Incommensurables cannot be compared. Theoretically this may be true; but in real life incommensurables are commensurable. Only a criterion of judgment and a system of weighting are needed. In nature the criterion is survival. Is it better for a species to be small and hideable, or large and powerful? Natural selection commensurates the incommensurables. The compromise achieved depends on a natural weighting of the values of the variables. Man must imitate this process.
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However, given an infinite source of energy, population growth still produces an inescapable problem. The problem of the acquisition of energy is replaced by the problem of its dissipation,. Fremlin has so wittily shown (4). The arithmetic signs in the analysis are, as it were, reversed; but Bentham's goal is still unobtainable. The optimum population is, then, less than the maximum. The difficulty of defining the optimum is enormous; so far as i know, no one org has seriously tackled this problem. Reaching an acceptable and stable solution will surely require more than one generation of hard analytical work-and much persuasion. We want the maximum good per person; but what is good? To one person it is wilderness, to another it is ski lodges for thousands. To one it is estuaries to nourish ducks essay for hunters to shoot; to another it is factory land. Comparing one good with another is, we usually say, impossible because goods are incommensurable.
Anything that he does over and above merely staying alive will be defined as work, and is supported by "work calories" which he takes. Work calories are used not only for what we call work in common speech; they are also required for all forms of enjoyment, from swimming and automobile racing to playing music and writing poetry. If our goal is to maximize population it is obvious what we must do: essay we must make the work calories per person approach as close to zero as possible. No gourmet meals, no vacations, no sports, no music, no literature, no art. I think that everyone will grant, without argument or proof, that maximizing population does not maximize goods. Bentham's goal is impossible. In reaching this conclusion I have made the usual assumption that it is the acquisition of energy that is the problem. The appearance of atomic energy has led some to question this assumption.
Specifically, can Bentham's goal of "the greatest good for the greatest number" be realized? No-for two reasons, each sufficient by itself. The first is a theoretical one. It is not mathematically possible to maximize for two (or more) variables at the same time. This was clearly stated by von neumann and Morgenstern (3 but the principle is implicit report in the theory of partial differential equations, dating back at least to d'alembert (1717-1783). The second reason springs directly from biological facts. To live, any organism must have a source of energy (for example, food). This energy is utilized for two purposes: mere maintenance and work. For man, maintenance of life requires about 1600 kilocalories a day maintenance calories.
Population, as Malthus said, naturally tends to grow "geometrically or, as we would now say, exponentially. In a finite world this means that the per capita share of the world's goods must steadily decrease. Is ours a finite world? A fair defense can be put forward for the view that the world is infinite; or that we do not know that it is not. But, in terms of the practical problems that we must face in the next few generations with the foreseeable technology, it is clear that we will greatly increase human misery if we do not, during the immediate future, assume that the world available to the. "Space" is no escape (2). A finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero. (The case of perpetual wide fluctuations above and below zero is a trivial variant that need not be discussed.) When this condition is met, what will be the situation of mankind?
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Put another way, there is no "technical solution" to the problem. I can win only by giving a radical meaning to the word "win." I can hit my opponent over the head; or statement I can drug him; or I can falsify the records. Every way in which I "win" involves, in some sense, an abandonment of the game, as we intuitively understand. (I can also, of course, openly abandon the game-refuse to play. This is what most adults.). The class of "No technical solution problems" has members. My thesis is that the "population problem as conventionally conceived, is a member of this class.
How it is conventionally conceived needs some comment. It is fair to say that most people who anguish over the population problem are trying to find a way to avoid the evils of overpopulation without relinquishing any of the privileges they now enjoy. They think that farming the seas or developing new strains of wheat will solve the problem-technologically. I try to show here that the solution they seek cannot be found. The population problem cannot be solved in a technical way, any more than can the problem of winning the game of tick-tack-toe. What Shall we maximize?
I would like to focus your attention not on the subject of the article (national security in a nuclear world) but on the kind of conclusion they reached, namely that there is no technical solution to the problem. An implicit and almost universal assumption of discussions published in professional and semipopular scientific journals is that the problem under discussion has a technical solution. A technical solution may be defined as one that requires a change only in the techniques of the natural sciences, demanding little or nothing in the way of change in human values or ideas of morality. In our day (though not in earlier times) technical solutions are always welcome. Because of previous failures in prophecy, it takes courage to assert that a desired technical solution is not possible.
Wiesner and York exhibited this courage; publishing in a science journal, they insisted that the solution to the problem was not to be found in the natural sciences. They cautiously qualified their statement with the phrase, "It is our considered professional judgment." Whether they were right or not is not the concern of the present article. Rather, the concern here is with the important concept of a class of human problems which can be called "no technical solution problems and, more specifically, with the identification and discussion of one of these. It is easy to show that the class is not a null class. Recall the game of tick-tack-toe. Consider the problem, "How can I win the game of tick-tack-toe?" It is well known that I cannot, if i assume (in keeping with the conventions of game theory) that my opponent understands the game perfectly.
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Baseball saved us literary essay lucy liaquat ali khan essay writer Related Post of british Amaranthaceae descriptive essay what is the content of a research paper dissertation phd uk distance the little prince drunkard analysis essay professional scholarship essay writers landmark research paper photo essay bombing. The Tragedy of the commons by garrett Hardin, 1968, published in, science, december 13, 1968. For copyright permission, click here. The author is professor of biology, university of California, santa barbara. This article is based on a presidential address presented before the meeting of the pacific division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at Utah State University, logan, At the end of a thoughtful article on the future of nuclear war, wiesner and. Confronted by the dilemma of steadily increasing military power and steadily decreasing national security. It is our considered professional judgment that this dilemma has no technical solution. If the great powers continue to look for solutions in the area of science and technology only, the result will be to worsen the situation.".
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