The Significance Of Scientists In Western Civilization Essay Example For College

Abstract

This work is a comprehensive analysis of the activities of the most significant Western thinkers: Freud, Darwin, and Marx. Each of them had a special impact on Western civilization, making a great contribution to science and culture. They worked in different fields (psychology, biology, and philosophy), but in part, their ideas overlap. The achievements of these scientists are still relevant and are used in many areas of human life. Some of them, on the contrary, have lost their relevance due to the development of modern science. However, these ideas in any case became a pillar for the development of modern society.

Introduction

The history of human thought development is inextricably linked with those who have the most significant influence on it. In the course of history, more significant personalities, such as scientists, psychologists, and philosophers have constantly appeared. These professionals’ ideas are new and innovative for individuals living in contemporary society. When most people accept these ideas, it leads to a fundamental change in the social order. Therefore, it is crucial to understand who influenced people in history and where this led. Moreover, according to Tarnas (2010), “the cultural and intellectual history can serve as a preparatory education for the challenges that face us all” (p. 11). Indeed, by relying on experience, people can avoid their predecessors’ mistakes and use only the most useful and vital achievements.

Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud are a few of the most notable examples of people who have had the most significant influence on Western civilization. As mentioned by Caplan et al., “the theoretical movements inspired by these men have fundamentally reoriented our modern understanding of biological nature, society, and the human mind” (11). These people worked in different fields, but each of them played a crucial role in their science. The purpose of this paper is to propose the main ideas of these scientists and; therefore, prove that their role in the development of Western civilization is substantial.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin is still one of the most well-known scientists in the world. Once, in 2010, “the historian of science Peter Bowler tried to imagine the world without him,” and it appeared meaningless and underdeveloped (White). Although his ideas proved to be revolutionary, now people understand that Darwinism is one of the keys to the understanding of biology. Born based on a generalization of the data of selection and domestication, Darwinism is considered to be the scientific foundation of practical selection. It is widely used in biomedical research and for the development of scientific methods for managing the evolutionary process in the conditions of modern civilization. Evolutionary theory played a critical role in developing the philosophy of dialectical materialism (Blancke and Denis). It still retains the importance of one of the leading areas in developing philosophical problems of natural science. The practical use of the evolutionary theory data in solving national economic problems includes many different directions. This includes selection work and regulating the number of biological species. Thus, the evolutionary theory contributes to people’s development of multiple methods for the optimal density of crops in agrocenoses.

The history of medicine also presents how fruitful were the approaches to the study of human pathology based on the principles of Darwinism. The successful development of research in such areas as epidemiology, medical genetics, and immunogenetics is unthinkable without using the principles of evolutionary theory. Most of the known diseases of humans, animals, and plants can be divided into four main groups: infectious, allergic, somatic, and social. The successful fight against the first three groups of diseases is directly or indirectly related to the knowledge of the causes and laws of living creatures’ evolution.

Darwin’s teaching was the first materialistic theory of the evolution of living creatures. Furthermore, his theory played a considerable role in substantiating and strengthening the historical view of organic nature. It gave advanced meaning and new goals to all biological sciences, such as the studies of the environment, ecology, genetic regulation, and molecular medicine (Mesoudi 7855). First, this theory substantiates the objectivity of the development of the organic world. Evolutionary development can be presented as a process of adaptation of organic forms to environmental conditions that are continuously occurring in nature.

Darwin always went into theoretical constructions from the facts of nature to the conclusions following from them. This feature of his evolutionary theory is manifested in its deep and organic connection with animal husbandry and plant growing practice. As a talented observer, Darwin saw things that no natural scientist had noticed before. He highlighted the dialectical relations between variability, heredity, and selection, although all three factors were separately already known before his work. Darwin proved that organic evolution depends on the interaction of all factors and that individually they cannot provide the evolutionary process. Evolutionary changes are expressed in the accumulation of small quantitative changes, but the result of these quantitative changes are qualitative changes. Thus, Darwin gave a causal explanation of the evolutionary process, revealing organic nature’s objective dialectics. In this connection, this theory is, in many respects, the key to the further development of not an only evolutionary doctrine in biology but also the whole of natural science.

