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 the environmental movement, deep ecology, social ecology, and radical ecology. Compare the principles, problems, and policies of these various theories and schools of critical 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 object or 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, Subjective 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.
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. Theories and facts -- physical reality -- 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. In the perception and analysis of a substance or object (Hume), table (Russell), three-dimensional box (Hanson), wax (Descartes), false playing cards (Kuhn), the geocentric universe of Ptolemy or the heliocentric universe of Copernicus, discontinuous motion (Aristotle) or continuous curve (Galileo), and phlogiston (Becher) or oxygen (Priestly), there is never a way to get to the underlying reality to obtain objective truth. We only have only access to phenomena or representations -- knowledge and science are only interpretations of reality. 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, George Sessions, Warwick Fox, and Fritjof Capra, Social Ecology or Social Anarchism of Murray Bookchin, Marxist Ecology of Marx, John Bellamy Foster, and Tony Burns, and Feminist Ecology of Carolyn Merchant. The epistemological foundation of science has moved from ontology, being, and reality to utility, domination, and control over nature.
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 from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. The various Forms of Positivism in Western thought include the following: (1) Empiricism of Francis Bacon, John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume, and Ernst Mach; (2) Rationalism of René Descartes; (3) Social Science Positivism of Henri de Saint-Simon, Pierre-Simon Laplace, and Auguste Comte; (4) Analytic Philosophy of G. E. Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Bertram Russell; (5) Logical Positivism of A. J. Ayer, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Carl Hempel, Rudolph Carnap, and Hans Reichenbach; and (6) Critical Rationalism of Karl Popper. Logical positivism, which broadly defined includes numbers 4, 5, and 6, developed out of earlier positivism and analytic philosophy and was essentially a critical reaction to the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, the existentialism and metaphysics of Heidegger, and the neo-Kantianism of Ernst Cassirer. It should be noted that these values will play an important role in our later discussion of the environmental crisis of nature. Positivism is the philosophical and ideological theory of knowledge and science that the only legitimate and authoritative form of knowledge is based on the epistemology and methods of the natural sciences, that is, based on verifiable experience, matters of fact, and mathematical logic. (As we shall see as this course develops, positivism as PERSONNN is a social reflection and ideological defense of the underlying structures of capitalist political economy as RRAANNDD (Berman, 50). Classical Social Theory represents a critique of capitalism, as well as a critique of its philosophy of science and underlying metaphysics of science.) The various epistemological and methodological principles of positivism may be broken down into the following elements:
1.       Predictivism or universally valid theory of science based on inferential logic &
mathematical models and explanatory & deterministic predictions
(critical rationalism of Popper)
2.       Empiricism or knowledge based on the accumulation of empirical facts
(epistemology of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume)
3.       Realism or objective correspondence of concepts/theories and facts since objects
are independent of perception -- epistemological realism
(correspondence or copy theory of truth of Locke, Berkeley, and Russell
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 of Comte, Mach, and Popper)
5.       Objectivism or existence of an external, autonomous world of things, facts, or objective reality
usually viewed as quantitative and mathematical objectivity (ontological or philosophical realism) --
there is a real world that exists independently of our perceptions, theories, and constructions
(Comte, Mach, and Russell)
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 explanations and instrumental knowledge of utility (instrumentalism)
(George Santayana and John Dewey)
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 --
it divides the world into scientific facts and metaphysical or speculative values
(Carnap, Hempel, Popper, and Reichenbach)
8.       Nominalism or general/universal terms have no meaning or existence -- there is no substance,
matter, or essence (metaphysical realism), only Nothingness and Nihilism -- since experience
and science are only names or the sum of concrete particular objects and empirical facts
(Bacon and Hume). Nominalism also represents a separation of science and ethics
and leads to moral skepticism, relativism, nihilism, and the rejection of all objective
moral values and natural law (Nietzsche). What is real is defined by empiricism
(Oakham, Bacon, and Hume). Nominalism undermines nature, God, and universal moral
principles as the basis for natural ecology, social theory, historical critique, and social praxis.
In classical social theory, existentialism and nominalism are expressed as disenchantment
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, neutralism, and nominalism. 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. One of the classic ironies of Western thought and the contradictions of its various theories of knowledge is that empiricism, rationalism, and idealism provided both the foundations and justification for scientific rationality, as well as provided for the very intellectual tools for its philosophical unraveling -- Descartes' rejection of secondary qualities and perception, Hume's skepticism at the empirical and logical justification of substance, causality, and self (Books 5 and 12), and Kant's theory of representations and appearances as the basis for true knowledge. 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). Positivism is the prevailing ideology in both the natural and social sciences at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. In this course, we have stressed the post-analytic tradition in American philosophy and its critique of positivism in the natural sciences. [Special Sidenote: It should be noted that this criticism of positivistic science also once played a crucial role in European sociology.
Critique of Knowledge and the Rejection of Positivism: Historical Variations of Neo-Kantian Thought: The subjective or constitutive theory of truth and the discussion about the organizational principle or apriori synthetic unity of the mind form the foundation of the critical European intellectual tradition in British Skepticism (Hume), German Idealism (Immanuel Kant and Georg F. Hegel), German Existentialism (Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche) and Classical Social Theory (Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim). The critical tradition continues to evolve in neo-Hegelian epistemology, neo-Kantianism (Wilhelm Windelband, Heinrich Rickert, and Ernst Troeltsch and also Paul Natorp, Hermann Cohen, and Ernst Cassirer), Phenomenology (Max Scheler, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Georg Simmel, Alfred Schutz, Peter Berger, and Thomas Luckmann), Existentialism (Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau Ponty), German School of Economics (Otto von Gierke, Karl Knies, and Gustav Radbruch), Historical Sociology (Karl Polanyi, E. P. Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm, Paul Tilly, and Emanuel Wallerstein), Hermeneutics (Friedrich Schleiermacher, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, Wilhelm Dilthey, and Hans-Georg Gadamer), Depth Hermeneutics/Neo-Freudianism (Karl Otto Apel, Alfred Lorenzer, Jürgen Habermas, and Paul Ricoeur), Gestalt psychology (Norwood Hanson), Linguistic anthropology (Benjamin Lee Whorf and Edward Sapir), Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School (Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Eric Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, and Jürgen Habermas), Ethnomethodology (Alfred Schutz and Harold Garfinkel), American Pragmatism (George Herbert Mead, John Dewey, and Richard Rorty), Post-Analytic Philosophy (Karl Popper, Willard van Quine, Wilfrid Sellars, Imre Lakatos, and Paul Feyerabend),and Critical Ecology (Feminism, Marxism, and Social Ecology). These various schools of thought broaden our understanding of the range and impact in America of Kuhn's theory of knowledge and science as a paradigmatic or theoretical construct. Kuhn is thus part of a more comprehensive philosophical critique of empiricism, nominalism, and positivism.
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. Thus, this course begins with an introductory analysis of philosophy of science with Hume, Russell, Popper, Quine, and Kuhn; moves into a sociology of science with Berman and Braverman; expands into a social theory of science with Nietzsche, Weber, Scheler, Horkheimer, Lasch, and Capra; and ends in a critical theory of ecology with Shallow, Deep, Social, Feminist, and Marxist ecological theories. 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 course is divided into three main parts -- (1) a theory of knowledge and philosophy of science; (2) a sociology of knowledge; and (3) a critical social theory. The first part of the course outlines the debates within philosophy about whether science reflects nature or objective reality -- Science as the Mirror of Nature; the second part examines science as more a reflection of society's political economy and social values -- Science as the Mirror of Society and Production; and the third part deals with a critique of both one and two and the development of social alternatives to the crisis of the Enlightenment (mirror of nature) and the Environment (mirror of production) in a critical theory of social ecology.
Science as Social Construct and Foundation of Existentialism and Relativism: I. Nature, Science, and Epistemology: According to the fundamental principles of the critique of pure reason in Kantian epistemology, we cannot know the thing-in-itself, but only the phenomena and appearances created by our own subjectivity or consciousness. According to Kant, our knowledge of the external world through perception and experience is a product of consciousness as the transcendental subjectivity. Kuhn, Burtt, Berman, and Horkheimer move the argument to the next level: Nature is viewed as a Construct, and a social construct at that -- a construct of subjectivity (Kantian philosophy), the scientific community (post-analytic philosophy), consciousness (phenomenology), or the material foundations and structures of society (Marxism). This gives us the opening to begin discussion on the nature of the process of the 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, better and more rational planning, alternative use of natural resources, and more effective and efficient application of technology to nature -- it requires a transformation of consciousness and the whole social system. Baked into the values, concepts, logic, and theories of modern science -- its epistemology, methodologies, explanatory theories, and empirical and predictive laws -- are the unarticulated and unconscious values of the social system -- Metaphysics of Science -- that are created by a modern commercial and industrial capitalist system. This is an apriori worldview of a mechanistic, deterministic, and self-moving machine; this is a world that ends in the Death of Nature. 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). In the course Social Justice, we examined the limits of charity and personal kindness as a foundation for the virtuous life. Following Aristotle's moral philosophy, it is not simply a question of practical reason of the moral imperatives and actions of right or wrong, but of the integration of Ethics and the Virtuous Life (Nicomachean Ethics 1, 5, and 6), Economics and the Moral/Household Economy (Politics 1), and Politics, Law, and the Best Constitutions (Politics 3 and 6) into a comprehensive and holistic examination of the structures of society. Just as with moral philosophy and ethics, science, too, must be viewed within the totality of social relationships. II. Positivism, Existentialism, and the Decline of Reason: The second major part of our analysis of science this semester lies in its relationship to existentialism, nominalism, and relativism and the potential dangers that this creates for social theory. Social theory is reduced to the knowledge of the last man, the iron cage, and the repression of reason and theory (Nietzsche, Weber, and Horkheimer, respectively). III. Nature, Science, and Social Theory: Finally, we shall consider whether both science and society need to be radically transformed before we can begin to solve the ecological crisis. This will be accomplished by approaching the question through a comparative analysis of Shallow or Reform Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Social Ecology (anarchism, Marxism, and eco-feminism).
|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
Science, Enlightenment, and Capitalism: After reading Kuhn we have learned that science has lost its privileged position and its classical claims to objective, universal truth. The question now facing us is Why and How science evolves. What is the new criteria by which to evaluate scientific truths? Kuhn's thesis is that it is the social consensus within the scientific community and puzzle solving that provide the answers. Berman adds a new dimension: Science and Enlightenment rationality should be understood as part of the broader totality of the modern social system and lifeworld and the rise of commercial and industrial capitalism, that is, they should be understood within the intellectual framework of Classical Social Theory (RRAANNDD).
