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yaminbookd1a PDF Constantinopla / Constantinople: El imperio olvidado / The yaminbookd1a PDF Fondazione anno zero by Isaac Asimov. Isaac Asimov - Bibliografia (Ita).pdf - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File . txt) or read online for free. Fondazione anno zero, Mondadori, Milano 15 Isaac Asimov, "Fondazione anno Zero", Mondadori [original "Forward the Foundation", ] 13 Psychohistory Justifications 4 THE PREVISION.
Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Praxeology, Psychohistory, Economics. This foundation will be compared and evaluated trough profiles of possible continuity between the imaginary creation of his author and the analytical perspective borrowed from the science of "Praxeology" theorized by the Austrian economist and philosopher Ludwig Von Mises. I will then underline some particular features of this two visions, referring to the possibility of the prevision of future states of the world in an economic sense.
Studying society, we put humans in the place of subatomic particles, but in that case the additional factor of the human mind takes over" Asimov then demonstrates to be acquainted with the fact that the "prevision" in the field of physics is in a certain sense more viable than it is in the field of social sciences; furthermore the distinction he accomplish do not differ substantially from that of Von Mises.
After determining that the first reason why a man act is reaching an end he has determined Von Mises develops his observations. To the Austrian it is confusing to evaluate this dynamic in the same way we could evaluate the fall of a mass, but it is also clear that Praxeology can only be limited to study how the predetermined end is reached. Praxeology is, in this sense, the study of the means and not of the end. Von mises supports his position by stating that the way through the man predetermines his purpose can not be the subject of any science that has a claim of precision, because such a process, which takes place within the mind of a single man, will never be analyzed and deeply understood by other men.
According to Von Mises in fact it can be established that a certain mean to achieve a purpose is wrong while the purpose itself can not be decreed right or wrong. If in Praxeology and economics the impossibility to determine and manipulating directly people "Value judgment" is a major limit, in Psychohistory there is an imaginary overcome of this problem.
Hari Seldon realizes that his adopted son and her granddaughter are gifted with such a capacity and assumes that there are other people who can identify "Value Judgments" of human beings. Asimov gives an explanation more or less likely to happen regarding this extraordinary power. During the narration it is exposed that such a "sense" was innate in every men in the dawn of time but after word and verbal language development human potential in catching what other think atrophies but it is still preserved as a unexpressed ability.
Second Foundation members recovered this lost ability and communicate in fact among themselves not through natural language but perceiving what every speaker want actually transmits without the intermediation of an elaborated language.
Studies on our brain potentials are considered from the major experts in the field at a primigenial status, despite progresses which succeeded in the last few decades; a lapidary and effective quotation regarding the possible and unimaginable future development of these frontier of scientific exploration may be the one expressed by Marcel Dust, D.
If the "First Foundation" was populated by holders of natural sciences knowledge, the "Second Foun- dation" was created only by people featured with such extraordinary power. The location of the planet intended to host the First Foundation was supposed to be known to the rest 14 This quotation is taken by the film "Lo and behold "  by Werner Herzog. Second Foundation would have instead worked in incognito and would have been the real holder of the responsibility of "Seldon project", namely the shortening of the centuries of anarchy tentative.
Going forward in the story it is discovered that the Second Foundation has always worked in secret by changing the behavior of some humans to order the course of history as Seldon had conjectured. We can then hazard a parallelism: that just like economics forecasts the predictions of Psychohistory would be impossible without people able to manipulate in a direct way "preferences" of agents and managing in this way to give a direction to the development of history in order to let it coincide with the forecast.
I will start by recalling some observations of Von Mises regardind to history and philosophy of history. The Austrian determined the distinction between social and natural world and differentiated among human judgments between "Value" and "Technical" judgments establishing in this way his epistemo- logical assumptions and justifying his adoption of a dual method. Von Mises then proceed his studying criticizing the collectivist and organicist approach in philosophy of history.
