Science as Fetish and the Genealogy of its Critique: The Case of a Hebrew Writer
The “high tech nation” and the “valley of Israel” are some indicators for the fetishization of science in Israel today. Originally, however, modern Hebrew culture and politics were organized around literature rather than science. The paper will focus on the genealogy of the critique of “scientism” by Y.H. Brenner (1881-1921), expressed in his essays, letters and literary texts. Brenner’s critique, I shall argue, was rooted in his reading of Nietzsche, a reading mediated through the literary œuvre of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.
Rifka Feldhay is Professor of History of Science at Tel Aviv University and Director at the Minerva Humanities Center. Her areas of research and teaching are: knowledge and faith in the early modern era, intellectual currents in the Renaissance, Copernicus and Galileo in their own context, science education in Catholic Europe, and the culture of the Baroque and the New Science. She has served as a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center; the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin; the International Research Center for Cultural Studies in Vienna; the Dibner Institute at MIT; the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin; and the Collegium Helveticum of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH). Among her major publications are Galileo and the Church: Political Inquisition or Critical Dialogue? (1995); and Education and History: Cultural and Political Contexts (ed. with E. Etkes,1998).