business cycles by Toyota

UCSB Hist 2c, Lecture 2:
Theory & Change
lecture on Apr. 6, 2006 (prev., next)

by Professor Harold Marcuse (homepage)
contact: marcuse@history.ucsb.edu
created Apr. 14, 2006, updated 4/16/06


Theory and Change
Survey Results
Sources & Paradigms
Enlightenment
Scientific Revolutions

Theory and Change (back to top)

I began with one of my favorite quotations, by the Hungarian film critic and screenwriter Béla Balázs, written in 1925:
Theory is not "gray."
It is the horizon of the possible, a roadmap that shows new ways of doing old things, and new places to go.
Theory is freedom from the apparently unchangeable way things are, which it unmasks as one possibility among hundreds.
Theory breaks the ruts of coincidence and gives us the courage to undertake voyages of discovery. It makes every step we take an act of free choice.
Theory does not have to be true to inspire great works--most great discoveries were based on false hypotheses!

  • I emphasized two thingstoyota industrial cycle graph: theories are our attempts to understand and thereby control the world around us, and theories don't have to be true to enable important insights.
  • I showed an image of a "world-historical" projection made by CEOs at Toyota Motor Corp. that is the basis of their future investment strategy. It draws directly on the history of industrialization that I'll lecture about next week.
    • They observed that important developments in transportation and communications occurred in cycles 55 years apart that lasted about 75 years.
    • These were: canals, railroads, and highways.
    • If the pattern holds, telecommunications might be the wave of the future.
    • However: why not air cargo, or space flight?
    • Does it matter? It gives them a justification for an investment strategy. Even if it is utterly wrong, it might be a great strategy.

Survey Results (back to top)

220 students are currently enrolled in the course. By Wednesday evening 162 had taken the survey.

  • Where were they from?
    149 (92%) from California, 3 from the West, 3 midwest, 3 east, 0 south, 4 non-US.
  • What majors?
    46% history, 10% more humanities for 56% total; 37% social sciences, 6% natural sciences
  • What class year?
    27% freshmen, 33% sophomores, 28% juniors, 17% seniors
  • Why are they taking this course?
    47% GE requirement, 36% major requirement, 11% interest, 6% other reasons
  • Who has taken other Hist 2 or Hist 4 courses already?
    5 have taken 2A, 12 2B, 11 2AB (25% total); 19 some Hist 4, 12 both 2&4 (19% total);
    62% neither 2 nor 4.
  • What is your religion?
    none 32%, Christian 46%, Jewish 8%, Muslim 1%, Hindu/Buddhist 6%, other 7%
    For comparison here are some figures for the US population as a whole (2001 ARIS study):
    none 14%, Christian 76%, Jewish 1.3%, Muslim .5%, Buddhist/Hindu 1.2%, other 7%
    World religions statistics (infoplease/Encyc.Britt., Wikipedia/adherents.com):
    none 13%, Christian 33%, Jewish .22$, Muslim 20$, Buddhist/Hindu 13+6=19%,
    Chinese traditional 6%, primal-indiginous 6%
  • Family income (ignoring family size and marital status):
    <$50,000: 28%;  $50-100,000: 36%; >$100,000: 36%
  • Education level (parents, also grandparents):
    parents no college: 17%, some college 22%, BA 22%, post-graduate 23%, also grandparents  some college: 16%. Thus 39% of parents had no BA, 61% had BA or more.
  • Correlation of education level and income (numbers, not percentages):
                        p.no.col.   p.some col.  p.BA   p.grad.  p+gp BA
    >$100,000      1                7               10       24          16
    $50-100,000   6               18              15       12           8
    <$50,000       21               10             10         2           2
  • Political orientation:
    Republican 17%, Democratic 50%, Green/Independent 5%, other 18%, don't vote 9%
  • correlation major party orientation to income:
                              Rep.   Dem.
    >$100,000          15       3
    $50-100,000         8     25
    <$50,000              3     35
  • What is history?
    The past: 6%; knowledge about the past: 26%; interpretations of knowledge about past: 68%.
    The 68% (n=110) breaks down by major into:
    25/43=58% undeclared; 39/91=43% humanities; 38/60=63% soc. sci; 8/10=80% nat.sci.
    By class year, this percentage chose "interpretations":
    57% of freshmen, 67% of sophomores, 79% of juniors, 68% of seniors.
  • Are primary sources necessarily more reliable than secondary sources?
    yes 62%, no 38%
    (brief discussion: est. number of victims on 9/11/2001; number of hurricane Katrina victims)
  • People in the past thought and behaved in exactly the same way as people today, only the setting was different for them.
    agree 28%, disagree 72%
  • What are your goals in the course? (52 text box responses):
    48 said to learn (30=62% of 48) or understand (12=25% of 48), better comprehension, etc.
    2 said to learn to think critically or analytically (my goal--I'm out of sync with this class!)
    2: get an "A"; 1: gain an appreciation; 1: learn why secondary better than primary

Concepts: Sources, Paradigms, Scientific Revolutions (back to top)

Sources (RampollaRampolla, cover, Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 4th ed., p. 5f:)

  • Primary: "materials produced by people or groups directly involved in the event or topic under consideration, either as participants or witnesses."
  • Secondary: "books and articles in scholarly journals that comment on and interpret primary sources."
  • I told an anecdote about how my reaction to a strange "documentary" film about Hiroshima differed from the reactions of the high school history teachers attending a Univ. of the Pacific workshop on "How to teach world history" in the summer of 2001.

