War as Art or Science: A Humanist Vision
Sears, Todd Richard
Stolfi, R. H. S.
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This thesis attempts to answer the question, Is War art of science? In doing so it draws heavily upon Thomas Kuhn's humanistic philosophy of science. If War can be separated theoretically into two distinct analytical units, preparation for war, and conduct of war, then the answer to the question becomes more accessible. The war preparation process is notably similar to the Kuhnian dynamic of scientific process, i.e., the evolution of a paradigm through inter-disciplinary criticism and rearticulation. A case study of post-WWII US nuclear strategy is offered to substantiate the claim that war preparation operates in a way that is remarkably similar to Kuhnian science. So, if war preparation is scientific, then the conduct of war, a fundamentally different activity, may be seen as artistic. This case is made by drawing heavily upon the writings of General Carl von Clausewitz, and the 18th century German idealist Immanuel Kant. The end result of the work is to posit the existence of two types of men necessary for the execution of War, those who demonstrate ability in the sublime genius of science, and those who are more suited to develop the heroic genius of battle. The question then arises as pertains to the US military educational system's ability to identify these men and intensify their development within each's specific forte.
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