ISSN 2567-6458, 14.April 2022 – 14.April 2022
Author Writing: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Authors in Discourse: Gerd Doeben-Henisch & Philipp Westermeier

— not yet finished !! —


This post is part of the Philosophy of Science theme which is part of the uffmm blog.


In preceding papers about the concept of an Empirical Theory [ET], especially in the context of Karl Popper (e.g.Popper and Empirical Theory. A conceptual Experiment ) it has been investigated whether and how these concepts can be merged with the idea of a development process (e.g. An Empirical Theory as a Development Process ). Another aspect is the idea of ‘sustainable development’ as it has been characterized by the so-called Brundtland report [1] in 1987, which laid the ground for the United Nations Rio conference ‘Earth Summit’ in 1992 [2] which ended after several more UN conferences up in 2015 with the ‘Agenda 2030’ propagating 17 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs). [3]

‘Sustainability’ depends on the ability to make ‘qualified estimates about possible future states’. This again presupposes qualified knowledge about the ‘past’ and the ‘present’. Especially should this knowledge contain those kinds of ‘elaborated changes’ in the sequence of events which can be interpreted and used as ‘patterns of possible changes’ leading from one observed situation to another observable situation. Starting from here the following text communicates some more ideas.


This figure shows three different layers in the construction of an applied empirical theory: (i) On a ‘meta level’ some natural experts are communicating, are observing some parts the empirical environment, and try to describe these ideas with some symbolic expressions of a shared natural language. (ii) The content of these meta-level activities produces three kinds of texts as an ‘object level’: (a) One text describes the observed given situation with interesting properties; (b) another text describes the requirements for some wanted situation in a future state; (c) another text describes a collection of ‘change rules’ of possible actions which are assumed to be able a given situation to a new situation. (iii) On a third level called ‘philosophical level’ one can raise questions to the ‘conditions’ of all the elements used on the meta level.


This figure is ‘zooming into’ a process described by an object level of a SAET. The ‘given state’ of a concrete SAET describes some part of the empirical environment which as such has some ‘dynamics’, but one can additionally describe individual actors as parts of the environment. Every actor has its own dynamics and viewed in isolation he is able to produces a set of states by its actions. ‘Potentially’ nearly non-countable many possible continuations are possible. Thus every actor is associated with a ‘space of possible continuations’ called ‘potential individual realization space’ [PIRS]. In reality every actor must all the time ‘decide’ which concrete continuation shall be selected from many possible continuations. Thus the large space will be transformed into a single process representing only one path in the PIRS. If one is asking what are the ‘factors’ influencing the selection process one can detect many kinds of factors. Besides the internal factors there is the ‘environment as such’: No water to drink; no food to eat; deadly criminals around you … this will hinder every child to select those options which would be helpful. The in the realm of the ‘internal states’ there is a certain amount of ‘experience’ enabling certain kinds of ‘knowledge’ which is the point of reference for possible decisions. If this experience is too small, if the knowledge is wrong, there exists no chance to produce good selections. And much more…


This figure is again looking from the meta level. Usually there is more than one theory written down. Mostly these theories are dealing with different aspects of the empirical reality. Because the reality as such is ‘one’ it would be helpful to ‘unify all different special views’. In a SEAT like theory as described here this is quite simple: one has only to unify each kind of text as the ‘given situation’, the ‘wanted situation’ as well as the ‘change rules’ to get a new ‘unified’ theory.


[1] Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development,, accessed: 10/04/2022

[2] Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,, accessed: 10/04/2022

[3] United Nations,, accessed 10/04/2022