Friday, December 07, 2012

Reconsidering the Relations Among the Spontaneous Orders

I have recently been thinking about the relations among the different spontaneous orders. I have typically been thinking of them according to Fred Turner's divisions into economies: market, political, gift, and divine. The market economy contains the catallaxy (exchange spontaneous order) and the monetary order and technology. The gift economy contains the scientific order, the artistic orders, and the philanthropic order. The political economy would contain government, including the democratic order. The divine economy contains religion and the religious order.

However, I have come to realize that one can also divide the orders into the good/morality, the true, wisdom, and practical living. There are spontaneous orders in each. And these orders can be divided into abstract, concrete, and mixed. Consider:

                      Abstract              Mixed                          Concrete
The True:   Math                     Natural Science      Science & math tech
The Good: Social Sciences  Governance            Philanthropy
Wisdom:    Philosophy           Religion                   The Arts
Practical:   Money                   Catallaxy                 Technology for living

All spontaneous orders overlap to some degree. All influence each other. However it is interesting to note that the True and the Practical are very closely connected (computers developed for the True are now used extensively in the Practical). And the Good and Wisdom are closely related. One could even argue that the Wisdom orders affect the moral order, which then finds its expression in the orders of the Good.

Note, too, that I divided the sciences. The social sciences are in fact moral sciences, and properly belong in the Good, not the True. This is not to say that the social sciences are not concerned with learning what is true-- only that that is not their primary function. This matters for how these science are properly understood and done. It also points to the fact that they are somewhere between Wisdom and the True.

If there is any idea I would love to get a great deal of feedback on, it's this.


John MacEachern said...

I like it. It's elegant.

Xerographica said...

Personally...I lean towards pragmatic ethics so I wouldn't necessarily use terms such as "true", "good" and "wisdom".

And I'm not quite sure that I grasp the usefulness of such a method of categorization.

Perhaps I see more value in lumping rather than splitting. What's a god? Anybody you sacrifice to. Here I am sacrificing my limited time to are my god. If I don't feel like I'm getting the most bang for my sacrifice then I'll worship elsewhere.

Therefore..."freedom" is simply religious tolerance.

I'm surprised you didn't comment on Peter Leeson's recent paper on human sacrifice. It's right up my alley so I've been writing a critical review.

Troy Camplin said...

er, like a good butcher, makes proper divisions -- you divide at the joints. The purpose of making divisions is to understand relations, to understand the differences among similar processes. I think it matters a great deal if the social sciences should be properly categorized with government and philanthropy than with math, the physical sciences, and technology. And what does it tell you that religion is a combination of abstract wisdom and concrete wisdom -- philosophy and mythos/stories? And what does it tell you that there are in fact two different kinds of spontaneous orders of technological innovation? I haven't thought through the implications of all this quite yet, but I am pretty sure the implications are profound.

I do need to write a response to the Leeson paper. Especially given the fact that I have several times made mention of human sacrifice.

Troy Camplin said...

That's weird. The first part of my comment was cut off. I said:

Socrates points out in Plato's Phaedrus that a good philosopher, like a good butcher . . .

Xerographica said...

Plants are another interest of mine. I've spent quite a bit of time researching their cultural requirements, studying the conditions of their native habitats...and experimenting with different cultivation techniques. My goal is to successfully grow them...which taxonomy has very little bearing on.

When it comes to terms of helping people understand the cultural requirements of a healthy's equally hard for me to really appreciate the practical merits of taxonomy.

I'd love to read your response to Leeson's paper. As far as I can tell...our perspectives on sacrifice aren't all that it would be interesting to see how your response compares to my own.