The creator of Praxeology, indeed, considers assigning to groups of individuals outcomes that must be necessarily linked exclusively to a single agent methodologically wrong and misleading in results. For this reason Von Mises states that every historian should start from the assumption that " According to Von Mises "civilizations" are exclusively the product of a multiplicity of actions done by individuals and born from their preferences, it is with this perspective that historians must interpret historical facts, not by considering collective entities as being endowed with the ability to act.
The historian must therefore find out which were the "Value judgments" of people who acted and whose actions led to a particular movement of history in one direction rather than in another. Von Mises stresses therefore that ".. In the dialogue between Hari Seldon and the Emperor, which I mentioned, we have found a passage in which the impossibility to make a prediction in social sciences is discussed. Asimov was able to go round this impossibility by introducing an actually plausible condition which existence could make possible to achieve satisfactory results: that the population of the analyzed social context is enormously large.
This assumption allows Asimov to conclude that the forecast will have an enormously greater chance of fulfillment if the aggregate effects produced by populations are considered, 15 Isaac Asimov, "Fondazione anno Zero", Mondadori [original "Forward the Foundation", ] 13 4.
Asimov concludes through the character of Hari Seldon that with an enormously large population actions and behaviors "distant" from those of the average of individuals are negligible, therefore macroscopic and collective trends can be observed with an inexistent error margin. This conclusion goes clearly into collision with Von Mises methodological individualism, who argued that this kind of approaches had no justification and led to results of dubious reliability.
Inside the novel context such a condition was obviously not out of the ordinary. In the far future where the story takes place people are distributed across thousands of planets and solar systems, which allows to assume that the population will actually be abundant, even enormous.
To quote Asimov, in "Second Foundation"16 : "The individual acts unpredictably, but Seldon found that the reactions of the masses could be studied by statistical methods: the greater was the human agglomeration, the more accurate forecasts were.
And the mass of humanity on which Seldon based was even the entire population of the Galaxy". In "Foundation and Empire"17 , there is a twist: "Seldon project" forecasts the protagonist of the cycle had calculated do not realize due the intervention of a single individual.
A character introduced in the second novel of the main trilogy called "The Mule" has the power I already described that enables him to know and condition human emotions.
In a context in which the planet of Foundation is strong thanks to Hari Seldon forecasts - which stated that that the planet and his function would have always been flourishing - the Mule becomes his first conqueror against all prognostics. Foundation scholars are dumbfounded, they thought that Hari Seldon had not considered the possibility that an individual of this type existed.
The Mule is the character who breaks the balance that should have been maintained given the size of the population: if we adopt Von Mises point of view he represents a single individual whose ideas, whose "Value judgments", could not have been decisive. Von Mises would have however considered Psychohistory wrong despite the intervention of the Mule.
The justification according to which chaotic behavior and predictability in social contexts decreases as the population is higher is a justification Von Mises would consider irrelevant. According to Praxeology the reason for which methodological individualism is the only way is not the supposed chaos due to the unpredictable actions of individuals, but the simple truth that it is not possible to properly assign to a group of individuals an "intention". In previous pages we have observed that it was the discovery of Seldon regarding the existence of this particular type of individuals, as the Mule is, to allow him to develop Psychohistory.
In fact at this point of the narration the "Second Foundation" takes over. Many characters interpret the advent of the Mule as something Hari Seldon had not taken into account: as we have already said Psychohistory was based on population trends and not on individuals actions. The possibility that a single agent would have changed the course of history, just as the Mule does, is clearly a deviation from the "Seldon project", namely the future of the Galaxy that the character had hoped to become true thanks to "trends" inspired by the two Foundations.
During a conversation between the Mule and a Second Foundation agent in the first part of "Second Foundation" the latter says: " His creations had no final nature: this fact is typical of a mindset in decline, his was an evolving mechanism. We can infer from this statement that the role of Second Foundation in "Seldon project" and in his prediction of the future is fundamental.
