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Lecture 20

Lecture 20 - The Double Foundations of Contemporary Life on Science and Liberty

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Political Science
POLS 1000
Martin Breaugh

The double foundation of contemporary life on science and libertyTwo main authorities in contemporary society are science and libertyAugere increase or augment and auctor authorfounderAuthority foundational but also need to be increased or augmentedScience holds authority in the theoretical domain and liberty in the practical onePierre Manent calls the active principle principle that governs the work of the type of authority Active principle that governs science is the need to understand the world as it is and not the world as it should be or ought to beActive principle contained in liberty is that humans are the sovereign authors of the world o We dont let the gods or ancestors decideScience and liberty enters into conflict when they appear in the social worldSometimes science is stronger than liberty other times liberty is strongerIn the instances when liberty is stronger than science science cannot determine for us the content of the good there is no science of the good there is only debate discussionThere is no science of the good to rationally determine what is good for us in societyThe authority of liberty triumphs the authority of scienceProblem science and liberty in conflict o As citizens of western democracy we cherish both science and libertyHow can we deal with this conflictIn order to deal with this conflict Weber develop the doctrine of the fact value distinctionWeber will compel us to rigorously distinguish between scientific facts using scientific method and values objects of personal choiceThis distinction will have important practical consequences in our worldSeparation between the social world science will dominate and private realm within which individuals will choose their values and beliefs which will enter into conflict between values and beliefs chosen by one and anotherSeparation between the social world and the private world means that values and beliefs must be evacuated from the social realmValues and beliefs must exist the world we hold in common because they are private matters not public mattersWeber will equate value pluralism to a world of gods o Each value that we choose commands belief and states a belief dictates behaviouro Must like belief in a particular god would doIn this context science and reason are understood as being value neutralScience and reason are value neutral because they are ways and methods that allow us to understand things but they do not indicate to us how we should liveThis implies that science and reason should govern the social worldWhen science and reason actually do govern the social world Weber calls this process rationalization
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