SCIENCE

  AS
POWER

Discourse and Ideology in Modern Society

 

 

Stanley Aronowitz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis

 

CHAPTER 1 SCIENCE AND

TECHNOLOGY AS HEGEMONY

 

When my daughter Nona was two years old, she frequently exclaimed, after a fall, "the chair did it," or, as she bumped into the wall, "the wall did it." On September 11, 1986, the New York stock market plunged eighty-six points. The next day, after a drop of thirty-four points, a New York Times story read, "wide use of computers contributed to slide." According to the writer, trading on the stock market is often detonated by signals supplied by a computer program. It's a "split second" automatic process; in appearance, at least, large institutional traders such as pension plans and major banks respond to the slightest movement of interest rates without significant reflection. On this particular day, when stock traders came to their offices, "they were met by a big jump in interest rates . . . (which) immediately dragged down the price of futures contracts for stocks."1 This triggered sales of current stocks by the money managers and widespread purchases of futures contracts. As the large investors unloaded stocks, others followed suit and stock prices plummeted. The investors respond to the computer as my daughter might explain bumping into the wall. Of course, the Times and the analysts they consulted allowed that national and international economic troubles might be an underlying influence on the serious fall of stock prices that week, but from the point of view of investors, it was their computer that seemed to make the decision to sell.

That we live in a computer age no one seems to doubt. Yet, along with the paeans of praise heaped upon this electronic device, there is

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also a growing chorus of criticism and a pervasive mood of doubt about its redemptive features. Actually, the computer is now widely viewed as more than a tool, after three decades during which many of its proponents attempted to assure us that, despite its considerable power, it is really an extension of the human head and hand and has no autonomy. However, in recent years, this view has been sharply attacked by experimental computer research, on the one side, and by the practice of those who interact with it, on the other. There are those like Herbert Simon who impute to it almost mystical powers, the pinnacle of which is the ability of computers to think (of course, in order to prove this proposition, Simon was forced to define humans as "information processors"-a more complex conception would certainly defeat his theory).2 Artificial intelligence research seeks to find ways to solve the age-old dilemma of uncertainty in human action which has plagued the labor process, politics, and vast areas of social life. Machines  that think are more reliably subject to prediction and control.

But the computer seems to have a mind of its own, especially if the controllers are guided by its information. Many, including some computer scientists, have already begun to compare computers to the Golem of the medieval ghetto or the monster created by Dr. Frankenstein. Far from remaining a stunning but subordinate tool, the computer frequently jumps the track, subverting human purposes that set it in motion. Like the machines that characterized the Industrial Revolution, computers are just the latest occasion for the displacement of fears that "things" are out of control, that their human origin has been lost, and that it is too late for salvation.

My stock market example is by no means the heart of the matter. For those who would not speak of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island should also keep silent about the wonders of technology. Naturally, those who continue to defend the use of nuclear technology for supplying power attribute the problems at these sites to "human error," just as Union Carbide company officials blamed workers and inadequate supervision for the disaster at Bhopal, India, in December 1984 which killed several thousand people and injured another 200,000.3 The phrase "human error" usually refers to those who operate equipment; when an airplane crashes, the pilot or maintenance mechanic is nearly always blamed. Almost never is "human error" blamed on the design of the aircraft or the basic judgment that nuclear energy is a safe bet. When technology is involved, managers and the media rarely ask whether the premises of the machine in question are valid. For example, government officials are prepared to ask whether an adequate evacuation

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plan has been devised by a company operating a nuclear reactor; the technique of generating nuclear energy or producing nuclear weapons is beyond the competence of regulatory agencies because promoting nuclear energy is national policy.

 

There are many reasons why nuclear power and air travel became privileged technologies in fuel production and transportation. I do not wish to dispute the economic and political arguments employed by corporations to persuade the many governments, including that of the United States, that these technologies were more efficient than existing means of energy production. For our purposes, the criterion of efficiency is closely linked to concepts such as cost savings, whose major component is saving time-time in the extraction of raw materials from the earth, a labor-intensive activity, or, concomitantly, the time saved by traveling 650 miles per hour rather than 100 or 200 miles per hour, the current maximum of rail transportation. Yet, rails have suffered at the hands of trucks which are, by any conventional standard, more energy-wasteful than trains. The contradictory arguments made on behalf of various methods of transport belie pure efficiency criteria: it may be that choices of technology are made entirely independent of "rational" production decisions but obey a different rationality, the power imperative.

Some students of the introduction of nuclear energy technology in advanced industrial societies have raised an entirely different set of arguments why this dangerous, even disastrous, way of obtaining energy has received such powerful support. The argument is that the decisions to "go nuclear" transcend any possible rational criteria, measured by economic or technical considerations. Instead, these critics claim that the basic impetus for the introduction of nuclear-powered energy is rooted in the hierarchical structure of society. Those at the pinnacle are able to impose a logic of domination on the rest of us by simply repeating their falsehoods through every avenue of public debate and discourse. This explanation removes the discussion of causality from the domain of instrumental reason. It is not this or that interest that has triumphed, tragically, in the corridors of power. Power itself carries its own demand, which exceeds, with impunity, the boundaries of reason. In effect, power sets new rational codes without reference to ideology.

 

If this is true, none of the by now conventional rational criticisms are adequate to the situation. One convention is to show that some interests can expect to reap huge profits from the introduction of certain technologies. Another appeals to the cult of efficiency as the supreme instrumental arbiter of social choice. Each of these positions generates

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a concomitant ideology or justification of action. The notion of power as the arbiter requires no independent ideology to accompany it. By virtue of its command over knowledge, it can manufacture justification to the extent that the need for justification remains necessary in mass democracies. For example, human survival is threatened by another major scientific/technological development: genetic engineering, the technological concomitant of discoveries generated by molecular biology. Gene splicing is a eugenic technoscience; its justification is almost invariably built on the proposal to improve the survival traits of the species by designing the gene rather than passively accepting genetically related traits as unavoidable. Genetic engineering is an intervention into evolution, an attempt to gain control over life processes.

 

These examples are not, strictly speaking, commensurable but are invoked to illustrate the range of issues that are emerging to question technology and its twin, modern science. Now the statement that science and technology have become inseparable is certainly controversial, especially among those who would insist that science is autonomous from the concerns of power and ideology. The division between science and technology is meant to protect science from its implication in the matrix of economic and political considerations, which are generally recognized to influence - if not determine - the course of technological development and its dispersion. It is still true, however, that most students of science, while acknowledging the influence of what is often labeled "cultural factors" on the process of knowledge acquisition, insist that economic, political, and ideological questions must be strictly demarcated from considerations bearing on the content of scientific knowledge. Instead, the term "scientific community" has become identical with "social context." Indeed, recent developments in the social study of science have narrowed this context to the laboratory, leaving other "external" influences aside. Despite developments over the past thirty years which try to establish a relation between scientific discourses and the historical and other social conditions within which they function, support for the proposition that science and the scientific milieu is relatively autonomous is still powerful. In Part III, I shall explore developments in the philosophy, history, and social study of science that have challenged the idea that what counts as knowledge of the external world is attained by means of scientific procedures alone. As we shall see, most investigators of science remain tied to the concept of science as a distinct knowledge sphere and have barely touched its relation to technology. The great exception, of course, is Critical Theory, the foundation of which is to establish this

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link and to assert the dominance of technology over science as well as its domination over contemporary social relations.

 

The assertion that Western culture is thoroughly technological derives from the German "romantic" critique of the Enlightenment, a critique which members of the Frankfurt School share with strains of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century neo-Kantian thought, especially Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. After arguing that the "rationalism of the Age of Enlightenment is now out of the question," Husserl nevertheless is quick to add, "but their [the Enlightenment philosophies] intention, in its most general sense, must never die out in us"; the intention is a "humanity based on pure reason."4 Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno follow a similar line of argument. They lament the Enlightenment, which created a new science and technology that could dominate nature in order to promote the flowering of reason, but that led instead to its eclipse. The end of reason was rooted in the belief, current even today, that nature could be reduced to pure object, possessing mere quantitative extension. The mathematicization and mechanization of the world picture was undertaken by seventeenth-century science in the service of prediction and control. In the process, according to Husserl, we lost contact with the "life world" in a series of dualisms: mind and body, quantity and quality, mathematic relations and human relations. For the Frankfurt School, the logical result was positivism - the alienation of human reason from itself.

