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Old 12-12-2013, 07:35 PM   #31
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Tech Level appropriate skills

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Originally Posted by acrosome View Post
Those of you who are saying things like "Anthropology at TL2" are I think forgetting that these weren't remotely sciences at those low TLs. I think that the low-TL equivalent is Area Knowledge and Cultural Familiarity. Thus (per Low-Tech) these sciences get subsumed into Expert Skill (Natural Philosophy) before TL4, or something. I actually think that this is very appropriate.
It's not "natural" philosophy. The ancient world distinguished natura from mores: Things that exist because that's how the world is, and things that exist because human beings chose for them to exist. Natural history studied the kinds of plants, animals, and minerals; natural philosophy studied the processes through which they came to be, continued to be, and ceased to be. Moral history studied human civilizations; moral philosophy studied the choices that human beings made, and provided advice on how to make them better. Cultural anthropology, ethnography, and similar fields would fall mostly into moral history.

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Old 12-13-2013, 12:47 AM   #32
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It's not "natural" philosophy. The ancient world distinguished natura from mores: Things that exist because that's how the world is, and things that exist because human beings chose for them to exist. Natural history studied the kinds of plants, animals, and minerals; natural philosophy studied the processes through which they came to be, continued to be, and ceased to be. Moral history studied human civilizations; moral philosophy studied the choices that human beings made, and provided advice on how to make them better. Cultural anthropology, ethnography, and similar fields would fall mostly into moral history.

Bill Stoddard
Similarly, Psychology is explicitly the practical skill of understanding human behavior in diverse situations, not the skill of running experiments, analyzing scholarly literature, and creating abstract theories about human behaviour in artificial situations.

Of course, some ethnographers will have more Research, Theology, and Literature than Philosophy (Moral) and Anthropology, but 20th century ethnology was not free of the later.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:13 AM   #33
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Those lists of yours are great stuff, tbrock1031. Are there still more coming? Do you mind if I make that info available on my webpage? I'll give you credit of course.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:59 AM   #34
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Default Re: Tech Level appropriate skills

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Those of you who are saying things like "Anthropology at TL2" are I think forgetting that these weren't remotely sciences at those low TLs. I think that the low-TL equivalent is Area Knowledge and Cultural Familiarity. Thus (per Low-Tech) these sciences get subsumed into Expert Skill (Natural Philosophy) before TL4, or something. I actually think that this is very appropriate.
The Anthropology skill states: "This is the study of ... culture. The anthropologist is knowledgeable about primitive (and not-so-primitive) societies." It doesn't have to be a formalized body of science and taught in an institution to be learned.

Herodotus studied Egyptian, Persian, Indian, and Arabian cultures, recording them in his Histrories. Doubtless he was not the only one, though his is the manuscript best remembered. There were Romans who studied the cultures of the Egyptian, Jewish, and Germanic people, most notably Tacitus who wrote on the latter quite in-depth in his De Origine et situ Germanorum (translated title: Germania). Ahmad ibn Fadlān in his travels worked to understand and record the societies of the Volga Bulgars and Rus of Eastern Europe (the latter are commonly identified as the Vikings who settled around Kiev).

I won't deny that these folks, seeking to be well-rounded, also studied the fields of History, Law, Theology, and Philosophy, but what is the line between Expert Skill (Moral Philosophy) and the individual skills? Is it implausible to say that "Yes, Tacitus had Expert Skill (Moral Philosophy)-12, but also Anthropology-14"? Is it impossible for someone to study the culture of a people but have no clue other than the basics of their religious beliefs?

Sorry for the rant.
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:00 AM   #35
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Those lists of yours are great stuff, tbrock1031. Are there still more coming? Do you mind if I make that info available on my webpage? I'll give you credit of course.
Go right ahead and post the lists. I was going to give more, but I got sidetracked.
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Old 12-13-2013, 11:24 AM   #36
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I won't deny that these folks, seeking to be well-rounded, also studied the fields of History, Law, Theology, and Philosophy, but what is the line between Expert Skill (Moral Philosophy) and the individual skills? Is it implausible to say that "Yes, Tacitus had Expert Skill (Moral Philosophy)-12, but also Anthropology-14"? Is it impossible for someone to study the culture of a people but have no clue other than the basics of their religious beliefs?
(a) Natural Philosophy is an Expert skill, but I don't think Moral Philosophy is; I think it's just Philosophy. The skill in GURPS does not represent academic philosophy as universities now teach it. Its original primary denotation was nontheistic Asian belief systems such as Buddhism and Taoism that provided ethical guidance; by extension, it can also apply to Aristotelian eudemonism, or Epicureanism, or Spinoza's ethics, or Marx's dialectical materialism. You mainly roll against Philosophy when you're seeking ethical insight: "a system of principles to live by" (p. B213). What Hume calls "the academical or skeptical philosophy," which is directly ancestral to present-day Anglo-American philosophy, explicitly disclaims any relevance to the actual conduct of life.

