Frontiers of Illusion: Science, Technology, and the Politics of Progress

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For the past fifty years, science and technology-supported with billions of dollars from the U.S. government-have advanced at a rate that would once have seemed miraculous, while society's problems have grown more intractable, complex, and diverse. Yet scientists and politicians alike continue to prescribe more science and more technology to cure such afflictions as global climate change, natural resource depletion, overpopulation, inadequate health care, weapons proliferation, and economic inequality.

Daniel Sarewitz scrutinizes the fundamental myths that have guided the formulation of science policy for half a century-myths that serve the professional and political interests of the scientific community, but often fail to advance the interests of society as a whole. His analysis ultimately demonstrates that stronger linkages between progress in science and progress in society will require research agendas that emerge not from the intellectual momentum of science, but from the needs and goals of society.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566394161
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,319,930
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The End of the Age of Physics 1
Science and Technology Policy 5
Policy Goals and Policy Myths 8
Beyond the Age of Physics: Science, Technology, and Reality 13
Ch. 2 The Myth of Infinite Benefit 17
Ch. 3 The Myth of Unfettered Research 31
External Fetters: Teapot in a Tempest 35
Internal Fetters: The Maleness of the System 42
Unfettered Reality 48
Ch. 4 The Myth of Accountability 51
Ch. 5 The Myth of Authoritativeness 71
DNA Fingerprinting: Disorder in the Court 79
Global Climate Change: An Atmosphere of Uncertainty 83
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Getting It Right (by Accident) 89
Authoritative Politics 92
Ch. 6 The Myth of the Endless Frontier 97
Endless Frontier, Finite Earth 102
Moral Science 113
Ch. 7 Pas de Trois: Science, Technology, and the Marketplace 117
The Sound of Invisible Hands Clapping 123
Nobody's Partner 131
Ch. 8 Science as a Surrogate for Social Action 141
Sickness Care 142
The Best Defense 152
Tailoring People to Taste 158
Ch. 9 Toward a New Mythology 169
Five Policy Suggestions: 1. Expanding Diversity 172
Five Policy Suggestions: 2. Integrating the Human Element 173
Five Policy Suggestions: 3. Honest Brokers 178
Five Policy Suggestions: 4. Introducing Democracy 181
Five Policy Suggestions: 5. The Global R&D Community 184
The Search for Ellipses 188
Notes 197
Index 231
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