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A Study on the Alienation of Science and Technology

Author: ChenCuiFang
Tutor: TaoDeZuo
School: Wuhan University
Course: The philosophy of Marxism
Keywords: alienation of science and technology capitalist social system modernity conflict of interests the outlook on scientific development
CLC: G301
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 1884
Quote: 11
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Abstract


Science and technology, as the production and weapon of human understanding and remolding nature, shows human’s essential strength. Depending on Science and technology, human has created many miracles. In the modern society, the development of science and technology is so rapid, its power is growing stronger and its impact is extending to an unprecedented depth and breadth. As a result, human beings have become accustomed to living in and relying in the environment that created by the technology and science. However, the alienation of science and technology is becoming increasingly serious even threaten the human’s survival and development. So it has great significance to approach the alienation of science and technology. The whole text includes nine chapters, and the thought and the study about this issue contains several aspects, such as the basic meaning and history of the evolution and the roots of scientific and technological alienation, and the ways and measures to overcome alienation, and the last part analyzes the alienation of science and technology in china, and the basic ideas and important means to overcome and prevent the alienation of science and technology.Be going to analyze thoroughly the alienation of science and technology, we must know starting point, point of penetration and significance of studying. The first chapter sorts out the research situation at home and abroad, and analyzes the existing research results and the problems which need further study to establish this paper’s point of penetration, explains the theory significance and practical significance of the research on scientific and technological alienation. This part also explains the fundamental train of thought and research method. On this basis, the second chapter shows that the alienation of science and technology is a special form of alienation in modern times, and its basic connotation is a kind of phenomenon that human’s activities and achievements of science and technology deviate human’s needs and objectives in certain social conditions, which become an uncontrollable force, even it conversely control, dominate and endanger human; Based on the comparison between the alienation of science and technology and the labor alienation that Marx explained, this paper further clarifies the meaning of scientific and technological alienation, and its complexity and wide-ranging impacts.Analyzing from history field the alienation of science and technology is helpful to know the origin and future of alienation of science and technology. The third Chapter traces back to the historical evolution of scientific and technological alienation and makes a concrete analysis of the status of science and technology in the 18th century: the combination of science and technology, the combination of science and manufacture, the spirit of scientific rationality respected by the whole community and so on. This chapter notes the scientific and technological alienation’s germination and its performance during this period. The 19th century was“the century of science”, when there is tremendous progress in scientific theory, science’s technicalization and socialization became an important characteristics of science in this century, so the relationship between science and technology and industrial production is increasingly close, and what’s more important, the science and technology gradually guide the production; along with the development and standardization of scientific institutions and organizations, science has increasingly become a social construction and the extent of its socialization and popularization has been greatly heightened. At this time, science and technology permeated in industrial production directly and extensively, and it led to an antithesis between the workers and technologic fruit---machines. Poor soil and destruction of the environment caused by agricultural mechanization also emerged. The application of science and technology on industry particularly chemical industry means that the concealed damages resulted from the scientific and technological militarization already existed. Revolution of the 20th century ushered in the era of science and technology, the degree of scientific and technological socialization was higher than ever before, the social functions of science and technology was unprecedented formidable and the alienation of science and technology became increasingly conspicuous. On one hand, the alienation of science and technology became very widespread, spreading to the production of material, environment, war, networks and in people’s mental world and many other fields, On the other hand, the degree of scientific and technological alienation continuously enhanced and became a direct threat to human’s survival.Science and technology is a key factor of social system, and becomes social construction in modern society, so the alienation of science and technology originates from the social environment and all kinds of collective and individual who life in real society. The fourth chapter explains the fundamental causes of scientific and technological alienation from the analysis of the capitalist system, and emphasizes that capitalistic private ownership and its basic contradiction provide the most suitable environment for the alienation of science and technology. This chapter also reveals that in the free capitalist period, the utilization of machinery caused and deepened various