Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Modern' keyword pg.1 of 1
12 MARCH 2011

Scientists revise their criteria of rationality as they enter new domains

"The conventional model of science, technology and society locates sources of violence in politics and ethics, that is, in the application of science and technology, not in scientific knowledge itself.

The fact–value dichotomy is a creation of modern, reductionist science which, while being an epistemic response to a particular set of values, claims to be independent of values. According to the received view, modern science is the discovery of the properties of nature in accordance with a 'scientific method' which generates 'objective', 'neutral', 'universal' knowledge. This view of modern science as a description of reality as it is, unprejudiced by value, can be rejected on at least four grounds.

All knowledge, including modern scientific knowledge, is built through the use of a plurality of methodologies. As Feyerabend observes:

There is no 'scientific method'; there is no single procedure, or set of rules that underlines every piece of research and guarantees that it is 'scientific' and, therefore, trustworthy. The idea of a universal and stable method that is an unchanging measure of adequacy and even the idea of a universal and stable rationality is as unrealistic as the idea of a universal and stable measuring instrument that measures any magnitude, no matter what the circumstances. Scientists revise their standards, their procedures, their criteria of rationality as they move along and perhaps entirely replace their theories and their instruments as they move along and enter new domains of research (Feyerband, 1978, p. 98).

The view that science is just a discovery of facts about nature does not get support from philosophy either. If scientific knowledge is assumed to give true, factual knowledge of 'reality as it is', then we would have to 'conclude that Newtonian theory was true until around 1900, after which it suddenly became false, while relativity and quantum theories became the truth' (Bohm, 1981, p. 4)."

(Vandana Shiva, 1990)

1). Shiva, V. (1990). 'Reductionist science as epistemological violence'. 'Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity'. A. Nandy, Oxford University Press: 314.

Paul Feyerabend, Science in a Free Society (London: New Left Books, 1978).

David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).


analytical thinkingCartesiancultural valuesdescription of realitydiscoursediscoverydiscursive fieldepistemologyethicsfactual knowledgehierarchy of legitimacyIsaac Newtonknowledge • logical-analytical • logical-analytical paradigmmeasuring instrument • model of science • Modernmodern science • modern scientific knowledge • myth of neutralityobjectiveobjective reality • Paul Feyerband • plurality of methodologies • positivismproperties of naturerationalityreductionism • reductionist science • researchresearch methodsciencescientific knowledgescientific method • scientific options • sociology • stable knowledge • stable rationality • theorytraditiontrust • trustworthy • truthuniversal • universal knowledge • universal methoduniversal rationalityVandana Shiva


Simon Perkins
01 JANUARY 2011

New Directions in Interdisciplinarity: Broad, Deep, and Critical

"Before interdisciplinarity in either the disciplinary producing or disciplinary–circumscribing senses could manifest itself, disciplinarity itself had to take on its peculiarly modern form. Any assessment of interdisciplinarity – multi – and trans–, noncritical and critical– will benefit from an appreciation of this background.

Prior to the modern period, learning exhibited a kind of unity that might be called predisciplinary. Aristotle, it is true, introduced distinctions between logic, physics, and ethics, but these were never of a kind to raise the possibility of cross–disciplinary formations such as 'physical ethics.' During the Middle Ages, the division of the artes liberales into grammar, rhetoric, dialectic (the trivium), arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music (the quadrivium) ensured that the education of 'free men' included all the knowledge and skills needed to exercise their social roles. Insofar as it existed, disciplinary specialization was present more in the 'servile arts' of artisans and tradesmen. Not even teachers of the liberal arts became specialists in their different branches, because the idea of, for example, possessing arithmetic without grammar would have been considered a deformation of the mind. In the monastery schools, the unfettered pursuit of knowledge was viewed skeptically, criticized as curiositas, and therefore subject to disciplinization in a premodern behavioral sense. Only at the end of the Middle Ages, as the infinite pursuit of disciplinary knowledge took on the character of a spiritual activity, would Renaissance men become necessary to cross boundaries and synthesize diverse areas of learning."

(Robert Frodeman and Carl Mitcham, 2007, p.508)

[1][2] Frodeman, R. and C. Mitcham (2007). "New Directions in Interdisciplinarity: Broad, Deep, and Critical." Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 27(6).


