Ethics and the Epistemological Reduction

The first fork of this programme attempts to revive the concept of multiple causality, in place of the scientific exclusive canonization of efficient causality. Science searches for efficient causes, but this search is done for the sake of the community, which then plays the role of the final cause directing science. As a result, science may not be guided strictly by the search to obtain whatever knowledge is possible, but also must do so taking into consideration the needs and wishes of its society. Good science, then, requires a good society, three concepts that need to be more closely developed through a metaxological ethics (the good, science, and society). I am analysing this open dialectic in an upcoming work that will use what I call the epistemological reduction as the yardstick.

The epistemological reduction is that impulse toward technical knowledge as an ethical answer, whether as seen positively in technical solutions to social problems (e.g., federally-mandated television broadcast flags), or negatively in epistemological objections to scientific efforts (e.g., the creationist belief in the opposition of fact and theory). To reduce the ethical issues of science to questions of knowledge, whether techne or simply episteme, is, paradoxically, to undermine the very basis of science; for, science not only recognises the community, but also depends on it and its values; a community that does not value the lives of its sick and weak is not going to find in them a proper telos, and thus will not fund medical research.