 

Whereas Husserl's critique remains at the level of philosophic discourse, Horkheimer, Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse ascribed these dichotomies to the rending of society by social domination. The domination of nature fulfills a human project, the domination of people by people. Science and technology are practices that mirror the social world.

 

Still, the Frankfurt School was criticizing the enlightenment from within. Although Marcuse was ambiguous concerning science, claiming at one point that a new science free of technological domination needed to be created, he proclaims in the final chapter of his One Dimensional Man that science and technology "are great vehicles of liberation" if only they can be subordinated to new ends to replace those of domination. These ends "would operate in the project and construction of machinery and not only in its utilization." Technology can be instrumental "in the reduction of toil - it remains the very base of all forms of human freedom."6 Thus, the sharpest critics of science and technology hesitate at the door of irrationalism and will not cross the threshhold, however harsh their evaluation of the gloomy record

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of domination that lies in the wake of modern science and technology. On the other side, of course, lies reason's nemesis: religion, mysticism, myth.

 

The warfare between what has been called "science" and other discourses that purport to explain the natural and social worlds is a story many times told. As Gaston Bachelard has argued, science is constituted by its break from competing discourses that claim to explain the same objects.7 Physics, for example, breaks with forms of "irrationalism" but also with metaphysics. As Bachelard's contemporary, Karl Popper, has commented, "metaphysics offers meanings that may be helpful to other aspects of human affairs, but not science.8 Science, for Popper and Bachelard, is established by statements that can be subjected to refutation (in Bachelard's terms, "empirical validation"). It is the spirit and practice of relentless self-criticism that marks science off from other discourses, including traditional philosophy. For recent philosophers of science, even these procedures do not guarantee that the results are identical with "truth," only that they are demarcated thereby from other discourses. Within true science, there may be serious and often profound disputes of interpretation. But what all scientists share is a community rooted in method. The primacy of shared methods guarantees the reliability of what counts as science. In Parts II and III we shall explore these assertions in more detail. For now, it is enough to suggest that what those dedicated to Western scientific ideology mean by the term "science" reduces to two procedures: mathematical calculation and experimental validation/falsification of results. Mathematics ensures the rigor of investigation, establishing measurable relations and, in Bachelard's words, "gives body to pure thought." Mathematics is "the realization of the rational." However, lest science fall victim to Descartes's unwarranted "refusal to base thought on experience," experimentalism restores to observation its role as final arbiter of knowledge.9

 

Presumably, neither philosophy nor religion fulfills either of these criteria. Modern science demarcates itself, not by reconstituting the object, but by defining rationality in a specific way. At the same time, given the power of all metaphysical discourses in everyday life, it is obliged to make room for the extrascientific so long as these spheres are clearly subordinated to scientific rationality. In the knowledge hierarchies of postfeudal societies, modern scientific rationality is the privileged discourse, and. all others are relegated to the margins. As a result, institutions of the state as well as the economy -- education systems, government bureaus, the law and criminal justice systems -- emulate scientific procedures within the constraints imposed by their

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own traditions and exigencies. Art and religion hold their places at the margins of human endeavor and become extracurricular, or, to use Freud's term, "deflections," for the frustrations produced by the inhibition of desire by the reality principle.10

 

The rise of Protestantism in leading industrializing countries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries seemed to provide moral sanction for the preeminent position of modern science as knowledge. Religious institutions now viewed themselves as supplicants in an increasingly secular age and understood their role not so much as deflectors but as moral guardians for individuals damaged by the blandishments of money and power. The type of knowledge offered by religion was confined to the ethical sphere; it concerned itself with matters of family life, personal grief, and, when it felt obliged to take social action, it was remedial rather than transformative. The great denominations of Protestantism relinquished that which Catholicism had struggled to retain: a claim on epistemological as well as ontological truth. However, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the triumph of world capitalism over the remnants of the old feudal aristocracy in eastern and southern Europe forced even the recalcitrant Catholic and other orthodox churches to accommodate to the new order.

 

By the late nineteenth century, industrial production depended on scientifically based technologies; the craft traditions, of which early manufacturing was merely a form of rationalization, were themselves subordinated to the new technology; the motive force of production, energy, was no longer mechanical -- really an extension of hand or water power -- but became electrical, the principles of which derived from "pure research"; engineering replaced artisanal knowledge in designing the mode of transformation of raw materials into end products; in turn, the intellectual foundation of engineering became physics and chemistry, which themselves were institutionalized into large laboratories sponsored by and controlled by the state and large corporations. Thus, science itself no longer is only a hegemonic ideology of the new social order of capitalism and its industrial stage, but becomes integrated into the practices and discourses of production. The inter-changeability of science and technology is, of course, either denied or ignored by most philosophers and scientists, but their growing convergence extends beyond the workplace.11As scientific discourse permeates state and civil society, scientific culture spills over beyond the laboratory. Business dares make no decisions that are not grounded on mathematical calculation that provides projections; legislators enact laws based on "data" generated by scientifically trained experts Raymond Callahan has noted, referring to education, that technological

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criterion of efficiency becomes the new cult of public and private schools.12 In schools, the idea of the liberal arts slowly gives way to occupational education. "Functional" literacy becomes the criterion of success for no-frills state school systems that are stripped of their music and drawing curricula and which reduce English and history to service departments for the technical-oriented programs. Therefore, in several dramatic moments since World War II, beefing up science and math in schools has become a matter of high government priority since these disciplines are understood to be vital for a country's economic and military position in an increasingly competitive and dangerous world.

 

Science education is accorded, in the current anxiety over the loss of America's erstwhile preeminence in industrial production, a primary role in the long road to restoration. In the 1980s, as the defense budget of the United States has increased dramatically, engineers and scientists are in demand in military-related industries. Consequently, despite enormous pressure from government and industry on schools, teacher recruitment in science and math has lagged, primarily because salaries are far below those offered by private industry and research institutions. Reversing its steadfast policy of reducing federal expenditures and advocacy of scaled-down public services at all levels, the Reagan administration saw the virtue of making an exception for the teaching of science and math.

 

These illustrations do not exhaust the extent to which technological culture penetrates the social world. Right after World War II, as America assumed a position of economic, political, and military dominance in the world, secularism -- always closely related to the growth of modern science and technology -- seemed to have triumphed, irrevocably, in the cultural sphere as well. Church attendance dropped sharply, and religion in this most religious of modernized societies seemed finally on the wane, a century after its final marginalization in most industrialized European countries.13

 

Technological culture may not provide salve for the spirit, and it may do nothing to fill the void left by the marginalization of religious morality, but, as even its most severe critics are forced to admit, it gives rein to the pleasure principle. As Marcuse observed, in advanced capitalist societies, especially the United States, "the defense structure makes life easier for a greater number of people and extends man's mastery over nature."14 Although his description of technological society as a "comfortable, smooth, democratic unfreedom" was adopted by some as a reason for opposing the prevailing setup, millions who had been condemned to deprivation during the decades of industrialization wel-

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comed technology as a savior. Culture was massified, overtaking high art and marginalizing the intellectuals for whom it was sustenance, but providing a respite from the drudgery of even the most automated labor. Marcuse may have spoken for more than the intellectuals. His remorse for the contradictions of the Enlightenment finally paled against the achievements of science and technology. As a child of reason, he was unable to draw the logical conclusion from his critique that science and technology had become obstacles to freedom. Writing in the early 1960s, he could only allow that a transformed science and technology might serve the emancipatory interest better than the version that had emerged from the Dark Ages.

