SCIENCE AND SOCIETY:
This mid-level course represents a critical introduction to the contemporary crisis of the Enlightenment and the Environment. It emphasizes the underlying values and ethical norms that ground modern natural science and its relationship to nature, history, and industrial society. By exploring the delicate fabric binding Science, Nature, and Society, the course outlines the connections between environmental problems and broader social problems. The main goal of the course is to explore the contemporary environmental crisis while asking the central question -- Is this a crisis of Science, Reason, Ecology, or Society? Can the environment be repaired by furthering scientific inquiry, expanding Enlightenment rationality, encouraging alternative and green technology, or by transforming the fundamental structures and ideals of modern industrial society?
The first part of the course will examine the underlying philosophical and sociological foundations of modern science and Enlightenment rationality. It will begin by analyzing the differences between the ancient Greek and medieval view of physics, causality, movement, and organic nature and the modern worldview of natural science in Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. We will then turn to study the debates within the philosophy of science (Burtt, Popper, Kuhn, Quine, Feyerabend, and Rorty) and the sociology of science (Scheler, Ellul, Marcuse, Habermas, and Leiss) about the nature of scientific inquiry and the social/political meaning of scientific discoveries. Does science investigate the essential reality of nature or is it more influenced by the broader social relations and practical activity of modern industrial life? Does science reflect objective reality, essential being, and universal truth or does science construct physical reality and invent truth? That is, is science a social construct reflecting the utilitarian needs and functional interests of society? After responding to these issues, the course then turns to examine the applied relationships between science and society, that is, issues of environmentalism and social justice. We will deal with the full range of the rationalization of modern society: the application of science and technological rationality (efficiency, productivity, and functionality) to economic (workplace), political (state), and social (cultural legitimation) institutions. We will examine the process of modernization and rationalization in science, labor, politics, the academy, nature, and ecology.
Finally, we will discuss the debates about the Enlightenment and capitalism within critical ecology: the environmental movement, deep ecology, social ecology, and radical ecology. Of particular importance is the return to the enchanted nature and physics of Aristotle and the moral economy and classical democracy of the Greek polis by the social ecologists for insights into the crisis of Western reason and Enlightenment science along with their vision of small-scale technology, local communities, and participatory democracy. From this perspective, environmental science and social ecology are sensitive to the broader social issues of the need for structural change of class society and political economy, domination of nature and humanity, and social critique. Readings will be from T. Kuhn, E. A. Burtt, M. Berman, H. Braverman, C. Lasch, F. Capra, M. Horkheimer, H. Marcuse, and C. Merchant.
T. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Harper Torchbooks paperback, 1963
M. Berman, The Reenchantment of the World
H. Braverman, Labor and Monopoly Capital
Aristotle, Physics and Metaphysics (selections)
E. A. Burtt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science
M. Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason
C. Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism
J. Habermas, Toward a Rational Society
B. McKibben, The End of Nature
F. Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture
On Reserve in Treleaven House and on Library ERES:
Max Weber, "Science as a Vocation," chapter 22 in Readings in
Introductory Sociology, edited by Dennis Wrong and Harry Gracey
There will be a mid-term and final paper due the last day of class. Questions will be given out prior to the mid-term exam from which two will be chosen the day of the exam. Class attendance is naturally required, as is participation in class discussions. The goal of the course is to encourage students to become involved in their own enlightenment. The final grade will be based on the mid-term, final paper, and class participation.
My office hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:15 to 9:45 AM in Treleaven House, Room 202, 105 Brooklyn St. Appointments to see me at other times may be made during the day, or immediately before or after class. My email address is "McCarthy@Kenyon.edu."
OVERVIEW OF SCHEDULE AND REQUIRED READINGS
WEEKS                       LECTURE TOPICS
|1.||Thomas Kuhn||The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)
Critique of the Enlightenment, Objective Reality, Realism, and Positivism
Kuhn's Theory of Objectivity, Perception, and Reflection: Thomas Kuhn's theory of normal science, paradigms, and social constructivism, as well as his critique of naturalism, realism, and positivism, represents a creative synthesis of the theories of knowledge and science of empiricism (Francis Bacon, John Locke, and David Hume), German idealism (Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel), critical rationalism (Karl Popper), post-analytic philosophy and pragmatism (Willard van Quine), gestalt psychology (N.R. Hanson), and linguistic anthropology (Benjamin Lee Whorf). Social Constructivism began with epistemology, phenomenology, and theories of the mind and evolved into sociology, linguistics, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy of science with a theory of imagination (Hume), subjectivity and transcendental consciousness (Kant), Absolute Spirit and historical/phenomenological consciousness (Hegel), class consciousness (Marx), historical consciousness (Weber), collective conscience and consciousness (Durkheim), social construction of reality (Berger and Luckmann), language and culture (Whorf and Sapir), mind (Hanson, Adorno, Popper, and Russell), social consensus (Quine), and paradigm (Kuhn). Kuhn received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Harvard University in 1946 and 1949, respectively, but switched to philosophy and history while still at Harvard and later at the University of California, Berkeley.
Traditional Theories of Objectivity in Perception, Experience, and Science: Perception of Substance and Objects: Bertrand Russell in Chapter 1 of his work The Problems of Philosophy (1912) and Theodor Adorno in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1959 lectures), Lecture 8, raise the question to their students about the sense perception of a table and a lecture hall, respectively. They are both interested in the nature of perception and the kind of knowledge it produces. Russell's students are at first confused by the simplicity and obvious nature of the question and then respond by describing the rectangular shape, the right angles, the parallel lines, brown and shaded color, distinct hardness of the wood, and smell of the table. Russell then raises the obvious point that in the very act of perception there are no right angels, parallel lines, rectangles, pure brown color, or any other distinct physical characteristic that does not change with the angel or line of perception. At this point Russell asks the key question: How did you perceive the "table"? Through the senses we see, hear, feel, and smell the physical characteristics, empirical perceptions, particular qualities, accidents, and appearances of the phenomenal world, but we do not perceive the substance, objects themselves, universals, or matter that underlie the various perceptions. Through the senses in perception, we see the lines or accidents (///|\\\) of the object, but not the object (O) itself or the synthetic unity of the object or its perceptual accidents embedded in a universal or essence. Perception gives us access to the sensations, but not to the idea of the object within which the perceptions reside. There is no direct sensation of the "table" itself (O).
Substance is not perceived but is inferred, rationally deduced, or logically implied. Senses cannot give us a perception of objects or substances. This can only come from the imagination, transcendental subjectivity, understanding, consciousness, the Spirit, etc. The senses are the foundation of knowledge, but there must be more to it than that. When there are multiple and differing perceptions, how are they to be examined and adjudicated as to which is the correct perception? The usual answer is that they are compared to objective reality of the external world. But, as we can see from the example of the "table," this reality is a construct of both perception and the mind. There is no independent access to an autonomous reality or substance (thing-in-itself). This analysis of Russell undermines the basic ideas of a correspondence theory of truth -- Empiricism, Objectivism, and Realism. This constitution theory of truth and the discussion about the organizational principle or synthetic unity of the mind form the foundation of the European intellectual tradition in German Existentialism (Schopenhauer and Nietzsche), Idealism (Kant and Hegel), and Classical Social Theory (Marx, Weber, and Durkheim) and the Anglo-American tradition of philosophy (Popper and Quine), sociology (Berger and Luckmann), psychology (Hanson), and anthropology (Whorf and Sapir). It is this latter tradition that provides the basis for Kuhn's theory of knowledge and science as a paradigmatic or theoretical construct.
Thomas Kuhn/Karl Popper Debate: Critique of Empiricism and Critical Rationalism: Examine Popper's theory of Critical Rationalism with its critique of induction, empirical verification, and logic of scientific discovery. Continue with analysis of Popper's scientific method and logic of inquiry: hypothesis construction (theory), refutation, conjecture, and falsification (temporary truth). Kuhn's acceptance of Popper's critique of empiricism with a critique of Popper's theory of rationalism, falsification, and deduction. Connect scientific method with politics and tolerance -- Enlightenment with liberalism.
Paradigms Construct Objective Reality, Objective Truth, and Objective Science: From a Philosophy to a Sociology of Science: Rejection of existence of autonomous reality, independent empirical facts, and traditional science. Examine Kuhn's devastating critique of traditional epistemology, methodology, and science: there is no objective reality (thing-in-itself) nor are there objective facts independent of the scientific theory which shapes and configures reality and facts. The latter are social constructs resulting from a scientific consensus about the reigning paradigm. Kuhn's theory of science is a restatement, refinement, and radicalization of Kant's theory of knowledge -- Subjectivity does not reflect, mirror, or correspond to reality, but Subjectivity (consciousness and the categories of the understanding) constitutes and creates Objectivity (external, autonomous world) and the world of perception, experience, and science. Paradigms are the theoretical creators of objective reality, empirical evidence, and scientific facts -- this is, Kuhn's constitution theory of truth. Natural Science, then, is a social construct. Kuhn's theory of facts and paradigms: critique of science and empiricism (4, 7, 15, 80, and 126-127), induction (28-29), rationalism (26, 63, and 112), realism and correspondence (80, 113, and 120), and critique of Popper's theory of science and falsification (8, 24, 28-29, 77-78, 122, 138, and 146-147). Major themes to be discussed: What is a fact, what is methodological and ontological objectivity, and what is science and truth?
|2.||Thomas Kuhn||The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)
Social Construction of Objective Reality and Scientific Truths
Thomas Kuhn/Willard Van Quine Debate: Critique of Popper and Rationalism: Quine's critique of Popper and rejection of Critical Rationalism, relationship and agreement between Kuhn and Quine ("Two Dogmas of Empiricism," in From a Logical Point of View, pp. 42-46, 61, and 78-79), issues of the underdetermination by experience (42 and 45), myth of objectivity (44), critique of falsification, creation of ad hoc theories and ad hoc adjustments to scientific experiments, unanticipated consequences, predictions, and anomalies (44), distinction between core and periphery of theories, breakdown of distinction between analytic and synthetic statements (43), relation between language and reality, and critique of realism and thing-in-itself (79). For Kuhn's critique of Popper in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, see pages 24, 78, 126, 120-121, and 146-147. For his critique of Quine, see 78, 126, 146-147, and 120-121. Quine is very interesting because he argues in this essay that the Olympian gods of ancient Greece have the same epistemological standing (validity and truth claims) as the physical objects of the objective world of scientific discourse. They differ only "in degree and not in kind" ((44). There is no objective reality behind the gods of Greece or the objects of science that can empirically verify the ontological or epistemological status of either. Paradigms in religion or science produce there own reality. The myth of physical objects has more manageable utility than reality (ontology). The result is that theories or paradigms of science are underdetermined by experience and possess the same internal logical status as other myths thus making the Kantian distinction between synthetic statements about experience (The sun will rise tomorrow) and analytic statements about logic and mathematics (2+2=4) irrelevant because all synthetic statements can ultimately be made into analytic ones within a paradigm. Any scientific statement can be held to be true by ignoring empirical and theoretical anomalies thereby undermining the principles of verification and falsification.