contradictions. Machinery, as the scientific and technological fruit, became a powerful means of controlling, exploiting and enslaving workers. The article further discusses the new performances and features of scientific and technological alienation in contemporary capitalist society. Firstly, with deepening of globalization, the alienation of science and technology has crossed national boundaries as well as social barriers and became a difficult problem faced by all nations in the world. Secondly, the field of scientific and technological alienation expands from production areas to the consumption areas, from the economic fields to the cultural fields. With the help of enticing advertisements, convenient credit cards and other means, people became the slaves of consumer goods, who are lost the freedom, independence and value in various consumer goods which siege them; Under the favorable conditions created by science and technology, culture became an industry, art works are devalued to cultural goods, culture is materialized and commercialized and culture’s creativity has fell into the pursuit of mass production, snack consumption and sensual stimulation. Thirdly, the degree of scientific and technological alienation is greatly enhanced. Politicization and ideologies of science and technology became quite common phenomenon, which is also the highest form of scientific and technological alienation and reflects the extent of alienation. Nowadays, the alienation of science and technology is not only limited in capitalist countries and developed countries with advanced technology, it also exists in socialist countries and the developing countries. Then, there are more complicated origins causing the alienation of science and technology except capitalism social system. Throughout the past records and overall situation, the alienation of science and technology has close relationship with each countries’pursuit the goal of modernization. The fifth chapter explores that modernity is one of the important reasons of scientific and technological alienation. In the process of realizing the target of modernity, intellect became instrumental intellect, people pursuit in one-sided computability, predictability and the actual effects. This way of thinking led to the development of science and technology fall into an one-sided, narrow and limited and rootless state, losing its fundamental purpose and significance; Instrumental intellect enhances science and technology to the supremacy of the authority, and to become the absolute standard of controlling nature, managing society and normalizing human beings. The subjective principle is a basic characteristic of modernity, it highlights the person’s central status and dominator image in nature and breeds a self-centered individualism, so when human beings are recognizing and remaking nature with the help of science and technology, a lot of natural disasters are brought out, meanwhile, adding to the self-interest inflation, the alienation of science and technology also deepened. However, globalization and the pursuit of modernity have promoted alienation of science and technology to become a more serious and common problem.Benefit is the driving force and purpose for individual and organization developing and applying science and technology in actual life. The alienation of science and technology goes hand in hand with people’s benefit and benefit contradicts. The sixth chapter analyzes the conflicts of interest, which is the most realistic and direct cause of scientific and technological alienation. The alienation of science and technology is the product of the conflicts of interest, as well as an important expression and extension of conflicts of interest. The conflicts of interest between different countries induced science and technology hegemony. The supreme countries make use of their scientific and technological advantages and their dominant position to control and exploit other countries, in addition, digital gap that is resulted from scientific and technological competition have further widened the chasm between the rich and the poor; High-tech war is a product of intensification of the conflicts of interest, so science and technology has become the weapon that destructing the human’s accomplishment, destroying people’s homeland, massacring creatures, polluting the environment and distorting human nature in modern war. The conflict between individual interests and the common interests drives people to utilize science and technology based on selfishness such as the interests of individual, some enterprises, certain departments, a particular area, native country and so on. The selfishness damages often the group interest and common interest, and ultimately harms the individual’s own interests. In the face of the contradictions between short-term interests and long-term interests, the values of being eager for instant success and quick profits resulted in people’s short-sighted attitude towards to science and technology, and the lagging impact of science and technology also foster the values of being eager for instant success and quick profits. As a result, science and technology has become a beneficial tool to meet the immediate interests, but it will damage long-term interests and the interests of future generations.The ultimate purpose of studying the alienation of science and technology is to precaution and overcome the alienation of science and technology. The seventh chapter explains the important significance of scientific and technologic humanization to overcome the alienation of science and technology. Humanization of science and technology is a method of human approach to science and technology and its development and application. Firstly, this requires us to make clear the objective of science and technology, and the scope and limitation of its criterion and methods. The applied scope of scientific and technologic criterion and