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HIS109Y lecture on science and progress

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Kenneth Bartlett

th Alexandra Zylka February 7 , 2011 HIS109Y – Science and Progress The idea of scientism and progress - The idea that tomorrow will be better than today - The idea of being part of western civilization - Science and technology will ensure that we will be happier, wealthier… - The idea of progress enters along with the enlightenment that the idea of progress becomes a part of our vision - Any improvement to the human condition was left to the next world. - The only way for the world to get better – in the view of divine revelation – if God made it better. - The idea that we are in control of our own destinies. - The eternal absolutes must always be obeyed – any deviance, must be punished. - The Enlightenment changed the traditions and the patterns of western thought. o Galileo, Newton - Superstitious, the divine = the unanswerable, unknown forces. - If we understand the universe, we will get away from the things we thought ran the universe. - Complete faith in reason o Changed our world - Reason set of the idea of progress th o Application of reason in the 19 century was scientific o In order to discover what is true and good - “Scientism” – forces us to be rational and reasonable. o Responsibility of scientists, thinkers, to guide progress to be good. - Facilitate this production of a better world - European society had problems o Conditions that were too obvious – the poor - Progress allowed for you to change the situation; human needs. - Establish what you want to do – political power to those with no property, power to those that do. - Karl Marx – identified progress, believed that progress can be achieved through Utonian laws. - Aftermath of WW1 – the belief in progress – became seriously questioned. o Human reason o 1960s – Western societies questioned progress as a goal itself. th - 19 century o Any nation in western, it was hard to believe that progress wasn’t there. o Catalogue, observe the obvious clear benefits. o Scie
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