From Ontology and Truth to Utility and Manageability: With his myth of objectivity and his theory of synthetic/analytic statements, Quine concludes that science cannot be empirically justified or validated -- there is no empirical evidence or proof for any scientific paradigm or theory. The objects of both religion and science -- gods and nature -- are constructs and, thus, cannot be verified or falsified by perception or experience. Without any underlying base, essence, or objective reality, there is no right or wrong interpretation of the empirical evidence or facts; there is no correct interpretation of whether a drawing is that of a duck or rabbit, table or faces, or a right descending box or left ascending box. There is only the mythic construction or theoretical model whether metaphysical (Olympian gods) or empirical (scientific theory). According to tradition, the truth claims and scientific proofs of a theory can be validated by empirical or factual verification (Hume) or predictive falsification (Popper). Thus, with the critique of Empiricism (realism, correspondence, and factual verification) with (1) Hume's analysis of perception of the object and creative imagination; (2) Kant's distinction between phenomena and the thing-in-itself; (3) Russell's analysis of the students' descriptions of the classroom table; and (3) Popper's critique of inductive reasoning ("All swans are white") and the corresponding critique of Rationalism (Popper's theory of falsifiability) by Quine with his ideas of the myth of concrete objects, synthetic statements becoming analytic statements, underdetermination by experience, and the inability to falsify or disqualify a scientific theory, Positivism, in the form of Empiricism and Rationalism, is no longer capable of providing the philosophical foundations of the natural sciences. The conclusion one can draw from this is that the acceptance of any scientific theory or paradigm must be based on other non-epistemological and non-scientific criteria such as conventional or analytic manageability, technical usefulness, puzzle-solving ability (Duhem, Quine, and Kuhn), or instrumental domination and formal control over nature as a Herrschaftswissen (Scheler, Weber, Heidegger, Marcuse, and Habermas -- see W. Leiss, The Domination of Nature). As we move from Hume, Kant, Russell, Popper, and Quine to Kuhn, the criteria of truth and objective reality change as philosophy transforms into sociology -- ontology transforms into issues of social consensus and technical utility (80, 126, and 206).
Benjamin Lee Whorf and Linguistic Anthropology: Language, Culture, and Cognition: Whorf was an expert on Southwestern and Central American Indian languages whose analysis of the language of Hopi Indians was influenced by his teacher Edward Sapir at Yale University and the earlier writings of Franz Boas; his view has come to be known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: the Hopi have a different metaphysics as they reject the traditional views of Western kinetic time and homogenous space -- they have no words or grammatical forms which refer to the tenses of past, present, or future, nor do not have a sense of continuous three-dimensional space or words like substance, reality, matter, cause, etc. Their views of time and space are more psychological, intuitive, and mystical, while their metaphysics is built around verbs, not nouns as in European language. In fact, Whorf contends that the Hopi language is in many ways "a moral rational analysis of situations, than our vaunted English." (See Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, edited by John B. Carroll.) The English language compared to the Hopi is "like a bludgeon compared to a rapier." It is not just that we see the world differently, but the objective reality of the world is different. Language and culture do not reflect an external reality but construct our relative perception and cognition of the world; there are multiple linguistic and social realities. According to Whorf, language determines thought; this is his theory of linguistic determinism and relativity. Kuhn simply expands this critique of objectivism and realism to include scientific inquiry and knowledge. There is no objective reality to compare to objective truth; scientific theory cannot be judged by an external reality since the latter is, in fact, created by the former; all knowledge is relative. This is a form of neo-Kantian epistemology. The success of a paradigm rests upon other criteria than reflecting and copying reality -- it is the scientific consensus of the theory's success at solving puzzles and other non-scientific criteria (beauty, simplicity, mathematics, explanatory laws, predictions, etc.) that produce the "truth."
Norwood R. Hanson and Gestalt Psychology: A New Theory of Perception and Objective Reality: Examine Hanson's theory of Forms (Gestalt) and the forms influence on the act of perception in Patterns of Discovery (1958) and Perception and Discovery (1969). Also mention his theory of speech and linguistic patterns using an adjectival idiom (European), verbal idiom (Arabic and Russian), and adverbial idiom: "the sun is yellow" (Patterns of Discovery, 174), "the sun yellows" (176), and "the sun glows yellowly" (178-180), respectively.
Adjectival Idiom                          Verbal Idiom                          Adverbial Idiom
The sun is yellow                          The sun yellows                        The sun glows yellowly
The grass is green                         The grass greens                        The grass glitters greenly
Sugar is sweet                               Sugar sweetens                           Sugar tastes sweetly
Bears are furry                              Bears fur                                     Bears look furrily
With a different linguistic paradigm, that is, with a different syntactical, grammatical, and semantic structure, there are different perceptions of "reality" -- a different objective reality in both perception and thought. Hanson attempted to develop a new theory of knowledge and perception in which he argued that observations are theory-laden by preconceptions and a "thematic framework." He integrated philosophy of science with the history of science as he rejected empiricism (Hume), logical positivism (Vienna Circle and early Wittgenstein), and the hypothetical-deductive thesis of critical rationalism (Popper). Discuss examples of the old lady/rabbit and the three-dimensional box as he shows that facts are unknowable in themselves but are mediated interpretations of sensations. Kuhn summarizes Hanson and the psychological literature of cognition when he writes, "a paradigm is prerequisite to perception itself" (112-113). Examine Hanson's gestalt theory as a recapitulation of Hume's theory of the imagination, Kant's theory of understanding, Schopenhauer's theory of representations, Nietzsche's theory of perspectivism and relativism, and Whorf's theory of language and culture among the Hopi Indians and the Uto-Aztecan languages. Show their influence on Kuhn's theory of paradigms and similarities of Kuhn to German idealism and the classical social theory of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. The views of linguistic anthropology and gestalt psychology only reconfirm Hegel's old adage: The truth of Objectivity is Subjectivity.
Creation of Objectivity: Science as Politics, Revolution, Relativity, and Incommensurability: Science as construct or puzzle-solving (35-42), technological interest (59-60), infinite number of worlds (39), unverifiability and unprovability of science (40-41), and science as religious conversion and metaphysical beliefs (151-153), political ideology (138 and 154), social practice and consensus (176-177), relative (120, 126-127, and 206), and incommensurable (148 and 169). These various concepts of Kuhn are relevant in describing modern science because there is no underlying objective reality (ontology) or neutral truth (epistemology) that can mediate or adjudicate between conflicting theories, ideas, or perceptions; something is true only within the relativistic, non-comparable (no common measure or objective standard), and inconsistent framework of a theoretical paradigm. Kuhn also rejects the idea that his theory is a form of relativism because this is an epistemological category of traditional ontology. Ontology has been replaced by utility, puzzle-solving, and domination. Like Hegel whose epistemology leads into his social theory, Kuhn's theory of science and his rejection of foundationalism (objectivism, realism, and naturalism of modern science) represent an introduction to a social theory of scientific consensus and puzzle-solving. According to later social theorists to be discussed in this course, since there is no longer an epistemological foundation to knowledge -- no firm foundation of science in an objective reality or an objectively valid form or method of knowledge -- the nature of modern science can only be understood within a broader historical context of the rise of modern industrial society; it is the structure of society as a whole that provides the "foundation" and "justification" of modern science as a Herrschaftswissen (science of domination). Kuhn also refuses to accept a correspondence theory of truth -- ideas reflect the real world; perception, ideas, reality, and science -- the various worlds of facts -- are all constructs that are incommensurate with each other and with a deeper empirical or foundational reality. There is no "thing-in-itself" or universal consciousness which can act as the ultimate arbiter of truth; there is no common ground, no basis upon which to justify one theory over another; and there is no reality (objective or subjective) to which ideas, theories, and methods can be compared.
Kuhn and the Philosophy of Science Traditions: Kuhn's theory of the social construction of external reality or objectivity is built on the following intellectual traditions: Hume's theory of empiricism and foundationalism -- objectivism, realism, and verification -- and his critical skepticism about the justification of substance (objectivity), causality, and the idea of self; Popper's critique of empiricism and his theory of falsification; Quine's critique of empiricism ("myth of physical objects"), rationalism, and Popper's theory of falsification; Hanson's rejection of empiricism, his analysis of the formal structure of perception and gestalt psychology, and his theory of verbal (Indo-European languages), adverbial (Arabic and Russian languages), and adjectival forms of speech; Whorf's linguistic anthropology of the Hopi Indians and theory of gerunds; and Kuhn's rejection of foundationalism, traditional objectivity, and positivist science, that is, the whole foundation of Western Enlightenment and the natural sciences. The conclusion of this critique is that natural science cannot be explained or justified by traditional epistemology -- rather it becomes a sociological phenomenon.
From Epistemology and Methodology to Critical Social Theory: This course begins with philosophy but moves into sociology by logical necessity of the nature of knowledge, truth, and science. There is no objective reality, no real substance, no autonomous ontology, and no thing-in-itself behind perception and science (120 and 126); there is no objective validity, no absolute truth, and no transcendent knowledge of the real since mental forms, culture, and language mediate and structure our perception, reflection, and scientific inquiry. There is no thing and no truth -- Nothing -- behind sensations and ideas. Nor are there autonomous and unfiltered facts that can be used as the basis for empirical comparison and verification (empiricism) or predictive and explanatory laws of justification (rationalism) within science since there are multiple and incommensurable theories (148) that can explain empirical evidence and data. Perceptions and paradigms construct reality -- the only reality we have; there is no objective reality or empirical fact behind perceptions and paradigms which could be used to provide the basis for objective comparisons and knowledge, verification and proof of competing claims to ultimate truth. Behind the paradigm is Nothing (thing-in-itself) -- subjectivity constitutes objectivity. Whether from the social sciences (anthropology and psychology) or the natural sciences (physics and chemistry), whether in the form (perception) or in the use (science) of knowledge, Kuhn rejects the idea of a non-relativistic truth or science. Science then is closer to a religious conversion (151-153), political ideology (138), or scientific community consensus (176-177). These ideas are quite radical and even Kuhn attempts to walk them back in his "Postscript" (205-206).
Relativism and Radical Epistemology: The Social Construction of Truth, Reality, and Science: The central questions become: If there are no absolute truths of perception, knowledge, and science -- there is nothing behind or underneath our perception and thought; if there is nothing that can ultimately justify or guide our perception and thought; if there is no concrete ground or reality beyond us; and if there is no outside, neutral, or independent arbiter or judge of various truth claims, then exactly what is the nature of modern science, truth, and reality? Are they just false illusions, myths, and fictions (Quine)? Is true epistemological and methodological objectivity only a "science delusion"? According to Kuhn's critique of foundationalism -- Empiricism and Rationalism -- in Science there is No --
1.       Objective Reality or world of external, autonomous objects, things, and substances
2.       Objective Fact or empirical evidence reflecting the real world,
3.       Objective Truth or universal knowledge of the world,
4.       Objective Method or true scientific procedure based on empirical evidence and testing,
5.       Objective Validity or valid correspondence between ideas and reality, and, finally, no
6.       Objective Observer or neutral and unbiased scientific investigator.
Kuhn argues that Objectivity and Science do not reflect Reality, but are Constructs. If he is correct, then there is no epistemology or methodology that can definitively justify or validate any thought, reality, or correspondence between the two. If this is the case, then why are certain theories or paradigms accepted as true reflections of empirical reality at particular historical moments in time? There is no Objectivity of any kind; there is only a reality that is socially constructed. For Kuhn, truth and reality are constructions of a scientific consensus built around the scientific method of puzzle-solving; for Burtt, they are a construct based on the metaphysical principles of beauty, harmony, and simplicity found in mathematics; for Popper, they are formed by the ability of science to explain and predict nature according to formal universal laws; while, for Berman and Braverman, they represent a social construction of reality by the total social system of capitalism. The issue of justification of knowledge and science thus becomes a sociological and historical question. We have moved from a theory of reality (ontology), knowledge (epistemology) and science (methodology) to a theory that knowledge is constructed and that all we know are the constructions themselves -- we can never get beyond or behind the gestalt, paradigm, or theory in order to determine if the picture is a duck or a rabbit or nature is a living organism (Ancients) or mechanical and deterministic machine (Moderns). A social theory of science and critical ecology may be constructed on the basis of puzzle-solving (Kuhn), prediction and control over a lifeless, mechanical nature (Herrschaftswissen: Bacon, Descartes, Weber, Scheler, Husserl, Heidegger, and Marcuse), beauty, harmony, simplicity, and mathematical elegance (Burtt), or the causal interplay between Capitalism and the Enlightenment (Berman). This course evolves from issues of Ontology (objective reality), Epistemology (knowledge and truth), Methodology (philosophy and methods of science), History (history of modern science), and Sociology (social theory of knowledge and science) to a theory of Critical Ecology (Shallow Ecology or Environmentalism of Al Gore, Deep Ecology of Arne Naess, Bill Devall, and George Sessions, Social Ecology or Social Anarchism of Murray Bookchin and Fritjof Capra, Marxist Ecology of John Bellamy Foster, and Feminist Ecology of Carolyn Merchant).
