EAI OnScience

If the scientific spirit is applicable to the whole of a man's learning experience, why is all knowledge not scientifical? It isn't, because scientifical knowledge is by definition shared knowledge. Science is a special process to build a shared base of knowledge. This process has its costs, and its constraints. Not all knowledge is shared; not all knowledged is shareable; not all knowledge is even communicable.

So it be possible to add some information to the common knowledge base (and similarly to remove or modify information), this information must be communicated, and some relevant arguments must be communicated to justify it, too. Conversely, so it be useful to add information to the common knowledge base, this information must itself be relevant, such as to positively influence further common action. And whatever be the criterion for relevance used above, it must be one that is commonly acknowledged by those who share the knowledge base.

During this process of building shared knowledge, reason and the scientific spirit in general, are used as compressors, as economy-makers (and from a dynamical/historical point of view, that's precisely the justification of their having successfully survived and overcome competition through natural selection): they are protocols that help select, transform, reorganize, and use information, in a way that optimizes results with respect to the amount of resources involved. To reuse the thermodynamical metaphor developed by Henry Baker about Garbage Collection in computer memory managers, Reason acts as a cooling device, which reduces the entropy (and energy) in one's internal information repository, drops information that is now useless noise, and reclaims resources that may be reused for new knowledge manipulations.

There can be information sharing without the scientific spirit. Actually, there is. Persistent information sharing per se is called tradition. Science is only a particular way to build traditions. But as far as traditions go, Science is what allows them to evolve best to be fit to their purpose (whichever it is) when it is knowable. Traditions without science is like cooking without a refrigerator: most data rots before it gets a chance to be used.

This page is linked from: Ethics and Information