The Logic of Science

The Logic of Science

The Logic of Science

The Logic of Science

Excerpt

Is mathematical knowledge the product of pure thought functioning apart from all experience? Should we say that physics is a branch of geometry; or does it tell us only of a certain orderliness amongst our purely subjective perceptions? Are substance and causality outworn conceptions, no longer applicable to natural phenomena? What possible solution can be proposed to the interminable struggle between mechanists, teleologists, and vitalists in biology? Whether evolution is a conception significant only for biological phenomena, or whether it may also be applied to wider ranges of experience, is an especially important question. Is psychology a 'natural' science? More generally, what is the aim and scope of natural science as a whole? Above all, how are we to go about answering such questions?

To be a cultured person to-day necessitates acquaintance with those wider implications of scientific ideas of which the above questions are indicative. My special interest in them resulted from the fact that mathematics and theoretical physics formed the basis of my education. It is my belief that the important influence of the natural sciences in contemporary civilization, both in their practical applications and through their remarkable theoretical advances, compels all thinking people to reflect on the significance of science for human life as a whole. For this reason the logic of science manifestly deserves a place in every college curriculum. Moreover, it should provide a common meeting ground for students specializing in science and for those whose primary interests are in logic or the other branches of philosophy.

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