(b) The sciences are not defined only by their subject matter; they are defined by having methods that permit systematic testing of ideas, and by theories that have emerged from such methods. Before that, you have theories that are simply systematizations of common sense, or of folk science (like impetus physics, which is the Warner Brothers theory of motion), and that have not been systematically tested. Psychology explicitly includes this as one of the two options; the other social sciences really don't.

The descriptive study of other cultures would be Area Knowledge, or Geography, or History. Once you develop ethnographic field methods you have something that it makes sense to call Anthropology.

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Old 12-19-2013, 12:28 PM   #37
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Following up on my earlier posts:

Poisons: TL 0.
Propaganda: TL 1.
Prospecting: TL 1, necessary for finding good deposits of metals.
Psychology: Applied would be earlier, TL 1 or 2 if not covered by Bill's take on Philosophy, TL 4+ if it is. Experimental is TL 5+.
Religious Ritual: TL 0.
Research: TL 1, though uncommon outside the elite until TL 4+.
Scuba: TL 6 at the earliest, though I don't believe it was common until after WWII (which is TL 7).
Sewing: TL 0. Earliest sewing needles were fish bone and other naturally sharp, thin materials.
Shiphandling: Oarman at TL 1, Ship at TL 4 (Anachronistic at TL 3), Airship at TL 6 (Anachronistic at TL 5), Submarine at TL 6 or 7, and Spaceship is probably realistic at TL9 (Anachronistic at TL 7 or 8, depending on setting).
Smith: Copper and Lead/Tin at TL 1 (Anachronistic at late TL 0), Iron at TL 2.
Sociology: Quite possibly TL 1. May not be named as its own formalized body until TL 4+, though.
Speed-Reading: TL 2, though uncommon until TL 5+.
Strategy: TL 1, when armies came into being.
Submarine: late TL 6 is when they became practical, though pioneered in TL 5 (consider it Anachronistic).
Surgery: We have clear evidence of it being used at TL 0.
Tactics: This is plausible at TL 0 when dealing with small-scale engagements. Comes into its own at TL 1 at the latest for certain.
Theology: TL 1, possibly TL 0.
Traps: We have evidence of this being used at TL 0.
Typing: Pretty sure the typewriter was invented during TL 6; Bram Stoker has his character Mina Murray being a proficient typist in her own right in Dracula.
Veterinary: TL 0.
Writing: While available in ancient Sumeria (TL 1), it didn't really come into its own until Classical Greek times (TL 2).



Every time I use "Anachronistic" with the capital "A", I'm referring to the Anachronistic Skill Perk.

I don't agree with Bill that all social sciences prior to TL 5 should be covered under Philosophy. Expert Skill (Moral Philosophy) combining Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, etc., seems to me to be the better choice, and makes a good complement to Expert Skill (Natural Philosophy) for the physical sciences. YMMV, though.
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:25 PM   #38
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Submarine: late TL 6 is when they became practical, though pioneered in TL 5 (consider it Anachronistic).
Mid-TL6, surely: they did a lot in WWI. The period when they went from curiosities to practical weapons was 1900-1914.
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:06 PM   #39
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I don't agree with Bill that all social sciences prior to TL 5 should be covered under Philosophy. Expert Skill (Moral Philosophy) combining Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, etc., seems to me to be the better choice, and makes a good complement to Expert Skill (Natural Philosophy) for the physical sciences. YMMV, though.
* I did not say "all social sciences." Prior to TL5, natural sciences were split mostly into natural history and natural philosophy; in GURPS these seem to be Naturalist and Expert Skill: Natural Philosophy. Social sciences were similarly split into moral history and moral philosophy. Moral history seems to be largely what GURPS calls History, with a side helping of Geography.

* It's neatly symmetrical to have Expert Skill (Moral Philosophy), and if the system were being designed from scratch I would go for that. But if you look at the actual skill definitions, the definition of Philosophy not only includes "moral philosophy," but primarily emphasizes it. Answering questions about human nature and human values is the primary thing that Philosophy skill does. Having both Philosophy and Expert Skill: Moral Philosophy to cover mostly the exact same things is the kind of redundancy that made 4/e necessary.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:39 PM   #40
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Default Re: Tech Level appropriate skills

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* I did not say "all social sciences." Prior to TL5, natural sciences were split mostly into natural history and natural philosophy; in GURPS these seem to be Naturalist and Expert Skill: Natural Philosophy. Social sciences were similarly split into moral history and moral philosophy. Moral history seems to be largely what GURPS calls History, with a side helping of Geography.

* It's neatly symmetrical to have Expert Skill (Moral Philosophy), and if the system were being designed from scratch I would go for that. But if you look at the actual skill definitions, the definition of Philosophy not only includes "moral philosophy," but primarily emphasizes it. Answering questions about human nature and human values is the primary thing that Philosophy skill does. Having both Philosophy and Expert Skill: Moral Philosophy to cover mostly the exact same things is the kind of redundancy that made 4/e necessary.

Bill Stoddard
That's a very good point, but most people don't seem to think of Philosophy that way, and all the specializations I've seen are of specific philosophies like Taoism or Neo-Platonianism. Maybe use Philosophy (Social) to refer to the various social sciences? Alternatively, Philosophy with the specialization being the name of that skill, like Philosophy (Sociology)?
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