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Science and Human Values

Science and Human Values
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Bronowski once wrote: 'It is often said that science has destroyed our values and put nothing in its place. What has really happened of course is that science has shown in harsh relief the division between our values and our world.' He believed profoundly that science can create the values we lack by looking into the human personality, exploring what makes humans unique and their societies human rather than animal packs. Science and Human Values is a continuation of Bronowski's quest to make science part of our world and to hold that world to the rational and ethical values of the liberated human spirit. Few works on the meaning of science open more dramatically. Bronowski describes how he arrived in Nagasaki in the autumn of 1945, and saw what looked like broken rocks 'the ruins of industrial buildings' and 'otherwise nothing but cockeyed telegraph poles and loops of wire in a bare waste of ashes'. Never before, he writes, was he so aware of the power of science for good and for evil. In Nagasaki civilization came face to face with its own implications. We must not hive science off to a separate zone that we despise and fear: modern societies must make informed decisions about what science does, and insist that all the work a civilization does should respect what Bronowski calls 'the sense of human dignity'. Science has humanized our values, and its values of freedom, justice and respect are not yet accepted in the conduct of states and individuals. The ends for which we work must be judged by the means we use to achieve them.
Faber & Faber; October 2011
330 pages; ISBN 9780571281251
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