|Abstract (english)|| |
The discussion on bioethics in the context of contemporary science has to begin as a systematic research into its history, philosophical disciplines, and the interdisciplinary (transdiciplinary) environment from which it arises. The dynamics of social and scientific change in the twentieth century are often portrayed as a product and an attempt at the necessary revitalization of humanitarian and scientific integrity due to the misgivings our civilisation has inherited from the First and Second World Wars. This new epoch is an age that has brought greater productivity, connectivity and innovation in terms of science and technology, but also new insecurities on the social level, or more precisely on the interpersonal level. Bioethics as a relatively young interdisciplinary field does not begin its development within the framework of scientific discourse, but grows out of the many social movements characteristic to the second half of the 20th century. One of the most important moments on the path to institutionalization of bioethics was the Seattle Artificial Kidney Program, which in 1962 posed a new problem to the general public. As early as 1960, Belding Scribner and Wayne Quinton successfully performed the haemodialysis procedure on their first patient, and inspired by the preliminary results, he took on four more new patients. The researchers have proven the success of their method on a slightly larger sample in 1961, with the help of James Haviland and the King County Medical Society, they opened the first public hospital to offer a haemodialysis treatment to the public. Guided by the idea of a public and free medical service for seriously ill patients, they were caught in a peculiar situation in which the number of patients in need of the treatment far exceeded the capacity of their facility. The new technological achievement enabled haemodialysis for five to twenty patients a year, while the number of patients in need at every single moment was reported to be in hundreds of thousands. In order to improve on how to deal with this new unprecedented situation, the Admissions and Policies Committee of the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center at Swedish Hospital has been established. An article titled »They Decide Who Lives, Who Dies« in the Life magazine by the journalist Shane Alexander put the work of the Commission under a magnifying glass. In this context, it is not surprising that the Commission became known to the public as the »God Committee«, because its members were asked to make decisions in favour of a small number of patients, while most patients were indirectly sentenced to death. In addition to emphasizing the importance of the initiative and the haemodialysis itself, the article drew attention to the importance of integrating other approaches and the need to respect other professions, not only medicine, when it comes to moral issues of this type. The presented example illustrates the complexity of the situation in which modern society finds itself. Man is inherently an active being which is characterized by its need to always find new tools, in the broadest sense it is characterised by technique. The term technique in this paper does not only mean the production of machines, technology in general or some individual procedure to achieve our goals. In the words of Jacques Ellul: »In our technological society, technique is the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency (for a given stage of development) in every field of human activity. Its characteristics are new; the technique of the present has no common measure with that of the past.« Technology and science are not only facts isolated from society that inhabit an imaginary and neutral or abstract domain. In his programmatic speeches during the 1980s, as well as in his book Science as a Life Form (Wissenschaft als Lebensform), Jürgen Mittelstraß defines science as »a special form of social activity in which knowledge is created, and the university as the place where it is created and mediated«. Mittelstraß notices that the original idea that science and the university are not only institutions that expand knowledge, but also institutions that provide orientation in social life has been forgotten. He concludes that in modern industrial societies, which Mittelstraß calls technical cultures (technische Kulturen), the orientational form of knowledge has almost completely disappeared. Mittelstraß establishes the conceptual difference »between (partial) knowledge of mastering nature and society and (universal) knowledge of orientation in nature and society, which is strikingly summed up in the categorical distinction between Verfügungswissen (applied, instrumental or technical knowledge) and Orientierungswissen (orientational knowledge).« »Modern industrial society through technical cultures offers only partial (partielles) useful knowledge (Verfügungswissen) about nature and society, neglecting universal (universales) orientational knowledge (Orientierungswissen) about nature and society.« Science under the paradigm of technical rationality degenerates critical and orientational potentials. Mittelstraß notes that what is relevant is not necessarily influential. »Science as a factor of production and science as a guiding factor do not always go together when it comes to technical culture. Does the progress of technical cultures and the sciences parallel to them also mean progress at the social level, or progress in interpersonal relations (as was meant by Francis Bacon)? A technology-oriented society acts as a system of relationships between technologies, neglecting that society is made up of people and their interrelationships. If we view society as a relationship between technologies, we are on the path to the technologisation of social relations, which puts us in danger of seeing society itself as a machine. If we look at the society as a machine, and the people, the individuals in that society, as parts of that machine, it leads to the dehumanization we often encounter today. Mittelstraß's ominous prognosis, from the beginning of the eighties, about the consequences of technical cultures for society is realized in the context of the dominance of techno-scientific discourse, as well as the transformation of intellectual work (accumulation and reproduction of this type of knowledge) into goods, and physical work into an easily replaceable subject, a part of the machine – a part of the production chain.