Toward an integrative view of science and value: A study of Whitehead's philosophy of organism as an integral world-view

Justin Sudarminta, Fordham University

Abstract

This study is an attempt to show: (1) that we need an integrative view of Science and Value, i.e. a view of reality which can avoid the extreme dichotomy of 'value-free science' and 'science-free value' without falling into reductionism; (2) that Whitehead's Philosophy of Organism, which was intended to be an integral world-view (a philosophical cosmology), contains important elements which are conducive to meeting that need.^ To substantiate the first contention, the author presents his arguments for rejecting the view which advocates the divorce of Science and Value. They focus on the indefensibility of the claims that (1) any involvement of value-judgment is bound to be a distortion of truth and objectivity; (2) Science and Value belong to two entirely different and separate realms; (3) the divorce is justified by the pragmatic success of value-free instrumental rationality. These claims ultimately rest on the unwarranted equation of truth, objectivity, and rationality with scientific truth, physical (impersonal) objectivity, and 'value-free technological means-end rationality.'^ With regard to the second contention, the author points out three major conceptions in Whitehead's systematic philosophy that would serve the purpose of providing a philosophical basis for an integrative view of Science and Value. First, his conception of 'organic mechanisn,' which he suggested as an alternative to the mechanistic concept of scientific materialism, seems to be able to account for the merit of scientific explanation without falling into reductionism. Second, his metaphysics of experience, hinging upon (a) his pansubjective and bipolar concept of actual entities, (b) his theory of the interweaving of efficient and final causation, (c) his view on the primacy of experience over knowledge, seems to be able to account for the reality of Value without falling into dualism. Third, his theory of civilization seems to be able to account for the complementarity of Science and Value in promoting the five characteristic qualities of a civilized society (Truth, Beauty, Art, Adventure, and Peace). ^

Subject Area

Philosophy

Recommended Citation

Sudarminta, Justin, "Toward an integrative view of science and value: A study of Whitehead's philosophy of organism as an integral world-view" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8818479.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8818479

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