First published in 1941 (this edition in 1968), this book explores the relationship between science, culture, and society- focusing on human beings, and human communities. Here, C. H. Waddington uses the concept of science to mean more than factual information about genes and haemoglobin and his subject is the effect of scientific ways of speaking on the ways in which people look at the world around them.
The work discusses biological assumptions made by various communities, particularly fascist movements, on human beings and compares them with the scientific attitude. The Nazis for instance spoke about ‘racial purity’ and ‘German blood’ but these expressions, whilst arousing emotion, had, and have, no rational meaning- they are inaccurate and tell us nothing of human genetics.
As well as presenting a scientific argument, being published initially in 1941, this book also acts as a historical document, conveying some of the feeling of living through WWII. It highlights the fact that science and scientific assumptions have very wide implications for the whole conduct of life.
Introduction; Foreword by the author; Science and Culture 1. On whose side is history 2. Science is not neutral 3. Art between Wars 4. Art looks to science 5. Science’s failure and success Science and Society 6. The emptiness of Fascism 7. Is Communism science? 8. Science and politics 9. Living in a scientific world 10. Believing in science; Summary; List of references; Notes; Questions for discussion