Hari Seldon understood that he could complete his plan only after discovering the existence of charac- ters like the Mule, which had the power to update and develop his forecast. Asimov introduction of this information brings Psychohistory on a ground actually closer to us, more walkable: as stated in the first pages of "Prelude to Foundation" the forecast is theoretically possible but very complicated in its realization. Hari Seldon just needed after his death persons who had the ability to act in order to change the course of history, exactly as the Mule did.
Actually, "Seldon project" was not a thousand-year forecast, but just a contingent action plan, a goal that Second Foundation members would have tried to achieve given the updating of the framework inside which they would have operated and that Seldon could not have foreseen.
We may conclude after these considerations that if in the beginning of the story it seems that Psy- chohistory method is the one of collectivism, nevertheless, during the novel we find out instead that the single individual has a fundamental importance in human history development.
His ideas, his "Value judgments", as Von Mises called them, have a major role during the narrative development of the "Story" of the science fiction universe Asimov invented.
We can therefore say that if any "historian" would follow the historical analysis method proposed by Von Mises, given Praxeology assumptions, he would actually perform the best analysis that he could lead just by seeking "Value judgments"; the ones that in Asimov creation constitute foundation cycle characters "ideas": therefore the creation by Hari Seldon and the first group of Psychohistorians of the firsts two foundations, the Mule willingness to conquer the Galaxy thank to his power, the successful attempt by Second Foundation agents to eliminate the dictatorial Mule and free the First Foundation by his control.
The expressiveness and clarity with which Asimov describes Mule actions and the fact that he managed to shake across the galaxy to stop him is an indication of the fact that probably the author believed that individual agents ideas were the only engines from which historical development departed.
Hence we must ask - provided to be aware of the fact that this is just a speculative exercise, considering Foundation tale as a story that would only and exactly be as reported by his author - what potential would economics hides in that context if it would be carried nowadays and what developments could this science has if it could take into account assumptions that are now inconceivable, such as an enormously larger population than the earth have or the existence of individuals as the Mule is.
If "Psychohistory" starts from the assumption that an exorbitant population would succeed in reducing the influence of individuals on the aggregate development of events still this would not manage to solve the problem of the universality of obtained results.
Psychohistory minimum considers the fact that the practice of finding and establishing a standard trend, whether it is deduced by thousand or hundred thousand data samples, leaves however a problem of "resistance" of that trend which is not solved. Asimov surely knew the controversy about statistical inference and in many circumstances he makes his characters says that forecasts are not absolutely certain but they realize with a certain probability.
If economics would be used in a framework such as the foundation cycle this connotation of Psychohis- tory would not even allow it to reach predictions featured with absolute certainty of realization.
We conclude from these observations that the assumption of an enormous population is not the pecu- liarity of Psychohistory which would upgrade social sciences possibilities of forecasting, even if through the book it is often invoked as a fundamental condition in order that Psychohistorical practice would make sense to be carried out.
I will now evaluate the effect the second component of Asimov science fiction universe would have on the discipline of econometrics. The existence of people like the aforementioned Mule able to learn about emotions, "preferences", as they are called in economics, of human beings and condition them would make the "Seldon project" possible. Substantially individuals like the Mule can understand which are the "laws" that govern actions of every single man and then be able to predict how the observed human will behave.
This is obviously a condition that nowadays men can not possibly reach: it is true that, as already mentioned, in neuroscience and in behavioral economics studies and experiments are increasingly pro- jected to achievements of unimaginable results, but we are still long way to perceive human emotions and condition them in some way.
Econometrics often attempts to "pick up" individual preferences through historical data in order to use these results to make predictions of different kind. In short from the point of view of the general equilibrium theory mentioned at the beginning of this study the equilibrium calculation given an initial framework passes from being a theoretical calculation to be a concrete possibility.
As we know that a stone will fall if subjected to gravity we are able to predict that a given individual will download one product rather than another, because we know his preferences. Reporting our findings to Von Mises science, Praxeology, we can say that methodological individualism remains the only way to sensibly evaluate human action. Download Il Settecento in Sardegna tra fede e storia.
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