Social Theory of Science: An Introduction to the Domination, Alienation, and Rationalization of Nature and Humanity: Kuhn's work may be viewed as a direct critique of the Enlightenment view of reason and science. The rest of the course will be an outline of a social theory that attempts to develop the implications of this process of Rationalization and explain the role of science in bureaucracy, production, society, medicine, economics, personality development, and ecology -- the domination of nature (Max Weber and E. A. Burtt), disenchantment of the world (Morris Berman), industrial production (Karl Marx and Harry Braverman), creation of the last man in the iron cage (Max Weber), the dialectic of the Enlightenment and Rise of Nazism (Max Horkheimer), social psychology and the culture of narcissism (Sigmund Freud and Christopher Lasch), creation of medicine and economics (Fritjof Capra), and the debate about the Environment and Ecology: Environmentalism, Deep Ecology, Social Ecology, and Critical Ecology. The course begins with an analysis of Kuhn's theory of knowledge and philosophy of science; it will then explore his critical theory of science and rejection of positivism (PERSONNN). He rejects what some call the METAPHYSICS or IDEOLOGY OF SCIENCE or the underlying normative and unconscious assumptions and values of Western science found in Empiricism (Bacon and Hume) and Rationalism (Descartes and Popper) that are never themselves scientifically examined or justified but simply assumed as true. It should be noted that these values will play an important role in our later discussion of the environmental crisis of nature:
1.       Predictivism or universally valid theory of science based on
explanatory and deterministic predictions (Rationalism)
2.       Empiricism or knowledge based on the accumulation of empirical facts
and evidence (epistemology)
3.       Realism or objective correspondence of concepts/theories and facts since objects
are independent of perception (correspondence or copy theory of truth)
4.       Scientism or natural science as the only legitimate and universal form of knowledge
and truth and all knowledge justified only through sense certainty (philosophy of science)
5.       Objectivism or existence of an external, autonomous world of things, facts, or objective reality
usually viewed as quantitative and mathematical objectivity (ontology)
6.       Naturalism or objective method in science as the only legitimate procedure to establish
universal and deterministic laws of nature based on hypothesis construction,
experimentation, and empirical prediction (methodology) for arriving at
technical and instrumental knowledge of utility (instrumentalism)
7.       Neutralism or the foundation of the natural sciences in the objective, neutral, impartial, and
unbiased investigation into and description of the external world of objects and facts
8.       Nominalism or general terms have no meaning -- there is no substance, matter, or thing-in-itself
since experience and science are only the sum of concrete particular objects and empirical
phenomenal facts (phenomenalism). Nominalism also represents a separation of science
and ethics, moral relativism, and the rejection of objective moral values and natural law.
Kuhn's philosophy and history of science represents a philosophical rejection of the epistemological and methodological foundations of Enlightenment science -- PERSONNN -- predictivism, empiricism, realism, scientism, objectivism, naturalism, nominalism, and neutralism. His theory is thus a critique of both Enlightenment objectivity (Hume and Descartes) and subjectivity (Kant). Neither nature nor consciousness can provide the foundations for science; neither epistemology nor methodology can ground truth. According to Kuhn, it is society which ultimately performs this function in the form of a consensus within the scientific community. Later social theorists and historians of ideas will argue that science can only be explained by the structures of political economy and the cultural world values (Weltanschauung) of society in which it develops. Thus Epistemology and Methodology evolve into a Critical Social Theory. The role of a theorist is to ask, Why is this particular view or construct of reality accepted as valid at this historical moment? What are the underlying normative assumptions -- the metaphysics of science and the dogmatism of positivism -- guiding the modern view of science? For further reading on a postmodernist and relativistic theory of knowledge and critique of positivism, see Leszek Kolakowski, The Alienation of Reason: A History of Positivist Thought (1968); Jürgen Habermas, Knowledge and Human Interests, Chapter 4, pp. 67-90 (1971); and Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979).
Kuhn and the Kantians: Philosophy of Science and the Dilemma of Constructed Reality: Although Kuhn's work landed as an intellectual bombshell on American analytic philosophy when it was published in the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science in 1962, his ideas were not new to the European tradition which had gone through a similar critique of Enlightenment theories of knowledge with Hume's theory of empiricism and skepticism about the nature and origin of causality, substance, and the self, Kant's theory of the representation of phenomena, critique of empiricism and rationalism, and his theory of transcendental (universal and necessary) subjectivity, and Hegel's radicalization of "critique" and his rejection of foundationalism, epistemology, and objective truth and reality in creating his phenomenological analysis of the development of self-consciousness (culture and social institutions) in the alienated culture of modernity; history, phenomenology, ethical community (Sittlichkeit), and the dialectic replaced Kant's transcendental reconstruction of consciousness. With the development in critical idealism and materialism of a theory of constructed reality, sociology expands the idea with its critique of ideology and sociology of religion, knowledge, and science; epistemology is transformed into social theory. This field finds its conceptual completion in Berger and Luckmann's concept of the "social construction of reality." Reality is not present as a thing-in-itself nor can it be objectively and neutrally compared to perception, experience, or reflection. This is the epistemological dilemma of double affection: one cannot see both the sensation and the object of sensation at the same time. Rather, reality or objectivity is a construct of the mind, history, society, culture, or the superego and unconscious. This is the Constitution Theory of Truth as found in the imagination of Hume, the transcendental consciousness of Kant, the Objective and Absolute Spirit of Hegel, ideology and class consciousness of Marx, Protestant ethic and value relevance of Weber, the collective conscience and cultural representations of Durkheim, and the repressed and unconscious mind of Freud. What would nature, reality, and objectivity look like if we could get behind its social construction to reality itself; what is reality really like independent of the manner and form in which we experience and know it; and how can we compare ideas and theories to reality if reality is created and transformed by human consciousness and society? Is there a reality pure and independent of and irrespective of its construction by consciousness, concepts, theories, history, culture, and society? What does and could this mean? Is this even logically possible? What does knowledge, truth, and science mean in a constructed universe? This European tradition will be examined further in more advanced courses in social theory. We will now return to Kuhn's theory of science and its implications for a critical theory of ecology. Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions represents in one small package a recapitulation and critique of Western analytic and synthetic Logic (Descartes), Epistemology (empiricism and rationalism), explanatory and predictive Method and Laws (Popper), and Utilitarian theory of Science (Bacon, Descartes, Weber, Scheler, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Critical Theorists).
Structure and Logic of the Course: Crisis of the Enlightenment and the Environment: Kuhn's critique of science and epistemology frames the direction of this course and provides for a more systematic, critical, and in-depth investigation into the relationships between nature and society, science and society. In American sociology the apriori self-constitution of consciousness and experience (subjectivity) from Kant, Hegel, Marx, etc. has been replaced by a philosophy of science and the primacy of the method of the natural sciences (objectivity). Kuhn rejects the replacement of a constitution theory of truth (Kant) with a philosophy and metaphysics of science (Comte) -- PERSONNN. His criticisms leads us to the following: (1) a return to Kant's apriori constitution of the mind and experience (epistemology); (2) Hegel's analysis of the self-conscious development and formation of the mind, experiences, and spirit of humanity (phenomenology): (3) a materialist political economy and sociology of science (Burtt, Berman, and Braverman): (4) a critical theory of science and society (Horkheimer, Lasch, and Habermas): and (5) a social theory of radical ecology (Capra, Merchant, and Bookchin). Kuhn's conclusion is that there is no objective science, no objective reality, and no objective method or truth, that is, there is no objective basis to argue that science (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) deals with the external, physical reality as it truly is. Instead science examines only our constructed perceptions and interpretive ideas of that reality -- PARADIGMS -- which are the metaphysical and theoretical assumptions of the Cartesian/Newtonian worldview. This is the basis of Kantian epistemology that we cannot know the thing-in-itself but only the phenomena and appearances of our own subjectivity or consciousness. Kuhn, Burtt, and Berman move the argument to the next level: Nature is viewed as a Construct, and a social construct at that. This gives us the opening to begin discussion on the nature of the process of construction of modern science within Western society -- the move from epistemology and philosophy of science to history and critical social theory. Science is a construction of Liberalism and Capitalism since it is these political and economic systems which are the primary factors in the construction of our view of science, nature, and the environment. It then becomes easier to see that the environmental crisis is not just a crisis of the use or abuse of science and technology, but it is also a crisis of the organization and structure of society itself; the environmental crisis requires more than a technological fix or adjustment -- it requires a transformation of the whole social system. Thus this course examines the nature of science within modern society and the structures of political economy: SOCIAL SYSTEM = SCIENCE (Herrschaftswissen, industrial technology, and the Enlightenment) + SOCIETY (Liberalism and Capitalism) + NATURE (physical reality, Environment, and Ecological Crisis).
|3.||E. A. Burtt||The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science (1924), pp. 15-124
(Recommended: William Leiss, The Domination of Nature,
Chapter 5: "Science and Domination," pp. 101-123)
Metaphysical and Normative Assumptions that Ground Natural Science
Enlightenment and Herrschaftswissen as Metaphysics: Compare the medieval (substance, form, potentiality, and teleology) and modern (time, space, matter, velocity, and causality) view of science and their metaphysical assumptions about the nature of objective reality (17-18, 20, 24, 29, and 33)); modern science as domination and control over nature (29) and as mechanical determinism, mathematics, measurements, and experiments (20); examine the universe of Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo (85 and 89); metaphysics of Descartes; and quote and discuss Koyrè (16), Heisenberg (196-197), Merchant (228-229), Matson (14), Brecht (73), and Descartes (45-46).
|4.||Morris Berman||The Reenchantment of the World, pp. 1-152
(Recommended: Aristotle, Physics, book 2 and Metaphysics, books Theta and Lambda)
Science and the Logic of Capitalism: From Metaphysics to Sociology
Enlightenment and Industrial Capitalism: Descartes in his Discourse on Method said that there was a correspondence between the pragmatic and technical knowledge of nature and the skills and logic of the workplace. Berman will connect the metaphysics of modern science to classical social theory: alienation, rationalization, anomie, and psychological repression. That is, the alienation of the workplace has now been displaced to the alienation of reason and science; the domination of the workplace to the domination of nature. Connect Burtt's thesis about the Enlightenment and Metaphysics to modern social problems, that is, to economic, social, and environmental crises; alienation and disenchantment of science (16-17) -- separation of humanity and nature; social problems as bureaucracy, mass administration, consumption, collapse of traditional values, cultural disintegration (anomie), colonization of the life world by the social system, existential loss of meaning and purpose in human life (17-18), homelessness and a "sickness of the soul," (17) and the psychopathology of everyday life (20); social pathologies of modernity (22-23) -- classical social theory; science expresses the logic of capitalism (22-23); and Berman integrates the thought of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Freud into the question of the relationship between science and metaphysics, Enlightenment and Society. Science is now part of the Enlightenment and Capitalism.