 

Goethe once quipped, "He who possesses science and art also has religion; but he who possesses neither of these two, let him have religion." 15 The vision is a thoroughly pluralist one. Science and art are to exist alongside religion, which as Freud noted, echoing Goethe, was the possession of everyman, defined as someone lacking the means to sublimate the irrepressible pleasure principle. For the nineteenth-century poet or scientist, the idea that religion would one more time raise its claim to yield reliable knowledge of the external natural world was unthinkable. Freud is quite clear: the belief in the supernatural is an "untenable" doctrine but better for the common folk than alcohol or drugs. Just as long as it is not taken seriously as more than an opiate. 16

 

But this is precisely what has transpired in the past decade. Despite the unambiguous triumph of the scientific worldview and the totalizing effects of technology, science and technology are experiencing unprecedented attack. For the past fifteen years, counterenlightenment religious movements have taken on worldwide and revolutionary proportions. Far from disdaining politics as beneath their ethical missions, some Jews, Moslems, and Christians alike have laid siege to the state, demanding that public life conform to religious precepts and that the separation of church and state be ended. The theocratic state, once consigned by scholars, politicians, and jurists to the past, is loudly proclaimed as the present and future by the new movements, and has already captured important outposts in the Middle East -- within the Moslem, Christian and Jewish worlds -- and is rapidly becoming the sine qua non of political victory for parties in the United States.17 Here, it is not only that lawmakers adopt biblical criteria for establishing the rules of punishment; this is an old story in America. The doctrine of retribution opposes itself to the idea that the criminal may be subject to rehabilitation. In retrospect, liberal assumptions about crime seem a brief interlude in an unbroken history of deep-seated, religiously based conservatism in American law and political

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life. Fundamentalist theology is reentering the public schools as well. And among its adversaries, none is more significant than modern science. As biologist Douglas Futuyama has warned, science is "on trial" and reason is "under fire."18 A new science of creationism has challenged the exclusive teaching of evolution in public schools and demanded that its "science" be given equal treatment. This is no longer merely a case of the ministry getting involved in politics, supporting candidates who favor state aid to parochial schools. Such requests, made by the Catholic Church for decades, challenge the separation of church and state but do not confront the ideological hegemony of modern scientific doctrine. Indeed, many parochial schools of Catholic and Protestant origins teach modern science and mathematics as necessary elements of a relevant curriculum, relevant, that is, to the job and career aspirations of their own constituencies. The fundamental distinction between the old political intervention of religious institutions, either on behalf of social justice or their own parochial interests, and the new fundamentalism is that the latter condemns enlightenment science as ideology, as one viewpoint in a plurality of discourses possessing no privileged knowledge of the external world. Thus, its demand for an equal place in the curriculum. In essence, fundamentalism has stepped forward where enlightenment critics of science have stepped back. For the purposes of this discussion, it is not relevant to point out the absurdities of the creationist account of the origins of the universe, life, and the evolution of species. At issue is the claim of enlightenment science to certainty and its refusal to acknowledge its own discourse as a form of ideology.

 

Take a case in point. In the course of his attack against creationist accounts of development, Futuyama makes two arguments: "anyone who believes in Genesis as a literal description of history must hold a world view that is entirely incompatible with the idea of evolution, not to speak of science itself. . . where science insists on material, mechanistic causes that can be understood by physics and chemistry, the literal believer in Genesis invokes unknowable supernatural forces." 19

 

The second argument is, for Futuyama, more important: "if the world and its creatures developed purely by material, physical forces, it could not have been designed and has no purpose or goal. The fundamentalist, in contrast, believes that everything in the world, every species and every characteristic of every species, was designed by an intelligent, purposeful artificer, and that it was made for a purpose."20 Futuyama defends evolution and the whole of science as holding that "mechanisms," not teleology, govern events in nature. These mechanisms free science from reliance on Aristotelian final causes and rely

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instead on the sufficiency of efficient causes. Changes within and among species can be ascribed not to ultimate purposes of God, but to the struggle for existence, to adaptation by organisms to a changing environment. Futuyama's underlying view is that of "material, mechanistic" explanations for natural events: he identifies this view as identical with that of "science."

 

Surely, the propositions of evolutionary theory are incompatible with creationism. For modern biological science, there is no question of plan or purpose in nature (although as Alexandre Koyre shows, Newton was convinced that physical laws corresponded to God's plan even if teleological explanation had no place in physics).21 However, many evolutionists and philosophers of biology have come to insist that Aristotle's idea of final cause, so vehemently rejected by the early evolutionists, had a place in modern scientific theory. Stephen J. Gould remarks:

 

It is still unfashionable in biological circles to use such words as 'design,' 'purpose,' or 'teleology.' Since final cause is so indispensable a concept in the elucidation of adaptation, and since natural selection can produce a well-designed structure without any conscious intervention of God's superhuman wisdom or the sub-human intelligence of the animal in question, one would think that these terms would again be admitted into orthodoxy. Evidently, however, we are still fighting the battle with theologians that we won in deeds almost a century ago.22

 

Futuyama may be one of those still fighting the battle, but in his zeal to distance evolution from theology, he succeeds only in making his ideas into the mirror image of his opponent's. Francois Jacob puts the issue colorfully. Commenting on the role of sexual reproduction as the "aim" for each organism and for the history of organisms, he concludes, "For a long time, the biologist treated teleology as he would a woman he could not do without, but did not care to be seen with in public. The concept of the programme has made an honest woman out of teleology."23

 

Today, the metaphors of program and system to describe the processes of heredity and organic evolution have opened a new debate concerning the question of causality in biological science. The earlier belief that science could dispense with causal explanation in favor of description was intended to remove from natural science what Laplace termed the "hypothesis" of God's design. What has been termed "essentialism" is not so easily removed. The religious counterattack

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against modern science may be misplaced, but it resonates with a widespread feeling among ordinary people that science has become a kind of priesthood and that scientists, like the old priests, are not always forthcoming about their own doubts, at least in public. The new attack on modern science, however, is not mounted simply on the authority of the Bible is the true word of God: it claims the mantle of science. Controversies within science that reveal deep fissures within that community on questions such as causality and truth have, until recently, been conducted behind closed doors. in biology, the mechanical world picture is challenged; in physics, the image of nature as pure objective extension, subject to prediction and control, is questioned by those whose work functions at the level of theory, at the same time practitioners insist that the old news is still best.

 

Perhaps the most broad-based skepticism has arisen in the field of medicine. There are several issues here: at the most fundamental level is the question of the traditional medical model of diagnosis and treatment. According to this way of seeing, the human body is a machine (in the older version) or a computer program (in the up-to-date model). The parts are relatively autonomous, making possible a treatment regimen that ignores the relations of the parts to the whole, except in cases of side effects which can be counteracted. In the old mold of medical practice, the relation of the person to the environment and the emotional state to the physical state are irrelevant. In the first instance, unless severe hunger is observed, nutritional issues are not factored into diagnostic practice. The context of medical practice itself -- treating individuals -- does not permit the effects of such "external" phenomena as pollution, work environments, quality of life based on economic circumstances, end stress related to working or family life, to become objects of treatment.

 

Medicine, based on the findings of molecular biology, adopts a systems approach to both diagnosis and treatment. In the more ecological mode, the human body is an open-ended system that is determined by its genetic code, but may be influenced by the environment with which it has homeostatic relations. In the less interesting version, the body is a dosed system consisting of information networks that are only peripherally subject to external influences. Francis Crick's version of the basic requirements for life includes the Darwinian idea, adapted from Thomas Malthus, that the organism must compete for water, food, and other life-sustaining resources. But, In the final accounting, its capacity for survival, he argues, is its internally generated information system which is built up from its molecular structures.24 Second is its capacity to mutate In the wake of changing conditions, a capacity

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that is given internally. Recent medical science has taken its picture from Crick and his associate James Watson, who together played key roles in developing molecular biology. The organism itself remains the object of study, pristine in Its singularity but seen not so much as a series of parts but as a system of "organized complexity" whose driving force is the molecular structure of the gene.25 We treat individuals differently than before. Since "the problem of life is a problem of organic chemistry,"26 measures taken to repair damaged organs should seek both diagnosis and treatment in dysfunctions in chemical combinations that affect the organ's information program. Thus, such diverse pathologies as psychosis and cancer become subject to chemical treatment. One seeks the reasons for various emotional illnesses not in the stresses produced by the life situation but in chemical malfunctions. Similarly, the most widely used treatment for some cancers is chemotherapy.

