New sciences are stressing the cognitive texture of our traditional culture beyond the breaking point: many polemics come from here. Perceived risks (e.g. biorisks) are not only connected to personal and public risks, to private and public risky choice. Some risk is intrinsically a cultural risk, having to do with subjectivity, identity, values. In this paper I distinguish two families of cultural pathologies in science communication: technophobic beliefs echoing from pre-modernity and technofrenic beliefs inherited from first modernity. The first family is originated as a defensive reaction to the dramatic change, leading to look into the ancient past for assurances in the risky present. On the contrary, the second family is a rushed attempt to manage the future, with old resources. After a brief note on the concept of belief, following an approach coming from Hume, through Ortega y Gasset and Cohen, I quickly examine technophobic beliefs. Classical myths (Gaia, Chronos, Prometheus) describe a widely shared, archetypical conception of Nature: organicistic, natural harmony; happy essentialistic ontology; sacred boundaries to human action, etc. Such a vision reacts against Darwin¿s revolution and its last consequences, current biotechnologies. These are seen as an oxymoron, due to the contrast between the bio-world and the artificial-techne. And a naïve relativism, that misunderstands the socio-cognitive nature of science, undermines our ability to design common future. Technofrenic beliefs worth more details, exposing experts to an insidious technocratic temptation. Let¿s just sketch the most relevant for science communication: - u-topian conception of science, seen as an unrealistic knowledge-from-nowhere; - u-chronic conception of science, seen as knowledge without (relevant) past, creating perverse educational effects; - knowledge reduction to information and communication utopia of a carriage of bits across minds; - 'two cultures' still isolated: and science looses its self-critical, anti-ideological, cultural nature. In conclusion, the technofondamentalism, parading a sceptic relativism, and the technocracy, concealing a positivistic scientism, mirror each other. Such a cognitive strabismus is the biggest peril in the present social and cultural mutation of our species. The new horizon of experience opened by new sciences gives rise to new cognitive and social needs both in individual and collective agency. Technophobies and technofrenies menace the development of the democratic science-based society, and science communication has to play a key role in overcoming them to let science becoming a common good. But more practical experimentation and theoretical reflection are needed.

Cerroni, A. (2006). Credenze tecnofobiche e tecnofreniche nella comunicazione della scienza. In A. Valente (a cura di), La scienza dagli esperti ai giovani e ritorno (pp. 139-155). Rome : Biblink.

Credenze tecnofobiche e tecnofreniche nella comunicazione della scienza

CERRONI, ANDREA
2006

Abstract

New sciences are stressing the cognitive texture of our traditional culture beyond the breaking point: many polemics come from here. Perceived risks (e.g. biorisks) are not only connected to personal and public risks, to private and public risky choice. Some risk is intrinsically a cultural risk, having to do with subjectivity, identity, values. In this paper I distinguish two families of cultural pathologies in science communication: technophobic beliefs echoing from pre-modernity and technofrenic beliefs inherited from first modernity. The first family is originated as a defensive reaction to the dramatic change, leading to look into the ancient past for assurances in the risky present. On the contrary, the second family is a rushed attempt to manage the future, with old resources. After a brief note on the concept of belief, following an approach coming from Hume, through Ortega y Gasset and Cohen, I quickly examine technophobic beliefs. Classical myths (Gaia, Chronos, Prometheus) describe a widely shared, archetypical conception of Nature: organicistic, natural harmony; happy essentialistic ontology; sacred boundaries to human action, etc. Such a vision reacts against Darwin¿s revolution and its last consequences, current biotechnologies. These are seen as an oxymoron, due to the contrast between the bio-world and the artificial-techne. And a naïve relativism, that misunderstands the socio-cognitive nature of science, undermines our ability to design common future. Technofrenic beliefs worth more details, exposing experts to an insidious technocratic temptation. Let¿s just sketch the most relevant for science communication: - u-topian conception of science, seen as an unrealistic knowledge-from-nowhere; - u-chronic conception of science, seen as knowledge without (relevant) past, creating perverse educational effects; - knowledge reduction to information and communication utopia of a carriage of bits across minds; - 'two cultures' still isolated: and science looses its self-critical, anti-ideological, cultural nature. In conclusion, the technofondamentalism, parading a sceptic relativism, and the technocracy, concealing a positivistic scientism, mirror each other. Such a cognitive strabismus is the biggest peril in the present social and cultural mutation of our species. The new horizon of experience opened by new sciences gives rise to new cognitive and social needs both in individual and collective agency. Technophobies and technofrenies menace the development of the democratic science-based society, and science communication has to play a key role in overcoming them to let science becoming a common good. But more practical experimentation and theoretical reflection are needed.
Capitolo o saggio
technophoby, technofrenzy, scientism, reductionism, antiscience, contemporary myth, culture and science
Italian
La scienza dagli esperti ai giovani e ritorno
88-88071-60-1
Cerroni, A. (2006). Credenze tecnofobiche e tecnofreniche nella comunicazione della scienza. In A. Valente (a cura di), La scienza dagli esperti ai giovani e ritorno (pp. 139-155). Rome : Biblink.
Cerroni, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/3160
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