|5.||Morris Berman||The Reenchantment of the World,
(Recommended: Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political
and Economic Origins of Our Time)
Science, Metaphysics, and Capitalism
Enlightenment and Positivism: Connect Berman's thesis about the Cartesian Method to Kuhn's theory of the construction of empirical reality. What is the relationship between Reality, Method, and Utility: the world as quantitative mechanics, machine, and function in the analytic-synthetic method (33, 40, 45-46). Compare the ancient and modern worldview of nature and science; modernity as dead, mechanical, deterministic, quantitative, atomistic, mathematical, and utilitarian (50-51 and 54-55); principles of positivism and utilitarianism (55); Cartesian metaphysics of reductionism, mechanism, and determinism (33); discuss Descartes theory of wax, utilitarianism, and primary and secondary qualities; ecological crisis related to broader social and existential crisis; and compare Ptolemaic and Copernican theory of retrograde motion of the planet Mars along with Kepler's three mathematical laws of planetary motion.
|6.||Harry Braverman||Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work
in the Twentieth Century
Science and the Workplace: Surplus Value and the Creation of Scientific Management
Enlightenment and Industrial Capitalism: The Metaphysics of Science and the Metaphysics of Technology: Compare and connect Burtt, Berman, and Braverman: continue the discussion of the Metaphysics of Science and the Domination of Nature to the Metaphysics of Technology and the Domination of Humanity by investigating the apriori assumptions and values of the nature of knowledge (Burtt, 29, 93, 96, and 123-124) and apriori assumptions and values of the nature of workplace technology and scientific management (Braverman, 20, 21, and 22-23) -- Western science and technology embody the values of the Enlightenment metaphysics of science and the class relations of capitalist production in the very forms of science and technology themselves; that is, Metaphysics contains epistemological, ontological, political, and economics assumptions in the concepts, theories, methods of science, the political metaphysics of technology, and the economic metaphysics of the values and structures of capitalism as they are found in the productive forces and social relations of production; Enlightenment science is not an autonomous phenomena but is itself the outgrowth of capitalism -- science is apriori political and capitalistic (Braverman and Herbert Marcuse); and the underlying normative assumptions of Western science contain both the metaphysics of nature and the politics of capitalism. The Enlightenment and modern science are the forms of consciousness of capitalist society, while modern technology and industrial management are its mode of social organization -- all hidden in its unconscious apriori assumptions about scientific knowledge and economic production. Braverman discusses the issues of the metaphysics of science (religion and cosmology) and technology (politics and ideology) by using Marx's theory of the mode of production -- productive forces of the Enlightenment and the social relations of industry. The apriori assumptions of capitalism or the social relations of production are deeply embedded in the very technology of modern industry itself -- the domination, alienation, and exploitation of humanity are contained in Western economic technology. See, Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature, pp. 228-29, 231, and 243.
From Herrschaftswissen to Herrschaftsgesellschaft: Metaphysics of Productive Forces and Enlightenment Technology: Continuing the logic and argument of Kuhn, Burtt, and Berman, Braverman maintains that industrial science and productive technology are not neutral, but contain hidden apriori assumptions about class, power, and the social organization of capitalist production -- from a science of domination to a society of domination. Introduce the Enlightenment and one necessarily gets Capitalism. Braverman's analysis of the mode of capitalist production is just another way of reintroducing the metaphysics of science from an historical and sociological perspective. Braverman uses the example of the Soviet Union and its headlong rush to industrialization and mechanization of production in order to be competitive with the West. The problem is that by introducing Western industry, social engineering, production methods, and technology of Taylorism and scientific management the Soviets also introduced the social relations of capitalism through the back door of their society (12, 18, 20, and 22-23). By resisting capitalism at the front but giving it access at the rear, Lenin's form of communism, according to Braverman, never made a substantive break with capitalism. This interpretation of the Enlightenment -- its Metaphysics of Science and Technology and its Domination of Nature and Man -- is an epistemology and sociology of the Trojan Horse of Capitalism: the productive forces include their own apriori assumptions in the form of the social relations of production of modern industrial society.
Monopoly Capitalism and the Restructuring of the Workplace: Examine twentieth-century capitalism in its forms of monopoly capital, modern labor, and industrial production; changes in production, distribution, exchange, and consumption; Marx's theory of alienation and surplus value updated to include restructuring of production based on principles of scientific management; new working class (4); Marx's view of science and technology (6), science as neutral or science as ideology, and historical transformation of the structures of workplace: division of labor, machinery, Taylorism and scientific management, corporate management, the Midvale Experiments at Bethlehem Steel 1880-1906, human relations technology, Elton Mayo and the Hawthorne Experiments 1927-28, etc. -- concentration and centralization of production in hands of management; and mode of production (21): productive forces and social relations of production (18 and 21). Rise of Monopoly Capital: monopolies and economic concentration, administrative price and decline of the market, market distortions, rise of interventionist state -- military/welfare state, Keynesian economics, neo-colonialism, and integration of workers into social system through co-optation, adaptation, and scientific management. Transformation of the workplace into primary and secondary markets, blue and white collar workers, labor market fragmentation, and the deindustrialization of American. See Richard Edwards, Contested Terrain, Barry Bluestone and Bennett Harrison, Deindustrialization of America and The Great U-Turn, and David Gordon, Fat and Mean and Beyond the Wasteland and After the Wasteland (with Samuel Bowles and Thomas Weisskopf).
Science, Social Relations of Production, and Labor Power: Marx's Theories of the Modes of Production and Labor Theory of Value: Braverman on Marx: To change creative labor into labor power, exchange value, and surplus value is to understand labor not as a thing but as an historical and social relationship that entails specialization and division of labor (50, 77, 81, and 82), mechanization and deskilling of labor, alienation, the centralization and control of knowledge and labor, separation of concept from execution, and the monopolization and control of knowledge by management through scientific management and social engineering (86, 98-100, 103, 108,and 170). See, David Jenkins, Job Power, p. 26 and 33-35. This is the power of Marx's theory of value which provides us insight into the structure and social organization of capitalist production, economic exploitation, and social alienation (52 and 56). To change labor into a commodity, price, or factor of production entails a radical transformation of society. In the end Marx's labor theory of value is a social, political, and ethical theory. His theory of labor and labor power helps Braverman understand the nature of the rationalization and alienation of work. With the reconstruction of work in monopoly capitalism, science itself becomes an ideology (86, 88, 90, 116-117, 140-41, 170, 205-06, 229, and 232) because it hides and justifies the hidden structures of power through industrial and psychological rationalization -- the Metaphysics of Work. Science becomes Ideology as it ultimately legitimates the existing social relations of production, class structure, control and domination over labor, specialization and division of labor, hierarchy of power, and system of the deskilling, mechanization, and distortion of labor. Examine the relationship between Ideology (politics) and Structure (Centralization of Production and Industry, Monopolization over Knowledge and Skills, and the Control over Workers and Labor Power) and how they reinforce each other. So far over the past six weeks we have moved from the Metaphysics of Nature, Science, and Technology to the Metaphysics of Work.
|7.||Harry Braverman||Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work
in the Twentieth Century
Critique of the Enlightenment, Positivism, and Utilitarianism
Enlightenment and Industrial Capitalism: Enlightenment and Positivism: Compare the metaphysics of science and the metaphysics of technoloy (12 and 18); and apriori, normative assumptions, and ideological values of technology -- technology reproduces the social relations of production and the mode of production of capitalism. Examine the rise of the U.S. Steel industry 1890-1920 and compare 19th-century steel production based on labor control over production and 20th-century production based on corporate control and labor market segmentation (31 and 32). Rationalization of production: corporate control over knowledge, labor, and production: at first there was no control over production in the putting out system, beginning of centralization with factory system and urbanization, beginning of control over production thru the division of labor, scientific management, Taylorism, industrial psychology, and social relations technology (50, 65-66, 77, and 81-82) -- centralization of knowledge, separation of concept from execution, monopolization of knowledge by management, and control over labor and production.
|8.||Max Weber||"Science as a Vocation" in Introductory Readings in Sociology,
edited by Dennis Wrong and Harry Gracey, chapter 22, pp. 187-192
Rationalization of the Iron Cage and the Silence of Reason in the Last Man
Substantive and Formal Reason: Loss of Reason in the Enlightenment and Utilitarianism: Rationalization, disenchantment, and bureaucratic specialization (187); Decline of Western Reason: History of the evolution of Western science (Wissenschaft) from the substantive reason (Wertrationalität) of --
Greek Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle
Renaissance Art of Leonardo da Vinci
Early Science of Galileo and Bacon and the
Reformation Science and Religion of Jan Swammerdam
to the formal rationality (Zweckrationalität) and technical idols of the Nineteenth-Century Enlightenment:
Scientific Positivism (188-189)
Theory of the Iron Cage and the Last Man of Nietzsche (189)
Metaphysics of Positivism
Naturalism and the Prophetic Preachings of the Demagogue (190) and the
Theory of the Warring gods of Tradition and Epistemological/Moral Relativism (191).
Domination of Humanity and Nature in Science: The Last Man in the Iron Cage: These are the characteristics of "the fate of our times" -- to live in a meaningless universe with science as a form of technical reason whose ultimate goal is the domination of nature and man -- Herrschaftswissen (187 and 190). Examine the relationship between Classical Social Theory and Existentialism by analyzing the relationship between Weber and Nietzsche: two page reading from the prologue of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885), and discussion of the teachings of the Übermensch (striving and overcoming individual) and the last man without reason, justice, compassion, morality, or imagination.
Rationalization of Science and Beyond: The second half of this semester will begin with the examination of the rationalization and disenchantment of formal reason, natural science, and the iron cage (Weber) and expand to include the rationalization of social science, democracy, and death camps (Horkheimer), self, politics, and consumption (Lasch), academics, medicine, and economics (Capra), and the Enlightenment and environment (Merchant). The course will end with an outline of the various theories of the environment, including Shallow (environmentalism), Deep (spiritual), Social (political economy), and Radical (feminist) Ecology.
|9.||Max Horkheimer||Eclipse of Reason (1947)
Phenomenology of Spirit in Hegel, Nietzsche, Weber, and Horkheimer
Crisis of the Enlightenment From Nominalism and Empiricism to Positivism and Nihilism: Study of the values lost in the transition from Objective Reason to Subjective Reason. Horkheimer argues in his Phenomenology of Western Reason that before the Holocaust there was an initial Holocaust of the Mind with the development of the social sciences unable to ask questions about social justice and moral principles. Horkheimer transforms Weber's Substantive Reason into Objective Reason and Formal Reason into Subjective Reason in order to emphasize his connection to Hegel's theory of Sittlichkeit, community, and social ethics. Weber's critique of the Enlightenment stressed the meaninglessness of natural science in its role as a Herrschaftswissen or science of domination. Horkheimer's emphasis in his critique of reason is on epistemology (Chapter 1), politics and democracy (Chapter 1), methodology (Chapter 2), and the social sciences (Chapter 2). His goal is to show how reason in the form of mid-twentieth-century empiricism, sociological research, and democratic politics has a tendency to "liquidate itself." The creation of "facts" in sociological research using quantitative methods is the result of social alienation since "facts" are the reified or commodified expression of the instrumental and technical logic of capital and production which only reaffirms the status quo; it becomes a form of subjective reason and ideology.
