Science took a wrong turn with the birth of its daughter, the technology, with whose guidance the civilization ushered in the Industrial Age in mid-18th century. From here a drama of science’s increasing dominance over civilization began. The science–civilization marriage has been quite inconvenient. However, the civilization, at this juncture, cannot divorce science. Its dependence on science and technology has increased to an extent that without it the world will come almost (...) to standstill. Science and technology have not only changed social, cultural and economic values but have also posed a challenge to the very sustainability of life. From the plunder of nature to the disruption of climate system of the planet, science could be held responsible for its lifeannihilating role. Science and technology have compelled us to transform our biosphere into a technosphere; and technosphere is not a safe place for the civilization to prosper and evolve to attain its climax. A civilization in its natural way always evolves through evolving happiness. Happiness, in fact, is the gist of civilization. Institutes, creativity, spirituality, democracy, freedom, knowledge and beauty are the major attributes of the civilization to create conditions for happiness. Happiness must flow from our thinking, every policy, every program, every project and every philosophy. As our economic development models based on the over-exploitation of nature and the capitalistic ideology are happiness-devouring, our contemporary civilization cannot bloom with happiness in such an environment. The small Himalayan nation Bhutan has shown the world how to gauze national progress through Gross National Happiness, rather than through conventional Gross National Product or Gross Domestic Product. The Skolimowskian philosophy, a new philosophy sprouting out like a beautiful lotus amidst the mud of analytical philosophy, envisions a civilization in the Third Millennium empowered enough by the values to reconstruct a new world, search new horizons of happiness and sustainability and design a new cosmology that could lead us to fertilize the universe. (shrink)
We face two great probems of learning: learning about the universe and about ourselves as a part of the universe, and learning how to create world civilization. We have solved the first problem, but not the second. We need to learn from our solution to the first problem how to solve the second. That involves getting clear about the nature of the progress-achieving methods of science, generalizing these methods so that they become fruitfully applicable to any problematic endeavour, (...) and then getting these generalized progress-acheving methods into all our other institutions besides science, and above all into the endeavour to make progress towards a good, civilized world. This article spells out what this programme involves. (shrink)
New branches of social science primarily engaging the “internet revolution” are appearing alongside mainstream research and journals such as Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking are providing social scientists with an outlet of peer-reviewed research. HPS scholars will find new methodologies and the relation of technology to social science of particularly interest. Social scientists are becoming increasingly interested in virtual realities (see Milburn (Spontaneous Generations 2008, 63)) and are declaring time spent “in-game” ethnographic research. William Sims Bainbridge boasts 2300+ (...) hours (approximately 96 days) of ethnographic research into a virtual world he calls “The Warcraft Civilization.” Blizzard Entertainment reported in a December 2008 press release that World of Warcraft (WoW), its extraordinarily successful 2004 massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) comprised 11.5 million subscribers worldwide . In order to accommodate player demand, Blizzard uses hundreds of servers, artfully called realms, each running an instance of WoW for subscribers to play on. There are four types of realms: normal or player-versus-environment (PvE) realms, player-versus-player (PvP) realms, role-playing (RP) realms, and role-playing player-versus-player (RP-PvP) realms. The most popular realms are PvE and PvP; players on RP and RP-PvP realms are meant to “live” in WoW and therefore must adhere to role-playing policies such as remaining “in-character” of the avatar they have selected. (shrink)
Two great problems of learning confront humanity: learning about the nature of the universe and our place in it, and learning how to become civilized. The first problem was solved, in essence, in the 17th century, with the creation of modern science. But the second problem has not yet been solved. Solving the first problem without also solving the second puts us in a situation of great danger. All our current global problems have arisen as a result. What we (...) need to do, in response to this unprecedented crisis, is learn from our solution to the first problem how to solve the second. This was the basic idea of the 18th century Enlightenment. Unfortunately, in carrying out this programme, the Enlightenment made three blunders, and it is this defective version of the Enlightenment programme that we have institutionalized in 20th century academic inquiry. In order to solve the second great problem of learning we need to correct the three blunders of the traditional Enlightenment. This involves changing the nature of social inquiry, so that social science becomes social methodology or social philosophy, concerned to help us build into social life the progress-achieving methods of aim-oriented rationality, arrived at by generalizing the progress-achieving methods of science. It also involves, more generally, bringing about a revolution in the nature of academic inquiry as a whole, so that it takes up its proper task of helping humanity learn how to become wiser by increasingly cooperatively rational means. The scientific task of improving knowledge and understanding of nature becomes a part of the broader task of improving global wisdom. (shrink)
