paradigm, succeeding in the subsequent theoretical physics to Newtonian paradigm.

[20] Fox (1988) offers a final appraisal o­n the research carried out according to the dominant attitude among the historians of this case-study, i.e., interpreting S. Carnots exceptional theoretical novelties by means of historical factors of technological nature.

[21]Yushkevitch (1989); Drago (1995); Cicenia, Drago (1995).

[22] L. Carnot (1783, 1803, 1813, 1803). A first comprehensive study of Carnots work is C.C. Gillispie (1971). About the scientific relationship between the two Carnots see ch. III D. Notice that L. Carnots theory (which tackles an extremely complex situation, constituted by a machine composed of an unlimited number of levers, wheels and impacting parts), and even more so S. Carnots theory (which tackles the complexity of a gas, where there is a jumble of millions of billions of billions of molecules mutually impacting), show that a complex situation may be easily solved in scientific terms when the appropriate theoretical parameters are recognised. In fact, the aforesaid theories have abandoned the analytical attitude of examining the single parts, or molecules (a typical feature of Newtonian mechanistic physics), composing a system, and instead proceed to assess the situation using global parameters such as energy, volume, temperature and gas pressure. These theories were the beginning of a conflict with Newtonian theory, hence a conflict between the various physical theories. Notice that nothing is more complex than a conflict, because it is always changeable and unforeseeable in all its implications. Hence, the birth of complexity theory, underlining the complex phenomena which have to be formalised by a non-local, non-analytical attitude, may be seen as the first approach to notion of conflicts between scientific theories; in my opinion, such complexity is more relevant than complexity in reality. The weakness of present complexity theory also appears when o­ne considers that it does not make a clear choice between the analytical and the global attitude.

[23]See the lucid presentation of the alternative in the organization of a scientific theory, although he qualified as empirical the OP: L. Carnot (1783: 101-103; 1803: xii-xix); Drago (2004). Independently, both H. Poincaré and A. Einstein arrived at the same result: H. Poincaré (1903, ch. Optique et Electricité; 1905, ch. 7); Einstein (1957); Miller (1981: 123-142)].

[24] Drago (1995); Cicenia, Drago (1995); Drago, Perno (2004); Bazhanov, Drago (sub.).

[25]For a general view, see Nef (1952). A relevant exception was C. Huygens who wanted to exploit cannon powder to build an engine.

[26] Indeed, the Restoration institutionalized academic science according to a number of authoritarian constraints: (1) the setting up of scientific academies with rigid professional roles; 2) rigorous procedures to communicate and accept scientific results; (3) embedding science in a sophisticated (mathematical) language which acted as a barrier against those who wished to discuss fundamental problems; (4) splitting up scientific work in several fields, that are sharply separated o­ne from another (e.g., economics from physics, in particular thermodynamics; mathematics from computing machines, etc.); (5) maintaining scientificity as the final criterion also for solving social issues; that is, a monolithic science set above all other social values. See Ben-David (1974).

[27] Three decades ago an alternative within scientific theories was suggested by an important social problem, i.e, the energy crisis, which recalled the scientific alternative of o­ne century and a half earlier. Owing to the oil crisis of 1973, the Western world discovered that as a society it had never taken into account energy consumption and energy waste. In reaction, the dominant scientific attitude foresaw the same rate of progress as in previous years, i.e., an exponential growth of energy consumption; as a consequence, society had to produce a huge amount of energy (mainly electrical). It seemed that nuclear power, developed thanks to most advanced modern scientific theory, i.e. nuclear physics, could guarantee such levels of production. It was presented as the o­nly viable solution and its opponents were not credited with rationality. Yet surprisingly, the second principle of the older theory of thermodynamics contradicted the development of nuclear power. The American Physical Society discovered that, strangely enough, for overone hundred and fifty years Western society had not applied the specific scientific theory of energy, i.e., thermodynamics; whose central idea is that in any energy transformation the optimum yield is given by a S. Carnot cycle, whose efficiency depends o­n the difference between the temperatures of the heat source and the temperature of the final use; hence, it would be wise to choose that energy source whose temperature is as close as possible to the temperature of the final use. By disregarding this principle, the present social organization systematically leads to an enormous waste of energy (APS Study Group, 1976). The alternative energy planning chooses low temperature and renewable sources of energy, because they are more suited to the final use of energy at the local level. Hence, the question: How much energy? was followed by the question: What kind of energy? The debate made it clear that there exists a distinction between two radically different ways of producing energy for a society (US Senate, 1975; Lovins, 1977). o­ne may trace back the internal conflict within technology to S. Carnot who began his booklet o­n thermodynamics discussing energy planning for a society; moreover, he warned of energy crises and foresaw the great change in future society brought about by the widespread use of heat engines; and even more importantly, he suggested the criteria for achieving the greatest efficiency in energy transformations.

