HIS109Y1 Lecture Notes - Social Darwinism, Question Quest, Social Policy

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February 7, 2011
Scientism and Progress
- still part of w. Civ
- World ould be better not b/c of moral improvement but b/c of science adn technology - happier,
richer, more democratic (necessary for improvement of human condition)
- We control destiny - and that will impove by applying program (technology)
- The future will be brighter, richer, etc.
- Enlightenment introduces this idea (progress -- becomes part of vision, we define ourselves
with it)
- Before newton + galileo - improvement was for the next world
- This world is the testing ground - live up to divine revelation --> only God can improve things
- Actually - we are in control of our own destinies, our own lives
- The universe is ours to improve
- Rebellions in Midlle ages - “restorative” --> get back to divine plans, true message of jesus,
new testament
- Change in this world = seen as evil & wrong --> if you aren’t following bible, god will punish
you b/c you’re moving away form what’s true and just
- Any deviation from God = heresy, going against God
- Renaissance = subscribed to this idea, but rather than revealed reliious truth, they looked back
to classical values
- Saw restorative world as essence of energy we should expend to improve life on earth
- Looked to past for inspiration; wondered about future
- Englishtment changed this
- Inspired by scinficit desocveres
- Forces of nature = comprehensible and subject to control (newtonian laws of universe)
- Relegating superstitious, divinely-revealed - unqunatifialbe forces of god and the devil --> be-
lief in human destiny
- Get away from things we used to think made the universe run --> e.g. Saying prayers to make
something happen
- Evidence doesn’t support superstition
- Studies in physics etc. -- made men and women believe they could make the world and their
own lives rationable- based on thruth
- Confidence to challenge laws based on superstition, irrational (no rationality and reason)
- Revolutions = human agency to operate, enable rationality to be applied
- Character of gov’ts/economy - subject to human control
- Humans have measures of influence b/c they have tools to drive them
- Faith in reason: reason will rule the world
- Human law + natural (benign) law => rationality will result
- application of rason in 19th c: science
- Use science to discover what is true and good
- Scientism = makes us work to reason
- Growing blief in science --> better world
- Thinkers, statesmen, scientists -- ensure progress is directed to that which is good
- Change = reflection of real progress made in eirope as a result of industrial rev.
- Everyone even poor could benefit - more wealth for more people
- There was districution of wealth
- Better diets - healthier, more chidren who lived
- Better communication, farther transport
- How progress is best to be institutionalized - establish gv’t, economic dist. Of goods, trade
- Euro society had problems: conditions were too obvious - conditions of very poor, industrial
working class (who lived before support given)
- You can address the problem by human will
- Estalibsh what you wanted to do, how you’d do it, the extents you’d balance out the classes --
big questions re: nature of society
- Karl marx: progress can be achieved by activating newtonian laws => communism
- Darwin: scientific progress -speicies changes and become better by adapting
- So many social, political, economic things -- change will happen and it’s our responsibility to
make it good
- Aftermath of WWI: belief of progress, commitment to reason and science to solve problemns
was questioned
- Progress can’t go on indefinitely -- there are limits to the earth
- 19th c. - hard to see progress isn’t there - faith: sicenve and progress will save us
- Mechanized industry = most powerful force to shape society
- 1815-1914: 200 mil-460 mil population due to health
- Explosion in demand for goods and demand to produce more goods
- Prices fell - work is cheap
- Continent was insufficient = needed to search for more raw materials and market
- No longer closed economic society
- By mid 19th c - steam engine = moving things was cheap, fast, secure
- Euriope by 1870: entered worled of int’l trade - possiblily of loss was gone; profit gained
- imperialism: Extension of european continent
- Eveyrhitng industrialized - wealth and power driven by it
- Everything mechanized - warfare was dependent on industry
- Counties that lost out in mechanized/industrial things -- lost out
- Part of 19th c. And what makes a country powerful -- all depends on industry
- Way we define others -- see people inferorior/underdeveloped because it doesn’t have industry
- Imperialism - inescapable result of capitalism
- Last 1/4 of 19th c - european politics complicated b/c of competition
- 1880 - G.B produced more industrial things than Germany
- Later Germany steamrolled ahead, while britain lost out
- Competition at sea complicated things
- G.B. Saw itself as maritime nation - mercantile, navy fleets
- Danger seen as greatest at sea (vs. gEMRANY) -- could it sustain itself, its mercantile econo-
my, etc?
- Germany’s mercantile empire grew exponentialy
- Cometition at sea made brits paranoid; germans overconfident
- Reality: GB shouldn’t have worried --- look at numbers and you’d see in 1900 G.B. Controlled
20% of ALL trade on Earth; Germany was second at 12%
- Wealth of world - all in British pounds -- could skim some off from every business transaction
(think of U of T taking more money from tution; you get a tiny bit left)
- Profits and advantages put them WAY ahead of everyone else
- Vast profits made from multi-national comps - invested in britaiin overseas (empire)
- British fleet protected the entire globe; money flowing from mercantile fleets
- Britain shouldn’t be worried - but they didnt like to be challenged in “rightful” power they
achieved in history
- 1st time in human history: world economy
- Boards of directors affected lives of hundreds of people (power that used to be in the hands of
kings/popes, etc. Now in the hands of capitalists)
- End of 19th c. - europe not confined by oncintent but possessed entire world
- Stimulus to make lives of those who provided labour, better -- trade unions, political parties w.
Single purpose to improve the poor
- If the state of the mass of the poor (esp industrial workers) could be shown to liberal politicians
and leaders of society, conflict could be avoided