1.       Rationalization        (Weber)
2.       Repression                (Freud)
3.       Alienation                 (Marx)
4.       Anomie                      (Durkheim)
5.       Nothingness              (Schopenhauer)
6.       Nihilism                     (Nietzsche)
7.       Disenchantment        (Weber)
8.       Dehumanization        (Marx)
Berman writes "Scientific consciousness is alienated consciousness" (17); it is part of the general cultural disenchantment, anomic disintegration, and existential homelessness of modern industrial society. Science has to be seen as a cultural expression of alienation (Marx), rationalization (Weber), anomie (Durkheim), and the inner anxiety and neurosis of the modern human personality (Freud). Science is the theoretical expression of modern capitalism with its goal of management, utility, and control over a mechanical and deterministic nature. Natural science is not the cause but the symptom of Western industrial development and its corresponding social pathologies. The logic of capital permeates every aspect of modernity, including reason and scientific discourse. Science and Society are mutually interacting and reinforcing. Franz Borkenau was more explicit in his writings: He argued that science was able to become quantitative, experimental, mathematical, and utilitarian, that is, it was able to develop abstract and mechanical concepts and theories because of the prior creation of abstract, alienated labor and the mechanization of production in the workplace (Leiss, The Domination of Nature, pp. 90-97). Simmel saw the connection between numerical calculation in a money economy and the mathematization of nature (Berman, 55). Labor and nature were seen as forms of disenchantment, reification, and utility; thus science had an innate, apriori technological and political orientation toward the control and domination of nature (Scheler and Marcuse in The Domination of Nature, 101-123). The technical and formal rationality (techne) of the fragmented workplace, bureaucratic state, and nihilistic culture has produced a particular form of knowledge that reflects the broader imperatives and priorities of modern capitalism. The result has been the loss of human control over labor, the public sphere, ethics and religion, and nature. Science has already been examined within a theory of knowledge and a critique of empiricism and rationalism (Bacon, Hume, and Kant), a theory of science (Popper, Quine, and Kuhn), and a theory of the metaphysics of science and nature (Burtt). Now it must be incorporated into a broader critical, materialist, and historical social theory (Berman and Classical Social Theory).
Enlightenment and the Domination of Cartesian Nature: 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: The Reification and Commodification of Nature: 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. Throughout these lectures mention will be made of the following authors on the Cartesian method, mathematization of nature, and the crisis of reason and science: E. Husserl, M. Heidegger, M. Scheler, M. Weber, A. Koyré, W. Heisenberg, A. Sohn-Rethel, F. Borkenau, E. P. Thompson, W. Leiss, and C. Merchant.
Cartesian Method Creates Modern Objectivity and Science: Berman outlines Descartes' analytic/synthetic method (33) as he attempts to show how the Method creates the Objects of perception and experience -- epistemology creates ontology. Truth now is based not on reality but operational categories, instrumental measurements, formal calculation, and technical experimentation -- truth is based on the mathematization of nature and utility (Berman, 40 and 45 and Descartes, Discourse on Methods and Meditations, 15, 87, 88-89, and 45 and 41). Because Method creates Objects and Reality, the historical and theoretical context of the sciences with their theories of time, space, matter, motion, extension, shape, and causality are not scientifically or logically justifiable. That is, the world articulated by Descartes based on his geometric method cannot be empirically or rationally verified (Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy, pp. 25 and 9). It's truth lies in its utilitarian nature. However, once these metaphysical assumptions about the natural world are made, scientific logic and method can be used to provide hypotheses, theories, experiments, measurements, and empirical evidence to justify particular theories within the constructed paradigm. Provisional Empiricism and Rationalism can work within the scientific community once the metaphysical principles of a mechanical, deterministic, and mathematical world are accepted as real. The Method creates Reality and then is capable of validating itself through its utilitarian application -- the split between the res cogitans and the res extensa are made real through acceptance and utility. This Method and its accompanying creation of the physical characteristics of the natural world forms a physical and astronomical universe in which Galileo, Copernicus, and Kepler operate, develop their ideas and theories, and confirm them against the constructed Cartesian paradigm. Descartes' Method constructs the Reality -- the three simple natures of figure, extension, and motion, the primary and secondary qualities (theory of wax), and Euclidean geometry -- science then operationalizes it with its measurements, experiments, and predictions. From this perspective, realism, objectivism and naturalism apply to the natural sciences but within the mathematization and metaphysics of nature created by the human mind of Descartes. That is, from Kuhn's neo-Kantian perspective we cannot get behind this modern universe or constructed mathematical reality (thing-in-itself), that is, the Method, to compare it to an autonomous, external, and objective reality; all we have is the Cartesian paradigm and its scientific reality. Positivism then is a philosophical construct useful to explain the operationalized Method and relativistic Science, but not the real world. For a critical summary of Descartes' method, see C. Merchant, The Death of Nature, 228-229 and 234).
|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
The Metaphysics and Politics of Natural Science: Ideological Foundations of Modern Science, Reason, and Technology: Throughout this semester we have examined perception in the following terms: direct perception (Bacon and Locke), imagination (Hume), consciousness and subjectivity (Kant), self-consciousness and the state (Hegel), utility and management (Quine), paradigms and scientific consensus (Kuhn), and the metaphysics of science and the domination of nature (Burtt). Now we have moved away from epistemology and the philosophy of science to a sociology of knowledge (Berger and Luckmann), social theory and the domination of man (Weber and Scheler), and social theory where perception is mediated by classical social theory and RRAANNDD (Berman) and the domination of man, the labor theory of value, and the mode of production (Braverman). Does science have an a priori metaphysical and political content -- the domination of nature and man -- that unconsciously shapes the nature of society in which it is applied irrespective of the values of its intended purpose and public policy? Discuss the meaning of the domination of nature and the metaphysics of science and their relation to the domination of man in a capitalist society (12, 18, 20, and 22-23).
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.
Science as Ideology, Domination, and the Exploitation of Labor Power: Braverman begins with an analysis of the distinctiveness of modern industrial society and its transformation of class, market economy, production, and the workplace with the creation of monopolies, mergers, welfare/warfare state, new working class, and a new type of mode of production, esp. the introduction of science, technology, and scientific management. He articulates Marx's theory of labor with its distinction between labor (surplus value) and labor power (commodity and exchange value) since this provides him with the basis for expressing issues of workplace alienation and exploitation. It is through the use of Taylorism and Human Relations Technology that the workplace is transformed in order to extract higher levels of surplus, profits, and managerial control. The metaphysical principles of the domination of nature (Kuhn, Burtt, and Berman) are extended into the domination of humanity through the division of labor, scientific management, restructuring the organization of production, rationalized bureaucracy, and the ideology of science (Marx and Braverman). Science is not neutral or objective since it reflects and imposes an a priori political and economic dimension which includes both elements of the capitalist mode of production -- the technical productive forces and the social mode of the organization of production. One aspect of the mode of production is intimately connected with and inseparable from the other; they both exist in a dialectical relationship with each other (21). To invite the productive forces into production is to also include the historically and socially corresponding social relations. And to export these technical innovations in production to foreign countries is to also export capitalism and neoliberalism.
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 political, economic, and metaphysical assumptions in the form of the social relations of production of modern industrial society. Lenin wanted to build an alternative social system to capitalism, especially an alternative organization of production, but didn't appreciate the dialectical relationship between the productive forces (metaphysics of science and the domination of nature) and the social relations of production (domination of man). By accepting and introducing the technical forces of production (Scientific Management and Taylorism) into the production process, Lenin had also inadvertently and unintentionally introduced the social relations of capital into the Soviet system. Science is not neutral and objective but is a cultural product of capitalist society and when imported into another country it introduces the values and social forms of capitalism. Science is a product and agent of capitalism with its a priori metaphysics of science (Burtt and Berman), the domination of nature (Bacon, Weber, and Scheler), and the domination of man (Berman and Braverman) -- that is, the productive forces necessarily include the social relations of production. To introduce the former into society is to introduce the latter. Science as an Ideology conceals its connection to the social relations of production -- conceals its connection to capitalism -- at the very moment it abets the implementation of capitalist production and culture.
