Archive for March, 2011
Changing the knowledge centricity game
Organization, culture, skills, talent, tools, standardization – together all these challenge a company’s ability to become a true knowledge competitor. But organizations that seek to make rapid, substantive change are increasingly leveraging knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) providers for higher value, complex, specialized skill and knowledge-based work such as research and analytics. And these forward-thinking companies have not only found that providers are fully equipped to provide industry-specific and complex problem solving skill sets which enable them to become 360° knowledge competitors, but also that they have implemented privacy, security, and IP standards to mitigate any risk in transferring critical data.
Today, there is a ripe environment for the kind of high-end, strategic, partnership-based outsourcing that is KPO. A 2008 Economic Times article stated, ‘’According to reports, the KPO industry is estimated to be between USD 10-17 billion by 2010.” And while IT outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO) have grown at compound annual rates of 34 percent over the last 5 years, and are projected to grow at 24 percent a year over the next 5, a research report by sourcing advisory firm TPI stated the KPO market is projected to grow by 50-70 percent annually. This explosive growth is due to KPO’s value proposition.
Smart companies are never afraid to change the business model when they must move corporate performance onto a new trajectory. In the case of knowledge processes, companies can tap into external resources when those resources can deliver knowledge processes with higher quality, greater efficiency and effectiveness, at a lower cost, in less time. The following exhibit highlights how KPO resolves the challenges faced on the path to knowledge centricity.
To underscore the benefits of KPO, consider what WNS’s team delivered to a leading consumer product goods company seeking to become a knowledge competitor
1) incorporated the effects of various below-the-line, in-store elements on volume share, mapping sensitivity to volume share to various changes – effects that linear pricing models are unable to create;
2) simplified the planning and execution of promotions by crystallizing the dynamics of individual in-store elements;
3) Increased the accuracy of forecasting volume share, providing 99.98 percent accuracy at the brand level and 63 percent accuracy at the SKU level;
4) Optimized the trade mix for maintaining share in various competitive scenarios;
5) improved efficiency in retailer relationships by providing easy-to-use strategies that can be communicated to retailers, even those who lack statistical expertise, thereby enabling the client to better manage in-store settings; and
6) Simulated changes in volume share that could occur when various merchandising plans are modeled.
As the leading KPO providers’ offerings have evolved, so has the range of industries to which they deliver services. For example, in addition to delivering discrete market research services to professional services firms or corporations, KPO now provides comprehensive, domain-targeted knowledge services such as business and financial research and analytics to clients in a wide range of industries including consumer packaged goods, consumer financial services and retail, often to a level of sophistication that cannot be rapidly or easily replicated in house. As it continues to evolve and grow, the KPO market is moving toward a shared services center of excellence model, the ‘Knowledge Center ofExcellence’, an approach that goes hand-in-hand with developing 360° knowledge capabilities.
The following diagram demonstrates the evolution of KPO services from discrete knowledge process work to integrated, vertically-specialized services – not unlike the shared services model that has been widely adopted for finance processes.
Over time, as providers assumed the delivery of end-to-end knowledge processes, the metrics on which they are judged have changed from simple service levels such as turnaround time or accuracy to whether or not the client achieves the business outcome it targeted by way of the knowledge process (e.g., collection analytics).
In its first phase, clients try out the KPO concept, testing providers’ capabilities by outsourcing lower-end, discrete knowledge processes. Satisfied with performance, companies often move to the second phase, testing the delivery of higher-end but still discrete processes, now delivered in a series or as a part of a program rather than as one-off projects.
When second phase success is evident, companies become comfortable leveraging a wider range of KPO provider capabilities. They are adopting an integrated approach to knowledge work, asking providers to deliver higher-end services such as customer lifetime value models or fraud management models. This takes them closer to the end-game, the establishment of a Knowledge Center of Excellence, where knowledge is created by a vertically-specialized provider and consumed throughout the organization.
Within these centers, resources are aligned with business challenges such as pricing and forecasting, and analytic/technical techniques such as data sets used and statistical techniques. This specialization institutionalizes the approach to similar kinds of problems. Further, analytic or research tasks for business challenges are broken down to match the resource specialization available – so a forecasting effort is broken into research tasks and quantitative/modeling tasks.
Senior analysts then pull together the work output from the team and synthesize it, extracting insights along the way. Appropriate individuals within the client organization interact with the centralized resource through web-based knowledge portals regardless of where they are geographically based.
These web portals also serve as a repository for responses to similar business challenges, helping analysts in different parts of the organization learn from the efforts of their peers thousands of miles away. The Knowledge Center of Excellence model ensures that knowledge creation is standardized to avoid disparate methodologies, leveraged across geographies to account for unique market differences, and institutionalized so that best practices are readily disseminated across the organization.
