Friday, February 19, 2021

Arendt: On the Political Judgement of Scientists

In the prologue to her book The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt notes that speech is what makes man a political being, but the sciences use a language of mathematical symbols which include statements that cannot be translated into spoken language. She says that it may be wise to distrust the political judgment of scientists because “they move in a world where speech has lost its power.” I think Arendt’s critique of the political judgement of scientists is applicable to the professionals of the digital industry, who use computer code, which cannot be translated into spoken statements, to operate their systems and devices. In their world, computer coding, and not speech, has the power; thus, their politics is bound to be different from that of the humans who use spoken language. The political judgement of the digital industry cannot be trusted.

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