8. Hermeneutics, Techno-Science, Enlightenment: A Complex “Constellation” 139
139 8. Hermeneutics, Techno-Science, Enlightenment: A Complex “Constellation” In the second chapter we have seen how the “splendid development of the natural sciences” from the seventeenth century onwards, together with the “technological and economic development” provided by the rational and consistent exploitation of “the practical possibilities that result from the scientific discoveries”1, have actually been considered by Gadamer as the real roots of the modern age. On this basis, Ga- damer has offered an extensive and profound analysis of the present condition of mankind, which is, according to him, a very critical condition that keeps us in suspense, almost breathless2. Following his diagnosis, it might seem that the responsibility for every particular aspect of today’s critical situation falls upon the shoulders of science and the technological civilization it has created. As we read, for instance, in the essay Theorie, Technik, Praxis: the scientific-technical mastery of nature […], the technical exploitation of natural resources and the artificial transformation of our environment [have] become so carefully planned and extensive that [their] consequences endanger the natural cycle of things and bring about irreversible developments on a large scale. […] Issues such as the city, the environment, population growth, the world food supply, problems of the aged, etc., thus justly acquire a privileged place among the scientific themes of our knowledge of man. The atom bomb proves itself more and more to be only a special case of the self-endangering of human beings and their life on this planet to which science has led3. 1...
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