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Technology and Social Justice

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In "Technology and Social Justice," Freeman Dyson expresses a deep optimism about humans' ability to use technological innovation to increase social justice. Exactly how does Dyson answer pessimistic doubts that technological innovations frequently serve to increase social oppression and inequality? What is your assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Dyson's response to that pessimistic perspective?

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Solution Summary

This solution critiques Freemon Dyson's article "Technology and Social Justice" in 862 words.

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The article here is a strange one. It is a disjointed set of personal reflections rather than a scientific treatment of the subject. The author assumes that social justice is the same as "liberalism" and does not argue for that connection. He just assumes it. The argument seems arbitrary and artificial. There is no clear structure to the piece at all.

One argument goes like this:

Women were less free in the middle ages then they were in the 1920s. Part of this is technological development - housework is much easier today then in 1000. Since women can now work outside the home, this is both an improvement and an example of social justice (134-135). (Of course, nothing there is obvious, but rather assumed to be true -- what of the consequences of increasing the work force? Are people happier working for corporations than being at home? How do we connect working outside the home to social justice? Why is working at home oppressive, but working for a boss outside the home is liberatory?).

AND, all of this has been made possible by the advent of Protestantism, which created the doctrines of "personal responsibility" and capitalist development (134). "personal responsibility" helped create technology and is the result of Protestantism - it did not ...

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