Reconstructing the Phenomenology of Spirit: Alienation (Hegel), Idolatry (Nietzsche), Rationalization (Weber), and the Eclipse of Reason (Horkheimer): Hegel, Nietzsche, Weber, and Horkheimer all wrote major writings on the phenomenology of spirit and reason in Western thought; Marx could be included in this group with his theory of the alienation of reason and work, history and phenomenology of the spirit and logic of capital, and the irrationality of capitalist production. The Tradition of the Phenomenology of Consciousness, Reason, and Spirit:
(1) Hegel outlines the movement of the mind or spirit from Consciousness (Sense Certainty, Perception, and Understanding), Self-Consciousness (Master-Slave, Stoicism, Skepticism, and Unhappy Consciousness), and Reason (pleasure and hedonism, heart and Romanticism, virtue, bourgeois zoo, and Kantian law) to the alienation of the Objective Spirit or ethical community in the alienation of reason and culture, the transcendental emptiness, subjective abstractionism, and moral authoritarianism of Kantian practical reason, the violence and destruction of the French Revolution, and the ethical and political emptiness of the Absolute Spirit of religion, art, and philosophy in The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807). Hegel's immediate solution to the alienation, authoritarianism, and violence of modern self-consciousness and human development lies in the retreat to the modern form of moral idealism found in the Unhappy Consciousness of the Absolute Spirit and later in his writings reviving the Greek ethical spirit and community (Sittlichkeit) in the Philosophy of Right (1821).
(2) Nietzsche continues this tradition but in its inverted form of the distorted universalism and illusory dreams of Apollonian idols or the "Shadows of God" from Platonic Rationalism of Plato and Aristotle, Christian Theology of Augustine and Aquinas, Scientific Rationalism of Descartes and Galileo, Political Liberalism of Hobbes and Locke, and the Modern Morality of Kant (Twilight of the Idols);
(3) Weber traces the development of reason from the substantive reason of Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, Western Enlightenment, and European Reformation to the formal or technical reason of modern science, utilitarianism, and institutional bureaucracy (Science as a Vocation); and, finally,
(4) Horkheimer continues this phenomenological and historical treatment of reason from Objective Reason of the ancient, medieval, and modern theorists searching for objective truth, being, essence, or nature to the decline of reason in the Protestant Reformation, empiricism, science, moral relativity, pragmatism, and liberalism until it reaches a crescendo in the eclipse and liquidation of reason itself in the Holocaust (Eclipse of Reason).
In summary, they conclude that the Alienation of Reason is a result of Philosophy, Science, and Politics, that is, Kantian morality and French politics (Hegel), technical science and modern bureaucracy (Weber), and science, politics, and relativism (Horkheimer) -- the loss of Truth and the rise of Relativism result in the loss of Meaning and Life itself since life is now without social ethics, objective spirit, universal values, moral virtue, ethical community, or social justice. The end result is a Existential crisis of Meaning, a Scientific crisis of Truth, and a Political crisis of Terror; in the end, the modern individual without natural law is in danger of being crushed by the terror of uncontrollable revolution, stultifying bureaucracy, or racial extermination. Examine Nietzsche's role in this discussion of the alienation of reason since he turns to Schopenhauer and a Dionysian wisdom of the relativity of all knowledge and idols; there is only one truth -- there is no meaning to reason, theology, science, politics or morality. "Truth" lies not in reified knowledge but rather in the endless struggle for knowledge and meaning by the striving individual or Übermensch. But this pure relativism is exactly what Hegel, Weber, and Horkheimer reject because there is too much danger behind an unregulated and uncontrolled Existentialism. Lurking behind Existentialism and Positivism is potentially the Terror of the Jacobins or the Nazis.
Loss of Western Reason in Kantian Philosophy, Science, and Liberalism: Relativism in Morality, Science, and Politics Horkheimer traces the historical development of modern reason and the Objective Spirit through Hegel and Weber beginning with Hegel's phenomenology of self-consciousness as it moves from the Ancient Greece of the master and slave, the freedom of self-consciousness of Stoicism and Skepticism, the Middle Ages of Christianity and the Unhappy Consciousness, and the Renaissance through the early Liberalism of hedonism, romanticism (law of the heart), the bourgeois zoo of caged animals, the virtuous ascetic, and the modern individualism of Hobbes and Locke to the cultural alienation of the Enlightenment of Kantian morality and the terror of the French Revolution of 1792-1795. Hegel's Phenomenology attempts to reconstruct the development and alienation of modern consciousness through the fragmentation and isolation of the modern self from culture and society, the rise of political, romantic, and practical individualism and moral relativism, the loss of the Objective Spirit, ethical community (Sittlichkeit) and public sphere, and universal values in modern society to the agonies and violence of the French Revolution only to achieve a temporary reintegration and theoretical harmony of consciousness at the level of the Absolute Spirit in art, religion, and philosophy. The Absolute Spirit represents a modern and secular form of the alienation of Spirit as "unhappy consciousness" or retreat from politics and the ethical community into the life of the pure transcendent mind. This Spirit is the self-conscious recognition of the universality and divinity of humanity but in its unrealized form -- no Objective Spirit. In Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Consciousness ends in perception and experience as constructs of consciousness; Self-Consciousness ends as Unhappy Consciousness and freedom as a retreat to the mind of philosophy and religion; Reason ends as individualism, virtue, pleasure, and Kantian moralism; and Spirit ends as the alienation of culture in Kant and the French Revolution. Modernity evolves into the false consciousness, social meaningless, and moral abstractionism of Kantian philosophy that is incapable of reflecting upon or resisting the flow of history. The way out of the dilemma of modernity is to return to Aristotle, natural law, moral economy, and the ethical community for insight in creating a new constitutional and representative state.
Weber's Formal Reason and Horkheimer's Subjective Reason: Weber, grounding his own ideas in Hegel's history of reason, traces the development of modern consciousness, reason, and science from substantive reason of the Greek philosophy of Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, Renaissance art of Leonardo da Vinci, early science of Bacon and Descartes, and the Protestant religion and biology of Jan Swammerdam to the formal rationality of Utilitarianism and Positivism in the last man and iron cage of technical bureaucracy. Horkheimer will construct his own phenomenology of mind from Ancient Greek philosophy of Socrates, Plato, and the Sophists, Medieval Scholasticism and Theology, 16th-Century French Philosophy of Montaigne, Bodin, and de l'Hôpital, 17- and 18th-Century Enlightenment Rationalism of Hobbes, Locke, Spinoza, and Leibniz, Natural Rights Theory of Locke and Rousseau, and 18th- and 19th-Century German Idealism of Kant and Hegel to the 16th- and 17-Century Protestant Reformation of Calvinism (hidden or transcendent of God and rejection of universal and objective natural law and moral order), Enlightenment of 18th-Century Empiricism (subjectivity, nominalism, skepticism, and positivism) of George Berkeley and David Hume, Moral Subjectivity (perspectivism, nihilism, and relativism) of both Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Weber, and the Pragmatism and Liberalism (utilitarianism, democracy, pluralism, and tolerance) of Charles Peirce and John Dewey. The latest historical period presents us with the rise of Fascism and Nazism in the twentieth century and its connection to Enlightenment science and reason. Before there is a liquidation of the body in the Holocaust, there is a liquidation of the mind and soul which Horkheimer sees as beginning with the Calvinist Reformation and Enlightenment Empiricism and Science. For an examination of the relationships among Protestantism, Existentialism, and Nazism, see Richard Rubenstein, The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future (1975), pp. 27-31. The Alienation of Reason occurs because of the loss of universal moral and political values due to the Relativism in Morality (Calvinism, utilitarianism, Kantian philosophy, and existential nihilism), Science (positivism, nominalism, and empiricism), and Politics (liberalism, pragmatism, tolerance, and democracy). Nietzsche (nihilism) is the logical conclusion of Berkeley (nominalism) and Hume (empiricism) and Nietzsche is also the logical conclusion of science itself. Relativism is the disease of the Enlightenment since all values are relative or since there are no longer any absolute truths ("twilight of the idols" or "shadows of God") in God, nature (Being), human essence, reason, natural law, or science.
Liquidation of Reason in Terror, Iron Cage, and Concentration Camps: Hegel, Weber, and Horkheimer are all skeptical of modern consciousness and rationality, which, according to Horkheimer, lead to the liquidation of reason, the iron cage of the concentration camps, and the last man of Nazism. Hegel criticizes Kantian practical reason and its radical individualism for destroying the foundations of the ethical community without moral direction or objective values embedded in social institutions -- it is this which ultimately led to the French Terror; Weber sees the last man as a product of the loss of universal moral values in a market economy and state bureaucracy; Horkheimer views the Protestant Reformation, empiricist theory of knowledge, modern democracy, pragmatism, and Enlightenment science as setting the foundations for the rise of Hitler and Nazism. According to 19th- and 20th-century European social theorists, the Alienation and Crisis of Western Reason ends in the terror of the guillotine and French Revolution, factory and capitalism, iron cage and bureaucracy, anomic madness and suicide, and the Holocaust and Nazism. Reconstructing history, we can see the cultural and philosophical origins of the alienation of reason in Hegel's theory of the bourgeois zoo and modern individualism and Marx's theory of the alienation of work, logic and structure of industrial production, and phenomenology of capitalist reason.
Metaphysics of Social Science and the Alienation of Reason: Discuss Horkheimer's critique of empiricism, nominalism, relativism, fact-value distinction, positivism, and scientific reductionism in the social sciences, and its implications for his thesis of subjective reason and the eclipse of reason. Horkheimer's work begins with the assumption following Weber and Scheler that the Enlightenment and Western science contain hidden normative and political assumptions in their underlying epistemology and methodology that turn natural science into a destructive ecological weapon (Weber's and Scheler's theory of science as domination -- Herrschaftswissen) and, in turn, transform social science into a political ideology (C. Wright Mill, The Sociological Imagination, Alvin Gouldner, The Coming Crisis of American Sociology, and Istvan Meszaros, The Power of Ideology). However, the same epistemology and methodology are utilized in the social sciences something even more shocking results -- the domination of humanity and the mechanization of death. Horkheimer's analysis of subjective reason places an emphasis on the importance of Enlightenment politics, religion, morality, and the Metaphysics of Social Science preparing the way for the rise of Nazism. As an essay written specifically for Americans, Horkheimer in 1947 is suggesting that the United States be aware of the dangers implicit in the Crisis and Dialectic of the Enlightenment within America.
Silence of Reason in Science and Politics: Reason remained silent in face of the Holocaust because its epistemological and methodological foundations could no longer raise questions about ethics, morality, and justice -- Objective Reason. With the historical and phenomenological development of Western rationality in the form of nominalism (Berkeley), empiricism (Hume), nihilism (Nietzsche), and positivism (Popper), traditional reason of ancient philosophy, theology, art, early science, French and English Enlightenment, and German Idealism had been replaced by a technical and formal rationality. In politics, reason instituted in democracy had become complacent, tolerant, and non-critical. The culture, sciences, and social institutions of Weimar Germany could not resist the onslaught of Hitler and Nazism. Nietzsche had destroyed the Western idols and gods (universals) of ancient philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, medieval Christianity of Augustine and Aquinas, early science of Descartes and Galileo, liberal political theory of Hobbes and Locke, and modern moral philosophy of Kant.