The New Leviathan, originally published in 1942, a few months before the author's death, is the book which R. G. Collingwood chose to write in preference to completing his life's work on the philosophy of history. It was a reaction to the Second World War and the threat which Nazism and Fascism constituted to civilization. The book draws upon many years of work in moral and political philosophy and attempts to establish the multiple and complex connections between the levels (...) of consciousness, society, civilization, and barbarism. Collingwood argues that traditional social contract theory has failed to account for the continuing existence of the non-social community and its relation to the social community in the body politic. He is also critical of the tendency within ethics to confound right and duty. The publication of additional manuscript material in this revised edition demonstrates in more detail how Collingwood was determined to show that right and duty occupy different levels of rational practical consciousness. The additional material also contains Collingwood's unequivocal rejection of relativism. (shrink)
This essay reviews two recent books commenting on, and contributing to, the “science wars.” In Who Rules in Science? James Robert Brown respectfully but firmly rejects the “nihilist” and the “naturalist” wings of social constructivism. He rejects attempts to debunk science in the name of a relativist or anarchist epistemology. He also criticizes the “strong programme” in the sociology of knowledge and its implied contrast between reasons and causes. In Prometheus Bedeviled Norman Levitt examines the cultural roots (...) of current discontent with science. Levitt's analysis—and polemic—charges contemporary culture with a pervasive cheapening of intellectual standards. (shrink)
We are in a state of impending crisis. And the fault lies in part with academia. For two centuries or so, academia has been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how. This has enormously increased our power to act which has, in turn, brought us both all the great benefits of the modern world and the crises we now face. Modern science and technology have made possible modern industry and agriculture, the explosive growth of the world’s population, (...) global warming, modern armaments and the lethal character of modern warfare, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, immense inequalities of wealth and power across the globe, pollution of earth, sea and air, even the aids epidemic (aids being spread by modern travel). All these global problems have arisen because some of us have acquired unprecedented powers to act, via science and technology, without also acquiring the capacity to act wisely. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities so that the basic intellectual aim becomes, not knowledge merely, but rather wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. The revolution we require would put problems of living at the heart of the academic enterprise, the pursuit of knowledge emerging out of, and feeding back into, the fundamental intellectual activity of proposing and critically assessing possible actions, policies, political programmes, from the standpoint of their capacity to help solve problems of living. This revolution would affect almost every branch and aspect of academic inquiry. (shrink)
There are these two absolutely basic problems: to learn about the universe and ourselves as a part of the universe, and to learn how to create a civilized world. Essentially, we have solved the first problem. We solved it when we created modern science. That is not to say that we know everything that is to be known, but we created a method for improving our knowledge about the world. But we haven't solved the second problem. And to solve (...) the first problem without solving the second problem is very, very dangerous. The crisis is this: the crisis of having science without civlization. (shrink)
We are in a state of impending crisis. And the fault lies in part with academia. For two centuries or so, academia has been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how. This has enormously increased our power to act which has, in turn, brought us both all the great benefits of the modern world and the crises we now face. Modern science and technology have made possible modern industry and agriculture, the explosive growth of the world’s population, (...) global warming, modern armaments and the lethal character of modern warfare, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, immense inequalities of wealth and power across the globe, pollution of earth, sea and air, even the Aids epidemic (Aids being spread by modern travel). All these global problems have arisen because some of us have acquired unprecedented powers to act, via science and technology, without also acquiring the capacity to actwisely. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities so that the basic intellectual aim becomes, not knowledge merely, but rather wisdom—wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. The revolution we require would put problems of living at the heart of the academic enterprise, the pursuit of knowledge emerging out of, and feeding back into, the fundamental intellectual activity of proposing and critically assessing possible actions, policies, political programs, from the standpoint of their capacity to help solve problems of living. This revolution would affect almost every branch and aspect of academic inquiry. (shrink)
Modern scientific, academic inquiry suffers from a serious, wholesale fundamental defect. Though very successful at improving specialized scientific knowledge and technological know-how, it is an intellectual and human disaster when it comes to helping us realize what is of value in life - in particlar, when it comes to helping us create a more enlightened, civilized world.
