4 Answers

  1. Thanks to the quote in the next answer, everyone who was not in the know now knows that Rousseau argued that the development of science is bad for people.

    The question can be reduced to the formal form ” what is right-A or B?”, where A – “the development and improvement of sciences and arts contributes to the purification of morals” and B-“Jean-Jacques Rousseau was wrong in 1750”. It is easy to see that if A is true, then B is also true, and vice versa. In other words, the question is obviously meaningless in the form in which it is asked.

    Let's assume that the questioner is not stupid, but just made a typo, and try to bring the question to a meaningful form. You should probably read it like this:

    So did the development and improvement of the sciences and arts contribute to the purification of morals, or was Jean-Jacques Rousseau right in 1750?

    For starters, was there a development in the arts and sciences? I think anyone who looks around will agree that yes, it was. Obviously, we have gone far ahead since 1750.

    Further – has there been a purification of morals since that time? It all depends very much on what is considered the purification of morals. Most of the planet is no longer enslaved. Many countries have abolished the death penalty. The general vector of moral development is aimed at the fact that we need as serious grounds as possible to cause harm to people. Humanization in some regions has reached the point where the goal of punishments for criminal offenses is not to punish the criminal, but to rehabilitate him, to try to make sure that he no longer repeats his crimes, not because he is isolated from society, but because he is fully integrated into it. I personally see this as a “purification of morals”, but if “morality” for you is to punish and oppress the dissimilar and stumbled – you can hold a different opinion.

    But whatever your opinion, the question is whether there is a connection between these two phenomena. No matter how morality changes, is it due to science or in spite of it? Personally, I believe that there is a third, unaccounted – for factor-rationalization of thinking. The rationalist revolution in thinking begins in the 17th century and leads simultaneously to changes in the field of science, giving them a great impetus, and to changes in the field of morality. The attempt to apply rationality to morality creates a belief in the truth of one's judgments. If my views are rationally justified, they are true and should be binding on everyone, everyone should think like me, and I have the right to inculcate these views. The French Revolution, Marxism, and national Socialism grow out of these beliefs. The post-war period was a turning point, when counterbalancing tendencies began to gain strength in philosophy, which were expressed, among other things, in the works of Foucault and his followers. To sum up, the rational turn in thinking has contributed to scientific progress and, at the same time, great moral problems. When the link between rationality and morality was broken, these problems began to be overcome without losing scientific and technological progress.

  2. Sciences and arts, in their current form, do not contribute to the effective improvement of moral culture for so many reasons – this is a problem of all countries and times.

    This also leads to a significant deceleration of the development of the sciences and arts by many immoral ways, methods, and reasons.

    This is a dangerous path of significant all-round degradation of civilization.

    The enormous potential of a powerful positive interconnected development of sciences, arts, and moral culture lies in the powerful positive mutual influence of sciences, arts, and moral culture.

  3. Let me quote Losev's dissertation:

    Seeing the terrible decline of morality around him, and at the same time noticing the extraordinary development of the positive sciences, Rousseau began to accuse these sciences of having a bad influence on man, and attributed everything that was negative in France indiscriminately to the development of the sciences and the development of art. In the dissertation, we see serious attempts to provide real evidence in favor of its main idea, but these attempts are often interrupted by pathetic passages in which Rousseau does not skimp on exclamation points and question marks. This work consists entirely of exclamations and questions, and we are not at all mistaken if we call it not scientific, but rhetorical. There is no consistent argumentation here, the thoughts are scattered – and it is clear that the author was inspired by his idea, inspired so much that he completely forgot about the requirements that are usually imposed on serious philosophical works.

  4. Let's not talk about Rousseau, because his views are complex and it is easy to get confused about what he claimed, what he assumed, and what he doubted. Let's just talk about the development of science and art and its impact on morals.

    And then we will have to admit that neither science nor art has a direct influence on the purity of morals. The influence is exerted by the change in the mode of vivendi, which occurs, among other things, as a result of the spread of sciences and arts. For only a strong and well-fed person can be kind and generous.

    I cannot refrain from quoting from Frederick the Great (letter to d'Alembert, 1768):

    “Is it not true that the electric power, and all the wonders it still reveals, serve only to excite our curiosity? Isn't it true that attraction and gravitation surprise only our imagination? Isn't it true that all chemical discoveries have the same consequences? But is this less likely to cause highway robberies? Have your farmers become less greedy because of this? Are deposits returned more accurately? Is there less slander, is envy destroyed, are hardened hearts softened? So, what need is there for society in these present discoveries, when philosophy ignores moral honor, to which the ancients exerted all their strength?”

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