Enlightenment and Nazism: Last Man in the Barbed Wire Cage: Without philosophical, theological, scientific, political, and moral universals to resist evil, the only alternative to the loss of Substantive Reason was silence -- the eclipse of reason. Horkheimer wrote his work in English after his academic experience of exile in the United States. Was this meant as a warning to Americans -- the weakness of Enlightenment rationality in general, and American sociology in particular, is built into the logic of inquiry, concepts, epistemology, and methods of Anglo-American social science. According to Horkheimer, Positivism and Nihilism are intimately related to the Silence of Reason, the Rise of Nazism, and the Konzentrationslagern (Arbeit macht frei) since the substantive content and political ideals of democracy have been exhausted and depleted. Concepts, theories, and institutions have lost their collective memory and social ideals, and no longer function for the betterment of humanity.
|10.||Christopher Lasch||The Culture of Narcissism
Reformulation of Freud's Theory of the Mind, Unconscious, and Repression
Neurotic, Authoritarian, and Narcissistic Personality: Theory of Critical Psychology in Freud, Horkheimer, and Lasch: Rationalization of personality, repression of objective/substantive reason, loss of the private and public sphere, fragmented and weakened ego and superego, disintegration of family and social institutions, loss of democracy and political participation, loss of social ideals (Substantive Reason and Objective Reason), and release of sexual and aggressive instincts (Eros and Thanatos). Strong ego development is replaced by a weak narcissistic personality who finds a sense of self in consumption, self-improvement, entertainment, and personal therapy; democracy is treated as a social spectacle, a culture of political consumption, and a bureaucracy of impression management and self-fulfillment. Politics is depoliticized since all social problems are now reduced to individual concerns requiring clinical therapy and personality change. The narcissistic self is a vacant and vacuous identity formed out of fear, anxiety, guilt, and a strong sense of inner emptiness, loneliness, and impotence. Political ideals of justice and freedom have been replaced by issues of consumer sovereignty and market freedom; the market and consumption have replaced politics as the ultimate arbiter of social values and personality development in this "culture of narcissism." Self-realization, individual well-being, and private happiness are measured by consumption, material goods, and the admiration of others producing a "banality of the social order" -- a veritable and virtual happy state of nature internalized in human consciousness. The "function of man" (Aristotle) is replaced by utilitarianism, liberalism, and existentialism. We live in a meaningless society without transcendent moral and political principles. Instead, the goals of higher aspiration and self-liberation in a post-scarcity society are market ideals of individual consumption and wealth acquisition. Personal emancipation, authenticity, and freedom become the ideology of consumption and psychological stasis. Democracy is reduced to the dialogue of private therapy. In the "culture of narcissism," all values have lost their traditional meanings and have been repressed into the political unconscious which makes them almost inaccessible to conscious reflection and the collective memory (public sphere). The narcissistic personality is simply the interior and psychological manifestation of an economy of chrematistics where freedom is defined as market choice, the pursuit of happiness as personal pleasure and existential/nihilistic self-actualization, community and the common good as artificial social media, virtual reality, and inner self-development, and social ethics, law and politics as a subjective morality of personal achievement. Narcissism is the logical and historical reflection of the principles and institutions of liberalism -- an inner isolation and emptiness caused by the displacement and repression of natural law, social justice, and Objective Reason/Spirit. What was sought by Kant, Hegel, Marx, Weber, and Horkheimer is lost, depoliticized, and repressed. These insights reflect the power of a neo-Freudian analysis of the social and psychological mechanisms of contemporary political repression.
Transforming Freud's Theory of the Mind: Political Repression and the Internal Colonization of the Mind: Political and corporate bureaucracies are institutions of manipulation, fragmentation, and competition for the purpose of providing self-esteem and public approval. As the superego disintegrates in modern society, it is replaced by economic concepts and values. Lasch has taken Freud's theory of the mind, unconscious, and repression, walked away from the latter's theory of human instincts and sexual repression, and replaced it will the repression of politics, social ideals, and democratic institutions, that is, replaced it with the repression of the Objective Spirit and Objective Reason. Lasch develops a theory of social amnesia and political unconscious as he examines the colonization of the lifeworld and consciousness in the form of the repression of objective values (memories of the past, public, private, and politics); this is Lasch's integration of Freud, Weber, and Marx as he develops his own theory of the rationalization and domination of the mind. In this course, we have moved from the examination of science as a form of Herrschaftswissen in terms of the domination of nature (Bacon, Descartes, Weber, Scheler, Burtt, and Berman) and humanity (Berman, Braverman, and Horkheimer) to the domination of the self or personality as an authoritarian personality (Horkheimer) and narcissistic personality (Lasch). This process represents the internal rationalization of the mind and the emptying of its substantive content and memories in order to passively submit to the logic of the market and consumption.
Rationalization of Self: Restructuring the Ego and Superego while Creating a New Personality: Examine Lasch's appropriation of Freud's theory of the mind and repression: id, ego, and superego. How have contemporary social institutions affected a transformation of the ego and superego, thereby producing a new form of narcissistic self? Show how this new self is formed within the institutional complex of individual consumption, manipulative advertisement, spectacle politics, fragmented bureaucracy, and the scienticization of reproduction. These institutions are the new superego to which the individual, tormented by anxieties and insecurities and consumed by self-hatred, turns for support and reinforcement of self-identity. Bureaucratic others and self-preservation are used for self-affirmation at a time when the community loses its importance in life. In the process, sexuality and aggression are released, while history, politics, and objective reason are repressed in a new social unconscious, thus helping to form a new social identity of an insecure and banal personality.
|11.||Christopher Lasch||The Culture of Narcissism
Social and Cultural Foundations of Narcissism:
Enlightenment, Personality, and Industrial Capitalism: Fragmentation of ego and superego, propaganda of commodities, advertisement, and school and media, and the loss of the public sphere, political participation, and liberal democracy and their replacement by spectacle and private therapy, bureaucracy and rationalization, consumerism and sport, and socialization and scienticization of reproduction. Freud's superego of the family, religion, education, law, etc. is replaced by a new superego of consumption, bureaucracy, advertisement, sports and media, and personal therapy; the strong ego formed through sexual desires (Eros), repression, aggression (Thanatos), anxiety, fear, and, finally, adjustments to the objective standards and values of society and the taming of aggression to authority is replaced by a weak and fragmented ego whose pleasure principle and desires are expressed by consumption and adjustment to the market economy and whose aggressive instincts are released and encouraged. In fact, both the ego and superego are now defined and legitimated by their violence and aggression; this results in Horkheimer's authoritarian personality and Lasch's narcissistic personality. With weak egos and superegos, the modern personality is forced to adjust to strong authority figures or to consumer advertisements, political spectacles, and personal therapy for self-preservation and validation. From different perspectives and different historical moments, Weber (1919), Horkheimer (1947), and Lasch (1979) -- at the end of World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War -- are all watching different stages of the dismantling of democracy in the West; with the rationalization, liquidation, and colonization of reason, Western societies are left without the ability to justify universal ethical and political values, democratic institutions, or the basic moral principles of human dignity and decency, and, thus, are unable to resist the rise of totalitarianism, even in its benign form of consumerism and friendly fascism (Bertram Gross).
|12.||Fritjof Capra||The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture
Chapters 2, 5, 7, and 8
Enlightenment Science and 19th-Century Medicine: Buddhist Critique of Western Rationality
Summary of the Metaphysics of the Cartesian/Newtonian Worldview: Examine Descartes' theory of science in terms of the mind/body dualism, res cogitans and res extensa. analytic method, mathematics, quantification of experience, world as machine, utilitarianism, and the domination of nature. Analyze the Cartesian metaphysics of science (Burtt) and the logic of capitalism (Berman) in relation to the rise of 19th-century medicine. Compare medicine as crisis intervention technology to medicine as health care and healing; show the Cartesian elements in medical science -- germ theory, microbiology, particular problems and diagnosis, individual therapy, and overuse of drugs. What is lost? -- broader sociological questions about the relationship between health care and culture, psychology, political economy, and the environment. There are three key issues in Capra's work: (1) summary of the Cartesian paradigm and the influence of the rationalization and metaphysics of science on medicine and economics; (2) the broader influence of macro-social institutions and cultural values --Liberalism and Capitalism -- on the Enlightenment and the formation of Western science; and (3) the impact of science on our physical bodies (medicine), the body politic (economics), and nature itself (ecology). Finally, both medicine (Capra) and environmentalism or shallow ecology (Merchant) are examined as expressions of Enlightenment science and political ideology because in health care issues and the environment there are no considerations of the structural economic problems (poverty, inequality, property, class, economic crises, welfare state, etc.) that cause medical and ecological crises. With Enlightenment medicine and ecology, problems are associated with personal behavior or abuse and misuse of science and technology, but not with the underlying economic, political, and cultural problems. The real problems of our organic and inorganic bodies have been displaced and repressed by science leading to further developments in the rationalization of formal and subjective reason. For more on these topics, see the 1990 film Mindwalk directed by Capra's brother Bernt Amadeus Capra.
Medicine as Critical Immunization, Social Amnesia, and Political Ideology: This leads to questions about the political unconscious and social amnesia of medicine: do the science and technology of medicine deflect, minimize, and repress the social and political dimension of disease; do they depoliticizes health care? Are diseases less the result of biology than sociology? Does the social structure and economic system of capitalism play an important role in the structural causes of medical and psychological illness? Capra asks if medicine immunizes the social system from critical reflection, that is, he asks if medicine is a political ideology designed to repress certain types of questions that would be critical of the logic and structure of capitalism. All that really needs to change is individual behavior and not social structures.
