Skip to main content

Publication Details

Moral Values and the Scientific-Technological Revolution

(Original title: Morálne hodnoty a vedeckotechnická revolúcia)
Filozofia, 27 (1972), 1, 13-21.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
Modern technological civilization that has become not only a fetish of this century but alse a salutary response to the problems of mankind, having forgotten its creator it produces often inhuman, even paradoxical situations for him. That is why man begins to ask more and more urgent questions about the sense of his life, about his own value, about his place in the overtechnicized world. He returns to his own human problems that represent a bigger question mark for him than a flight into the unknown universe. The very fact of realizing this problem means an effort for its solution. The answers of the social sciences that try to solve these immanent human problems, especially in the contemporary capitalist world, are more pessimistic than optimistic and many of them coincide, in substance, in the opinion that the scientifictechnological revolution has a destructive, unfavourable effect upon man, that it demolishes, destroys, corrodes the cultural traditions and everything spiritual that mankind had created during its history, that it reprobates the moral values that had been a guidance for action and conduct of man for centuries, those values that had been the present of his morality. What is the Marxist ethics’ attitude to this problem? ' The most essential step of the Marxist moral theory towards the solution of the relation between moral values and the scientific-technological revolution will be not only an analytical possesion of these two poles of the given relation, but first of all it will have to get rid of the traditional dualism that is put between the moral values and the world of technology, in the broadest sense of the word. If we remained at the traditional consideration which had been mentioned by George Mesthene where one pole of the relation — the values will be for us a constant, unchangeable component and the other pole of the relation — the modern technological civilization will be the continuously changing, dynamic component then we will not succeed in surpassing this dualism. For the Marxist ethics that applies the regularities of historical materialism there arise quite great chances for bridging the gap between these two phenomena of reality. The precondition of this act is to take notice, first of all, of two questions: the origin of moral values and the moral-value orientation of man. If our socialist society is standing today on the threshold of the scientific-technological revolution and of a new civilization that is specifically different from the preceding civilizations, then there are created also specific conditions for the origin of moral values. This specificality means on the one hand that an unlimited scope for their origin is being principally opened, and on the other hand — if the scientific-technological revolution revolutionizes the subject towards the creating of values, it gives him at the same time an opportunity to create them with respect to the aims and ideals that this civilization is to achieve. And not only that: if the question of the origin of moral value is also the question of choice, then the scientific-technological revolution just by its dynamism creates a much more optimal and potentially more „voluminous“ advantages for this choice than the previous civilizations. The origin of moral values as anthropological and social phenomena is to be searched in the process of the scientific-technological revolution and then the relation between their origin and the new civilization process can no longer be explained dualistically. If moral values are realized by a deed, by human acting, then the variability of value orientation of man of our time is to be searched in the dynamism of this new civilization process for which the old, traditional hierarchy of moral values can in no case be sufficient. The regularities valid for the new civilization process will at last determine also the morality of contemporary man. It is, therefore, impossible not to take into account this conditionality and to stick to the traditional, contradictory comprehension of the relation of moral values and of the new technological civilization process.
File to download: PDF