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What implications do artificial separation between science and society suggest for the future of scientific and engineering practice - Essay Example

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Modernity, among many things, is also characterised by the conception of science as completely detached from the society. The existing dualism between science and technology presupposes that science is objective while society is merely subjective…
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What implications do artificial separation between science and society suggest for the future of scientific and engineering practice
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Download file to see previous pages Modernity, among many things, is also characterised by the conception of science as completely detached from the society. The existing dualism between science and technology presupposes that science is absolutely objective while society is merely subjective. The paradigm of modern science involves the values that advocate and practice the artificial separation of knowledge production from ordinary people, society, nature and other beings. The modern scientific practice, which is a product of mechanical reproduction in the age of Enlightenment, is based on the ideas of technological reproduction, patriarchy, white supremacy, colonialism, Eurocentricism and anthropocentricism. The purpose of the paper is to examine the ways through which the artificial separation between science and society fetters the future and the free development of scientific and engineering practice. The paper would look at the epistemological closedness of the dominant ‘scientific’ practices with relations to gendered, racial, technological deterministic and other hegemonic aspects. The Hidden Unscientific Behind the Scientific Thomas Kuhn (1996) in his magnum opus “The structure of Scientific Revolutions” has argued that every science produces and is a product of a paradigm that corresponds to the norms, values and culture of the society within which it functions. Science changes only when there are paradigm shifts with relations to the general intellect of the society. Such a view offers an historical understanding of science and its complex interrelations with the society. Berger and Luckmann contemplate on the differences between different fields of education and assert that “engineering education can take place effectively through formal, highly rational, emotionally neutral processes while musical education necessitates multiple emotional identifications” (1966, p.133). The supposed neutral space of scientific production can be unscientific in multiple ways as the so-called scientific space is actively related to the social space and the multiple constraining factors active therein. It is true that the spaces of scientific production in modernity are systematically isolated from the existing social spaces. However, it does not mean scientific spaces are completely detached from the social spaces for the simple reason that nothing that engages real human beings can remain out of the reach of the society. The dominant values of the contemporary society such as patriarchy, class exploitation and domination, racial prejudices and discrimination and colonialism are actively reproduced by and through supposedly neutral scientific praxis. Many feminists have raised substantial criticisms pointing out the gendered nature of the scientific and engineering practices. The scientist man not only alters the nature but also women as they are considered as raw material for progress and development and an object for ‘scientific’ experimentation. According to Sismondo, “feminist scholars have argued that because scientific communities have lacked diversity, they have typically lacked some of the resources to better enable them to see aspects of sexism in scientific work. Therefore, standpoint theory, together with the recognition of the social character of knowledge, shows that to increase objectivity, communities of research and inquiry should be diverse, representative, and democratic” (Sismondo, 2010, p. 77). The existing scientific field is not inclusive of subaltern groups such as women, blacks and minorities and it is resistant towards diversity and multiculturalism. The ideal scientist is an American/European White male who has the role of god on the earth. Sismondo is categorical in saying that “the ideology of engineering emphasizes concrete hands-on abilities and those concrete abilities can be valued as masculine. Men can be “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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