Even as the provider generates actionable insights for the client, the client is responsible for its consumption. And there are plenty of opportunities for dysfunction when the client acts on the insight. To avoid this situation, the provider team must align with the client’s organization. As a result of a tight alignment, the knowledge center is increasingly considered within the client’s organization as the ‘glue’ that brings the disparate functions to interact as never before, leading to superior decision making.
The knowledge center of excellence model of knowledge creation and consumption works for a variety of reasons, it enables a true 360° approach to solving the knowledge requirements of an organization in a cost effective manner. Naturally, organizations wish address all their analytic challenges in a holistic way. However, it is often prohibitively expensive to house a broad range of deeply skilled in-house professionals to oversee analytic solutions that range from the strategic to the purely tactical.
The Knowledge Center of Excellence model is a shared services environment where such high-end resources can be made available ‘on tap’ – enabling companies to get that 360° view of the business.
It transcends geographies and corporate silos. The model standardizes and integrates knowledge services to facilitate knowledge consumption across all of the client’s operations in all geographies.It institutionalizes knowledge. Knowledge is embedded in the organization through the sharing of best practices across geographic boundaries and corporate silos, thereby enabling better decision making and fostering innovation across the business. It reduces turnaround times by quickly bringing to fore resources and analytic output from similar engagements.
The Knowledge Center acts as a corporate repository, storing and cataloging documents such as process and training manuals that can be easily leveraged across the organization.
Strong knowledge sharing practices reduce errors in knowledge creation, thereby improving the quality of decision making.It supplements sub-optimal skill sets in knowledge workers. The center is comprised of a sizable team of resources that includes individuals with deep domain knowledge as well as those with deep analytics, business intelligence and research skills. It makes for an exceptionally diverse, well-rounded team. Further, these resources can be deployed to meet an organization’s ever-shifting analytical needs.
It is scalable. Data, processes, resources and institutional knowledge within the Knowledge Center of Excellence are organized to be scaled. Data is extracted from corporate data marts, scrubbed and made ready to be used again and again in a variety of ways by disparate knowledge processes.
Instituting standard operating procedures for knowledge processes ensures that solutions are executed in a consistent way with no need to go back to the drawing board each time a challenge surfaces. Skills are disaggregated so that no one skill becomes a bottleneck delivering a particular solution. The shared services environment ensures that slack resources can be redeployed at a moment’s notice for needs emerging around the globe.
While evolving a knowledge-centric organization is possible internally, the challenges are myriad. And although KPO can break through some of the challenges organizations face on the road to knowledge competition, the opportunity to truly compete with knowledge only comes with a complete 360° view of the business – made possible through a vertically-integrated, domain-specific Knowledge Center of Excellence
Author’s note: This article contains excerpts and out-takes from the WNS thought leadership whitepaper entitled, “Armed With Knowledge: Gaining competitive advantage through knowledge process outsourcing”To access the full KPO whitepaper, visit http://wns.com/kpoforcompetitiveadvantage
For more such article insights, please follow the link http://bit.ly/eMHhcl
WNS Global Services is a leading global business process outsourcing company. Deep industry and business process knowledge, a partnership approach, comprehensive service offerings and a proven track record enables us to deliver business value to companies.
Purpose of Knowledge
We propose to examine in this article the following question:
We are ssuming that knowledge, instigated by astonishment and natural curiosity, emerges as the result of the inevitable interaction between man and the universe. The process of thought interaction is indispensable for man’s being. From the moment of the fecundation of the ovule by the sperm (both unknown in origin and presence) and till the realization of the final human form, matured and adult, life phenomenon presents itself as a total enigma. If we accept the hypothesis of internal finality which shapes the final product in term of development, we still have to explain the how does it bring it about and the why should it bring it about. It remains also to answer questions concerning the presence, origin, reason of being of man. The same logic applies to all phenomena, for every object is subject to these questions.
Conflict between finality and hazard is subject to individual conviction. The basis of such conflict is the absence of evidence. Subjectivity dominates the attitude of the individual in order to reach a final personal conjectural conviction.
We consider that the very absence of such possible verifiability leaves the door open for conjecture. In fact, man stakes his choice on this uncertainty. The choice between the mecanicist-atomist-organicist point of view and the vitalist-causalist-finalist perspective is not based on proof; otherwise, the choice becomes baseless. In our perspective we do not presume that hazard is the basis of the choice. It is the opposite; the choice is a well thought out decision.