ParadigmKuhn, Structure, cover

  • Standard dictionary definition: "example, pattern, model"
  • Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962):
    1. a framework for understanding something, a worldview ("big" paradigm)
    2. a model for how to do or organize something ("little" paradigm)
    3. note how the cover image can change from being 9 boxes, or a snowflake-like flat pattern, or 4 boxes sticking out of a corner background. All three can describe the same image.
      (3 students saw 9 boxes; 2 saw snowflakes, 6 saw 4 boxes)

How does science evolve, progress?

  • note: this is about "revolutionary" (that is, completely new) changes in the scientific theories that explain natural phenomena, NOT "The Scientific Revolution," a historical development in Europe in the late 1500s and early 1600s that changed the way whole societies conceived of the world (namely as explicable by law that could be discovered by people).
  • Kuhn: scientific revolutions can be conceived of as "paradigm changes"
    • start with "normal science:" use of paradigm to explore and solve new problems
    • anomalies start to appear; ignored or "explained" as exceptions
    • new paradigm is proposed, usually by an outsider
    • "mopping up"--new paradigm is used to try to explain old problems, anomalies and new areas
  • Examples of paradigms:
    • Ptolemy (ca. 90-168ptolomaic and copernican universes) vs. Copernicus (1473-1543): geocentric vs. heliocentric universes:
      • Pope asked Copernicus to recalculate the calendar (because of the 1/4 day in our 365.25 day journey around the sun), the calendar had gotten WAY off over hundreds of years.
      • In the preface of his publication De Revolutionibus (1543) Copernicus anticipates that readers will find he heliocentric model ridiculous and tells them it's "just" a good model for calculating, but not reality. Read it yourself in this English translation of On Revolutions.
      • If humanity is not at the center of the universe, are we then just a speck of meaningless nothingness in some random place in the universe?
      • This has profound implications for our belief in God, and in the nature of that supreme being.
    • Aristotelian (384-322BCE) vs. Newtonian (1643-1727) mechanics
      • I did a demonstration with a heavy and a light ball, how Aristotle's paradigm explained motion as a property intrinsic to an object, dependent on its mass.
      • This "little" paradigm actually entails a whole different world view.
    • 1962 Union Carbide ad in National Geographic magazine vs. Bhopal 1984 (see bhopal.org)
      aerial view of Bhopal, 1984
    • World History vs. Western Civ.: different ways of valuing what's important in history, what we need to know in order to understand the world around us. (see links in lecture 1)

Enlightenment (back to top)

Enlightenment: 2 definitions

  • "Western:" intellectual movement stressing the power of human reason
  • "Eastern:" the goal of all spiritual striving; the ultimate spiritual attainment

What is Enlightenment?

  • Berlin pastor wrote an article against civil marriage: done "in the name of Enlightenment"
  • 1784 essay competition by the secret "Wednesday society" in Berlin (existed Fall 1783-Oct. 1789)
  • A book with translations all of the answers submitted was published in 1996 by James Schmidt (ed.), What Is Enlightenment?: Eighteenth-Century Answers and Twentieth-Century Questions (full text searchable on amazon--see table of contents for list of essays)
  • one answer by: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), 1784:
    Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage.
    Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his intellect without direction from another.
    Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another.
    Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own reason!
    That is the motto of enlightenment.

Carriers of Movement: "Philosophes" in Salons Madame Geoffrin's salon
(what an ideal 2c discussion section would be like!)

  • About 25-30 students had read Voltaire's Candide (1759)
    • It was a kind of "persuasive essay" (like the Equiano book we'll be reading, but fiction)
    • Context, courtesy of sparknotes.com

Encyclopedia

  • A huge project to compile all of the knowledge on earth.
  • Edited by Denis Diderot (1713-1784) and Jean d'Alembert (1717-1783)
  • Contributors: Rousseau, Voltaire,
  • published 1751 to 1772
  • 17 volumes text, 11 volumes of plates
  • See the Context and Plot Overview pages at sparknotes.com; full text at literature.org.
Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Jean d'Alembert
(1717-1783)
Title page
Copy in Paris
(UCSB has a copy, too)
Sample page: button-making
Sample page: brick-making



Scientific revolution(s) (back to top)

I didn't have time to cover this, but I want to point out that there is a difference between THE Scientific Revolution (wikipedia), and the many revolutions of scientific understanding that Kuhn writes about. Here are some good pages about The Scientific Revolution:

Here are some links to more information about Thomas Kuhn and his Structure of Scientific Revolutions (originally published 1962):


prepared for web by Harold Marcuse, April. 14, 2006, updated: see header
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