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 workplace experiments at Midvale Steel Works (1878-1889) and later at Bethlehem Steel (1898-1901), 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). This is the managerial rationalization of centralized and hierarchical power in the workplace through the control over Knowledge (120), Labor (50, 82, 77, and 81), and Production (81-82, 116-117, and 117-118). See, David Jenkins, Job Power: Blue and White Collar Democracy, 26 and 33-35 and Paul Blumberg, Industrial Democracy, 14-46. 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.
Democracy, Labor, and Production: Finally, we will discuss alternative possibilities for the democratic reorganization of production found in Jenkins, Job Power, 73-133 and Labor Market Segmentation, ed. by R. Edwards, M. Reich, and D. Gordon, 27-84. Jenkins outlines the alternative forms of democratic production in Israel, Yugoslavia, France, and German, while Katherine Stone in the latter anthology outlines the democratic form of organization, contract system, sliding wage scale, unionization, and apprenticeship system in various steel companies throughout the United States between 1890 and 1920.
|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. The social relations of production and the social totality -- RRAANNDD -- created the Metaphysics of Nature (Cartesian worldview: Burtt and Berman), Epistemology (theory and critique of science: Popper, Kuhn, and Quine), and Methodology (scientific and mathematical method: Descartes, Galileo, and Newton) -- which, in turn, were used to ideologically justify and legitimate the Social Totality itself (Braverman).
Science as Apriori Politics and Technology: Science as the Logic of Capitalism This course began with a critique of positivism by representatives of the constitution theory of knowledge in skepticism and idealism with the ideas of Hume, Kant, and Hegel -- Subjectivity creates Objectivity -- Consciousness creates the Objects of Perception and Experience and developed into the theory that Society, as the Social Totality and System/Lifeworld, creates Objectivity in the form of Consciousness, History, Nature, and Science. Objectivity is a construct of subjectivity and intersubjectivity: This course represents a movement from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century epistemology and methodology -- theories of knowledge and science -- to nineteenth- and twentieth-century social theory of the Objective Spirit (Hegel) and System/Lifeworld (Parsons and Habermas).
History and Logic of Science: Science Represents the Historical Product and Logic of Capitalism: Finally, the course develops into an analysis of the apriori assumptions and values of modern science and the Western Enlightenment: Metaphysics (Cartesian dualism, ontology, and Existentialism), Methods> (geometry, naturalism, and positivism), and Politics (assumptions and values of Modernity, science as domination, formal rationality, and instrumental and technical reason). Thus, to apply science in non-Western developing countries or to apply science to the Environment and Ecology is to apply not only a particular form of technical and formal knowledge with its apriori and logical assumptions of the Domination of Nature -- PERSONNN as Herrschaftswissen -- but also a particular historical form of society and production with its Domination of Man -- RRAANNDD as Commercial and Industrial Capitalism. Both forms of domination are built into the apriori assumptions of modern science. To have the former is also to contain the latter. Science is a cultural form that historically evolves out of the structures and social relations of capitalist production, but at the same time continues to contain these alienating and exploitative social relations in its metaphysics, methods, concepts, logic, and politics. The big question remains: Is it necessary to change the environment of Science before we change our relationship to the environment of Nature? Do we change Science itself (Weber, Scheler, and Marcuse) or at least its underlying political and social assumptions (Habermas)? Finally, can Science be separated from its underlying assumptions of Metaphysics and Politics, that is, from PERSONNN, RRAANNDD, and the LOGIC OF PRODUCTION or must it be joined with an alternative set of assumptions about being, knowledge, production, and society? Science is the historical product and logical expression of the Logic of Capital:
RRAANNDD -- PERSONNN -- RRAANNDD
SOCIAL TOTALITY -- SCIENCE -- IDEOLOGY
Subjectivity creates Objectivity in Perception and Experience
Society creates Objectivity in Consciousness, History, Nature, and Science
Science and Structures of Political Economy
Productive Forces and Social Relations of Production
Science is not Neutral but Apriori Political and Production
Science is not the Mirror of Nature but the Mirror of Production
Science, as PERSONNN, is a culturally embedded form of RRAANNDD
Science reflects the values and institutions of modern Industrial Society
Science contains apriori Metaphysical and Political Assumptions
Science as the Domination of Nature also logically contains the
apriori values of the Domination of Man
To apply Science to the Environment is to apply the apriori values of
PERSONNN and RRAANNDD
SCIENCE, POSITIVISM and POLITICAL ECONOMY
|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 --
(1) Greek Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle
(2) Renaissance Art of Leonardo da Vinci
(3) Early Science of Galileo and Bacon and the
(4) Reformation Science and Religion of Jan Swammerdam
to the formal rationality (Zweckrationalität) and technical idols of the Nineteenth-Century Enlightenment:
Scientific Positivism (188-189)
Existentialism and Relativism of the Warring gods
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).
Rationalization and the Twilight of Western Reason
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). This transition to the higher form of Enlightenment reason and objective science cannot be scientifically justified or proven "to be worth knowing" (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. The last man is a product of Modernity who lives without suffering, struggle, individuality, or a will-to-power in constant fear of loneliness and insecurity; the last man lives for momentary pleasure and utility in a dreamless present; the last man is incapable of imagination and creativity; and the last man is unable to imagine a dancing star or contemplate the meaning of human existence. That is, the last man doesn't understand either a dancing star or substantive reason. On the other hand, the striving individual is a product of the recognition of the death of God and idols, nihilism, and existentialism. Life has absolutely no meaning, substance, or teleology except that which is created by the individual will-to-power. For Weber, the last man was without Spirit (Substantive Reason, Objective Reason, and Community) and Herz (Virtue, Practical Reason, Character, and Morality), without justice, reason, morals, and virtue, while for Nietzsche this was the very prerequisite of the Übermensch. What for Nietzsche were idols were, for Weber, the spirit and heart of humanity -- the ideals of Substantive Reason (Wertrationalität). Modern society and rationalization have produced a loss of substantive reason and an existential crisis. Humanity can manipulate and control nature but has no reason or purpose to enhance human life. Weber has appropriated Nietzsche's existentialism in order to reclaim and re-enchant the world with the spirit and heart of substantive reason. (Rationalization gave birth to Existentialism, but Weber does not seem to be able to find a way out of this labyrinth. Horkheimer will attempt to use Freud and Marx as possible solutions.) Nietzsche used the existential crisis in order to recognize the twilight of the substantive idols and the need for a new type of individual; he also used it to transcend the oppression of the history of Western reason. Weber used it to reclaim the Ancients and the search for meaning in philosophy, politics, ethics, art, religion, etc. Note: Weber, in typical European fashion, borrows the idea of the "iron cage" from John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress, Spirit and Heart from Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, and the "last man" from Nietzsche, Prologue to Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Rationalization of Science and Beyond: Science and Positivism do not reflect nature and the objective world, but the institutions and values of the society that produced them; they do not mirror reality, but rather, mirror production. Positivism reflects the end of substantive and objective reason, the decline of social theory, and the crisis of the Enlightenment and Environment. 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: Horkheimer integrates Hegel's phenomenology of Spirit with Weber's theory of Rationalization and Freud's theory of Repression in his study of the eclipse of reason and the rationalization of the social sciences and social theory. That is, Horkheimer begins with Freud's theory of the unconscious and repression as he replaces the latter's theory of sexuality with Weber's theory of substantive and formal rationality. What are repressed are not sexual desires, ideas, and the memories of deviant behavior but concepts and theories of ethics, politics, philosophy, religion, aesthetics, etc. which do not conform to the methods and procedures of the natural sciences and formal reason. That is, what is repressed is not human sexuality in the form of the Oedipus complex, childhood masturbation, illicit love, or lesbianism; rather, what are repressed are the various historical and social forms of substantive reason. What are lost are the ideals of substantive reason by which the empirical reality of social institutions and cultural values are critically explored. This work examines the values lost in the transition from Objective Reason to Subjective Reason. The latter is a product of the rise of capitalist production (21) and the spirit of positivism and its consequent contempt for social theory and praise for the reified immediacy of empirical facts (21, 30, 39, 40, 61, 73, 82, and 83). 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), the social sciences (Chapter 2), and the revolt of nature and repressed unconscious memories of the authoritarian personality (Chapter 3). 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. Theory disappears because there is no longer a sensitivity to ideas and concepts, no longer an interest in epistemology and methodology, no longer an awareness of the intellectual and philosophical traditions that inspired ideas and thought, and, finally, no longer an ability to think broadly and abstractly in terms of the social totality of history, political economy, and culture. The very passion for critical thought has been extinguished and replaced by a bland and unreflective history of ideas or crude summary of quantitative statistics without the spirit (Objective Spirit, ethics, and social justice), heart (Reason, morality, and virtue), and soul (history and empirical research) of THEORY. To rediscover theory is to rediscover the bond between the Ancients and Moderns, philosophy and sociology, ethics and social research. The bond has been severed by the rise of an inarticulate theory of science based on empiricism and positivism.
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 the evolution of 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.
