Morality and materialism : American conservatives and science, 1945-1964 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zw12z7525

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  • Following World War II, the United States enjoyed unprecedented power and prestige. The wartime alliance with the Soviet Union quickly collapsed amid mutual suspicion and fear, however, resulting in the Cold War. Science was a significant political component in that ideological conflict. In the United States, inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, many placed their confidence in the ability of science to improve the human condition. By contrast, American conservatives viewed the New Deal much more negatively; they were also ambivalent about the promise of modem science. A few even saw a troubling acceptance of the superiority of science over other forms of knowledge, a view they labeled as "scientism." Conservatives like Richard M. Weaver, the economist Friedrich A. Hayek, and others attempted to criticize scientism, but this critique did not take hold. Ultimately, conservatives were unable to enlist scientists in their criticism of scientism; moreover, the overriding importance of anticommunism to the postwar conservative resurgence blunted conservative antiscientism. Conservative scientists, while dissenting from their left-liberal peers in the realm of politics, nonetheless shared with those peers a strong belief in the positive values of science. In addition, conservative scientists often emphasized the importance of Western science to freedom, in contrast to communist science supposedly tainted by ideology. As conservatives recognized the value of science to their own political goals, the antiscientistic critique faded. This conservative view, hitherto neglected in the historical literature, was and remains an important part of the interaction of science and politics in America during the twentieth century.
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  • File scanned at 300 ppi (Monochrome) using ScandAll PRO 1.8.1 on a Fi-6670 in PDF format. CVista PdfCompressor 4.0 was used for pdf compression and textual OCR.
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