The Change of Modern Science and Technology Notion and New ...

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Nature and Science, 2(3), 2004, Zhou et al., New Economic and Social Mode
The Changes of Modern Science and Technology Notion and New
Economic and Social Mode
Qijie Zhou1,2, Zhihong Chu2, Xiaowei Wang2
(1. Heilongjiang University, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150080, China, Email: [email protected]
2. Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150030, China)

Abstract: Since the 19th Century, science and technology have brought both positive and negative
influences on human society. Many western scholars, including futurists, ecologists, Marxist cultural
critics, humanists, existential thinkers, have analyzed and criticized human living conditions brought
about by science and technology. It is now necessary to construct a good and united developing mode
of science and technology for the development of human societies and global economics. [Nature and
Science. 2004;2(3):66-69].

Key words: science; technology; alienation; economic mode; social developing mode

The development of science and technology
preceded by science and technology. We call this
along with the establishment of a scientific spirit
“technological optimistic notion”. This theory was
originated from ancient Greek and Roman
first advocated by Austrian American economist
rationalism, represented by Plato. Religious
Joseph Alois Schumptner who put technological
reformation and the notion of new ethics helped
innovation to the core of economic development; this
science and technology develop and spread in
is called the Economic Development Theory. He
Euro-America. British philosopher Bacon argued that
believed that “a modern enterprise should first set up
knowledge was power; this offered the spiritual
a research department. Every member of the
framework to criticize traditional culture, while using
department should understand that his bread and
science as a powerful weapon to criticize religious
butter come from the success of his invention (Joseph
divinity, superstitious and traditional bias ideas (Chen,
Alois Schumptner, 1979). Later, Englishman
Christopher Freeman and Americans Nathan
Because of the advancement of science and
Rosenberg and Richard Nelson used this idea. They
technology and its great achievements in every field,
argued that economic increase meant the investment
mono-scientific and mono-technological thoughts
of science and technology and the outcome of more
emerged and developed just as what Benedetto Croce
innovative technology, and the increase combined
said in his book The Theory and Practice of History,
technology acceleration with demand promotion.
The Era of Proofs created by Kongde defined natural
American economist Walt Whitman Rust, according
science, and spread the principle to social fields
to economic index in his book, On Economic Growth,
(Benedetto, 1982). Inheriting this tradition, the great
divided social development into six phases, so that
influential logicalism in scientific schools attributed
proletariat revolution and communism can be
all the experiences and significant propositions to
eliminated in the future. This book used
scientific ones, but these untested, unobserved
Non-communist Declaration as its subtitle.
objects, reasons and metaphysical explanations have
As for science-tech revolution’s stimulating on
to be overcome or removed.
human beings and society, Daniel Bell and Alvin
Echoing with this scientific notion, some
Toffler raised another post-industrial social
scholars protested the developing mode of society by
theory-super industrial society (The Third Tide)
economic progress and the social structure changes
(Daniel Bell, 1989). According to this idea,
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Nature and Science, 2(3), 2004, Zhou et al., New Economic and Social Mode
post-industrial society was made up of knowledge,
Century Agenda in The Meeting on Environment &
and the accumulation and spread of theoretical
Development in 1992, which raised the issue of
knowledge has become direct strength of social
sustainable development.
innovation and reformation. Productivity and
Apart from ecological criticism of science and
technology is the core of social structure. Power has
technology, some social and humanity criticisms give
been shifted from the capitalists to intellectuals, and
a deeper reflection on traditional science and
capitalists are disappearing. Toffler claimed that
technology. The most influential critics were Herbert
electronic industry and information technology could
Marcuse, Jurgen Habermas and Erich Fromm in the
solve many social conflicts. In the respect that
school of Frankful. Marcuse developed Marx
science-tech influences all sides of human
Horkheimer and Theoder Wiesengrund Adorno’s
development, Michael G. Zey predicated that the
thoughts. Marx harkheimer thought that due to the
wish of the science and technology advancement in
development of science and technology,
the 21st century, human intelligence and creativity
enlightenment becomes knowledge-pursuit and
will develop much faster, while such problems as
efficiency-pursuit technical tool and the tool of
pollution and population will be solved at a later date
governing from critical ration. Even the highly
(Michael Zey, 1997). Even French scientist and
development of science-tech and industrialization
