Science, morality and method in environmental discourse

Human Affairs 28 (1):71-87 (2018)

Ibanga Ikpe
University of Botswana
The environmental crisis that faces the world today is sometimes seen to be the result of making wrong turns on the path to human development. This is especially so in terms of the technologies humans adopt, the way such technologies are powered, and the morality that is at the foundation of societies that develop and utilize such technologies. Humanity has come to the realization that the technologies that were ushered in with a fanfare and that may still enjoy considerable patronage sometimes have a darker side that may exact a costly price. The situation would probably have been different if there had been credible alternatives waiting in the wings, but no such alternatives exist and the path to such alternative technologies will probably be fraught with even more dangers. The view in this paper is that the current environmental crisis is not so much a problem of making wrong choices in technology as it is a problem with the nature of our science: a science which stifles the growth of views that contradict the opinion at the centre. It argues that the discouragement of adventitious ideas is responsible for the lack of credible alternatives to current technologies and therefore the inability to discard technologies that are considered anachronistic. In view of the above, the paper argues for a liberalisation of science through the tolerance of heretical scientific views as well as alternative knowledge systems. It questions the morality of subscribing to a single method of science in an era where alternatives exist to every other human facility and argues, following Mill and Feyerabend, not only for the proliferation of technologies but also for the proliferation of sciences as a safeguard against scientific lethargy.
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DOI 10.1515/humaff-2018-0007
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Mere Moral Failure.Julie Tannenbaum - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):58-84.
Science and Complexity.Warren Weaver - 1948 - American Scientist 36 (536–544).

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