method should not be expanded limitlessly; Secondly, to excavate the multiple values of science and technology, particularly to pay more attention to the spiritual values of science and technology in aesthetic judgment, modesty, tolerance and so on; Furthermore, leading science and technology with human nature, that is to develop and evaluate science and technology with the criterion which is beneficial to human’s physical and mental health and development, to examine the activities and fruits of science and technology by putting the interests of the majority of people and even the interests of the entire mankind as the standard. At the same time, we should keep the human principle of leading science and technology throughout the whole scientific and technological activity process in order to establish a new concept of science and technology. While, treating nature in a human way is one important aspects of humanization of science and technology. And it will make human beings cherish and care for nature when people remold nature with the help of science and technology.The eighth chapter seeks ways to overcome the alienation of science and technology from the coordination of conflicting interests. This paper discusses that the utilization of the principle of justice to coordinate conflicting interests, by doing so, a harmonious social environment for the development and application of science and technology can be created, it also be able to reduce or avoid the actions of using science and technology with the purpose of damaging others’interests, standardize the objectives of science and technology reasonably, enhance people’s sense of social responsibility about the development and application of science and technology. This article emphasizes that setting up the idea of common interests is beneficial to weaken and relax the contradiction of interests, thus helpful to diminish and overcome alienation of science and technology. In the first place, the conception of national coexistence should be established, which is very necessary under the situation of globalization. The interests of various countries are interrelated, different countries all face to the similar or the same disasters especially in environmental area. So it requires all the countries apply and develop science and technology reasonably and sensibly, give full play to the constructive function of science and technology, and strive to avoid scientific and technological alienation. In the second place, we should establish the concept of sustainable development for mankind’s survival and development of the future generations. To delay the process of the entire human race, we should adhere to the direction of green development of science and technology and avoid damage to the natural environment. In the third place, the conception of the supremacy of social interests should be established, and the conflicts between individual interest and group interest, and personal interest and social interest should be regulated effectively in order to guarantee that people can think over the group interests and social interests when they obtain their own interests with the help of science and technology, even sacrifice their individual interests to protect the interests of society under certain conditions. In such a social circumstance, science and technology can develop in a healthy way.The important purpose we study the alienation of science and technology is to make science and technology and society get health develop for our country. The ninth chapter reviews comprehensively and analyzes specifically the alienation of science and technology in China and the solutions to solve the problem. China encountered alienation of science and technology rooted from the west under the condition that China vigorously need the development and application of science and technology for the modernization. This has enabled us very cautions when we started to pay much attention to science and technology. Meanwhile, since reform and openness, our country have made tremendous achievements in modernization construction course, but the alienation of science and technology exists in this process in different ways, which have become our practical problem and crisis. Therefore, in the resolution and prevention of scientific and technological alienation, it is necessary to be guided by the concept of scientific development. We should pursue development at first. In the light of the present relatively backward status in economic level, the level of science and technology and the quality of the population in China, we should energetically develop science and technology to shake off poverty and backwardness. With the help of science and technology we must solve the environment problem, the difference between the poor and the rich, stale security problem and so on which are emerging in the process of modernization. Next, we should develop scientifically and keep“people-oriented”,“comprehensive and coordinated”and“sustainable development”as the basic meaning and spiritual guidance to establish the criterion, purpose and direction of scientific and technological development, so as to eliminate and prevent the alienation of science and technology. From the concept of harmony among people and the harmony between man and nature, the conception of a harmonious society has established the basic principles of scientific and technological development. All these will create a good social environment for the development and application of science and technology, and endow pronounced sentiments of humanities and correct value guidance to science and technology, and thus ensure that science and technology deviate from the alienation predicament and return to the ultimate goal that it brings benefit to mankind, and play sufficiently positive role of the science and technology in China’s modernization.

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