Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sociology of science

Recent discussions about the sociology of science centre around a new image of science which we now term as a critical science, a third image, that contrasts with two earlier images of science viz., the Heroic image of science as the product of individual creativity and the Organisational image of science as a product of a technocratic order. As against these images of science we will have to develop a new perspective of critical science, which would place science in its ecological context of human adaptation. This new perspective would require a re-thinking about the moral and cultural preconditions of scientific activity.
The idea of the ecology of science is firmly grounded into a moral perspective and the Jain moral tradition of the respect for life and its sanctity may have high potentials of relevance. Jains believe that immobile living beings earth water, fire, wind and plants have life (soul). It is stressed that souls influence each other and save each other, so global thinking is essential to save the earth from ecological disasters.The Jain doctrine proposes that souls exit in organic dead masses in stones, in lumps of earth, in drops of water, the flame of fire and in wind and in vegetation. It maintains that these five kinds of immobile beings have a sense of touch and they experience any violence caused to them just as experienced by a human being. Therefore, Jain doctrine strongly advocates that people belonging to all nationalities must refrain from destroying them. Over the millennia, Jain philosophy has been invoking such a commitment as an integral part of society so that human beings do not tinker with the semblance of nature. The Jains have cultivated the practice to live non-violently with nature.

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