The Logic of Modern Science

The Logic of Modern Science

The Logic of Modern Science

The Logic of Modern Science

Excerpt

It a unique situation or only the wheel of thought again come full circle-this intense current interest in methodological problems, the zeal with which so many workers study the logic and philosophy of science?

Change, upheaval, and reconstruction are, of course, inherent in the scientific enterprise. Intellectual inventions and the discovery of novel events periodically disturb the foundations of knowledge. Thus history records a Copernican, a Galilean, a Cartesian, a Lobatchevskian, a Newtonian and a Darwinian revolution.

But from our present vantage point it does appear that the discoveries and contrivances of the 20th century have upset scientific thinking more strikingly than ever before. Surely the unprecedented expansion of current technology (radio, radar, electronics) and of modern physics and chemistry (radioactivity, quantum mechanics, relativity) demand an unusual reformulation of basic scientific principles.

Furthermore, science being essentially cumulative, the paradox becomes intensified that the wider the vista opening before the investigator and the greater his conquests, the more fragile and vulnerable his knowledge system becomes. The record is plain. The postulational process in mathematics and experimental science has led to scepticism concerning scientific rigor. Knowledge of atomic structure, its disintegration and transformation, has precipitated the question whether any stable substance, such as classical matter, exists. Relativity principles have wrenched loose the solid framework of classical space and time. Increasing recognition of the discontinuity of energy and radiation has engendered doubts about causality, precision of observation, and the validity of laws.

Who can overlook the great need for an adequate logic of science? Scientific systematics so far has certainly failed to keep pace with developments in research techniques and with factual discovery. While the scientist has been probing deeper and deeper into things and events, increasing the range of data, he has lagged noticeably in his understanding of scientific foundations.

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