New Ways of Knowing: The Sciences, Society, and Reconstructive Knowledge

Raskin, Marcus G.
ISBN:
9780847674633

Examines the social and ethical aspects of science and argues that research should incorporate social responsibility, democratic principles, and ethical standards. Although the need to limit and control our runaway technologies is widely recognized, the editors contend, the current debate on this subject is primarily concerned with technical questions that largely overlook the social and ethical issues at the heart of the knowledge process. Noted physicists and social scientists challenge the paradigm of scientific thinking whose applications can prove destructive to existing social systems. They shift the debate to the need for a radical change of direction that would replace traditional "value-free" inquiry and research with a knowledge model that incorporates social responsibility, democratic principles, and comprehensive ethical standards. Herbert J. Bernstein explores the forces that have shaped the direction of modern physics and molecular biology; Marcus Raskin proposes a reconstructionist model that is a radical reworking of Bacon's classic principles of scientific inquiry. Other essays investigate the scientist's power to name and categorize; discuss the effect of information technologies on social relations; and explore the market forces that have exploited the discipline of economics. A lively exchange between Noam Chomsky and Marcus Raskin illuminates the controversy in a more humanistic way. Of special interest to concerned professionals in science, philosophy, and technology, New Ways of Knowing is an important contribution to our understanding of the critical issues that bear directly on human prospects for survival in the years ahead.

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