Page 18 - Studio International - February 1971
P. 18

and the scientific.                        quotes from Marx : 'It is not the         have reduced significance. This will focus
       Comparable doubts about the completeness   consciousness of men that determines their   attention upon the deep structure of each
     of scientific 'truth' may be found in very   existence, but, on the contrary, their social   subject, rather than upon its surface structure.'11
     different intellectual traditions : for instance,   existence which determines their consciousness';   To put the matter very simply a lot will
     the phenomenological school of philosophy,   and concludes that, because 'ideology is an   depend on the general principles underlying an
     especially Merleau-Ponty, who wrote:       inescapable level of discourse' we must   integrated curriculum. Such principleS are
        `Intellectualism and empiricism do not give   `paradoxically ... relax the authority of science   bound to be well towards the 'soft', value-laden
     us an account of human experience of the world;   and see it in an ideological perspective in order   end of my illustration. q
     they tell what God might think of it.'4    to get nearer to the will-o-the-wisp of   JONATHAN BENTHALL
        `[Objective thought] has for its constant   objectivity.'
     function the reducing of all phenomena which   The implications of such arguments are wide.
     attest the union of the subject and the world,   I shall confine myself to two conclusions of   The BSSRS (70 Gt Russell St, London WCI) will
                                                                                          hold the first of a series of monthly evening meetings
     and the substituting for them of the clear idea   special relevance to the arts.     at the ICA on Monday 15 February at 8 pm, when
     of the object as "in itself" and the subject as   I. Nearly all recourse to science, nature, life,   Professor Lakatos and Dr J. Ravetz will speak on
     pure consciousness.'5                      etc. in arguments about art and culture is   `Science and Anti-Science'.
                                                                                          1  ICA Eventsheet, August 197o, from lecture
        `The existence of other people makes a   heavily laden with values and ideology.   `Rhythmic Organization of Cells and Embryos'.
     difficulty and a scandal for objective thought.'  6    Illustrations from my own column in Studio   2  T. S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
     Or we may turn to the more visceral insights   could of course be found. I shall give but one   (Chicago, 1962), chapter 13.
                                                                                          3  C. P. Snow, 'The case of Leavis and the serious
     of poets like Blake, Lawrence and Yeats.   example, however : from a recent article by   case', TLS, 9 July 1971.
        Some scientists cling to their belief in   Patrick Heron, where he uses 'objective'   4  M. Merleau-Ponty, La Phénoménologie de la
     objective truth like a priesthood only dimly   quasi-scientific terms to support his use of small   Perception (Paris 1945), translated, p. 296.
                                                                                          5  Ibid., p. 370.
     aware that its dogmas are losing credibility. Not   Chinese water-colour brushes to paint sixty   6   Ibid., p. 4o1.
     surprisingly, we see around us extreme and   square feet of a single colour: 'One merely   7  See, for a fuller argument, my article 'Language,
     indiscriminate reactions by many           knows that surfaces worked in this way can—in   Ecology and Art: New Structures for Education',
                                                                                          The Structurist (University of Saskatchewan), no. 10,
     non-scientists against reason and method. At   fact they must—register a different nuance of   1971.
     the same time, there is an intense interest in the   spatial evocation and movement in every single   8   One reason why he has been able to write such a
     source and definition of 'creativity'. The   square millimetre'. Here is an apology for   uniquely devastating, and at the same time
     Snovian 'two cultures' notion, once plausible   painterliness as a craft and as a life-style."   constructive, critique of Marshall McLuhan as his
                                                                                          just published McLuhan (Fontana Modern Masters
     enough as a crude description of a cultural   2. In art and design education, as in   series, 6s).
     situation, is now (unless I am mistaken)   education as a whole, there is much debate   9  To appear in Social Implications of Modern Biology,
     yielding to a unitaIy view of creativity, culture   about integrated courses. In an important paper   proceedings of BSSRS conference, ed. Watson Fuller
                                                                                          (Routledge, in press).
     and communication—of which view Goodwin's   Professor Bernstein has written:         10   Patrick Heron, 'Two Cultures' [British and
     statement quoted above is representative. If   `In order to accomplish any form of   American art], Studio International, Dec. 1970, p.
     there is one term generally applicable to the   integration (aS distinct from different subjects   247. This article, though very readable, occasionally
                                                                                          reminded me of Lord Stokes defending the
     results of artistic creation, linguistic description,   focusing upon a common problem, which gives   workmanship of British motor exports, thus emitting
     critical interpretation and scientific hypothesis,   rise to what could be called a focused   a smokescreen when many are criticizing the entire
     this is probably a term borrowed from      curriculum) there must be some relational idea,   industry in both countries on different and broader
     mathematics: 'model'—i.e., a structure of   a supra-content concept, which focuses upon   11   Basil Bernstein, 'On the Classification and
     dynamic relations which represents or simulates   general principles at a high level of abstraction   Framing of Educational Knowledge', to appear in
                                                                                          Knowledge and Control, ed. M. Young (Collier-
     experience.7                              ...The particulars of each subject are likely to    MacMillan, in press).
     what we take to be 'real' processes from our
        The sociology of knowledge is sure to be an
     eventful area of debate over the next few years.
     The disciplines drawn on will be diverse.
     Among the most interesting participants so far,
     Mary Douglas is a professor of social
     anthropology and Basil Bernstein of educational
     sociology; another, Jonathan Miller, eludes
     vocational classification.8  However, the most
     challenging approach I have yet come across in
     the context of 'science and society' was a paper
     by Robert M. Young delivered at the BSSRS's
     London conference last November on 'Social
     Implications of Modern Biology'.9
        Rather than try to summarize Young's rich
     and cogent paper, 'Evolutionary Biology and
     Ideology: Then and Now', I have distilled from
     it a diagram showing how the different
     branches of science fit into a continuum,
     between the 'objectivity' of mathematics at one
     extreme (though Dr Young argues that 'all facts
     are for or against some theory') and at the other
     extreme the permeation by ideology of all
     thinking about man and society, even when it
     takes on a guise of disinterested descriptive
     science. I hope the diagram does not over-
     simplify Young's case too grossly. Young
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