TitleBreaking walls to build bridges
NameMardari, Ghenadi (author), Bathory, Peter D. (chair), Kubik, Jan (internal member), Bronner, Stephen E. (internal member), Loewer, Barry (outside member), Flores, Eduardo V. (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Science and civilization,
DescriptionPublic support for social policies or movements is often determined by intuitive considerations, perceived as matters of common sense. Existing theories interpret these dispositions in one of two ways: either as genetic traits inherited from hominid ancestors (evolutionary psychology), or as reified elements of cultural practices (social constructivism). Both of these approaches imply that common sense is local and context-dependent, without any primordial components. Nevertheless, rationality cannot emerge in material environments without a set of necessary beliefs. This means that common sense incorporates universal elements as well. By treating shared factual knowledge as subjective and the basic intuitions as objective (not the other way around), it is possible to understand the roots of cultural paradigms and the parameters that lead to their change over time. The interplay between belief and knowledge determines the type of principles that have the strongest appeal in any society. This process works at the level of the individual, especially in the early formative years, and shapes the generational transfer of values. Of special interest is the possibility of cultural change induced by advancements in science. For example, the social relevance of scientific rationality depends on the perceived compatibility between the necessary intuitions and the supported interpretations of physical phenomena. Global effects are possible in the long run, given the universality of relevant categories. Even the modern trend towards cultural fundamentalism can be reversed, assuming favorable conditions. The goal of this dissertation is to provide a foundation for future research on the evolution of common sense. It is designed as an argument in three main steps. The first part aims to deduce the types of internal and external observables that determine the emergence of rational self-consciousness. The second part derives a limited list of physical properties that can be used to validate the ontological status of rationality. Those properties are shown to be compatible with existing empirical observations (but not with their interpretation) in the third part. These conclusions suggest that the progress of democracy can be influenced by future scientific developments, especially through changes in the qualitative approaches to fundamental physical interactions.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Ghenadi Mardari
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.