Start page

Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

Personal web site


Philosophical Reflections

The decision to disclose my philosophical reasoning, which was hardly less than years than myself, was taken after reading the book «The Idea of ​​History» by Robin Collingwood. When reading it turned out that some of his thoughts matured on my own, so they should be worth something. However, there is a desire for something in Kolingwood supplement and there is already a certain risk in this. To go to such a risk allowed me to carry out research, the results of which the late Kolingwood were unknown, but I do not doubt that he would interpret them better than I would.

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance mission captured thrilling footage of its rover landing in Mars' Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. It seems that far-reaching plans for space exploration are starting to come true. When interested people seek the allocation of huge sums of money or they invest in the preparation and implementation of flights into deep space, it seems unreasonable and hopeless for several reasons. Scientists who have dedicated their activities to solving the practical issues of space exploration better than others understand the premature of such a grandiose human enterprise, but their voices remain unheard [VOKIN G.G. 2015]. Meanwhile, their arguments are not abstract but follow from the applied content of the set theory, stability theory, and reliability theory. First, the goals of space exploration should be defined more precisely. Simple curiosity and personal ambition aside, goals can be socio-economic, existential-pragmatic, scientific, and political. If we talk about socio-economics, then it should be recognized that at present on space flights we «must spend the already limited resources of the Earth, not receiving from Space in return at least an equivalent of energy or matter» [Ibid, 20]. In other words, hoping for the commercialization of space is nothing but a thoughtless waste of money. Moreover, the conditions for human existence, his «niche» exist only on Earth, and at present, there is no need and prerequisites for the acquisition of qualities that allow one to go beyond the boundaries of this area of existence.

If we keep in mind the scientific goals of space navigation, then we can talk not only about the origin and history of the development of such a space object as the Earth but also about the appearance of people on it and about their spiritual and physical development in the process of human civilization in its various manifestations, that is about what the humanities study. However, the humanities are lagging behind the accelerated development of technology, and this imbalance indicates that there is a large skewness in our worldview, which can lead to a situation where space will become uninteresting to us, and the problem of survival will force us to do what we previously neglected. Such misfortune can be avoided by allocating funds for the development of the humanities commensurate with those spent on space exploration, attracting talented young people, and looking for new research methods. Their effective use would bring us closer to answering the fundamental questions of the world order and human existence in it. Analysis of mankind’s space activities shows that achievements in this area are accompanied by a significant increase in the number of problematic issues, including of a humanitarian nature. However, in the humanities, a huge amount of factual data has already been accumulated and the increase in the volume of knowledge does not simplify, but complicates the picture of the world, making it also more uncertain what is related to space research:

The results obtained in the natural sciences acquire true meaning only when the criteria developed in the humanities are applied to them [VOKIN G.G. 2015: 4].

The political goals of space exploration under the conditions of the existence of a systemic crisis as a state of the modern world can only be an ill-considered adventure calculated for an external effect without a convincing ontological justification, which is generally typical of international politics in general. It must be borne in mind that currently, human society is experiencing a civilizational revolution, passing through a kind of rite of passage.

In this process, there is a rethinking of the scientific and technological achievements of mankind, and plans for space exploration make us think how much these achievements allow their implementation. Particularly for space flights, cheap and efficient sources of high energy are needed, which can provide a sufficiently high speed to spacecraft. Back in the middle of the 20th century, optimistic forecasts were imposed on the possibility of controlling thermonuclear fusion. As it turned out, this requires the creation of ultra-large focusing magnetic or electric fields, and high temperatures, which requires not only a large number of funds but also new materials with the desired characteristics. This is the technical aspect of the issue, but even more important is the creation of a reliable system for ensuring and preserving the moral, psychophysiological, and physical qualities of astronauts during long flights. Space medicine should be based on remedies and methods tested on Earth, but even in terrestrial conditions, effective methods of treating common and dangerous diseases have not yet been found.

Medicine is a science, developed by which remedies and means of treatment can be tested in practice, but to verify the truth of research results in other social sciences and humanities, decades of application are needed, and in historical sciences, there is no reliable criterion of truth in many cases at all. This led to the development of the virtual-simulative nature of many research works in the development and deepening of erroneous theories that arose at an early stage of the formation of certain scientific disciplines.

As Francis Bacon noted 400 years ago, a person is inclined to believe in what he prefers, while truth cannot always be interesting or useful to him. It concerns especially the questions about the origin of peoples and their early history. Mythic historiography can satisfy a person more than unusual and unrecognized results, which contradict traditional conceptions. However, the mistaken conception of the prehistory of peoples disturbs the causal relationship between prehistoric and historical events and its scientific value will be zero. The policy of the states based on false ideas led to and can lead in the future to catastrophic consequences. A typical example gives the policy of Nazi Germany, based on the idea of the superiority of the so-called Aryan race, even though such a race does not exist at all, although the people known as Aryan are known in history, the Germans have a very distant relation to them.

