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On the Role of Science in the Global Society

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My considerations shall begin with the picture of modern science that Edmund Husserl presented in The Crisis of European Sciences. In Opposition to this picture, though preserving certain similarities, I shall discuss the role of science in the global society, i.e. a society that consciously sets itself specific goals and strives to attain them. Science shall be reflected upon through the prism of laboratory sciences, for I believe that they determine the present-day notion of science to the greatest extent.

Husserl asserts plainly that, for our vital needs and difficulties “science has nothing to say to us”. From his area of interest, he excludes any questions concerning the “meaning or meaninglessness of the whole of this human existence”. He offers no reflection an man, who is “free in regard to his capacities for rationally shaping himself and his surrounding world”. From researchers, he demands that they “carefully exclude all valuative positions”. Scientific truth is “exclusively a matter of establishing what the world, the physical as well as the spiritual world, is in fact”.

Furthermore – Husserl adds – this factuality remains markedly limited due to the way of comprehending nature assumed by the ideal of modern science. Galileo, who is generally recognized as an originator of this ideal, claimed that nature should be treated as a world external to the subject exploring it – a world that can be presented using the language of mathematics. The formulas of this language are supposed to make it possible to describe nature truthfully, i.e. offer a truthful description of the external world itself. A result of such a description is a thematically and methodically reduced abstract representation of the world. Nevertheless, it is an “objective” representation, founded exclusively an exact and essential judgements of the “pure mathematical sciences” that lead to knowledge equal to “the God in objective certainty”. A mathematical scheme of nature accommodates all concretely experienced phenomena. As a consequence of mathematical idealization, they take the form of mathematical models, i.e. “pure ideal limit-concepts”. Hence a new method of observing phenomena and a necessity to reduce them, by means of direct or indirect mathematization, to quantitative characteristics. As such, they are related to various mathematical interpretations, thanks to which there emerges a possibility to demonstrate general relationships between them, i.e. an opportunity to determine the “natural laws” of the world.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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