We do not consider hazard as a random process of decision. It can be a convenient term to label an option of an alternative that cannot be verified. For hazard can be either in an oracular form, considered as a mean of divination, or in the form of indifference hazard, considered by science to be imposed by situation. The probability of hazard, in our perspective here, is unfound if laws of probability can be reduced to exact and succinct laws. According to scientific assumption water gushing out of a tap does so in a succinct and precise order where there is no place for hazard. The probability factor can be discarded depending on our unawareness of the order ofhe result. Our lack of knowledge of causes and effects, even in what is geometrically quantifiable, leads to complexity, often paradoxical remains a problem to be resolved. It is prompted by the limits of present knowledge which remains enigmatic: e.g. the Wall of Max Planck; the mystery of matter and time; the wall of death.
Becoming conscious of one’s limits the individual recoils to his faculty of belief. Metaphysical thought has nearly disappeared giving way to scientific knowledge. Scientific concepts of the emergence of auto organization can lead to arguments of probabilities of internal organizing finalities; external finalities cannot be excluded for lack of evidence.
But these probabilities are inherent within the choice alternative. The imposing enigma of existence prompts the question of creation (whether expressed internally or externally) causing a proof dilemma. The necessity of the faculty of judgment as well as the faculty of belief becomes indispensable, where the two, at one level, become identical.
Oscillating between the mecanicist-organicist explanation and the finalist-spiritualist the individual searches for a satisfactory choice to determine his final decision.
Like his forced existence, his form, structure, aging and death, every person passes through this life-cycle of appearance and disappearance. Interaction between man and the universe necessitates explanation. This explanation necessitates knowledge. The demand for explanation leads to awareness where man attains an uncertain state of comprehension, labeled as knowledge.
‘Ultimate knowledge’, i.e. knowledge of presence, structure, form, origin and finality of objects constituting the universe, remains unknown and inaccessible.
Heidegger, as an example of a materialist, considers that the ‘ultimate horizon of science will not be the representation and comprehension of the real but rather its enslavement by the technological’. The discomfort of the metaphysical order, unverifiable by the science, has incited Kant to think that,
‘speculative reason is not real and has no sense unless in relation to its submission to practical reason which does not seize to produce ends.’
Knowledge, so far, remains, at best, short of attaining ultimate interaction with the universe. It is the result of man’s capacity to acquire data. This data is limited by what the mind can conceive of the sensible and the intelligible. Neither the observer, man, nor the observed, the universe, is accessible to ultimate knowledge at our present state of knowledge.
Ultimate knowledge is concerned with the nature, structure, form, change, development, presence, origin and finality of the universe and its constituent parts. We are assuming in this work that this presumed inaccessibility to ultimate knowledge is meaningful. It can be permanent without being pessimist. Its significance lies in the fact that we are unable, so far, to unveil ultimate knowledge. The inaccessibility to ultimate knowledge leads to a state of presumed ignorance. This state knowledge blocks its progress. Confronting of ‘assumed ignorance’ is attained only through knowledge, where gradually but surely we recognize it by its dead ends.
We assume further that this presumed ‘state of ignorance’ is ‘inevitable’. Knowing attains a certain point where ultimate his enigma the individual aspires for an explanation. From the need for explanations emerges suppositions of causes that can bring about a universe of such dimensions and exactitude. Lack of proof for or against these suppositions creates a two-fold alternative obliging the observer to make his own choice. At this crossroad man is obliged to choose between belief and disbelief. This choice is presented in a two-options-alternative and does not allow for dialectical synthesis. It is either the one, belief, or the other, disbelief, in a creator-cause.
No individual can believe and disbelieve at one and the same time. And a synthesis of the two is not possible.
Man himself, as one dimension of matter in time, an expression of life realizes gradually his position in this infinite universe, his role and function. He finds himself in a certain shape and form, size and characteristics. He is endowed with the faculties of survival and comprehension. His innate curiosity leads him to inquire into the enigmatic presence of the universe and his own. Man improvises with knowledge, whether scientific or otherwise: intuitive, telepathic, psychic, Para-psychic, artistic,moral, aesthetic or spiritual or even perceptive (karma), to interpret phenomena and eventualities.
Can the scientific mind exclude all precautions relative to finality, by trying to explain it? Can we limit the explanation to science only? Can science satisfy the questioning of meaning posed by philosophers?
How can we explain that starting off from confrontation with phenomenon, i.e. the vitalized object, belief in a cause emerges as alternative?
Philippe Descamps explains that, ‘describing a phenomenon in finalist terms proposes the existenceof a consciousness capable of envisaging the whole and the future, also capable of working out a project that will organize the means of establishing and arranging harmoniously a ‘being’ made up of parts that develops in terms of the totality and contributing through its cooperation to the survival of an organism, we assume that it is animated by an internal finality, this ‘being’ is provided with intention.’ (Science et Avenir, October,2000).
