Science and the Goals of Man: A Study in Semantic Orientation

Science and the Goals of Man: A Study in Semantic Orientation

Science and the Goals of Man: A Study in Semantic Orientation

Science and the Goals of Man: A Study in Semantic Orientation

Excerpt

There was a great deal said on those Saturday afternoons in the office of Dr. S. I suppose similar conversations were carried on at various times in Athens and in Paris and wherever conditions permitted fearless inquiry and free exchange of ideas. I thought those conversations were quite important, and so I have recorded some of them almost verbatim in the last chapters of this book.

I was particularly concerned by the roles played by Dr. S and Dr. S' in human affairs. Dr. S is a physical scientist. Others like him set out three hundred years ago to understand how the world works. Their progress has been spectacularly successful. They have come to understand more and more what it means to understand the world. They have learned to ask more and more meaningful questions. They have developed a language which in principle enables them to settle with satisfaction to both sides any controversy that may arise about the way events happen. In matters pertaining to their studies, they are undisputed authorities. When material environment has to be manipulated, both democratic and totalitarian leaders turn to engineers and technicians, and they, in turn, derive their skills from the work of the physical scientists.

Dr. S' is a social scientist. People like him have comparatively recently begun to study relations between human beings without assuming any supernatural interference. For this purpose they have organized research into the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, economics, and some branches of psychology. They too have succeeded to a considerable degree in formulating broad principles from which the events they study can be deduced in ano . . .

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