Karl Marx

The influence of Marx’s thought on Western socioeconomic and philosophical thought is an extensive and complex topic. Interest in Marx as a philosopher comes mainly in the XX century (Vivek 357). This is due not only to the fact that many of his philosophically important works were first published in this century. His ideas and creativity gained importance primarily among the activities of other philosophers and scientists. They were responsible for the fulfillment of an essential, fundamental shift in the spiritual culture of Western civilization. The essence of this shift is diverse, but it is mainly associated with a radically different interpretation of consciousness compared to the tradition of classical philosophizing. In particular, the works of Marx have become a significant phenomenon among many studies on this topic.

People have concluded that human thinking is determined by many factors, partly overlapping with each other. These include innate mental categories, history, culture, social class, biology, language, and many other factors. As it turned out, one cannot rely only on reason as a source of accurate judgments about reality. The recognition of the deep mediation of all types of human spiritual activity was gaining increasing influence. In this light, the world turns out to be what rather deserves the name of a human project. It no longer seems to scientists, including Marx, a complex of objects that contains a complete meaning and order independent of people.

The openness, incompleteness, and semantic uncertainty of the new world prompts us to define the goals of human searches differently, directed to philosophy. In the development of new types of philosophical discourse, designed to consolidate these changes, Marx’s name appears to be one of the most significant. This explains the repeated bursts of interest in him among representatives of various philosophical trends – from existentialists to structuralists.

All this gave reason to speak not just about the influence of Marx’s ideas, but about the existence of the phenomenon of Western Marxism. It is possible to conclude that there is a lively interest in the philosopher Marx even in the modern world. It is also critical to understand that such interest is determined by the great importance of his general philosophical ideas. Even though they are associated with his communist utopia, they develop in an independent direction.

Sigmund Freud

Freud’s teachings had a significant impact on the development of modern culture. Without his ideas, it is difficult to imagine fiction, painting, cinema, and other human activity spheres. The most prominent representatives of post-culture and avant-garde often turn to the unconscious’s idea, trying to embody it in their works. Dadaism, surrealism, expressionism, the stream of consciousness literature, theater of the absurd, pop art, and many phenomena of postmodernism creatively transformed the Austrian psychiatrist’s ideas and often put a fairly serious emphasis on them.

According to Freud, eroticism is believed to be an integral part of human existence. This also began to be actively used in art culture and even in advertising. For example, advertisements often show a half-naked body on the screen or various erotic symbols such as brightly painted lips. Sex is entirely liberated and flourishes in all conceivable and almost unthinkable forms in everyday life and art. In addition, the Freudian idea of ​​the compensatory functions of art provides a powerful lever for the development of modern mass culture. According to Freud, when perceiving such works, ordinary people who empathize with the heroes identify themselves with such art. Hence, people get rid of complexes and embody their dreams; in other words, compensate for the things that they cannot embody in real life.

Freudian ideas were equally influential in the field of the arts. Freud presented the initial paradigm for the use of psychoanalysis in the realm of literature and art (Reed 285). He gained many talented followers among philosophers, philologists, and art critics. The entire foreseeable history of literature, art, and culture has been revised and rewritten from the standpoint of psychoanalysis or methods based on it. Due to the Freudian methodology’s peculiarities, the authors of these studies began to pay serious attention to the biographies of writers and artists, their sexual side of life, and mental disorders.

The first major psychoanalytic work of Sigmund Freud, “The Interpretation of Dreams,” heralded a new era in the 20th-century culture. Along with Freud’s other works, it acted as a reference book for many literary and art critics (Turner 600). This book fed the creative imagination of artists of many avant-garde movements. Even now, the interpretation of dreams and people’s actions with their unconscious help is a relevant and essential activity.