The notion of the Aryan superior race is closely related to the widespread prejudice among Europeans about the superiority of Western civilization, generally called Eurocentrism. According to historians in other parts of the world, the emergence of the ideology of Nazism is associated just with the Eurocentric worldview [KARATAY OSMAN. 2003: 6]. In their opinion, a stable template dominates in European historiography in defining relations between nomadic peoples and developed states of the ancient world, which is characterized as a constant struggle between barbarians and civilization. [Ibid: 3]. Even if the peoples of ancient civilizations, as well as of the modern Western world, were superior in some way to other peoples, from a philosophical point of view it cannot be said that they were or are on the correct path of development. The persistent political crises in ancient China and Persia, the decline of Greece, and the destruction of the Roman and later empires contradict this view.

We know about the achievements of nomadic peoples, which largely determine the course of history, such as the domestication of a wild horse, the development of horse and wheeled transport, highly developed metalworking, the improvement of weapons, methods of management, and others. The expansion of pastoralist tribes is due to the use of the horse in the expansion and search for pastures. Horseback riding, and raiding neighbors to steal cattle led to a redistribution of wealth, social stratification of society, and the formation of tribes under the leadership of leaders who were also high priests. However, scientists do not always know exactly the ethnicity of the tribes and use their assumptions. In search of the reasons for the leadership of the Europeans, they proceed from the position that the economic activity of the Indo-Europeans was focused mainly on animal husbandry, placing the ancestral home of the Indo-Europeans in the steppe space to the east from the Lower Dnieper to the Southern Urals [PAVLENKO Yu.V. 2004: 229-230]. However, in science, there are other assumptions about the location of the ancestral home of the Indo-Europeans [STETSYUK VALENTYN. 1998: 27-36, 42-44]. In the same way, the ancestral home of the Turks has been the subject of endless controversy for many decades with the prejudice of European scholars who pushed the Turks to the sidelines of world history:

When it was necessary to find an ancestral home for the Türks, some places in northeastern Siberia were deemed suitable, and it was clear that the Türks should be content with this and that they did not deserve more [KARATAY OSMAN. 2003: 6]

The localization of the ancestral home of modern peoples is of paramount importance for the restoration of their history, since in ancient history many peoples are looking for their greatness. In the study of these problematic issues, European scholars are especially active and dictate to scientists from other countries to follow their research methods and the conclusions obtained with their help. This is seen from the outside in another controversial issue of the possible kinship of the Turkic and Mongolian languages:

The Indo-Europeanists dictated and continue to dictate to the Turkologists the ways and methods of studying ethnogenesis and other problems of the history and linguistics of the Türkic peoples [LAYPANOV K.T., MIZIEV I.M. 2010: 4].

On this topic, the struggle of opinions in the scientific world has been going on for many decades, and none of them have become generally accepted:

At present, this problem, like many others, results in a dispute between whole generations of scientists, neither of which can convince each other. [CLAUSON G. 1969: 22].

50 years have passed since these lines were written, but the situation has not changed at all. Mutually exclusive views suggest that one of them is wrong. In this regard, there is doubt about the effectiveness of research methods in historical linguistics. When science is powerless to solve fundamental problems, erroneous theories can acquire a racial character, which does not promote balanced relations between peoples, undermine their peaceful nature, and are fraught with armed conflicts in which space can also be used.

The inability of the humanities to arrive at the truth using available knowledge leads to attempts to synthesize the humanities and natural sciences primarily through the use of mathematical methods that has long been accepted by scientists:

It is important only that all sorts of human and world relationships are easiest to denote by numbers, volume, and position in space and time, as they can easily fit into the framework of mathematical symbols [SWIENCYCKYI I., 1927: 53].

However, unsuccessful attempts to mathematize the humanities lead to the conclusion that their possibility to do this is limited by the fundamental absence in them of a «quantitative measure for the overwhelming majority of concepts» <[VOIN A.M. 2016] and by the lack of necessary methods in mathematics itself.

This sad conclusion is somewhat far from the truth. Linguistics can process large volumes of units of the vocabulary of languages and this opportunity is implemented. In particular, reliable results can be obtained by using the graphic-analytical method that allows to find the original places of settlements of ancient peoples and determine the ethnicity of archeological cultures, and according to them the peculiarities of the spiritual world of their creators [STETSYUK VALENTYN. 1998].

Unfortunately, not always the truth cannot seem useful for political reasons, and this is a problem of political science and epistemology too. Learning about the prehistory and relationships of modern peoples through effective methods can be as exciting and rewarding as exploring space. Development of the latest research methods in other humanities and sociological sciences can be no less, and maybe more useful. It is impossible to stop the process of space exploration, but its pace should be coordinated with the development of the humanities.