The Confrontation with Nature
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Human existence is represented as being rationally perfected through labour transforming the natural world into a better artificial one. The technological society and its future innovation is represented as an inevitable consequence of natural evolution and laws, replacing the natural world with itself, while being idealised as the rational consequence of the application of natural science to the construction of society. This entails the fundamental idea that human freedom does not consist in an independence from natural law but, rather, in the knowledge of natural laws and the possibility of making them dialectically work towards definite ends. Supposedly the knowledge of natural laws and mechanisms provides the promise of instrumentally increasing the material possibility of liberating us from the organically evolved alethic modes of our “natural state”. This permits a transformation in the concept of labour into the primary relation between human beings and the material world and has profound implications for the social ontology of being and the construction of human experience. The role of a concept of mechanism has not only been essential for the intelligibility of the ontology and epistemology of experimental science and how it has been used to understand Nature, but this concept presupposes instrumentalist conceptions of technology and technical rationality, which have resulted in the dominance of the positivistic interpretation of natural science since Thomas Hobbes wrote and published Leviathan.1
KeywordsNatural World Modern Science Technological Society Human Relation Human Freedom
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