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A Gloss on Robert s. Cohen’s Ambiguities of Science

  • Walter George Muelder
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 165)

Abstract

Victor Weisskopf, who like Robert S. Cohen has an interactive understanding of science, society and nature, and a concern for the ecological whole, has stated: “Compassion without curiosity is ineffective. Curiosity without compassion is inhuman.”1 By curiosity Weisskopf means science; and his compassion is global concern. Cohen’s professional contributions move from the scientific part to the philosophical whole and from the social whole to the personal part. His life and work show both extraordinary intellectual curiosity and profound social and ethical insight. This present essay is a gloss on ‘Reflections on the Ambiguity of Science’ which appeared in Foundations of Ethics in 1983.2 He meditated on two quotations, one by C. S. Lewis, “What we call man’s power over nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men, with nature as an instrument;” the other by Max Horkheimer, “The ideological dimension of science comes to light, above all, in what science closes its eyes to.” Some of the philosophical and ethical concerns of Horkheimer and Cohen were pressed on my consciousness as a student under the former at the University of Frankfurt in 1930–31. My appreciation for Cohen emerges from long association and friendship with him at Boston University.

Keywords

Ecological Crisis Cumulative Causation Ideological Dimension American Dilemma Genetic Revolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter George Muelder
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityUSA

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