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By Numénius, E. des Places

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Sample text

On the other hand, the rule that commands greasing cars periodically is based on the law that lubricators decrease the wearing out of parts by friction; this is neither a convention nor a rule of thumb like those of cooking and politicking - it is a well-grounded rule. To decide that a rule is effective it is necessary, though insufficient, to show that it has been successful in a high percentage of cases. But these cases might be just coincidences, such as those that may have consecrated the magic rituals that accompanied the huntings of primitive man.

But this does not eliminate their differences, and the process is but the outcome TECHNOLOGY AS APPLIED SCIENCE 29 of an increasingly scientific approach to practical problems, that is, of a diffusion of the scientific method. The identification of knowledge and practice stems not only from a failure to analyze either but also from a legitimate wish to avoid the two extremes of speculative theory and blind action. But the testability of theories and the possibility of improving the rationality of action are not best defended by blurring the differences between theorizing and doing, or by asserting that action is the test of theory, because both theses are false and no program is defensible ifit rests on plain falsity.

In the language of the natural sciences this character can be expressed in very different ways, for example, by referring to the conditions which do or do not bring about a certain kind of 'behaviour', by referring to causal relations, in formulations of the type 'if ... , then ... ', etc. For example, under conditions of normal pressure, water between the temperatures of 0 °C and 100°C is in a liquid state, it 'behaves' as a liquid. The concept of 'behaviour' can also be explained in the terminology of the cybernetic approach: By 'behaviour' we understand the pattern of the output sequence as dependent on the pattern of the input sequence.

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