by Robert C. Priddy
Formerly University of Oslo (ret'd)
UPDATE: RECONSIDERED AND MODIFIED
VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT OF THESE PAGES
under the (former) title 'Science Limited'
This revised text is designed to reflect a promising change in the public face of science which has occurred in many media, but - more importantly - better to represent the very considerable outreach and developments which have taken place in many of the sciences since the ubiquity of virtually unlimited computing power and its related technologies.
Ch, 1: PERCEPTIONS OF THE CHANGING FACE AND NATURE OF SCIENCE On some causes of a decline in intellectual
culture, including the underlying pseudo-philosophy of scientism/physicalism.
The late C20th facile presentation of scientific objectivity and near-infallibility
challenged by events, and promising trends to reform of its public
face in the media. Scientific culture - on public confidence in scientific
ethics and internally in poor self-reflection and self-regulation.
Counterbalancing the pendulum swing towards physicalism & materialism
since the enlightenment by holistic, holarchic and philosophical counterweights. Science for social change and the common good or as
a means to advance unjustified ends? Genetic 'meddling'? 'Natural'
selection or supra-evolutionism - to what ends, whose profit and whose
Ch. 2: SCIENCE AND THE PROGRESS OF HUMANITY? From & superstition to 'scientific prejudices', from alchemic gold to chemical payoffs, from scientific advance to declining social values, from ignorance of nature to fallacies about infallibility and human error? Destruction and 'creation' in science and the ill effects of the cultural schizm on understanding of the human being.
Ch. 3: THE PUBLIC FACE OF SCIENCE
Ch. 4: SCIENCE, THE CRITICAL MIND AND DISSENT The science community and radical dissent, social criticism and underestimation of the human error factor in science applications. A pressing need for fresh, unbiassed and more broadly educated minds to develop science within a more universal and inclusive level of understanding. Five varied examples of dissent against conventional wisdom: 1. Carnivorous bias in medicine. 2. Odontology & toxic fillings. 3. Unintelligent views on intelligence:
Ch. 5: SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVITY IN QUESTION On what is scientific, what not. Prestige and spurious claims of 'objective neutrality' and expert consensus. The assumption of physicalist meaninglessness vs. inherent purpose and meaning. Inertia in science: the roles of academic conventions, fashionable opinion, distortions due to pressures for originality, individualism, competition, self-marketing and prestige.
Ch. 6: SCIENTIFIC FREEDOM & GROUP INTERESTS 'Freedom' to research in the best interests of the public. Is science still only a collective, non-ideological and non-exploitative enterprise? Ethical responsibility towards 'society'. The conflict of values in science: truth or care? Wastefulness and wasted opportunity. Social control through science?
Ch. 7: SCIENCE AND THE DEMISE OF PHILOSOPHY The original spirit of philosophy and science diverted away from broad critical thinking. Human experience hypostatised in pseudo-philosophical concepts. The meta-crisis of the seperate sciences. Preconceptions, unreserved judgements and intellectual intolerance.
Ch. 8: SCIENTIFIC CONFUSION ABOUT CAUSES Science only describes & can't explain. Meaning or purpose. Multiple causes occur, which scientific method rejects. Explanation by causation limited, due to past orientation and denial of teleology, also since chance events & free will occur. Chaos theory and causality; random selection and probability; statistical theory and causation: Knowledge and a cosmic order.
Ch. 9: WHERE SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION FALLS SHORT On Procrustean criteria for strictly scientific explanation: repeatable observation, demonstrability, sense organ reductionism. Consciousness' subjective transcendence systematically 'overlooked' & 'objectivised' by vulgar scientism. Scientific predictions, the unknown and unknowable. The protean cumulation of ideas and multiplication of scientific information without holarchic understanding.
Ch. 10: SCIENCE AND HUMAN SUBJECTS The dilemma of most social science, that empirical methods distort the nature of the psycho-physical & social-spiritual human being. The uniqueness of historically-situated human actions aborts exact laws and prediction in social science. Analytical fragmentation of the human as a person and compartmentalisation of studies all due to the analytical fallacy, misplaced concreteness & confused attempts to quantify human qualities as objective data. Wider, 'softer' observational methods in human science essential for understanding.
Ch. 11: VALUES AND UNDERSTANDING IN HUMAN STUDIES On values mistakenly seen as 'non-scientific', including the value of science itself and its in-build social and cultural values. Human sciences' only justification is if they improve life. Need for self-legitimisation, moral discrimination, meaningful purpose and universal human values: eg: Human Values.
Robert Priddy is British, born U.K. 1936, researched and taught philosophy and sociology at the University of Oslo 1968-1984 until pensioned).