Salvador Luria's Cathedral: Responsible, Humane Science

In the last few decades the relationship between the scientific enterprise and the society in which that enterprise is carried out has become increasingly tense and complex. The problem arises, I believe, from the internal stresses and contradictions within both society and science. Our society is fundamentally based on the premise of democracy. Modern democracy is the daughter of the rationalism of the 17th and 18th century and is therefore, in a sense, the twin sister of science. It is, by i

Se Luria
Apr 1, 1991
In the last few decades the relationship between the scientific enterprise and the society in which that enterprise is carried out has become increasingly tense and complex. The problem arises, I believe, from the internal stresses and contradictions within both society and science.

Our society is fundamentally based on the premise of democracy. Modern democracy is the daughter of the rationalism of the 17th and 18th century and is therefore, in a sense, the twin sister of science. It is, by its very origins, committed to rationality, to optimism about the future of mankind, to faith in progress based on factual knowledge of the world.

But, at the same time, Western democracy is also committed to a utilitarian view of the world, a world of budgets and appropriations and cost-benefit accounting that puts a price on every item and on every activity within society. And, in addition, democracy is buffeted...

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