 

Of course, medical applications of molecular biology are only one of the major changes initiated by this new discipline. More controversial, and surely more problematic, have been the new technologies of genetic engineering which present themselves, in their visionary manifestations, as fulfilling the dream of both nineteenth-century eugenics and modern medicine to eliminate disuse by altering those traits that make humans less competitive in a changing physical environment. According to Jeremy Rifkin, "we are virtually hurling ourselves into the age of biotechnology." Molecular biology has succeeded in changing the heredity of the gene, transferring genes from one organism to another and, perhaps, more powerfully, has synthesized cells through engineering. Its most recent applications in food technology promise to eliminate the need for chemical preservatives.

Molecular biology is a science with a purpose and design: it seeks to transform life by recombining DNA which it has postulated as the core of life. This aim surely violates a wide spectrum of religious principles but also raises profound ethical issues. For, even if altering or remaking life were to be judged a worthy social purpose, the question is to whom are scientists performing these tasks to be accountable? This issue is in the process of adjudication by law and the courts in the United States, and the results are, to some, horrifying. The industrial state Of mind has dominated these discoveries and in the United States, this means private ownership and control of the means of production (splicing) and of the product (altered organisms). Indeed MIT has recently forged an extensive series of arrangements with some major biotechnology firms. In return for huge grants for research the university has agreed that the patents for discoveries will belong to the

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corporations. Courts have decided that these arrangements are legal because they have viewed bioengineering as simply one more industry. In a free society, so the argument goes, we may sanction a free market in gene splicing just as we recognize the free market in the production of steel or cars. Measures to prevent corporations from engaging in commerce violate their rights under law.

 

Two major issues are raised by these developments. The first is whether we can afford to free the new discoveries associated with bio-technologies from rigorous public control, assuming we could identify an appropriate regulatory agency. The second strikes to the heart of the conflict between modern science and religion, but has also been framed by nonfundamentalists who, nevertheless, hold to ethical beliefs that are counter to some types of scientific investigation. Simply stated, the issue is whether modern science has a right to alter our relationship with nature, sui generis. On the one side, the fundamentalists argue against any scientific discoveries that may violate the word of God as they have interpreted it. For those who would reject such objections on the grounds that they are "irrational," the alternative does not imply accepting the new biotechnologies. For if the aim of bioengineering is to transform our relation to nature, especially our own "nature," then the claim of science to be free of purpose, to be engaged in some anterior conception of "pure" science is most suspect. If modern science does not imply the intervention of supernatural powers, it nonetheless cannot escape interrogation of its underlying ethical assumptions, neither with respect to the content of its propositions, which it calls "laws" of nature, nor with respect to its responsibility for the results of its investigations.

 

What is at stake here is the question of entailment. If molecular biology chooses to link its discoveries in DNA and RNA research to industrial tasks, are we not justified to ask whether such discoveries do themselves entail ethically problematic purposes? This becomes especially relevant at a time when universities, the traditional seats of scientific research, are making agreements with large corporations and the government, which provide the bulk of the funds for their work. Under these circumstances, the claim of free inquiry becomes difficult to sustain.

Yet, it would be a mistake to declare that science and technology are entirely determined, in their content as well as their uses, by the hands that feed them. Science is a complex, multivaried activity. Its relation to what it "observes" is never unmediated: that is, the economic, political, and social environment in which people "do" science and technology intervenes between cognition and its object. Alexandre Koyre,

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who vehemently rejects explanations for scientific discovery that depend on the practical conditions that may spur it on, substitutes metaphysics and philosophy as mediations between theory, experiment, and nature. Similarly, Paul Davies ascribes the continuing popularity of astronomy to the fact that the study of the heavens is not far from our common and still passionate desire for transcendence, for the supernatural. At the same time, he emphasizes the rebelliousness of nature, its "inherent uncertainty," its "randomness," and the significance of "subjectivity" in the new physics. According to Davies, the "observer is beginning to play a rather essential role in the nature of the world," making absurd objectivist concepts of time and space, including those that impute to nature an inherent order.27

 

Indeed, difficulties experienced by partisans of a picture of nature as a unified field have generated major debates within physics. It is generally recognized by physicists themselves that few of its discoveries are exempt from the variability brought to them by interpretation. The facts do not speak for themselves and, through this door, marches religion and other metaphysical doctrines as well as philosophy. In Part Ill, I shall discuss the relation between philosophies and the social conditions that may give rise to them, challenging Koyre and others who wish to preserve the internalist account of science by limiting the context of discovery to purely intellectual influences. Suffice it to mention here that many who speak of nature as a unified field tread dangerously close to teleology, and even God, as the ultimate purpose. David Bohm, a theoretical physicist, asserts the formal unity of all natural phenomena, defining physical laws as tending toward the absolute through the study of partial, relative phenomena; most important, he defends causality in nature as an unlimited principle. That is, for Bohm, order, not randomness, is inherent in nature, the truth of which can be grasped by science. Although he has no recourse to the supernatural, Bohm insists that there are "hidden variables" in quantum mechanics that belie the picture of randomness and indeterminacy put forward by such thinkers as Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg.28

In short, the struggle between mechanistic science and religion reappears in different form within science itself. As I have shown, teleology is almost respectable in biology, and one of the great debates initiated by Einstein (unwittingly) and Heisenberg (with some hesitation) is whether God plays dice with the universe. Some of the key interpretative struggles within physics are whether we may posit real time and space, and whether the intervention of "subjectivity" removes these categories from the realm of objectivity. More broadly, the question remains: what do we know when we know something? If our knowl-

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edge is ineluctably bound up with the processes of observation and experiment, and if these are permeated with a priori assumptions about the character of the observed or the uses to which knowledge is destined to be put, in what sense can we say that science as a type of knowledge is superior to metaphysics, including religion?

Social ecology and radical feminism, two social movements of considerable political and ideological weight in many advanced industrial societies have, from an ethical standpoint, challenged the content and results of contemporary science and technology. Both have their roots in the 1960s and early 1970s when a general skepticism about the autonomy of science was invoked because of the subordination of much of the scientific community to military requirements, and the propping of scientific research and technological innovation by industry. Yet, the content of their critique differs from the assertion that the problem of science and technology consists essentially in the uses to which discovery and innovation are put. Instead, social ecology and radical feminism have mounted a fundamental critique of the scientific worldview, especially the contention that science and technology are neutral instruments that can be separated from the context in which they are developed. Social ecology argues that science and technology, by virtue of their subordination to the interest of the domination of nature, share responsibility with the state and capitalist corporations for the "death of nature," a metaphor that describes the increasing danger to life wrought by scientifically based technology. Rather than blame the growing problem of environmental pollution merely on the lack of state regulation, ecologists argue that technologies of boundless domination are leading to ecological disaster. On the one hand, the idea of nature as pure "object" has been a normal presupposition of practical physics insofar as it has enabled nature to be defined by categories of pure extension in the service of prediction and control. On the other hand, the imperiousness of molecular biology consists in its eugenic ideology, its eagerness to play God by altering the distinctive characteristics of our species. Ecologists explain the rebelliousness of nature as a reaction to human interventions that disturb its internal relations and its homeostatic relations with various species of life. The consequences of the industrial logic that marks contemporary biology can be dangerous to life. But the explanation given by social ecology for this state of affairs transcends the purview of social policy. What enables science to engage in life endangering activities is a belief that humans may insure their future by subjecting the gene to engineering, just as earlier industrialists exploited nonrenewable raw materials to advance various ends, including profits and the promise of liberation

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from material hardship and other socially approved values. Here we are engaged in a drama of both intention and unintentional consequences. The ideology of nature as "other" or "matter" undifferentiated by quality and infinitely fungible is a necessary condition for a science that has integrated itself into technology, in which the difference between them becomes analytic rather than ontological. Theoretical physics and biology may try to hold themselves aloof from the uses to which their discoveries may be put; Einstein certainly did not mean to lend his discoveries to the invention of weapons of nuclear destruction, and seventeenth-century astronomers may not have performed their work exclusively for the sake of improving instruments of navigation. Nor is it necessary to make direct connections between developments in wave mechanics and the rise of communications technology. The arguments made by those who try to discover, both by empirical research and by inference, a commercial or industrial telos in processes of discovery are certainly misdirected. The point is, rather, to examine the tendency of scientific ideology, the stuff of which discovery is made, that is, to situate science as a discourse within a larger system of social relations in which economic and political influences do not necessarily appear directly in the laboratory.

