Science and Social Welfare in the Age of Newton

Science and Social Welfare in the Age of Newton

Science and Social Welfare in the Age of Newton

Science and Social Welfare in the Age of Newton

Excerpt

Many questions have been asked in recent years, and more will be asked in the future, about the place of science in our civilization. The most urgent are those which arise from the application of science to industry and transport: the questions whether we can secure the benefits of improved technology without the economic evils which they sometimes bring; and whether scientists themselves have the power to cure all the social evils which seem to arise from the misuse of science. Although they are urgent, these questions are not new; and history has much to contribute to the answers. This essay is intended to show how these matters stood and what was thought about them, especially in England, in one of the periods in which western civilization was most rapidly moving towards its present state. The period is that from about the time of King Charles II to about the time of QueenAnne.

This may be called the age of Newton, for Newton was the greatest figure in the last and most brilliant phase of the great scientific movement which began long before his time and reached its highest activity in the late seventeenth century. The scientific movement coincided in time with great changes in other spheres: it was in this age that the western countries, England,France,and Holland, took the lead in European industry and commerce, and also in spreading European influence over the world. They were . . .

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