Robinson on Facts and Values

The scientific method could not be applied to human beings in any way that yielded useful information. It was the fact-value problem stated in a different way; human reality could only be explained in terms of values. And values were very resistant to scientific analysis. Isolation of factors for study, falsifiable hypotheses, repeatable experiments – the entire apparatus as practised in lab physics simply could not be brought to bear. Values drove history, which was whole, nonrepeatable, and contingent. It might be characterised as Lamarckian, or as a chaotic system, but even those were guesses, because what factors were they talking about? What aspects might be acquired by learning and passed on, or cycling in some nonrepetitive but patterned way? No one could say.

Kim Stanley Robinson: „Green Mars“ (1994)

Robinson on Facts and Values

Robinson on Analogy

And analogies were mostly meaningless – a matter of phenotype rather than genotype (to use another analogy). Most of poetry and literature, really all the humanities, not to mention the social sciences, were phenotypic as far as Sax could tell. They added up to a huge compendium of meaningless analogies, which did not help to explain things, but only distorted perception of them. A kind of continuous conceptual drunkenness, one might say.

Kim Stanley Robinson: „Green Mars“ (1994)

Robinson on Analogy

Robinson on Economics

Anyway that’s a large part of what economics is – people arbitrarily, or as a matter of taste, assigning numerical values to non-numerical things. And then pretending that they haven’t just made the numbers up, which they have. Economics is like astrology in that sense, except that economics serves to justify the current power structure, and so it has a lot of fervent believers among the powerful.

Kim Stanley Robinson: „Red Mars“ (1993)

Robinson on Economics

„Robinson der Woche“ – neue Artikelserie in der Weltsicht

robinson_editedEs hat seehr lange gedauert – über ein Jahr? länger? -, bis ich die monumentale* Mars-Trilogie des heute 64-jährigen US-Amerikaners Kim Stanley Robinson, deren letzter Band 1996 erschien, im Original gelesen und dabei wirklich jedes Wort, das ich nicht wusste, in meinen kontextsensitiven eReader-Wörterbüchern nachgeschlagen hatte.

An den kommenden Freitagen werde ich nun eine ganze Reihe von Zitaten aus diesem Werk, die weniger literarischen als philosophischen Wert besitzen, weshalb sie auch aus dem Kontext gerissen zum Nachdenken anregen, hier verbloggen.

Ich freue mich auf anregende Diskussionen 🙂

P.S.: Vermutlich ist der Autor auch deshalb in Deutschland so wenig bekannt, weil sein Schaffen unter dem Label Science Fiction gehandelt wird. In den USA genießt dieses Genre ein weit höheres Ansehen. Nennen wir Robinsons Schaffen doch einfach „Belletristik“.


* Die gedruckten Originalausgaben umfassen 1.663 Buchseiten.
„Robinson der Woche“ – neue Artikelserie in der Weltsicht