Science, Positivism, and Fascism: Horkheimer's Analysis of the History of the Western Crisis and Death of Reason:
1. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (1807): Hegel outlines the movement of the mind or spirit in the writings of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Fichte to himself. The Phenomenology of Spirit examines the logic of phenomena of the Subjective (individual psychology, consciousness, experience, and reason), Objective (ethical life of the family, civil society, and the state), and Absolute Spirit (art, religion, and philosophy) -- the logical and historical development of constructed phenomena and cultural representations from immediate perception and experience of the world (Kant), social oppression of slavery and self-consciousness of others (Roman and medieval worldview), the rise of moral and political individualism (French and German Enlightenment), the extremes and violence of the French Revolution, and the alienation and distortion of modern reason, institutions, and social values away from the ancient Greek communal spirit with its focus on the community, state, and common good and general welfare of its citizens. The isolated monad of the Cogito to the state of nature arguments of the British and French Enlightenment set the stage for Hegel's dialectic and phenomenology of the Spirit: Consciousness (Sense Certainty, Perception, and Understanding), Self-Consciousness (Master-Slave, Stoicism, Skepticism, and Unhappy Consciousness of the "soul of despair"), and Modern Reason of Individualism and Liberalism (Chapter 5): (1) the pleasure and hedonism of Utilitarianism in Jeremy Bentham and James Mill, (2) the passions, sensibility, frenzy, heart, and search for inner goodness of Romanticism in Faust, Schiller, and Don Quixote, (3) the virtue and asceticism of Pietism, (4) the bourgeois zoo, social contract, natural rights, market exchange, and distorted individualism of Hobbes and Locke, and (5) reason as the moral lawgiver of Kantian philosophy (Moralität). The result of these developments, according to Hegel, is the Alienation of the Objective Spirit or the Alienation of Reason, the Enlightenment, Culture, Civil Society, and the ethical community (Sittlichkeit) (Chapter 6). The Enlightenment And Reason have produced a false morality and individuality (Moralität): It has produced the isolation and desolation of the modern individual by creating a world characterized by the following: a personal search for pleasure, inner goodness, retreat from the world by living a virtuous life, self-interest and market competition, personal rights and liberties in bourgeois civil society, and the solipsism of subjective moral law. The result is a loss of spirit, reason, and community. In the section on Alienation and the Objective Spirit, Hegel recognizes the loss of the spirit of the Ancients, Aristotelian ethics, and Rousseauean politics, community, and the General Will. He stresses (1) the transcendental emptiness, subjective abstractionism, and moral authoritarianism of Kant's practical reason, (2) the violence and destruction of the French Revolution, Robespierre, and the French Terror, and (3) the institutional, ethical, and political emptiness of the Absolute Spirit of religion, art, and philosophy. Society based on the ethical community (Sittlichkeit) and the common good of ancient Greece was replaced by the isolation and terror of liberal individualism (Locke and Kant) and the French Revolution. The Terror of modern society results from the physical violence of the French Revolution and from spiritual violence of the radicalization of utility, self-interest, private rights and market liberties, personal moral virtue and law, and the values of the Enlightenment -- from Robespierre and Kant. 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 in the Philosophy of Right (1821). By this means, Hegel attempts to integrate the individualism and natural rights of the Moderns with the communalism and natural law of the Ancients. Finally, to clarify the philosophical representatives and theories of Hegel's notions of Reason (Chapter 5) and Objective Spirit (Chapter 6) in the Phenomenology of Spirit connect them to their more detailed and in-depth analyses in the History of Philosophy.
2. Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols (1888): Nietzsche continues this tradition but in its inverted form of the distorted universalism, decadence, 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.
3. Weber's "Science as a Vocation" (1919): Weber traces the development of reason from the substantive reason of Ancient Greek Philosophy of the 5th century (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), Renaissance Art of the 15th century (Leonardo da Vinci), Early European Science of the 17th century(Bacon and Galileo), and the Protestant Reformation and Biology of the 17th century (Jan Swammerdam) to the formal or technical reason of modern natural science, utilitarianism, positivism, and institutional bureaucracy of the last man in the iron cage without Spirit or Heart. Weber is caught in the disenchanted bureaucracy of technical and formal rationality and moral relativism without an apparent way out of the twentieth-century dilemma. He can only say that we must choose among the warring gods of norms and values but offers no concrete solution to the problem posed by existentialism other than waiting for a charismatic savior and return to some form of substantive reason. For Weber, Existentialism is the twentieth-century iron cage and there is no conceptual or theoretical way out of the cage. And, finally,
4. Horkheimer's Eclipse of Reason (1947): 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 and dissolution of reason in the Protestant Reformation, empiricism, social science, moral relativity, pragmatism, and liberalism until it reaches a crescendo in the eclipse and liquidation of people, reason, and ideas itself in the Holocaust. The truth of traditional Objective Reason -- its spirit and heart -- lies in an objective and essential reality, in purposeful meaning as being (metaphysics), nature (physics), humanity (telos), and society (ethics and politics). Whereas Weber passively accepts the existential implications of modern society and science, Horkheimer searches for a "revolt of nature" in order to break the bonds of Positivism, Existentialism, and Subjective Reason. The eclipse and liquidation of reason cannot be the final answer to questions about the meaning of personal and social life. Existentialism is a form of the liquidation of the mind and reason. The Crisis of Reason in the Natural Sciences, for Weber (last man, iron cage, formal rationality, and the domination of nature), is caused by Liberalism and Utilitarianism (happiness and utility) along with Science (Herrschaftswissen) and Positivism, whereas, for Horkheimer, the dialectic of the Enlightenment and the eclipse and liquidation of Objective Reason in the Social Sciences is caused by Sociology and Positivism (empiricism, neutralism, nominalism, and relativism), as well as by Liberalism and Democracy (individualism and tolerance). Horkheimer's goal is not only to diagnose the Dialectic of the Enlightenment but to find a way back to a critical social theory of modern industrial society by integrating Hegel, Nietzsche, Weber, Marx, and Freud. Horkheimer synthesizes Hegel's critique of Reason in Chapter 5 of the Phenomenology of Spirit in the form of utilitarianism, natural rights theory, romanticism, and Kantian practical reason with Nietzsche's twilight of the Apollonian idols and false gods of Greek philosophy, medieval theology, scientific rationalism, political liberalism, and modern moral philosophy, Weber's theory of formal rationality of utilitarianism, liberalism, and positivism, and Freud's theory of the mind and unconscious repression. Weber sees the loss of Substantive Reason and the rise of liberalism, positivism, and existentialism as the shadows that cover and destroy the Enlightenment -- the bureaucratization of the mind (reason) and spirit (community). However, he is not specific as to what a return to Substantive Reason would entail other than the ability to ask questions about the meaning of life instead of the mastering of nature. But what direction society should take is a question about the different and competing warring gods within existentialism itself. Due to his residual existentialism and relativism, his ignoble resignation and overwhelming pessimism, Weber has nothing substantive to offer. According to him, the end of Enlightenment positivism and capitalist utilitarianism is the "last man; on the other hand, the end, according to Horkheimer, is the banality, passivity, and existential emptiness of the last man of the Holocaust. Horkheimer, unlike Weber, in not stunned by existentialism and nominalism, but actively calls for democratic socialism and a critical social theory as the answer to the loss of Objective Reason -- the need for an examination of History, Meaning, Critique, Political Economy, and Social Justice. All these ethical and political areas require the integration of Ethics and Science. With the success of positivistic sociology, one loses the ability to develop a critical theory of the deep structures and functions of American society. With PERSONNN, there is no critical theory of the pathologies of modernity -- RRAANNDD; with positivism, there is no critical analysis of the organizations and histories of political economy; and with PERSONNN, there can be no philosophical or theoretical resistance to fascism and Nazism. Scientific objectivity, neutrality, and nominalism displace and repress ethics and social critique. This results in the internment and "liquidation of reason." Positivism is incompatible with social theory because of the moral indifference and naturalism of reason in empiricism (30, 82, and 83) -- "It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger" (Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Of Morals); positivism "hands science over" to the immediacy of experience and the contingent conformity of history (73); positivism "hands over" humanity, theory, and reason to the Nazis for extermination just as Judas surrendered Jesus, as a revolutionary and traitor, to the Sadducees, the Temple guard, and the Roman officials; and, finally. positivism "hands over" RRAANNDD -- Classical and Contemporary Social Theory, Political Economy, and History -- to the officials of PERSONNN as the former becomes impossible under the imprint of the latter. [Note: Horkheimer views Weber and Durkheim as positivists and thus representatives of Subjective Reason. G. McCarthy in his work Classical Horizons places Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Freud in the tradition of classical antiquity and Objective Reason.] This work by Horkheimer is part of a broader positivism debate (Positivismusstreit) in the German academy among members of the Frankfurt School, especially between Popper and Habermas. Discuss the various historical and theoretical attempts at creating Objective Reason, including immanent critique, dialectic, structural contradictions in political economy, and social justice (Marx); Christianity and liberation theology (Segundo and Miranda); Christianity, natural law, and human rights (Maritain and Wallis); revolt of nature (Horkheimer); one-dimensional man and art (Marcuse); communicative action and social critique (Habermas), etc. How would you start thinking about this issue of grounding and validating the foundations of Objective Reason and social critique?