The mechanicist explanation by the positivists does not lead to the explanation of the ‘reason of being’ that imposes itself.
In other words the ‘how’ does not explain the ‘why’.
Facing a world already made, and constantly changing, man interrogates himself about it, in its totality and in parts. What is the universe and how did it come about? Is there an architect or is the universe eternal, which does not exclude an architect, as Stephen Hawkins assumes, ‘If there was a Big Bang then there is a God but if the universe is eternal then there is no need for a God.’ For the argument that if the universe is eternal we can very well assume the eternality inaccessible at the present time.
God, as Aristotle suggests in his concept of movement and the prime mover.
If we live in a universe composed of hundreds of billions of galaxies, in which exists hundreds of billions of stars and planets, the field of knowledge is limitless. Man, as a very recent phenomenon, is in his infantile stage of existence and discovery. Planet earth is but one of these infinitely small sparkling spots in our vast system of the Milky Way. The earth, its form and structure, its constituent elements, its presence, its movement and velocity (rotation, tilting, orientation and orbits), its origin (birth, change and development), its position in our solar system, its control, its aging process and its life manifestations, so-called animate and inanimate, confronts man with endless questions. Science is beginning its infinite journey limited to the presence of man.
In this perspective there is no need to presume an already existing sterility of thought. But we are only emphasizing the notion of our present state of a presumed limited accessibility to what can be termed as ultimate knowledge. This can be argued if a state of inaccessibility to ultimate knowledge persists permanently as time passes and man discovers and having the chance to live for a long time. What was before is unknown, where did man come from and what makes us what we are is still unknown. This ultimate knowledge is still unknown.
Science does not provide us with any idea of the structure, presence and origin of any of the two enigmas, matter (or substance) and time. It speculates on the manifestations of the atom, being the smallest constituent particle of matter, offering no knowledge of its nature, presence, origin, cause,its reason of being, its governing laws, its functions and its control. What are atoms? Where do atoms come from? What it is is not within the reach of man.
he does not change its biological-chemical fundamentals according to a pre – order mechanism. The three mediators initiate its presence and controls its form and structure and designs its characteristics? All these questions belong to the domain of knowledge, and in particular, scientific knowledge.
Science, which purports to ‘know’ about the ‘how’, attempts to explain the mechanics of what is and what was. It attempts to discover how conditions are required for the formation of such universal mosaics.
Considering man as a spectator-exploiter, he is unable to create something from nothing. The composition and characteristics of matter itself allows him to use it according to its laws and nature. Such control, which maintains matter as Objects modified genetically presume modification of what is according to the laws that already govern it.
Isotopes of Plutonium 239 PU existing already in nature are exploited to bring about its potential characteristics. No scientist can pretend to creating from nothing an element or a law of matter. He only discovers the mechanism of splitting atoms and using its energy, for example, that already exists llion DNA characteristics chart already exists in the human body controlling life development structure, form, color, size, change and development. An apple exits, functions and develops according to its already made precise program. Man discovers and discovering its characteristics can develop further its potentialities that are allowed by its own design, but substance; otherwise, it seizes to be what it is and might become, if at all, something else.
Science is unable, so far, to identify empirically the structural nature that prompts such order and what assembles its constituent parts together to produce a final product. that can be a mental seizure, psychological, or moral. Faith or rejection of a cause for the faithless to the assumptions of belief and disbelief. He has, not immune to personal convictions. It is precisely this.
Even though a scientist shows disinterest for finalities he makes his decision and lack of evidence is forced to ultimately, deliberate his choice. In the process of acquiring his knowledge through his investigation the scientist becomes gradually aware of possible inaccessibility, somewhere in his ascendance. He realizes that every discovery opens up for other discoveries, an unlimited chain. This motivates the scientist to continue his work. The perplexity and vastness of the subject leads on to resolve one mystery after another where he comes to a closed sphere of knowledge. Very few people, especially scientists, would admit this. Knowledge is endless, everybody assumes it.
In any belief-system individual conviction is subject to personal interpretation. The concept of God in each religion differs from one religion to another and specifically from one individual to another. But the overall general concept of belief in response to whether ‘God is’ or ‘is not’, can be commonly shared.
Lack of evidence for the existence of God in religious belief systems results also in the individual choice. The claim of belief in religions is based on linguistic communication.