 

Ecology takes two directions on this issue. One is to argue from what might be called a historical standpoint: this is no longer the age of the individual thinker puttering in the laboratory under conditions similar to those of the artist. While scientific procedures may be considered quite distinct from those of the artist (except perhaps the composer of music), the creative side of science was, at the time of Galileo and even Lavoisier, commensurable with that of art. Scientific and artistic work requires months, perhaps years, of drudgery. But the process of scientific discovery in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and even well into the nineteenth, was marked by individual effort. The scientist, like the artist, worked alone or with very small groups. Then comes Pasteur, in the later years of the century, a professor who, as Bruno Latour reports, attaches himself to forces of industry and the state and makes science a social force.29 Latour's narrative of Pasteur's claim that he had made a serum that cured an anthrax epidemic in France was not validated through reproducible experiments made by scientists but by three institutions possessing the power to certify such a claim: the scientific community, of course; milk processors and producers requiring some relief from a costly and nearly devastating outbreak of the disease among cattle; and the state. Latour's conclusion is not that "society" influences the course of science, but that the laboratory becomes a model for social power. Drawing on FoucauIt's thesis

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that the knowledge/power relation becomes characteristic of modern society, not only does Latour posit this conjuncture as the condition of scientific truth, but he conversely argues that traditional institutional power draws its strength from the laboratory which in the twentieth century becomes a producer of commodities and of social power. Latour wishes to demonstrate that science is not subordinate to capital, as Marx and Marxists argue, but has become a crucial form of capital, with the laboratory a site of its production. Science retains some of the features of art, but the process of scientific discovery has been permanently removed from anything resembling an autonomous sphere.

 

Science lends itself to integration because it shares, with the rest of society, the teleology of domination over nature. Its incorporation into industry and the state may be necessary for the survival of nations, considering the world economic and political order. But, as these ecologists contend, such a close relationship between science and the forces of order means that industry has been able to multiply its productive powers by geometric proportions over industrial production in the (relatively) prescientific age. Specifically, the transformation of physical, chemical, and biological knowledge into instruments of economic, political, and military power is the foundation of our ecological crisis.

 

It does not matter that the scientific community ritualistically denies its alliance with economic/industrial and military power. The evidence is overwhelming that such is the case. Thus, every major industrial power has a national science policy; the United States military appropriates billions each year for "basic" as well as "applied" research. The National lnstitutes of Health provide vast sums for research that will be transformed into industrial technologies by private corporations which, in turn, make products for industry and for mass consumption that often spell disaster for the environment. What distinguishes this indictment from the criticisms of environmentalists is the demand by ecologists for new social arrangements that embody a radically new principle in our collective relationship to nature. Their demand for an ecologically pacific natural environment threatens the organized complexity of the marriage of science and industry in every country. The collective nature of scientific research is made possible only by the investments of the state and large corporations. Better to halt this form of science and return to science as art. Under such circumstances, a way of life would come to an end, for scientific and technological development underlies rising standards of living in the most industrially developed countries. Beyond the standard of living is a whole concept of culture based upon consumption, our notions of the relation-

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ship between work and what we call "leisure," in short, our relationship to experience. That the "technological sensorium" dominates everyday life seems hardly disputable.30 The question is whether this is what we want. Ecology normatively challenges this sensorium rather than focusing only on its effects. It has formed and inspired movements, political parties, and massive protests against those who employ scientifically produced technologies that, in its view, inhibit freedom. What is at stake in its alternative is the possibility of constructing a social ethic that proposes different assumptions about what constitutes the good life. For the philosophy of ecology, a world without domination, domination of nations, of women, of nature, of cultures, requires a radically different conception of science and technology since what it entails is a radically new idea of the everyday.

Ecology's critique of science and technology, while not ostensibly religious, suggests that ethical neutrality with respect to the results of scientific enterprise is not justified. The ecological position, in its most sophisticated formulation, challenges the idea that any form of human knowledge can be separated from its consequences. If one finds that science has made an alliance with prevailing forces of destruction to further the interest of domination of humans, its position as an unassailable, almost sacrosanct discourse must be overturned. Murray Bookchin, perhaps America's most trenchant and global ecological theorist, puts the case:

 

In our discussions of modern ecological and social crises, we tend to ignore the more underlying mentality of domination of each other and by extension of nature. I refer to an image of the natural world that sees nature as "blind," "mute," "cruel," "competitive," and "stingy," a seemingly demonic "realm of necessity" that opposes "man's" striving for freedom and self-realization. . . . This all-encompassing image of an intractable nature that must be tamed by a rational humanity has given us a domineering form of reason, science and technology.31

 

To this image, Bookchin opposes "an ecological standpoint: nature as a constellation of communities . . . freed of all anthropocentric moral trappings, a participatory realm of interacting life forms whose most outstanding attributes are fecundity, creativity and directedness marked by complementarity."32  Bookchin clearly identifies traditional notions of reason, science, and technology with the identification of nature with the capitalist marketplace (itself linked to conventional evolution theory, which, as I have noted, is adapted by Darwin from

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Malthusian conceptions of natural history). In effect, Bookchin counterposes nature in metaphors derived from art to those of enlightenment science, which has employed the metaphors of commodity relations. In both cases, we have recourse to ethical discourses in which telos is present as a regulative principle. Enlightenment science, which believes itself free of references to purpose, and aim in its conception of nature, has, as Bookchin shows, simply portrayed nature in the image of capitalist social relations. In contrast, reflecting the views of a wide spectrum of ecological thought, Bookchin frankly admits that ecology pictures nature as an active, purposive agency, clinging to standard notions of objectivity when he tries to distance ecological thought from "anthropocentric moral trappings." This anachronism in Bookchin's discourse reveals not so much the weakness of ecological ideas as the strength of science as a hegemonic ideology. For the meaning of "hegemony" consists precisely in its presence within the discourse of opponents of the dominant ideology. At the same time, it can be argued that the ecological and feminist critiques of modern science are based on exposing science as ideology by means of showing its subjectivity, its character as ambiguous moral agent.

The explosion of the modern feminist movement since the late l960s has generated what is perhaps the richest body of social theory in the last twenty years. This is not to ignore the extraordinary work of Simon de Beauvoir or earlier theorists of feminism such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman,33 or the many feminist novelists whose critiques of marriage and the family were framed within conventional literary forms. Feminist theory has sought to explore the position of women in the West as well as the Third World in a great number of intellectual fields. Feminist historians have sought to debunk the myth that there is no "her" story in economic, political, and cultural terms. Since, as Walter Benjamin remarked, history is written by the victors, the hidden story of women's struggles for equality and escape from the yoke of male domination has to be told by other women who will explore the underside of dominant narratives. This history joins the general movement of social history that has succeeded in uncovering the lives of working people, black slaves, and other "invisible" groups denied a public identity by those who are the appointed guardians of official history. Sociologists and anthropologists have explored the lives of women engaged in homemaking, and have sought to restore to that activity the name labor."34 Others have theorized the equal social weight of the labor of biological and social reproduction -- especially child rearing -- with that of material production, arguing that women participate as workers in both spheres but have been systematically

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expunged from considerations of questions of social relations and power. In short, the lives of women, their forms of self-production and self-organization, their successes and failures, have been the loud silence in historical and social scientific studies. A whole army of feminist scholars have made enormous efforts to recover women's voices, to uncover the specificity of women's discourse.