|13.||Carolyn Merchant||Radical Ecology: The Search for a Livable World
(Recommended: Herbert Marcuse, "Industrialization and Capitalism in Max Weber," in
Negations: Essays in Critical Theory, pp. 201-226 and "Ecology and the Critique of Modern Society,"
Capitalism Nature Socialism, vol. 3, no. 3, 1992, pp. 29-38)
Enlightenment, Environment, and Capitalism: Deep Ecology, Social Ecology, and Radical Ecology
Environmental Crises of METAPHYSICS (Nature) and STRUCTURES (Society): Environmental science must consider the impact on nature of the underlying Metaphysics of the Enlightenment (Kuhn, Burtt, Berman, Weber, and Leiss) and the Structures of Political Economy (Braverman. Horkheimer, Capra, Merchant, Marcuse, and Bookchin). The former includes the Cartesian elements of naturalism, reductionism, mechanism, and determinism, the hidden assumptions of positivism (PERSONNN), and the a priori political values of science as a Herrschaftswissenschaft (domination, control, and prediction), while the latter includes the logic of liberalism and capitalism. Examine causes of the global ecological crisis in global warming, industrial pollution, ecological imbalance, heat waves and expanding fires, coastal and river flooding, melting glaciers in Antarctic, Arctic Circle, and Greenland, rising seas, increasing storm intensity and soil erosion, economic unsustainability and compromised infrastructure, depletion of natural resources, loss of species, forests, and topsoil, etc. For more information on these issues of Climate Change and Global Warming from the United Nations and the United States, see "The Kyoto Protocol" to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted in 1997 and activated in 2005, the Fifth Assessment Report (AR) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of 2014, the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment Report (NCA) of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) of 2014, and "The State of the Climate, National Overview," National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of 2014, and two recent scientific reports on glacial melting in the West Antarctic ice sheet in Science and Geophysical Research Letter (GRL) in May 2014:
(1) "The Kyoto Protocol" to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
adopted on December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan and went into force on February 16, 2005, at:
"Global Warming and Climate Change," International New York Times, June 2015 at:
(2) The Fifth Assessment Report, "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change," of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, March 30, 2014 (Five Assessment Reports from 1990-2014) at:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/13/3426117/climate-panel-avoiding-catastrophe-cheap/ (National Security Impact of Climate Change)
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/06/05/2103261/the-social-cost-of-carbon-is-almost-double-what-the-government-previously-thought/ (Social Cost of Carbon Emissions)
Also see the United Nations Sustainable Development Plan: Agenda 21 at:
Technical Support Document: Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis, Executive Order No. 12866, Office of Management and Budget, November 26, 2013 at:
(3) United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO), "Annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin" on Global Warming and Increased Atmospheric CO2 levels, September 9, 2014 at:
(4) Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, "The Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Millennium Development Goals" examines the depletion of fishing reserves in the global oceans, July 2015 at:
(5) United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Paris, France, 195 nations agreement on climate change, global warming, and social policy, December 2015 at:
Coral Davenport, Justin Gillis, Sewell Chan, and Melissa Eddy, "Inside The Paris Climate Deal," New York Times,
December 12, 2015 at:
2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris and the Paris Agreement, at:
United States Federal Government:
(3) The Third Assessment Report, "Climate Change Impacts in the United States," May 6, 2014, U.S. National Climate Assessment Report, U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC), established by the Department of Commerce in December 2000 (Earlier Assessment Reports in 2000 and 2009) at:
(4) "State of the Climate, National Overview," National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2014, monthly statements at:
(5)"Climate Changes: Evidence and Causes," National Academy of Sciences: An Overview from the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, February 27, 2014 at:
(6) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), "Science Publishes New NOAA Analysis: Data Show No Recent Slowdown in Global Warming," June 4, 2015 at:
Thomas R. Karl1,, Anthony Arguez1, Boyin Huang1, Jay H. Lawrimore1, James R. McMahon, Matthew J. Menne1, Thomas C. Peterson1, Russell S. Vose1, Huai-Min Zhang1, Science Magazine, "Climate Change: Possible Artifacts Of Data Biases in the Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus," June 4, 2015 at:
Joe Romm, "NOAA Study Confirms Global Warming Speed-Up Is Imminent," Climate Progress, June 5, 2015 at:
"Long-Awaited ‘Jump’ In Global Warming Now Appears ‘Imminent,'" Climate Progress, April 2, 2015 at:
and "Rate Of Climate Change To Soar By 2020s, With Arctic Warming 1°F Per Decade," March 10, 2015 at:
Natasha Geiling, "Santorum: I’m More Qualified Than Pope Francis To Talk About Climate Change Because I’m A Politician," Climate Progress, June 7, 2015 at:
U.S. Scientific Research Journals and News Reports:
(5) Science, "Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica," by Ian Joughin, Benjamin E. Smith, Brooke Medley, vol. 344, May 16, 2014 at:
(6) Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), "Widespread, Rapid Grounding Line Retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler Glaciers, West Antarctica from 1992 to 2011, " by E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, and B. Scheuchl1, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine, American Geophysical Union Journal, May 12, 2014 at:
(7) “Paying the Price,” The Nation, May 12, 2014 at:
(8) "Cutting Back on Carbon," Paul Krugman, New York Times, May 29, 2014 at:
Amy Goodman, "A Climate Week to Change Everything," at:
(9) New Climate Economy Project, "Better Growth Better Climate," September 2014 at:
International Monetary Fund's Global Economy Forum,"Carbon Pricing: Good for You, Good for the Planet," working paper, September 17, 2014 by iMFdirect at:
NASA Global Climate Change, "Consensus: 97% of Climate Scientists Agree," Summary of Government Agencies, 2014 at:
(10) American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2014 at
"Nine Things Scientists Did This Year to Ensure a Better Climate Future," in Nation of Change, December 2014, at:
(11) Gerardo Ceballos1, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anthony D. Barnosky, Andrés García, Robert M. Pringle, and Todd M. Palmer, "Accelerated Modern Human–Induced Species Losses: Entering the Sixth Mass Extinction," Science Advances, vol 1, no. 5 (June 5, 2015) at:
(12) John Sutter, "Your Making this Island Disappear," CNN News Report and Social Commentary, July 3, 2015 at:
(13) Global Climate Change, NASA, " 97% of Climate Scientists Agree," July 8, 2015 at:
Union of Concerned Scientists, "As Congress Considers Chemical Safety, Chemical Industry Spends Millions to Distort the Debate," July 15, 2015, at:
Gerardo Ceballos1, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anthony D. Barnosky, Andrés García, Robert M. Pringle and Todd M. Palmer, "Accelerated Modern Human–induced Species Losses: Entering the Sixth Mass Extinction," Science Advances, vol. 1, no. 5 (June 5, 2015) at:
(14) World Wide Fund for Nature, "The Living Planet Report 2014" at:
Christophe McGlade1 & Paul Ekins, "The Geographical Distribution of Fossil Fuels Unused When Limiting Global Warming to 2 Degrees Celsius," Nature, vol. 517, January 8, 2015, pp. 187ff. at:
(15) Global Climate Change, NASA, "Consensus: 97% of Climate Scientists Agree," July 8, 2015 at: http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/
National Geographic, "Prediction of Rising Sea Levels...," at:
James Hansen, et. al., "Ice melt, Sea Level Rise And Superstorms: Evidence From Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C global Warming Is Highly Dangerous," Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Jul 23, 2015 at:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150721-james-hansen-sea-level-rise-climate-change-global-warming-science/ and also
CNN's Fareed Zakaria's interview with James Hansen about possible 10 feet sea level rise by end of century at:
Arthur Waskow, "Rabbis Against Climate Change," National, June 6, 2015 at:
International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, "Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change," August 17-18, 2015 at:
World Bank, "Rapid, Climate-Informed Development Needed to Keep Climate Change from Pushing More than 100 Million People into Poverty by 2030," November 8, 2015 at:
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Paris, November 30-December 11.2015.
Science and Ideology: Conservative Response of the Heartland Institute and U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
Conservative responses of the Heartland Institute, a Chicago based libertarian think-tank and climate change denier located at:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Report on the dangers of Carbon Regulation and damage to U.S. economy, May 28, 2014 at:
Also see S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years
(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007).
Of special interest is the relationship between science and ideology in these environmental issues.
Marc Morano, Climate Depot, "Climate Depot: Redefining Global Warming Reporting" at:
http://www.climatedepot.com/about/ and also
"NASA’s James Hansen gets dissed by global warming establishment! Warmists Say Sea Level Rise study based on ‘flimsy evidence’ & ‘rife with speculation’" at:
Critical Theory of Ecology and the Ideology of Science: In order to respond to these crises, it is necessary to consider not only technological repairs to nature but a total system transformation of the deep STRUCTURES (domination of man) and METAPHYSICS (domination of nature) of Western science and society. This would involve not only changing personal attitudes and behavior, as well as implementing alternative technologies, but transforming a society based on narcissism and self-interest fed by the market, competition, and advertisement (false needs). Discuss need to turn to an economy that is more egalitarian and self-sufficient that would call into question the class system, gender and racial inequality, poverty, and the authoritarian structure of the workplace. Restructure the workplace based on division of labor, narrow specialization, and scientific management, and move toward an economy of Production, Exchange, Distribution, and Consumption that is based on Social Justice and Economic Democracy.
Science is A priori Political: The Alienation of Nature and Science in Metaphysics and Structure: It is assumed by most natural scientists, and most academicians for that matter, that science is neutral, objective, and value free. However, there are other theoretical traditions which argue that science is, in fact, highly laden with epistemological, ethical, and political values that affect the ecological crisis in ways that, for the most part, have not been considered within the American academy. The Enlightenment and Science are not distinctive theoretical products of human evolution or the result of spontaneous creativity at moments of genius. As mentioned above, reality is a social construct, but so, too, is science. Science is not a mirror of reality or nature, but a mirror of production; according to Friedrich Tomberg, science is a bürgerliche Wissenschaft. Jean Baudrillard has argued in The Mirror of Production that both labor and nature in capitalist society have been reduced to exchange value or commodities (things). The Enlightenment is a distinctive product of the socio-economic system of industrial capitalism (historical materialism) and also a product of the disenchantment, quantification, and mathematization of human experience and thought (metaphysics of science). It is Herbert Marcuse in One Dimensional Man who examines the apriori political elements in technological rationality -- the social control found in the domination of nature and the domination of man: "Technological rationality has become political rationality" (xvi), "the science of nature develops under the technological a priori which projects nature as potential instrumentality, stuff of control and organization" (153); and " the technological a priori is a political a priori inasmuch as the transformation of nature involves that of man, and inasmuch as the 'man-made creations' issue from and reenter a society ensemble" (154). Technological rationality is political in two distinct ways: it has expanded outward into other social institutions (nature, production, consumption, culture, politics, personality development, etc.) and inward into the essence of natural science itself. Science is not neutral or apolitical, but approaches nature through the horizons of technical domination and control in a similar fashion to the way in which labor is controlled in the workplace. Science is a priori political since its concepts, logic, and methods are preformed under the influence of the domination of nature and the domination of man. It is a form of Herrschaftswissen (Weber and Scheler). In this way, science is like other forms of culture -- art, literature, music, philosophy, law, state, etc. -- in that it is a product of the society from which it springs. Nature has been socially and historically pre-formed and pre-structured under the imperatives of reification and alienated labor -- the domination of man leads to the domination of nature. This is just another way of stating that there is a dialectical relationship between the scientific and technical forces of production and the social relations of production (Marx). (Note: there is a very similar argument within the philosophy of the social sciences, that is, the social sciences, too, contain underlying a priori political imperatives that protect the social totality and social system from critical reflection since they do not question the deep structures of political economy. Social science is inherently conservative and ideological whose ultimate goal is the suppression of social critique through the loss of questions about structure, function, history, and practical science (ethics) (C. W. Mill, The Sociological Imagination, 68, 80-82, 86, 90, and 96 and Marcuse, One Dimensional Man, 144-169). This argument is being applied now to the philosophy of natural science and technology.) Deconstruct the meaning of the concept of "a priori" and then show how Marcuse is combining the thought of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason with Marx's preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (mode of production: productive forces and social relations of production).
