By Magie W.F.
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Extra resources for A source book in physics
They have also denied the whole notion of progress (indeed, the idea of society as an above human essence and the possibility of a 'greater' purpose). They have put forward the view that distinctions between fact and myth, between reality and images, truth 21 and falsity, order and chaos and, more generally, good and evil, for example - so common in the Enlightenment sciences, including most of critical theory - are false distinctions. All we can know about, they tend to argue, are our methods of understanding, our methods of creating meanings (and thus cultural norms and values), our uses of language, our processes of interacting.
By this he means that there has been a tendency to treat humanity as a moral unity, but at the same time to defend the sacredness and individual integrity of a great diversity of societies and/or cultures - a methodological many. This was part of a developing idealism which had as its major goal the protecting of non-western peoples from exploitation. Historically, when confronted with diverse peoples on the edges of Western expansion, Europeans debated the question of whether or not such peoples were human.
Nature does not control human destiny, it was argued, but 'rational' humans are in charge of their own destinies, indeed, of humankind's collective destiny. However, in order to maintain the sense of purity which social scientists attributed to rationality, to the acquisition, as they saw it, of 'Truth' (Morgenthau, 1946), to the denial of human passions and to the notion of progress, in the face of what appeared to be continuing evil and dubious progress, they increasingly began to speak of a theoretical humanity, an idealized humanity of the future (Pocock, 1985; Carroll, 1985), one without evil or passion.
A source book in physics by Magie W.F.