- Hotel bill: Hotell Viking, Oslo [Filed under LP Travel: Box #1.002, Folder 2.5]
- Letter from Dr. T. E. Boyd, Chief, Division of Virology and Epidemiology, The National Foundation, to LP, RE: Has received the application for renewal of Grant No. CVRE 121. [Letter from Betts to Boyd June 16, 1959] [Filed under LP Science: (The National Foundation, 1958-1962), Box #14.024, Folder #24.1]
- Letter from Hal H. Ramsay, Field Representative, Division of Grants, Research Corporation, to LP RE: Says Dr. William N. Lipscomb has submitted a proposal for a Research Corporation Grant, encloses a copy of Lipscomb's application, says he named LP as a reference, asks for LP's appraisal of Lipscomb's work and explains what they want to hear about. (Following: copy of Lipscomb's application) [Letter from Harris to Ramsay June 30, 1959] [Filed under LP Correspondence: (Lipscomb, William N.), #217.6]
- Letter from Joan Harris, Secretary to LP, to Elizabeth Munger, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, RE: Sends LP's review of The Way Things Are for publication in Perspectives. [Letters from Munger to Harris May 18, 1959, June 22, 1959] [Filed under LP Manuscripts of Articles: 1959a.10]
- Letter from Richard W. Lippman to LP RE: Reports the success of the Honolulu trip: Snyder accepted the proposal, the project will be housed at the Children's Hospital in Honolulu, the plan for a research institute at the University has been approved, and Vera has already found inter-related patients. Also updates LP on the experiments being carried out at home. [Filed under LP Science: (Orthomolecular Medicine and Mental Health: Materials re: Ford Foundation grants for the study of mental disorders, 1955-1956), Box #11.088, Folder #88.15]
- Letter from Robert B. Corey to Roland K. Robins, Department of Chemistry, Arizona State University, cc: LP, RE: Expects that authorization from the National Foundation will arrive soon for the payment of synthesis of some compounds by Arizona State University. [Letter from Robins to Corey June 16, 1959, Letter from Corey to Robins June 24, 1959] [Filed under LP Science: (The National Foundation, 1958-1962), Box #14.024, Folder #24.1]
- Receipt from Oslo Embassy of Japan to LP for visa fee for $30.00. [Filed under LP Peace: (Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, 1957-1965, 1991), Box #4.008, Folder #8.3]
- Typescripts: Review of The Way Things Are, by P. W. Bridgman, June 18, 1959. [Filed under LP Manuscripts of Articles: 1959a.10]
THE WAY THINGS ARE, by P. W. Bridgman, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1959.
Bridgman in this book is doing something that in my opinion many scientists should do: he is attempting to understand the world as a whole in the same way that he understands (at least in part) the fields of physics in which he has been interested. He discusses many aspects of the world form a point of view that may be indicated by the following quotation from his Introduction: "Two convictions have been growing upon me - a conviction of the importance of a better understanding of the nature and the limitations of our intellectual tools, and a conviction that there is some fundamental ineptness in the way that all of us handle our minds. It becomes more and more impossible for me to read any of the great philosophical writings which have excited universal admiration from the time of the early Greeks - my mind simply will not do the things that it is obviously expected to do. The recent Treasury of Philosophy of Dagobert Runes is to me an utterly depressing exhibition of human frailty. At the same time, the importance of putting my finger on what is the matter appears more and more pressing."
Bridgman feels that his new insights cannot be dissociated from his practice of "operational analysis," which has revealed itself as a fruitful line of attack - he says that "analyzing the world in terms of doing or happenings, as contrasted with analyzing in terms of things or static elements, amounts to doing something new and unusual." Moreover, he points out that sharpness and absolute rigor in any analysis are unattainable, and that the best that can be attained is relative rigor in a limited universe of discourse and operations. I, too, think that philosophy will make progress in the same way as physics has, during recent decades - through a series of successive approximations - and that self-consistency and logical rigor are not important attributes of philosophical system.
The last section of Bridgman’s book, on the social implications of his method of attack, has especially interested me, because the conclusions that he has reached differ greatly from those that I have reached by a rather similar attack. I agree with his statement that "nothing less is demanded than a new system of ethics, an ethics concerned with the exercise of social pressures by the individual on his fellow." Bridgman formulates a code of value for value, under which a normal individual in a society will not wish to take from society anything for which he does not make return. He points out that there has been during the last thirty years a progressive worsening in the apparent valuation that society places on the teaching profession, and says that it is now easy to see that if the teachers as a class had had some organization they could have secured some action to counteract this trend, which would have been to the advantage of all, society and teachers as well.
His attack on social problems is illustrated in an interesting way by his discussion of the question of taxation. He asks "How shall we insure that society does not take from a man in taxes more than it returns to him in some other form?" He gives, as an example a tax that satisfies the principle of adequate return to the individual from his taxation, the gasoline tax, which requires that the individual pay to society an amount proportional to the number of mile that he drives, and he mentions the sales tax in general as similarly satisfactory. The graded income tax seems to him to be unjust. He describes it as a step toward acceptance of the communist ideal of the welfare state. One argument that he presents seems to me to be fallacious. It is that "the individual with abnormally large income requires special consideration. In general he is not able to, or as a matter of fact does not, spend all his income on living, but accumulates it and usually plows it back into capital investment. Such investment is for the advantage of society, so that a strict application of the principle of quid pro quo demands that the proportional part of his income which is siphoned off in taxes should be less for the man of large income than for the average."
It seems to me that his conclusion is not a sound one. Society may well be served better by a practice of high taxation of large incomes, with some of the tax money used by the government in the development of natural resources, such as in the Tennessee Valley, in the most productive way, rather than through the limited development of the natural resources, as in Hell’s Canyon, in such a way as to provide the maximum profit to the private investors. The question of the changing nature of society that would result from the transfer to a few great investors of ownership of an ever-increasing fraction of the property of the world, as would result from the policy that he describes, is one that is ignored by him.
The fact that Bridgman and I reach different conclusions through our similarly superficial attempts to analyze the extremely complex and difficult problems of society does not mean that attempts of this sort should not be made. I am grateful to Bridgman for the efforts that he is making to liberate scientists from the shackling contention that the methods of thinking that they have developed should be applied only in their own limited field, and that they should not attempt also to be good citizens. Bridgman is at the same time a great scientist and a good citizen. He has integrity, intellectual honesty, a quality that he discusses in his conclusion. This discussion leads him to make the statement that "the institution of nationalism is one that society at present expects the individual to accept without discussion. It is easy to imagine the social furor which would greet a proposal to discuss seriously the question 'Why should I be patriotic?' The word 'subversion' would often be herd in the clamor... Every one of us in this country should be re-examining our fundamental political suppositions to see how they stand up under the altered technological conditions of our times and to find ways of modifying them if it should appear desirable." I would add to this statement that would benefit from a concerted worldwide effort, on a great scale, to analyze social and political problems by application of the methods that scientists have found to be effective in the attack on scientific problems.
- Visa Application for LP [plus 2 copies] for trip to Tokyo, valid until April 30, 1960 [Filed under LP Peace: (Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, 1957-1965, 1991), Box #4.008, Folder #8.3]