Thus, summing up, it can be noted that the ideas of Sigmund Freud are one of the foundations of modern Western culture. The primary influence of Freudianism on modern culture is applying its ideas of the unconscious, the instincts of sex, fear, and aggressiveness. Thanks to these ideas, people can describe what is happening to them and those around them. In addition, Freud’s theories had a significant impact on various areas of art, emphasizing the importance of his works for humanity.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, modern science goes beyond the achievements of Darwin, Marx, and Freud. People continue to study the world around them, put forward new concepts, and make discoveries. However, this would not have been possible without the strong foundation laid decades ago. In particular, these three scientists have created the basis for biology, philosophy, and psychology. Even with modern changes in scientific thought, people worldwide are continually referring to these authors’ works. This allows new ideas to be confirmed, refuted, or corrected. In addition, based on experience, it is possible to predict how science will develop in the future. Thus, it is proved that the importance of these three researchers’ work for modern Western science and society cannot be denied. It is thanks to them that people have the opportunity to develop now and predict future processes.

Works Cited

Blancke, Stefaan, and Gilles Denis. “Bringing Darwin into the Social Sciences and the Humanities: Cultural Evolution and its Philosophical Implications.” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, vol. 40, 2017.

This article is devoted to the study of the relationship between cultural and evolutionary processes occurring in humanity. The authors note the importance of Darwin’s teachings for the humanities. It allows you to trace the modifications of various cultural phenomena and connect them with changes in other areas of human activity. Thus, this article proves the inextricable link between the development of human nature, society, and culture.

Dhareshwar, Vivek. “Marx, Foucault and the Secularization of Western Culture.” Rethinking Marxism, vol. 28, no. 3-4, 2016, pp. 354-366.

The author of this article describes the main philosophical ideas of Marx related to religion. This allows him to give the reader a deeper understanding of Marx’s views. In particular, most attention is paid to issues of secularization and their criticism. This comprehensive view allows readers to better understand Marx’s ideas and examine them from different angles.

Caplan, Arthur L., and Bruce Jennings, eds. Darwin, Marx and Freud: their influence on moral theory. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.

This book’s main idea is to prove that Darwin, Marx, and Freud are one of the most influential personalities that were able to change the world for the better and provide future generations with essential knowledge. In addition, the book proves that their contribution significantly changed people’s understanding of the modern world, nature, society, and the human mind.

Mesoudi, Alex. “Pursuing Darwin’s Curious Parallel: Prospects for a Science of Cultural Evolution.” PNAS, vol. 114, no. 30, 2017, pp. 7853-7860.

In this article, the cultural processes taking place in society are described using genetic characteristics. It is because of this that major changes occur both in the field of biology and within beliefs, languages, and attitudes. Thus, the ideas of Darwinism are closely related to each area of human activity, which emphasizes their value.

Reed, Isaac Ariail. “Sigmund Freud and Social Theory Manqué.” Society, vol. 57, 2020, pp. 281-286.

The author notes the importance of Freud’s ideas for modern sociology. He claims that without Freud, the development of this science becomes more difficult. In addition, he stresses that even non-Freudians support the ideas of this scientist. Thus, Freud is one of the key figures for the development of many humanities.

Tarnas, Richard. The Passion of the Western Mind. Random House, 2010.

This book is a kind of guide to the world of Western civilization. The author has systematized information about the most important events and persons in Western history. This allows readers to get the most complete and structured information about any historical period or philosophical idea.

Turner, Stephen. “Freud in Many Contexts.” Society, vol. 57, 2020, pp. 599-605.

The author of this article examines Freud’s activities from different angles, emphasizing its importance. He notes the depth of ideas related to human mental activity. The author also examines the cultural and historical aspects that influenced the work of Freud. Thanks to this, the reader receives a comprehensive description of the scientist’s activities.

White, Paul. “Introduction: Science, Literature, and the Darwin Legacy.” 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 11, 2010.

