Open Vistas Philosophical Perspectives of Modern Science

Open Vistas Philosophical Perspectives of Modern Science

Open Vistas Philosophical Perspectives of Modern Science

Open Vistas Philosophical Perspectives of Modern Science

Excerpt

It can hardly be said that this little book was written; it was born, and born without much labor. By fortunate chance, and by the generosity of the Louis W. and Maud Hill Foundation, I was appointed to teach at Carleton College in 1953 where a triune combination of scholarship, science, and statesmanship in the remarkable person of President Laurence M. Gould, first stimulated me to prepare a lecture on "The New Faith of Science." Thus launched, my thinking moved farther afield, and the more ground it covered the stronger grew the conviction that modern science, when properly understood, can be of tremendous help to the searcher after philosophic, moral, and, indeed, political truth. In particular, it seemed that the most salient elements of recent physical science, namely its progressive dynamism implying a disavowal of stagnant truth and its surrender of the doctrine of mechanistic determinism, when translated into moral and social terms, mean precisely the same as the word democracy.

Fed by occasional invitations to lecture, the book thus wrote itself. The incident of its publication was a Sigma Xi lecture at Yale, which involved the signing of a publication contract. However, some of its contents formed the subject of a most enjoyable series of National Phi Beta Kappa talks under the auspices of that organization in 1958. Parts of the book have been published, although in different form, in a number of journals, and it behooves me here to express my indebtedness to their editors for permission to use some of the material already set forth in their columns. They . . .

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