In my previous post, I delved into the details of the productive sciences. Remember that the productive sciences are those sciences that exist for the purpose of making something. The active sciences exist for the purpose of doing something and the theoretical sciences exist for the purpose of knowing something. The active sciences are potentially infinite in number, lack a method of definition and cannot be classified according to any essential criteria.

There are a potentially infinite number of active sciences. The science of doctoring (healing) is very old. However, the science of beta-testing is very new. Beta testing simply cannot exist without both computers and computer programs. As our technology increases, there will be new sciences that restore or operate the new technologies. As our knowledge of science increases, we will also be able to manipulate our environment in new ways. This could also lead to new active sciences. Since there is no limit to the possibilities, there is no limit to the number of active sciences.

There is no common way to define the active sciences. Unlike the productive sciences, the active sciences do not all have to do with artifacts. However, the only way that the active sciences could be divided is by dividing the action. We might take human action is general and then divide it into species. The problem is that this may be viewed as dividing action by what is good about that action. Since acts aimed at knowledge are not practical sciences, this cannot be the correct way to divide action. Nor is that the only problem. Such things as friendship and excellence cannot really be viewed as a kind of science. They involve the freedom of the individual to pursue those goods, but there is no set principles for the one right way to pursue them. Therefore, practical sciences cannot be divided that way. Nor can they be divided by what they act on. Some things that they act on are artifacts. If we cannot divide action like that, then perhaps we could divide it by what the action is acting on. But this would treat artifacts as if they were similar to people. Not only that, but actions can only truly be divided by what makes them actions. The object of the action does not make them an action. An action is what it is because of its purpose. Since its purpose is what good that action achieves, there is no way to divide the practical sciences.

We do define the practical sciences today. Usually, this includes such subjects as law, health sciences, dentistry and business management. But we do not include all of the sciences in use today. Such subjects as factory work, car repair and beta-testings are not usually taught in university or college. Nor is it likely that they ever would be taught there. Since the practical sciences can increase in number indefinitely, there is no way to permanently categorize the practical sciences. Our current divisions are based on such criteria as monetary value and difficulty rather than what is essential to the active sciences. Since there is no correct way to classify these sciences, any current classification is arbitrary.

These similarities will not appear in my discussion of the theoretical sciences. But that will have to wait for later.

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