Dialectic of the Enlightenment and Genocide of Theory and Reason: Positivism and Social Theory as Incompatible and Contradictory Ideas and Traditions: In summary, they conclude that the Alienation of Reason is a result of the Enlightenment -- its Philosophy, Science, and Politics: (1) Kantian moral individualism, French Revolution, and the Terror with its corresponding loss of the Objective Spirit and Modern State integrating natural law and natural rights, individuality and community (Hegel); (2) the cultural decadence and universal idols of the last man in the iron cage with the loss of individual creativity, self-determination, and the will-to-power (Nietzsche); (3) formal reason, technical science, modern bureaucracy, utilitarianism, and positivism with the loss of substantive and reflective reason (Weber); and (4) science, empiricism (positivism), politics (liberalism and democracy), and existential relativism with the cultural genocide of objective reason and social theory (Horkheimer). These developments point to the decline of Western reason and culture -- the loss of Truth and the rise of Relativism resulting 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 an 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 and cultural 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. Alienation of Reason: Hegel saw that alienation meant the rise of Western liberalism, utilitarianism, romanticism, pietism, and individualism (Locke and Kant) and the loss of community and the Greek polity; Nietzsche saw it as the moral and intellectual decadence and idolatry of the last man in the twilight of Western reason unable to recapture Dionysian wisdom and self-determination; Weber viewed it as the bureaucratic and specialized individual using technical reason in the iron cage to produce "specialists without spirit" -- technicians without ethics and justice and "sensualists without heart" -- utilitarians without virtue and reason; and Horkheimer, synthesizing all these elements and traditions, theorized about the rise of fascism, the weakness of liberalism and Kantian morality, and the dangers of positivism, the social sciences, and the Western Enlightenment. Under the conditions of the Enlightenment, social critique became impossible and so, too, did resistance to European fascism. It was Western reason, liberalism, Kantian morality, and the Enlightenment which prepared and paved the philosophical path to German fascism by reducing Objective Reason of God, nature, and the ethical community, to the Subjective Reason of technical knowledge, tolerance, market self-interest, and moral and epistemological relativism.
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 (1) Greek philosophy of Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato; (2) Renaissance art of Leonardo da Vinci; (3) early science of Bacon and Descartes; and (4) 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.
(1) Ancient Greek philosophy of Socrates, Plato, and the Sophists (Protagoras)
(2) Medieval Scholasticism and Theology of Augustine and Aquinas
(3) 16th-Century French Philosophy of Montaigne, Bodin, and de l'Hôpital
(4) 17- and 18th-Century Enlightenment Rationalism of Hobbes, Locke, Spinoza, and Leibniz
(5) Natural Rights Theory of Locke and Rousseau and
(6) 18th- and 19th-Century German Idealism of Kant and Hegel.
Horkheimer constructs his own phenomenology of mind and Objective Reason from ancient to modern philosophy. The philosophers of the British, French, and German Enlightenment represent the last vestiges of the Ancients and the twilight of Objective Reason as reason evolves dialectically into its own opposition. The Dialectic of the Enlightenment begins to unravel the primacy of Objective Reason with the following historical developments of Subjective Reason in the Reformation, Enlightenment, and Liberalism, that is, in Calvinism, Empiricism, Nominalism, Relativism, and Democracy. Horkheimer's critique of modernity is encapsulated in two sentences at the beginning of his work: "Reason has liquidated itself as an agency of ethical, moral, and religious insight (Objective Reason). Bishop Berkeley, legitimate son of nominalism, Protestant zealot, and positivist enlightener all in one, directed an attack against such general concepts, including the concept of general concept, two hundred years ago" (18). The foundations of modern relativism and fascism lie in the history of the FORMS OF NOMINALISM:
(1) Protestantism: 16th- and 17-Century Protestant Reformation of Calvinism with its doctrines of
Deus absconditus, meaninglessness of the world, predestination, and the Protestant work ethic
(hidden or transcendent of God and rejection of universal and objective natural law and moral order)
(2) Empiricism: 18th-Century Enlightenment epistemology of George Berkeley and David Hume
(subjectivity, nominalism, skepticism, and positivism)
(3) Positivism: Enlightenment theory of science, neutrality, and objective truth
(4) Existentialism: Moral Subjectivity of Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Weber
(perspectivism, nihilism, and relativism)
(5) Pragmatism: American Pragmatism and Liberalism of Charles Peirce and John Dewey
(6) Liberalism: Democracy: tolerance, moderation, pluralism, and relativism
(7) Fascism: The rise of German Fascism and Nazism, totalitarianism, and political oppression
(8) Eclipse of Reason and the Genocide of Theory: New iron cage of Subjective Reason, liberalism,
and social science; liquidation of reason and sociology by the Enlightenment; and loss of
critical reason, community, and social ideals, justice, critique, and political economy.
Loss of Objective Spirit in Nominalism, Relativism, and Nihilism: Underlying Causes Lie in Protestantism, Empiricism, Positivism, Existentialism, and Liberalism: Horkheimer summarizes the loss of the Objective Spirit in neo-Calvinism, Humean empiricism, existentialism of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, the positivism and technical rationality of Enlightenment science, and democratic moderation and tolerance (17-31). 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. Implicit in Horkheimer's analysis of the genocide of reason and theory is the relationship between science and existentialism. 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 and ending with the Positivism of the natural and social sciences and the nihilism of existentialism. 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, neutralism, and empiricism), and Politics (liberalism, pragmatism, tolerance, and democracy). Calvinism (16th-17th century), Empiricism (17th-18th century), and Democracy (18th-19th century) are the beginnings of the movement toward an isolated religious and liberal individualism, as well as an epistemological, moral, and political relativism found in contemporary existentialism: Here Horkheimer is integrating Weber's theory of the Protestant Ethic with the theory of knowledge of Locke and Hume and the political thought of J. S. Mill. Borrowing from Weber's theory of the Reformation, Horkheimer briefly outlines a thesis of the Protestant ethic and the spirit of Nazism (16-18). With Calvinism and Enlightenment science, God and Meaning have absconded and left the world barren, desolate, and unliveable without ethical, religious, and political values and ideals; with the evolution of modern Western religion, science, and politics from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, there is a devolution of Objective Reason. Horkheimer is quite aware of the historical irony that religion and science are the cause of this intellectual and spiritual ecological crisis (17-18). Nietzsche (nihilism) is the logical conclusion of Berkeley (nominalism) and Hume (empiricism, 17, 30, and 82-83) 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 (50). Science is neutral with respect to the issues of objective reason (54-55, 73, 74, and 90)) and the calculation and prediction of events (40, 42-43, 44-45, 48,54, 59, and 86). Science deals with a certain type of subjective and technological knowledge whose goal is formalization, calculation, measurement, quantification, and prediction of experience (58-91).
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.
Birth of Nominalism in Medieval Theology, Protestant Reformation, British Empiricism, and German Existentialism: The eclipse of moral reason, critical social theory, and the Holocaust lies in the philosophical and theological disease of Western nominalism that runs from medieval theology to modern epistemology and science -- empiricism and positivism. The origins of Nominalism -- Moral Nothingness and Nihilism -- lie in the medieval writings of William of Oakham, Gabriel Biel, & the early Martin Luther, the theology of predestination and a transcendent God of John Calvin, the philosophy of knowledge and science of Bacon, Berkeley, & Hume, the existentialism of Schopenhauer & Nietzsche, and the social theory of Weber & Richard Rubenstein. Read the works of Heiko Oberman, Louis Bouye, Carl Olson, and Richard Weaver who argue that the theological positions of (1) the total depravity and nothingness of man, (2) Deus absconditus and the transcendence and hiddenness of God, (3) loss of free will, natural law, and moral action, and (4) the personal salvation by faith alone and not moral knowledge or action (sola fide) found in Luther and Calvin are a decadent product of the medieval nominalism of Oakham. Horkheimer stresses the nominalism found in the empiricism of Berkeley and Hume (18 and 78-80)), logical positivism of Sidney Hook, Ernst Nagel, and Rudolf Carnap (58-62), neo-Thomism scholasticism (62-70 and 88-91), American pragmatism of Charles Peirce, William James, and John Dewey (42-57, 74-78 and 87-88), and the classical social theory and positivism of Heinrich Rickert and Max Weber (81-86).
