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Why the lingering public feeling that science and related technologies are partially responsible for the vanishing natural environ- ment and the persuasive pollution by-products of science-based industries?

Brave New World vs Nineteen Eighty-Four

While the computer revolution races on is there substance to the fear that too much knowledge, too easily accessible might be socially harmful? Scientific-technological achievements have changed our relationship not only to the material world around us but more importantly, to ourselves. Control has been extended inward and outward, yet the old question remains, who is in control. Utopian dreams have been vindicated and dystopian night- mares confirmed. The dialogue of the Utopist and the Arcadian, captured so vividly by W.

Auden in the twilight mood of Western civilization, is likely to continue with the two talking at each other via computer terminals. While today's utopian dreams - muted, fragmented, individualized - linger on, now invariably tied to the constraints imposed by science and technology, achievements in those areas directly affecting the human condi- tion demonstrate at last that there is no short path to a utopian future. In fact, Western impatience had to learn what the old sages always knew: it is the way, the path that matters, more than the technological result.

The changing relationship of science and utopia, retraced in some of its intricacies in this volume, show precisely this unsolved dilemma: while a retreat into the past is not possible, even our most powerful tools cannot assure a future constructed in certainties.

We are left to cope with uncertainties. Science and technology remain the tools to reduce some of them, even while creating new ones, thus leaving us confronted with a future of our own making. This volume began with a small colloquium organized at the Wissenschafts- kolleg zu Berlin in February, when one of us H. The final editing was achieved as the other one of us E. All but one papers were presented at a conference called explicitly for that purpose in December, at the Zentrum fur interdisziplinare Forschung in Bielefeld, F. Valerie Lester, then of the Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, contributed significantly to the process of editing the papers and preparing them for publication.

Our students at Harvard University and at the University of Vienna shared in the process of discussing ideas presented here and injected the essential twin ingredients of any discussion on this topic - enthusiasm and scepticism. His main interests are in the philosophy of science and social history of German science especially its use as philosophy or ideology in the nineteenth century. He is currently doing research on ethical problems of biomedical technologies.

His publications include Wissenschaft als historischer Proze 3 W. Fink, Miinchen, , and Wissenschaftstheorie und Paradigma- begriff J. Metzler, Stuttgart, At the Leibniz-Archive in Hannover, he is working at the edition of Leibniz' mathematical and scientific correspondence. Research interest: History, philosophy and sociology of science.

He is presently working on constitutionalism and utopianism in early modern Europe and on radicalism in the English Revolu- tion. Two forthCOming volumes are studies of the interrelations between science and democratic political culture. His main research interests are the dynamics of scientific and technological development, and the process of technological innovation, within the general area of the social studies of science.

He is principal investigator on a Project on the Adoption and Diffusion of Industrial Robots, and has written a number of papers and articles on these topics, including: "Robotics in Manufacturing Organisations," in G. Winch ed.

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She is also the author of numerous articles in theoretical physics, molecular biology, mathematical biology, and the history, philosophy and psychology of science. Wolfgang Reiter is at the Bundesministerium fur Wissenschaft under Forschung Federal Ministry for Science and Research ; coordination of project studies in the natural sciences.

Duerr Frankfurt a. Besides their professional duties they share a common interest in history and sociology of science. His principal fields of interest are the relationship of science and political values and the history of Russian science. Bipgraphicai Statements of the Contributors xiii. He has examined the early growth of professionalization in science and has also studied the interaction between scientific knowledge and social revolution ,Reduction and Revolution: The Sociology of Methodological and Philosophical Concerns in 19th-Century Biology', in Y. Elkana ed.

Professor Mendelsohn spent the academic year as a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin. Her main areas are sociology of science, science policy and social policy. PETER WEINGART, born , is professor of sociology of science and science policy at the University of Bielefeld since ; author of Die ameri- kanische Wissenschaftslobby ; Wissensproduktion und soziale Stnlktur ; author, co-author and editor of numerous books and articles in the area of sociology of science, technology and science policy studies.

Hoffmann and Fancisco Goya. Her fields are feminist critics of science and body consciousness.

She is one of the editors of the German magazine Feministische Studien. Auden ed. PART I. Ernst Bloch, one of the great writers on utopia in this century, distinguishes between two kinds of futures: the authentic and the inauthentic.

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Nineteen eighty-four: science between Utopia and dystopia

The in- authentic future already exists; it is the one imagined in daydreams, the radiant place that figures as object of our desires and unfulfilled wishes. It exists, and hence there is nothing new about it. Only the journey which leads to it is unexpected and new. Even if we imagine this future under the guise of the exotic - foreign countries, far-away places, envied lives we want to live - it remains a kind of banal future.

All we have to do is to arrange for the most expedient way of travelling to get there, or, more in style, jump into it, as in a fairy-tale. The authentic future, however, lives a precarious existence which is that of the not-yet. It is not yet accomplished, perhaps not even begun. In its anticipation of its not-yet existence it is new in the sense that no one has yet seen or heard or otherwise experienced it. It is latent, related to Leibniz's differential, the petites perceptions which add up to the perception of a sum.

The subjective side of the consciousness of the not-yet corresponds to the objective side of the not-yet existent, that which has not yet been realized. Bloch singles out three concrete manifestations of the not-yet: youth, the times of change for example, the turning points of an epoch , and different forms of artistic, philosophical and scientific creativity. From all his work it is evident that utopian thought is the transcendental category that lies behind hope and future - never to be eliminated, never to be fulfilled 1.

