Physics, biology, and sociology: A reappraisal
To the extent that all biological phenomena are perceivable only through their physical manifestations, it may be justified to assume that all biological phenomena will be eventually represented in terms of physics; perhaps not of present day physics, but of some “extended” form of it. However, even if this should be correct, it must be kept in mind that representing individual biological phenomena in terms of physics is not the same as deducing from known physical laws the necessity of biological phenomena. Drawing an analogy from pure mathematics, it is possible that while every biological phenomenon may be represented in terms of physics, yet biological statements represent a class of “undecidable” statements within the framework of physics. Such a conjecture is reinforced by the history of physics itself and illustrated on several examples. The 19th century physicists tried in vain todeduce electromagnetic phenomena from mechanical ones. A similar situation may exist in regard to biological and social sciences. Quite generally, the possibility of representing a class B phenomena in terms of class A phenomena does not imply that the phenomena of class B can be deduced from those of class A. The consequences of the above on the relation between physics, biology, and sociology are studied. A tentative postulational formulation of basic biological principles are given and some consequences are discussed. It is pointed out that not only can the study of biological phenomena throw light on some physical phenomena, but that the study of social phenomena may be of value for the understanding of the structures and functions of living organisms. The possibility of a sort of “socionics” is indicated.