Whether in belief systems or metaphysics, thought is a process of communicative linguistic expressions that finally leads to expressing one’s convictions. In the case of faith, such symbol system of value judgment is not prerequisite to either belief or disbelief. Direct and immediate acceptance or rejection is prompted upon the confrontation of the faithful with phenomenon (a rose, for example, can prompt such a be the result of a direct seizure of the necessity of a creator or reject faith. This experience, where every person is bound spiritually or psychologically to take a stand. Communicating in symbolic systems such as for example letters, numbers, lines, colors, gesture and sounds, is not always necessary for representing one’s faith which can be intuitive, immediate, direct and wordless, or the rejection subject to, is neither communicable nor transmissible to others.
Symbolic-reference is not necessary in this case. Awareness of a creator-cause can be attained without mediation or meditation nor intellectualization. Man can directly seize the symbolic-reference of an object or an event (a tree, a landscape, a galaxy, orbit of earth). What is inevitable in the mind value-judgment is the individual’s own reckoning of a need, or non-need, for such a belief. Uncertainty of what is prescribed in belief-systems is the pivot-point in these questions. It is the point where an explanation is instigated.
From constant confrontation between man and the universe such a need is prompted. This confrontation triggers off the quest for knowledge indicating a purpose.
If faith is automatically felt reason can consolidate it only by conjecture. In this case, reason is used to argue for or against faith.
Dependant on the individual’s attitude the choice can be in favor of either one option or the other. For this, absolute freedom of choice is needed in order to make the decision, since there is no evidence to give support to either option.
Tension and harmony between reason and belief has marked distinctions of attitudes throughout the ages. It has been the cause of extremes in attitudes (pros: St. Augustine, Aristotle, Leibniz and cons: Nietzsche, Russell, Sartre) as well as oscillations between metaphysics and scientific objectivism.
Objectivism was brought about through verificationalism and reductionalism (Galilee, Laplace and Descartes) in opposition to the dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. or in opposition, due to lack of evidence. This is levels where the two do not meet. They might be in par Scientific knowledge is an empirical symbolic identification that can be parallel to belief but on two different and distinct allelism because the criterion of scientific empiricism cannot apply to systems of belief. The two are completely separated.They can be exploited to consolidate one another, which is often the case (Aristotle, Galilee, Hawkins). The orbit of the earth around the sun cannot be taken as a proof, or as evidence, for the existence of a designer nor as a disproof for such a designer.
For the believer, the orbit needs a cause-designer time-keeper, but the absence of means to verify the need for such a presumption consolidates the argument of the disbeliever.
Both cannot establish an evidence for their arguments but rather can only make a choice. In any way, the individual can not escape belief or disbelief.
The different attitudes of Kant and Heidegger indicate in this sense tension between speculative metaphysics and the impact of science. The discomfort of metaphysical speculation, which is non verifiable by science, has prompted Kant to think that speculative reason is not real and has no sense except with regard to its compliance with practical reason(experience), which in its turn does not stop to provide ends.
Observation does not provide us with significance but it is our value judgment that does so. If a sense of order is figured out by watching natural phenomenon, it is our orientation to recognize such a reaction that allows a sense of order.
Order can be presumed on observing the universe, its form, structure, movement, change and cycles. Albert Einstein mentions, ‘We find in the objective world a high degree of order’. It is claimed by some scientists that if the Big bang was advanced or retarded one split of a trillion of a fraction of evidence, and escapes it by discarding it but ma and life may have never been produced.
A second, the universe would have been in a different shape Galaxies (condensed presumably from a nebula of dust and gas matter) are submitted to rigorous precision of ‘order’ otherwise the universe would have not developed in its present form. Planet earth is constructed in such a way that life in its multiple and complex forms appeared. Conditions of life themselves are submitted to succinct order, control, laws and rigorous discipline. Any perturbation in the conditions of life (lack of oxygen, exposition to ozone zone, important perturbances in atmospheric pressure, density and zone of flora) renders life impossible. Any disorder in the rotation of earth around its axis or its orbits would result in disappearance of life. How does such order work? And what keeps it in control?
Genetic charts are of an unpaired exactness. Every natural phenomenon is subject to strict laws with relation to its nature, presence, structure, form and function.
The history of knowledge is concerned with the discovery of things and their laws. Such logic implies that if there are laws governing the universe then there must be order. But order and organization and arrangements are indiscernible in the laboratory of the scientist. He faces a wall of the non viability admit it within himself.
The finalist position is rejected by most scientists today, for it is outside the domain of scientific rationalism, but scientific findings are themselves subject to change and uncertainty.
The non evidence assumed by the scientist of the finalist position renders him to reject such a possibility. But can the scientist do away with it altogether. Henri Atlan considers that at the origin of these finalities, bearers of significance, we find, in human societies, contradiction between religious traditional presumptions and scientific knowledge. Likewise; and in the ultimate analysis, scientific knowledge loses its verifiability when ‘ultimate knowledge’ imposes itself exacting the origin, order and organization in material of
science. Certain uncertainty of scientific discoveries remains eminent open to disagreement among scientists, especially to fundamental questioning about matter and origin in micro and macro fields. Science postulates theories subject to verification and change but are limited by the limits of subjectmatter itself. The scientist, although discarding causality from his account, can not avoid the question of causality.
