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 posits that it may be wise to distrust the political judgment of scientists because “they move in a world where speech has lost its power.” 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 the digital world, code, not speech, has the power. Thus, by Arendt’s logic, the political culture of the professions of the digital industry must vary from that of the general population who use spoken language.

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