 

The attempt to find women's voice in science, especially in scientific discovery, proceeds according to at least two major roads of inquiry. First is to assert that women have participated in science and technology, if not as equals, at least in considerable depth. The figures of geneticist Barbara McClintock, organizational and technological theorist Lillian Gilbreth, physical therapist Sister Elizabeth Kenny, and physicist Marie Curie are invoked only to illustrate the range of contributions that women have made to scientific and technological discovery. Citing Erik Erickson's question, "what will happen to science if and when women are truly represented in it -- not by a few glorious exceptions, but in the ranks of the scientific elite?" Evelyn Fox Keller is quick to remind us that despite McClintock's contribution to understanding the mechanism of inheritance, she is still the exception, and that science is dominated by men.36 Extensive study of McClintock's difficult travail as a genuine theorist rather than practitioner of normal science was meant to illustrate that, as a visionary, she faced resistance from a scientific elite ensconced in its own assumptions and prejudices against women, and that the moral neutrality of scientists could not be assumed despite the possibility that McClintock offered new knowledge. Keller's interest is to show that sex and gender relations bear on the exclusion of women from scientific communities and that these relations are deeply rooted in the ideology of Western culture, inscribed in its most eminent philosophical works -- that woman is other, is identified with nature, and is an object of domination. Francis Bacon, one of the formative figures in the development of modern scientific ideology, was also a key proponent of the identity of science with male power. Nor was he exceptional. Keller's reading of Plato's Symposium and Phaedrus reveals the close relationship of male sexuality and the production of knowledge. Knowledge for Plato is erotically based, but closed to female participation37

 

While affirming that gender has become a crucial element in the exclusion of women from science, Keller rejects the idea advanced by some feminist writers that Western science is male science. In feminist theory, this concept seeks to remove from Western science the mantle of objectivity by proving that its antiecological practices -- and, even more significant, the mathematicization of nature and the scientific

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ethic of prediction and control -- are steps toward the exclusion of women and undermine modern science's universalism claims. Whereas Keller confines her critique to the exclusion of women from the scientific elite, Carolyn Merchant contrasts the modern scientific worldview which is formed by the dual concepts of "mechanism and the domination of nature" with an earlier "organic-oriented mentality" that held to a nurturing image of the earth, an image of which the womb, woman/mother are the central referents.38 According to Merchant, the replacement of this imagery, which survived as late as the Renaissance, by the mechanical world picture is linked to commercialization and industrialization, which remain the animus of our contemporary social world. These images had been a crucial feature of Western civilization, functioning as an "ethical constraint" on mining and other activities that destroyed the earth. Thus, Merchant historicizes modern science and, far from conceiving it as "progressive," argues that it represents a regression from an earlier science that was prevalent in ancient civilization. "Violence" against the earth is consonant with violence against women, since earth relates to humans as mother to child. Man's conquest of nature, then, is analogous to dominating women. For Merchant, it is impossible to abstract the development of modern science and technology from this process.

This is an example of one vision of what has become known as the "feminist standpoint." In the materialist account, the sexual division of labor in which women have been made subordinate to men in all aspects of their existence -- material production, social reproduction, especially in their enforced role of chief, if not sole, child rearer -- has consequences for the character of knowledge. Knowledge is gender differentiated, according to Nancy Hartsock, because the sexual division of labor forces women to occupy a different position in the social structure.39 This position is not induced by the biological differences between men and women but is, instead, socially constructed. She acknowledges these differences but argues that we can never know the degree to which they might influence, if not determine, the forms of knowledge until sexual divisions are abolished.

 

This is the "objectivist" account of the feminist standpoint insofar as it does not rely for its argument on the actual consciousness of women. Rather, following Marx and Georg Lukacs, the structure of Hartsock's argument reiterates the view that social being determines social consciousness but substitutes women for the proletariat. Otherwise, one would have to adopt the viewpoint that knowledge is free of its material preconditions, that there is an unmediated relationship

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between the knower and known. Hartsock's central metaphors are those of political economy, although she draws liberally on the psychoanalytic literature of object relations as well. Yet, the ideas of commodification, appropriation, exploitation, and oppression are the crucial analytic categories in her attempt to establish a specifically feminist discourse or standpoint.

 

Hartsock does not spell out the implications of such a view for the relation of gender and science, but her account bears on the production of knowledge. Even though Hartsock distances herself from culturalist versions of feminism such as those offered by Merchant, Mary Daly, and Susan Griffin -- all of whom represent the fall of civilization in terms of the transformation from maternal, or female, images and myths to those of masculinity -- she adopts their theory of knowledge while framing it within Marxist concepts of historical materialism. Her criteria for the concept of feminist standpoint is totally derived from the presuppositions of Marxist theory in its Lukacsian form, including the idea that the standpoint of the exploited or the oppressed makes possible the unmasking of prevalent social relations that produce oppressive conditions of life. That there is a specifically woman's experience of the world is beyond question. What needs to be interrogated, however, is whether this experience produces a feminist epistemology. Like Merchant, Hartsock reads masculine epistemology into the history of Western philosophy. Hegel's master-slave dialectic, in which the self is formed through a "life and death struggle," is ascribed by Hartsock to class and masculine relations, thus denying its universality. Males are afflicted with dualistic consciousness; they live in, but are not of, the family. Their formative experiences are of an abstract character "and a denial of the relevance of the material world to the attainment of what is of fundamental importance: love of knowledge, or philosophy (masculinity). The duality of nature and culture takes the form of a devaluation of work, or necessity, and then primacy instead of a purely social interaction for the attainment of undying fame."40 Beginning with a materialist account of women's position in social reproduction, Hartsock finds common ground with cultural feminism's attack against science as the realm of the abstract and the identification of women with nature. But she goes further to link masculinity to the pursuit of knowledge as an abstract ideal. In this paradigm, women are concerned with the affective realm, men with the cognitive; women are consigned to the concrete, men to the abstract. Women are nature, males culture. Of course, these antinomies are the elements of masculine ideology. But Hartsock does not stop there. For her critique of the

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antinomies of sexist thought has a point: it is to construct an image of women that is represented as the real in contrast to the male imaginary:

 

Women's construction of self in relation to others leads in an opposite direction --toward opposition to dualism of any sort; valuation of concrete, everyday life; a sense of a variety of connectedness and continuities both with other persons and with the natural world. If material life structures consciousness, women's relationally defined existence, bodily experience of boundary challenges, and activity of transforming both physical objects and human beings must be expected to result in a world view to which dichotomies are foreign.41

In other words, there is a feminist standpoint which radically transforms the nature of knowledge. This is so because science derives from its philosophical presuppositions, which, if we are to follow Hartsock's logic, are rooted in the conditions of material existence. Hartsock omits discussion of the concrete knowledge that can be derived from this standpoint and of the degree to which it would differ from that proposed by the male worldview; she does not provide a method for arriving at that knowledge. For the present, we must confine ourselves to the structure of her argument. Hartsock's critique, unlike those of ecofeminism and cultural feminism, stands firmly on the twin sciences of psychoanalysis and Marxist theory of historical change, historical materialism. These are, of course, derivative of the abstract, universal premises of enlightenment philosophy of science. For both, the self is constructed out of the manifold relations into which it enters; it is not a thing, sui generis. Freud and Marx share the idea that the self is a reified construction masking deeper relations that are to be uncovered by scientific investigation. In each case, we are constrained to employ abstract, a priori categories such as the psychic structure with its three parts (Freud) or the mode of production of material life with its two elements being forces and relations of production (Marx). In each case, the domination of nature becomes the precondition for the formnation of self; it is the structuring relation within which class or psychic relations fight it out. So, if we are to follow Hartsock, her own theoretical sources are intimately entwined with masculine forms of knowledge, and the price of appropriating these modes of knowing must be calculated. Her own description of the categories of the feminist epistemology are strikingly similar to those produced by the cultural feminists. Women are concrete; their relation to nature is continuous rather than dualistic; "dichotomies are foreign" to their way of

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knowing. These conclusions also appear in the discourses of Merchant, Daly, and Griffin, although they make no claim to follow the precepts of male-oriented science. Instead, they offer an alternative myth to that of science: the ancient times were a golden age when feminist ways of relating to nature were dominant. Then, "commercialism and industrialism" signaled a fall from grace or, in Daly's account, patriarchy appeared as a violent counterrevolution to maternal culture.42 Merchant's apocryphal, utopian history becomes a weapon in the feminist struggle against male science. Premodernity, regarded by the Enlightenment as a static and reactionary worldview, becomes, for this version of the feminist standpoint, a science that views the "cosmos as a living unit" in which humans were linked both to the heavens and to other animals. Aristotle, whose cosmology became the object for refutation by seventeenth-century science, is here regarded as a flawed but essentially ecological thinker. Merchant does not render the history of the transformation of science as a struggle of ideas. As I have noted, she points to material, economic reasons for the changing assumptions of science. But since she adopts a frankly utopian and political standpoint, her account of the "death of nature" does not rely on material categories of causality. Instead, she weaves myth and science together in a mosaic that takes ideas seriously as historical agents. Hartsock, on the other hand, manifests the contradiction of a logocentric method with feminist ideology of organicism.

