On "capitalist science" [was RE: On LM Re: Fidel vs LM]

Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Mon Aug 30 13:36:20 MDT 1999

>>> "E.C.Apling" <E.C.Apling at btinternet.com> 08/30/99 03:00PM >>>
Although there is plenty of "flaky" science around - where the supposed
conclusions do not stand up to everyday reality - the use of statistics is
faulty - or the conclusions are presented as having general validity when
they really only apply within the limitations of a small group studied,
etc...  science ITSELF is NOT class-based.  Its application, however, is a
differnt matter altogether - and here it IS appropriate to apply the
question cui bono.  If you are talking about capitalist APPLICATIONS of
science then I have no dispute.




I really do try to apply Marx's Theses on Feuerbach (especially number 2 that the test
of truth is practice ) to natural as well as social science. I take this to be what
Engels means by the idea that the arrival at truth is the development of
things-in-themselves into things-for-us.  Am I wrong to demand that we unite theory
and practice in all science, not just social science ? Doesn't  the "this sidedness"
to which Marx refers in Thesis no. 2 include evaluation of the impact of uses of
natural science discoveries on people, most of whom are working class ? I realize this
is a very stringent test, but I can't see how we can demand anything less given the
irreparable harm bourgeois abuse of knowledge threatens. (Not to mention, I have very
little idea how to "enforce" such a test given bourgeois dominance of science, as I
say, revanchist near total dominance today).

For example , it would seem that Einstein definitely discovered some
things-in-themselves, objective realities, some of the most advanced relative (no pun)
truths of our era. Yet, how can we be indifferent to the fact that given the concrete
class balance of forces in natural science, that knowledge has been used to build
nuclear weapons , things-against-us, all of us, not for-us ?  I can't resolve this
emergency (not just abstract) paradox. The objectivity of the truths about many
things-in-themselves won't in itself set us free.


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