Metaphysics of Social Science and the Alienation of Reason: The Crisis of Contemporary Sociology: Discuss Horkheimer's critique of empiricism, nominalism, relativism, fact-value distinction, positivism, and scientific reductionism in the social sciences, that is, PERSONNN, and its implications for his thesis of subjective reason and the eclipse of reason -- Eclipse of Theory and Social Critique. Positivism and Theory are incompatible traditions, theories of knowledge, and philosophies of science; acceptance of one precludes the possibility of the other. Positivism quantifies, measures, and calculates what is (empiricism and nominalism), but is incapable of seeing what could be (human actuality and possibilities), what should be (ethics, politics, and social justice), and what is beneath the surface of the empirically given world of experience -- Culture (hermeneutics, depth hermeneutics, and ethnography), Consciousness & Constructivism (phenomenology and sociology of knowledge), Critique (immanent, dialectical, and substantive critique), History (neo-Kantianism and comparative historical analysis), and the Structures and Functions of political economy (historical materialism and critical theory). These approaches to the Lifeworld and System come with their own distinctive theories of knowledge, science, and methods. Heinrich Heine once wrote: "That was but a prelude; where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings" (tragic play Almansor, 1821). In that same vain, it can also be said: "Where they liquidate theory, they will eventually liquidate human beings." Discuss the issue of reintroducing into American sociology the methods of Geisteswissenschaften, Geschichtswissenschaften, Dialektische Kritik. and Soziale Gerechtigkeit. Also relevant in this discussion would be an analysis of the methods and methodologies used in (1) Existentialism of Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus; (2) Hermeneutics of Martin Heidegger, Wilhelm Dilthey, Hans Gadamer, and Paul Ricoeur; (3) Phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, Max Scheler, Georg Simmel, Alfred Schütz, and Eric Voegelin; (4) Neo-Kantian Social Theory of Friedrich Lange, Wilhelm Windelband, Heinrich Rickert, and Georg Simmel; and (5) Critical Theory of Theodor Adorno, Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, and Jürgen Habermas. 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 an oppressive political ideology (C. Wright Mill, The Sociological Imagination, Alvin Gouldner, The Coming Crisis of American Sociology, and Istvan Meszaros, The Power of Ideology). However, according to Horkheimer, when the same epistemological and methodological assumptions of the natural sciences are applied in the social sciences something even more shocking results -- the suppression of Objective Reason, the repression of justice and morality, the oppression and domination of humanity, and the mechanization of death of the mind and the body. Horkheimer's analysis of Subjective Reason places an emphasis on the importance of Enlightenment politics, religion, morality, and the metaphysics of the social sciences preparing the way for the rise of Nazism. As a work originally presented at Columbia University in the spring of 1944 and published in 1947 and written specifically for Americans, Horkheimer is suggesting that the citizens of the United States be aware of the dangers implicit in the Crisis and Dialectic of the Enlightenment within America. How prescient was Horkheimer and has American sociology reached this crisis today -- the eclipse of Objective Reason and Critical Theory.
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, political, and moral universals to resist evil, the only alternative to the loss of Substantive Reason was silence -- the eclipse of theory and reason. This is expressed as the inability to talk about Rationalization, Repression, Alienation, Anomie, Nothingness, Nihilism, Disenchantment, and Dehumanization. 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 Vernichtungs- und Konzentrationslager (with "Arbeit macht frei" prominently displayed on the ironwork front gates) 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.
Social Unconscious and Repression and the Revolt of Nature: Rethinking the Importance of Freud in Critical Social Theory: With the creation of a mass society under the facade of liberalism, democracy, and ideology but with the clear imprint of fascism, Horkheimer attempts to uncover a way out of this distinctive modern social pathology. With the dialectic of the Enlightenment, the domination of nature (93 and 176), and the repression of science, there is also a new form of the domination of man. Horkheimer introduces a neo-Freudian analysis to understand this new form of the social unconsciousness, repression, and the domination and liquidation of the subject (93). Freud's theory of the mind -- id, ego, and superego -- are now joined with Weber's theory of rationalization and Marx's theory of alienation. What are now repressed are not the Victorian sexual desires of the body but the social ideals of Objective Reason, Justice, and Democratic Socialism of the body politic (96). This involves the politicization of Freud. His theory of ego instincts, the reality principle, and self-adaptation are adjusted to fit the concrete political reality of narcissism, self-preservation, and fascism. The ideals of democracy, equality, freedom, and social justice are now repressed into the collective Unconscious and replaced by alternative social ideas of race, fatherland, leader, and traditions (113, 119, 120, 121, and 135-136). With the domination of nature and the domination of man by subjective and functional reason comes the "domination of the subject" who through his/her cynicism and skepticism develops a personality of submission, conformity, the suppression of nature and the drive to freedom and rebellion (94), and a tendency to identify with issues of race, fatherland, leader, tradition, etc. (113). All this occurs because of the loss of social ideals and objective reason. Freud's self-directed ego with its strong inner-core (Personlichkeit) resulting from sexual repression (Oedipus complex) by an overwhelming superego has been replaced by a weak superego (no objective reason or social ideals) and an authoritarian personality unable to resist the needs for the suppression of nature, social passivity, and political adaptation. Adapting Nietzsche idea that Christianity is a "metaphysics of the hangman," Horkheimer writes that "the superego becomes the hangman in society" (121). The superego of the father and family are replaced by the mimetic impulse of the surviving personality to adapt to the norms of the economy and state. Under these conditions of social repression of reason and society, Horkheimer believes that there will eventually be a "revolt of nature" that attempts to rediscover the lost ideals of Objective Reason (116). A new language of critical theory must be created which overcomes the "silence of tyranny" and incorporates the cry of the oppressed (161) into a new set of ideals for a new type of society (182). This is the beginning of the contemporary crisis of ecology characterized by a significant depletion of ideas well before the depletion of other natural resources and environmental stability.
|10.||Christopher Lasch||The Culture of Narcissism
Reformulation of Freud's Theory of the Mind, Unconscious, and Repression
From the Domination of Man and Nature to the Domination of Consciousness and Personality: Rationalization and Repression of Politics and the Objective Spirit: Lasch provides a neo-Freudian social psychology that helps us understand and expand Weber's theory of rationalization and Horkheimer's critique of subjective reason. This work represents a psychology of existentialism, nominalism, and consumerism; there are clear parallels between the Nothingness of the last man in the iron cage and meaninglessness and emptiness of the narcissistic personality. The loss of objective reason has specific effects on the relationship among the id, ego, and superego and produces a certain type of neurotic personality that has lost a deep personal identity or an inner core personality. What are repressed in contemporary society are not socially unacceptable sexual desires of the id, but unacceptable political, ethical, and social ideals of the superego -- objective reason -- thus resulting in an individual's loss of purpose, meaning, and goals in society -- a loss of the meaning of and desire for democracy, freedom, and social justice. Political repression has replaced sexual repression as the foundation of the modern personality. There is also a "cultural bankruptcy" and loss of a sense of past and future, private and public, along with a detachment from the community, common good, and social responsibility. In the analysis of repression, sex has been replaced by politics. This produces a homeless, fragmented, and alienated individual in a constant state of despair, anxiety, and insecurity. Psychology has been reconnected to Sociology, that is, to the social pathologies articulated by classical social theory of rationalization, alienation, anomie, and repression. Lasch examines the structural changes in liberalism in the 1970s and 1980s and their relationship to the changes in the American personality. With the decline in the traditional liberal institutions of the market economy and state, along with the political values of radical individualism, there is a corresponding change in the social psychology of American citizens (21-25, 29-30, 35, 37, 39-41, 42-43, 45, and 47). There is a decline in the role of the family and the traditional values of the superego (objective reason). These traditional values are now replaced in contemporary society by new Forms of Ideology and Domination: (1) the values of formal reason and positivism; (2) commodity production (69), advertisement, false needs, propaganda of commodities (73), materialism and utilitarian values, and individual consumption (72-74); (3) the socialization of re-production (154 and 179): scientific child-rearing experts, extensive childcare system, and the industrialization of the family (170); (4) the centrality and isolation of personal therapy over radical social change; (5) the repression and social amnesia of political economy and its replacement by mental health; (6) bureaucracy and the transformation of social pathologies into personal problems requiring therapeutic intervention (92); and (7) the transformation of politics into a circus, spectacle, and public form of personal therapy (81). The narcissistic individual attempts to find meaning and purpose in life through a retreat into individual consumption, personal therapy, science & experts, and prefabricated political spectacles and propaganda as personal emotions, private needs, and nostalgia have replaced social values, ethical ideals, and political dreams of the good life and happiness (eudaimonia). The illusion and appearance of meaning are maintained by the ideology of the economic and political institutions of liberalism. The guiding moral norms of the superego are now production, consumption, bureaucracy, and therapy, while the traditional values of Objective Reason are repressed into the contemporary social unconscious. This results in the rationalization, fragmentation, and homelessness of the personality; what began as a crisis of Objective Reason was displaced and manifested as a crisis of despair, anxiety, and meaninglessness of the self.
Neurotic, Authoritarian, and Narcissistic Personality: Theory of Critical Psychology in Freud, Horkheimer, and Lasch: Taking Freud's theory of the mind and unconscious repression -- id, ego, superego -- Lasch traces the transformation of the superego from the father and family (Oedipus complex) to the broader social institutions of the market, consumerism, and bureaucracy. The result is a fragmented and alienated narcissistic individual who has lost a sense of direction, purpose, ideals, and strong ego identity of the personality characterized by sexual repression in Freud's theory of psychoanalysis. 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 -- Substantive or Objective Reason); 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 a strong, liberal personality (Freud), an authoritarian personality (Horkheimer), and a 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.