 

In a future work, I explore the substance of feminist and ecological claims about science. For the present, it is sufficient to open the discussion. Religious, ecological, and cultural feminist objections to modern science differ in many ways. What unites them is their condemnation of the failure of science to come to terms with its own social and political commitment. The virtue of feminist critiques of science is that they try to go beyond the tendency prevalent among ecologists, environmentalists, and others, to confine their objections to the uses without challenging the philosophical presuppositions of science the content of contemporary scientific theories, or the methods of science. Merchant has provided a critique, parallel to that of the Frankfurt School, which focuses on the metaphysical foundations of modern science and suggests, following the lead of Adrienne Rich that the pejorative metaphor of women as "other" to male reason "divested of the trappings of patriarchy, gives rise to a distinctively female bond with nature."43 If the feminist critique of science as a but not the form of reason is right, it may occupy no privileged position with respect to knowledge of nature. It is a way of knowing, burdened with presuppositions permeated with the interest of (male) domination of women/na-

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ture. These presuppositions, derived from the social world, configure its results. Thus, we may subject the scientific method to scrutiny as well as the overwhelming tendency of some strains of physics and biology toward reductionism, especially their denial of the concepts of levels according to which biology, psychology, and social science are discourses whose object of knowledge is irreducible to physical and chemical properties. For feminism, the problems of social relations are not subsumed by basic biological drives, which, in turn, are derived from "organic chemical reactions." At the same time, the feminist standpoint invokes metaphors of women's physiology to describe nature.

 

In sum, the mechanical and reductionist worldview of natural science is under siege from three major movements that have questioned the gulf separating scientific knowledge from moral and ethical considerations. Among the weapons of criticism employed by these movements, none is more powerful than the readings of the canon of scientific philosophy since the post-Socratics. The evidence of what Max Black calls "models and metaphors" in the laws of science reveal the extent to which the categories of myth still pervade science and, particularly, its inability to eliminate human purpose from the multiple issues surrounding scientific discovery.

To be sure, science itself has provided the impetus for much of this work. For, as historians and philosophers of science have tried to demonstrate, recent profound changes in the scientific picture of the world have reinserted the subject into scientific discovery, have revived once hated theories, and have introduced uncertainty about the question whether science "needs" a teleological hypothesis to explain its discoveries. The reinstatement of teleology and neo-Lamarckian ideas in biology, uncertainty in physics, parapsychology and the religious connection to the big bang theory in cosmology points to scientific communities that are philosophically and even metaphysically rent. While the public face of science remains resolutely rationalistic, doubt is creeping in; some scientists have launched their own movement against corporate and military control over research, demanding once again a return to the autonomy of scientific work. And, as was true of physics and biology in the past, the merger of theoretical science with philosophy has reappeared, even as some philosophers of science insist that they have nothing to offer the acquisition of positive knowledge -- their role is merely to clear up misunderstandings.

 

Since the relativity and quantum mechanics debates of the first third of the twentieth century, in which theoretical physicists openly clashed on questions of interpretation of the results of discovery, historians,

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sociologists, and even a few philosophers of science have been given "permission" to interrogate science and to suggest, however meekly, that there are ideological elements of scientific theory. I shall discuss these developments in some detail in Part III. For now, it is enough to remark that there exists widespread skepticism concerning the autonomy of science within the scientific community itself as well as social movements and a section of the populations of industrialized countries. Some scientists, philosophers, and social scientists are exploring the historical and social constitution of science, especially the "facts" that constitute scientific knowledge. They have concluded, in various ways, that what might be called the "social relations" of science, including the worldviews that are constitutive of scientific knowledge, are inseparable from the results of discovery. The philosophy, history, and sociology of science explores the claim of modern science (a) to be independent of the social/historical context within which it works and (b) to discover "facts" that, even if theory-dependent, correspond to the external world. The first debate concerns the autonomy of science from the conditions of the production of knowledge. Since Thomas Kuhn's suggestion (1962) that paradigm shifts in science were dependent not only on "shifts in perceptions," a concept borrowed from N. Hanson (1958),44 but also upon changes in the context within which scientific discovery took place, historians and sociologists of science have tried to get a handle on these presumably "external" influences upon scientific development. Those who wish to preserve the fundamental autonomy of science, such as Koyre, Hanson, and Kuhn himself, confine these extraideational influences to the scientific community, defined variously in broader terms, or, as in some recent sociological histories and studies, to the laboratory.45 The exceptions (see Paul Forman, 1971)46 speak of an episteme, or cultural environment, that may influence the content of scientific theory. However, only Marxism has provided a social/historical interpretation that encompasses both science and technology, explaining their development in relation to large economic, political, and ideological transformations.

 

Perhaps it was the mechanical correspondence theory of scientific truth employed by Marxism after Marx that resulted in the deafening silence with which mainstream philosophers, historians, and social scientists greeted its accounts. When Marx and the Marxists are discussed, it is only to dismiss them as in Koyre's summary refutation cited above. The mainstream tradition in the sociology of science, represented by Robert Merton and the Columbia school, confines its explorations of the social context of science to studies of the scientific community, particularly "institutional and ethical factors" such as the

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character of scientific education, and networks of personal relations based on schools attended and scientific organizations.47 Even the "new social studies in science," -- grouped around the Edinburgh School (Barry Barnes, David Bloor), Michael Mulkey, Karin Knorr-Cetina, and, in a somewhat different vein, Steve Woolgar and Bruno Latour -- have, in the name of abolishing the dichotomy between internalist and externalist explanations, fashioned a microsociology of knowledge in which the actual interactions of working scientists, their discourse concerning observations, and their negotiations as to what they actually "saw" constitute scientific facts.48 These accounts differ from Mertonian sociology insofar as the social studies school argues in various ways that scientific facts are constructed socially, but the scientific community is often made nearly identical with the social. In this connection, one of the dominant strains of the social study of science has become ethnomethodology, a derivative of phenomenology; recent sociology of science seeks to actually locate the point of production of scientific knowledge as the outcome of intersubjectivity. In recent times, only the Edinburgh School and Bruno Latour attempt to link scientific knowledge with social interest, owing much in this respect to the Marxist and neo-Marxist conceptions of ideology.

 

Although social studies of science, including the older work of Merton, do not ignore Marxism, it is also true that the historical perspective on science and technology that has been closely identified with the Marxist tradition is marginal to this work. As I shall show in Part III, historiographic works on science, following Koyre and Kuhn, remain embedded in the problem of intertextuality, that is, the relation of scientific ideas to philosophy, or, more broadly, the prevailing mentality of a historical period. Missing in these accounts are concrete studies in the social relations of science that go beyond the laboratory or professional contexts within which scientists act.

In Part 1, I discuss the theory of scientific discovery emanating from Marx and Engels. As we shall see, controversies concerning this question within Marxism reveal differences of interpretation as wide as those in the philosophy of science and technology. Moreover, as I shall show, Marxism, following Marx's own ambivalence, mirrors the debates in every discipline concerning the general question of what constitutes science; the relevance of social relations to the form and substance of scientific knowledge, that is, to what counts as knowledge; and, more broadly, the relation of science to what is called "society."