Bibliography for Q Twentieth-Century Dystopias | University of Nottingham

Bloch's emphasis on the two kinds of future is directly relevant to our 3 Everett Mendelsohn and Helga Nowotny eds. Science points the way to both: it provides, metaphorically speaking, the means of travel to reach the inauthentic future that already exists. In its instrumental and utilitarian function, science has provided a huge and expanding transportation system for us to reach our daydreams.

That some of its roads became more and more littered with the debris of affluence, that concrete walls extend into idyllic pastoral lands, that the transportation system needs co-ordination of schedules and design, is merely part of the success story of science and technology functioning as the most efficient operator of human wish fulfilment. Who can blame their global coverage when people in far flung places of our civilization wish to join in with their daydreams? The fact that these dreams are also becoming more and more similar is merely another function of the system's amazing capacity to minimize disappointments.

If wishes are tailored to meet their likely fulfilments, the public utility function of science will smoothly attain its promises. Putting the inauthentic yet intensely desired future at our disposal is only one side of science's utopian achievements. The history of utopian writing is cluttered with archives of such dreams and prophecies of their fulfilment. Science's utopian achievements, in working towards the not-yet existing, are much more difficult to grasp, since it is necessary to identify that part of the project of scientific creativity, which aims to realize a transcendental future.

The anticipation of a reality which is still partly hidden, the old myth of the 'unveiling of nature' and entering into her secrets, are as much part of this project as the rational planning procedures that have been set up towards this aim 2. Traces of utopian thinking can be found practically everywhere on the frontiers of science; they recur in mundane and practical embodiments in technological projections of what the future oUght to look like. Thus, while it is relatively easy to decode the forms and contents of the inauthentic future, since they retain so much of the counter-image function of utopian thOUght 3 , what can we say about a future that does not yet exist?

Where do the representations or materializations of a utopian mentality come from we may ask, as Aant Elzinga and Andrew Jamison do in this volume, and what are the social and cognitive mechanisms behind the utopian leap into a not-yet existent social space?

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Elzinga and Jamison therefore emphasize the practical side of the utopian and refer to actually existing anticipatory forms of institutions or social orders at a time when their form has not yet crystallized as practical utopias. Already existent practice thus inspires the not yet existing future-linked project, "Sometimes these anticipations are practically rooted indications of alternatives which come to be blocked out as times go on" - with history acting as selective filter.

While it is undoubtedly true that the fabric of ideas that makes up antic- ipations of later institutions or world visions has some roots in concrete and practical experiments, there are however, more complex laboratories which serve as the complementary breeding ground for utopian projects. One of these laboratories is nature which especially at a time when rationality and harmony were still linked together in the natural sciences and in social thOUght acted as the great analogon, whose structural correspondence with society was seemingly there for all to see and only waiting to be put into social practice.

The other great laboratory is society; despite its attempts to order, it remains recalcitrant, incoherent, beset by passions and irrational impulses. One of the deeply rooted utopian prospects of science is to trans- form these passions, to instil the kind of rational order into society that would ensure the realization of the common good - if only the blueprints that science has designed for society to live by were followed.

In a gloomy little essay, written in as a response to Haldane's optimistic outlook on the future, Bertrand Russell clearly speaks for science's utopian project, that of a society freed of its 'passions'. He draws a realistic picture of the future of science and the ability it has "to enable us to gratify our passions more freely".

Science has increased human control over nature and might therefore be supposed to increase happiness and well-being; it has enabled men and women to gratify their desires but it has not altered sufficiently their passions or their general outlook. In the main, what is in the long run advantageous to one man is also advantageous to another. But men are actuated by passions which distort their view; feeling an impulse to injur others, they persuade themselves that it is to their interest to do so It has only effected a shift in the distribution of power, by strengthening the power of communities, rather than that of individuals, so that they can indulge more in collective, rather than private passions.

And these passions are mainly evil: "for the strongest of them are hatred and rivalry directed towards other groups". Science has put the means at their disposal to engage more effectively in their hatred. He continues on the loss of instincts: while overeating is not a danger, overfighting is.


  • Bibliographic Information;
  • Dystopian novel.
  • Spinning Around.

This apparently leaves only one way out, the possibility of a world-wide benevolent dictatorship, unless science succeeds against all odds in its utopian project of curbing human passions by other means. The complex relationship underlying our theme of utopia and science is therefore the distorted utopian vision that society and science have made of each other in their common yearning for order. The history of science and utopia is full of fascinating encounters and opposing counter-images. For science, the utopian project consists in imprinting the rational order that it has generated in its own domain upon society; for society the utopian vision changes in accordance with its own condition and its projections of a future in which science is either the great harmonizer or can be exploited in imple- menting a certain kind of social order.

It can be read as the social history of the idea of order in the dialectical relationship of its 'natural' and 'social' variants, emerging from and being repeatedly threatened by the lapse into disorder. In its constant endeavor to keep disorder at bay, utopian thOUght has become overloaded with a 'surplus of order' that appears in a positive and negative version.

In times when the turmoil and incoherence of actual societies was palpably felt, utopian writings were idealizations directed towards organi- zational and even bureaucratic order, prefiguring either liberal or authoritarian tendencies and the rise of the absolutist or the modern democratic nation state. Utopia ceased to be a Christian-inspired heavenly Jerusalem and became a state which could be brought about through action, guided by science with the new myth of a social alchemy reflecting the idea of the scientific feasibility of universal happiness 6.

The modem science that emerged was quickly transformed into a rational as well as a utopian vehicle, charged to bring about a social world constructed in its image. The "arrogance of geometry" as Winter calls it, viewed the natural order as the unsurpassed master copy for a social order still to be built.

But the arrogance of geometry turned out to be an illusion and opposing, yet mutual projections, had to be invented as guides for an uncertain future. The future is no given, invariant category.