Social Psychology of the Domination of Man: Restructuring the Ego, Id, Superego, and Creation of 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 (67-69, 132, 137-138, 151, and 302). 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: This social psychological work is a reflection of a world without Substantive and Objective Reason that produces a personality which has lost its direction and purpose. The narcissistic personality is a product of the Enlightenment and Existentialism and the culture of modern science. Both Horkheimer (Chapter 3) and Lasch deal with the social psychological effects of the extermination of substantive human reason. 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 and new forms of ideology 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. Trace the historical and theoretical transition from Freud's theory of ego, id, and superego to Horkheimer and Lasch, as well as the political implications of their transformation of Freud's theory of the mind, unconscious, and repression. Both Horkheimer and Lasch replace Freud's theory of sexuality, rationalization, and hysteria with classical social theory, that is, with a theory of mass society, bureaucracy, existentialism, and political repression in the mid- to late-twentieth century. 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). See also Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture, pp. 91-93 and 108-109 and R. Jacoby, Social Amnesia.
|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: This work explores the transfer of the scientific method and the corresponding Cartesian/Newtonian metaphysics of science to areas of medicine, psychology, economics, and Third World development with Capra and ecology with Merchant. Capra outlines the various meta-categories of science -- metaphysics of science (57),the analytic-deductive method (59 and 128), dualism of mind and body (59-60 and 126), individualism and egoism (134, 139, and 162-163), primary and secondary qualities of the body as a quantitative, deterministic, and mathematical machine (55 and 123-124), and the domination and control over nature (56 and 61) -- as they are applied to the body, society, and nature. Capra examines these areas from outside the Western perspective by turning to a Buddhist critique of the Enlightenment. In the process Capra expands the insights of Weber's theory of rationalization and disenchantment, Horkheimer's theory of the eclipse and extermination of theory and reason, and Lasch's theory of the distorted personality, social unconscious, and political repression. 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. Also examine the relationship between politics and ideology. Analyze the Cartesian metaphysics of science (Burtt) and the logic of capitalism (Berman) in relation to the rise of 19th-century medicine (55-56, 59-60, 123-124, 128, and 153). 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, medical specialization, and overuse of drugs. What is lost? -- broader sociological questions about the relationship between health care and culture, psychology, political economy, and the environment.
Liberalism, Capitalism, and the Enlightenment Inoculated from Critique by Science: 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 -- compare the Cartesian/Newtonian metaphysics of science (60) with the metaphysics of medicine (140); (2) the broader influence of macro-social institutions and cultural values -- Liberalism, Capitalism, and the Enlightenment -- on Western rationality and the formation of medical science as a political ideology (134, 137, 138-141, 150, 153, and 162-163); 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; the social problems of poverty, inequality, property, class, economic crises, welfare state, etc. that cause medical and economic crises are repressed into a social unconscious that are lost to reflective critique. When applying germ theory, microbiology, and medical science to the symptoms of disease issues such as food quality, lifestyles, work environment, pollution, class differences, etc. -- the social causes of disease -- are repressed (134). Furthermore, 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 (Weber and Horkheimer). Discuss the nature of social problems (162-163), the social causes of disease (150), the relationship between capitalism and medicine (153) [Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men (122 and 128) and Berliner and Salmon, "The Holistic Alternative to Scientific Medicine," (137)], and the depoliticization and ideology of medicine as a science (138 and 141). 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.
Metaphysics, Ideology, and Theology of Economics: Economics divides its science into issues of Production, Exchange, Distribution, and Consumption. Compare the metaphysics of science (60), medicine (140), and economics (191, 195-196, 198, and 200)-- quantification and mathematization of experience; utility replaces truth and happiness; technical reason replaces objective reason; consumption and property become the definition of happiness; centrality of prediction, production, efficiency, and corporate profits; control over work and the organization of production; and reason, happiness, market, production, and class/inequality defined in terms of economic rather than ethical/political categories (231-232). Examine the normative assumptions (190 and 200), metaphysical principles, and political values (193) buried within the economic view of human nature (191) and the technical rationality of economics (218-220 and 229), metaphysics of economics (190-191), technical reason and market efficiency (repression of objective reason, 218-219 and 229), undifferentiated growth (218-220), utilitarian view of happiness (191), failure to distinguish between needs and wants, acceptance of the social system and avoidance of critical analysis (191 and 224), analytic method and loss of social ecology and the social whole (225), the confusion between profits and total social costs (225), between the private and social costs of production (191), and the solution to all social problems by technological innovation, market rationality (218-219), and market growth (223-225, 227, and 229). There is a corresponding loss of analysis of history, structures, political economy, ethics, and social justice (192, 194, 224, 227, and 231), along with the repression of all values not embedded in its own metaphysics of market rationality (200), hard work, individual rights, private property, personal freedom, equality, self-interest, and utilitarian happiness. No real consideration of issues of externalities (225), inequality (191, 224, and 225), and ecological crises (225). It is these unarticulated and unconscious metaphysical (non-scientific) assumptions, principles, and values that define and delineate the natural sciences, medicine, and economics which ultimately call into question their claims for scientific validity and legitimation. What these sciences ultimately legitimate in the end are the crises and contradictions of the ecology, health care, and economy. These are just further articulations of the themes developed in Weber's theory of rationalization and disenchantment and Horkheimer's theory of the eclipse and liquidation of theory and reason. The last two weeks of this course will investigate how the crisis of the Enlightenment and technical Reason turns into a crisis of the natural Environment.
|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:
United Nations Reports:
(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:
(6) The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), "Status of the Global Climate Report" (2016) at:
NOAA, National Centers for Environmental Information, "Global Cimate Report," (June 2015), at:
(7) United Nations Environmental Program, home page, articles 2015-2016
(8) NOAA, Global Summary Information -- June 2016, "June 2016 Marks 14th Consecutive Months of Record Heat for the Globe" at:
United States Federal Government Reports:
(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:
Christopher 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.
Justin Gilles, "Seas are Rising at Fastest Rate in 28 Centuries," New York Times, February 22, 2016 at:
Tim, Hume, CNN Report, "Sea levels rose faster in 20th century than in previous 2,700 years, says study," February 23, 2016 at:
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:
See also the conservative movie "Climate Hustle," produced by Climate Depot's Marc Morano for CFACT on December 7, 2015.
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, truth, or nature, but a mirror of production; the Enlightenment reflects the underlying assumptions of history and capitalism. 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 position is taken by Isaac Balbus, Marxism and Domination, p. 144.) 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)
The Enlightenment can never fix The Environment: Audre Lorde once wrote that the master's tools can never dismantle the master's house." We can now say that the Enlightenment can never repair the Environment; Western science cannot fix the damage to nature created by the ecological crisis since science and positivism are part of this broader historical and social process -- this is the dialectic between the productive forces (science and technology) and the social relations and organization of production; they necessarily entail one another. To use the former implies the application of the latter. The former 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.
Compare Shallow Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Social Ecology: Environmentalism, Metaphysics, and Structures of Political Economy: Examine the principles, problems, and policy of the environmental movement as expressed in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. Gore examines the problems of global warming, loss of biological and species diversity, loss of agricultural land, depletion of natural resources, rise in carbon dioxide and methane gas concentrations in the atmosphere, melting of the ice caps and glaziers in Antarctica, the Artic, and Greenland, rising sea levels (20 feet), future flooding of coastlines, warming of the oceans, increase in storms, hurricanes, and tornados, rising average temperatures in the last 15 years, shift in seasonal appearances and species adaptability, increase in new diseases, and flooding of coastal areas around the world. Gore's solutions to the environmental crisis reinforce both Liberalism and Enlightenment Science: They require both scientific and technological adjustments, as well as appropriate adjustments in individual attitudes and behavior: use of electrically efficient products, cut down on coal production, apply alternative energies of air and wind, use renewable energy sources, apply carbon caps to the coal industry, use electric and gas automobiles and public transportation, get below the 1970 emissions, and sign the Kyoto Protocol. He contends that we already possess the technology, industry, and science to accomplish these goals without endangering economic development and industrial expansion: he does not call into questions the values or institutions of industrial or global capitalism. He does not call for a radical readjustment of our ideas in any of the following areas: changing our narcissistic and egoistic personality in a competitive market economy (Lasch), the metaphysics of science and existentialism of humanity (Burtt and Berman), the radical individualism, egoism, and materialism of capitalism (Berman), authoritarian structure of work and politics (Bookchin), the class structure and inequality of a non-democratic society (Marx and J. S. Mill), nor does he call for a reorganization of the workplace (Braverman). Gore does consider alternate technologies but not alternate social systems based on the principles of communalism, egalitarianism, decentralized economic and political democracy, and economic self-sufficiency (see also Capra, 213-233). For the Social Ecologists there is a fundamental need to restructure the economy and create a true democracy affecting production, exchange, distribution, and consumption. After discussing these problems and corresponding policy solutions, talk about the different approaches offered by Deep and Social Ecology -- critique of the underlying metaphysics of science of Deep Ecology and the need for a reflective and critical social theory for Social Ecology. The Green movement offers pollution controls, carbon capture sequestration, population limits, alternative technologies, adjustment of consumption, and resource conservation for the purpose of maintaining affluence and health. However, its policies are embedded in the traditional Cartesian framework of the dualism of mind/body and humanity/nature, materialism, utilitarianism, liberalism, production, and an anthropocentric ethics. Deep or Cultural Ecology develops an alternative Metaphysics: critique of Cartesian metaphysics, consciousness, spirituality, and new ontology, metaphysics (ontological holism), and epistemology of science. Finally, Social or Structural Ecology (Structuralism and Social Justice) presents a critique of the abstract moralizing of Environmentalism by turning to issues of political economy, economic democracy, and social structures. Shallow or Reform 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. In the critique of Deep Ecology, refer to Kuhn (37, 94, and 176-177) and Merchant (112 and 152), and Alan Carter (340 and 341-342) and Bookchin (158) in Environmental Ethics.
