Arsênio em Mumford (1934)

Although the most intense applications of the scientific method were in technology, the interests that it satisfied and re-excited, the desire for order that it expressed, translated themselves in other spheres. More and more factual research, the document, the exact calculation became a preliminary to expression. Indeed, respect for quantities became a new condition of what had hitherto been crude qualitative judgments. Good and bad, beauty and ugliness, are determined, not merely by their respective natures but by the quantity one may assign to them in any particular situation. To think closely with respect to quantities is to think more accurately about the essential nature and the actual functions of things: arsenic is a tonic in grains and a poison in ounces: the quantity, the local composition, and the environmental relation of a quality are as important, so to say, as its original sign as quality. It is for this reason that a whole series of ethical distinctions, based upon the notion of pure and absolute qualities without relation to their amounts, has been instinctively discarded by a considerable part of mankind: while Samuel Butler’s dictum, that every virtue should he mixed with a little of its opposite, implying as it does that qualities are altered by their quantitative relations, seems much closer to the heart of the matter. This respect for quantity has been grossly caricatured by dull pedantic minds who have sought by mathematical means to eliminate the qualitative aspects of complicated social and esthetic situations: but one need not be led by their mistake into failing to recognize the peculiar contribution that our quantitative technique has made in departments apparently remote from the machine. (Mumford 1934:328)

MUMFORD, Lewis. 1934. Technique and civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.