Democracy & Nature, Vol. 4, No. 1
Nature, Science, and Technology in Habermas
Abstract: At a time when the ecological crisis of the past decades shows no sign of abating, the various theories criticizing unlimited economic growth, the logic of contemporary technics, the contemporaly consumerist ethos, and so on, all indicate that we cannot continue to have the same attitude towards the nature within which we dwell. Confronted with the threatened breakdown of the earth’s ecosystem, many voices agree that the seemingly universal ‘Western civilization and parti- cularly its technological solutions and applications (inextricably bound to the competitive and hierarchical framework determined by the combination of the market economy and the structures of the contemporaiy state) are based on a flawed image of nature, the long-term repercussions of which may prove to be tragic. The more human potential for technical control grows unchecked, the more it becomes obvious that we are apprentice magicians, that we possess a power we perhaps do not know how to handle. With particular urgency, this era posits certain questions. What is nature; how must we think about the being of entities, what is time; what is our place in the world? Needless to say, these questions require a philosophical consideration since the empirical sciences seem to rest on precisely those ‘obvious truths’ we ought to question.