Unholy Alliance of the Enlightenment and Capitalism: Unconscious Politics and Repression of Western Reason and Science: Science is the rationalized and instrumental form of political control projecting the social and class relations of the organization of production and the workplace of capitalism back onto nature itself. Nature becomes theoretical capital. Science and technology are both a priori political forms of ideology because they incorporate the structures of political economy into their very logic, methods, and theories. Just as Kant in his critique of pure reason and theory of representations (Vorstellungen) had investigated the a priori forms of intuition of time and space (appearances of perception) and the a priori categories of the understanding of substance and causality (experience of reflection), Marcuse undertakes a radical alternation in the former's constitution theory of knowledge and truth. He transforms Epistemology from Metaphysics into Politics -- just as he transformed Freud's Epistemology from Sexuality to Politics. Our world is filtered not through the categories of the subjectivity or consciousness (or the categories of self-consciousness and the Objective Spirit of Hegel), but the categories of politics. He turns these forms of the understanding into sociological and historical categories. It is through them that we perceive and understand nature. Our world of perception and science is preformed by the social system and the class organization of production. The way we see and reflect the world in consciousness is not a product of transcendental subjectivity or pure reason, but, rather, a product of the historical categories of power, class, and domination. The domination of nature (productive forces) and humanity (social relations of production) is dialectical; natural science is ultimately a reflection of the institutions and values of modern capitalism since nature consists of deterministic, materialistic, mechanical, reified, and extended things to be manipulated and controlled for their utility (Descartes, Discourse on Method, 15, 41, and 45). Enlightenment science becomes the social and political form of nature, just as epistemology becomes a form of ethics (Marcuse, 125); knowledge is always a social form reflecting the imperatives and ideas of modern industrial society in theoretical concepts and ideas. Positivism in nature and society results in the alienation of reason, the suppression of critical thought, and the domination of both nature and society. These questions about the Politics of Metaphysics and Structure are derived from the following critical traditions of Phenomenology, Existentialism, Marxism, Critical Theory, and Neo-Kantian Philosophy of Science which frame the discourse about science and nature and open up new possibilities for our understanding of social and natural ecology:
1.       Early Natural Science: Descartes, Bacon, Galileo, and Newton
2.       Phenomenology and Existentialism: Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche,
Scheler, Husserl, Heidegger, Berger & Luckmann, and Ellul
3.       Critical Social Theory: Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Kolakowski, and Habermas
4.       Philosophy of Science: Quine, Kuhn, Popper, Lakatos, Feyerabend,
Burtt, and Rorty
5.       Sociology of Science: Marx, Weber, Scheler, Braverman, Berman,
6.       Critical Social Ecology: Lappé, Naess, McKibben, Merchant, Bookchin,
Marx, Foster, and O'Connor.
7.       Buddhist Economics: Capra, Schumacher, and Persig
|14.||Murray Bookchin|| "Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology: A Challenge for the Ecology Movement" (1987)
(Recommended: James O'Connor, "Capitalism, Nature, Socialism: A Theoretical Introduction,"
Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, vol. 1, Fall 1988, pp. 11-38)
Compare Shallow Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Social Ecology: Environmentalism, Metaphysics, and Structures of Political Economy: Compare Shallow Ecology (Environmentalism or Conservationalism: green movement, pollution (carbon capture sequestration), population, alternative technologies, adjustment of consumption, and resource conservation for the purpose of maintaining affluence and health), Deep or Cultural Ecology (Metaphysics: critique of Cartesian metaphysics, consciousness, spirituality, and new ontology, metaphysics (ontological holism), and epistemology of science), and Social or Structural Ecology (Structuralism and Social Justice: critique of the abstract moralizing of the environmental movements by turning to issues of political economy, economic democracy, and social structures). Shallow Ecology is compatible with capitalism and traditional science as it emphasizes more responsible consumption and environmental ethics; Deep Ecology is incompatible with the metaphysics of a Cartesian mechanistic worldview and stresses an integrated, holistic, and spiritual relationship with nature as it replaces ethics with ontology; and Social Ecology is incompatible with monopoly capitalism and corporate democracy as it develops a critique of the deep structures of political economy. Audre Lorde once wrote, "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." The Enlightenment doesn't offer the tools necessary to structurally criticize or dismantle the ecological crisis. The alienation of humanity, nature, and science has produced a situation where there needs to be a new Enlightenment of Reason; new approaches and theories of the environment and science will be necessary in the future since the logic of capital and concepts of industrial production (domination of man and nature) are embedded in the metaphysics of modern technical science (Berman, Braverman, Horkheimer, and Lasch). At present, the logic of science is a reflection of the logic of the mode of production ("mirror of production"), capital, and private property. The Enlightenment, Liberalism, and Capitalism -- Reason, Politics, and the Economy -- are all historically and structurally interrelated.
Deep Ecology and the Critique of the Cartesian Worldview: Deep Ecology begins with Arne Naess' conference paper entitled "The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement" in 1972 and his principles of Deep Ecology based on principles of biospherical egalitarianism, respect for nature, diversity, and symbiosis, anti-class posture, fight against pollution and resource depletion, and political decentralization), develops with Bill Devall ((biospheric diversity, organismic democracy, community, ecocentric ethics, and nature as household), George Sessions, Michael Tobias, and Fritjof Capra. The fundamental principles of Deep Ecology as outlined by Naess are: (1) total-field integration, ontological holism, and critique of Cartesian reductionism; (2) biospheric egalitarianism, unity of life, and critique of mechanistic materialism; (3) diversity, symbiosis, economic sustainability, and critique of one-dimensional economic progress; (4) critique of class, inequality, exploitation within an anthropocentric ethic, and the domination of nature; (5) rejection of pollution and resource depletion; (6) complexity, not complication and respect for nature; and (7) local autonomy and decentralization. The first three principles of Deep Ecology represent a rejection of the apriori normative assumptions of Descartes' theory of nature and physical reality which is incorporated into Shallow Ecology: reductionism, mechanistic determinism, and materialism.
Criticism of Deep Ecology and the Rise of Social Ecology: The major criticisms of deep ecology are its failure to see relationship between Metaphysics (domination of nature) and Structures (domination of man) and its failure to see the relationship between commodification of nature and the reification of women (androcentrism). According to Merchant, Social Ecology includes Progressive Ecology (Frances Lappé and J. Baird Collicott), Marxist Ecology (Marx, Engels, and John Bellamy Foster), Anarchist Ecology (Murray Bookchin), and Socialist Ecology (James O'Connor). Merchant wants to begin an alternative model of ecology based on integrating principles of Deep and Social Ecology into Radical Ecology (Green Politics, Ecofeminism, and Anti-Globalization and Sustainability). Following Kuhn's theory of social constructivism and paradigms, Merchant argues that the social constitution and mediation of knowledge should be grounded in the values of democracy and justice. As a way of summarizing and integrating the course readings, discuss the centrality of Kuhn's theory of normal science, paradigm shifts, and rejection of objective reality and objective truth (social constructivism) as the basis for both Deep and Social Ecology. For further readings in Socialist Ecology, see James O'Connor, Nature's Causes and Joel Kovel's The Enemy of Nature and for readings in Critical Ecology, see Stephen Vogel's Against Nature and Robert Brulle's Agency, Democracy and Nature: The U.S. Environmental Movement from a Critical Theory Perspective.
Critical Theory of the Enlightenment and Environment: Integrate into a Critical Theory of Ecology the following areas; Metaphysics of the Enlightenment and Science (Kuhn, Burt, Berman, and Capra), Structures of Capitalism (Marx, Berman, and Braverman), and Rationalization of Modernity (Weber, Horkheimer, Lasch, and Merchant). Integrating this material into a Critical Theory results in a Radical Ecology that rejects Monopoly Capital (corporate welfare, monopolies, globalization, economic crises, authoritarian workplace, and artificial consumption), Administrative State (large oligarchic state, corporate subsides, depoliticization, imperialism, and neocolonialism), Narcissistic Personality (materialism, self-interest, competition, and aggression), and Enlightenment Culture and Cartesian Metaphysics (ghost in the machine, dualism, naturalism, mechanical positivism, ecological crises, and the domination of nature). By rejecting the domination of nature (Herrschaftswissen of Scheler, Weber, and Heidegger), domination of man (scientific management and capitalism), domination of women (anti-feminism and androcentrism), and the domination of the environment (ecological crisis), the ultimate goal is to form a new society by building a new relationship between humanity and nature based on the principles of Communitarianism (Aristotle and Pericles), Democratic Ecology, and Social Justice.
Summary of the Crisis of Reason: The Enlightenment and Western science have come under close scrutiny and attack from Existentialism (Nietzsche and Weber), Buddhism (Capra, Schumacher, and Pirsig), Anarchism (Murray Bookchin), Greeks (Aristotle), Critical Theory (Max Horkheimer), Marxism (Braverman), and Ecofeminism (Carolyn Merchant).
Return to the Ancients: Critical Theory of Ecology and Nineteenth-Century Classical Social Theory: Examine the central importance of both Pericles' Funeral Oration in Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, and The Athenian Constitution. These works are the beginning of a true Critical Theory which examines both the Environment and Society, that is, a Critical Theory of Ecology and the beginning of Classical Social Theory of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. In both cases, there is an integration of the Ancients and the Moderns. Detail Aristotle's theory of virtue (arete), happiness (eudaimonia), wisdom (phronesis), and political action (praxis), as well as his theory of the ideal state -- democratic polity. The foundations of critical social and environmental theory lie in the walkways, bema, and public space of the Pnyx.
Summary of the Course on Science and Society: Capitalism and the Enlightenment: The main theme of this course taken from history, social theory, and the sociology of knowledge is that Consciousness, Science, and Nature are products of the social construction of reality; the Enlightenment and Ecology are social constructs defined by the parameters of historically changing social institutions and cultural values. That is, modern science, technology, and the ecological crisis are products of modern industrial society -- liberalism and capitalism, Locke and Smith -- and thus subject to critical evaluation and social change. With the development of eighteenth-century philosophy Perception, Experience, and Knowledge were viewed by Hume (radical skepticism), Kant (transcendental subjectivity), and Hegel (objective spirit, institutions, and culture) as constructions of experience, the understanding, and self-consciousness, while in nineteenth-century social theory epistemological constructionism evolved into the construction of political economy (species being), history (interpretative action), and society (sociology of knowledge) in the writings of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, respectively. The course begins with the epistemology and theory of knowledge of Hume and Kant and the philosophy of science of Kuhn and Rorty, proceeds to the sociology of science and ideology (science as an historical and social product) of Burtt, Berman, Braverman, and Horkheimer and ends with the debate among ecological theory of Capra, Bookchin, and Merchant The internal logic and structure of this courses in constituted in the following manner:
1. Epistemology and Philosophy of Science: course begins with an examination of post-analytic and pragmatic theories of knowledge and philosophy of science and then proceeds to ask a number of other important questions about the nature of modern science, technology, and industry.
2. Science as Truth or Technology: what is the nature of science and the kind of knowledge which it actually produces? Does science seek answers to the questions of essence and being or does it respond to specific technical and utilitarian questions raised by the community of scientists?
3. Kuhn's Theory of Science: Kuhn concludes that science is political, ideological, and religious as he contends that the logic, method, and theory of science is a social construct or consensus within the scientific community.
4. Sociology of Science: If science is a social construction, what is the broader nature of the society that produces such a theory and metaphysics of nature? What is the relationship between science and society, the Enlightenment and capitalism? Examine the history of the theory of science as a utilitarian and pragmatic Herrschaftswissen (science of domination) from Scheler, Weber, Husserl, Heidegger, Marcuse, and Habermas.
5. A priori Technology and Politics of Science: Once it is established from the theories of knowledge and science that science is a social construction, what are the scientific and social causes of the environmental crisis? Is the central issue the use and misuse of modern science and technology or does the critical question go beyond that to the underlying and unconscious values and metaphysics of science itself? That is, is science objective and neutral or does it incorporate into its very logic and theories what Marcuse calls a priori technological and political values.
6. Schools of Critical Ecology: Examine the debates among the opposing schools of ecological thought, including Shallow Ecology, Deep Ecology, Social Ecology, Marxist Ecology, Feminist Ecology, etc. Does science contain the solutions to the environmental crisis or is science itself part of the problem?
7. Transforming Science or Society: Finally, reflect on the central issue of public policy and social change. A critical response to the environmental crisis entails an examination of both science and the structures of society. Does the solution to the problem lie in fixing the abuses of science in modern technology in the form of passive solar heating, alternatives to fossil fuels, automobile fuel standards, improving public transportation, etc. or does the solution lie in transforming the very institutions of modern industrial society?