Technology and sociality - Philosophy of science

Technique and sociality

In the XVI-XVII centuries. technology is conceptualized as a condition for the sociality of the culture of modern times; Galileo and F. Bacon expressed this most clearly, arguing that the new sciences and arts are a necessary condition for power, prosperity and society. In the "New Organon", discussing what is the difference between the developed and the "wild" peoples, Bacon writes that it does not "come from the soil and not from the climate, but primarily from the sciences" and arts [4, p. 191 -192]. Now social life began to be understood more and more as a study of the laws of nature (while the person and society were also understood as natural phenomena), the discovery of its practical effects, the creation in engineering of mechanisms and machines that implement the laws of nature, satisfaction based on the achievements of natural sciences and engineering of growing human needs. Enlightenment not only develops this new worldview, but also creates the conditions for its spreading into life. It is known that united around the "Encyclopaedia advanced thinkers wanted to implement the plan outlined by Bacon "the great restoration of sciences", linking social progress with scientific progress; initial ideas for all enlighteners were the concepts of nature and upbringing; the latter was to prepare a new enlightened, and in fact, a natural and technically oriented person. [6]

"Progress in the sciences," writes Condorcet in his book "A sketch of the historical picture of the progress of the human mind," provides the progress of an industry that itself then accelerates scientific successes, and this mutual influence, the effect of which is continually renewed, should be counted among the more active , the most powerful reasons for the improvement of the human race. " With the progress of the sciences, Condorcete is associated with an increase in the mass of products, a decrease in raw materials and material inputs in the output of industrial products, a decrease in the proportion of heavy piles, an increase in the expediency and rationality of consumption, a rise in population and, ultimately, the elimination of the harmful effects of work, habits and climate, and lengthening the duration of human life. .. In the last chapter, dedicated to the tenth era, Condorcet outlines the main lines of the future progress of the human mind and the progress based on it in the social human life: the destruction of inequality between nations, the progress of equality between different classes of the same people, the social equality between people, and finally, the actual improvement of man [14, p. 149, 151-152].

For our modern ear and consciousness, all these declarations and statements are familiar, but they were not so familiar to people of that time. Moreover, we want to draw attention to the fact that this is not at all obvious, namely, that our understanding of sociality - well-being, happiness, security, freedom, etc., in the Age of Enlightenment was closely linked with the progress of the natural sciences and technology and industry based on them.

In the XX century. formation of a closed planetary technical environment takes place. Chains of changes in the parameters of the natural environment, activities, infrastructures and human conditions close to each other, as well as natural materials and human beings. Indeed, in technogenic civilization and technical systems, some parameters of the natural environment, activities and infrastructures act as conditions (or means) for others. At the same time, it seems that the only nontechnical elements are natural raw materials (land, minerals, coal, oil, gas, air, water, etc.), as well as man. But has not man and nature, in the framework of modern technology and technology, turned into "put" themselves the resources of new technology and production? If this is so, then the uncontrolled development of technology and technology, indeed, leads to an unpredictable and dangerous transformation of our planet and the person himself.

In general, today we have to distinguish: "physical reality", the laws of which are described by natural sciences (this is what was always called the "first nature"); "ecological reality", the element of which is biological life and man, and "social-anthropological reality", to which human activity, his psyche, social systems, infrastructures, etc. belong. (usually this is referred to as the "second and third nature"), Within the framework of the so-understood, in fact, "planetary nature" the formula is no longer valid, that "nature is written in the language of mathematics". "Needing here," writes D. Efremenko, "is the understanding of technical development as a process of technology change, coupled with changes in nature and society. The essence of this understanding is concisely formulated by J. Baudrillard: "People and technology, needs and things mutually structure each other - for better or worse" [7, p. 72].

Note that at present it is already impossible not to take into account and analyze the consequences of its scientific and technical activities, in connection with which it is necessary to include all the main influences and influences of technology and technology on nature, man and the environment surrounding man in the understanding and techniques and technology. For the philosopher there are two main groups of questions: how does technology and technology affect the existence and essence of man (his freedom, security, way of life, reality of consciousness, possibilities) and what is our technogenic type of civilization, what is its fate, is the other more a safe type of civilization, and what you need to do for this.

But let's not forget that the main thing is not the technique itself, but the special kind of civilization that began to evolve, starting from the 17th century, as a condition for realizing a new social project that linked social life and well-being with the successes of technology. The final contribution to the realization of so many promising social projects was made in the second half of the 20th century, when scientific and engineering practice, which had reached efficiency by that time, and industrial production based on them, were turned toward the implementation of the next social project - the creation of a welfare society and, in connection with this, the growing needs of the population. The successful implementation of both projects in the developed countries and marks the birth of the "technogenic civilization". It is worth retaliation that the dreams of a new European man could never be realized if parallel (starting in the 17th century, this process was completed only in the 20th century), new social institutions were not created. In the absurdity of our civilization, technology is often blamed, although it's not in it, but in social institutions and the culture of modern times.

Apparently, the traditional conceptualization of technology, primarily as the idea of ​​engineering has exhausted itself. Today we have to formulate the idea of ​​engineering anew. The main question here is the following. How to realize the forces of nature (both first and second), how to use them for man and society, by coordinating this use with the goals and ideals of humanity. The latter, for example, suggests: the reduction of destructive processes, the safe development of civilization, the release of a person from the power of technology, the improvement of the quality of life, etc. However, the problem arises: is it compatible with the need to provide an acceptable and decent level of existence for billions of people on the planet and restore the nature of the planet?