Descamps assumes, with respect to external finality, that an inert object, presented as an organism, or an individual, exists for another end than itself. It is by supposing this that external finality emerges. It is not for the object ‘to be’. In other words, the object itself cannot bring itself about. He does not attribute consciousness to the object itself but, on the contrary, to an external consciousness outside everything an ranscendental to everything. If the domain of explanation is amputated of all forms of finality, and disciplines want to be constituted as science must eliminate finality from its expression. The advent of modern physics and the passage to the conception of an infinite universe have consecrated scientific death of finality, because it imposes the postulate oforganizing thought of the world, is sent back to the ranks of the occult forces. The idea of ‘extra universe finality’, an externality ad infinitum, becomes presumably contradictory, a thing that has to be established. But if an extra universality is dismissed on the postulate of the infinity of the universe then why not postulate that such extra universality is infinite in its turn. Likewise the advent of modern sciences does disprove the existence of such an externality. In fact, both presumptions lack evidence and neither proof nor disproof can be produced in support for the existence, or non existence, of such an externality.
The starting point of knowledge is that ‘man has to confront with the universe’ and ‘the need to explain it’.
In the first place, we must face scientific explanations of the universe and its constituent parts. The ‘complexity principle’ adopted by Hubert Reeves proclaims a complex structure found already in the constants of the universe since the setting off of the cosmic process. He specifies that, ‘the Universe possesses, right from the first instances, the proprieties requisite to elaborate the complexity’. This can be conceded if we accept the hypothetical assumption of a beginning singularity.
This complexity that has given birth, development and structure to the universe depends on relatively meager number of fundamental constants. Without these constants the universe can neither be nor can be dilated up to its present form already in progression or in digression.
The structure of numerous systems in nature, from the microscopic scale to cosmological scale, is based on the values of this relatively small number of fundamental constants of physics.
The following tables A and B explain this idea:
The fundamental constants of physics
Quantity Symbol Numeric values
Light speed c 3x10p8 m/sec
Electric charge of
Mass at rest of
mp 1,67x10p-27 kg
Mass at rest of
me 9,11x10p -31 kg
Constant of the
G 6,67x10p-11 m3
Constant of the
Constant of the
Length of Planck (Gh/e3)1/2 2x10p-35m
A modest change in the values of these constants results in a
radical alteration of the structure of the Universe. The
cosmological framework can considerably be transformed, to
the point of being sterile to the emergence of life:
of the constant of
-No other nucleus
-No stars, no
Of the constant
-No chemical link
possible, so no
helium; no water
No cycles of
of combustion of
so no ejection of
necessary to the
Gravitational -No division of
the midst of
-No supernovae (1)
duration of life
We recognize in these systems, without separating ourselves from the field of science, a kind of immanent finality to the universe, a profound coherence of all its constituent parts.
Science searches for a scientific coherent theory that can explain everything. A unique theory such as the hypothetical Theory of Strings or the hypothetic M-theory (Master theory) enigmas then how can knowledge be considered as knowledge?
that can be able to describe all fundamental interactions of matter and its laws in order to comprehend the secrets of the world from the infinitely small to the infinitely big.
The attempt, for example, of Stephen Hawkins to unify quantum theory with the Theory of General Relativity is, up to now, non realizable. The Theory of Strings remains also a hypothetical postulate rejected by many scientists.
Descamps mentions that ‘science eliminates finality from its discourse, but this total dismissal on the part of scientific…
1. Sciences et Avenir (Journal), Octobre, 2000, Paris, France.
…progress inaugurates a new model of phenomena
interpretation: it is of the machine and mechanicism, which discards, in the least rationality i.e. the spiritualist finalist model.’ He considers further, ‘that the mechanicist explanation of the real refinds itself more reinforced and legitimated by the fact that it opens up innumerable possibilities for technical realizations: its scientific richness can thus be measured and this measure is made in the light of its technical applications that it allows.’ (Sciences et Avenir, November, 2000).
The comprehensiveness of man in the universe does not contradict his capacity to take a distance, even in a limited and artificial way, and to apprehend as an observer. In the final analysis, the two phenomena, universe and man, are enigmas that impose itself setting off knowledge. If the two are How did the universe come about and why? How did man come about and why?
These questions belong to the folkloric psychology of every individual. Why should we ask these questions and why should we answer? Where does man’s curiosity lead him to?