Aristotlearithmetic • artes liberales • artisanastronomy • cross boundaries • cross-disciplinary • curiositas • dialecticdisciplinary knowledgedisciplinary specialisationdisciplinesdiscursive fielddivisionethicsEuropean Renaissance • free men • geometrygrammarinterdisciplinarityknowledgeknowledge integrationlearningliberal artslogicmiddle agesModern • modern period • monastery schools • multidisciplinaritymusicorderingphysics • predisciplinary • premodernpursuit of knowledgeQuadriviumrhetoricservile artsskillsocial construction of knowledgesocial rolesspecialisation • spiritual activity • synthesis • tradesmen • transdisciplinarityTrivium • unity


Simon Perkins
21 JUNE 2006

Barthes: Death Of The Author

"The author is a modern figure, produced no doubt by our society insofar as, at the end of the middle ages, with English empiricism, French rationalism and the personal faith of the Reformation, it discovered the prestige of the individual, or, to put it more nobly, of the 'human person' Hence it is logical that with regard to literature it should be positivism, resume and the result of capitalist ideology, which has accorded the greatest importance to the author's 'person'."

(Roland Barthes 1993)

Barthes, Roland (1993) "Image Music Text", Fontana Press.



1967Aspen (magazine)auteur theoryauthenticityauthorshipBertolt Brecht • Blaise Cendrars • capitalist ideologyCharles Baudelairecitation • classical criticism • collective writing • connoisseurshipcontestationcult of the authordeath of the author • decipher • empiricismgeniusGustave FlaubertHonore de Balzac • Image-Music-Text • individualinterpretationlanguageliterary criticismliteratureMarcel Proust • mediator • Modern • multiple writings • multiplicitiesparody • Paul Claudel • Paul ValeryProtestant Reformation • rationalism • readingRoland Barthesromantic • scriptor • shaman • Stephane Mallarme • subtilisationsurrealism • Thomas De Quincey • utterancesvoices
19 OCTOBER 2005

Interdisciplinarity is implicitly an idea of a unified, whole reality

"Interdisciplinarity is a commonly discussed alternative to the disciplinary pursuit of knowledge. It is often presented in the context of a critique of the disciplines. However, interdisciplinary enquiry emerges in response to problems defined in terms of the disciplines, and it is usually advanced as a way of enhancing the disciplinary pursuit of knowledge of reality. Most significantly, the emphasis of interdisciplinarity is on the unification of knowledge as a whole. Like the disciplines, interdisciplinarity is implicitly an idea of a unified, whole reality. It does not replace the disciplines but fills in alleged gaps between them by creating "cross–disciplines" that are in effect additional disciplines. The purpose of going "between" the disciplines is to realise a broader, more complete, and integrated understanding of phenomena than is afforded by any single discipline. Modern interdisciplinarity seeks to resolve sharp disciplinary distinctions in order to render the pursuit of knowledge into a coherent totality. It tries to repair the modern fragmentation of knowledge and bring the disciplines together so that the disciplinary project of knowledge of reality can be realised. For these reasons, interdisciplinarity is largely an uncritical extension of the disciplines rather than a critical alternative. Interdisciplinarity functions, in practice as opposed to rhetoric, as a logical implication of the disciplines and defines itself in terms of them."
(Roger Philip Mourad Jr., p.81–82)

Mourad, Roger P Jr. 1997 'Postmodern Philosophical Critique and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Higher Education', Westport, USA: Bergin & Garvey. ISBN: 0897895541


08 OCTOBER 2003

Augé: spaces of programmed use as non-places

The French Anthropologist Marc Augé uses the expression non–place to describe the effect on an environment that is caused by programmed use. Where instructions for use determine our engagement with a space, where the complexity of interaction is reduced to symbolic meaning. For Augé main roads no longer take travellers on cultural excursions, they facilitate expedient traversal and cultural detachment. In short they transform places designed to be occupied into transport conduits. In environments where there is a sustained use and inhabitation of a space fixed regional character exists. Group and personal identity are established via association with geographic and cultural sites. Places appear to exist as dynamic and vital entities, with ownership and belonging. Environments that are exclusively defined as being operational tend to lack clearly attributable character or identity. They are spaces that are used for their purpose and act in reference to other places. ATM machines, airports and motorways all function in this way. They are single–minded spaces that elicit simple directed use. As regions grow they tend to instigate more and more ways for their occupants to travel, transforming points–of–departure and destinations into methods of transport. At the same time they tend to erode established regional identities and associations. Extended choice tends towards homogenous and generic identity.

Augé, Marc. 1995 Non–Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, London/New York, : Verso.


conduit • cultural excursions • detachmentengagementenvironmentinhabitationMarc AugeModernnon-placeprogrammed usesingle-minded spaces • Super-Modernity • symbolic meaning


Simon Perkins

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