Эссе: Alain Robbe-Grillet. Scientific Humanist


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Английский язык
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Эссе
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9

... These and later attempts to define man's essence by scholarly efforts unaided by recourse to revelation and dogma have given the term "humanist" the further implication of secular thought, of independence from any preconceived religious or political system. By "science" I mean not only a certain attitude toward truth and knowledge but also a particular vision of reality and nature, even an emotional set toward matter and energy, toward the correspondence between mental and physical phenomena. Science as science is marked, usually, by a materialistic bias, by the implicit belief that man's frame of reference is the bio-physical world of matter and motion. Science may also be defined through its detachment and objectivity, by its desire to know through systematic and sustained observation, while humanism suggests a pursuit of human values and goals. Trained as a plant pathologist and having spent several years in the patient study of the diseases of banana trees in the tropics, Robbe-Grillet as writer manifests both attitudes and approaches. He may be added to the company of notable figures to whom the label "scientific humanist" has been applied: Alfred North Whitehead, C. P. Snow, Teilhard de Chardin. He shares with them the belief characteristic of the scientific humanist that the hidden mainsprings of the material world are of critical importance to the understanding of our human condition, and that the relation of physical reality to our mental processes--perception and thought-is the key to knowledge and truth. What then are the primary manifestations of this humanistic concern? It must be made clear at the outset that Robbe-Grillet's continuing interest in the natural sciences is an integral part of this humanism. For Robbe-Grillet the ultimate metaphysical problems are those of epistemology and ontology, of how can we have true knowledge of ourselves and our world. Robbe-Grillet has said that science is an essential instrument of our comprehension and has implied that the arts should make use of the latest scientific discoveries and techniques....