Nicholas Maxwell believes that while we have developed an excellent way of learning about the nature of the universe, we have so far failed in our attempts to apply this method to create a civilized world.
This thoughtful and engaging text challenges the widely held notion of science as somehow outside of society, and the idea that technology proceeds automatically down a singular and inevitable path. Through specific case studies involving contemporary debates, this book shows that science and technology are fundamentally part of society and are shaped by it. Draws on concepts from political sociology, organizational analysis, and contemporary social theory. Avoids dense theoretical debate. Includes case studies and concluding chapter summaries for students (...) and scholars. (shrink)
In this concisely argued, short new book, well-known philosopher Naomi Zack explores the scientific and philosophical problems in applying a biological conception of race to human beings. Through the systematic analysis of up-to-date data and conclusions in population genetics, transmission genetics, and biological anthropology, Zack provides a comprehensive conceptual account of how "race" in the ordinary sense has no basis in science. Her book combats our everyday understanding of race as a scientifically supported taxonomy of human beings, and in (...) conclusion challenges us to be clear about what we mean by "race" and what it would require to remedy racism. (shrink)
From Knowledge to Wisdom argues that there is an urgent need, for both intellectual and humanitarian reasons, to bring about a revolution in science and the humanities. The outcome would be a kind of academic inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity learn how to create a better world. Instead of giving priority to solving problems of knowledge, as at present, academia would devote itself to helping us solve our immense, current global problems – climate change, war, poverty, population growth, (...) pollution... of sea, earth and air, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, injustice, tyranny, proliferation of armaments, conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear, depletion of natural resources. The basic intellectual aim of inquiry would be to seek and promote wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This second edition has been revised throughout, has additional material, a new introduction and three new chapters. (shrink)
What is the proper relation between the scientific worldview and other parts or aspects of human knowledge and experience? Can any science aim at "complete coverage" of the world, and if it does, will it undermine--in principle or by tendency--other attempts to describe or understand the world? Should morality, theology and other areas resist or be protected from scientific treatment? Questions of this sort have been of pressing philosophical concern since antiquity. The Proper Ambition of Science presents ten (...) particular case studies written by prominent philosophers, looking at how this problem has been approached from the ancient world right up to the present day. Contributors: Bob Sharples, M.W.F. Stone, G.A.J. Rogers, J.R. Milton, Aaron Ridley, Christopher Hookway, Dermot Moran, Thomas E. Uebel, David Papineau, and Nancy Cartwright. (shrink)
This collection of essays covers the classical heritage and Islamic culture, classical Arabic science and philosophy, and Muslim religious sciences, showing continuation of Greek and Persian thought as well as original Muslim contributions ...