philosopher Jean Ladriere thought that science-tech
cannot liberate human beings. However, science
decided human’s living manner and value system and
becomes a ruling tool and this deeply suppresses
science-tech was cultural key, that couldn’t have a
humans. The reason is that the development of
direct impact on human values but made a difference
modern science and technology kills human defense
in setting up new morals while traditional morals
awareness. Enlightenment is to oppose legend and
were deconstructed (Jean Ladriere, 1997). These
superstition, learn the world correctly, strengthen
ideas have offered us a reference when we try to
human ability, oppose extreme power and allow
know the developing conditions and contemporary
progress. Finally rational enlightenment itself turns
society trends.
out to be a legend deforming the true world and
To criticize the traditional notion of science
degrading human beings (Herbert Marcuse, 1993). It
and technology in the early 20th century, Rachel
turns into extreme power and causes recession
Carson pointed out that environmental and
without defending human rights. It is rational
ecological problems were caused by science-tech
enlightenment that makes machines to be the
development and harmed human existence, and the
effective political means. The victory of technical
reasons of the problems lied in the traditional idea
ration not only improves the human living condition,
of conquering and controlling nature and economic
but also makes ruling reasonable. It puts mankind in
practicability (Rachel Carson, 1997). While
a technical system, political alignment, and it shows a
optimistic futurism went ahead in its theory,
more lawful appearance than politics. Marcuse said,
Roman club published a horrible warning book The
“The result of reasonable ruling is to make human
Limit of Growth, in 1972. It stated the limits of the
less free and lose the dimension of surpassing or
earth resources and the limited population support
denying” (Herbert Marcuse, 1999). The existence of
point, and concluded that human social economic
mankind is mono-dimensional, being controlled by
growth was faced with unsurpassed limits. That is
uncontrolled power and mechanism. To abandon such
to say the world economy and population have to
technical alienation is to integrate values and fine art
stop increasing within a limited period; otherwise,
into scientific technology so as to set human and
human existence will meet inevitable collapse. The
nature free from abuse of scientific technology that
book enlisted 5 indexes --- human population,
deconstructs. This liberation action is associated with
grains, resources and energy, ecological
political change.
environment and nuclear threat --- into the world
Habermas made a new development. In his opinion,
human living difficulties, which were listed by
the objective condition for science and technology
ex-chairman of the club, Aurelio Peccei (Dennis
became a new ideology with government’s
Meadows, 1972). The UN passed Environmental
interference on economic affairs and the increasing
Declaration in 1972 and Brazil passed the 21st
trend of the relationship between science and
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Nature and Science, 2(3), 2004, Zhou et al., New Economic and Social Mode
technology. Under the condition of a developed
activity is spirit, which pursues the realization of
industrial society, scientific technology has its own
creative human himself. He doesn’t want to refuse
property of consciousness, and shows more
every kind of technology, but to distinguish those
controlling, concealing and defending of property
which are very different from human beings rather
than conscious forms. Habermas didn’t agree that
than to expand the power of machines so as to
Marcuse looked for reasons which made science and
suppress human nature (Lewis Munford, 1990).
technology alienate from it or integrates values and
Hidegger calls technology “enframing”, which
art into scientific ration in order to get rid of the
unfolds the world. As a non-human will, modern
passive factor of scientific ration and technology.
technology confines and requires the world and
Habermas thought that the alienation of science and
mankind. Human and nature are driven by an
technology is up to the property and the development
invisible strength that conceals a substantial existence,
of it. The essential reason is that modern industrial
and causes the existence to be forgotten. In modern
society makes reasonable labor into unreasonable
technology, it is the human being that is confined to
communicative behavior. To remove the alienation of
the enframing of technology instead of that human
science and technology is to make communicative
beings must control technology. If human beings are
behavior reasonable so that labor's key position in
to recognize the danger of technological enframing,
social historical theory can be replaced (Jurgen
they must understand the insight and turn to the truth
Habermas, 1999).
of existence (Martin Heidegger, 1977). Ellul claims
Considering that human beings obtained
that modern technology isn’t a means, but a goal.
greater achievements in using scientific technology
Everything comes from and for technology, and the
to control nature, while, human beings digressed
relationship among human beings is pure
into thoughtless economic tools ---- passive,
technological one. Technology sets goals for human
