Vol. 45 No. 3 1978 - page 340

very fact of alienation. These structures have been deprived of their
plausibility by the scientific spirit.
is in particular the idea of
scientific progress which in modern times has at best given assurance
and at least held out the hope that the schism in man's soul can or will
be overcome by man's own unaided efforts. Hegel, Marx, and Freud
represent in different ways the belief in the value of emancipation of
the individual from the shackles of "superstition" as manifested in the
dogmas of religion and metaphysics. For Hegel and Marx the emanci–
pation of the individual was embodied in, and therefore qualified by,
the progress of objective reason, which would issue either in the
identity of the real with the rational or the substitution of the adminis–
tration of things for the domination of man by man. The Hegelian and
Marxist systems still presuppose an objective rational order. It is by
virtue of this order that the individual's emancipation is postulated. In
other words, individualism is a function of the objective rational order
of the universe. Both these systems are fundamentally optimistic
insofar as they postulate progress through the dialectic of history. In
contrast, John Stuart Mill presumed as an alternative for the imposed
order an inherent order in which unbridled individualism leads to a
harmony of interests. Unhappily, history has belied the promise for
progress implicit in all these systems.
Science, which was once thought to provide the answer to the
human quandary has proved its inner contradiction, for science bears a
Janus head. On the one hand, it has enormously broadened and
disseminated man's understanding of himself and of his environment,
while on the other it has unleashed destructive forces which man has
thus far proven unable
harness for human needs. The prime
example is of course nuclear power. This ambivalence of science has
destroyed the plausibility of the belief that science is essentially good in
human terms and that the more science there is the better it is for man.
Our age has reacted
this disillusionment in two different ways.
One group has sought refuge in different pseudosciences, such as
astrology, futurology, some types of behaviorist and quantitative social
sciences. They have sought the gratification of science in intellectual
constructs that convey the illusion of precision, predictability, and
human control, while in truth they have more in common with the
alchemists of bygone times than with the empirical scientists whose
objectivity they claim. Others have come to realize that science does not
carry within itself the moral standards necessary for its evaluation in
human terms. We have also come
realize that there are no longer any
extraneous objective values by which the human dimension of science
can be judged.
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