Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not either or, but both and

Schon’s dichotomy of the soft and hard sciences is ignoring the paradox of which they sit. Schron gives an example of the hard manageable problems being a solid high ground looking over the swamp below which are “incapable of technical solutions.” He goes on to explain “the high ground tend to be relatively unimportant to individuals or to society at large, however great their technical interest my be, while in the swamp lie the problems of greatest human concern.”
I would state this is not true. Global warming, clean water, hunger, cancer, heart disease… all have technical components coupled with societal issues that need to be addressed. Society needs efficient technologies and progressive policies to start putting an end to global warming. There needs to be a filtration system and a community structure in place for a village in rural Africa to gain access to clean water.
Solutions to human concerns is not an either or, but an both and we do not need to separate them form each other. We can have bother rigor and relevance; as a matter of fact, we need both.