emotionless and strength less, due to over
beings, instead of human for technology. Ellul
strengthening of material production, consumption
believes that it is necessary to seek for a remedy
and technical values. Human society had been
which creates an ethics to confine the sphere of
controlled completely by mechanization and
technological practice.
becoming a slave to the machine. The reason lies in
Modern criticism from western scholars on
the non-humane development of technology. If we
technical alienation shows that the modern concept of
want technology to serve mankind, individuals are
scientific technology has changed completely ----
supposed to be motivated with initiative playing an
scientific technology has a positive function as well
important role, so that a humane consumption view
as passive negative effect. In the 19th century, Marx
is established and the human psycho renewed. In
pointed, “Everything seems to have its negative side
this complete society, love is used to build a new
in our era. We have seen that machinery has
living manner which emphasized an existence and
miraculous power not only to reduce human labor
and make it more effective, but also to cause famine
J. O. Y. Gasset, Lewis Munford, Martin
and fatigue. The newly found source of the wealth
Heidegger and Jacgues Ellul criticized scientific
becomes the root of poverty because of some strange
technology from the view of humanity. Gasset
and ridiculous magic power. Victory of technology is
believes that technology can’t be confined to itself,
got at the cost of decline of morality” (Karl Marx,
but must be analyzed from the relationship between
1972). As a two-edge sword, scientific technology
human and technology. Technology is to serve human
goes toward alienation, just because it alienates from
life beyond human physical demand, and to be
human values and the confinement of social
connected with human creativity. The inner creativity
conditions, and pursues economic benefit and war
provides an outer creation with a foundation. Human
weapons only depending on technology, without the
fascination with modern technology kills their
thought of possible destruction of natural
creativity of making proper goals for technological
environment like ecology and resource. This brings
progress (Gasset, 1980). Munford persists that the
great threat to human beings as well as human mental
property of material is not the ultimate explanation
and emotional disappointment. A new concept on the
for physical activities. The real foundation of human
development of science and technology is to establish
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Nature and Science, 2(3), 2004, Zhou et al., New Economic and Social Mode
a united economic and social developing mode,
which tries to understand science from the view of
[1] Benedetto Croce. The Theory and Practice of History, the
relating science to economy, politics, culture and
Commercial Press, Beijing, China. 1982: 235.
society, supported with a harmonious development.
[2] Chen Junquan, Yin Dengxiang, Science and Technology
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also necessary to establish a new economic
Beijing, China. 2001:205-7.
developing theory, breaking the former closed
[3] Daniel Bell, Capitalism Cultural Conflict, Sanlian Bookstore
mode that is only supports GDP increase existing
Press, Beijing, China. 1989:80.
in today’s modern western industrial society. We
[4] Dennis L Meadows, Utmost of Increase, Jilin People Press,
must establish such economic developing concept
Jilin, China. 1972:5-17.
that values environmental and ecological
[5] Herbert Marcuse, Mono-dimensional Human, Chongqing
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the economy in a healthy and harmonious manner.
[6] Jean Ladriere, Challenge to Culture from Science and
In this mode, human beings have corrected the
Technology, the Commercial Press, Beijing, China, 1997.
notions of production and consumption, allowing
[7] Jose Ortegay Gasset, Obras Completas, Vol. 1, and Vol. 5,
both society and human's society to develop
comprehensively. Human beings must remove the
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operational programs of a two-dimensional social
ocracy, Commercial Press, Shanghai, China. 1979:121.
life that is caused by ideological science and
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rational technology. The function of science and
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technology should be confined, while the
[10] Jurgen Habermas, Toward a rational Society, Beacon Press.
suppressed human creativity should be restored. In
this way, human beings should insist on the
[11] Karl Marx, Frederick Engels. Collection of Karl Marx and
sustainable developing notion, in which human
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living rights are superior to everything else, and
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[12] Lewis Munford. Myth of Machine, Vol. 1, 1990:9.

[13] Martin Heidegger. The Queseion Concerning Technology. In
Correspondence to:
The QUESTION concerning Technology and other Essays
Qijie Zhou
Northeast Agriculture University
[14] Michael G Zey. Capture the Future. Sanlian Bookstore Press,
Harbin, Heilongjiang 150030, China
Beijing, China. 1997:39.
Telephone: 01186-451-55191539 (H)
[15] Rachel Carson. Silent Spring. Jilin People Press, Jilin, China.
Email: [email protected]
· [email protected]