This source presents the legacy and thought of Darwin by discussing the origins of his work, his interests and aspirations, and his love for science. At the moment most of his works are complete and can be accessed by professionals and individuals who desire to have a substantial amount of knowledge in science.

The 2022 Winter Olympics As A Part Of The Political Debate

Apparently, despite the intensive spread of COVID-19, several countries, especially the United States and European Union (EU), stress the importance of human rights. Actually, the issue regarding the violation of human rights has raised serious debates and discordance of opinions between the West and China. For that reason, few countries in Europe, Canada, the U.S., and Australia passed a non-binding resolution to declare the treatment of the Uyghur minority by the Chinese government as a genocide. Consequently, the 2022 Winter Olympics has become part of political debate. Currently, due to the mistreatment of Uyghurs minorities, countries are debating whether to nullify the 2022 Winter Olympics that is supposed to be held in Beijing, China.

According to several news reports, Uyghurs are Muslim population living in Xinjiang, especially in the north-western region. Rights groups and countries, such as the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, believe that the Chinese government detained approximately one million Uyghurs over the past few years. Unfortunately, if the allegation is true, it could negatively affect the next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. Erin O’Toole, a conservative leader, called on Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, to add pressure to the International Olympic Committee to move the games from Beijing. According to the article, “Sending athletics to a country that is committing genocide would violate universal fundamental ethical principles1. Human rights around the world have also called for a boycott2. It’s only if [relocation] is not possible and there’s no change of conduct by the state of China that we should examine whether our athletes compete3. Participate in an Olympic Games hosted by a country [China] that is committing a genocide against of its population…. Canada must make a stand4.”

The above argument was given by Erin O’Toole, urging Canada and the Olympics Committee to reconsider relocating the games from Beijing. The argument is a fallacy since it attacks rather than addresses the facts. Also, it appeals to people to boycott the games to inflict pain on the Chinese government and force the government to abolish its human rights abuse, specifically regarding the mistreatment of Uyghurs minority group, is for countries, including the United States, Australia, France, among others, to boycott, or, if not by boycotting, relocate the games to some other country. Moreover, the argument is a fallacy because it also gives a mutually exclusive option and is oversimplified and distorted. Conversely, the Canadian Olympics Committee refused O’Toole’s request as they believed that boycotting is not the perfect solution to the problem, thereby presenting an argument that is a fallacy. According to the Olympics Committee says, “Boycott is not the answer, the interest of all Canadian, and global community, are advanced through competing and celebrating great Canadian performance and values on the Olympics and Paralympic stage5” (Jones, 2021).

Certainly, when analyzing O’Toole’s argument as to why the 2022 Olympics Winter games should be relocated to another country, primarily to force the Chinese government to adhere to human rights, one could see the argument contains several informal fallacies. Yes, the subject is worthy of exploration; nonetheless, the argument should not have included these informal fallacies, attributing them to the opponent (China). The argument was irrelevantly attacking the government of China. Agreeably, any issue involving the violation of human rights must be taken seriously. However, the argument should have used less fallacious, specific attacks and more factual and less general attacks.

In the first part, the argument should have been “Sending athletics to any country that is alleged or suspected of committing genocide would violate the very fundamental ethical principles that we as humans believe. Unfortunately, China is suspected of violating the very moral principles we all believe in.

Unsurprisingly, to win people’s favor, one has to win the audience and to do so, one has to heavily engage emotions to the audience, or majority of people, but how? Suggestively, one has to make the audience believe something is right regardless of the facts, and by doing so, turning away the argument to emotion rather than reason. The second part of the argument indeed tried to employ emotions to the audience. Ideally, the argument should have tried to use reasons rather than feelings. The argument should have said, “Due to lack of enough evidence from the Chinese government to refute the allegations of human rights violations, human rights activists around the world should boycott until the government produces the evidence needed.” In doing so, perhaps the arguments should have been based more on reason and way from emotional appeals, which explores people’s irrationality.