And why should there be curiosity at all?
Scientific knowledge maintains that most economy in the means of explanation does not keep into consideration except efficient causes: The principle of sufficient reason by imposing precedent chronologically the phenomenon that is the effect. But if the finality model is excluded from allsciences, certain essential and vital problems remain unresolved.
The science of living things lacks then in satisfactory explanations facing their life behavior in their evolution, development, adaptation and reproduction. In such a life model finality seems to animate its biological objects.
Physics, for example, cannot reduce certain arguments to mechanicist causes, such as the second law of thermodynamics postulating the necessary increase in the entropy of isolated systems. The explanation of lively organisms remains open to finality. Reducing these organisms to automatism or atomism, as the reductionalists and mechanicists assume, takes away the fact that they are lively beings.
Despite scientific progress science cannot succeed to pierce the wall of this stage of knowledge.
Ultimate knowledge represents the capacity of man to get to know universally, and without any ambiguity of hypothetical thinking, the real and true responses to the answers of fundamental questions: regarding the presence, origin, reason of being, nature and finality of every constituent object and finally the Universe itself, perceptible and intelligible, separately and in unison, as well as the empiric links between
cause and effect, where the ‘enigma’ seizes to be.
However, due to its subjectivity the finality perspective remains open to personal interpretations.
For example, if the paper-cutter for Sartre and the statue for Aristotle are fabricated with the intention of a precise function in the mind of its maker, then why stop limiting the logic underlies the concept of existentialism calling for impose itself on man: a point of departure for process to a human maker and not apply it to a natural phenomenon, such as a tree or the sun or even the universe, to a cause-maker? The basis of such a perspective is that we can verify the existence of the human maker but cannot verify the existence of a universe-maker. The universe, can well be argued, is an auto-productive system of auto-dynamism, but the question of what generates such a production and dynamism rests to be validated.
The incapacity of science, at the moment, to provide with such evidence does not annul the probability of a hypothesis of such maker proclaimed by the vitalist-finalist model.
Meanwhile, the tree and the sun, galaxies and the universe are food for knowledge and thought.
We refer to the paper-knife in the example of Sartre’s logic of existentialism. This is an example of reflection, between man and the universe and what a philosopher can conclude in his concept to justify his atheism. The notion of ‘Existentialism’ stems from the example given by Sartre of the paper-knife, but discards the example of a tree because of lack of proof for a maker. Sartre went further in his explanation. He excluded the existence of a ‘maker’ for the paper-knife to find himself only with the ‘paper-knife’, existing on its own, a self-made object, as the basis for his assumption. And hence, the ‘paper- knife’, according to the Sartrian logic, has never had a ‘maker’, and comparatively, so is the world. The logic that the absurdity of being, becomes, at this point, itself absurd. Sartre accepts the presence of the paper-knife but denies the need for a maker-artisan of the paper-knife. He does not explain ‘how’ the paper-cutter came about. This absurdity is precisely the purpose of Sartre’s philosophy of existentialism. In this way man’s existence, according to Sartre, does not need a maker movement, as a ‘necessity of reason’ proclaimed by L’existence and hence does not need a creator-cause, and hence it becomes absurd in presence, in origin and finality. By rendering the world absurd Sartre, by begging his own question, considers it as absurd. The counter question, following his logic, is: how can the paper-knife exist without an artisan conceiving it?
‘The essence’, according to Sartre, does not precede ‘existence’. It is quite the opposite; it is the ‘existence’ that precedes the ‘essence’. This logic is used by Sartre to legitimize his presumption for the absence of a creator cause for the world. By discarding an artisan for the paper-knife he discards a designer for the world.
An easy way, absurd as it is, to do away with a ‘maker’ for the universe is imposed by scientific empiricism, above all the non necessity of such a maker, for the tree itself is already in Nietzsche, as another example when facing the universe, denies ‘order’ and ‘laws’ and assigns the universe to be a product of ‘chaos’ and ‘hazard’, by doing so he gets rid of the need of a ‘creator-cause’.
The individual person when facing the universe and trying to explain it, has the free choice to believe or disbelieve in any causality assumption. The Aristotelian postulate of the ‘prime cause’ prompted by a ‘presumed necessity’ to explain Leibniz and a ‘moral necessity’ proclaimed by Kant.
The five assumptions of Sartre, Nietzsche, Aristotle, Leibniz and Kant represent personal convictions.
If we admit the finality of a house is habitation and the finality of medical science is healing, we cannot then exclude theoretical hypothesizing about finality for natural phenomenon, atmospheric pressure, water and the sun, life and Man.
