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Technoscientific Angst

Ethics and Responsibility

Technoscientific Angst by Raphael Sassower
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Reassesses the social and ethical situations of technoscientists.What responsibility do the Manhattan Project scientists have for the atomic devastation of Hiroshima? The Krupps scientists for the crematoriums at Auschwitz? Disturbing questions like these are at the heart of this book, a sobering exploration of scientific and intellectual responsibility.Raphael Sassower considers two related phenomena: the positive public image of science as the citadel of truth and objectivity and the angst displayed by scientists over their indirect roles in technological horrors. Largely unexamined, these circumstances provide the opportunity for a wholesale reassessment of the social and ethical situations of science and technology. In a world in which daily technological developments, from the space shuttle to genetic engineering, raise complex political and economic questions, this book provides a framework for assessing the social impact and ethical implications of scientific work. Is there no way, Sassower asks, to revisit the ideals of science—once devoted to creating a more reasonable and open society free from prejudices—when deciding the value of technoscientific projects and policies? His work suggests ways we can both preserve the benefits of enlightenment rationality (so-called scientific objectivity) and overcome the notion of science as our culture’s master narrative.Bringing the tools of postmodern philosophy and criticism to bear on Auschwitz and Hiroshima, the most brutal and incomprehensible instances of scientific modernism, Technoscientific Angst proposes that we change our scientific and philosophical perspectives on the modern world—that we bring them together in a novel and constructive way.
University of Minnesota Press; November 1997
158 pages; ISBN 9780816688142
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Title: Technoscientific Angst
Author: Raphael Sassower