Honestly, I am not pro-China, especially regarding human rights violations, though nothing can be certain without hard pieces of evidence. That is why the argument needs hard evidence rather than a logical fallacy that only gives either ‘black’ or ‘white’ options. The argument gave the audience, particularly listeners, two choices: either participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in China and support a country that violates human rights or boycott the Olympics and force the government to adhere to human rights law. Ideally, stating that “there’s no change of conduct by the state of China,” the argument meant that even in the participation of the 2022 Winter Olympics, China would change its alleged activities. Encouragingly, the third part of the argument should have said, “Actually, I don’t want our athletics to send to a country alleged to have human rights issues.”

Furthermore, in the argument, O’Toole’s argument distorted the very critical information regarding the state of China. Subsequently, it distorted the previous claims that the Chinese government has provided about the Uyghurs minority. According to multiple sources, the Chinese government believes that some Uyghur individuals are associated with terrorism. Thus, by stating that a country committing genocide to its population would host the Olympics, the argument was unquestionably distorting the previous information that the Chinese government released. Supposedly, the last part of the argument should have said, “As a nation, Canada, the U.S., and the rest of the countries should reconsider the idea of sending their athletes to countries recently alleged to misuse human rights. Canada and other countries must make a stand on issues that involves human rights.”

Lastly, this argument is not based on O’Toole’s argument, but the Olympics Committee’s. In response to O’Toole’s claim on Olympics relocation, the Olympics Committee wrongly shifted the claim to counter O’Toole’s argument. Based on their argument, it is seemingly possible that the Committee believed their conclusion to be true because no enough evidence supports Uyghur’s genocide. Perhaps, for this reason, the Olympics Committee believes there is no need for relocation. The Committee should have concluded, “The value performance and value on the Olympics and Paralympic stage in China would solely depend on the evidence of such allegation.” The conclusion would confirm the role of evidence in decision-making to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Reference

Jones, R. P. (2021). O’Toole calls for relocation of 2022 Olympic Games out of China. CBC.

Footnotes

  1. Ad Hominem Fallacy.
  2. Indirect Appeal to the People.
  3. False Dichotomy.
  4. Straw Man.
  5. Appeal to Ignorance.

Global Market Segmentation

In their article, the authors compare the general performance of conventional and religious (Islamic) stock returns in Saudi Arabia. They aim to determine the impact of religious preferences and their ability to create investor recognition effects and segmented financial markets (Alhomaidi, et al., 2019). The examination of all Saudi firms’ stock returns over the past several years illustrated the fact that recognized Islamic stocks have a substantively broader investor base and lower idiosyncratic risk (Alhomaidi, et al., 2019). In addition, the differentiation between less-recognized conventional and Islamic stocks in predominantly religious markets affects the incorporation of information into asset prices. Moreover, Islamic stocks exhibit higher systematic turnover and considerable integration with both global and local factors (Alhomaidi, et al., 2019). In general, this research provides evidence of the religious norms’ impact on corporate decisions.

In general, market segmentation may be regarded as a specific process of the global market’s division into smaller segments based on customers’ shared characteristics. It is an effective tool that helps to develop different marketing strategies and address the target group more appropriately. Religion is an important factor in market segmentation. At the same time, the efficacy of religious market segmentation strongly depends on external factors, such as the cultural and social norms of the targeted society. On the one hand, the understanding of the country’s customs, traditions, and religion facilitates its market entry for foreign companies. On the other hand, these companies that perform by the country’s religious norms have more opportunities to become successful in local settings compared with a conventional corporation. In addition, corporate leaders frequently make investment and financial decisions based on their shareholders’ religious beliefs that have a direct influence on the company’s profitability.

References

Alhomaidi, A., Hassan, M. K., Hippler, W. J., & Mamun, A. (2019). The impact of religious certification on market segmentation and investor recognition. Journal of Corporate Finance, 55, 28-48. Web.