The scientific taboo is found between the maker of intentional finality, in objects made by man that are subject to verification, and a presumed maker of natural phenomenon, a presumption eliminated from explanation.
The postulated argument of St. Augustine identifying ‘reason with revelation’ remains, at best, a personal conviction, and not subject to verification. Logic here submits the idea of the existence of a God, depicted in the Scriptures, to human reason. Such an exercise, very frequently used in the history of religious thought (often drawing support from Aristotelian metaphysical presumptions), attempts to justify statements of the Scriptures according to monotheistic assertions. The attempt is only intellectually hypothetical. Should there be the least index of its proclamations the whole humanity has already found its way for an explanation. Lack of evidence becomes the pivot of the attitude of men. Any evidence, for or against the existence of a designer-cause, annuls immediately any belief system.
The argument of the existence of the universe vis-à-vis the non existence of the universe as a comparative-contrastive index appeals to reason by begging the question. The nihilist, the skeptic, and the one who doubts, as well as the agnostic, can reduce this argument to nullity. All depends which side the individual has chosen.
Through the enigmatic presence of the universe and man we seem to be in perpetual lack of knowledge.
Our present knowledge is suspended as ever between these two enigmas. In this respect, we do not consider as valid the assumption of Jacques Monot of using the term ‘teleonomy’ to denote ‘non-intentional finality characterizing the integrated functioning of biological unit’.
It is a contradiction in terms, since hazard is present as alternative. Therefore; if, and only if, hazard is the cause of finality, even if finality is non intentional, it seizes to be hazard. It becomes calculating intelligence of decisive control leading to order. Mechanical causality explains the mechanism of relations without attempting to explain the instigating factor of such causality, nor of the nature of force of its assumed control, of the animated aspect. If the auto-mechanism is considered as the instigating factor for the universe, it remains to explain the instigating factor itself.
Can we explain phenomena by mechanical causality only, if we demand for the ‘how’, particularly, in explaining biological phenomena? A man, or a lizard, cannot be a mechanical robot and a tree as well cannot only be a productive machine. Reducing everything to atomistic mechanics leaves the question open to its presence, its origin, form and structure, its laws, its controlling system and the instigating power, the motor of its mechanical functioning.
This idea can be valid in explaining the mechanism of phenomena, already in existence, but does not explain its very existence and why such mechanism should function.
Scientific verificationalism rejects metaphysical speculations as non subject to empiricism. But, facing a phenomenon, the scientist is forced to take a stand towards these questions. He can either believe in a causal finality or reject it. The fact remains valid that lacking the establishment of any links between the universe and a presumed finality leaves the question open to individual convictions, and the scientist is no exception. Any individual, whether a scientist or not, may oscillate between causal finalities and scientific mechanicism, but has to make his decision either way. He cannot believe in causality and reject it at one and the same time.
If finality, internal or external, can be identified and indicates that ‘intentional action leads to a purpose’, and that finality is ‘the final cause determining the presence and maturity of an object, we can demand why is it the case?
If we accept the argument of a believer in external finality and things are made for an external purpose, then man ought to serve a cause other than himself; an inadmitted cause by science and a metaphysical presumption.
The encounter between man and phenomenon sets off the process of thinking leading to an inevitable end: a choice.’ It is to this end we attributesense. The end of a human being is to procreate or to die, forexample, but the fact of reproducing as well as death is linkedin a precisely defined cycle manifested in terms of a beginning, a course and an end. This cycle can suggest a precise finality. Our interest here concerns man as finality by himself before his death, although subject to it, and his confronting with the universe has this end.
Man’s knowledge is one way to enable him to choose. He can choose directly by other means, faith or belief without reference to knowledge. But we consider that the ultimate purpose of knowledge is to enable man to choose. Surviving ensures man’s presence to acquire enough knowledge in order to choose.
‘Each time a new discovery is made we come a little bit closer to reality’, asserts Karl Popper. If we accept the presumption of the two-fold enigma namely, man and the universe then the probability of a third enigma, namely a designer externality emerges. Dismissal altogether of such probability does not deny the probability of the choice but confirms it.
If science rejects finality as non-verifiable, finality remains insistent by the phenomenon of motivation of things, simply by becoming what they are. The embryo develops in such a precise schematic totality that is realized in the finality of man adult and mature.
The cause, whether mechanic or non-mechanic, remains an unknown factor to be resolved, being afinal cause or an efficient one.
The universe forces itself upon our mind to produce a never ending process of interactions where we are obliged to know.
Knowledge motivates us to search for explanations, whether for immediate utility or a far fetched one. Knowledge becomes fully meaningful when it allows man, by giving him the means of decision, to choose between finality and mechanism, in response to his natural drive for an explanation of his own existence.