Scientific Generalization by Functional Analysis of the Network of Interdependent Rates

The non-Euclideans moved geometry back to premises more remote than Euclid’s axioms, they developed methods of their own quite unlike Euclid’s, and though they did not impugn Euclid’s theorems, neither were they very interested in them; casually and incidentally they turn them up as particular cases in an enlarged and radically different field. … Einstein went beyond Newton by employing the new geometries to make time an independent variable; and as Newton transformed the formulation and interpretation of Kepler’s laws, so Einstein transforms the Newtonian laws of motion. … It is, we believe, a scientific generalization of the old political economy and of modern economics that will yield the new political economy which we need. … Plainly the way out is through a more general field. … It is the broad generalization. the significant correlation, that effectively organizes free men without breaking down their freedom. [CWL 21, 6-8]

(One can) determine in advance certain general attributes of the object under investigation. So the methods of the empirical sciences rest on the anticipation of systems of laws, of ideal frequencies, of genetic operators, of dialectical tensions. [CWL 3, 634/657]

“Functional” is a technical term pertaining to the realm of explanation, analysis, theory; it does not mean “who does what” in some commonsense realm of activity … Lonergan (identified) the contemporary notion of a “function” as one of the most basic kinds of explanatory, implicit definition – one that specifies “things in their relations to one another”…In Lonergan’s circulation analysisthe basic terms are rates – rates of productive activities and rates of payments.  The objective of the analysis is to discover the underlying intelligible and indeed dynamic (accelerative) network of functional, mutually conditioning, and interdependent relationships of these rates to one another. [CWL 15,  26-27  ftnt 27]

Leave a Reply