What does it mean to know something - scientifically, anthropologically, socially? What is the relationship between different forms of knowledge and ways of knowing? How is knowledge mobilised in society and to what ends? Drawing on ethnographic examples from across the world, and from the virtual and global "places" created by new information technologies, Anthropology and Science presents examples of living and dynamic epistemologies and practices, and of how scientific ways of knowing operate in the world. Authors address the (...) nature of both scientific and experiential knowledge, and look at competing and alternative ideas about what it means to be human. The essays analyze the politics and ethics of positioning "science", "culture" or "society" as authoritative. They explore how certain modes of knowing are made authoritative and command allegiance (or not), and look at scientific and other rationalities - whether these challenge or are compatible with science. (shrink)
In a spellbinding narrative that skillfully weaves together cutting-edge research among today's foremost scientists, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku--author of the bestselling book Hyperspace --presents a bold, exhilarating adventure into the science of tomorrow. In Visions, Dr. Kaku examines in vivid detail how the three scientific revolutions that profoundly reshaped the twentieth century--the quantum, biogenetic, and computer revolutions--will transform the way we live in the twenty-first century. The fundamental elements of matter and life--the particles of the atom and the nucleus (...) of the cell--have now been decoded, closing one of the great chapters of scientific history. But this is just the preface to an even more far-reaching scientific revolution, as we make the transition from being passive observers of the mysteries of nature to becoming masters of nature, able to manipulate matter, life, and intelligence to remold the world around us. In the first part of Visions, Dr. Kaku discusses the cyber future, when millions of microprocessors are scattered throughout our environment; when the iron principle that has ruled the computer industry, Moore's Law, finally collapses, forcing scientists to adopt startling new designs like DNA computers and quantum computers; and when artificial intelligence systems finally arrive. In the next section, Dr. Kaku shows how the decoding of DNA will allow us to conquer devastating genetic diseases, defeat many cancers at the molecular level, synthesize new medicines using virtual reality, grow new organs, conquer aging and reshape our genetic inheritance. Finally, he explores how quantum physicists will perfect new ways to harness the cosmic energy of the universe--from molecular machines to supermagnets that may energize a second industrial revolution, to powerful fusion engines that one day may take us to the stars. What makes Michio Kaku's vision of the future of science so compelling and authoritative is that it is based on the groundbreaking research already underway at leading laboratories around the world. Weaving interviews with over 150 scientists--several of them Nobel laureates--into a rich, inspiring narrative, Dr. Kaku reveals the growing consensus among key scientists about how science will likely evolve through the early, middle, and late years of the twenty-first century. An intimate, thrilling tour through the next century of science, Visions is a riveting, essential map to how scientists will reshape our future. (shrink)
Introducing the issue of the beginnings of life into the realm of scientific research posed a danger for the valid structures of knowledge. For a couple of tens of years, scientists have dealt with this issue ignoring the “touchy” problem of its “extrascientific” (i.e. philosophical, or even worse, “political”) groundings and its consequences for the Weltanschauung. In the face of new challenges, this strategy proved to be erroneous.
Two great problems of learning confront humanity: first, learning about the nature of the universe and about ourselves as a part of the universe, and second, learning how to live wisely – learning how to make progress towards as good a world as possible. The first problem was solved, in essence, in the 17th century, with the creation of modern science. A method was discovered for progressively improving knowledge and understanding of the natural world, the famous empirical method of (...)science. But the second great problem of learning has not yet been solved. And this puts us in a situation of unprecedented danger. Indeed, all our current global problems can be traced back, in one way or another, to this source. Solving the first great problem of learning enormously increases our power to act, via the increase of scientific knowledge and technological know-how. But without wisdom – without a solution to the second problem of learning – our immensely increased power to act may have good consequences, but will as often as not have all sorts of harmful consequences as well, whether intended or not. In order to cope with the situation of unprecedented danger we find ourselves in, we need to learn from our solution to the first problem how to solve the second. That is, we need to learn from scientific progress how to make better social progress towards a wiser world. (shrink)
In this book Jeremy Dunning-Davies deals with the influence that "conventional wisdom" has on science, scientific research and development. He sets out to explode' the mythical conception that all scientific topics are open for free discussion and argues that no-one can openly raise questions about relativity, dispute the 'Big Bang' theory, or the existence of black holes, which all seem to be accepted facts of science rather than science fiction. In today's modern climate with "Britain's radioactive refuse (...) heap already big enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall" (Edmund Conway, Economics Editor The Daily Telegraph 28.11.06), it is alarming that there are potential advances in hadronic mechanics which could conceivably pave the way for new clean energies and even a safe in-house method for the disposal of nuclear waste, that have not even been considered by the present establishment. These examples are from the field of physics but there can be little doubt that outside factors have affected the progress of most, if not all, branches of science for many years. Factors other than purely scientific ones still appear to be exerting tremendous influences on progress in a wide variety of fields. Is it too idealistic or nai;ve, to expect that science should remain pure and stay unaffected by such factors? Dr Dunning-Davies presents a beautifully written argument that if science is to progress, and be of any real use, these external factors must be held at bay. (shrink)