Another problem is how to control the changes caused by modern engineering, design and technology. The fact is that most of such changes (changes in natural processes, human transformation, uncontrolled changes in the second and third nature) can only be calculated in the nearest zone. For example, already at the regional, and even more planetary, level it is difficult or impossible to calculate and control the emissions of heat, harmful substances and wastes, changes in groundwater and groundwater, etc. It is equally difficult to obtain an adequate picture of regional and planetary changes in technology, infrastructures, activities or organizations. The transformation of the way of life and human needs, which occurs under the influence of technology, also lends itself to description and the more accurate prediction. How to act in this situation of uncertainty?

There is no unambiguous answer, one can only outline one of the possible scenarios. All that can be calculated and forecasted, it is necessary to count and predict. We should strive to minimize the negative consequences of technical activities. It is necessary to work on minimization of needs and their reasonable development. It is necessary to abandon engineering activities (projects), the effect and consequences of which can not be accurately determined, but which, however, can lead to economic or anthropological catastrophes. It is important to change the traditional scientific and engineering picture of the world, replacing it with new ideas about nature, technology, ways of solving problems, worthy existence of man, science.

Of course, the very understanding of technology should change. First of all, it is necessary to overcome the naturalistic, instrumentalist view of technology. It should be replaced by an understanding of technology, on the one hand, as manifestations of complex intellectual and sociocultural processes (cognition and research, engineering and design activities, technology development, economic and political decision-making, etc.), on the other, as a special medium human habitation, imposing environmental archetypes, rhythms of functioning, aesthetic images, etc.

New engineering and technology implies a different scientific and engineering picture of the world. Such a picture can no longer be based on the idea of ​​free use of forces, energies and materials of nature, the idea of ​​creation. Fruitful for their time (Renaissance and XVI-XVII centuries), these ideas helped to formulate the design and images of engineering. But today they no longer meet the situation. New engineering and technology is the ability to work with different natures (the first and second nature and culture), this attentive listening to oneself and culture. To listen is to understand with what technology we agree, what restriction of our freedom we will go for the development of technology and technical civilization, what values ​​of technical development are organic to us and which are incompatible with our understanding of man and his dignity, with our understanding of culture, history and future.

It is clear that the abandonment of technology and technical development is simply impossible. In fact, the technical basis is the very activities of man and culture. There is also no special mystery in technology. Finally, the technique itself is not theological and attributed to it, for example, demonism or evil does not make sense. At the same time, the development of technical and production activities, technical environment and technology in the XX century. took a threatening to human life character. With this, man can no longer be ignored, despite all the benefits that technology promises. In general, it is understandable and the way out of this situation, although it is certainly not simple.

It is necessary to understand both the nature of technology and the consequences of technical development and include both of these moments in the very idea and concept of technology. In turn, this means that an assessment of these consequences will be given. About this, in particular, writes a lot D. Efremenko. In his book "German Socialism" (1934) Sombart wrote: "The process of introducing one or another type of technology must be accompanied by a comprehensive analysis of the values ​​that the technique affects. At the same time, the leading point of view should be the understanding that technology plays a service role and its application should contribute to the achievement of certain goals. " After almost 40 years, already on the wave of widespread concern about the problems of resource depletion, the trends and consequences of technical development, Toffler came to the conclusion that when introducing new technologies, it is necessary to take into account secondary social and cultural effects. "We must try to anticipate, evaluate as possible their nature, strength and duration. Where such effects are likely to involve serious damage, we should be prepared to block new technologies. " [7, p. 127; 29, p. 396].

In this way, the revision of the attitude towards technology for mankind will have to be solved by complex tasks. For example, to understand what features and characteristics of modern technology and the consequences of its development, a person already can agree; whether it is possible to refuse them; whether it is possible to change the nature of development of technical and production activities, technical environment and technology; if you can, then what you need to do for this. By the way, it may turn out that the change in the nature of the development of technology will require a person to make such big changes (in the field of his values, way of life, in the practices themselves), which, however, will mean a gradual departure from the existing type of civilization and an attempt to create a new civilization. However, such attempts have already been made, it is another matter how to evaluate their results. This new future civilization, of course, will also be based on technology, but different, maybe with less capacity, but, more importantly, the new technology will be safer for the life and development of mankind. It is unlikely that humanity has another way, for example, nothing to change or simply to humanize the existing machinery. The situation is too serious and changes rapidly so that you can hope to get by with little blood.

So, in what direction should our ideas and vision change, so that the movement to a new understanding of technology should begin? It is important that everyone on whom it depends (philosophers, scientists, engineers, politicians, journalists, etc.), understand that it's not a matter of technique, but of the type of sociality that has developed in the past two or three centuries. As long as we think that technology is the main thing, that the main social problems are solved on its basis, that the welfare of mankind is directly connected with the development of modern technologies - we will and further contribute to deepening the crisis of our civilization. Probably, you need to work hard to develop an understanding of sociality and technology. Although in our technogenic civilization it is technology that plays an enormous role, from the perspective of development, it is necessary to promote understanding that these things are different. The existing type of sociality can no longer satisfy us, the conviction that the basic social problems can be solved on the basis of technology, increasingly becomes a destructive moment. Any society and culture assume a technique, but they are not determined by the latter. At present, we have entered a period of active discussion of new possible types of sociality.

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