Academia between Utopia and Dystopia: Francis Bacon, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Alasdair MacIntyre

Keywords: academia, utopia, Francis Bacon, Ursula K. Le Guin, Alasdair MacIntyre

Abstract

The paper examines two visions of the relation between science and society through the utopian novel New Atlantis, by Bacon, and the dystopian novella, New Atlantis, by Le Guin. In Francis Bacon’s classic utopia scientists enjoy high social status and have all imaginable resources at their disposal, whereas the contemporary Ursula K. Le Guin's dystopia portrays heroic scientists in a totalitarian state, subjected to imprisonment, torture and constant surveillance for practicing ethical science.
Taking cue from these two texts I employ MacIntyre’s framework of internal and external goods of a practice to discuss the relationship between the contemporary academia and the state. The internal goods of science (knowledge, "light", discoveries and inventions) are what scientists contribute to the society, whereas the external goods, such as material riches, prestige, power (or the opposite thereof) are what society supplies the scientists with. My conclusion is that values drawn from a religious tradition can help treat the external goods as means, and the internal goods as the actual ends of the academic practice.

References

Achinstein, Sharon. 1988. “How To Be a Progressive without Looking Like One: History and Knowledge in Bacon's New Atlantis.” Clio 17 (3): 249-264.

Airaksinen, Timo. 2011. “Secrets of Science in Bacon’s New Atlantis.” Homo Oeconomicus 28 (4): 415–435.

Bacon, Francis. 1989. New Atlantis and The Great Instauration, Crofts Classics: Wheeling, Illinois.

Bootle Attie, Katherine. 2013. “Selling Science: Bacon, Harvey, and the Commodification of Knowledge.” Modern Philology 110 (3): 415-440.

Burns, Timothy W. 2013. “Bacon’s New Atlantis and the Goals of Modernity.” In Socrates and Dionysius: Philosophy and Art in Dialogue, edited by Ann Ward, 74-103. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle upon Tyne.

Cummins, Elizabeth. 1993. Understanding Ursula K. Le Guin, University of South Carolina Press: Columbia.

DeCook, Travis. 2008. “The Ark and Immediate Revelation in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis.” Studies in Philology 105 (1): 103-122.

Hartmann, Anna-Maria. 2014. “The strange antiquity of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis.” Renaissance Studies 29 (3): 375-393.

Hauerwas, Stanley. 2016. “Why Community Is Dangerous: An Interview.” Plough Quarterly 9.

Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor Adorno. 2002. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Stanford University Press: Stanford, California.

Le Guin, Ursula, K. 1975. New Atlantis. In: Wolfe, Gene, Ursula K. Le Guin, and James Tiptree Jr. The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science Fiction. Hawthorn Books: New York.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. 2007. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. University of Notre Dame Press: Notre Dame, Indiana.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. 2006. Aquinas and the extent of moral disagreement. In MacIntyre, A. Ethics and Politics. Selected Essays, vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 64-82.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. 2009. God, Philosophy, Universities. A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition, Rowman & Littlefield: Plymouth.

McKnight, Stephen A. 2005. “Francis Bacon’s God.” The New Atlantis 10: 73-100.

McKnight, Stephen A. 2006. The Religious Foundations of Francis Bacon’s Thought, University of Missouri Press: Columbia, Missouri.

Minkov, Svetozar. 2010. Francis Bacon’s “Inquiry Touching Human Nature”: Virtue, Philosophy, and the relief of Man’s Estate. Lexington Books: Plymouth.

More, Thomas. 2002. Utopia. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Plato. 2008. Timaeus and Critias. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Renaker, David. 1990. “A Miracle of Engineering: The Conversion of Bensalem in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis.” Studies in Philology 87 (2): 181-193.

Weinberger, Jerry. 1976. “Science and Rule in Bacon's Utopia: An Introduction to the Reading of the New Atlantis.” The American Political Science Review 70 (3): 865-885.

White, Howard B. 1968, Peace among the Willows: The Political Philosophy of Francis Bacon. Martinus Nijhoff: Leiden.

Published
2018-11-30
How to Cite
Kaźmierczak, P. (2018). Academia between Utopia and Dystopia: Francis Bacon, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Multidisciplinary Journal of School Education, 13(1). Retrieved from https://czasopisma.ignatianum.edu.pl/jpe/article/view/1074