 

I follow with an examination of the Marxist tradition, in its "orthodox" version emanating from the theorists of the Second and

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Third Internationals as well as from those who may be designated as "neo-Marxist." My main point in Part II is that the transformations within Marxism tend to follow changes in mentalities that accompany both social and cultural developments and the ideologies embedded within them. Like natural science itself, Marxism is not immune from the controversies of the time(s) within which it theorizes social and natural phenomena.

 

At the same time, Marxism is constantly confronted with a disruption not experienced by other perspectives. This consists in the problem of reconciling its own claim to be a "science," in the sense of nineteenth-century physics or chemistry, with its equally powerful axiomatic proposition that nature and history are constituted by the social relations of production, and that the production of the material means of social existence is at the same time the production of humans themselves (including their mental life). Thus, if social production is not merely the instrument through which humans survive the vicissitudes of their external environment but constitutes the multiplicity of their social relations, Marxism provides the clue to a radically different conception of scientific knowledge than is contained in its own aspirations. For, under this axiom, not only science, but Marxism itself, must be comprehended within the framework of social relations. Both its axiomatic and its theoretical structures must be understood as aspects of prevailing relations of production. In this regard, the referent of scientific knowledge, is not only the object of investigation or, as in recently discovered quantum mechanics, the observer, but also the social matrix within which modes of thought are constituted. That most of the leading theorists of science and technology in the Marxist perspective have been unable to situate their own "paradigm" reflexively, that is, to understand the extent to which Marxist science contains ideological elements or, at the very least, is dependent upon the character of those relations that constitute it, attests to the power of the enlightenment faith that nature (and human nature) may be comprehended directly. As I shall show in Part 11, on neo-Marxist science and Soviet science, even when they acknowledge the social constitution of scientific facts, the historical relativity of scientific knowledge is attenuated by a strict adherence to a realist epistemology; according to which the correspondence of Scientific propositions to the material world may be established through experimental or mathematical proofs. There are, of course, exceptions, but these have had little lasting influence on Marxism as an intellectual movement.

 

One may notice striking commensurabilities with this development in the non-Marxist historiography, sociology, and philosophy of sci-

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ence as well as among scientists themselves, especially those who are also philosophers. To acknowledge that the production of knowledge is a social process has not been commonplace in discourses on science; however, since Kuhn, the idea is becoming more respectable. Yet, of the major movements of thought originating in the nineteenth century, only Marxism can account theoretically for this development (the exceptions, poststructuralist philosophy and historiography and the sociology of knowledge, are in fundamental respects derivative of Marxism, even if by negation). At the same time, the countervailing tendency within Marxism toward totality bars a wholehearted historical relativism.

 

Nevertheless, whereas Kuhn, for example, alludes to social and cultural influences on paradigm shifts in science, Marxism specifies these in terms of economic, political, and ideological determinants. And, it is precisely because Marx himself generates categories that make a social analysis of science and technology possible, that Marxism, despite its ambivalence, has produced the only coherent social theory of science, a theory which has scandalized its opponents (for example, Karl Popper). Only recently, however, have some working in the Marxist tradition been willing to extend theory to the production of scientific knowledge. Others, notably the structuralist and analytic schools, have directed their energies to affirming Marxism 's scientificity by declaring that the social aspects in its development are of little or no interest, except insofar as they illuminate the degree to which Marxist propositions conform to canon of scientific evidence and proof.

 

In chapters 2 and 3 I examine, in detail, Marx's theory of science and technology. Except for comments in letters and his notes for Capital published as the Grundrisse, Marx offers no separate theory of science and technology. Rather, his theory is imbedded, almost coded, in the rich description of the labor process developed in the first volume of Capital and in the crucial sections on accumulation. As we shall see, Marx understands science in terms of the domination of capital over labor. Science is subsumed under capital in the period of the transformation of the labor process from manufacturing to modern industrial production. Chapter 4 traces the subtle shift in Marxist theory of science from its role in production to an epistemological inquiry closely connected to the status of Marxism itself as a science, and also considers the role of the productive forces in the transition from capitalism to socialism, a preponderant concern of leading theorists of early twentieth-century socialism, who, taking Marx literally, foresaw that the role of science in the new social order would be even more central than it had hitherto been in advanced capitalist societies.

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In chapter 5, I take up the work of the Frankfurt School, which, having taken seriously Lukacs's insistence that nature was a social category and science ineluctably entwined with social relations, returns to the historical focus of Marx himself. But now, the shift away from considerations of the labor process is definitive. Rather -- like Lukacs, Horkheimer, and Adorno -- Marcuse and Sohn-Rethel, whose theory of science is deeply influenced by the Frankfurt critique of science, undertake an examination of the ideological aspects of scientific assumptions and discoveries. However, whereas Sohn-Rethel retains Lukacs's focus on the commodity form, the Frankfurt School presupposes Marx's categories and adopts a Weberian emphasis on forms of rationality. Chapter 6 shows how later theorists, particularly Habermas, want to find pathways back to reason but no longer find them through the route of science. In effect, for Habermas, science and technology have become part of the taken-for-granted world of instrumental reason. His is a postindustrial theory of communication that seeks to address the problems of social relations through language. In Chapter 7 I discuss the full-throated emergence of a Marxist epistemology introduced by Althusser through the influences of Jacques Lacan and particularly Gaston Bachelard. I also show the affinity of this tendency with the Italian school emanating from Galvano Della Volpe. Finally, perhaps the apogee of this new Marxist scientism is the most recent development of analytic Marxism, which wants to articulate Marxism with normal, positivistic scientific method. Chapter 8 explores the history of Soviet ideology of science, an ideology that has become official state doctrine. I show that Soviet views of science, while ensconced in orthodox Marxist presuppositions, parallel tendencies in non-Marxist theories of science as well.

 

Part III traces parallel developments in non-Marxist discourses on science. Here, we shall see the battle joined principally at the epistemological level, since those perspectives that I loosely group under the tentative rubric of liberalism have no specific social theory of economic, political, or scientific discourse. In fact, I argue that a distinction between Marxism and liberalism at the ideological level lies precisely in the absence of a distinctive liberal social theory of science. Since enlightenment ideology, especially its scientific and technological modes, proceeds from the presuppositions of individually driven market relations, on the one hand, and claims concerning the universality of reason, on the other, social theory is occluded from this antinomy. At most, liberalism appropriates conservative communitarianism as a social site. But indigenous liberalism implies that society is constituted by individuals and that individual choice is the foundation

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of collective association. Thus, the sociological conception of the "scientific community" as the site of scientific discovery and the court of scientific truth. In turn, the scientific community is composed of associated individuals united by their training and knowledge, a unity which makes possible the determination of whether any assertion is scientifically valid.

 

Clearly, this conception of the social derives from possessive individualism. There are really no "structures" of social life, no relations that transcend individual determination. More recently, Michel Foucault has advanced the idea of discursive formation which links social groups to discourses arranged spatially. Foucault's insistence on the inextricable link between knowledge and power suggests that various discursive communities are also political/economic formations and, more generally, that what counts as knowledge is entwined with domination. Although Foucault is usually catalogued within post-Marxism, there is no question that the referent is still historical materialism, even if the primacy of the economic is denied.

 

However, there can be no returning to the letter of historical materialist theories as they were articulated by Marx and Engels. For as we shall see, both are imbued with the enlightenment ideal of science as somehow resistant to the infusion of the ideologies produced in course of the production and reproduction of capitalist social relations. This view is attributable not only to the context in which studies of language and discourse as sources of ideology were still in their infancy, but also to the problems posed by evolutionist ideology. According to this ideology, humans stand at the pinnacle of the natural order; their unique stature is owed to their capacity to produce means of subsistence, and thereby to produce their life. In the production of all aspects of existence, science is the master discourse and Marxism underscores itself as the authentic representation of mastery in the social field, and, as metascience, in the so-called natural field as well.

At issue in this book are both propositions and evolutionary ideology: I argue that science is a labor process like others; that its practices constitute an intervention of a specific kind, whose contrast with types of social and natural interventions cannot be arranged hierarchically on a scale of truth or adequacy; and finally that science is a discourse that narrates the world in a special way.