[28] Bishop (1967). Notice that the dominant mathematics, the so-called rigorous mathematics which was developed by both Cauchy and Weierstrass in the 19th century, includes actual infinity even in the basic notion of limit. See Kogbetlianz (1968, App. 2).

[29] Newmann, ed. (1956); Rapoport (1964). A celebrated application of Rapoports cleverly describes the arms race, carried o­n by the two super-powers, through the game of prisoners dilemma.

[30]Dummett (1977); Prawitz, Melmnaas (1968). In the following I underline the negative words in a doubly negated statement in order to show its nature.

[31]It is also wellknown that Marx, the theoretician of social conflicts, tried, by turning up side down Hegels metaphysical dialectics, to obtain a new logical way of arguing; but unsuccessfully, although he made use of many double negations.

[32]We have already remarked that in the energy debate, involving essentially scientific principles, there were two different and irreconcilable positions, of equal scientific validity; i.e., nuclear energy planning and soft-energy planning. In fact, a similar division occurred in each applied scientific sector. A similar division is clear in agriculture, between chemical-industrial agriculture o­n the o­ne hand, and organic, or biodynamic, or permacultural agriculture, etc. o­n the other. A similar division also exists in the health sector, between the dominant bio-chemical medicine and homeopathy, or acupuncture, or herbal medicine, etc. In general terms, alternative technologies were invented and were claimed to be independent of dominant technologies. There is no easy definition of these alternatives; however some instances are the bicycle instead of the motor car, wooden instead of concrete houses, solar panels instead of electricity for heating water.

[33]This remark was made by Hanson (1965) who ingeniously produced an almost exhaustive analysis of the inertia principle. See also Drago (1988).

[34]Drago (2001, 2003). In retrospect, Leibniz mechanics lacks two theoretical improvements: the introduction of the index of elasticity and the principle of virtual velocities (which was formulated by Bernoulli o­ne year after Leibnizs death).

[35] As an improvement of Leibniz philosophy of science, see Drago (1994). In particular, Poppers celebrated philosophy of science is interpreted as a new attitude inasmuch as it first made an implicit use of non-classical logic (Drago, Venezia, 2007).

[36] See Drago (1996). A crucial philosophical notion proves to be the incommensurability between two theories (Drago, 1999). Nowadays many think of science as a variety of scientific models by means of which o­ne sketches reality. In the present paper the word model has a more precise meaning; here, there are o­nly four models, each having its own peculiar features, which can be traced back to a pair of choices regarding the two options, which constitute the foundations of science.

[37]My motto sums up the paper by Feyerabend (1984).

[38]Of course, alternative science does not concern experimental laws, but o­nly the foundations of a scientific theory; i.e., the mathematical techniques for formalising experimental laws, the theoretical principle for understanding them systematically, the organization of them, and the logic for arguing about them.

[39] Let us recall King-Hall (1958). Then nonviolent defence was supported by Boserup, Mack (1974); Ebert (1981); Galtung (1984); Sharp (1985); and Drago (2006).

[40]On mechanics and social thinking, see Haret (1932); Freudenthal (1986).

[41] For the basic notions, see Scott (1971). For Leibniz basic remark see Leibniz: Letter to Lambert van Velthuysen (1671). For general considerations see Drago (1996).

[42]It is the main notion ofL. Carnots Eloge de Vauban (1985).

[43] This formula states the equality of the work done from the outside and the work of resistance performed the machine; work being defined as force times velocity times time, we have the formula FVT=fvt. From it o­ne sees that the main advantage of a stronghold is to oblige the besieger to act more rapidly than the besieged, so that a smaller number of besieged persons are able to resist a greater number of besiegers.

[44]These strategies are analysed in some papers edited in Italian; they are quoted and summarised in Drago (2006).

[45] See a detailed justification of this dictum of Gandhi in Drago (2000).

[46]Juridical statements similar to the main sentences of Agenda for Peace have been approved by the Italian Parliament: Laws 230/1998 and 64/2001.

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