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 which articulates the Seven Principles of Deep Ecology (92-93): (1) Metaphysics: Ontological Holism, total-field integration, rejection of Man-in-the-Environment, and replacement of Cartesian metaphysics with alternative metaphysical principles of nature based on Existentialism (Heidegger) and/or Buddhism; (2) Psychology: biospherical and ecological egalitarianism, unity of life, and critique of mechanistic materialism;; (3) Anthropology: respect for nature, diversity, economic sustainability, symbiosis, and critique of one-dimensional economic progress; (4) Knowledge and Ethics: anti-class posture, critique of class, inequality, exploitation within an anthropocentric ethic, and the domination of nature; (5) Technology: alternative technology and rejection of pollution and resource depletion; (6) Domination of Nature: call for ecological complexity, not complication, respect for nature, and rejection of domination; and (7) Politics: local autonomy, self-sufficiency, democracy and political decentralization. Bill Devall will expand these principles to include biospheric diversity, organismic democracy, community, ecocentric ethics, and nature as household. Deep Ecology continues to evolve with the ideas of George Sessions, Michael Tobias, and Fritjof Capra. 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. Discuss the idea that the Cartesian worldview ultimately leads to the "death of nature" (Merchant) and also to the death of humanity (Horkheimer).
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: The course began with Kuhn's analysis of the Scientific Revolution and concluded with the idea that science did not reflect objective truth or empirical reality, but rather a social consensus within the scientific community. Kuhn began one path of the discovery of the relationship between Science and Society. However, he never asked two central questions: What is the substance or content of this revolution in consensus -- the Metaphysics of Science -- and why did this community consensus come about -- Herrschaftswissen? The goal of this course was to answer these two questions by inquiring into the metaphysics of science (Burtt and Berman), the domination of nature (Nietzsche, Scheler, Weber, Berman, and Capra), the domination of man (Marx, Braverman, Horkheimer, and Lasch), and the domination of both nature and man (debate among Shallow Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Social Ecology). 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. Critical theory has its origins in the analysis of nature -- human nature, political wisdom, natural law, rule of right reason, liberal democracy, phenomenology of reason and spirit, and the revolt of nature, that is, in the Western tradition of community, moral economy, democracy, and social justice. Now the basis for critique lies in Nature (ecological crisis) and democracy (socialism and justice) with possessive individualism and liberal democracy having reach the end of their social and historical relevancy. Shallow Ecology began to sensitize us to the dangers inherent in the environmental crisis, climate change, pollution, and resource depletion; Deep Ecology encouraged us to think critically about the negative intellectual and spiritual issues found in Cartesian science -- the metaphysics of dualisms of mind/body and individual/society, individualism or atomism, mechanistic materialism, human apartheid, domination of nature, Darwinian competition, and the ideology of industrial growth; and Social Ecology enlightened us to think about the structures of political economy, the domination of nature, class, race, and gender under capitalism, and the principles and institutions of social justice and participatory democracy.
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: 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 and deep structures of modern industrial society?
8. Dialectic Between Idealism and Materialism, Science and the Organization of Production: Does the solution also lie in the rejection of the Shallow Ecology's metaphysics of science (Bacon and Descartes), the Deep Ecology's spiritualizing of science (Heidegger and Buddhism), or the Marxian understanding of the dialectical relationship between science (productive forces) and society (social relations of production). The debate between Deep Ecology and Social Ecology appears to parallel the dialectic between the productive forces and the organization of production. That is, because Enlightenment science, with its mechanical determinism and crude materialism and its formal and technical rationality, is embedded in and a product of a capitalist industrial society, does this mean that to achieve a true social ecology there must also be a transformation of both the class political economy and the nature and metaphysics of science itself, that is, transformation of both industrial capitalism and Cartesian science (141 and 149)?
9. Alienation and Disenchantment of Nature: The Turn to 19th-Century Romantic Poetry and Romantische Naturphilosophie: Marx's theory of Nature is grounded in a number of different intellectual traditions, including German Idealism, 19th-Century Romantic Poetry, and the philosophy of nature of Naturphilosophie. Examine Marx's theory of the alienation of nature and Weber's theory of the rationalization and disenchantment of nature and their return to 19th-century Romantic poetry of Schiller, Heine, and Pater for inspiration. The early Marx used art and aesthetics to transcend the impact of the Enlightenment and the mechanical metaphysics of science and to re-enchant nature through a return to the ancient Greek view of the world. Marx, in particular, will utilize their worldview as the basis for an alternative theory of nature and ecology as he integrated aesthetics (Schiller) and praxis (Hegel) in social reconstruction, whereas Weber, on the other hand, integrated aesthetics (Schiller) and despair (Nietzsche) in his will to an existential vocation in science and politics. Trace the impact of the romantic theory of aesthetics and existentialism (art, beauty, play, and creativity) and the romantic philosophy of nature, which begins with Goethe, Herder, Spinoza, and Leibnitz, but flourishes under Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, on Marx's theory of the alienation of nature. In the tradition of Naturphilosophie, nature was viewed as a self-forming whole, organic, purposeful, and unified. Self-consciousness did not impose order and purpose from the outside upon an independent nature, as with Kant, but simply became aware of nature's own laws and possibilities. It was viewed as a critical reaction to the materialism, mechanism, and atomism of Naturwissenschaft. From German Idealism, Marx drew his insights on creativity, freedom, self-consciousness, human dignity, and the constitution theory of perception and experience in the transcendental subject (Kant) and history, ethics, and politics in the Objective Spirit (Hegel). And from the moral philosophy of practical reason, social ethics, and political theory, he developed a theory of social justice. From Romantic Poetry with its underlying existentialism and its alienation and despair of modernity, he developed a respect for aesthetic play, the laws of beauty, human creativity, and freedom. Finally, from Naturphilosophie and its return to Aristotle's natural philosophy he critique the ideals of Naturwissenschaft.
10. Towards a Theory of Critical Ecology and Social Justice: Nature and the Twilight of Reason: There must be a revolutionary transformation of our understanding of theory (idealism) and practice (materialism) regarding Metaphysics (organic, holistic, and integrated ontology), Physics (nature, ecological ethic, sustainability, and social ecology), Ethics (species-being, virtue, nobility, and self-determination & self-realization), and Politics (moral economy, community, discursive and deliberative rationality, and economic and political democracy). Political economy, history, and philosophy have been re-integrated back into a critical social theory and critical ecology. This involves the re-creation of a new natural science and productive forces with an alternative metaphysics and a new moral economy and democratic social organization of production, that is, it involves a broader, more comprehensive, and more inclusive theory of Social and Ecological Justice. For more on this issue of the critique of technological determinism and scientific neutrality and optimism, see K. Marx, G. Lukács, H. Marcuse, I. Balbus, H. Braverman, B. Ollman, S. Avineri, A Gorz, G. A. Cohen, R. Mishra, and S. Marglin, along with the historical writings of M. Weber, H. Pirenne, P. Mantoux, E. Hobsbawm, K. Polanyi, G. Arrighi, and J. Abu-Lughod. Scholars like J. Habermas and A. Schmidt see science and the productive forces as non-dialectical, instrumental (techne), optimistic, and historically autonomous reflecting the inner laws of nature (thing in itself). According to the former group, science is a set of categories, theories, and methods that arise historically out of a specific social system that has commodified, reified, and alienated social relations resulting in the quantification of human experience and nature. Science is a construct of the social relations of production; the Enlightenment, science, and the productive forces that mediate and transform our relationship to nature are products of the rise of Western capitalism. For socialism and a balanced ecology to come about, the totality of society must be transformed, including the capitalist organization of production, class structure, instrumentalist state, and the oppressive and dominating nature of science and technology. That is, the underlying Western metaphysics and teleology of nature within modern science must be abandoned. This perspective represents a blending of the Kantian view of subjectivity and objectivity and the Marxian theory of the historical primacy and dialectic of the social relations of production.) It should be noted that this argument of the relationship between the productive forces (Enlightenment science) and the social relations of production (capitalism) is similar to the discussion of the relationship between religion and the Protestant ethic (early Weber) and capitalism (Tawney).
10. Critique of the Domination of Man and Nature: There has been an extensive debate among Marxist scholars over the Nature of Science itself: In order to transform society to a democratic and free moral economy does science transcend the historical context of the social relations of production -- can science and technology be used as the basis of this revolutionary transformation (Instrumental Marxism or dialectical materialism of Marx, Alfred Schmidt, Jürgen Habermas, William Leiss, Charles Taylor, Jeremy Shapiro, Anthony Wilden, and Isaac Balbus). Is science independent of society and thus applicable under capitalism or socialism, or is it, as a Herrschaftswissen, a product of the class system, alienated labor, and the social organization of production of capitalist society (Structural Marxism or historical materialism of Marx, André Gorz, Herbert Marcuse, Ernst Bloch, Ben Agger, and William Ophuls-- see also Jacques Ellul, Max Weber, and Max Scheler)? This latter group argues that Enlightenment science and technology are products of capitalism and cannot be used to create an alternative relationship with nature and the environment. Another way of putting these questions is to ask if science can be viewed as an emancipatory factor as we move toward an ecologically friendly and critical ecology or does science itself have to change? Must there be an alternative science and technology in a society that is free from the Cartesian metaphysics of science and the oppression of alienated labor? The Instrumentalists view of Marx's theory of science and nature places the historical primacy on increased technology and the domination of nature as the key to understanding social change, whereas the Structuralist view of Marx emphasizes the transformation of production, class, and the domination of man and work. Capitalism, Science, and Nature have evolved together since the sixteenth century. In order to produce a healthy environment in the future, the economy and science will have to be radically transformed. For more on these issues, see Balbus, Marxism and Domination, pp. 126-166 and 234-302 and Alvin Gouldner, The Two Marxisms.