The Logical Structure of Science

The Logical Structure of Science

The Logical Structure of Science

The Logical Structure of Science

Excerpt

It has become a commonplace in philosophy that a problem which is well defined is half solved. It is also a recognized principle of philosophy that a position can be adequately defined only when in alternative or opposing position endeavors to achieve formulation. From these two propositions it follows by a not too rigorous logic that when in issue has become sharply defined through the more or less precise formulations of the contrasting points of view, the way is open either for the complete overthrow of one of the positions or for the reconciliation of the opposition through a "higher synthesis."

Probably few would disagree with the assertion that the outstanding issue in the history of the philosophy of science is that between the positivists and the anti-positivists. But the issue, in spite of its venerable history, has not been precisely defined until comparatively recent times. The formulations of the positivists (Comte, Mill, Spencer, Avenarius, Mach, Poincaré, Pearson, Hobson) were essentially obscure, and the statements of their opponents (Haeckel, Büchner, Bergson, Eddington, jeans) were no better. Recently, however, positivism has received new blood from the so-called Vienna group (Carnap, Schlick, Wittgenstein) and from Bridgman and the pragmatists in this country. At the same time anti-positivism has received stimulation from a somewhat more miscellaneous group containing Meyerson, Bavink, Whitehead, and Planck. In the hands of these more recent representatives of both positions the issue is being reformulated through the technique of logic and the general theory of sybolism. But as if this were not enough, there has arisen still another group (Russell, Broad, G. E. Moore, Stace, and many of the American new, and critical realists) who do not attack positivism and thus seem to ally themselves with this position but who call themselves realists upon the grounds of "construction" and thus seem to employ the method which is essentially that of positivism; just how to tag these realists who construct their world from immediately perceived data is somewhat of a problem.

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