Sunday, June 24, 2012

A first thought.  I am using the term "pure science" to refer to that science which distinguishes itself from applied science, and the ethical issues associated with it.  To you the word "pure" is redundant, because you already assume that science is pure.  Thus, according to you, a scientist would reject the term because it implies that there could be such a thing as "impure science" and that would violate the definition of science as inherently pure.  In other words, if it's not pure, it's not science.

I am inventing the term "pure science" to draw attention to science's claim to be pure, so that claim to purity (ultimate truth) can be seen for what it is, only a claim.  Science's claim to inherent purity (truthfulness) and indeed a unique claim to truthfulness, is what I want to question.  First, that there actually is any separation between applied science and "pure science" or what you would call "science."  The definition of science, as scientists use it, is self-serving and ideological.  Scientists do not have authority over the definition of science.  Scientists would like to disassociate themselves from applied science, in the name of their autonomy, the universal value of their work.  This universal, autonomous quality, or transcendent quality, is also ascribed to art in our culture.

Therefore it's very relevant that you also invoked Jasper Johns as being sacrosanct.  I wouldn't say that Jasper Johns paintings should be destroyed, but I would say that they have no more claim to universal, transcendent value than does science.  This also draws attention to the aesthetic value that you ascribe to science.  I'm very interested in the ideas about freedom and autonomy (and independence from or transcendence of social conditions and power) that are invoked in three areas:  science, art, and the market system.  There is something very similar and interrelated about the ideal of freedom in these three pursuits.

I haven't yet looked at the Hubble images.  I have had it as an intention, but since I haven't done it, although I am also busy, I clearly am resisting doing it.  My first thought is that I'm not interested, because I can't imagine how it would impact on my view of things, it seems off the track of what I'm thinking about (I am preoccupied with the subjective).  The perspective of the Hubble seems diametrically opposed to the perspective that seems humanly relevant to me.  So the block in me is, "Ok, I need to look up that image, but it's irrelevant to what we're talking about; and I'm not going to see the significance in it that Chris sees."  I will make myself look at it and try to understand the significance that it has for you......when I can make myself!  I promise I will.

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