Welcome to Humanity Going, a blog about science, the future, and what the two of them mean for humanity and its ever-changing spirit as we move along down the road.
I suppose I should first tell you all a little about me. My name is Dave. While I work in writing professionally, I’m a little bit of an amateur or hobbyist in many different fields and arts. I have a Cinema Studies masters degree from NYU and a Philosophy BA degree from Tufts University, two areas of study that have given me great new tools for thinking about the world around me. While many would assume–and rightfully so–that I have a penchant for art from my graduate studies, one of my main passions in my casual intellectual growth has been about science. Before determining that Philosophy was the right major for me, I was a Biology major and a premedical student. After passing on those fields, I found I still had a significant interest in science, but now more from a socio-historical viewpoint. How did science itself develop? What outside influences caused science to go in certain directions at certain times? How did individual scientific fields differentiate from one another? How did certain scientists deal with the societal inhibitions around them or the social taboos that their research seemed to contradict? These questions became the focus of my scientific inquiry, and exploring these ideas were much better served by studying science from the viewpoint of Philosophy rather than science itself. In short, I no longer wanted to be a scientist, but my interest in science only increased.
I will quickly say here that this interest is almost entirely do to a single book: the iconic The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn. This book completely changed the way I looked at science, as well as many other academic fields that went through what Kuhn would describe as a paradigm shift. While I’ll save the details of the book for another post one day, I did want to offer this as a significant background source for my inspiration, my own philosophical interests, and the way I think.
Nowadays, my interests in scientific progression have guided me to a popular interest in the cutting edge. Whether it’s a functioning invisibility cloak (number 5), a functioning bionic eye that uses wireless technology, or the discovery of the Higgs Boson, the frontiers of science, technology, and development are moving forward in fascinating ways. And I love that they are…but I don’t just love them for the “wow!” factor. I love them because they give us a good indication of where we are going as a people, as a scientific community, and as a culture. These scientific developments are fascinating not just because of the science, but because of the thought, the speculation, that they inspire. Are all of these developments helpful or useful? Are some of them dangerous? What do they say about the socio-cultural directions in which we are moving? What will these developments mean for us now, two years from now, or fifty years from now? These are the questions that drive me, along with the curiosity and excitement that come from learning about the new things that are out there or on the horizon.
So that’s what this blog will cover. I will write not only about the cool stuff that I find out there, but also what these cool things suggest about our society and it’s development. Consider it Futurism meets Philosophy. Together, hopefully they can give us a better picture of where humanity is going.
Indeed, welcome to Humanity Going!
How do you do? It seems that SoundEagle is the first living being to click the “Like” button and comment here.
Thank you for introducing yourself with such free spirit and candour!
Happy April to you and to your new blog! Since SoundEagle’s writing here is the very first comment on this inaugural post since your blog’s inception, SoundEagle would like to wish you a new dawn and an even better year of learning and discovery in 2013 for you!
SoundEagle hopes that you continue to do very well and find fulfillment in whatever you enjoy doing and savouring, especially through “a significant interest in science, but now more from a socio-historical viewpoint”. You have indeed allowed yourself almost a total free reign in forging a new vista or wide horizon for documenting your socio-historical explorations of science throughout your blog. SoundEagle has become one of your earliest followers.
Regarding socio-historical viewpoints, one way of looking at the problem or issue of social construction is through the works of Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas who is credited for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry (Madness and Civilization), social anthropology of medicine (The Birth of the Clinic), the human sciences (The Order of Things, The Archaeology of Knowledge, The History of Sexuality) and the prison system (Discipline and Punish).
History, philosophy and science are not immune to the pitfalls of following the default framework, the prevailing theoretical perspective, the dominant paradigm, and the latest trend or pop ideology. On the one hand, historians and philosophers should be empirically informed by the sciences most relevant to their work. On the other hand, scientists should have at least some historical awareness and philosophical training before assuming narrow interpretations of the data that they are compiling. In short, historians, philosophers and scientists alike need to collaborate to draw accurate and responsible interpretations and conclusions. Hence, SoundEagle has always adopted a multidisciplinary approach, however difficult and challenging that approach may be(come). An example can be gleaned at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/facing-the-noise-music-grey-barriers-and-green-frontiers-of-sound-society-and-environment/, which will also cater to those who have a deeper passion or concern for history, anthropology, sociology, musicology, philosophy and environmental studies.
In addition, the many problems and impacts of science could have been considerably reduced, if not eliminated, if more scientists are much better informed by the philosophy of science, the history of science, and the sociology of science.
Another post in the “Facing the Noise & Music” series is http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/facing-the-noise-music-playgrounds-for-biophobic-citizens/, which examines several issues from the perspective of sociology, philosophical anthropology and cultural history.
Happy April to you!
Thanks for the welcome, SoundEagle! Nice to have a quick welcoming response to my first post. 🙂
I have indeed heard of Focault, but I have not read him. Perhaps I will check some of his stuff out.
I absolutely agree that mixing science with philosophy would yield some very progressive results. Many scientists out there already are very philosophical, so to speak, and I definitely think that this is important. Science without direction, without a wider angle of thought, won’t accomplish as much.
I look forward to reading your posts as well. And thanks for reading mine!
Splendid! SoundEagle looks forward to your reading the posts and your feedback there.