« The technological progress does not follow the progress in interpersonal relations (progress on the moral plane), which raises the question of the very nature of human action in the field of technology. One of the first places to look for a solution to this phenomenon is the »conflict«, or more precisely tension, in the relationship between theory (the domain of knowledge) and practice (the domain of crafts). The research of the mentioned tension between concepts, which is transferred to the level of everyday life in modern society, should begin with the discussions on the first thoughts on this topic in Western philosophy, and we attribute them to Xenophon and his contemporary Isokrátēs. Xenophon's Socratic dialogues Memorabilia and Oeconomicus provide insights into the discussion of the relationship between episteme and techne, as well as the possibility of comparing the views that Socrates presents with Xenophon, with those he presents with Plato. The discussion on the notions of craft (techne) and knowledge (episteme) in their influence on the living and the life-giving will be followed through the discussions on individual authors, from the old Greeks to modern philosophy. Discussions on the connectedness of philosophy of technology – from its first steps in which we search for the basis for understanding the concept of craft in bioethics or further, integrative bioethics, and the potential of orientational knowledge in bioethical dialogue – is likely to open space for other issues. The main goal of the research is to analyse the role and importance of technology in modern society and bioethical discussions. Only by considering the possible impacts of changes in the notion of episteme and techne throughout history can we look for a place to understand technique today. The concept of orientational knowledge can be justified only after a detailed analysis of the scientific environment and the disorientation caused by excessive reproduction of modern technique. The introductory part will serve to clarify the structure of the paper and the structure of the research, as well as to set the theses that the paper seeks to prove and/or refute. Since this is a specialized topic within a broader bioethical discourse, the introductory part will consider the basic concepts and definitions of bioethics and philosophy of technology. The first part of the paper will concern itself with the issue of knowledge (episteme) through the discussion about assumptions and limitations of some of the more influential positions on this concept in the history of philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, etc.). As the focus of the work is on the interrelationship between the concepts of technology, knowledge and science, the authors participating in the discussion in a contemporary context will be consulted – among others, Martin Gardner, Paul Feyerabend, Jürgen Mittelstraß, etc. The problem will be expanded with the efforts that show different ways of understanding knowledge in the history of philosophy of science – mainly focusing on Puntel's work on the coherence-systematic theory of truth (Wahrheitstheorien in der neueren Philosophie, 1978 and Der Wahrheitsbegriff. Neue Erklärungsversuche, 1983). The second part of the dissertation will consider the historical aspects of the notion of technique. Techne, as craft, should be considered in its duality, as an artistic craft and art of the craftsman. Although the notion of technique today differs in many ways from the notion carried by the ancient Greeks in their vocabulary, their discussions on the nature of human action stem from the same motives. Their reflections on human crafts with their depth covered such a wide range of topics that they still prove to be relevant today. In addition to consulting the translation of the originals of Xenophon, Isocrates, Plato or Aristotle, the paper will also consider medieval philosophy (the first book of Agricola's works De re metallica, etc.) and some authors in the period from Renaissance to modern philosophy (Bacon, Descartes, etc.). Since philosophy in the croatian language area lacks historical and philosophical reviews of development of technology, as well as etymological transformations of the concept of technology, through the work of Rudolf Löbl, TECHNE-TEXNH: Untersuchung zur Bedeutung dieses Wortes in der Zeit von Homer bis Aristoteles and two other volumes on Hellenism and from Hellenism to the Middle Ages, the paper will offer their shorter, but systematic, presentation. In order to bring the discussion closer to contemporary problems, Jacques Ellul's major works in the field of sociology of technology will also be consulted. In the fourth part, the results of the previous units of research will finally be related to the issue of knowledge and technique in bioethics. The discussion on the role of techno-scientific discourse in bioethical problems caused by uncontrolled technical progress, and the role of applied knowledge in their foundation, will be formulated through two questions – the role of technique in suppressing »orientation knowledge« and the deepening of understanding of moral considerations. After presenting all the results of previous research, an attempt will be made to answer these questions and find possible objections to the new theoretical framework. Scientific research on technology in the humanities in terms of a philosophy of technology comes in the second half of the 19th century (Ernst Kapp, Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik, 1877). If we compare the philosophy of technology with other younger research areas, the philosophy of technology lacks systematic and critical reviews of its development, as well as specialized reviews of the impact of technological development on movements in other disciplines. Contributions to the discussion on the relationship between technique and bioethics can be grouped into the latter group, specialized reviews, which seek to resolve some specific problem in their interaction. In this paper, it will be a question of constituting the dominant techno-scientific discourse and the related concept of knowledge, and the search for new, possible, conceptions of knowledge and understanding of technology that would redirect human action from the beaten (dangerous) path. Since the central topic of the paper will be the importance of technology in modern society and bioethical discussions, the proposed research will be one of the first to provide a systematic overview of the development of problems in philosophy of technology, as well as a systematic overview of authors dealing with this topic in philosophy. In addition to contributing to the development of bioethics and philosophy of technology in Croatia, the paper in some of its parts related to contemporary considerations of the concept of knowledge and could contribute to the discussion of contemporary philosophy of science.